Friday, July 24, 2009

Chronic Taco - redeemed

I went to Chronic Taco in downtown Boise opening night in July. Wee Man and crew were there along with 200 kids dying for him to sign their skate boards. That night I ordered a Carne Asada burrito with cilantro lime rice and black beans. No bueno. It was dry and lacked flavor. They literally put one small stripe of salsa on it. BUT...after convincing from a fellow blogger I went back today. I ordered the Carnitas Tacos because she said they rivaled the Baja Fresh tacos. I laughed at the mention but gave it a whirl. They were delicious. Not quite Baja delicious but really, really good. They were larger and a bit pricier but also had cheese, cabbage, sour cream and guac which Baja does not. (I do prefer the simple taco at Baja). BUT, the flavors today were wonderful! Insanely greasy but I don't know what else to expect from Mexican food. I would highly recommend the tacos there. I have heard the fish tacos are TDF although I don't plan to try them. :) They do have a Machaca breakfast burrito which I have every intention of inhaling some morning. Three cheers for the Chronic! And three forks for that matter.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Costa Vida

My hubby and I stumbled on a tasty little gem located in Meridian named Costa Vida. It is a fantastic fresh mexican grill that offers tasty food at an even tastier price. All dishes are made from scratch, daily using only the freshest all-natural ingredients.

The restaurant itself has a great vibe. The staff are always super friendly and helpful. The place is always clean and the food is hands down my favorite fresh mex. To add to the chill vibe are countless TVs showcasing surfing shows, programs and documentaries.

Every time we go we order the same thing. I get the sweet pork enchilada with medium sauce and all rice, hubby gets two sweet pork enchiladas with medium sauce, rice and black beans and then we share an order of chips and queso. The queso is among my favorites I have to say.

I highly recommend you check the place out. They also have a handy dandy Costa Vida card that earns you points each time you dine with lovely rewards along the way.

Costa Vida
3340 North Eagle Road
Meridian, ID 83642
4 killer forks up!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Tunnel Cafeteria - In Search of the Perfect Breakfast Burrito.

For some people the ideal breakfast consists of omelets, waffles or even bloody mary’s. For my BF it is the breakfast burrito. He is on a mission to find the best breakfast burrito of all time and seems happiest while eating them. His words “The breakfast burrito makes me feel lost in a sea of deliciousness.” I mean really they are all you could ever in a breakfast item and include the four basic food groups: Cheese, Grease, Fat and Processed Meat.

This quest is what led us to the creepy confines of the Boise tunnels this morning. BF had been to the little Cafeteria located in these tunnels before and was praising their breakfast burritos, so I agreed to check it out. There are underground tunnels beneath the capitol mall connecting the Capitol Building to the Supreme Court building and other government buildings. I believe the tunnels are only meant to be accessible by government employees, but we were able to sneak in through the staircase of one of the government buildings and enter the tunnel. I felt like we were on a secret mission, but no one ever escorted us out or anything. Ha.

This is a picture of the building where we entered - I don't have any pictures of the tunnel because the BF told me it could be considered terrorism :). The tunnels had really cool murals on the wall and we almost missed the Cafeteria because the sign was very small. However, we found the little hidden treasure decorated like a combination of my grandma’s living room and a dorm room cafeteria.

There were only about 3 other patrons in the restaurant and we were promptly greeted by a nice man who took our breakfast burrito order. Two small burreats – one with bacon, one with sausage only $3.50 each! We took our order to-go as we were concerned about being arrested (not really). Our server was very friendly and even thanked us for our business. Once we arrived safely to the car, we took a look at the burreats and realized they looked more like Quesadillas, but they still had the main staples of a breakfast burrito : Cheese, Tortillas, Eggs, Fried Hash browns, Bacon/Sausage. The BF said this about his:
“The breakfast burrito makes me feel lost in a sea of deliciousness. Today, I realized however that the sea was a little rough, and I might have to add some salsa to calm the gods. While it was delicious - and the sausage was cooked to perfection - the hash browns were a little too greasy and I needed to add some topping to balance the force.”

I found my extremely greasy and little plastic tasting. In fact, I think they were so greasy they should be labeled as a main ingredient in tanning oil. However, it was well worth the adventure.

The tunnel cafeteria gets 3 covert operation forks!

Location: I am unable to divulge.
Order: Small Breakfast Burrito with Bacon $3.50
Rating: 3 forks

Happy Tasting Boise,


That’s a wrap!

Tasty Pies

Located in the heart of Eagle, Flame is a great little pizzeria offering Neapolitan style pies.

I ordered up the lunch special as did my friend-- Classic pizza with a Caesar salad. The portions were perfect for a hungry lady which usually is my dining style. The waiter was very friendly and kept our drinks full and delivered our food fast. The pizza was a delight! Crispy crust, juicy sauce (but not too much) and delicious, toasted, yummy cheese galore. The salad was a typical Caesar and was good, but the home run with that dish was the toasted Parmesan cheese bread that accompanied it. I only wish it came with two instead of one!

The atmosphere of the restaurant was hard to judge as there were only a few of us dining at the time, but I did enjoy the open style kitchen and coziness of the place. I would be giving Flame a higher score if only their prices weren't so steep. For the "lunch special" it was $10, which is do-able but not a great price to be advertising as a special. I will definitely be going back to Flame for some din-din though, their pizza is a little slice of heaven.

Flame Neapolitan Pizzeria
228 E Plaza St # F
Eagle, ID 83616

3 delicious forks up!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

34th Street Deli - Tit for Tat, a delicious and eclectic adventure

Heyo blogosphere! I know this writer's hiatus has been especially long and you probably have lost all hunger for life by now but here's a novel for the books. I was waiting to dine somewhere so special that the words would burst out of me like the salmon of capistrano and this week it happened. After a rousing tour through ye olde Costume shop on Chinden, fellow mostly-mexi-blogger Crissie and I made a right turn into sketchy motel city just blocks away. The parking lot was dimly lit on that rainy Wednesday but there was a beacon of light shining from the 34th Street Deli. Or was it a glint off the tattoo needle of the attached Tat Shop? One couldn't be sure.

Upon entering, I knew this was a true gem of our fine state. As I looked around the comic-strip covered walls for someone behind the counter, I spied a pint-sized face peering up at me. He greeted us kindly and asked what we would like to order. Wondering if we had stumbled accidentally into the Emerald City, I wondered why this 8 year old maitré-d wasn't attending to his studies. Nevermore, I spotted a rack behind me. Upon it sat the most glorious food in all the land! Boxes of REAL Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Cup O'Noodles, and other sundries abounded with prices that would warm the coldest of hearts in this so-called recession. I promptly selected 2 of the $1 Mac & Cheeses (brand name!) and added them to my order as I noticed our young helper was precariously perched upon several well-placed milk crates to give him a better line of sight as he carefully took my order - pausing to ask me several questions about the customized nature of my sandwich to ensure the best possible outcome.

I got a tasty turkey on wheat, which was made by the friendly gentleman behind the counter. Here's how that went: remember when mom would make you a delicious turkey sandwich with all the fresh fixins and send you off to school with an I Love You post-it inside your lunchbox? That's what this was for me. Mini-worker informed us that he is home-schooled and this is his year-round gig while he ran my credit card like an old pro. Let me just say that this is the best service, hands-down, that I have gotten in some time. Friendly, thorough, adding of math correctly, and cute pinchy freckled cheeks to boot. Should you have time to dine-in, you will find yourself seated in the adjoining tattoo parlor. Mom's turkey sandwich while getting her moniker tatted on your netheregions? Just a thought. 4.5 Fourth Grade Forks!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Baja Fresh

Ok, I know we aren't supposed to write about chain restaurants but I think that every now and then one restaurant, although in every city across the globe, plays a melodic tune in your heart and deserves the recognition we would give a local mom and pop shop. This happened today at lunch. I had a cilantro lime love affair at Baja Fresh that left a burning passion in my heart. Ok...overboard but it was just SO good.

I ordered the standard which I rarely deviate from. Why mess with perfection? I got two pork tacos on corn tortillas with a mild salsa verde. Such a simple taco. Onion, moist and perfectly cooked pork, tangy salsa, cilantro and the juice of a lime squeezed over it. Each and every bite that I took I stared at my taco, shook my head at it and smiled with an "oh yooouuuuuuu" look. The only taco in my life that has ever even attempted to hold a torch to Baja Fresh was a taco that I got from a street vendor in Rocky Point, Mexico. Fortunately for Baja Fresh my mexican taco was made of head meat (Tacos de Cabeza) which gives the more familiar pork a head up. No pun intended.

Baja Fresh has an amazing salsa bar that makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. The chips are perfect and crispy. I don't know. I just think that it is an amazing place with all fresh food. It deserved a mention. Ole!

quatro tenedores

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thai Nalyn

I was driving around on my lunch break this afternoon killing time between meetings when I saw a sign saying "THAI NALYN NOW OPEN" so I did what any self respecting woman would do and cut across three lanes of traffic, poached two parking lots and finally made my way to the restaurant. It was a desperate attempt that paid off. NOTE: I am pretty sure that sign has been up for months but no matter.

I went to that same location about a year ago. It was a Thai Restaurant then as well but you ordered at the counter. So I walked right up to the back of the restaurant and waited at the counter to order. So, things changed. You wait to be seated. That was fun.

While perusing the menu they brought me some soup which I slurped the broth out of and left the meat. I ordered the Chicken Pad Thai without hesitation. Did I mention I was dining alone? A bit awkward but I had my pocket video games to make me feel less alone. The place was actually quite packed with business professionals who must have heard the secret about this gem. They probably waited to be seated too. My Pad Thai was at the table by level 3 of Bejeweled.

It was a large lunch serving and for $7.99, a great deal. This was one of the best Pad Thai's I have ever had. I think. I know I LOVED it and felt really excited about it. It had great flavor. Mild in spice but I am sure you can 5 star it, challenge the cooks. They brought me a mint with my bill. Hold the phone. It wasn't a mint it was a Turmeric candy. It will remain in my desk drawer until I google what Turmeric is.

I give this 3.5 lonely diner stars.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ono Cafe

I will now be affectionately calling it O-yes Café. Ono Cafe is the offspring of Kanak Attack Catering and located on 2170 Broadway Ave. I went here with a few girlfriends last week because it has gotten good reviews and is just around the corner from my house. From the strip mall that it is in and the handpainted sandwich board sign on Broadway I had expected it to be painted teal inside (ya know...because of the ocean) with plastic leis hanging on the walls. Maybe a few palm frawns here and there. I was very wrong and quite impressed. It is really nice inside. You walk in the door to a case of AMAZING looking desserts. It is dark inside, in a good, moody, romantic sort of way. The décor on the walls is Hawaiian, but classy. Not the Zurchers party store decorations that I had been expecting.

My husband and I went to Hawaii on our honeymoon and got to go on a fun Luau. Everything about this place brought back those memories. The names I can't pronounce, the smoky smells, the flame dancers. flame dancers but that would have really put it over the edge. I ordered the Hukilau. Mostly because I could say it and also because it was pig. When it came to the table it was glorious. It was smoky shredded pork with coconut rice, fried onions and a bright pink flower for presentation. They really brought their A game. The flavor of the pork was AMAZING! I can't wait to take my husband!

4 sunset inspired forks


I guess they don't go there for the food.

I just got back from a wacky office lunch to celebrate a combo 40th bday party and bachelor party. It was definitely a good time and we had a lot of laughs, mostly at the expense of our over-the-hill-about-to-go-to-the-dark-side coworker. (They made him get up and dance in front of the whole restaurant or else he would have to buy everyone a beer). Service was friendly (shocking?), the beers were large but I wasn't overly impressed with the food. In fact I only ate half of my burger and just a few fries, very out of character for me. The only other time I have been to a Hooters was on my honeymoon in Hawaii, I know, romantic. I had wings there and was severely disappointed. Had to change it up this go round so I had the Western BBQ Burger which comes loaded with bacon, onion tanglers, cheese and bbq sauce. I thought the BBQ sauce was ketchup, someone had to correct me. Not impressed. The fries were ok but nothing special. You know...for an $8 burg you would think they would come with fries but those are additional. I think I just bought a new pair of super-hefty nylons.

I have had so much grease that I am tempted to crawl under my desk for an afternoon siesta. After a quick survey of the table everyone had a great time--who knew that 1980's stockings and mini to the mini shorts were appealing to guys? Entertaining. I give it 2.5 forks because of the novelty.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cool Hand Lukes- Eagle

About a month ago, my family and I ate at Cool Hand Lukes in Eagle. We were celebrating my sister-in-law's birthday so there were 8 total in our party. We had called in a week prior for reservations. Hubby was told they don't take reservations, only call-ins but that they would do their best to have a table for us at 7pm. So to try and ensure a table close to 7, we arrived at 6 and let them know our party was present and we would be in the bar until our table was ready.

Once at the bar, I waited for over a half an hour for a drink. The bar was busy, but not that busy. I can think back to the Main Street Bistro days when hundreds were packed up to the bar desparate for a drink and somehow the Bistro was able accomodate, not the case here. However, once I finally had my drink it was excellent.

By 8pm we still didn't have a table. After inquiring at the hostess stand (once again) we were told sorry, that there had been a misunderstanding and that we would be seated soon. Once in our seats (thank God, I was starving) we settled in and ordered up some grub. Several people had the tri-tip, I had the filet and a few had a chicken entree.

My filet was only so-so. It didn't taste bad, but there wasn't anything special about it. Most filets I have had recently just melt in your mouth...not so much here.

Our service was marginal. I hate being called honey and don't love listening to my server baby talk with my nephew, but that's just me I realize.

The actual decor and setup of the restaurant is great. Very spacious and great merchandising throughout the dining area.

I definitely want to give CHL another shot. I have heard from other people they really enjoyed their experiences here, so it may have been an off night for CHL and for me. We'll see. I'm crossing my fingers that's the case. I'll be sure to post an update once I have gone for Round 2.

Location: 291 E Shore Dr Ste 101 Eagle, ID 83616

Epi's Basque Restaurant

To celebrate Valentine's Day the hubby and I eagerly ventured to Epi’s Basque Restaurant. We had been told this place was amazing and that the service would blow us away.

Did it ever!! I swear I felt like best friends with my server, cook and hostess --- all of whom were out of this world hospitable. Seriously, the owner gave me a hug as I was leaving and I loved it. I felt that we were great buddies and that she truly enjoyed sharing her evening with me and my husband.

The food was equally as good. We ordered the ham croquetas to start with. These little balls are sent straight from heaven. We finished off the plate (which had perhaps 12 of them) in minutes. We then savored a great bottle of Pinot Noir that our waiter suggested, no problem finishing that one off.

A salad and soup came with our entrees. I tried the Red Bean soup and hubby had the Cream of Mushroom soup. I am not a huge bean fan, but I tell you what…this soup was delicious! It had a little kick to it, but not so much it burns out. Hubby isn’t a large Cream of anything fan, but wanted to give the soup a shot, and he was glad. It turned out to be the best mushroom soup that has graced his lips. The salads were simple yet delicious. Whatever their homemade dressing is, I want to get my hungry little hands on it.

For our main course, hubby had the special of the night: Lobster tail and filet mignon. He gobbled it up and said quite frequently how much he was enjoying the lobster. I enjoyed my flat iron steak with an amazing sauce that made it perfection.

As if we were not bursting at the seams already, our server brought us a plate of hand cut fries. DELICIOUS! They were dusted with a specialty seasoning and were amazing.

Next up, dessert. Yes, you may be asking yourselves how we could still be eating…but I had to try an authentic dessert from this amazing gem of a restaurant. We ordered the apple bread pudding and it was a fabulous choice. Every bite was savored down to the last fork full.

I recommend that you visit Epi’s now. Talk about a restaurant having it all…you will not be disappointed here. I had heard it was great and it still far surpassed any expectations I had set.

Location: 1115 N Main St, Meridian, ID 83642

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mesa Taqueria

We just got back from a co-worker's birthday lunch at Mesa Taqueria. Mesa is a great, casual lunch spot in downtown Boise on 8th St, next to Cazba. You order/pay at the counter. The décor is nice (including the expected neon beer signs), large, heavy wood tables and beautiful southwestern paintings on the wall which I am told are done by the owner's wife. It inspired me to start painting again. I am sure that feeling will pass by 5 tonight. Summertime is great because of the outdoor patio but it was a bit too chilly for that today.

My order was one of the last out of the shoot for the group and I about climbed over the counter to get it. The service was fast, I had just skipped breakfast today. I ordered the special, a Pulled Pork torta. It was one of the better pulled pork sandwiches I have ever had. It had a spicy chipotle sauce, cabbage, fresh tomatoes on a freshly baked bun. It came with a side of chips and salsa, and like usual I had to get a side of their delicious guacamole. It was sloppy, heavenly and ended up all over my pants, and a little on the floor. A few others ordered their tacos, which taste yummy and fresh along with some tortilla soup which one of them was raving about. One of my coworkers had eaten here just a few days earlier and ordered the special which happened to be fish tacos which are not a staple on the menu, but according to her should be. She asked about it at the counter and they agreed to cook her up a special order of the fish tacos, very accommodating.

I am not a vegetarian but they do have a special veggie only menu which actually doesn't look too shabby, even to a carnivore like myself. After surveying the table we came out with ratings from 3-5. I would personally rate Mesa tres and a half spicy, fresh forks. It is a great spot for a weekday lunch or a casual weekend dinner. Order the Dos XX.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Donnie Mac's Trailer Park

For lunch a few weeks back, some of the other lady bloggers and me decided to pick up some roadside cuisine at Donnie Mac’s Trailer Park. After hearing some so-so reviews around town, our expectations were well…trashy. Nevertheless, this blogger is always a sucker for a theme restaurant and we decided to give it a try.

The décor was outstanding and very fitting to the trailer park theme and you can even eat inside an actual old car.

We were greeted pleasantly and shown our rolling booth immediately. Our waiter was very nice (and quite the looker). We opted to start off our lunch with the Sweet Potato fries ($3.50) served with a side of trashy sauce (their version of fry sauce). These had a great sweet potato taste and stayed warm for awhile which is often a problem with sweet potato fries. For our main meal, I opted for the Down and Out burger (description from menu):

$4.95 Or $3.95(fries not included) if you’re under 21 years old or come in with a skate board! For future successful business executives, who are presently skaters & boarders, who are just leaning to do tricks! Hand pressed 1/4# Angus burgers! Served on a toasted sesame bun, with crisp lettuce, fresh tomato, red onion slices, crisp kosher pickles, & trailer sauce.

This was a good but not great burger. However, it was served with a condiment basket where you had unlimited trashy sauce, ketchup and mustard. I love condiments so this was excellent!
The other ladies ordered the TUCKER MAC & CHEESE…

$5.95 …now we’re talkin’ American roadside comfort food, served with sweet potato fries & trashy sauce. Add a mesquite grilled kosher dog or a chili for $1.50, just like when you were a kid!

This dish was the real deal -- extremely rich and creamy like mac and cheese should be. I was thinking that if it was really in trailer trash theme it should have been made from the orange powdery stuff with corn flakes crunched up on top. We were all glad it wasn’t though.
Our waiter came back numerous times to check on us and even started up a pleasant conversation. Overall, Donnie Mac’s is trailertastic with really great comfort food and a fun atmosphere --A true hidden-gem of Boise!
I will be back for dinner very soon and will order the DONNIE MAC’S CLASSY DING DONG…

$4.00 A ding dong with vanilla frozen custard accented with 100% maple syrup & dusted with graham cracker crumbs!

Donnie Macs gets 4 trailertastic forks!

Location: Donnie Mac’s Trailer Park -1515 West Grove St. Boise, ID
Order: Sweet Potato Fries, Down and Out Burger
Rating: 4 forks

Happy Tasting Boise,

Friday, February 20, 2009

Murphy's Steakhouse

For round two of our Valentine's Day dinner we made our way to our 9:30 reservation at Murphy's. I was already starving again so I was ready to annihilate the menu. We had our 1/2 off card and were ready to use it. I ordered the french onion soup and mushroom risotto as an appetizer. The french onion soup is really amazing there. Served in an onion with bread baked under the bubbly cheese crust. I didn't want it to end but the way I eat...the end was inevitable, and FAST. I have never been a mushroom person in my life but it was one of those foods I decided that I didn't like before actually trying it, and having a failed attempt at making my own risotto just days before I was curious. As it turns out I am not a fungus person. Confirmed. But I was able to pick around the little caps for some delicious and creamy risotto. El husband ordered calamari for his appetizer (second time of the day). These were the biggest, fattest calamari either of us had ever seen which grossed me out a tad. He LOVED them though and wouldn't quit raving about it.

We both ordered off of the special V-Day menu. He ordered the prawns served over polenta cakes while I got the prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes and blue cheese crème Brule. I didn't know where they were going with the brulee but I was intrigued. If it wasn't for that I was going with the filet mignon. My steak was delicious. Juicy (or I call it bloody) and marbled with fat. It was AMAZING! But my biggest surprise was the blue cheese brule. After my walk with danger the night before (the gamy Duck Brule) I was nervous. This thing was TDF! One of the best I have ever had with subtle bites of blue cheese. I tossed a few elbows and made the fork thru the hand threat to my husband who kept creeping over and stealing it from me. You never steal my food, especially on Valentine's Day. Apparently this was not made clear the previous 7 we spent together.

Our server was incredibly friendly and fast. It was a romantic setting...even though we were all packed in there like steer. Mmmmmmmm meat. To our surprise our half off card doesn't work on holidays. I guess I could have done without the mushroom risotto.

I have been impressed by Murphy's every time I have been there. ESPECIALLY for the Sunday brunch. She costs around $20 +/- but worth every penny as she comes with a dessert and bloody mary bar. Happy hour is a great deal there too. BOGO. I ordered 2 $9 Sea Breazes and had a $5 tab. It is times like those that you don't ask questions but just promise yourself to return, and tell all of your friends.

4.5 forks. So close!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Le Café de Paris - Frenchy Fun

Duck Flavoring Included

The Decadent Duo

On Friday night, some girlfriends and I embarked on a dangerous path down dessert tasting lane at Le Café de Paris. The ambiance of this astonishingly accurate recreation of a side-street Paris café is charming the minute you enter the door. A bakery case full of beautifully-made desserts draws you in with its irresistable chocolate tractor beam, where you can join the other patrons oohing and aahing over the exquisite creations while nervously fretting over which one to select. People scattered haphazardly at the bistro tables are aglow with the light of good wine, good friends, and the satisfaction that only an amazingly rich dessert can bring. I was losing precious time trying to make a decision, and when the waitress came over, rushed, I closed my eyes and pointed to the Duo au Chocolat. Fellow blogger Crissie let out a squeal as she spotted the Duck Creme Brulée on the menu. Confused, I asked the waitress why it would be called Duck and she pointed out that it was made with duck eggs. Concerned for my friend, I decided to hold my judgement until her dish arrived and the taste test could be executed. Birthday girl Katie ordered the Tiramisu, which came in a chocolate cup and was so beautiful you almost didn't want to eat it. Jamison ordered a cheese plate (you can select 1-oz. cheese samplings from their extensive selection) and with a bottle of Italian Red we were on our merry way. When the desserts landed, oh Merry Christmas from the Chocolate Fairy. Mine had a a sail of white chocolate laid over a piece of chocolate hazelnut and my mouth was watering with anticipation. I wasted no time, took a picture, and got after it. The Duo did not disappoint, with its layers of dark chocolate mousse and white chocolate mousse melting in my mouth. It wasn't too heavy or too rich... dare this blogger say, it was perfect.

On to the wild game brulee. Upon first glance my friend's way, I knew something wasn't right. Fellow Blogger Crissie considers herself to be somewhat of a brulee aficionado and I don't think she saw this one coming in a million. I may have seen a single tear trying to make its way out of the corner of her eye as her fork hovered above the dish after the first bite taken. I gave it a whirl and oh holy heavens what is that taste. Not being a huge creme brulee fan, this aftertaste was pushing the envelope in ways I never thought possible. I have never eaten duck in my life, but if I did I would imagine this is what Grandma Duck that been around the pond a few times tasted like. Imagine that with cream and a crusted sugary top and that was my fellow blogger's experience. Needless to say, I don't think wild game belongs anywhere near the dessert table and Crissie couldn't even get through the dish, which was heartbreaking after her excitement to order it.

The Tiramisu consisted of fantastically rich layers of coffee flavored deliciousness and biting the cup reminded me of the old Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Gene Wilder bites the teacup when he's singing. Weird? Yes. Tasty. Double Yes. Did you ever see ducks waddling around in the Chocolate Factory? Lesson Learned. And the geese that lay golden eggs don't count.

Tiramisu Treat

I give Café du Paris 4.5 Chocolate dipped forks with a few feathers on the end for a great escape from the everyday, although I don't think my fellow blogger had quite the same experience.

Pair - Eat, Drink, Share

I got really lucky this Valentine's Day. We are such procrastinators that by the time we had called for a reservation at Murphy's the soonest we could get in was 9:30 pm. Anyone who knows me knows it can be dangerous to let me get hungry (I get angry quick, a downhill slope) so my husband agreed to let us get appetizers at 5 before catching a flick, to hold me over until the main feasting hour. (We saw Gran Torino. Recommended.)

My husband has always been apprehensive to go to Pair for some reason, I think he feels it is too "rave -umcha umcha umcha" for him. The music is very techno there, even on Valentine's Day where I had hoped to hear a little Dean or Frank or something romantic but they did make the place adorable. All of the servers wore black and red. There were rose petals all over the floors, white linens, candles and a special Valentine's Day menu.

I am a firm believer that the Yam Fries are the best in town so I knew I was ordering those but also felt frisky enough to go for the Gruyere spread. Nick ordered the Calamari with Spicy Aioli. I am sure he picked that because he knows I won't touch water food with a 10 ft pole. That is also a reason that I ordered the Yam Fries...he always winces at the mention of them, having never tried them. I felt I was safe and that they were all mine but he just dug right in. The price of the Yam Fries went up from $4 to $5 and the portion size was about 1/4 of the usual but they were served in a stemless wine glass so the presentation was great. It could have been a special adjustment for the night...I hope not permanent. The sweet Mango Sriracha dipping sauce was amazing as always. Nick's Calamari was good, apparently. He really loved the Aioli. The Gruyere spread with bread was delicious and garlicky. Warm, soft bread. It was really, really good. We signed off on the meal with a mini cake bites (they have a cuter name that I can't remember). It was Milky Way flavored, brownie with a caramel center and a cream cheese frosting. For only $1 I can see these becoming a huge hit there.

Pair has a great happy hour with fantastic deals on all of their appetizers which I will definitely be hitting up more, now that I have convinced the husband of the "amazingness" of Pair. Eat Drink Share.

4 techno, blinking forks.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ben's Crow Inn : A True Idahoan Gem

Placed unassumingly on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and beyond the shadow of the affluent Warm Springs neighborhood, you will find Ben's Crow Inn. A 15 minute back-of-the-Harley-ride from downtown, you will find yourself in the middle of a field at anything but an Inn. What appears as a shanty on the outside transforms into an eclectic mix of old and new perched upon an air of one too many good times had in this nostalgic establishment. We were lucky to dine at this biker bar-esque establishment on the Friday before Valentine's Day, and love was most definitely in the air. A mishmash of paper and cellophane decorations cloaked in film of stale bar air greeted us as we walked in the door, and we breathed it in welcomingly. I knew by the permanent fixtures seated at the bar and the wood paneling that this was right up my alley.

Upon inspection of the menu, I struck gold: there it was - the magical mecca of all things favorite of mine: the not-so-elusive Grilled Cheese. Anyone who knows me knows that I have made somewhat of a full-time hobby out of grilled cheese surveying since birth. Many a happy night my family or friends and I have gone to a nice steakhouse or bistro for dinner and I ask to see the kid's menu for hopes of the bread and cheese combo being present. I take this surveying quite seriously and was excited to rate Ben's GC against the others I have tasted in the past. At Ben's, they give you the option of ordering 1/2 salad and 1/2 fries as a side, which everyone happily jumped on the train for. It makes you feel like you are at least pretending to be healthy before diving into your butter dipped fried meal. When the grilled cheese arrived I knew I had struck gold. I have two requirements: White bread and fake-ish cheese. Both landed from the heavens on my plate and I knew this wasn't about to disappoint. With crispy steak fries on the side, I dove in with a vengeance.

me likey

do not want

Crissie ordered "steak fingers" which I was highly disturbed by. This blogger, never a fan of dead animal, wasnt sure if the phalanges of some poor mammal lay inside the cripy outer battered shell that she was devouring with an evil smile perched upon her face.

Nevermore, I give Ben's Crow Inn 4.5 Dust Covered Forks with a red beer poured over the top of them, which is about as good as it gets in this blogger's book. With wallpaper covered in cougars, deer and cabins from the days of yore, it feels like you've stumbled upon somewhere where a murder or giant party, or probably both, has happened. But not in a bad way.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mazzah Mediterranean Grill

One of my husband and my favorite meeting spots for lunch is Mazzah Mediterranean Grill located on Park Center and another on State St. We prefer the Park Center location and eat there often. Service is always friendly and the food is affordable. You can get a gyro for $4.99 (add $3 for the meal deal). The pita bread is always soft and perfect. The tzatziki sauce is great on anything or as a dip. There isn't anything exceptionally unusual about their Gyros but they are are money! We used to order the Dolma (rice rolled in grape leaves) but my husband has gotten off the fence about those, on the wrong side. It makes him think he is eating little caterpillars. I still like them. They have a subtle lemon flavor and are always moist and yummy. They have some baklava for sale at the front counter but I haven't gone there yet. They do look tasty. If you are looking for some affordable, casual dining this is a great stop to put on your list.

4 forks.

Big City Coffee

Kid in a candy store. This place is a favorite. Every time family comes to town I either bring them there or take some of their ginormous muffins and scones home with me. This has got to be one of the greatest places in Boise. Very cutesy on the inside with old mismatched tables and chairs, old metal signs and sofas. It is always hit and miss with seating on the weekends but that is part of the charm.

I have been going to the the Linen District location of this shop since it opened and my jaw still hits the floor every time I look at the mounds and mounds of triple-size baked goods. The scones are to die for in any flavor as is the Pumpkin Chai muffin. If you are like me you should probably get both because you won't be able to make up your mind...and they will feed you all day. At under or around $2 a pop Big City Coffee is a happy oasis in this economy.

I am not a coffee drinker but I have heard rave reviews about their blends, including the "Big Titty" and "Double D" breast cancer awareness blends. Everything is made fresh daily including their granola. One of my favorite "healthy options" is the OBGYF. Fresh fruit (and not that junky cantelope/honeydew mixture where all fruit tastes the same) this is the good stuff like berries, fresh pineapple, grapes, apples, bananas and whatever else they can get their hands on layered with vanilla yogurt and crunchy granola.

I just have to go off the deep end here and RAVE about all of my favorites because they are all worth mentioning. They have award-winning quiche and I prefer the sausage/feta flavor. It is a little slice of heaven served up on a plate. The waffles are unique, huge and really dang good. Make sure to bring a small army if you plan on ordering the Biscuits and Gravy because it is HUUUUGE. One of my good friends got that one day and probably ate 1/8 of it...and he was a hungry boy. I am embarrassed to be claiming this but I once got one of their amazing cookie bars and put it in my purse for a girl's trip to Napa. 5 of us snacked on that one bar for the entire weekend. They are super-sized and probably a good indicator of why America is overweight. I can never say no...even at 8 am it goes in my purse for later (at under $2 it is clinically insane not to).

If you haven't been to Big City yet, I hope you aren't reading the end of this entry because you have hopped on your energy efficient bike and are riding at mach speed down there. You should be.

I give this place 5 mismatched, garage sale forks. And if allowed it would get some spoons, knives and whatever else I could throw in there.

Buffalo Wild Wings

AKA Buffalo Insanely Crowded Super-Slow Service Wings

But to their defense Buffalo Wild Wings had opened just days before we were there and it is dang good ( I mean Gooooo-ooooooD) so I understand the crowds and the fact that they still have a few kinks to work out. We went with a group of 5 at 7 pm on a Friday night and the wait was going to be about an hour with standing room only in all of the walkways filled with hungry peeps waiting for a table. We ordered a couple of beers from the bar ($6.50 ea) where my husband almost wasn't served because his ID ran through the wash. I think his grey hair helped his case but underage drinkers take caution, pack a flask.

We were able to find a table in the bar fairly quickly. We all ordered boneless wings with the exception of my friend's husband who got these adorable mini corn dogs. They looked awesome. My two friends got the Spicy Garlic and I got the Caribbean Jerk sauce, both ranging in the medium/hot range. For 8 boneless wings it will run you round $8, and worth every penny. They are full of flavor and absolutely heavenly. The Caribbean Jerk sauce is sweet and spicy. I sweat when I eat Hot Tamales so this was a challenge for me but that was nothing compared to my husband. Stated in earlier blog posts, he loves to challenge the spice gods and Friday night he was taken down to China Town. One wing at a time. He went straight to the most fiery, hellish sauce, "Blazin." He ordered 12 wings and 6 in he started making regular trips to the bathroom where I thought he was going to call the dinosaurs. A few hours later his watery eyes cleared and his face started to lose the purple tone. Unfortunately the service still has some improving so it was a long wait in between water refills. The table also
ordered a few orders of the onion rings with their southwestern sauce. Honestly some of the better onion rings I have ever had. My order came WAY later than everyone's but they ended up being free so all good in my world.

There are tons of TV's there and the atmosphere is great. Very fun and upbeat with a few video games for the kids to play.

With the crowd and kinks in the service the meal took us about 2.5 hours but I know it will get much better with time. The next morning my husband and I were already talking about craving it again. Not being much of a wing person myself it really says a lot. The husband promises to take it down a notch or two next time.

This place gets 4 flaming, red hot forks. Once this kinks are worked out I think this place is perfect!

Costco "Sample Saturday"

Although an untraditional place to "dine" in Boise, my husband and I had some errands to run on Saturday and found ourselves at Costco. He isn't necessarily the most pleasant of shoppers so I was relieved to remember all of the food samples to distract him, and to feed myself as it was high noon.

We started with some hors d oevres of baked chicken in a sweet, low-sodium marinara sauce and washed them down with some kid's drinkable yogurts, which I don't see myself purchasing. In the produce section they were cutting up some apples that were a little mushy but had GREAT flavor! We kept walking a few more aisles and sampled some V8 Fruit Juice from a very excited server. I wish I would have bought that. I am craving it now. One 8 oz glass gives you a full day of vegetables. And it was delish! We sampled some veggie burgers and ravioli in the frozen food aisle. I was pretty impressed with the selection of no seafood and was actually starting to fill up. We made our way over to the meat section to make sure we hadn't missed anything and they had some salmon. Participate I did not as I steer clear of anything that has ever lived in water.

If you have some errands to run and aren't afraid of fighting through a crowd...Costco is the place to be on Saturday.

Monday, February 9, 2009

P.F. Changs

Sunday afternoon found us in downtown Boise with hungry tummies. My hubby is a fan of PF Changs so we decided to go back to an old favorite and have lunch there with my Mom. Boy, does PF Changs deliver. Our hostess was extremely pleasant and sat us right away. Our server, Tyler, was on his A-game the entire time. We had our drink orders super fast (a delicious tea that he recommended I try) and our lunch was out to us in less than 15 minutes from when we ordered - just enough time for me to finish my delicious egg drop soup. On a side note, last time I was there my server suggested adding a few scoops of the sauce she mixed at our table to the soup. Now it is a must-do each time I have the soup. It gives it an added kick without losing the egg drop flavor. I would definitely recommend you try it out.

Back to lunch, I ordered the Sesame Chicken bowl ($7.95), hubby had the Crispy Honey Shrimp ($14.95) and my Mom had the Lettuce Wraps ($7.95). Everything was beyond tasty! I forget how much I enjoy the food there until I come back for more. It is always consistent and delivers a great meal every time. We passed on dessert (trying to be good), they taunted us by looking so divine on the side counter. But we held strong and opted for our fortune cookies instead.

Lucky for us, we timed lunch just right. As we were leaving the line started to form in the lobby which is a great sign to see a restaurant holding strong in these times.

I am giving PF Changs 4 forks up. It delivered on all of my requirements: Presentation, Service, Taste, Environment and Variety but was lacking any extraordinary details that our 5 forked venues earn so well.

Location: 391 S.8th Street

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bombay Grill

A few weeks ago my husband and I decided to go for a nice Friday night dinner at Bombay Grill on 10th and Main in downtown Boise. I had been there a handful of times, mostly for the delicious and affordable lunch buffet with coworkers. Always impressed with their food, I was really looking forward to this.

It started off on the wrong foot from the moment we walked in. We stood at the front counter for over 5 minutes as the young server at the front counter fumbled around with paperwork and phones before seating us at one of the many available tables. My husband was tempted to leave then but starving, I urged him to plow through. Once we were seated we waited 10 minutes for someone to take our drink order or bring us water. Once we finally placed our order it took us over an hour to be served. The restaurant had people in it but was not overly busy. In the meantime, we had to ask 3 servers to refill our drinks before someone actually did and still had to wait 10 minutes to get a refill.

I ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala and garlic naan and my husband ordered the Chicken Curry as hot as they could make it. He likes to cry when he eats. The prices were higher than I remembered and being on a tighter budget I was a little weary...plates being around $15. When we finally got the food, my plate was delicious as it always is and the naan was exceptionally garlicky (in a good way). My husbands Curry was so watery that he actually used his napkin to soak up some of the excess before he would eat it. One thing he did get was the spice he was looking for...unfortunately he didn't have a drink to wash it down with. The service was some of the worst service I had experienced in a very long time. My food was so good that I would consider going back...but I know I would be alone.

I give this 1 fork. My plate would have been worth 4+ but the service knocked it down.


This post was written by Dave, a guest blogger.

Blimpie chocolate cookie not “gourmet”

Hyped for this idea that us eaters might be impressed by the ham and turkey shaved fresh off damp-looking meat bricks spewed out by machines in Chinese factories, Blimpie tries to stand apart from Subway. To this I say, ‘whatever.’

Anyway, I expanded upon my regular ‘only buy a sandwich, not that combo meal’ strategy today by adding on one of their cookies. I opted for the chocolate chip variety, against the recommendation of Crissie whom loudly raves for the sugar variety. I opted wrongly. The cookie, while generous in chocolate chunk flavor, really lacked in the dough department. It was either overbaked or not buttery enough. I like mine chewy. This one here was gritty and thin on brown sugary substance. It came in a bag that said gourmet on it.

I think not.

But the sammich was good eatin’!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Michelle's "Best of"

As of February 5, 2009:
As always, list subject to change.

Pizza: Protos
Thai: Mai Thai
Steak: Brick 29 Bistro
Mexican: Fiesta Guadalajara- Chinden
Pasta: Smokey Mountain Pizza Teriyaki Chicken pasta
Chicken wings: Buffalo Wild Wings
Asian: Zen Bento
Noodles: Mongolian BBQ
Soup: Cheddar Veg at the Brick oven Bistro
Sandwich: Grains of Montana
Bagel: Blue Sky Bagels in Meridian
Burger: The Ram
Best Appetizer: Flatbread Pizza
House Salad: Smoky Mountain Pizza
Breakfast: Sunrise Café
Best onion rings: Buffalo Wild Wings
Best tots: Hungry Onion
Best coffee house: Rembrandts
Best soda: Tie between Sonic and Golden Wheel
Best sliders: Rudy's Pub and Grill
Catering: Angell's Bar and Grill
Wine: Seasons
Beer: Old Chicago
Best cupcakes: Buttercup (no storefront but let me know if you want their number)
Sugar Cookie: Brick Oven Bistro
Ice Cream: Maggie Moos

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blue Sky Bagels

Today all of the TB bloggers went searching for a little bagelicious fun for lunch. We found it at the very busy Blue Sky Bagels on Main St. in Boise. Many of us have had the pleasure of dining on their magnificent baked dough rings since they are a morning office favorite (especially the cinnamon-sugar variety). However, I wanted to try a bagel sandwich today and settled on the Turkey w/ Sundried Tomato Cream Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Sprouts piled high on an Asiago Bagel ($4.29). I really like that they include FREE cream cheese, sliced cheese and extra veggies on your sandwich plus a pickle on the side. In this economy you don’t find too many restaurant values like that. The sandwich was really fresh tasting and the bagel was super soft with a great asiago crust. The service was fast, but not super friendly, however, my server seemed a little stressed so I will give her a break.

I was also lucky enough to sample a frosted Sugar Cookie ($1.29) purchased by another blogger. The cookie was good, but definitely not as good as Blimpies.

This is actually not a picture of my sandwich, but another bloggers since I scarfed mine down too fast for pictures.

I would recommend visiting their website - interesting info on the “Life of a Bagel”.

Blue Sky is a high 4 forker and I will gladly be back.

Location: Blue Sky Bagels - 407 W. Main StreetBoise, ID 83703
Order: Turkey w/ Sundried Tomato Cream Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Sprouts on an Asiago Bagel
Rating: 4 forks