226 W. Ironwood Dr., CdA
The number eight is considered auspicious in Chinese culture, which may be good news to the new tenants in suite A8 of Coeur d'Alene's Ironwood Square, who opened in time to celebrate the Chinese lunar new year (another good sign). Asian Twist, which also serves Thai and Japanese fare, is the latest business to occupy the spot most recently filled by a bagel shop.
The pan-Asian cuisine ranges from soups and salads to fried rice and traditional Thai and Teppanyaki-style entrées. It's all cooked to order, with the typical choice of animal and vegetable proteins: beef, chicken, shrimp and tofu. The Tom Yum soup ($8-$12) is a deep, fragrant bowlful with piquant lime and plenty of heat, which you can dial back upon request. Other soup choices are served in small side portions, including miso, crab tofu and hot & sour ($1.50-$2).
Owned by Lily and Frank Wexun, Asian Twist features the grilling style of the couple's other restaurant, Fu-Ki Japanese Steakhouse in Post Falls. Teppan entrées from $8-$12 run the gamut from salmon, chicken or beef teriyaki to the more unusual jalapeño calamari.
The menu is rounded out by a modest assortment of Thai cuisine. Curry-based dishes like gang dang and gang massaman ($9-$12) blend heat and sweet, while pad Thai and the pad drunken keemow are comfort food staples.
Expect occasional chef's specials and the always negotiable heat level in any dish — from barely warm to blistering — which makes ordering Thai iced tea or Vietnamese coffee a necessity. Don't expect a lot of ambiance (buddhas and bamboo framing the mural of a New York street scene that remains from the bagel shop) but takeout orders are welcome and the food will have you thanking your lucky stars.
730 N. Columbus
In the southern part of Belgium where saison was the drink of the farmers, the miners wanted their own beer. So local brewers made a similarly light, refreshing brew for the miners, called grisette.
Dani Guthrie tells the story as she places the palest of a row of tasters on the table. It's an accessible but obscure style not found at any other local breweries — and that's part of the reason Ramblin' Road Craft Brewery is making it. The brewery, which Brian and Dani Guthrie own with Dani's brother Will Spear, focuses on Belgians but embraces a broad range of styles. The IPA is a bestseller, and plans also include barrel-aged sours and wild ales. The rye saison has won over people who were skeptical of both Belgians and darker beers.
"We brew beers that we like to drink ourselves," Brian says. "We like hoppy Northwest beers, which we'll do, but we're also interested in pushing the envelope with some funky Belgian styles that people are not quite as accustomed to."
The brewery has been operating in the same location near the Logan neighborhood since 2012, but the taproom just opened in late January after extensive work to remodel the industrial warehouse space previously used for storage. Situated between No-Li Brewhouse and the Centennial Trail, the gray brick building features a cozy taproom space with a view of the gleaming silver equipment through broad garage-door windows.
The Guthries homebrewed in Seattle, where they worked after studying at the University of Washington. But when it came time to open the brewery, they saw potential in their hometown of Spokane.