The Inlander Staff & r & & r & SCRATCH & r & & r & The philosophy at Scratch, a sleek narrow space on the main floor of the Montvale, is to make everything, well, from scratch. A red-jacketed salad chef prepares the tableside Caesar salad ($10), heady with garlic and anchovies. In the Scratch signature salad ($8), creamy brie offsets the tartness of crunchy apples, while peppery bacon is a perfect foil for candied cashews, all on a base of baby spinach with a sweet-tart pomegranate vinaigrette. From the big and varied entr & eacute;e menu, jumbo prawns ($25) come stuffed with a scallop-crab mixture and wrapped in pancetta for a salty, rich delicacy, and the lobster risotto was almost more satisfying than a lobster tail. For dessert, the home-style peanut butter ice cream was impossible to eat without smiling. Scratch keeps the kitchen open till 2 am on weekends and midnight on weeknights, and there's an encyclopedic menu of frou-frou drinks -- don't miss the frisky lemonade -- as well as an extensive wine list. 1007 W. First Ave., 456-5656 (LM)


The interior at Maggie's is bright and sunny, especially in the morning, with rough-hewn sunflower-yellow walls and stained-glass upper windows. At the weekend brunch, crab benedict ($11) is a highlight -- two poached eggs perched atop generous and distinctly crabby crab cakes, with the requisite English muffin underneath and a light topping of hollandaise. The pumpkin pancakes ($5.75), a stack of four fluffy cakes at least six inches across, entice with the aroma of pumpkin pie; they're thick but light, with subtle flavors of pumpkin and spice. For lighter appetites, there's the yogurt-granola parfait, layered with fruit in a pint glass ($4.50), along with kids' breakfast choices for only $4. Maggie's is the kind of place where you don't have to dress up to go out and get a weekend breakfast that's comfortable and familiar but just different enough to be special. 2808 E. 29th Ave., 536-4745 (AC)


Stilos is an architectural dream. Expect no pseudo-multinational fusion foods here -- just good upscale surf-and-turf, expertly presented and served with panache under the direction of Chef Patrick Fechser. The Steak Oscar ($22) tops medallions of beef with a sizeable chunk of Dungeness crab, and comes with sweet roasted julienne vegetables over a garlicky mound of mashed potatoes smothered in b & eacute;arnaise sauce. Our server recommended the Gorgonzola salad -- hearty, with a crunchy-creamy texture accomplished with maple pecans, tomato, cucumber, red onion and a Gorgonzola cheese vinaigrette. In addition to numerous martinis, Stilos has a healthy wine list and a selection of ports, beer (domestic and imported) and a full bar. 1400 N. Meadowwood Lane, Liberty Lake, Wash., 891-9192. (CS)


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 choices. The sandwiches are big and just as good at breakfast as at lunch. And if they've got bacon cheeseburger chowder, go for it. Service is prompt, friendly and comfortable without being pushy. As befits the general comfort level at the Viking, we lingered long after our meals were done. 1221 N. Stevens St., 326-2942 (AC)

Spokane Family Holiday Powwow @ Downtown Spokane Library

Sat., Dec. 14, 5-9 p.m.
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