I’ve long thought Ron Horton at the now-defunct Java Adagio pulled the best espresso in Spokane. He could whip even skim milk into a cloudlike froth, all the while maintaining a friendly banter with customers.
Now, Horton has opened a new cafe. Same great coffee (Torrefanzioni from Seattle), along with a nice selection of lunch-type stuff served in a stylish setting that features original art by local talent.
Romeo’s Cafe, located downtown next to the Olive Garden on Wall Street, offers creative sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts.
First, there’s a lineup of sandwiches, all made on the unbeatable bread from Fugazzi. Try the paninis, which are Italian-style toasted sandwiches. I was impressed with an eggplant panini with roasted red peppers, red onions, marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. Other choices include a prosciutto panini with provolone cheese and red peppers and the copocolla (a spicy ham), which is loaded with gorgonzola cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives.
All sandwiches come with a veggie side dish of whatever’s fresh and in season. I liked the roasted green beans, which were dressed in a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice.
Half a sandwich is $2.95 and a full is $4.95.
Soup choices change daily and can include favorites such as clam chowder and chicken noodle, but also some unusual choices including a lentil chili and a spicy chicken gumbo with a fiery kick and nice, big pieces of okra. A bowl of soup is a deal at $2.95 because it comes with a piece of bread.
Salads range from a Greek spinach salad with feta and red peppers to a panzanilla bread salad, again using the wonderful Fugazzi bread.
Most desserts and pastries, including muffins and scones, are baked fresh daily on premises.
Romeo’s - at 221 N. Wall - is open from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturdays. Hours will be extended when the restaurant receives its beer and wine license.
Delivery service is available in downtown Spokane. Call 455-5594 for take-out or delivery orders.
Meals on wheels
A Post Falls delivery service that started last spring features seven North Idaho restaurants.
Homebodies can order from Cathay Inn East, Toro Viejo, Rob’s Seafoods, Pastry & More, the Thai Palace, Bogey’s Billiards & Bistro or Georgio’s, which offers East Coaststyle pizza, pasta and sub sandwiches.
Gourmet Delivery uses ovens to transport the meals, which it does from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and, for dinner, from 5 until 8:30 Monday through Saturday evenings.
The delivery area includes Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Dalton Gardens and limited areas of Hayden Lake. There is a $4 charge for each restaurant.
Call (208) 773-9698 to place an order or to receive participating restaurants’ menus.
Post PigOut wrap-up
This was the best PigOut yet, foodwise.
The Labor Day weekend feast gave local restaurants a chance to strut their stuff, and the huge variety of food seemed to make the huge crowds happy.
Unfortunately, because portions were so substantial, it was impossible to try more than a few things. Maybe next year, organizers should take a cue from the Bite of Seattle and urge restaurants to serve at least one item as a smaller, less-expensive “bite.” This year, at the Seattle event, the $2 bites were huge hits because customers got to graze.
The gnocchi was gummy and the pesto left a pool of olive oil on the plate. Dinner was just not going well at a popular Italian eatery in Spokane.
Our waitress tried valiantly to turn things around. She brought a plate of spaghetti and took away the potato pasta. She offered to buy us dessert - an offer we politely declined.
Finally, after delivering the check, she brought a gift certificate for $25 and said: “This means you’ll have to come back and give us another try.”
Now, that’s good customer service.
With that gesture, that polished professional ensured that we walked out the door feeling good. We’ll be back.
New Mex on Division
A new Mexican restaurant, Fiesta Tabatia, has opened at 5204 N. Division.
The menu features a large selection of combination plates and favorites such as tamales, enchiladas, taco salad, fajitas and arroz con pollo.
Call 487-8155 for reservations.