The Inlander Staff & r & & r & THE WINE CELLAR & r & & r & Under new ownership, the restaurant has added sidewalk dining with a Spanish flair; downstairs the menu emphasizes Italy with pan-European accents, including paella. The three-course Italia menu includes a first course of pasta (linguine with a red or garlic sauce or gnocchi), an entr & eacute;e, and choice of salad, apple slices and cheese, or dessert -- your choice from the tray overladen with in-house delights including Italian spice cake with coconut and cream topping, cr & egrave;me brul & eacute;e, two kinds of cheesecake and the decadent cocoa cake. The availability of great wines by the glass for $6 to $10, or even smaller bottles (375 ml) for less than $20, means a good meal at a very affordable price. (CS)
CHING HUA GARDEN
Family-style is the way to go at this Asian haven behind the red-barn fa & ccedil;ade. We began with pan-fried wontons, small stuffed dumplings, lightly browned and served with a small cabbage-carrot salad and a deliciously piquant sauce that balanced a vinegary bite with sesame oil, garlic and green onions. The surprise hit of the night was the vegetables with fried tofu -- big chunky triangles of deep-fried tofu teamed with vibrant stir-fried carrots, celery, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, onion, baby corn, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and thin slices of garlic in a brown sauce that was rich in flavor but not overwhelming, letting the vegetables shine. This dish won over even a tofu skeptic. The contrasting textures and blended flavors of the Garden lo mein are a delight. The liberal use of garlic -- never bitter, never burned -- enhanced everything we tried, and presentation was beautiful. Everything tasted very fresh and clean -- and Ching Hua uses no MSG. 18203 E. Appleway Ave., Greenacres, Wash., 926-8422 (AC)
The d & eacute;cor at Olive Oilz doesn't scream Italian -- it's more Americana -- but the menu is all Mediterranean, from Spanish paella ($25) to several pasta dishes and a dozen enticing antipasti (appetizers). The soups at Olive Oilz are outstanding -- the creamy tomato vegetable soup with Gorgonzola and the rich creamy curried lentil alone are worth a visit. Among entr & eacute;es, the New York strip steak with wild-mushroom Gorgonzola sauce ($22) was almost melt-in-your-mouth tender. The pasta with large prawns ($18) -- angel hair pasta in a tomato-saffron sauce with Italian sausage and prawns -- was amazing and popular. Two breads, baked in-house, accompanied the meal. We finished with a hopped-up, piece-of-pie-shaped brownie ($6.50) -- moist, with a crumbly top layer, drizzled chocolate frosting and chocolate shavings. From bread to dessert, Olive Oilz is friendly, cozy and comfortable. 2812 E. 30th Ave., 535-3104 (DN)
Madeleine's is somehow light and airy and cozy simultaneously, with periwinkle walls, sun-gold trim and massive picture windows that look out on a busy street corner. The superbly balanced Doma espresso never misses a beat -- shots are pulled perfectly and the drinks are affordable. For lunch, the salad trio plate ($9) -- your choice of any three salads from the large case -- is not to be missed. The quiches ($5) rotate ingredients but are always blessed with a perfectly crisp and buttery crust. At dinner (served Thursday-Saturday), the appetizers and entr & eacute;es are basically French comfort food, and it's all affordable luxury. The Coq au Vin Blanc ($15) featured perfectly deboned chicken on a luscious mound of mashed potatoes with a gravy-like wine sauce that held up well against the rustic mashed potatoes. Each entr & eacute;e came with a proper little side salad of organic garden greens, lightly dressed. Desserts and baked goods are unrivaled in their freshness. Standouts include the moist carrot cake, the buttery chocolate croissant and the tiny, not-super-sweet espresso cookies. With food like this, who needs Paris? 707 W. Main Ave., 624-2253 (SN)
Stilos is an architectural dream. Expect no pseudo-multinational fusion foods here -- just good upscale surf-and-turf, expertly presented and served with panache under the direction of Chef Patrick Fechser. The sesame ginger tuna appetizer ($11) -- ahi tuna seared with sesame seeds and served with bok choy, peppers and sesame ginger cream over a mound of sticky rice -- is fragrant and abundantly proportioned, with a spicy peanut sauce that had just enough bite. Our server recommended the Gorgonzola salad -- hearty, with a crunchy-creamy texture accomplished with maple pecans, tomato, cucumber, red onion and a Gorgonzola vinaigrette. The Steak Oscar ($22) tops medallions of beef with a sizeable chunk of Dungeness crab, and comes with sweet roasted julienne vegetables over a garlicky mound of mashed potatoes smothered in b & eacute;arnaise sauce. In addition to numerous martinis, Stilos has a healthy wine list as well as a selection of ports, both domestic and imported beer, and a full bar. Stilos is a lovely place for a special occasion when you're looking to dine out with style. 1400 N. Meadowwood Lane, Liberty Lake, Wash., 891-9192. (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.