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The Inlander Staff & r & & r & MOJO & r & & r & 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." Our wild sockeye 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 Indian pulled turkey sandwich ($7/half, $10/whole) was disappointing, with flavors and textures that didn't work well together, but the cheesy chicken apple sandwich ($8/half, $11/whole) made up for it. Served on fresh sourdough (baked in-house), it 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 onion, a few greens and honey-mustard spread. Our food arrived quickly and beautifully prepared, and servers (including Chef Charlie) buzz in and out of the dining room often. 328 N. Sullivan Rd., Spokane Valley, 893-8900 (CS)





VILLAGGIO


The upscale ambience at Villaggio (Italian for village) highlights the pizzas from the brick wood-fired oven, like the Vegetariano ($15) -- a 12-inch, irregularly shaped platform for a thin layer of tomato sauce and a gardeners' feast of caramelized onions, mushrooms, roasted eggplant, peppers, artichoke, and millimeter-thin slices of zucchini. Caramelized onions also add a layer of texture and flavor to the Insalata Villaggio ($10), with arugula, pear slivers, walnuts, gorgonzola and fig balsamic vinaigrette. The wonderfully rich tiramisu ($7), with layers of creamy filling, coffee-saturated cake and melted chocolate, was a lovely ending to a nice meal. If you judge pizza by the inches per dollar, Villaggio might disappoint, but if your judgment is based more on quality than quantity, you'll find a nice experience. 2013 E. 29th Ave., 532-0327 (DN)





THE BEACON


The Beacon's potato hummus and grilled pita ($5) is a European twist on the original and is dense with garlic and a lemony bite, and the lightly crispy jalape & ntilde;o-cream cheese wontons had just the right amount of pepper heat ($7.50). Eight draft beers and 22 bottled choices gave a casual beer consumer like me plenty of options, along with a smattering of red and white wines ($5-$10) by the glass. 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. Service was excellent and the ambience equally pleasant, making the Beacon a hip locale for tasty pub grub that's reasonably priced. 325 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene, (208) 665-7407 (CS)





THE OVAL OFFICE


The chic little sister of the ultra-popular White House Grill occupies the little white house that the Grill outgrew a few years back. The compact bar area only seats a few people at the counter, but it's sufficient for shaking up a host of concoctions, such as the most popular martini, the "Dirty Monica." The grapes and cheese platter ($7.50) offered nice contrasts in texture and flavor. The house salads, included with our entr & eacute;es, were terrific and generously topped with feta, dried cranberries and walnuts. Among entr & eacute;es, the mango swordfish ($23) stood out -- the fish was moist and tasty, and the salsa fresh and spicy. Owner/chef Raci Erdem pays tribute to his tutelage at the Spokane Club with the Will Barron Steak ($24), recreating the yummy pepper sauce. 620 N. Spokane St., Post Falls, Idaho, (208) 777-2102 (LM)

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