With ourselves and the car fueled, we enjoyed the drive past snow-covered mountains to Boise, Idaho.
Boise is the state capital, with big domed building in its downtown area. We arrived on a Sunday around 7:30 pm and I was surprised that the joint was jumping. Boise’s downtown has several streets (not just a strip) of restaurants, clubs and interesting stores that were packed with people.
It had been a while since we’d been to a nice restaurant, so we found a highly-rated one a few blocks from the downtown, Richard’s Café Vicino. It was really excellent, with an innovative take on Italian food without getting cutesy or overdone. Café Vicino seems very comfortable with what it’s doing, and it’s doing it very well. We thought our meal ranked among the best we’ve had in the last two or three years. Highly recommended for a special night out.
Café Vicino is located right next to the Boise Co-op, which started as a typical food cooperative many years ago. Perhaps you’re familiar with the food co-op which was big in the 60’s and 70’s – housed in a creaky old building, selling bulk lentils, raw honey in bring-your-own containers, and an assortment of a few sad root vegetables. Wow, how this has changed! The Boise Coop is now like Whole Foods, only better. Negotiating this path from communal roots to economic success reminds me of Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) in Seattle which now has stores all over the country.
Based on what we’re seeing here in Boise, I’d say it’s where Portland was about twenty years ago. This is actually a very good thing, since Portland is approaching unaffordability for many of the young people who want to live there. Boise is developing some interesting lifestyle options that would be wise for you to check out.
Now we’re going to check out Goldy’s for some breakfast, which seems to be on everyone’s restaurant list for Boise. And maybe we’ll grab a doughnut for the road; there seem to be an overabundance (if possible) of doughnut shops in the area.