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by Inlander Staff & r & & r & KALICO KITCHEN


Working folks chow down early at this homey and welcoming north-side breakfast eatery; later come the retirees and bleary-eyed college students. Service is attentive and the extensive breakfast menu has choices from egg combos to waffles to omelets, along with a few house specialties -- scrambles, breakfast burritos and even eggs benedict. The "Vegi & amp; Cheese" omelet ($7) was like an edible art project, with examples of some of its components (tomato, green pepper, onion, black olive, mushroom and yellow cheese) on top; the olive made the dish. The French toast side order, sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with maple syrup, was delish. Eggs come cooked as requested, and the bacon is thin, nicely balanced between soft and crisp. Waffles don't meet the crispy ideal, but the flavor is good and not super-sweet -- just right for soaking up a light touch of syrup. The orange juice was fresh, pulpy and especially good. 2931 N. Division, 326-7144 (AC)





SOULFUL SOUPS


This cozy downtown eatery has it all -- comforting soups, salad bar, sandwiches and beverages ensconced in an historic building with a contemporary interior. Owner Makayla Hamilton offers up to six soups daily. The potato chowder is a riot of flavor, with sweet potato and Indian spices in a creamy base. 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. 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)





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)





STEELHEAD BAR & amp; GRILLE


It's one of the oldest buildings in downtown Spokane, the old Coeur d'Alene Hotel, and the interior design takes full advantage: exposed brick, a huge crumpled metal sculpture, and a wrought iron spiral staircase and catwalk that hark back to the saloons of the Old West. We began with the smoked steelhead ($8) with green onions, cream cheese and crostini -- great presentation. The chopped salad ($8) -- salami, chicken, tomatoes and baby mozzarella tossed in a creamy vinaigrette with Romaine -- was delicious but filling, and the three halibut tacos ($9) were mild, satisfying and refreshingly light. The thick-cut pub steak ($13) was grilled and topped with bleu cheese butter, and served with saut & eacute;ed crisp and colorful veggies and a big mound of irresistible shoestring fries. Desserts are from Bittersweet Bakery. 218 N. Howard St., 747-1303 (LM)

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