The Inlander Staff & r & & r & MADELEINE'S & r & & r & 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) entr & eacute;e 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. Desserts and baked goods are unrivaled -- try the moist carrot cake, the buttery chocolate croissant and the tiny, not-super-sweet espresso cookies. Madeleine's really delivers that laid-back caf & eacute; experience. With food like this, who needs Paris? 707 W. Main Ave., 624-2253 (SN)
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. All the beef at Churchill's is seared in an 1,800-degree broiler to seal in juices and lock in flavor. 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 the owner's wife. Now open at lunchtime, too. 165 S. Post St., 74-PRIME (747-7463) (LM)
THE VIKING TAVERN
Whether you want classic breakfast or something from the lunch menu, the Viking aims to please with its new Saturday morning breakfast lineup. The breakfast menu consists of four items -- meat (bacon or sausage) and eggs, a breakfast sandwich, a breakfast burrito or an omelet, priced at $4 with additional ingredients available for $1 each. It's basic, it's breakfast, and it's at a bar -- and sometimes that's all you really need. But you can also order off the regular lunch menu, greatly expanding the available offerings. The sandwiches are big and just as good at breakfast as at lunch. 1221 N. Stevens St., 326-2942 (AC)
HILLS' RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE
The same neighborly pub attitude and atmosphere that made Hills' first restaurant a local classic has been transported to a new, airier home across from Auntie's Books. Hills' still serves some of Spokane's most satisfying salads, including the succulent Southern Fried Chicken Salad ($9) with chunks of crunchy-breaded bird enlivened by a zingy mustard dressing. Serving Brandt True Natural Beef, Hills' offers diners a choice of six different steak cuts ($10-$25) and 14 freshly made sauces ($1.50-$6) ranging from bistro (Gorgonzola) to cuisine (B & eacute;arnaise). The Scotch egg ($3.75) -- hard-boiled, wrapped in sausage and breaded -- is a crisp-fried wonder with which to start any meal. And if the day's menu includes fresh sorbets or ice creams, save room -- Hills' makes them from scratch. 401 W. Main Ave., 747-3946 (MD)
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.