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by Inlander Staff & r & & r & THE SAFARI ROOM

The faux-stone walls and Palladian windows of the Davenport Tower evoke a sense of utilitarian formality while the safari theme offers an understated, whimsical counterpoint. If you love barbecue, the Safari Room claims one of the few smokers in our region, with a choice of baby back ribs or pulled pork, either as an entr & eacute;e or an appetizer. We tried the crispy flatbread, roasted in the Safari Room's brick oven, topped with peppery arugula, thinly sliced pears, a sprinkling of mild bleu cheese and drizzled with honey ($8). Our spinach salad with bacon, onions, oranges and strawberries in balsamic vinaigrette was a colorful delight. My halibut ($20) entr & eacute;e came roasted and served with fresh green beans, fingerling potatoes and cherry tomatoes; the special, arugula pesto tossed with penne pasta, shrimp and artichoke hearts ($14), was a nice, light entr & eacute;e. The $2 desserts are a lot of fun; you can mix and match "miniature servings." Service was both knowledgeable and gracious -- exactly what you'd expect at the Davenport. 111 S. Post St., 789-6800 (LM)


The minimalist vibe at Twigs is soothing, earthy and pleasingly inviting. The blue steak sandwich ($12), a little steak grilled medium and served on a bun with tomato, lettuce, lemon-garlic aioli and melted Cambozola, made a bold statement at first, but it was overwhelmingly rich. Pesto-crusted chicken ($17) was a pretty platter indeed, with a bright, fresh taste, and the Under the Sun pizza ($13) contained nearly every meat under the sun: Italian sausage, smoked bacon, roasted chicken, prosciutto and pepperoni. The sticky cookie ($6) -- a hot chocolate chip cookie with three scoops of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream -- is a simple dessert that makes you happy. At Twigs, the unexpected taste combinations are often quite successful -- and lots of fun. 4320 S. Regal St., 443-8000; River Park Square, 232-3376; 9820 N. Nevada St., 465-8794 (LM)

Caf & eacute; Marron

The sunny tangerine-hued north wall marks this casual-yet-upscale neighborhood gathering place as a daily source for morning meals that you'd expect to find at an indulgent weekend brunch. The presentation here lifts the most prosaic breakfast classics above the ordinary, and you can find surprises like salad and sandwiches for breakfast. Doug's French toast ($8) came pinwheeled, dotted with granola and apple, and topped with apple-cinnamon sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. My avocado sandwich ($9), with two poached eggs shimmying atop slices of avocado, bacon and tomato, all on Bouzies toast, gave me vegetables along with salty earthiness. Luke's Coeur d'Alene Park scramble ($10) -- eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, peppers and mushrooms topped with a smattering of sausage gravy -- allowed the simple flavors room to breathe. Marron's weekday morning menu defies the egg-meat-starch stranglehold on what constitutes breakfast, and does it with style. 144 S. Cannon St., 456-8660 (AC)


The Breaking Bread appetizer -- a large platter with a variety of house-made breads and crackers, plus toppings that include caviar with sour cream, hummus and cheeses -- sets the mood for an intimate yet sociable evening. The signature rack of lamb, architecturally presented, is a highlight: The sweet-tart red pepper glaze balances the lamb's earthiness; the accompanying savory cornbread casserole lends a crunchy and crumbly contrast. Great care goes into each presentation -- fresh herbs on each plate -- and distinct aromas come through from each dish. Eating involves all of the senses, and we were fully engaged by our experience at Wild Sage. 916 W. Second Ave., 456-7575 (AC)

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