by Inlander Staff & r & Thai Bamboo -- If you're looking for an escape, there's hardly a better option than a foray to one of Thai Bamboo's three Spokane locations. The menu is enormous, with some items helpfully labeled "popular Thai dish." The Thai Bamboo style fried rice ($10) was easily the best fried rice I've had in Spokane, with big chunks of tender pork, crisp cabbage and other vegetables all fried up with jasmine rice. Swimming rama ($9) is a mysteriously named dish that is really quite simple and delicious. Sauteed chicken is served on a bed of fresh spinach and topped with a rich peanut sauce. Thai Bamboo uses high-quality fresh ingredients and keeps prices reasonable. Call: 232-THAI (South), 444-THAI (Valley) or 777-THAI (North). (Reviewed 9/15/05, LM)
Latah Bistro -- Just south of town along Hwy 95 is where you'll find the Latah Bistro, a new neighborhood restaurant located in a strip mall across from a Tidyman's. The interior is surprisingly comfortable and chic. And the appetizers, salads, pizzas and pastas are anything but ordinary. The entrees include salmon and a pork tenderloin grilled brochettes over lemon-oregano risotto, feta cheese and spinach ($19). The pan-roasted duck breast with roasted cabbage, mashed potatoes and pomegranate puree ($21) was delightful. 4241 S. Cheney-Spokane Road Call: 838-8338. (Reviewed 4/28/05, LM)
The MAC Caf & eacute; -- This quiet lunch spot is 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)
Empyrean Coffee Shop and Caf & eacute; -- Featuring Shop coffee, Fery's food and Sweetwater breads Empyrean (in the old Luminaria space) serves quick foods and beverages in a sophisticated yet warm and inviting atmosphere. The sandwiches are $5.50, salads, $3.95. There are mini pizza bagels (with pepperoni, sausage or veggie) for $2.50 and a selection of amazing-looking desserts. The sausage-and-cheese-stuffed bagel pocket was heated panini-style and served with Fery's famous chicken and spinach pasta salad. 154 S. Madison St. Call: 456-3676 (Reviewed 6/23/05, MC)
El Gallo Giro -- El Gallo Giro is fast food in the only way you want food to be fast -- that is, rapidly prepared. You sacrifice nothing in terms of quality or authenticity. Lots of choices and cheerful service, too. The Gallo Giro tacos (in a rice and beans combo for $6.50) are terrific: tender seasoned meat (your choice) in delicate white corn tortillas with a squirt of lime and a drizzle of freshly made hot sauce. The carne asada burrito ($4.50) is big, dusted with cheese and bathed in a rich red enchilada sauce. 305 S. Thor St. 535-0142 (Reviewed 4/21/05, MC)
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.