May I have this dance? Thrilled, I’m sure!

Thrill photoWho would have thought that one of my job titles — at the great and fabulous age of 59 — would be “Thrill the World Boise Event Producer?” Not me. And yet, I am loving this job!

I have learned the Thriller dance! I could do it in my sleep — and often recite the moves as I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night: “Roar-turn, roar-turn.” When I am dancing, everything else goes away. It takes all my concentration and, in my mind’s eye, there I am, in that game-changing video, a zombie alongside of MJ.

I absolutely love it.thrill

For those of you in the Boise area, this is a shameless plug: Come see me (and about 200 other zombies) as we attempt to break the world record for the simultaneous dance to Thriller at 4 pm Oct. 25 at the Boise Spectrum — get there early, we have an official countdown and will start at PRECISELY 4 pm according to the World Clock.

For those of you outside the area, see if there is a Thrill Day in your neighborhood. If you are so inclined, learn the dance (there are official tutorial videos on Youtube). You’ll be glad you did, it is really, really fun.

Years ago, my dear friend Holly taught me the power of dance. We all are hard-wired to do it and to love it. When you are dancing, you are celebrating and loving life.

And oh — this year, our fundraising recipient is the Treasure Valley Family YMCA, as a thanks for letting us practice our moves there.

Da-da! Da-da-da!

 

We were SO young

hippie dogThe other day I was riding my bike home from work. I rode past a quiet neighborhood on the Boise Bench, populated by mostly what I’d call the next generation older than me. When I ride my bike, I love to gawk around at my surroundings, check in with feeling good about being alive and all that jazz.

So when I saw this older, hippie-type dude, long, grey hair past his shoulders, jeans, t-shirt, walking around an old VW van — my mind was blown. Wow, I thought, that guy used to be a young hippie dude, and in the blink of my eye, I SAW him, young, standing straight, not a little stooped over like now, walking in that cool dude walk. If you’re my age, you know what I’m talking about, or even if not, just think of that cool, nonchalant yet affected walk that cries out: I am a cool dude.

That blink brought up so much. Because, you know what?

We were so young. Our hair was long and flowing. Our skin was young. Our bodies young and — they could bend in ways I can hardly remember. We were young and we believed, truly believed, we were changing the world. We had important opinions and intellectual discussions. We were passionate about our causes. We loved our friends and wanted to be friends with everyone. We thought age was something we would never know and we sneered and laughed at it.

We were so young. We were SO young.

And, just for a moment, in the blink of an eye, I remembered. What it felt, looked, smelled, and sounded like.

Thanks, old hippie dude.

You made my day.

A little Kindness goes a long way

wizard-of-ozWell, here I am, once again with an update on the continuing saga re: The Owyhee’s Kindness bar/lounge. Mostly, I am lamenting that, contrary to what I wrote in my last post, I did not stop in for drinks there on my birthday, which was last Saturday. I tried — but when we traipsed up to the doors we were met with a stern employee who said “It’s not open.” With my little entourage surrounding me, I felt kind of like Dorothy with her friends trying to get into Oz, but then told by the guy at the gate they couldn’t get in “no way, no how.”

Fast forward to today (and don’t worry, we were able to have a fine birthday bash down the road at The Modern, always a classy choice). After trading a few emails with Christina Navarro, who is handling PR for Kindness (it’s a word with meaning, people — use it!), once again, I found out some new news.

First, the lounge/bar’s name is not The Oasis (which I am a little sad about,  I was humming Midnight at the Oasis all last week, so bummer). It is “The Owyhee Lounge by Kindness.”

Also, while Kindness the restaurant is slated to open 4-10 p.m. Aug. 7, The Owyhee Lounge by Kindness is now open, Navarro said, for coffee and cocktails: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

our boothOne more update: If you are a Gamekeeper Oysters or Prawns lover, rejoice. I tried out the recipe posted on last week’s blog. All I can say is, when I closed my eyes, I was right there in our old booth, sipping on a Bob-and-Jeanne martini, listening to Kevin Kirk and Sally Tibbs — and tantalizing my tastebuds with the most succulent, divine appetizers on earth.

The Owyhee saga continued…

Stop in the the new Oasis Bar by Kindness at the Owyhee. Photo by Jeanne Huff

Stop in the the new Oasis Bar by Kindness at the Owyhee. Photo by Jeanne Huff

Sometimes a story doesn’t end – it’s: “To be continued.”

Thus is the ongoing story about the new Owyhee.

Last week, I wrote about getting a sneak peek at the new place after Clay Carley spent about a year remodeling and restoring it to its historical original self (sans hotel). The grand opening was held July 9 for the former hotel, now in its new incarnation as an apartment building with a spacious lobby, restaurant, bar and catering service (called Kindness), and event space. (To read the story, click on this link: http://idahobusinessreview.com/2014/07/08/the-iconic-and-now-historic-owyhee-and-kindness-a-sneak-peek/)

This week, I am writing an update because there is new news to share on two fronts: 1.) The Kindness Bar’s “Oasis Bar” is opening at 5 p.m. July 16 – and the first 75 people in the door get a penthouse after-party wristband for the Owyhee Rooftop.

2.) I have received one of the most exciting recipes I’ve ever gotten and can hardly believe it: It is for Gamekeeper Oysters (or prawns as you prefer).

It all happened after Matthew Villegas commented on the sneak-peek story I wrote. He had worked at the old Owyhee and said there were two great things he got from the experience: there he met his future wife; and the recipe for Gamekeeper Oysters.

As soon as I saw that, eyes a-popping and heart skipping a beat, I emailed Matt, on a long shot, asking if he could possibly share the recipe, not daring to think he would.

He wrote back: “I would love to share this recipe with you as I feel that is what you are supposed to do when you find other people who are passionate about good food like I am.”

And when I thanked him (profusely), told him I was going to make it for my birthday (July 19) and asked him if I could share it with others, he said: “You are so very welcome! Happy birthday to you, Jeanne. And yes, you are more than welcome to share this with others.”

Saturday, I will be whipping up a batch of oysters then heading on down to the Oasis for a martini.

And I invite you to do the same!

Matt’s Take on Gamekeeper Oysters (*if you prefer prawns, just substitute)

While it’s been a good two years or so since I’ve made these, it’s pretty basic and should turn out just like you remember them. I’m going to assume this is for two people. (You’ll need) about 8-10 oysters.

1.  Items you’ll want ready before you start cooking the oysters:

Room temperature softened salted real butter

About 2 cups of basic brown sauce

(For the brown sauce if you are not familiar, we just brought water to a boil in a saucepan and added beef base for flavor.  Add the beef base in smaller increments as you don’t want it to be too salty.  When that returns to a boil, taste it and add roux (equal parts melted butter and flour to thicken the sauce) — olive oil can be used in place of melted butter for a healthier alternative but that’s not why we are here right?  Keep the brown sauce hot and set aside; should you get roux clumps you can strain them out.)

2.  Next, gather the following and have set aside as the cooking process goes quick and you will want to have the following ready to go before you drop the oysters in the oil.

½ tablespoon dried dill weed

The juice of 1 lemon

2 splashes white wine (little less than ¼ cup)

1 tablespoon of minced shallots (garlic can work in place of shallots)

¼ cup of small-diced scallions or green onions

3.  Next ,start your vegetable oil in a pan – 1 to 2 tablespoons, the key is to have the oil hot for the oysters to be crispy, but use caution. Dredge your oysters in seasoned flour, consisting of paprika, granulated garlic, salt, pepper and all-purpose flour. When the oil is hot shake off the excess flour and carefully drop the oysters in around the pan, so they aren’t touching, as best you can. They will only take about 1.5-2 minutes per side. Remove the oysters and set on a paper towel or something to drain. Pour off the oil as the trick is to make the sauce in the same saute pan you cooked the oysters in. Put the pan back on the heat and throw in the dill and shallots, quick shake of the pan and add the lemon juice and white wine and allow to reduce.  When 1/4 of the liquid cooks off add the warm brown sauce and let simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute until well incorporated.

Next, pull the pan off the heat and stir in the butter and scallions. Be sure to do this off the heat or the sauce could break.

Arrange the oysters on a plate and cover with the wonderful sauce you just made. Serve with lemon wedges and great sourdough bread to not leave any sauce left behind.

Enjoy.

– Matt Villegas

THANKS, MATT!!

A Willy Wonka of Idaho

willy-wonka-and-the-chocolate-factory-gene-wilder-image-600x337When Jackson McKenzie was in the sixth grade, he felt like his life was pretty boring. So, at a school show-and-tell he decided to beef things up a bit. “I made up that I liked to beat world records,” he says. Fueled by a lifelong love of reading Guinness World Records – “I’ve read every one since 2000” – McKenzie had stuck his foot firmly in his mouth. But then, something magical happened. After contacting the Guinness people and finding out that the easiest record to beat was creating the world’s largest M&M mosaic, he actually made his show-and-tell proclamation come true.

“I did it,” he says. His mosaic was a picture of a tree, a monkey and a sun. He glued the M&Ms onto a plastic grid and created the whole thing in his room. “But, it wasn’t official.”

Now, McKenzie wants to do it again, only this time, he wants to make it really matter. He has contacted the Guinness folks, and knows what “evidence” is required. He has designed his creation – a 124-square-foot mosaic that includes the state of Idaho and a snippet of our state song, “Here We Have Idaho.” (The current record is: 74.92 square feet.) McKenzie estimates it will take close to 30,000 M&Ms.

Jackson McKenzie, 17, and his M&M mosaic plans. Photo by Jeanne Huff

Jackson McKenzie, 17, and his M&M mosaic plans. Photo by Jeanne Huff

With the help of his dad (Idaho State Sen. Curtis McKenzie), he reserved the rotunda at the Idaho State Capitol for two weeks to allow he and his team to assemble the mosaic. “We will be working from July 27 to August 9 and the record breaking mosaic will be in display the following week,” McKenzie says.

Originally, he posted his project at $6,000 on Kickstarter, but he says he overestimated the costs. His new goal is $3,500 and he has a website set up for fundraising at http://jacksonmckenzie.com/.

Anything he receives over the amount needed for materials – M&Ms, Elmer’s Glue, a plastic grid, and paper and wood for support – McKenzie plans on giving to Go On Idaho, http://www.go-on-idaho.org/, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Idahoans continue education past high school.

So, if you want to help McKenzie actually make his sixth grade declaration a reality, send him some M&M money. In addition to his website, you can contact him by phone – 899-0753 – or email: mckenziexjackson@gmail.com. He says all project finances, including every donation and expenditure, will be tracked and publicly accessible on his website.

Whadya say, a little help to help jazz up McKenzie’s summer – and to give summer tourists something extra to see at the capitol?

Let’s do it!

Go, Jackson McKenzie!

Go M&Ms!

Go, Idaho!

Or, in the words of Willy Wonka: “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…”

For real.

On the Fly is SO fly

L-R: Brick 29 and On the Fly owner and chef Dustan Bristol and manager Doug Stinson cranking out sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts for the lunch hour crowd. Photo by Jeanne Huff

L-R: Brick 29 and On the Fly owner and chef Dustan Bristol and manager Doug Stinson cranking out sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts for the lunch hour crowd. Photo by Jeanne Huff

I have a new favorite sandwich joint. It hasn’t been open long — officially, just a few weeks — but I have been there about 10 times already and have tried just about every sandwich and soup of the day. Everything is delicious. At least for this comfort food loving girl from Kansas, it is truly comfort food kicked up a notch. Well, actually, quite a few notches.

And that’s exactly what On the Fly’s chef and owner Dustan Bristol intended when he came up with the idea. It’s what he had in mind when he added bacon jam to his egg salad sandwich. When he decided to take on that mother of all comfort food sandwiches – bologna. He remembered his favorite bologna sandwich from his childhood. “My grandparents had that bologna with the olives in it,” he says. And, of course, they served it on Wonder bread with mayo. So, his take on the classic bologna sandwich includes green olive tapenade, aioli, organic arugula, sliced tomato and house-made bologna — “that way I know what’s in it,” he says — on white bread custom made for Bristol by Mathieu Choux of Gaston’s Bakery. “It’s like Wonder bread on crack,” he says with a smile.

I don’t doubt it for a minute. I am one of the addicts that start lining up around 11 a.m. hoping to grab one of the sandwiches at the ready — the egg salad and the bologna regularly sell out early. Or, if I’m feeling extravagant, I might sidle up to the counter and order a fresh, made-to-order hot sandwich. The regulars include grilled cheese Panini (sharp white cheddar, Monterey jack, shaved red onion and pear), a Reuben panini (with house Louie dressing and Swiss cheese fondue and roasted cabbage tossed in vinaigrette in lieu of sauerkraut) and a daily special.

My friend Jason says On the Fly’s roast beef sandwich (with Manchego cheese and house made Bearnaise aioli on a baguette) is the best he’s ever had.

All the usual suspects are there so whatever your go-to comfort sandwich is, you won’t be disappointed; rather, you and your taste buds will be delighted: turkey (house brined and rotisserie-cooked with roasted red and green peppers, smoked gouda cheese, aioli and dried chili pesto on baguette), chicken salad (again, house brined and rotisserie-cooked chicken tossed with vinaigrette, fennel, red onion, raisins, blue cheese crumbles, fresh basil, toasted walnuts with aioli, organic arugula and sliced tomato) and how about this: cashew butter and jelly (house-made cashew butter, boysenberry conserve and fresh banana on that better-than-Wonder-bread bread).

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of other sandwich places downtown, many of which are pretty good to great: there’s the Bleubird (my second fave), Subway and of course Jimmy John’s, to name a few. And there are restaurants aplenty where you can get sandwich specials of the day as well. You can get a sandwich that will satisfy your lunchtime hunger in any of those establishments (the Bleubird will tickle your taste buds with panache, but you have to wait on line, and some of the fare is a little more spendy). At On the Fly, most sandwiches are grab-and-go, and cost about five bucks, a few a bit more, some less. And that’s a pretty great price point for deliciousness. The place also has ramped-up soups, salads and desserts. I dare you to sink your teeth into the Rice Whiskey Treat (think of  your childhood’s rice krispie treat on steroids — comes with salted caramel sauce for dipping) and not flutter your eyes in OMG ecstasy. And if you like breakfast sandwiches, I highly recommend the Croque Madame (fried egg, house ham and Swiss fondue). The only downside I could find on my trips there was that if you want one of the hot sandwiches that are made to order, you do have to wait a few minutes while they make it. But in my experience, the end result was worth the wait.

Bristol, also owner and chef of Brick 29 in Nampa, says he modeled the sustainable, local, whole food, real food, grab and go concept on the trendy and wildly popular Pret a Manger, that started in the U.K. and now has locations in Hong Kong and New York. And, he already has plans to take the entire On the Fly enterprise up a notch or two: he envisions online ordering and bike delivery service in the near future that will rival that of the competition’s. “I would love to have a concept I could standardize and duplicate. We want to be aggressive. I think we offer a better value than Jimmy John’s.”

He wants to be the sandwich king.

One bite is all it will take to know that if anybody can take on Jimmy John’s, Bristol can.

 

IF YOU GO:

On the Fly, 800 W. Main, Suite 200. 344-6833. http://ontheflydeli.com.

On Facebook: On the Fly Rotisserie Deli.

It is in the new Eighth and Main building in downtown Boise. Just hang a right at the top of the escalator.

Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts. Also grab and go entrees.

Today’s word is: responsible

photo 1It all comes down to being responsible, people.

Yes, I’m talking to you, dog owners who don’t bag up your dog’s poo.

And, yeah, I’m talking to you, too, dog owners who bring your furry not-socialized friends along for the hike.

You, too, trail bike riders, with no regard to “hiker’s only” signs — or to hikers.

And, most emphatically, I’m talking to you, dog owners who have no business owning a dog.

Here’s why I’m talking: I’ve been doing a lot more hiking lately. Trying to get in shape because the old middle-age spread is not an old wife’s tale, like I kept hoping. So, while walking up Tablerock, I’ve been noticing there is a lot of dog poop. Fresh and gooey, dried and shriveled, teeny-tiny and ginormous. Right. On. The. Trail. God knows what is out in the wildflowers, weeds and boulders. Why? Why? Why?photo 2

There are handy scooping bags conveniently placed at the trail head and they’re FREE. So, why all the poop?? “Part of being a responsible dog owner is picking up the poop,” this is what I told my grandson Max when he, my daughter, Tracy,  and my granddaughter, Julia, inherited Puppet. We practiced in my back yard where there is usually a fair number of poop scooping opportunities. Yes, he hemmed and hawed, “I can’t do it, I’ll throw up, it’s so gross!” But finally, herking and jerking, he passed the smelly Easter egg hunt test. If he can do it, so can you!

And about you dog owners who bring your snarly, aggressive companions along for the walk — don’t. At least, not until you and your friends take a class, there are a number of dog training classes available, some even free. Call PetSmart or Petco or Zamzows or the Idaho Humane Society. We took Payton through the Scotch Pines Dog Training and he actually graduated. He got a little cardboard graduation hat and everything. And he is “socialized.” So, if he passes another dog, or a group of 10 dogs, a person using a walker or a baby in a stroller — he is not a threat. Sometimes, he even lays down to let others pass. If you have a dog, even if he is on a leash, that you are unsure of, “I don’t ever know what THIS one will do,” LEAVE THAT DOG AT HOME. Because, I don’t want your dog attacking my sweet little Puppet.

Bike riders who share the hiking trail: pay attention. Scootch over. Slow down. Once, I saw a guy on a unicycle coming down the trail. No kidding. It doesn’t matter what you’re riding as long as you ride it — and the trail — responsibly. There are families, kids, babies, dogs, grannys, people with walkers, canes and disabilities — you need to watch out for all of us.

Finally, I have to say a few words to you who do not deserve to be dog owners. You let your dogs — untrained, aggressive and vicious — roam the neighborhoods. Your animals are not wild animals they are domestic but because you are so irresponsible, they act like wild animals. They terrorize other animals and people — two of them murdered my friend’s sweet kitty. He was just sitting in his spot. In the early morning sun. Shame on you. Give your dogs to Cesar Millan (he’s the dog whisperer, he knows how to rehabilitate dogs but I think training you is hopeless).

It’s just about being responsible.