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Ben's Yogurt and Deli in Spokane Valley. Plus, steak at the new and improved Cda Casino

click to enlarge Ben's Yogurt and Deli in Liberty Lake - JORDAN BEAUCHAMP
  • Jordan Beauchamp
  • Ben's Yogurt and Deli in Liberty Lake

Chalk it up to a temporary case of brain freeze: We missed one of the Valley’s best frozen yogurt places in our April 14 feature on the self-serve froyo craze.

Ben's Yogurt & Deli, located on Broadway Avenue near Mullan Road, offers six rotating flavors of frozen yogurt with tons of toppings, including cookie dough bits, brownie bites and the bounty of a fresh fruit bar. The peanut butter and Red Velvet flavors are must-haves, says owner Ben Horwath, but vanilla outsells all the flavors four to one. Stop by for 20 percent off on yogurt during Happy Hour from 4:30-6:30pm on weekdays.

In addition to frozen yogurt, Horwath has developed a following for the deli half of the business.

“I pride myself on the food,” he says, explaining that all of the sandwiches, soups and salads are made with top-notch ingredients prepared fresh daily, most likely by Ben himself. “It’s like having two businesses,” he says. “In winter, when there’s a blizzard, I’m thriving with a steady lunch business.”

The menu has a large selection of hot and cold sandwiches, including the Greek veggie wrap ($6.99), packed with veggies, feta spread, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Filling, fresh- tasting and delicious, it could easily become addicting.

In addition to traditional sandwiches and salads, there’s a low-fat menu, which Horwath developed with personal trainer Ryan Mewhinney. The “Pro-Form” menu offers five tempting lunch options ($5.99-$6.99), all weighing in at roughly 500 calories or less. For $1.99 more, add a drink and a healthy side of baked chips, cottage cheese or salad.

The menu lists calories, fat and Weight Watchers points for each item. Nutritional information is provided for the frozen yogurt also, and Ben’s has developed a loyal Weight Watchers following.

“Business has blown up really big,” says Horwath, who opened shop last July. Surrounded by fast-food chains, Ben’s offers a healthy alternative with personal service and competitive prices. And he has a second location slated to open in June (1014 N. Pines Rd.), with three more to follow in the next year.

Ben’s Yogurt & Deli • 9119 E. Broadway Ave. • Open Mon-Sat 10am-9 pm, Sun noon-9 pm • 893-8050


RUSTIC CHIC

Is it possible to go back far enough in time to arrive in the future? That’s the question you find yourself asking inside Ts'elusm Steakhouse, the first of several new amenities in an $85 million expansion at Coeur d’Alene Casino. It’s a new era in the casino’s nearly 20-year history, as the tribe marries rustic traditions with ultra-modern comforts.

“We will be using and having people try the food the natives were living off of during each of the seasons,” says executive chef Adam Hegsted, who joined the casino in 2009, upgrading food operations to contemporary, made-to-order standards.

Ts’elusm, which translates to “stand before the fire,” incorporates locally foraged mushrooms, bitterroot, camas root and shore-netted sockeye, as well as native recipes like the kettle-roasted elk stew. Steaks — filet mignon, ribeye, baseball-cut top sirloin, cedar-flamed porterhouse (for two) finished at your table — are cooked over traditional open flame using locally harvested apple wood.

At the pre-opening, we tried Wagyu beef in the sampler and diver scallops, and also considered lamb, grilled quail and even lobster.

We tried and adored virtually every appetizer ($8-12): charcuterie, including delicate sliced tongue, tangy huckleberry chutney and surprisingly sweet smoke-black garlic; as well as crab cakes with spring vegetables and sherry reduction. The Puget Sound clams fire-roasted over local pine needles in an herb broth brought my memories of Jersey clam bakes face-to-face with more current memories of pit-fired food.

Desserts were equally esoteric, including smoked ice cream with Washington cherry compote and Jack Daniels cheesecake.

No detail — wine list, dishes, décor, menu — was too small for review by Hegsted, casino management and the tribe, which has final say overall. Although menu and prices are still being fine-tuned, the staff — including noteworthy Coeur d’Alene-area chef-owner Tony Hall, from the former Anthony’s Midtown Bistro — has been learning this past year to churn their own butter, bake their own hamburger buns and cure their own meats. Incredible. Look for two additional venues to come online in late spring.

Ts’elusm Steakhouse • Coeur d’Alene Casino • 37914 S. Nukwalqw Road (Hwy 95) • Worley, Idaho • Open Mon-Thurs 4-10 pm, Fri-Sat 4-11 pm • Reservations recommended • cdacasino.com • (800) 523-2464 ext. 7530

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