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Boise's Basque Block...

Nick | Nov 25, 200410:43 PM

Anybody else just get done cooking for 20 in a kitchen with a tiny oven that can't fit a half sheet pan, four burners that seem to randomly choose a heat level and can't fit two 10" skillets next to each other, and a slippery cutting board that results in a half inch gash in your expletive finger that won't stop bleeding? I need to make a rule about never cooking in another person's kitchen.

Anyway, thought I'd relax by relating my lunch yesterday in Boise's Basque block. The area really is just one block -- a small one too. There's a museum, a couple pubs, and a market in some seemingly historic buildings.

We went to Gernika, the place that most looked like a restaurant. Boy was that a mistake. It had basics like croquetas, chorizo, and solomo with pimientos. I got a half sandwich of chorizo and a half of the solomo. My wife got the chicken and chorizo paella. Ugh. I would have rather spent my money at most chains -- Olive Garden, Chilis, Red Robin, you name it. Prices weren't bad, but the quality was. The rolls they put the sandwiches on was worse than most rolls you get at a Safeway or the like. You'd be better off with a supermarket's "artisan" baguette. The paella was barely a step up from Rice-a-Roni. The chrizo in it was terrible. The chorizo in my sandwich wasn't bad, though. Even the water tasted funky. And the place is a bit of a dive.

There is a place called Epi's that I never saw that sounds much nicer. But for about the same price, we could have gone across the street to The Basque Market where they cook up quality basque dishes. Sure, many are the same sandwiches and croquetas that Gernika is serving, except they're using aged imported cheeses and chorizos and making salt cod croquetas. Etc. Here's their website:

So, the Basque block is tiny, but maybe worth a stop, but avoid Gernika at all costs and consider the Basque Market. They also sell wine, chocolate, and other gourmet market type items and cheese and meats by the pound.


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