by Susan Hamilton

A new shop on Moran Prairie puts a different face on the customary pink, frou-frou ice cream parlor. At the Swordsman, the d & eacute;cor is straight out of Camelot, with gold trellises and gates, leafy wainscoting on the walls, immense swords backed by velvet and covered in frames and prints of ladies and knights of old.

The Swordsman features unusual sandwich and ice cream fare as well. Four kinds of "dagger wraps" are offered -- from turkey with pineapple and cream cheese, to tuna with onion and celery. If your tastes are more traditional, the deli sandwiches feature sliced Black Forest ham, roast beef or turkey, with your choice of cheese and fresh French, rye or wheat bread. "Side stabbers" include German sausage and the Sir Donald chili dog or hot dog. Crusader salads (chicken, chef and veggie) and Swordsman soups (chili and du jour) round out the menu. Prince or princess meals (tried-and-true favorites like chicken nuggets and corn dog) are also available for little ones.

Owner Barb Havens chose Cascade Glacier ice cream to serve at the Swordsman. The premium, Northwest-produced ice cream features select Willamette Valley cream and locally grown fruits, nuts and berries blended to make more than 100 flavors of ice cream yogurt, sherbet and sorbet. "Moose Tracks ice cream is a big hit," Havens reveals. It's vanilla ice cream laced with thick fudge and peanut butter cups. Cotton candy, maple nut and rainbow sherbet are also popular flavors.

Besides scoops and cones, the ice cream or yogurt comes with a choice of toppings and whipped cream. All are finished with a signature cherry pierced by a miniature sword. Frozen, chocolate-dipped bananas and banana splits are also available.

A side room at the Swordsman accommodates special occasions, with custom menus to choose from.

The Swordsman, located at 2910 E. 57th Ave., is open daily from 11 am-9:30 pm. Call 456-8300.

Thai, Thai -- The exciting flavors and aromas of Thai food contrast with our Northwest mainstays of meat and potatoes. Maybe that's why so many divergent Thai restaurants flourish in our area. Two of our Inland Northwest Thai restaurants have news to share.

Sala Thai moved to Airway Heights earlier this month after more than a year in Davenport. "I looked for six months for a good location for my restaurant in Spokane," says owner/chef Arphakorn Muanyam. "And there were no other Thai restaurants in Airway Heights."

Sala Thai showcases the cuisine of central Thailand and Bangkok, characterized by medium-spicy tastes. Muanyam prepares all meals to order and uses Thai noodles fresh from Seattle in his Pad Thai, Pad See Eew and Tom Yum noodle soup. House specials of saut & eacute;ed jumbo shrimp, Siam crispy chicken, teriyaki chicken, shrimp and salmon are lunch features.

Dinner entrees include red or green curry, oyster beef, Thai chicken cashew, shrimp with snowpeas and vegetarian dishes. Chef specials of a seafood combination plate, spicy duck, Thai fish and more are served, as well as appetizers, soups and salads.

On the north side near Mead, A Taste of Thai is now serving lunch. The popular restaurant specializing in authentic Thai cuisine is offering dinner menu items at a lower price from noon to 2 pm, Tuesday-Saturday. A luncheon buffet is featured on Thursdays.

Ten stir-fry dishes, like beef with broccoli and chicken with basil; rice noodle dishes, including Pad Thai and Lod na; curries with chicken and squid; and house specialties, like peanut chicken and bean thread noodle salad, are all part of a Taste of Thai's extensive menu. Each dish is individually prepared with fresh vegetables, lean meats and spices according to taste.

Sala Thai is located at 12924 W. Sunset Hwy. in Airway Heights. It's open Monday-Saturday from 11 am-9 pm. Call 244-4800. A Taste of Thai, at 419 W. Hastings Rd., is open Tuesday-Saturday from noon-2 pm and 5-8 pm. Call 466-3335.

Fall Food Fun -- With the yearly harvesting and crushing of grapes comes our anticipation for the annual wine events in the Inland Northwest. This Saturday at 7 pm, the Vines of Dionysus wine tasting and vintage wine auction will be held at the historic Davenport House on the Saint George's School campus. Nine Yakima Valley wineries will be pouring some of their finest syrah, cabernet, merlot, Riesling, chadonnay and Bordeaux blends for tasting. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres from Lindaman's will be served as well. Rare wines from the cellars of local oenophiles will be auctioned at the event. Tickets for the Nov. 2 tasting and auction are $35 each. Call 466-1636 ext. 319.

The sixth annual Autumn Elegance dinner and auction will be held next Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Davenport Hotel's Grand Pennington Ballroom and Hall of Doges. The semi-formal event benefiting Spokane County Domestic Violence Consortium begins at 5:30 pm, with cocktails and a silent auction. A dinner of grilled chicken Napoleon will be served with Coastal Ridge merlot and chardonnay. The $55 per person tickets support SCDVC's community outreach programs and children's waiting room. Call 487-6783.

Sunday, Nov. 10, brings a wine dinner at Mizuna. The five-course dinner features the best of local fall flavors and ingredients complemented by five of chef-owners Sylvia Wilson's and Tonia Buckmiller's favorite wines. The $60 per person dinner begins at 6 pm and includes entertaining wine information. by John Allen. Call 747-2004.

Tapas (Spanish appetizers) and wine are a popular combination these days. Cambria Catering is teaming with Caterina Winery to present a cooking and wine class at the winery on Nov. 14 at 6 pm. Sherried mushroom empanadas and crab tartlets are but a few of the tapas that will be demonstrated. Tickets are $35 each. Call 328-5069.

The Spokane Cork and Keg Festival celebrates its 10th year on Friday, Nov. 15, at 7 pm at the WestCoast Grand Hotel. Guests will sample more than 100 wines and 25 handcrafted beers from 70 of the Northwest's best wineries and breweries. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres, a discount wine store and silent auction are all part of this event that benefits the Spokane chapter of the Washington Restaurant Association and SCC's Culinary Arts Dept. Call 467-7744 for tickets ($35 each).

Bloomsday 2020 @ Spokane

Through Sept. 27
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