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by Inlander Staff & r & & r & P.F. CHANG'S CHINA BISTRO


The signature Chang's chicken in soothing lettuce wraps ($8) appetizer gave us hearty coarsely chopped chicken, water chestnuts, onions and mushrooms in a pleasantly sweet, dark sauce, wrapped in cool, crunchy iceberg lettuce, a perfect complement. The Cantonese roasted duck ($15) -- half a duck flavored with five-spice and served with steamed wheat buns, cucumbers, scallions, plum and hoisin sauces -- had just a bit of somewhat crisp skin left on; it could have been a little more moist, but the flavor was delightful. The Singapore street noodles ($9), al dente rice noodles with shrimp and chicken in a curry sauce, had a welcome spiciness and a fresh, airy quality. We left stuffed, loaded with boxes of leftovers, and impressed enough by our meal, the friendly service and clean, chic atmosphere to look forward to returning. 801 W. Main Ave., 456-2166 (LM)





SOULFUL SOUPS


This cozy downtown eatery has comforting soups, a salad bar, sandwiches and beverages ensconced in a historic building with a contemporary interior. The potato chowder is a riot of flavor -- with sweet potato and Indian spices in a creamy base. Don't pass up the tasty house-made beer bread. Owner Makayla Hamilton offers up to six soups daily. Chicken noodle, split pea, clam chowder and cheesy broccoli are comforting favorites. Taco, pizza, Italian sausage tortellini, cioppino, mulligatawny and Brazilian black bean offer international flair. Shrimp bisque, smoked salmon chowder, meatball goulash and cheesy potato asparagus are different takes on more familiar soups. Service is cafeteria-style, quick and efficient. But get there early for a soulful bowlful -- often the restaurant runs out of soup before closing at 3 pm. 117 N. Howard St., 459-1190. (SH)





Nosworthy's


The glossy laminated menu warns, "VERY, VERY LARGE PORTIONS!" above the breakfast listings, and it's truth in advertising. The Breakfast Special ($5.45), one of the smaller combos -- two pancakes, two slices of bacon and two eggs -- sounds manageable, but these cakes are the size of hubcaps, and they're made with a rich eggy batter. All of the omelets begin with three eggs -- except the Logger Four-Egg. The Blitz omelet ($8.75) fills those three eggs with German sausage, mushrooms, tomato and "Swiss" cheese, all topped with avocado and sour cream. This exact omelet with actual Swiss -- or lacking cheese at all -- would have been damn near perfect. Nosworthy's doesn't take plastic, so be prepared to pay cash for all that food. 4045 N. Government Way, Coeur d'Alene, (208) 664-6161 (AC)





THE OVAL OFFICE


The chic little sister of the ultra-popular White House Grill occupies the little white house that the Grill outgrew a few years back. The compact bar area only seats a few people at the counter, but it's sufficient for shaking up a host of concoctions, such as the most popular martini, the "Dirty Monica." The grapes and cheese platter ($7.50) offered nice contrasts in texture and flavor, although the presentation wasn't impressive; and the petite gorgonzola lamb burgers with a marinated red cabbage relish ($7.50) called out for a contrasting texture. The house salads, included with our entr & eacute;es, were terrific and generously topped with feta, dried cranberries and walnuts. Among entr & eacute;es, the mango swordfish ($23) stood out -- the fish was moist and tasty, and the salsa was fresh and quite spicy. Owner/chef Raci Erdem pays tribute to his tutelage at the Spokane Club with the Will Barron Steak ($24), recreating the yummy pepper sauce. 620 N. Spokane St., Post Falls, Idaho, (208) 777-2102 (LM)

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