Readers responded generously when The Sliceman recently asked them to ladle up their favorite spots around the region to sip soup.
Recommendations covered a lot of turf - from The Pastime Tavern in LaCrosse (make a right at Colfax and go through Dusty) to a couple of nominations for Travo’s in downtown Spokaloo. The bowls most often mentioned are so very Northwest by way of New England. Folks here seem to love creamy clam chowder.
The chowder at Chapter 11 is the best around, according to Sue Milhorn of Worley, Idaho. She also said the minestrone at Rocky Rococo is fabulous.
In addition to being a fan of the chowder and the tomato soup (served Wednesdays) at Travo’s, Kathy Altieri also called Cyrus O’Leary’s broccoli-cheddar “the best you’ll ever taste.”
Sue Donaldson from Endicott likes the chowder at the Apple Barrel on North Division, noting “and they give you a big bowl of it.”
Sprouts Fresh Cafe serves the best soup. So says Gary Smith.
Carol Shaw said all the soup is good at Mediterranean Delight in the Paulson Building.
The minestrone at Luigi’s “knocked the socks off” 82-year-old Marjorie Jenson. She said it reminded her of her grandmother’s old recipe.
Vicki Leuthold appreciates the made-from-scratch offerings simmered at Fort Spokane Brewery.
Steffe Jewell loves the stuff at The Pasta Shop - on Spokane’s north side. Her favorite is the split pea, with shrimp chowder a close second. Her husband likes the minestrone.
Chuck Shannon, Lynn Evans and several readers who failed to leave their names (should we suspect a call-in campaign?) spoke highly of the various bowls at North 10 Cafe inside the Peyton Building. Among the beloved varieties are shrimp chowder as well as the sausage and kale.
The fiery gumbo at Moontime rates a rave from Susan Upton Hughes, who also likes the China Gate’s hot and sour soup. Both are in Coeur d’Alene.
Finally, Dave and Shannon Holt think the soup at The Hedge House is hot stuff.
Chew on these changes
The new year has brought changes at a few area eateries.
The Taste of India has a new owner. Iupin Joshi, who also owns a restaurant in Olympia called Maharaja, brought in a seasoned chef with 16 years experience to the kitchen at Taste of India.
Joshi said the big difference diners will notice is in the food. And, after feasting at the lunch buffet last week, I can attest to more vivid seasonings and fresher tastes. (The naan still needs work.) The variety of dishes had changed a bit, though I missed the chana masala (curried chickpeas.
Look for some subtle changes in the menu in coming months. Taste of India is located at 3110 N. Division.
Riverview Thai is also under new ownership.
The new proprietor, Porntip Teel, is from Hawaii. She has vowed to maintain the same good food and service, with most of the staff sticking around.
At The Woodshed, the owners have decided to dump the hard liquor and focus on the food.
The restaurant, which is located at 3207 E. Sprague, serving food since 1933 when it was a hamburger stand. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was home to Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. Then, it was purchased in 1972 by the current owners, who are related to the original owner, Blaine Wood.
The family-run business makes meals from scratch daily, including its own pizza dough and sausages. Beef and turkey are roasted there for sandwiches.
The casual, affordably priced menu includes chicken fried steak, French dip, fish and chips and seven different burgers.
Breakfast is also offered, ranging from eggs and hashbrowns to pancakes and French toast.
The Woodshed is now completely non-smoking, too.
Europa Pizzeria recently revamped its menu to include new items such as cioppino, Italian beef with rosemary, spinach pesto prawns tossed with linguine, chicken masala and a risotto with tiger prawns.
Among the new appetizers are roasted garlic with herb focaccia, a clam and mussel bake, along with an unusual pasta kabob. The tortellini skewers - pasta, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms and onions served on a stick - was honored at the 1997 Epicurean Delight as the outstanding hors d’ouevres.
Owner Janice Maas credits the creative new dishes to long-time employee Gina Brent, who recently lost a battle with cancer. She was 31.
Europa is located at 125 S. Wall. Call 455-4051 for reservations.
Not to be confused with Hard Rock
Burn rubber, baby. The Hot Rod Cafe opened in Post Falls this week.
The huge menu features a full lineup of belt-busting appetizers - french fries smothered in cheese, beer-battered onion rings (they call ‘em Piston Rings), crab-stuffed wontons, nachos and potato skins.
There are also soups and entreesized salads, sandwiches, wraps, pizzas built on focaccia and burgers.
Dinner-type dishes include a range of pastas, steaks, ribs and salmon with huckleberry butter.
Chef Erick Krcma has worked at a number of area restaurants including Cavanaugh’s Inn at the Park and Templins.
The Hot Rod Cafe is 1610 Schneidmiller Ave., off the Spokane Street exit. The phone number is (208) 777-1712.
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