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

Brick 29 Bistro

Since the hubby and I live in Meridian we are always looking for great restaurants other than the usual hot spots in downtown Boise or Eagle. To our surprise, we found a keeper in downtown Nampa. Brick 29 Bistro blew our socks off!

We had dinner a couple weeks ago and let me tell you, I became a raving fan before we even left. To start with, the ambiance in the joint is great. From the smiling hostess to our superb waitress, each member of the staff we came into contact with was friendly and knowledgeable. And this is huge for me, if I am going to be spending 2-3 hours of my night somewhere, I want to enjoy who I am spending it with. Next, I caught myself surprised at how cool and fresh the space was. Whoever designed this place gets a wink from me, great job.

Now to the food. We started off with the Idaho Hummus which was delish! At only $6, it was a steal. Our table ordered a variety of entrees: Lamb Shank ($19), Rosemary Chicken ($14), Red Snapper- Catch of the Day ($16), Black Angus Rib Eye ($23) and I had the Black Angus Filet Mignon ($25). Let me tell you, this place did not disappoint! In fact both my husband and I commented that it is the best food we have had in town since we moved back last May. Others at the table also commented that it was the best lamb they have tasted. And if you are a wine drinker, then they have what you want. Great selection of wines.

The presentation of the food was also noteworthy. Everyone at my table noticed the attention to detail that went into our meals. Here are a few of them:

Filet Mignon:

Red Snapper:
Rosemary Chicken:

Another great plus (as if we needed one) is that the restaurant supports the community by preparing locally grown foods with “out of this world flavors”. I strongly recommend making your reservation at Brick 29 Bistro today! The place is fantastic and you are missing out if you haven’t tried it.

Location: 320 11th Avenue South in the Historic Masonic Temple
Rating: 5 forks!

Gino's Italian Restaurant

Gino's Italian Restaurant, located in between the Balcony and The Piper Pub, has always gotten RAVE reviews so I was excited when my father-in-law, in town for business, asked us to join him there last night. The atmosphere is great; very cozy, old-world Italy. I felt like I had just walked into an old family restaurant in Florence (or what I imagine that would be like as I have never been to Europe). The lighting is dim and the old brick walls have beautiful frescos all over them. The prices were on the higher end, as expected. The average plate was $15-$19 and the portions were small. For that price I expect enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

My husband and I are suckers for bread and dips and Gino's didn't fail to impress there. They had a delicious spicy oil to drench their soft bread in.

I hadn't quite made up my mind when our table started to order so I got flustered and just pointed to something on the menu. I hate jumping the gun like that. I ended up with the Linguini alla Bolognese. Sure, why not? It ended up being cubes of very overcooked steak in a delicious red sauce with noodles. I LOVE steak so it broke my heart but man, it was rough and I couldn't choke them down. Who knows...maybe that is how the dish is supposed to be. I ate a few chunks of the steak and then just saw them as obstacles to the noodles and sauce. The sauce was great! I have to say, my fellow-blogger and I made homemade pasta this weekend and I would have preferred that. BUT...everyone else at the table really enjoyed their dishes of homemade spag and meatballs, a hot and cold salad and ravioli. So...I chalk this up to me closing my eyes and pointing to the menu. I will definitely give it another go but my first impression was overpriced food for what I got.

Did I mention each table has a candle for ambiance? I didn't notice the candle until my husband put his napkin on top of it and it caught on fire. We tried to hide it but the napkin ended up melding to the tablecloth. Good times. I was dying.

I give it 2 forks but hope to add a fork or two on my next attempt. Will not be ordering the Bolognese.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tasting Jenny's Lunch

Today, I ventured out during the lunch hour to fill the tank. I decided to eat at small place located just off main street called Jenny’s Lunch Line (cute website). It is a charming place that serves salads, sandwiches and a wide variety of soups. Jenny offers us a different menu daily with everything pre-made and ready for the busy lunch crowd.

After perusing the selections, I decided on the Roast Beef wrap and the Creamy Tomato Basil Orange soup. The wrap was a tortilla filled with roast beef, herbed cream cheese and lettuce and the soup was like your typical tomato-basil but with orange zest (there was nothing creamy about it). I would give the meal a 3.5 forks, since it really did not get my taste buds dancing. The flavors were a little stale in the wrap and the orange zest taste in the soup was weird with the tom. However, I gave them an extra ½ fork for having a great website, original concept and super friendly service. Plus, a fellow blogger told me their cookies were great!

Not sure why they leave the food on the counter unchilled?

Location: Jenny's Lunch Line -560 W Main St Boise, ID
Order: Roast Beef Wrap and Creamy Tomato Basil Orange Soup.
Rating: 3.5 forks
Happy Tasting Boise,


After viewing Crissie's "Best Of" list, I was reminded that I hadn't been to Cobby's for some time and stopped by there for lunch today.

Location: Cobby's on Broadway
Order: #23 / Turkey & Avocado on Wheat
Rating: 4.5 Fresh Tasty Forks!

Cobby's Sandwiches never disappoint. Their bread is always soft and delicious and ingredients are fresh as they come for the best deli sandwich around! You can't beat the free chips and fruit as well. Although Cobby's is a bit on the pricey side (most sandwiches start at almost $7/ea.), Cobby's makes up for it with their generous portions. A small sandwich is more than enough to curb your hunger cravings in a healthy way! I have been to Cobby's on Broadway and in Garden City, and they consistently deliver a tasty meal.

Crissie's "Best Of"

This is my list of the "Best Of" for Boise. Just my opinion. Not sure how valid it is...but I sure do LOVE to eat and have a LOT of experience in the subject!

This is my personal "Best Of" list as of February 3, 2009. List subject to change if something tops the charts.

Pizza: Guidos
Fries: Pair | Yam Fries
Fry Sauce: Good Times
Mac & Cheese: Flatbread
Nachos: Reef
Tacos: Baja Fresh
Chips & Guac: Mesa Taqueria
Burrito: Qdoba
Overall Mexican: Los Betos
Pad Thai: Pat's Thai Kitchen
Monte Cristo: Miss Tamis Cottage Expressions
After dinner mints: Louie's Pizza
Meatball sub: Front Door
Ice Cream: Delsas | Lemon Custard
Sub Sandwich: Cobby's
Best chinese: Yang Sheng/Yen Ching
Mashed Potatoes: Brick Oven Bistro
Salad: Bardenay
Breakfast: Big City Coffee
Breakfast Buffet: Murphey's Steak House on Sunday
Late Night Food: Chilangos Burrito Truck
Rolls: Texas Roadhouse
Fast Food: Taco Bell
After Work Appetizers: Pair
Beer: Bittercreek Alehouse
Cheap Eats: Tango's Empanadas
Food Specials: Parilla Grill | $1 Taco/Beer Night
Happy Hour: Pengillys for beer | Pair for food
Dessert: Asiagos
Chocolate: The Chocolate Bar
Pot Pie: Focaccias
Gyro: Mazzah
Hot Dog: Stan's on Vista
Cookies: Blimpie's frosted sugar cookie
Mayonaise: Zeppole's Pesto Mayo
Milk Shake: Fanci Freeze's Chocolate Spin

Parilla Grill

So a few of my girlfriends and I thought we would try out Parilla Grill in Hyde Park this past Friday evening despite numerous bad reviews about average food and scary bartenders. A buddy of mine tells me that the Wrap of Khan is TDF so I order it with chicken and get it the recommended way with corn salsa and gorgonzola cheese (later unsure of that decision). Sat down with my $2 Tecate (yummo) and wrap. First bite was a huge fatty bite of gorgonzola but I plowed through to one tasty treat! The only time I paused during my food sesh' was to pull the accidental chicken bone out of my mouth. No worries, totally worth it! Pretty chill, fun atmosphere. Ok...some reviews were correct that the service is a little sketch but the Wrap and cheep brew make up for it in my opinion. I give this 3 somewhat enthusiastic forks up.

The Blog You've Been Hungering For

Welcome one and all to the launch of tasteboise.blogspot.com, the new authority on dining in the Treasure Valley. Next time you think of dining out (taco trucks included), check with us first and get unbiased opinions on your favorite eateries. Our guest contributors include seasoned chefs, vegetarians and street vendor aficianados alike with tastes ranging from comfort foods to a flair for the exotic, so you won't miss a beat. Check back soon for our first review!