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Fresh and Tasty 

by Susan Hamilton and Ted S. McGregor Jr. & r & Birthday Party Benefit & r & Latah Bistro is celebrating its first year with a benefit for the 2nd Harvest Food Bank. Check out wines from eight local wineries, and fresh tapas from chef David Blaine for $20. There will also be live music and the bistro's art gallery will be unveiled. The benefit is Sunday, Oct. 16, from 4-8 pm. Call: 939-3923. -- TED S. McGREGOR JR.

Libert & eacute; for All Restaurants & r & "We're fulfilling a need for Liberty Lake," proclaims co-owner Kris Unicume. "We're creating a community gathering spot."

Yes, Caffe Libert & eacute; is an eatery that has really embraced its neighborhood. When I entered what looks like a new Craftsman-style home but is really a restaurant, I felt like I'd been welcomed into someone's home without invading their personal space. The upscale, cozy lounge area is centered around a fireplace, while the library holds small tables perfect for a tryst. Photos of Liberty Lake in the 1900s adorn the warm golden walls. This is another Inland Northwest restaurant where designer Pat Jeppesen has worked his magic.

And there's plenty of magic coming from the kitchen as well. Chef Kevin Enos and baker Hugh Woods are turning out some very tasty dishes and treats. If the tender and savory crab-and-shrimp stuffed chicken breast wrapped in phylo pastry is indicative of the rest of the menu, Caffe Libert & eacute; is sure to please customers. The roasted red pepper house soup is satisfying with a slight kick.

Enos, who has also cheffed at Shenanigan's and Luna, prepares dishes from scratch, working with his own stock of recipes as well as those of owners Unicume and Ellen Stanton. Wild mushroom lasagna, teriyaki tuna panini with grilled pineapple, and spinach salad with spicy caramelized pecans are a few of the menu items. Regional wines, gourmet pizza, weekly fresh-sheet specials and a kids' menu are also offered.

Breakfast is a scrumptious affair at Caffe Libert & eacute;. Pastries include moist and flavorful almond poppy seed muffins and sweetly spiced maple cinnamon buns -- all accompanied by Doma brews. Bacon, cheese and spinach quiche, eggs strata and a fruity, homemade granola-yogurt parfait are daily breakfast items. Seasonal fruit crepes and eggs frittata are made-to-order specials.

"We have great, consistent food," Stanton says. "And we're very big on customer service." -- SUSAN HAMILTON

Caffe Libert & eacute;, 1400 N. Meadowwood Lane, is open Mon.-Fri. 6:30 am-10 pm, Sat. 8 am-10 pm and Sun. 8 am-3 pm. Call 928-7925.

Help Thy Parents & r & Oktoberfest & r & You can get your fill of German food and support the senior programs at Spokane's East Central Community Center by taking part in their Oktoberfeast on Friday night, Oct. 14. There will be a discussion of Medicare at 4 pm, and the meal will be served at 5 pm. With an appetizer like that, you'll be ready for the German sausage, sauerkraut, German potato salad (from the Alpine Deli) and homemade apple strudel. And it's only $5. Call 625-6693. -- TED S. McGREGOR JR.

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