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The Boise Fry Company

Low Fat French Fryer

The Boise Fry Company is the best potato joint in the capital of America’s potato state. How could it be anything other than amazing? We visited on our final day in Idaho, eager to fill our bellies with greasy goodness, and were not disappointed.

Boise-Fry-Company

Boise is blessed with a lot of excellent restaurants. During our two weeks in the city, we enjoyed great meals at Chandler’s Steakhouse, Bar Gernika, Cobby’s, The Fork, Goldy’s, Bardenay, Mai Thai, Cazba and the Red Feather, among others. Seriously, if you’re looking for good eats in Boise, check out any of the aforementioned. But the restaurant we’ll most remember is probably the Boise Fry Company.

There’s a sign out front which says “Burgers on the Side”, and that’s no mere witticism. Here, the french fries really are the main course. You get to choose between seven different sorts of potatoes, each of which can be cut in a variety of ways. There are nine various dipping sauces available, from ketchup, to chipotle aioli, to marshmallow sauce.

Yep: marshmallow sauce. That might sound revolting at first blush, but just try dipping one of the thick sweet potato fries into it. Heavenly. We ordered a bunch of different baskets, trying out everything from Russet to yam to pretty purple potatoes, and had a blast experimenting with various combinations of sauces. Yeah, there were burgers and homemade root beer, too; delicious, but almost an afterthought. Our attention had been completely captured by the fries.

Location on our Boise Map
Boise Fry Company – Website

-The French Fry Cookbook

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January 10, 2013 at 10:11 am Comments (2)

Pend d’Oreille Winery

Buy Wine From Argentine Online

Idaho’s wine industry isn’t as renowned as those of California or Washington, but over the past decade, that’s been slowly changing. There are currently over 45 wineries in the state, with more opening every year. During our time in Sandpoint, we stopped by the Pend d’Oreille winery, which has been racking up awards and recognition since opening nearly twenty years ago.

Idaho Wein

We were surprised to find the winery right in the middle of downtown Sandpoint. The grapes used by Pend d’Oreille don’t grow in the area, but are brought in by truck from vineyards further south in Idaho, or in Washington. The rest of the production is done on-site. We were present as a batch of Chardonnay grapes arrived from Vickers Vineyard in Caldwell, and watched them be crushed into juice.

The owner of Pend d’Oreille, Steve Meyer, joined us during our tour and provided a short history of the winery. Originally from California, he spent a long time in Burgundy learning the art of wine-making from a Frenchman named François. Which is about as perfect as it gets. He came back to the States, and dove into the business — after moving to Sandpoint, he and his wife opened the Pend d’Oreille.

Steve brought us into the storage room where around 200 barrels were stationed and, using a bizarre contraption called a “Wine Thief”, extracted some Petit Verdot. Quite good, despite not being fully finished. When he asked what flavors we detected in the wine, I said “Oak and fruity undertones”. It’s my standard response whenever I’m put on the spot, regardless of the type of wine I’m tasting. And it almost always works.

Inside the winery’s shop, which doubles as one of Sandpoint’s favorite bistros, the tastings continued. Shiraz, Chardonnay, Merlot and a Cabernet which took home the Double Gold medal in an international competition. All delicious. And, as I remarked in a loud and increasingly confident voice, many had hints of “oak and fruity undertones”. We couldn’t resist buying a bottle of the Shiraz to take home.

Make sure and stop by the Pend d’Oreille Winery if you have some time in Sandpoint. As long as it’s not terribly busy, the crew will be happy to take you on a quick tour of the the premises. And if you can make it out of the store without picking up a bottle or two… you may be insane.

Pend d’Oreille Winery – Website
Location on our Idaho Map

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October 30, 2012 at 12:45 am Comments (0)

Hoot’s Cafe in Whitebird, Idaho

We Love Owls Too

On the way from Riggins to Lewiston, we stopped in at Hoot’s Cafe for lunch. Hoot’s is owned and operated by a woman whose name happens to be Hootie, who happens loves owls, and who just so happens to resemble one. Sometimes I get the feeling that Idaho is messing with us.

Hootie-Idaho

We wrangled Hootie into a chat before sitting down to lunch, and of course our first question concerned her name. Turns out, it’s not a nickname. Hootie is her full legal first name, which she’s had since birth. She told us that, upon considering her big, protruding eyes, her parents agreed that she looked like a “Hootie”. She’s lived in Whitebird all her life, and run Hoot’s Cafe for over fifty years. When we expressed our astonishment, she seemed surprised; as though working in the same tiny restaurant for half a century was just the most obvious thing in the world.

Hootie then introduced us to her collection of owls. Wooden owls, decorative owls, stuffed owls, plastic owls, ceramic owls and more. Over 1200 line the shelves, walls and tables of Hoot’s. Remarkably, Hootie didn’t buy a single one; they were all gifts. Friends or returning customers have made it a tradition to bring her another owl for the collection. I was upset that we didn’t have any owl paraphernalia in the car to give her, and briefly considered crafting something together out of a couple Coke bottles.

Lunch was great; the burgers were big, and the french fries are cut every morning from real potatoes. The best part, though, was the entertainment going on at the next table. Hootie’s husband is a miner, and had just hit a gold patch. He came in with a bag full of rocks, and everyone in the restaurant had gathered around his table to admire the strike.

Hoot’s is the kind of restaurant that can only exist in a town like Whitebird, Idaho. If you’re passing through, do yourself a favor and stop by. And don’t forget to bring Hootie another treasure for her collection.

Location on our Idaho Map

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October 1, 2012 at 1:08 am Comments (2)

Three Great Restaurants in Cascade

Great BBQ Place in Savannah

For the first time in half a year, we were living in a place with a fully-equipped kitchen, and were finally able to cook at home. So we didn’t eat out a lot during our month in Cascade. But occasionally, we felt like letting someone else do the work. For such a small town, there are quite a few good dining options in Cascade. Here are our favorites.

Huckle-Berry-Pancake
Gramma’s Kitchen

Order an omelette for breakfast at Gramma’s Kitchen, and you’ll be skipping lunch… and possibly even dinner. Gramma serves up some giant portions. On our first visit to this unassuming restaurant on the north side of the town, I asked our waitress about Huckleberry Pancakes; even though they weren’t on the menu, I thought I would try my luck. “I’m so sorry, honey, we don’t have any”, and so I ordered an omelette.

But the cook had overheard my request, and went about scouring the kitchen for any extra huckleberries that might be laying around. When my meal came out, it was with a giant huckleberry pancake on the side, free of charge. And just like that, Gramma’s Kitchen won an eternal place in my heart.

Location on our Map

Idaho-BBQ
Dollar Bill’s Redneck Kitchen

We stopped at the brand new restaurant called Dollar Bill’s after breathless recommendations from a few people in town. Well, “restaurant” might be a stretch. Bill had just opened for business and there wasn’t much to the place, besides a grill on his deck and a few tables in the yard. A little skeptical, we asked Bill to make us whatever he thought was best.

While our food was cooking, Bill told us about his story. Turns out, he’s quite the character, a chef who’s worked around the country at a number of posh resorts. Most recently, he was in charge of the restaurant at Cascade’s Golf Club. At Dollar Bill’s, he specializes in his favorite foods: BBQ and seafood chowder. We got a bowl of the chowder; rich, creamy and cheesy. Delicious. Even Jürgen, who’s no fan of seafood, ate every bite.

Swing by Dollar Bill’s if you’re looking for a good, no-nonsense lunch. You can’t miss it: the bright red cabin, where a bunch of people with barbecue-smeared mouths are sitting on benches in the yard.

Location on our Map

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Clear Creek Station

Found a few minutes south of Cascade on Highway 55, Clear Creek Station is referred to between Jürgen and I as “Merlott’s”. Anyone who watches True Blood will understand the reference. Clear Creek Station is just like Merlott’s. The owner even looks like Sam, and has the same affable personality. I’m not sure about the shape-shifting abilities.

Our first time in Clear Creek, I ordered a side of short ribs which were the best I’ve had in years, and Jürgen choose a giant burger which almost defeated him. Portions are big, beers are cheap, and the place is understandably popular with locals. Absolutely recommended, even if you have to wait for a table. We liked it so much here, that we made it our final meal in Cascade.

Location on our Map

-Super Cute Bear T-Shirt

More pictures from Gramma’s Kitchen
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More pictures from Dollar Bill’s
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More pictures from Clear Creek Station
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September 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm Comments (0)