Thrifty Scotsman -- Man, saving coin never tasted so good. The Thrifty Scotsman gets most everything exactly right in terms of quality, price and friendly service. And that includes big, juicy burgers. The $2.59 Super Bacon is essentially a bacon double cheeseburger with the works (mayo, lettuce, tomato) spread out over the expanse of a six-inch Poor Boy bun. It's definitely a two-fister. And delicious as well. The $5.49 double fish and fries contains eight crispy and tender fish portions stacked on a bed of big, fresh, hand-cut fries. The drive-in's new smoke-free dining environment is a much-appreciated addition. 12024 E. Sprague. Call: 927-2214. (MC)
Lindaman's -- Perched at the top of Grand Blvd., Lindaman's offers sophisticated-but-comforting caf & eacute; fare. A glass display case contains all the salads, entrees and desserts. Salads and pasta dishes are sold by the pound and vary in price. Lindaman's specialties are the casseroles like the King Ranch Chicken and the chicken and spinach enchilada ($4.95) which was a spicy and flavorful little number. The stuffed roasted pork tenderloin ($12) filled with a medley of dried cranberries, onions, mushrooms and apples, had a pleasant flavor, though the meat suffered a bit from the re-heating -- it was a little dry, and in places not all the way warmed up. Deserts here are terrific. 1235 S. Grand Blvd. Call: 838-3000. (LM)
Chapala #1 -- Though it appears tiny from the street, Chapala is cavernous and comfortable inside. The lunch menu features 28 different authentic Mexican selections, ranging from tacos, enchiladas and burritos to more interesting fare like the $6.50 Mole de Pollo. The $7.25 Chapala Burrito comes with your choice of meat, beans, cheese, lettuce and mild salsa, wrapped in a flour tortilla smothered with red sauce, and dusted with melted cheese. It's fresh, zesty and nicely presented with a side of rice and beans, topped with a dollop of guacamole and sour cream and garnished with a tomato wedge. The complimentary chips and salsa appetizer included two kinds of salsa and a basket of warm chips. The service was also very good. 2620 E. 29th Ave. Call: 534-7388. (MC)
Riverview Thai -- The Khao Tom ($9.45) was a lovely Thai version of chicken and rice soup, with fragrant jasmine rice and ground chicken in a rich chicken broth, flavored with green onion, celery, garlic and cilantro. The Gaeng keow wahn ($11) with chicken combines green curry sauce with green peas, bamboo shoots, bell pepper and fresh basil -- a successful dish with the fragrant taste of the Thai basil dominating. The pahd si-ew ($10.45) consists of fried rice noodles, chicken, broccoli and eggs. The sauce for this dish was sweet and lacked any hint of heat. Service was friendly. 1003 E. Trent. Call: 922-4935. (LM)
The Cosmopolitan Caf & eacute; -- The Cosmopolitan is a friendly, casual and contemporary oasis with healthy, inventive salads and a great selection of sandwiches. The salad bar ($6.50) features roughly a dozen different freshly made creations (leafy green, corn and black bean, fruit, beet and walnut, penne with pesto and pine nuts, asparagus, etc.) The salads were uniformly interesting and delicious. The Chicago's Revenge (all sandwiches are $6.50), a meatball sandwich, was a combination of tender meatballs, thick, tangy red sauce, chopped onions, peppers and shredded mozzarella on a sturdy six-inch sandwich roll. Terrific (and fast) service seems to be the norm. 321 S. Dishman-Mica Road. Call: 922-4935. (MC)
Old European -- The breakfasts boast extraordinary offerings, such as orange raisin nut French toast ($5.50), Swedish crepes ($5.95) and "the Ol' Fried Egg Sandwich" ($4.50). The German Potato Pancakes ($5.95) were"moist and flavorful, spiked occasionally with a little chunk of sausage." The stuffed French toast ($5.95) was "exquisite: three tender slices of thick bread, with just the right amount of egg batter on them, interspersed with two layers of scrambled eggs mixed with bits of flavorful sausage." The delicious Danish aebelskivers ($4.95) are fluffy, pancake-y balls that can be dipped in applesauce, or better yet, drizzled in syrup. 11520 E. Sprague Ave. Call: 928-6868. (Sheri Boggs)
Pete's Pizza plant #2 -- Pete's doesn't look like much from the outside. Or the inside, either. But who cares? It's the calzones, dummy. Eat in or get 'em to go, because they are huge, flaky and delicious -- possibly, the best in Spokane. The expansive selection includes fancy constructions (with ingredients like artichoke hearts, feta cheese and pesto), but it's the classic combos that really excel. The Cheeseless calzone ($5.45) was a low-cal winner with red sauce and choice of any three filling items (we chose spinach, fresh mushrooms and kalamata olives). The $5.95 lunch special (served from 11 am-4 pm) is a good deal and consists of a salad and a mini-calzone (with your choice of three regular toppings). It was delicious and just the right size for lunch. 2328 W. Northwest Blvd. Call: 326-1900. (MC)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM) and Mike Corrigan (MC), unless otherwise noted.