Exploring The Ethnic Scene In Boise Idaho

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Remember if you weren’t born eating it then it’s ethnic to you!

Today I’m doing something different, I’m exploring the ethnic food scene of Boise, Idaho. Why Boise you ask? Great question and the answer is simple, I’ve been there twice since August on press trips and over the 10 days I’ve spent there I’ve gotten to know and love the city. I’ve also come to realise how lucky we are in Vancouver having such a diverse and readily available ethnic mix of restaurants and cultures to choose from whether we eat out or home cook. Boise may not have the volume or diversity we have but there are some gems and if you look at ethnic through the lens of experiencing food that you did not grow up eating then Boise has a rich offering for me to share with you in today’s 30 Days Of Ethnic Eats.

Here are some of the favourite places and experiences that I had over both trips. Some you can visit yourself and some you have to visit if you are ever in Boise.

Welcome to Boise

Beef Madras

First up is a restaurant I visited on my second trip to Boise called Cazba and is located at 211 N 8th St in the heart of downtown Boise. Serving up Mediterranean & Greek Cuisine Cazba is a great place to check out. Diane and I shared a sampler platter which had a bit of this and a bit of that, perfect to share at lunch or over cocktails in the evening. Hummus, falafel, marinated olives, baba ghanoush, feta cheese, fresh cucumbers & tomatoes, Shwarma  meat and pita bread, it was all there. To finish off our meal we had a Turkish coffee which is simply divine. Word on the street is that they are cooking up a cocktail menu using Turkish coffee as a component. Yummy I’ll be back for that thank you!


Sampler platter from Cazba in Boise

Turkish Coffee

Next up it’s all about the Happy Hour and the decor. Barbacoa, which is the origin of barbecue, is located at 276 Bobwhite Court, Boise and is a must visit. Their Happy Hour is famous throughout the city and I know why, 2 for 1 drinks between 4 and 6pm every day. I had two mojitos and 2 rum and cokes for only $14. How can you beat that? They are also known for their eclectic decor which dazzles the senses. If that’s not enough when you order guacamole (we did of course) a trolley comes out and it’s made to order right at your table. Seriously some of the best guacamole I’ve ever eaten and I’ve eaten a lot of it. Milk, medium or hot you choose because they make it to your likes. My only disappointment in Barbacoa is that I was only able to go there once during my trips. the next time I’m in Boise if you want to see me between 4 and 6pm just look for me at Barbacoa.

Walking into Barbacoa

Ice Antler Chandelier at Barbacoa

my Happy Hour gal pals at Barbacoa and look at teh view

Guacamole made right at your table

Fresh made guacamole at Barbacoa

yup it's Happy Hour

I’m not really sure if the next spot fits into the ethnic theme but the Idaho is the onion capital of American, they grow over 1 Billion pounds a year, so when in Idaho I should stop in at Outback Steakhouse for a Bloomin Onion. It doesn’t really need a description from me. It’s a deep fried onion and it’s awesome.

Outback Steakhouse Bloomin Onion

For my last stop in Boise I have to recommend that you take in a Boise State Broncos tailgate party. The Broncos are a religion in Boise and while they are not a restaurant and they don’t serve food the tailgate party that accompanies every home game is a wonder to experience and as far as “ethnic” is concerned they serve up a lot of southern barbecue at the various tents. Everyone is so friendly and ready to have a good time. I met two families that invited me in to try some of their barbecue chicken. It was so tasty I had to do a little video for Smile Tailgating is serious in the USA, if you’ve never experienced one before then you have to. It really is an amazing sense of community and tons of fun.

Let the Tailgate party begin

real rustic tailgating

serious tailgate set up

don't worry they don't miss the game

Broncos on the field

So there you have it, my take on ethnic in Boise, Idaho. Not what you were expecting but when you leave your mind open to exploring and experiencing that’s when you discover some things you never would have before. I can honestly say I’m loving the time I spent in Boise and hope to go back again because there is so much more to explore.

No Five Questions today but there is another chance to enter the 30 Days Of Ethnic Eats contest.

Enter to win a 30 Days Of Ethnic Eats dining experience with Marc Smith on Oct 15th and a Patak’s product gift basket filled with all sorts of goodies from Patak’s Canada. You can enter every day and the contest ends on Oct 14th. How to enter: (1 entry)

  1. Like 30 Day Adventures & Patak’s Canada Facebook pages (* required)
  2. Answer the following question: (* required)

Bonus Entry

A big thanks to Patak’s for sponsoring the #30DaysOfEthnicEats series. One of my favourite Patak’s products is Madras curry paste and here’s a super easy and tasty recipe for Beef Madras using it. Click here to find out just how easy it is to Mix in a Little India in your life!

Beef Madras

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About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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