These boots are made for walking…and indulging

I truly love working a bit for my meals. Walkabouts, progressive dinners and this weekend – the Sun Valley Harvest Festival Restaurant Walk.

I’ve been to Sun Valley and Ketchum quite a few times in the past decade – but I stick to the places I’ve been before. The beauty of a restaurant walk is getting bite-sized introductions to places you’ve never been – or places you’ve forgotten.

We started at the Ketchum Towne Square with a first-time sampling of the brand new Sawtooth Brewery. (Growler cozies – who knew?)

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We didn’t make every one of the 15 stops, but here are the few we hit and my foodie feelings on the experience.

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Cornerstone Bar & Grill: Bite sized local buffalo wellington en croute

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Cristina’s Restaurant: Salmon cakes & Porchetta pizza roll-up

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Dashi: Crispy local Berkshire pigs head pork lollipops with pickled local cherry cre??me fraiche

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Glow: Fall harvest gazpacho with local sweet corn and avocado salsa

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Il Naso: Deconstructed Italian BLT; local seared pork belly, oregano aioli, local heirloom tomato, butterleaf lettuce and olive oil cracker

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Rickshaw: Nepalese Momos – Local XXL ranch pork and chive dumpling with spicy roasted Hagerman heirloom tomato sauce

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Roosevelt Grille: Snake River Farms Kobe beef grilled flatiron steak two ways – Argentinean chimichurri and Thai-basil 

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Rolling in Dough: Cheese crackers and lemon tarts

While the entire experience was fantastic, my favorites were:

  • Dashi – When you hear pig’s head you may cringe, but the flavor and lusciousness of the meat was divine.
  • Roosevelt Grille – There is nothing quite as fantastic as a perfectly cooked steak (well, maybe a great 3-minute egg) but this flatiron was superb. Add that to the fact that Chef Tom Nickel had whipped up two nom-worthy toppings (chimichurri? I’m now a huge fan).
  • Il Naso: Now THAT is the way to prepare pork belly. Perfect crispiness. Foodgasm.

- Jess Flynn

Mama Mia! Finally a great Italian deli in the Valley

After a night at the racetrack I finally made it over to check out Uncle Giuseppe’s Italian & American Eatery at Glenwood & State.

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Mama Mia I’d been missing out on some mangia-worthy nomness!

Above – fresh muzz (or mozzarella for the rest of you :-) and The Naples sandwich: Prosciutto, Capocollo, Mozzarella, Roasted Bell Peppers and Balsamic Vinegar.

Kevin went for the most popular sandwich The Italian Giuseppe: Prosciutto, Capocollo, Sopressata, Salami, Mortadella, Provolone…

Amazing selection of imported meats and cheeses and Boar’s Head products (Here’s the menu.)

A must-visit for those yearning for great Italian sammies…and to support the family enterprise from transplanted New Yorkers. (even though it appears they are Yankees fans I’ll still make a return visit :-)

Basque Market Announces Changes to Menu and Service

Kinda love when people send news releases and media advisories my way about the goings-on in the Idaho restaurant scene. Full disclosure on this one: the Basque Market is NOT a client of Red Sky PR where I work. However, we find them fantastically delicious and imbibe and indulge there often for Tapas Tuesdays, Paella Wednesdays & the Sheepherder’s Breakfasts.  All that being out in the open – here’s the media advisory of some changes to their offerings!

The Basque Market, located on the Basque Block in Downtown Boise, is a purveyor of imported goods from Spain and the Basque Country offering customers one of the largest Spanish wine collections in the West.

WHAT:           The Basque Market will no longer offer made-to-order lunches but will instead feature tapas from noon ?? 3 p.m., Monday thru Saturday. Mini versions of the favorite sandwiches (Bocadillos) customers love, along with other selected items such as, croquetas, meatballs, soups, salads, olives and rice pudding will still be available, every day. In addition, The Basque Market will stay open late on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays offering more elaborate tapas from 5 ?? 7 p.m. The popular noon offering of Paella on the Patio Wednesdays has expanded to noon on Fridays, as well.

Tapas @ The Basque Market:

Mid Day Tapas  Tapas Bar will be open at noon & replenished until 3 p.m. Monday – Saturday. Meat/cheese plates & soups will be available all day.

Happy Hour Tapas Tuesday, Thursday & Friday evening from 5 to 7pm, we serve tapas “Spanish” style, in addition to three or four delicious Spanish wines and two-for-one Sangria. 

WHEN:            Beginning Friday, July 1st, 2011

WHERE:           The Basque Market

                        608 W. Grove Street (On the Basque Block)

                        Boise, ID 83702

                        (208) 433??1208

                        www.thebasquemarket.com

New Kids On The (Idaho Street) Block

I may not be one of those folks who buys first generation gadgets (except for the iPad – my one eager-tech-buyer exception) but I am one of those foodies who likes to try out a new destination within a week of it opening. 

Sometimes I’m disappointed – the kinks are still be worked out – but I understand and return a few weeks later. But sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised.

Case in point – the new Fork Restaurant in Downtown Boise.
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Owner Cameron Lumsden did a fantastic job warming up the historic space on the main floor of the newly renovated 805 Idaho Building. Warm woods, bright light and native stone throughout.

But – we’re here for the food. And while Fork describes it’s culinary approach as Fork blends fresh flavors from throughout the Northwest to create an Americana dining experience that is both surprising and comforting.  Whenever possible, we follow the ‘Farm to Fork’approach that includes sourcing farm-fresh ingredients locally, then preparing them in such a way as to enhance, but never cover, their natural qualities.”

I’d affectionately say it reminded me of – comfort food elevated with a homegrown hook
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My colleagues & I hit Fork up for lunch – where the Chicken Pot Pie was the most popular on a dreary blustery day.
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Though there as a bacon & mozzarella and adult grilled cheese tempting me, I chose the roasted butternut squash ravioli. Both nom-worthy choices.
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But the winner of the meal roulette was Gloria who ordered the Urban Burger topped with sweet n spicy bacon. I’m a sucker for presentation and the butcher block platter and copper cup o’fries was a great touch.
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Then there was dessert.
What can I say – a half-dozen fairly original choices from Fork Beer Float to Warm Butter Cake to S’mores and these warm sugar donuts made me drool. I can really appreciate a joint that takes the art of dessert seriously.
Also – some great service for a soft-launch week and well-priced lunch options.
All in all I’m looking forward to a trip back – for adult grilled cheese, a skinny cocktail, and a few more desserts ;-)

I’m also looking forward to the expansion of John Berryhill’s foodie empire just up the street. Kudos to Boise Weekly for getting the scoop on John’s Plan B “a small, after dinner, after work bar…” with leather couches and finer scotches and his concept Bacon, “serving a selection of dine-in or to-go salads, sandwiches, paninis, soups and Italian strata. There will also, of course, be bacon. We’ll have probably eight to 10 different kinds of bacon … we’ll have turkey bacon, Berryhill bacon, kurobuta bacon, we’ll probably do some game bacon, tempeh bacon … we’ll have candied bacon, we’ll do bacon crumbles … you can put it on ice cream or if you want to put it in your latte—everything will come with bacon as an add-on.”  Read more

 Scotch in one part of the building, up to 10 types of bacon in another? I may never leave Idaho Street.

Boise Fry Co foodgasm

On the left – yam fries with cinnamon ginger salt and warm marshmallow sauce.

On the right – The Bourgeoise – hand cut Russets flash fried in duck fat and dressed with black truffle oil. (Best. Fries. Ever.)

And on the far right – as a side of course – the delicious (but pretty much unneccessary) bison burger :-)

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A Must Mangia – Basque Market’s Sheepherders Breakfast

Maybe it was the post-party need for a great brunch, or the fabulous sun finally shining, or the general vibe that Boise is a fantastic place to call home. Or – it could have just been that the monthly Sheepherders Breakfast at the??Basque Market??is an awesome deal with great food that made today’s brunch one of my all-time favs.??
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Served family-style, the plethora of food includes Basque potatoes,??egg pipparade, chorizos, sheepherders bread and churros (mmmmm, the??churros were??fantastically fried, gooey, crunchy and sugary delicious)

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And, did I mention, bottomless Basque bloody marys or sangria blanco – all for $15? Best deal in town that also transports you to another locale while sitting comfortably in the midst of Boise’s Basque block.
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Unfortunately, no photo of the best part of the meal – the sheepherders bread. But I’m determined to get my own dutch oven and bake some asap.
Found a few recipes for the bread – including this local one

And SAVE THE DATES for the next??Sheepherders Breakfast??- August 22, September 26, October 24, November 21, December 12
10am-1pm – first come first serve ($10/person, add $5 for bottomless drinks)

United Nations of the Bench – Foodie-style

Made a spontaneous stop at the Orient Market on Emerald today looking for some dry miso. As with most random foodie trips my ‘oh look at that!’ mentality meant I walked out with more.

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Front and center were yummy fresh pastries from the new Yen Ching Bakery in DTBoise – we snagged the coconut and custard pastries. Also grabbed some super affordable loose leaf Jasmine tea, and got distracted watching fish mongers in the back clean fresh red tilapia and sea bass.

Which leads me to singing the praises of my fantastically diverse – at least from a foodie perspective – Bench ‘hood. From Emerald to a few blocks south on Orchard we have a slew of ethnic markets and eateries:
- A Wee Bit of Scotland
- Orient Market
- BoEx Bosnian Market
- Indian Market
- Campos Mexican Market
- Tango’s Argentinian Empanadas
- Banh Mi Baguette Deli (Vietnamese)

Must own up to having only frequented the Orient Market (for sushi supplies, soups and spices), Campos (for great BBQ meats and tamales), and Tangos (for kick-ass delightfully fried meal and dessert empanadas).

But this summer I’m pledging to keep broadening my foodie horizons and do a culinary Tour d’Bench. Look for more posts as I try my hand at more ethnic foodie fare than my typical Italian roots :-)
(and let me know if I missed a stop on the Bench!)

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Amazing meal & atmosphere @ hidden gem Le Coc Rouge

Can’t say enough about the fabulous meal, service, atmosphere and overall experience at this great French bistro tucked away off south Maple Grove.

As you can see by the chalkboard (no printed menu – offerings change daily and are at a price point at the high-end of what can be found around the Treasure Valley. But the quality and offerings stand up to the price. There’s also no wine list – because half the store is filled with bottles from around the world that you can peruse and bring back to your table. We settled on Les Closiers Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2003 and enjoyed the duck and veal while listening to crooner Adam Gottesman singing the great standards daily (including my favorite – Fly Me to The Moon)

Be prepared for a relaxed meal. Once you are seated your table is yours for the night – even if you get there at 6. You’re encouraged to sit back, relax, take your time with your food and companion, and savor the experience.

Well worth it for the special occassion – or just to feel like you’ve been transported somewhere else.

Highly recommend a journey to Le Coc Rouge Brasserie ((208) 376-9463)

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Friday lunch foodie bliss @BarGernika IMG00147.jpg

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Nothing says happiness on a beautiful Friday in Boise like a patio lunch with your office feasting on Basque goodness – croquetas, grilled cheese on cheddar scallion bread and garlic soup.

I know that croq’s are made of butter, onion, chicken, flour and milk – but they will always be known to me as ‘Delicious Balls of Goodness’ and I’m committed to making them from scratch this winter.
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Red Feather’s Drink Journey Menu IMG00128.jpg

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I must have been unobservant in the past – or maybe the new layout of the Beverage Menu just emphasized its local personality more.
Nonetheless – really love Red Feather/Bittercreek’s Beverage Menu: A Compostable Guide to wine, beer, spirits and cocktails.
In essence – all the beverage options are organized and showcased by their distance to Boise. On the other side of the price is the ‘Miles traveled to your table.’
Love it!!
As the owners explain on the menu masthead – ‘ In the spirit of local thinking we have chosen to organize our wine and beer offerings by their proximity to our Boise home. We hope this inspires you to consider local options as much as possible…and in the event that you are frustrated instead of inspired, please feel free to ask your server for assistance in making a selection.’
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