Some of the steakiest steaks in the Inland Northwest can be found a short drive east of Coeur d'Alene along I-90. Rubbed in seasoning, cooked over an open fire and delivered with a genuine attention to doneness, these thick slabs of beef are offered in enough combinations of cuts to meet any challenging appetite ($19 for a top sirloin to $56 for the steak and lobster). Freshly made, homestyle accompaniments are absolutely pleasing. The steak fries are made from whole split potatoes. Appetizers are mostly standard pub food -- except for the Rocky Mountain oysters. 11741 E. Frontage Rd., Coeur d'Alene (I-90, exit 22), (208) 664-6665 (MD)
The potato hummus and grilled pita ($5) is a European twist on the original and is dense with garlic and a lemony bite. We contemplated healthy choices, like the Sunshine Salad: shredded romaine, cotija cheese, fried plantains (OK, mostly healthy), spiced almonds, avocado and mango vinaigrette ($5), but we opted for the lightly crispy jalape & ntilde;o-cream cheese wontons with just the right amount of pepper heat ($7.50). Eight draft beers, from Guinness to Bud Light to local Laughing Dog, and 22 bottled choices gave a casual beer consumer like me plenty of options. A few red and white wines ($5-$10) by the glass were also available. The moist and flaky beer-battered fish and chips is easily the most affordable in North Idaho -- $8 for three and a half large chunks of fish -- and the tartar was sweet and bold with a hint of capers. And peering through the Beacon's floor-to-ceiling windows onto Sherman Ave. is like watching television with the sound turned down. 325 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene, (208) 665-7407 (CS)
Anthony's Midtown Bistro
Coeur d'Alene's hot spot for tapas has selections reminiscent of Barcelona: vegetables, like saut & eacute;ed mushrooms; seafood, such as grilled prawns; and meat, including beef tenderloin. Anthony's tapas are elegantly arranged on a bed of mild chili citrus rice. Our coconut prawns ($10) were plump, lightly fried and accompanied by a vinegary-tart minted, fire-onion relish. The pan-fried oysters ($6) were topped with crispy pancetta for a hint of smoke and pepper; the seared salmon steak ($8) was melt-in-your-mouth fresh but the jalape & ntilde;o guacamole topping was overpowering. The lamb chops ($3) alone were worth the trip: coated in stone-ground mustard and crushed pistachio and cooked medium-rare, these chops -- the chef calls them "Lambsicles" -- are succulent. And there's always cheesecake served New York style -- firm, creamy, a hint of lemon -- with cr & egrave;me en glaise and raspberry puree. 315 E. Walnut Ave., Coeur d'Alene, (208) 765-7723 (CS)
The Breaking Bread appetizer -- a large platter with a variety of breads and crackers made in-house, 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)
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.