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The Inlander Staff & r & & r & KALICO KITCHEN & lt;BR & & lt;BR & Working folks chow down early at this homey and welcoming north-side breakfast eatery; later come the retirees and bleary-eyed college students. Service is attentive, and the extensive breakfast menu has choices from egg combos to waffles to omelets, along with a few house specialties -- scrambles, breakfast burritos and even eggs benedict. The "Vegi & amp; Cheese" omelet ($7) was like an edible art project, with examples of some of its components on top; the olive made the dish. The French toast side order, sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with maple syrup, was delish. Eggs come cooked as requested, and the bacon is thin, not too soft, not too crisp. Waffles don't meet the crispy ideal, but the flavor is good and not super-sweet -- just right for soaking up a light touch of syrup. The orange juice was fresh, pulpy and especially good. 2931 N. Division, 326-7144 (AC)


The same neighborly pub attitude and atmosphere that made Hills' first restaurant a local classic has been transported to a new, airier home across from Auntie's Bookstore. Hills' still serves some of Spokane's most satisfying salads, including the succulent Southern Fried Chicken Salad ($9) with chunks of crunchy-breaded bird enlivened by a zingy mustard dressing. Chips made from local (Olsen Farm) potatoes can accompany any one of the 10 burgers or sandwiches, but the restaurant's premium offerings are their steaks. Serving Brandt True Natural Beef, Hills' offers diners a choice of six different steak cuts ($10-$25) and 14 freshly made sauces ($1.50-$6) ranging from bistro (Gorgonzola) to cuisine (B & eacute;arnaise). 401 W. Main Ave., 747-3946 (MD)


The potato hummus and grilled pita ($5) is a European twist on the original and dense with garlic and a lemony bite. We opted for the lightly crispy jalape & ntilde;o-cream cheese wontons with just the right amount of pepper heat ($7.50). Eight draft beers, from Guinness to Bud Light to local Laughing Dog, along with 22 bottled choices, gave a casual beer consumer like me plenty of options. A smattering of red and white wines ($5-$10) by the glass was also available. The moist and flaky beer-battered fish and chips is easily the most affordable in North Idaho -- $8 for three and a half large chunks of fish -- and the tartar was sweet and bold with a hint of capers. Service was excellent, the ambience equally pleasant, making the Beacon a hip locale for tasty pub grub that's reasonably priced. 325 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene, 208-665-7407 (CS)


The faux-stone walls and Palladian windows of the Davenport Tower evoke a sense of utilitarian formality -- and the safari theme offers an understated, whimsical counterpoint, with leopard print upholstery, zebra-striped pendant lights, and a border of watercolored African animals marching along the ornate crown molding. The Safari Room claims one of the few smokers in our region, with a choice of baby back ribs or pulled pork. We tried the crispy flatbread, topped with peppery arugula, thinly sliced pears, a sprinkling of mild bleu cheese and drizzled with honey ($8). My halibut ($20) entr & eacute;e came roasted and served with fresh green beans, fingerling potatoes and cherry tomatoes -- the vibrantly colored vegetables were the stars of the plate. The $2 desserts are a lot of fun; you can mix and match "miniature servings" of German chocolate cake (dark chocolate with frosting full of nuts and coconut) or our favorite, the simple flan -- creamy and cool, with an elaborate caramelized sugar decoration. 111 S. Post St., 789-6800 (LM)

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