Poutine, Potato Vodka and so much more…Posted: October 17, 2012
Who knew that there’s such a vibrant local food scene in Boise? I didn’t know it. And I don’t mean Russet potatoes (though they are delicious)- it’s much, much more.
During our trip to Boise last weekend, we were pleasantly surprised at how much attention there is to eating locally. We were going to see a Boise State football game without any local foodie intentions. However, we were much surprised. I would like to share how we unexpectedly experienced the local food scene in Boise last weekend.
A late night snack
We arrived in Boise around 9pm after a 5 ½ hour drive. All we wanted was a good drink and a light meal before we went to bed. Located in downtown Boise, FORK was a delightful surprise.
We ordered a cheese plate with a number of locally produced cheeses, hand cut fries and what they called a tomato fondue with grilled cheese. The later is a unique twist on fondue where cubes of grilled cheese sandwich (made with local cheddar of course) were dipped into a creamy tomato-based soup. Try to tell me that’s not a comfort food-lovers delight.
It was during this meal that we learned about a farmers market from our server, so guess what we did the next morning before we hit Broncos Stadium…
Though it’s late in the season, farmers markets are still going strong in Boise with tables overflowing with various produce, grass fed beef (both fresh and jerky-d), local goat cheeses, wine from local vineyards and a cornucopia of pumpkins and squash.
We found Rollingstone, one of the Idaho cheese producers we tried the night before. They make a number of different goat cheese styles, but we bought their aged Chevre with ash strewn through the middle, along with a small log of their unbelievably soft, fresh goat cheese. Aged goat cheese is rare to this area, but they’re doing it right. I’d say it’s close to Vermont Creamery for those of you on the East Coast.
After catching a spirited game at Bronco Stadium where Boise State dominated Fresno State at the Smurf, we went to Bittercreek Alehouse for a few celebratory pints of local Idaho brew and an overflowing bowl of poutine (oh, what a hot mess). Yes, poutine is a Canadian invention, but when made with local Idaho potatoes, local cheese curds (Ballard Family Dairy) and gravy from locally raised turkeys, it raises the dish to a new locavorian high (yes, I just shamefully made up that word).
Dedicated to the local food movement, this alehouse lists the sources of all the local foods they serve. It gets updated everyday. Pretty impressive.
A pre-dinner cocktail
Even for an aperitif that evening, we acted as locavore. Can you say martinis made from locally produced vodka (specifically Blue Ice Vodka)? I guess it makes a ton of sense that Idaho would make vodka (and a good one at that). The Polish have been distilling potato vodka for centuries, why shouldn’t it be done in one of the most prolific potato growing areas in the world.
In retrospect, I guess the lesson here is that anyone can discover local food just about anywhere if you get out there and explore – there are plenty of new and stimulating experiences waiting for you so don’t miss out.
Please don’t hesitate to share with me any of your local food experiences, be it in Boise or any other part of this country.
Thanks and happy local eating.