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by Inlander Staff


The Wine Cellar -- The Wine Cellar has been a mainstay in Coeur d'Alene for years, attracting diners interested in good food, oenophiles eager to explore the vast wine selection and people just wanting to listen to a little live music. The menu is always changing, although a number of signature dishes are always available. In addition to several preparations of salmon, the Wine Cellar offers pasta milano with rock shrimp ($12), a basic dish distinguished by fresh zesty tomatoes, roasted garlic and fresh basil, as well as plum pork ($11), marinated in rosemary, garlic and white wine, oven-roasted and served over garlic parmesan mashed potatoes. As for the wine list, the Wine Cellar's does not disappoint, and it keeps you wanting to come back to try new vintners and varieties. 313 Sherman Ave., CdA. Call: (208) 664-9463 (7/22/04, LM)





The Beachouse -- Located just a mile or two from downtown Coeur d'Alene, the Beachouse makes the most of its faux nautical d & eacute;cor. The menu consists of basic pub fare, glammed up for an upscale crowd. There's a Cashew Chicken Salad ($8), a Crab Salad Sandwich ($9) and a Bacon Brie Buffalo Burger ($10). The Beachouse Tacos ($8) -- marinated mini-shrimp and whitefish in lightly fried corn tortillas -- were oily but delicious and served with perfect garlic mash potatoes. The Beyond the Reuben ($9) -- with stone-ground mustard and shredded cabbage in place of the usual Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut -- was tasty but not the Reuben experience our tasters were looking for. Service was polite, if not terribly speedy or competent. 3204 N. Coeur d'Alene Lake Dr., CdA. Call: (208) 664-6464 (7/1/04, SB)





The Bite Me Caf & eacute; -- The diverse and value-packed menu here has a noticeable south-of-the-border influence with breakfasts (served all day), burgers, sandwiches, fish and chicken baskets, burritos, tacos, sides and appetizers. The breakfast burrito (a large grilled flour tortilla stuffed with eggs, cheddar cheese, hash browns and ham, bacon or sausage for $4) was bursting with quality ingredients and was rendered even better with the addition of the homemade medium salsa. The #2 biscuits and gravy meal (with one biscuit, hash browns and two eggs for $4) was flavorful and quite filling, with eggs that were actually "over medium" as requested. The two-egg breakfast sans meat (with hash browns and toast only) at $3.75 is a home run deal. 113 W. Indiana Ave. Call 326-0359. (MC)





The MAC Caf & eacute; -- This quiet lunch spot is bright and sparkling with great views and lots of natural light. Menu items include soups like the house tomato basil bisque and a rotating chef's special ($2.50 a cup), salads like the Caesar ($5, $7 with the addition of smoked salmon or grilled chicken), and specialty sandwiches along with a daily selection of assorted house-baked scones, muffins, breads, pastries and other sweet and savory bits ($1.50-$2). There's a kid's menu, too. The generous and tender smoked pork tenderloin sandwich on grilled bread with cabbage slaw, sweet onion, bacon bits, honey Dijon and apple cider dressing ($7.50) lived up to its description. Details are well attended to and the service is friendly. Northwest Museum of Arts & amp; Culture main building at 2316 W. First Ave. Call 363-5358. (MC)





JoeCo Brazils -- JoeCo Brazils succeeds in offering Spokanites affordable gourmet. The shrimp rumaki ($7) appetizer was a great combination of sweet and salty and zesty. The prosciutto-wrapped scallops skewered on a rosemary sprig ($16) came together nicely in a delicate coconut cream sauce. The Guajillo rack of lamb ($18) was marinated in Guajillo pepper sauce, grilled, dipped into a red pepper jelly glaze and crusted in toasted pumpkin seeds. The lamb was fabulous, cooked to perfection and tender while the homemade taste and texture of the mashed potatoes was an inspired complement to the sophisticated rack. Service was pleasant and attentive. Desserts are all made in-house. Food is served until midnight. 830 W. Sprague. Call 455-6955. (LM)





Metro Caf & eacute; -- The Metro has been serving lunch-hungry downtowners, cafeteria-style, at this location for 19 years. The colorful menu boards change daily and feature sandwiches, casseroles, salads and something called the Daily Fresh Carve, a different roasted hunk of meat (turkey breast, meatloaf, ham, pork and roast beef) each day that is sliced and served hot and fresh. Soups are $2.25-$3 and salads are $3.50-$4.25 (for a regular). There are also beverages up the wazoo, including bottled beer. The Carve and Salad special ($5.35) came as a generous and delicious 1/3-pound pile of freshly sliced roast pork along with a choice of salad -- in this case, the spinach -- and a roll. The outstanding spinach salad (with bacon bits, mushrooms, mozzarella and zesty sweet and sour dressing) was complex in both taste and texture. 510 W. Riverside, Skywalk level. Call 747-8250. (MC)





Twigs Bistro -- Twigs offers food and atmosphere that manages to transcend commonly held food court dining conceptions. The lunch menu of the day offers an array of intriguing and competitively priced choices, including sandwiches and wraps ($5-$6), soups, salads, topped baked potatoes, combos and a section called "hot off the grill" where you choose among seven options (battered fish, cheeseburger deluxe, crispy chicken sandwich, ham and Swiss melt, etc.) and get fries and a 16 oz. soda in the deal for $5.95. The Chicken Caesar Wrap with chips ($5.50) was a winning mixture of tender chicken, romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes and artichoke hearts with tangy Caesar dressing in a basil flour tortilla. Delicious and surprisingly filling. 808 W. Main Ave. in River Park Square. Call 232-3376. (MC)





Lenny's -- Lenny's is not fancy -- in fact, in a former life it was a drive-in burger joint-- and the tiny dining room makes for tight quarters. Service is brisk, the menu is vast and dinner entrees include your choice of soup or salad. (The homemade minestrone is a real treat.) The requisite spaghetti with meatballs or Italian sausage ($10.50) is here along with more interesting fare such as the chicken ziti primavera ($12.50) and the Halibut Lenny ($16) stuffed with shrimp, crab, mussels, and clams. The zesty pollo arabiata ($12.50) had spaghetti tossed with sliced chicken breast, prosciutto, fresh Italian parsley, artichoke hearts and lots of freshly sliced mushrooms. The shrimp scampi pesto ($14) featured saut & eacute;ed shrimp, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic and Parmesan in a very bland light cream sauce. 1204 First St., Cheney. Call:235-6126. (LM)





The Old Spaghetti Factory -- The Factory has been serving up steaming plates of pasta for 34 years to everyone -- older couples, teenagers dressed up for formal dances, families, and entire teams in matching jerseys. Entrees include the freshly baked bread, soup or salad, vanilla or spumoni ice cream, and coffee or tea. The most expensive thing on the menu is $9.95. The minestrone soup is zesty and filled with legumes, pasta and crisp celery. The Baked Chicken Greek-Style ($9.50) had a nice lemony flavor accented by just the right amount of potentially overpowering oregano. But this place is really built around spaghetti. There are five "treatments" -- meat sauce, white clam sauce, tomato sauce, mushroom sauce and browned butter and mizithra cheese ($6.50 to $7.95). Try two or three sauces for $8.25, or add meatballs or sausage to spaghetti and meat sauce for $8.50. Call 624-8916. (LM)





Capsules are written by Lauren McAllister (LM), Mike Corrigan (MC), Sheri Boggs (SB) or Marty Demarest (MD), unless otherwise noted.





Publication date: 08/05/04

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