A Few of my Favorite (Foodie) Things

While out with friends recently, I made a few suggestions on things they HAD to experience at a particular restaurant. It reminded me of a few texts exchanges I’ve had where friends ask, ‘Where should I go for a great dessert?’ or, ‘What was that one dish you said I should try here?’. So, in the spirit of the year-end round-up I’ll share a few of my favorite foodie things.

As you’ll quickly discover, I love gluten…and dairy…and meat. So this is by no means a list for those starting off on a health kick in 2014 :)



Croissant @ Janjou Patisserie (aka best damn croissant you’ll ever have)

Oatmeal Souffle @ Red Feather (will make you rethink your relationship with oatmeal)

Vanilla Latte @ Flying M (a personal obsession from a latte addict)

Main Auction Cafe @ Main St. Auction, Steak Ranchero @ Los Betos (aka best hangover or diner fix breakfast)

photo_33-scaled1000CHEESY GOODNESS

(Any) Grilled Cheese Sandwich @ Bleubird (aka nirvana for cheese freaks)

Sage Grilled Cheese @ The Dish (Sage + prosciutto + cheese? Um, yes please!)

Mac n’ Cheese or Gnocchi @ The Modern Bar (it’s totally mood-dependent)


Carne Asada @ Campos Market

Gyro @ Bosnia Market

Empanadas @ Tango’s

Any fresh fish @ Reel Foods Fish Market (yes, I know it may not be technically ‘meat’, but Proteiny Protein sounded weird. Love the vibe, offerings and insights of my local fish monger!)


Patio Paella @ The Basque Market (every Wednesday/Friday @ Noon & Thursday nights)

Ramen @ Yoi Tomo (not on the menu, but there for the ordering)

Poutine @ Bittercreek (thanks Canada for this gluttonous insanity)

Croquetas @ Bar Gernika (must experience with Tiger Sauce)

Lasagna @ Cucina di Paolo (they will make it right into your own dish if you like, so you can totally claim credit for the deliciousness :))

Garganelli or Pappardelle @ Alavita (meat + homemade pasta = my happy place)


The Layover @ The Modern Bar  (not on the menu, but there for the ordering. Only around in the winter!)

Kalimoxos @ Bar Gernika (coke + red wine. I know it’s blasphemous to oenophiles, but it’s so delicious!)

Wine @ Bodovino (perfect for the indecisive and adventurous)


Butter Cake @ Fork (I’m not a cake fan, but I will fight you for that last bite of Butter Cake)

Beignets @ Red Feather (I never find them on the menu, but have had luck ordering at weekend brunches & dinner)

Vanilla Budino @ Alavita (custard & caramel lusciousness)

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake @ Fresh Off the Hook (don’t be turned off by the chopped dates description. It is gooey amazing)

photo_1-scaled1000FOODIE EXPERIENCES:

Fuel for the Soul: A true foodie experience in the home kitchen of Chef Tizi & her husband Joel. Classes in Italian and Thai are offered for small groups. Here’s a post about one of my experiences.)

The Basque Market: From paella to tapas classes, pairings and tastings galore – The Basque Market offers a wide variety of experiences for the foodie interested in all things delicious from the Iberian Peninsula. If you haven’t yet, sign up for one of the monthly Sheepherder’s Breakfasts!)

The House of Wine: Curated and taught by wine educator Kat House, the classes offer deep – but approachable – dives into all things wine. And all things that go with wine (like cheese!) A fun evening experience in an urban chic winery setting just outside of Downtown Boise.

So, which one of your favorites did I miss?



Culinary Collaborations at the Cabin, on the Farm, In the Field

What does it take for a place to truly establish its culinary chops? (pardon the pun)

How about collaboration between chefs at the top of their game?

Or, the ongoing creation of separate intimate foodie experiences?

Or, synergy on display between producers, farmers, vintners, brewers and distillers?

Check, check and check.

Foodie experiences are popping on Idaho’s calendar. And I’d be remiss to not recap one and preview two (and give props to the passionate people making them happen)

Edible Idaho’s Trail Creek Dinner Benefit for the Hunger Coalition


Chef John Murcko & Chef Gary Kucy

Take two of Idaho’s James Beard Foundation semi-finalists (Chef John Murcko, Director of Culinary Operations for the Sun Valley Resort, and Chef Gary Kucy of Rupert’s Restaurant at Hotel McCall), create a meal sourced from the region’s producers (Homestead Natural MeatsBallard CheeseBlue Sage Farm and Southwind Potatoes) and toast with 44 North VodkaCinder WinesHuston VineyardsTelaya Wine Co in a true Idaho gem of a location – and you have Edible Idaho’s first foray into must-attend Idaho foodie events.

Thanks to a foodie-on-the-inside, we got a sneak peek at the prep and a few plates at the amazing fundraiser…


Menu for the Feast

Idaho morels being prepped for the Amuse course

Idaho morels being prepped for the Amuse course

Wildflower honey & Snake River Brewery Ale braised Idaho Buffalo Short Rib

Wildflower honey & Snake River Brewery Ale braised Idaho Buffalo Short Rib

… and insider scoop on the pristine levels of service. All the servers were Sun Valley restaurant managers, the kitchen staff all restaurant head chefs in their own right.

Cinder winemaker Melanie Krause collaborating with the culinary team

Cinder winemaker Melanie Krause collaborating with the culinary team

Chef Kucy & Chef Murcko collaborating on the l

Chef Kucy & Chef Murcko collaborating on the line

The entire culinary crew were chefs from various restaurants

The entire culinary crew were chefs from various restaurants

From the feedback on this event by attendees and participants – Edible South Idaho has set the bar high.

Dinner on the Farm Series

Up next on the foodie experience calendar is the kickoff to the new Dinner on the Farm Series concepted and carried out by Idaho Preferred: In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s Idaho Preferred® program will host a series of dinners at a variety of farms around the state to promote the quality and diversity of Idaho food and agriculture products. 

Dinner on the Dairy hosts Simon & Mary Ellen Roth of Si-Ellen Farm

Dinner on the Dairy hosts Simon & Mary Ellen Roth of Si-Ellen Farm

I am a huge proponent of diners understanding the full lifecycle of how their food gets from the farm to the plate – and this series should deliver on that. The series kicks off  Saturday, June 8, 2013 with Dinner on the Dairy at The Risk Barn Event Center on the Si-Ellen Dairy just north of Twin Falls beginning at 5:30 pm.  Advance tickets are required and can be purchased atwww.idahopreferred.com (GET YOURS ASAP!)  For more event and ticket information, email info@idahopreferred.com or call 208-332-8542.

In July – it’s Dinner in the Orchard at Symms Fruit Ranch in Sunny Slope.

Outstanding in the Field

Outstanding in the Field

Outstanding in the Field

And rounding out the trio of experiences that have me salivating – the nationally renowned Outstanding in the Field is making its first stop in Idaho as part of its North American Tour this summer.

Reading their mission for the first time – I fell in love: Our mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it…Wherever the location, the consistent theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table.

The details: Outstanding in the Field is teaming up with James Beard Award Nominee, Chef Taite Pearson Sara Lipton from della MANO (Ketchum). The dinner is hosted by farmers Chris Florence, Chance Morgan and Geoff Neyman of  Sweet Valley Organics and will feature wines from Cinder.  

It’s taken them more than a decade to get to Idaho – so let’s be sure this event sells out! Check it out and register

Here’s the story of Sweet Valley Organics courtesy Guy Hand

Perfect Welcome to Fall Meal

There are certain aromas – particularly from the kitchen – that always bring back memories and evoke seasons. I don’t have it often, but chili does it for me every time.

Nothing better to end a fall day than a cup of homemade chili (veggies from the still producing garden, local ground beef, steak and BACON of course :-) with a pint of my brother in law’s delightfully chewy microbrew stout.


Sent from my iPhone

Putting the family buds to good use

This is about lavender buds, of course… just in case you were expecting something else!

Just had a fantastic farm-side meal out at Janie Burns’  Meadowlark Farm in Nampa. She is one inspiring voice for the local foods movement. I have the good fortune to belong to a really great locavore group led by locavore-cheerleader & all-around public TV rockstar Thanh Tan.  Dinners rotate to members’ homes or local producers like Meadowlark or Peaceful Belly.  Sometimes there’s a theme, other times – it’s just about bringing a dish showcasing one or more local products.

It may be the easy way out – but my go-to locavore product is from my family’s lavender farm - Lakeside Lavender in Nampa. A few tablespoons of our culinary lavender (one of the English varieties like Munstead, Royal Velvet or Blue Hidcote) in a sweet or savory recipe is yummy – though I prefer the sweet!

Here are a few of my parent’s recipes that I’ve already tried (like the cool & refreshing & super-simple lavender lemonade.) But I wanted to try something new. From a quick trip around the web I found two recipes to try out to satisfy my sweet tooth and lavender supply. Happily found the Dessert for Breakfast blog (fantastic title!) and the story and recipe for Meyer Lemon Lavender Pound Cake. I really love the melding of lemon and lavender, 
Visually? It looks fantastic! And the recipe was pretty easy – though I may tweak it a bit to it is a bit less dry. This is an example of cooking lavender buds right into the food. You don’t need fancy recipes to do it – try it with your pound cake, sugar cookie or scone recipe. A tablespoon or two should do.

But my favorite experiment was the Lavender Cheesecake with Blueberries & Honey. Holy crap this came out good and is addictively delicious. (And comes from another fantastically named food blog – More Than Burnt Toast. I need to get more creative with this blog’s name :-)

I tweaked the recipe slightly, adding about double the amount of honey and ‘lavender tea’ (another way to infuse lavender flavor – steeping dried buds in hot water for 15-20 minutes, straining out the buds and adding the liquid to your recipe). The Lorna Doone crust brought back great memories of my grandmother! Overall, while it was good it didn’t firm up too well. So when I try it again I’ll definitely make the cheesecake in individual portions in ramekins. 

Quick plug for my folks – if you love lavender and you’re in Southwest Idaho you can pick up their products at Idaho Indie Works!
(Thanks to Whitney Rearick for the awesome locavore dinner pics!)

- Jess Flynn

Locavore love – Lots of cheese & the Olivator!

Recently was invited to attend a fun Locavore dinner group – with the theme of Sexy Foods for the potluck extravaganza in honor of February. 

After being stumped for a few days I hit the ‘Google’ and found a great list of foods known as aphrodisiacs  - including dates and truffles. 
And in my world – anything that has cheese around, in or over it is damn sexy as well.

If in previous posts I’ve expressed my love of all things pastas – cheese is a close second. In my next life phase I hope to become an artisan cheesemaker… no joke! 
And I figure that trying as many delicious types of cheese as possible during this phase sets me on the right path.

Two of my favorite local cheesemakers are Rollingstone Chevre and Ballard Family Dairy. Both of which wound up in my take on this Truffle Mac n’ Cheese recipe
From a locavore standpoint, the dish included:
- Ballard White Cheddar
- Ferranti Fresh Pasta – Penne
- Basil from Purple Sage Farms
And if you appreciate great cheeses – spend a bit more through Idaho’s Bounty or the Boise Co-Op and snag some of Ballard’s fantastic Cheddar!

And besides drenching pasta in it – it’s always delightful to shove cheese inside of something.

For the second locavore dish I took some of the Rollingstone Chevre to try and replicate a yummy dish I’d had at Twig’s Wine Bar

Goat cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto. Pit the dates, shove in the cheese, wrap the strips of prosciutto and broil for a few minutes until the proscuitto just starts to crisp.
Super easy and super delicious bite-sized appetizers. Oh, and I got to use my newest random kitchen gadget too! (full disclosure: it was the main reason I wanted to make these!)
The Olivator! Want to shove something delicious inside something else delicious? This is your tool. (Snagged mine at the Pottery Gourmet)

Cheese n Tomatoes Locavore-style IMG00025.jpg


Nothing better to break up a long work day then a dinner binge on fresh golden tomatoes pulled from the garden (plants courtesy Peaceful Belly) with freshly grilled Idaho Golden Greek Halloumi Cheese from Ballard Cheese. Hmmmmmm
Definitely think my next business will be an artisan cheese shop. What other food group makes people so happy?
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