A recent Seattle transplant called last week asking if I could recommend a good Chinese restaurant in Spokane.
Sorry, pal. I’ve been here more than 10 years and the search goes on.
The encouraging news is the growing number of Thai restaurants that satisfy the hankering for something stir-fried and semi-exotic.
At Spokane’s first Thai restaurant, The Thai Cafe, the original chefowner has returned from a brief stint on the West Side, where he opened the state’s second Thai Cafe.
Taveevit Charlardsoontornvatee, or Val, as he’s known to his loyal patrons, got a rave review in the Tacoma News Tribune just before selling the interest in his Seattle cafe. Business was brisk and he was sorry to leave, but he and his wife just had their third child and wanted to return to Spokane.
When I wrote a few weeks ago about the new Thai Palace in Coeur d’Alene, I said the restaurant was the Lake City’s first Thai joint.
The folks at Mad Mary’s said they were ahead of the curve, opening several weeks ahead of the Thai Palace.
Tim Cameron and his wife, Mary, recently moved from New Orleans to open the restaurant. Mary, who grew up just outside Bangkok, is the cook and she makes all sauces from scratch using her own recipes.
Mad Mary’s is located at 1801 Sherman Ave. The phone number is (208) 666-9407.
Finally, I continue to hear good reports on The Asian Cafe, a no-frills restaurant located at the site of the original Linnie’s on South Lincoln. The food leans more toward Laotian than Thai, but it’s a subtle (and delicious) difference.
A friend swears by the No. 28, a curry with pumpkin, potatoes and peanuts. It can be ordered with either chicken or beef. He also gives the Laotian stir-fried noodles a great big thumbs up.
Call 747-4344 for take-out orders.
Out on pizza patrol
An anonymous caller left a hot tip on my voice mail: a new pizza parlor on the North Side deserved some attention.
Ever on the watch for good ‘za, I ventured north and found the pie at Fast Break Pizza worth the trip.
The cheerful, sports-oriented place was formerly Pizza Pizazz. When that restaurant folded, the owners of Fast Break Pizza in Chattaroy decided the Wandermere mall location was too good to pass up, so they opened their second location.
The menu includes the usual suspects in the topping department, but also serves up some interesting variations such as a garlic pizza and a pie with Canadian bacon, broccoli, shrimp and mushrooms covered with a creamy alfredo sauce.
I sampled the “fowl play” with its spicy barbecue sauce and chicken topping along with a veggie pizza that included broccoli. Both were top drawer. They appeared to be made with care, with fresh-tasting toppings, zesty sauces and a generous helping of cheese. My only complaint was that the crust was a little underdone, but that can easily corrected.
Fast Break Pizza, which is located at 501 E. Hastings Rd., is open daily and features lunch specials during the week. For take-out orders, call 467-4007.
New bistro just divine
The woman who used to manage Jimmy D’s Wine Cellar has opened her own deli-wine shop, the Coeur d’Vine Bistro.
Proprietor Shireen Garrison offers a selection of wines by the glass and microbrews to complement a menu that will include sandwiches, soups, salads and bistro-type fare.
The Coeur d’Vine also features custom-made picnic baskets and a lineup of espresso drinks.
It’s located in the Wiggett Antique Mall, 119 N. Fourth, in downtown Coeur d’Alene.
Better than bar food
The Quarterhorse Tavern, Billiard Hall and Grill, located in the former La Leyenda digs on Second Avenue, has added homestyle specials to its menu. Each day will feature a different dish that should satisfy the craving for old-fashioned fare.
You can set your culinary calendars by this schedule: On Mondays, margarita chicken will be served; Tuesday it will be a “Bavarian supper” that includes cube steak with a special gravy served with cabbage and potatoes; Wednesday is spaghetti day; Thursdays scalloped potatoes with ham will be served; lasagna is featured each Friday and tacos will be served on Saturday.
The regular menu is heavy on typical bar fare, ranging from burgers and deli sandwiches to steak dinners.
The Quarterhorse is open from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, they open at 4 p.m. It’s located at 1321 W. Second. The phone number is 456-3778.
Cucina!Cucina! has dumped its coffee bar/quickie lunch counter and added a few more tables in that front section.
Jacobi’s, one of Walla Walla’s most popular restaurants, is in the process of expanding. A sports bar will be added in August to the expansive facility which is housed in an old train depot and includes a neat vintage dining car.