Category Archives: Eating Out

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:

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.


— Matt Villegas



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.



On the Fly, 800 W. Main, Suite 200. 344-6833.

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.

Good night, sleep tight, sweet dreams… to sleep perchance to… you know

imagesGot relatives?

Yeah, it’s summertime and (except for the triple-digit heatwave, the mini-Monsoon season and now back to 90s in the shade) the living here in Boise is easy. SO much to do, I don’t really need to say anything. But (my husband Bob always tries to get me to exchange my “but”s with “however”s), I do have a few spots you might have forgotten about, looked over or perhaps haven’t yet discovered.

If you’ve got folks coming from out of town and they are the “hotel” as opposed to the “spare bedroom” type of visitor, we’ve got a couple of boutique hotels I’d be proud to pit against any trendy hip joints in San Fran, L.A. or New York: the Hotel 43 and The Modern. Both are in hip Downtown Boise pockets and both are great for out of town guests or weekend getaway staycations (yes, I actually said that word, get over it).

The Hotel 43 (981 Grove St., Boise, 800-243-4622) exudes a Bellagio-style cool. Squint your eyes and I swear you’ll see Brad Pitt scarfing and chomping on something delicious and slurping down the ‘43’s signature 10-minute martini over in a corner of Chandler’s, the Sun Valley-inspired steak and chop shop joined at the Hotel 43’s hip. Local artists festooned the walls here and each and every room is, well, Las Vegas hip (are those dancing fountains outside the windows?!). But — and this is a BIG but — there’s even more here than meets the discerning eye: If you stay at the Hotel 43, you get to sample some of our, ahem, fine art and performing art ON THE HOUSE!

WHAT?? Yes, take in Shakespeare under the stars (Idaho Shakespeare Festival) and art openings at Boise Art Museum. Perhaps you prefer a night at the ballet, or a rousing symphonic performance by the Boise Philharmonic? And who can resist a night at the theater (Boise Contemporary Theatre)?

Step over to the mod, mod world at the Modern Hotel and Bar in the Linen District (1314 W. Grove St., 424-8244) for sloshing, gnoshing — and hey, it’s a guarantee — you’ll just look so much cooler there! I’ve even heard the Modern now has taxi service, um, that is, bicycle taxi service and guess what? You get to do the driving! And if anything can get cooler than playing vintage 45 singles while you are in the, er, “Loo,” well, I don’t know what that could be.

Good Thursday!

Take a walk on the wild side. It’s First Thursday and — what?! Thunderboomers and cool weather? Grab your bumbershoot and head Downtown for art, food and drink!

Check out the plethora of things to do, places to go and art to see:,%202009.pdf

It doesn’t really matter where you go, every shop door from the new MacLife to the Basque Market will be open and enticing you with goodies, art is bursting at the seams at Downtown coffee shops, galleries and salons (!) and if you’re in the mood to shop, practically everyone is having a back-to-school-sale.

Did I hear you say you’d like to hear some music? Shuddup and sit down — there’s music galore from the Frim Fram guys at Pengilly’s to Amuma Says No (my fave!) at Leku Ona.

Good ride!

Shawn Grossman is in the BicyTaxi driver's seat!

Shawn Grossman is in the BicyTaxi driver's seat!

“Daisy, daisy, give me your answer, do…”

Ahh, just picture it: You’re Downtown with your honey on a beautiful, starry summer evening. You have a cocktail at The Modern but you have dinner plans with friends at Bardenay. Sure, you could walk… but hey, why not take a taxi — the BicyTaxi, that is!

The BicyTaxi is Boise’s first pedicab service, says owner Shawn Grossman. Grossman, who formerly ran Big Bikes in Hyde Park, is excited about BicyTaxi and points out it’s one of those businesses that works both ways. Not only is it a fun way to get around town on First Thursday, weekend eves and Saturday mornings at Capital City Market — and you can also take a tour at $30 per hour — but, says Grossman, “it’s a fantastic outdoor, mobile advertising vehicle.” In fact, “that’s its prime function.”

It’s like a slow-traveling billboard — and Grossman is looking to sign advertisers on to the plan. You can plaster your name on a BicyTaxi, have promotional materials to hand out in a BicyTaxi, or even offer rides — complementary rides in your name, that is.

It’s “highly visible advertising on outdoor mobile media” that “facilitates increased awareness and exceptional recall,” says BicyTaxi’s Web site.

For me and my friend Brad, it was a fun as heck ride from The Modern Art show to The Gamekeeper Lounge. The ride is not 100 percent pedal-power; Grossman’s three-wheeler kicks in with a motorized push on the uphill. But it IS a pretty good workout, he says. “I’ve had fantastic response so far. I pedaled around on Thursday ‘till I wore myself out.”

BicyTaxi is also looking for “drivers.” The Web site is looking for interested independent contractors for evening and late night shifts. You just need a commercial service drivers license, pay a nominal application fee to the city, and take a training course. Then you’re ready to put your mettle to the pedal.

“Anyone who thinks that working outdoors, meeting people, and getting a great workout while making a part-time income, should contact Shawn to find out more about this opportunity.”

Interested? Go to

More good happy hours

camping-ladiesQuick update on getting fun, food, drinks on the cheap:
— Try The Lift at 40th & State.
Happy Hours: 4-6 and 9-11 p.m. Monday – Friday
What that gets you: $2 domestic drafts; $3 well drinks.
More specials: Tuesday is Holy Oly Night, 50-cent Olympia beer in the can. Tuesday is also the day of $2 tacos, all day. Thursday features all-u-can-eat spaghetti.
— how can we leave out the Dutch Goose at 3515 W. State St?
Happy Hour: 4-6 p.m. Monday – Friday.
What that gets you: $1.50 domestic pints; $2.50 premium pints.
More specials: Tuesday is 2-for-1 burgers. For about seven bucks you get two burgers and fries. And get this: Thursday is Dollar Beer Night. Pay a $3 cover charge then any of the 18 beers on tap will only cost you a buck apiece. 8-11 p.m.

Know of other good deals? Send ’em in.

Good times!

Chef Sean Campbell-Brennan came to The Modern by way of Scottsdale and The Milky Way. Jeanne Huff/FTGN

Chef Sean Campbell-Brennan came to The Modern by way of Scottsdale and The Milky Way. Jeanne Huff/FTGN

You can get oh-so-chic cocktails at The Modern Bar (my favorite is The Dorothy Parker!).
The Dorothy Parker martini

The Dorothy Parker martini

And now — da-da-da-DA! — presenting: delightful gastronomic morsels! That’s right, I’m talking REAL FOOD — appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches and desserts! Remi Courcenet is the food and beverage manager.

The Grand Opening of the Modern Kitchen is on April 3 at 4:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. Mayor Bieter will be on hand around 5 p.m. for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The menu, which is as chic as the drinks, includes a delicious assortment from $4 to $14. We ordered Tartines (you get to order three, and three of each come out, giving you nine delicious little open-faced edible compositions). Our favorite was: prosciutto, fig and goat cheese. OMG! $12.

Appetite sated but we couldn’t resist more, so we ordered the Smoked Idaho Trout with dill creme fraiche on a warm pita. $9. Oh, so good!

The food at The Modern is available: 5-10 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday; 5- LATE Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Bon apetit!