Friday, May 23, 2008

A Visit to Boise and the Goodlife ~

Last weekend I was in Boise, Idaho and a good friend of mine, another PR professional and blogger-extraordinaire, had asked if I would be a "guest writer" on her blog and talk about all the things I did and places I visited while in the Treasure Valley ~ I've pulled some exerpts that are more relevant to this site, and list a variety of restaurants where Celiacs can find a safe and enjoyable meal. So perhaps the next time one of you stop by Boise for a visit, try out one of these delicious eateries and cheers to you!

Enjoy ~

(Editor's note: Original two-part story was posted on May 22 and 23, 2008)

I’ve been visiting Boise for many years now, and the more I visit, the more I like the City and its abundant community activities and well-planned events – and I’m not just saying this because of my Basque ties. It’s very inspiring to me, an out-of-towner, to see how a relatively small city has created such vibrant and cultured diversity for its residents to enjoy, throughout every season.

Restaurants abound throughout the downtown area of Boise and a few that we ate at over the weekend are worth mentioning. We grabbed a quick breakfast on Saturday morning at Satchel’s Grill and enjoyed their patio dining area before hitting the Capitol City Farmer’s Market which lines 8th Street with row after row of white event-type tents with vendors selling their wares and goods. It’s a delightful market and on this particular Saturday the place was packed with sun-seekers out enjoying the day. One tasty highlight of the market was finding the Blue Bird Bakery with their gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free delicious treats for sampling and for sale. Being a Celiac myself (, I was thrilled to find this little upstart bakery offering some baked goods to those of us who can’t eat wheat/gluten. I was also happy to learn they will soon be selling their creations at the Boise Coop. Stay tuned.

Speaking of gluten-free eating, another restaurant that I tried was The Grape Escape, an Italian wine bar and eatery in the Mode Building at 8th and Idaho Street with a European-style outdoor patio, providing front-row seats to all the fun people…people watching that takes place. Now, consider that I must order my meals totally gluten-free which can be tricky sometimes, and this time was no different. My meal was prepared incorrectly at first try despite my best-given instructions. The second time they got it correct and I must say that their garlic mashed potatoes could be the best I’ve ever tasted. They even comp’t my meal given the “re-do” and because of their consideration, I would definitely return for another meal, but this time armed with my dietary restriction card.
And last but not least was the darling and very French Le Café de Paris bistro on Capitol Boulevard, next to Starbucks. Funny thing is…I learned that morning through an accidental location mix-up with freinds, there are three French cafés in Boise…don’t miss La Vie en Rose and Le Poulet Rouge

Now considering that I'm Basque, you might be wondering why I waited until now to mention one of my favorite parts of Boise, the Basque Block – like they say, “I was saving the best for last.” The Basque Block is quite an interesting and special location to visit, whether it’s representative of your culture or not. Surrounding the Block is the Basque Museum and Cultural Center which highlights many aspects of the history of the Basques people with changing exhibits that are great for kids to view, also. The sidewalks along the Block are equally intriguing with hundreds of Basque family names alphabetically stamped in concrete, along with some traditional songs imprinted on the sidewalk which are fun to try and read. Emphasis on try, due to the oh-so-complicated Basque language, Euskera.

The Basque Market (owned by my cousins) is always a great place to visit and pick up the latest Tempranillo from Spain AND don’t miss their homemade rice pudding, just like Amuma used to make.

On opposite ends of the Block are two of my favorite eateries in Boise – Bar Gernika, offering some great Sangria and the best Chorizos in the west, and Leku Ona, offering a more white-tablecloth dining experience upstairs and a traditional pintxo-style bar downstairs. Finally, there’s the mother of all “watering holes,” the Basque Center and Bar just kitty-corner to Leku Ona where the “true Bascos” hang their Chapalas and have a permanent bar stool with their name on it – a must see/must drink-at location!…Zorionak!

Bonsoir au Les Bois for now, but you can bet I will be back very soon to enjoy more of this lovely Capitol City.

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