The Inlander Staff & r & & r & BARDENAY & r & & r & Visiting on a snowy night, we opted for comfort: moist, fragrant and meaty "Wild Turkey Bourbon" pork loin chops served with deliciously sweet and smoky cider-glazed apples and onions, garlic mashed potatoes and chef's vegetables ($13). Other interesting entr & eacute;es included rum pepper steak (the rum and gin are distilled on site, while the vodka is made at Bardenay's restaurant in Eagle, Idaho) served with green peppercorn demi-glace and topped with Roquefort cheese ($23), and Hagerman trout fillet grilled with capers in balsamic reduction ($12). Our Bardenay Club sandwich ($8.50) was three inches of house-roasted turkey breast, ham and thick, peppery bacon with fresh lettuce on toasted, cracked-wheat sourdough ($8.50), and apricot-walnut couscous on the side. Bardenay takes its beverage service seriously -- I settled on a Lavender martini ($6.25), made with Hpnotiq vodka-liqueur, peach schnapps, cranberry juice and Zardetto Prosecco sparkling wine. It did indeed have a faint floral smell, promising spring against the backdrop of falling snow outside. 1710 Riverstone Dr., Coeur d'Alene, (208) 765-1540 (CS)
ARTISAN CULINARY LOUNGE
Just when you think you've seen it all, you go to a restaurant with a big bed front and center. Several items on the expansive menu were tasty but overly enthusiastic, with flavors competing for attention. The wild mushroom bruschetta ($9) with tomatoes, baby spinach, Fontina cheese, basil and white truffle oil was a crowd favorite, though, with lots of cheese and goodies loaded on crisp, thin slices of bread. The seared sea scallops, served on a flavorful cassoulet of sausage, lentils and beans, was a strange combination that seemed to work, with the sweet scallops playing nicely off the earthy salty taste of the legumes. Desserts are made on the premises, and we sampled the rich and creamy Kahlua mousse cake with a crushed chocolate cookie crust. 515 W. Sprague, 747-6272 (LM)
WOLF LODGE STEAKHOUSE
Some of the steakiest steaks around 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, home-style accompaniments are absolutely pleasing. The chocolate cake is legendary, and you'll have plenty of chances to check it out as waitresses in skimpy cowgirl garb deliver slices to the packed crowd of locals and Interstaters. 11741 E. Frontage Rd., Coeur d'Alene (I-90, exit 22), (208) 664-6665 (MD)
This subterranean Sandpoint restaurant and wine bar exudes ambience with amber-colored walls, warm wood seating, and Bill Reid on the piano playing "As Time Goes By." Owners John and Darcy Peters have labored with love since last summer's opening, and past visits have yielded terrific meals like the charcuterie plate of bread, meat, both hard and soft cheeses, and olives ($18), a perfect complement to a full-bodied red, and reasonably priced to share among friends. The braised pork shank with huckleberry sauce ($24) also was mouth-watering, tender and bright with flavor, and I've had a handmade ravioli in sage and beef sauce that melted in my mouth ($18). Our maltagliati pasta ($21) -- it means badly cut and implies an assortment of shapes and sizes -- had that telltale homemade-pasta softness, light and moist, topped with a subtly smoky mixed seafood ragout of salmon, mahi mahi, a meager helping of shrimp, and rockfish. Sadly, the buffalo staccetti ($32) was disappointing, but we've had enough good experiences that we'll return. 202-1/2 N. First St., Sandpoint, Idaho, (208) 265-0230 (CS)
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.