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The Inlander Staff & r & & r & BISTRO ON SPRUCE & r & & r & The warm atmosphere of the Bistro took the chill off a cool spring weeknight, as did the glass of excellent Mark West Pinot Noir. An assortment of appetizers is always a good sign and we began with the Ahi-Cado, a large plate of sesame seed-seared ahi tuna with ripe avocado, wasabi aioli and pickled ginger ($9). I've had the grilled steelhead ($15) on a previous trip, so this time we chose the New Zealand lamb chops ($19). Three juicy little chops -- perfectly seared outside with a faintly warm center -- came topped with a tangy cracked-pepper mustard sauce. The sauce had plenty of bite, although the lamb was wonderfully tender and well-seasoned even without it. The roasted baby red potatoes were soft inside, lightly crispy outside and boasted a nice fragrance of rosemary. The green beans were mostly fresh, and abundant. Service was solid. The availability of a lunch menu with goodies like the pulled-pork Cuban sandwich, Mediterranean salad, and grilled portabella with cambozola cheese are compelling reasons to return. With an emphasis on consistency, the Bistro on Spruce should continue to gain in popularity as a favorite midtown dining experience. 1710 N. Fourth St., Coeur d'Alene, (208) 664-1774 (CS)





MOJO


Mojo appeals with its innovative format, comfort-oriented foods and gourmet-inspired flavors at less-than-gourmet prices. At the greeting station, choose from standard selections or create your own meal (salad, sandwich or entr & eacute;e) from a menu described as "gourmet fast casual." The salmon salad ($10/half, $13/whole) was a bouquet of flavors ranging from super-fresh greens, delicately poached salmon, roasted butternut squash, spicy pecans, tangy bleu cheese and sweet Craisins. The half-portion was generous. The cheesy chicken apple sandwich ($8/half, $11/whole), served on fresh sourdough (baked in-house), was a perfect blend of tangy, crispy, savory and sweet: moist grilled chicken, applewood-smoked bacon, creamy havarti cheese, crisp Red Delicious apple slices, and a topper of caramelized onions, a few greens and honey-mustard spread. Our food arrived quickly and beautifully prepared, and servers (including Chef Charlie) buzzed in and out of the dining room often. 328 N. Sullivan Rd., Spokane Valley, 893-8900 (CS)





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, not too soft, not too crisp. Waffles have good flavor, not super-sweet -- just right for soaking up a light touch of syrup. 2931 N. Division, 326-7144 (AC)





SOULFUL SOUPS


This cozy downtown eatery has it all -- comforting soups, salad bar, sandwiches and beverages in an historic building with a contemporary interior. Owner Makayla Hamilton offers up to six soups daily, and don't pass up the tasty house-made beer bread. Chicken noodle, split pea, clam chowder and cheesy broccoli are comforting favorites, while taco, pizza, Italian sausage tortellini, cioppino, mulligatawny and Brazilian black bean offer international flavor. 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)

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