The Inlander Staff & r & & r & WINDOWS AT THE RED LION HOTEL & r & & r & This room-with-a-view restaurant is too good for just out-of-towners. The three bacon-wrapped prawns ($9) came with baby bok choy and a yummy, sweet-hot cilantro garlic sauce -- the sweet, smoky prawns offset by the crunchy bok choy and tangy cilantro. The forest mushroom soup ($6) was almost blindingly rich, but the meaty sliced mushrooms were really allowed to shine in the creamy base, no doubt aided by the healthy drizzle of white truffle oil on top. My companion's spinach salad with Asian pear ($6) was perfectly dressed in a light, sesame vinaigrette that went well with the red onions and rich feta. With the bread course came a delightful surprise -- a generous portion of a lovely olive tapenade. The apple-smoked duck ($19) was grilled with a sweet sticky ginger-molasses glaze, leaving the skin crisp and flavorful, the inside smoky and rich. The menu is reasonably priced, with options from Asian to Italian to Northwest in style. And the view is unbeatable. 303 W. North River Dr., 326-8000 (LM)
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)
PRAGO, AN ARGENTINE CAF & Eacute;
"Eat, drink and be merry" describes Prago, though not necessarily in that order. This is a place where spending time and conversing are the most important things. The chicken empanadas -- three small meat pies filled with ground chicken, green chiles, green olives, corn and raisins -- were warm and savory, accompanied by a spring greens salad. The veggie panini -- diagonally cut bread with sliced tomato, red onion, mushroom, melted provolone cheese, mayo and sprouts -- was soft and gooey, really a treat, washed down with a glass of sweet iced peppermint tea. If you're looking for a place where food is the centerpiece, try someplace else. If food is just part of the experience for you, this might be your place. 201 W. Riverside Ave., 443-0404 (DN)
ANTHONY'S MIDTOWN BISTRO
Anthony's tapas -- vegetables, like saut & eacute;ed mushrooms; seafood, such as grilled prawns; and meat, including beef tenderloin -- are elegantly arranged on a bed of mild chili citrus rice. Our coconut prawns ($10) were plump, lightly fried and accompanied by a vinegary-tart minted, fire-onion relish. The pan-fried oysters ($6) were topped with crispy pancetta for a hint of smoke and pepper; the seared salmon steak ($8) was melt-in-your-mouth fresh but the jalape & ntilde;o guacamole topping was overpowering. The lamb chops ($3) alone were worth the trip: coated in stone-ground mustard and crushed pistachio and cooked medium-rare. And there's always cheesecake served New York style -- firm, creamy, a hint of lemon -- with cr & egrave;me en glaise and raspberry puree. The menu changes seasonally. 315 E. Walnut Ave., Coeur d'Alene, (208) 765-7723 (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.