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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. The staff accommodated Marty's hideously pretentious breakfast needs, which included granola and yogurt ($6), a side of French toast ($5), coffee, bottled water at room temperature and a pomegranate mimosa ($5). 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 -- gave the simple flavors room to breathe without drowning them. 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)





DING HOW


The former Moxie space in Liberty Lake's shopping plaza has been transformed into a casually eclectic room that tips a hat toward the diversity of East Asian cultures, and the menu follows suit with Chinese, Thai, Korean and Japanese selections. Owner Bin Liu works in full view behind the sushi bar and glass-front display case filled with brightly colored chunks of fish; his freshly made sushi and sashimi offerings are works of art that taste as good as they look. The Ma Po Tofu is Chinese comfort food -- soft bean curd and garlicky ground beef in a rich spicy brown sauce. The Pad Thai is clean, light and colorful; the optional deep-fried tofu came crunchy and golden outside and pillowy white within. Service is briskly efficient, with new dishes delivered as soon as they're ready from the kitchen. 1332 N. Liberty Lake Rd., Liberty Lake, Wash., 921-1901 (AC)





WILD SAGE


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. Try the velvety-smooth handmade potato dumplings. 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)





TITO MACARONI'S


At Tito's, they make the whole family welcome. We loved halibut di Parma -- a halibut filet wrapped in prosciutto and baked. The accompanying artichoke heart and herb risotto was rich and delicious. And the amaretto cherry creme brulee ($5) was a delight -- even though I'm normally against any additions, enhancements or even garnishes to my creme brulee. The kids liked the fact that at Tito's the tablecloths are paper and there are plenty of crayons for playing Hangman and drawing pictures of superheroes -- and the ice cream sundaes that came with their $4 meals. In the Coeur d'Alene Plaza on Sherman Avenue, (208) 66-PASTA (LM)

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