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The Inlander Staff & r & & r & CHING HUA GARDEN & r & & r & 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 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 chow mein aficionados at the table loved the pork chow mein: celery, bean sprouts and onions in lightly thickened sauce and topped with a sprinkling of finely minced barbecue pork, served over crispy noodles. 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, 926-8422 (AC)





WADDELL'S


Despite troubles during our first visit, Waddell's came through the second time around. There are 20 taps here, and about 50 more beers in bottles behind the bars. A Waddell's specialty is the wood wrap: either steak or chicken. The meat is spiced and marinated while nearly paper-thin pieces of wood (hickory for the former, cherry for the latter) are soaked in water. The meat is then cooked inside the wood, making it moist and chewy and permeated with wood smoke. Very impressive. We also had the Irish nachos -- potato skins filled with cheese, sour cream and bacon bits. They were good at the table and even better out of the fridge the next day. And we tried the "That's a Tasty Burger" -- one-third of a pound of beef sandwiched with jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and a hell of a lot of that mysterious Squirrelly Beaver seasoning. The flavor was explosive. The taste lingered and grew. For dessert, we had a very nice chocolate mousse cake with whipped cream and a raspberry sauce. 4318 S. Regal St., 443-6500 (JS)





CHURCHILL'S


Churchill's aims to do one thing: provide you with the best beef you've ever tasted. And these are some seriously pampered cuts of meat. The restaurant's interior harks back a century, with a pianist at the shiny baby grand under an enormous crystal chandelier. Servers whisk about in tuxedoes with brocade vests, promoting the notion that dining out is serious and elegant business. Plates come with snap peas and garlic mashed potatoes, but you can upgrade with additional sides for $7 each. The butter lettuce salad ($7) was pretty, with the leaves left whole, forming a bowl with shredded beets, candied walnuts and goat cheese. Desserts -- like the four-layer carrot cake and the decadent and buttery four-layer coconut cake ($7 each) -- are made by Irena Alles, wife of the owner. Service was exceptionally knowledgeable and efficient. 165 S. Post St., 74-PRIME (747-7463) (LM)





ANGELO'S RISTORANTE


The dim interior at Angelo's is decked in nostalgic Italiana and religious iconography, and the menu features handcrafted foods, mostly organic. The chicken milano alla griglia ($21) was beautifully plated, topped with capers and diced tomato, and accompanied by fresh green beans and a little fried mashed potato cake. The flavor sparkled in my companion's lobster ravioli ($21) -- al dente pasta pillows stuffed with lobster. Our young companion shared his zesty spaghetti with meatball ($8 for a kid portion -- but it would have been nice to include a drink or little dessert for the price). Cr & egrave;me br & ucirc;l & eacute;e and tiramisu, made on the premises, were both rich and creamy and not too sweet. 846 N. 4th St., Coeur d'Alene, (208) 765-2850 (LM)

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