Boise, Idaho for foodies

During our short stay in Boise it became clear that, despite the city's modest size, it has a very active food scene, at least in the downtown area.

Due to a late lunch on the road, we decided on a light dinner for our first night. A new tapas restaurant called Txikiteo (pronounced “chee-kee-tay-oh”) seemed to be just the thing. Newly opened this summer, the place got a brief mention – but a welcome boost – in a New York Times article, “36 Hours in Boise.”

Tapas with a side of bread

Although the menu is fairly small, it contained an interesting variety of very reasonably priced tapas and a nice selectin of wines, both by the glass and by the bottle. We started out with a Spanish tempranillo and a Basque garnacha to accompany our four chosen tapas: marinated olives, brie with pickled blueberries on bread, piquillo pepper with herbed chevre, and smoked trout tapenade on bread. Round Two brought the lobster mushroom with peach gremolata on bread.

Txikiteo also offers charcuterie and cheese boards, sandwiches, stews and salads. Highly recommended.

Always on the hunt for an interesting breakfast spot, Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro caught our attention the next morning. Well rated on several social media sites, the recommendation of our hotel manager made it a must-try.

We were not disappointed.

Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro is a small-ish place in the heart of downtown just off the Basque Block. Its size combined with its great reputation among travelers and locals alike often means guests will wait for a table. However, Goldy’s also has a coffee shop next door where breakfast-goers can caffeinate while waiting for their shot at solid food. Or you can explore the area; the host will call your cell phone when your table is ready.

Settling into our seats on the second floor, I opened the menu and initially got a taste of sticker-shock. Many of the items carried a price of $14. For BREAKFAST! But these were only the first few, and were their signature items. Others deeper into the menu were much more reasonably priced, and they even offer half-orders of some items, including several variations on the classic eggs Benedict.

Andalusian eggs

My wife chose a half-order of the eggs Blackstone (with ham and tomato) while I opted for the Andalusian eggs: two poached eggs over Goldy’s marinara made with tomatoes, ham, chorizo, peppers and served with steamed, chopped asparagus. Savory and delicious!

Finally, the coffee. Goldy’s “Proudly serves Dawson Taylor Coffee In-house Recipe.” Very good, rich coffee without any of the charred notes present in many robust blends.

Yes, there’s the wait, and that’s a bigger issue when the weather isn’t as good as it was during our early September visit. But if you’re a breakfast lover, Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro is an absolute must.

A stretch of 8th Street in downtown is home to a range of bars and restaurants representing a cross-section of ethnicities. For lunch, we were drawn to Prost!, a pub offering German food and drink.

A light lunch was in order following our tour of the Old Idaho Penitentiary. We sipped two German beers: a Hofbräu Original and a Reissdorf Kölsch. Beers are available in sizes of 0.2 and 0.3 liters in addition to the stereotypically huge, full liter (or larger!) German steins. For our solid food, we nibbled curry wurst and warm potato salad, which were every bit as good as those we enjoyed in Würzburg during our visits to the Christkindlmarkts.

For dinner, we headed to Bar Gernika on the city’s Basque Block, which offers traditional Basque dishes and pub grub. We again opted for a lighter meal and enjoyed lamb skewers accompanied by a skewer of vegetables and croquetas, which are deep-fried balls made from butter, onion, chicken, flour and milk. The lamb was perfectly cooked to a medium-rare, and the veggies remained pleasantly al dente. Croquetas provided that touch of carbs that made the meal so satisfying despite its size.

Two nights in Boise in barely enough to scratch the surface of the city’s food scene. Follow your tastebuds and explore!

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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