Crickets Deli -- Crickets Deli is a lunchtime gem with its colorful atmosphere, center-of-town locale and diverse choices. Owners Sam and Karen Yi provide a menu with an excess of 15 salads and sandwiches - all with witty titles. The Frenchy croissant ($6.25), the Love Song club ($6.75) and the Alfred E. Newman Club ($6.75) are just a few. The Chicken Teriyaki Bento (the house special) is a sure bet with sweet, tender meat over a bed of perfect white rice, and a side salad - all for $6. The Primo Pasta salad is a simple but perfect side dish. The Cary Grant's Judy sandwich is savory, salty and tangy all at once ($6.75), and comes with a pile of chips. (Reviewed 10/21/04, LS/MC) 601 W. Riverside Ave. in the Bank of America Financial Center. Call 456-7346.
Bonsai Bistro -- The Bonsai Bistro (housed in a renovated concrete building just across the street from the Coeur d'Alene resort) is a fun restaurant with a cool concept and pan-Asian foods that range from mild and comfortable to fiery and stylish. The interior is understated, with warm earth tones complementing the chic lighting. The ginger chicken and broccoli ($12) is lovely, with the bright green steamed broccoli ringing the plate around a mound of tender chicken in a delicate and flavorful ginger sauce. The crispy beef Szechuan ($13) is hot and tingly, with lots of julienne carrots and celery, green onions and bean sprouts in a spicy sweet and sour soy sauce. Service by the helpful staff is excellent. 101 Sherman Ave., CdA Call: (208) 765-4321 (Reviewed 9/30/04, LM)
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)
Northern Lights -- The Northern Lights brewpub's d & eacute;cor is spacious, inviting and enhanced by low lighting, rich greens and burgundies and recycled bowling alley butcher-block tables. The menu offers traditional pub grub with a sophisticated spin and some of the cleanest-tasting microbrewed beer in the Northwest brewed right on-site. Our server was very pleasant and attentive throughout our meal and was happy to describe each lunch special to us before we ordered. The Andouille sausage and mushroom fettuccini ($9.95) was excellent and festive with lean, flavorful sausage slices in a creamy sauce that was rich but not overdone, while the Hellfire Burger ($7.95) featured a full 1/3-pound lean Angus beef patty with provolone cheese, caramelized onions, fresh red onions, tomato and lettuce on an onion bun. It was substantial and very, very spicy. 1003 E. Trent Ave. Call 242-2739. (MC)