Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bloody Mary Breakdown in Bosie and Beyond...

Weekend brunches with Mimosa or a Bloody Mary are a great pair, plus a relaxing way to spend weekend breakfast into lunch. Mimosas are fun but here in Boise, Idaho, I feel like they restaurants have taken the Bloody Mary to a new level.
Over the past few months, I have tried a few different ones but I decided to do a little "research" and try to find the best in Boise (plus the surrounding area). Although I feel that I have failed to find the best, I have definitely found the Bloody Mary for just about every palette.
  • I might as well start with a famous one, which is also the biggest-this one is actually at a restaurant just outside of Boise, hence the "beyond" in the title. Homestead Bar & Grill has a Mega Mary. It is only served on Saturday and Sunday mornings.   This Bloody Mary has been in the newspapers, the news, and won multiple "best of" lists. Here is the break down, arrive hungry and thirsty. It is 25 ounces, served with traditional garnish of celery, olive,  and a couple of other pickled items, but it also has a tiny burger slider, a soft pretzel, a slice of bacon, a hot wing, a shot of beef chili and a shot of Coors Light. They use a hearty bloody mary mix that is well spiced but I didn't see the name brand of the mixer. This thing was so big, I had to take several photos to capture all the components. 
  • Next, may be my favorite! 10 Barrel Brewing Co. They have a menu with 5 completely different options. The best part is that you can create a Bloody Mary Flight, with 3 different smaller versions. The first time I went, I tried the flight. I had the traditional 10 Barrel Bloody, The Omnivore, and the Bloody Caesar. These mini versions came with the full amount of accouterments, including bacon, beef straws, a potato, cheese, even a prawn, plus tons of pickled items, I had to ask for a plate to put them on and was not able to eat my lunch.

My favorite was the Bloody Caesar. They use clamato juice and it spiced nicely but not heavy.

  • The next one, it the Bloody Mary that opened my eye to a tasty but unique Bloody Mary... Saint Lawrence Gridiron in downtown Boise. It is small but mighty, the mix was light and spiced with a mild blend. They topped it with some fun pickled items like, okra, onions, homemade pickles, and the best part, a chunk of smoked brisket!

  • Just outside of Boise again, in Meridian, we went to chain restaurant, The Yard House. They are famous for the beer selection but they make a nice Bloody Mary, perfect for the morning after a wild night. It comes with 2 slices of candied bacon and a hard-boiled egg. 

  • Back in Boise, some friends and I went to Fork in downtown for their "build-your-own" Bloody Mary. This is a great option if you like variety and have a talent for spicing up the drinks. We were given 4 different vodka options and 2 different types of salted rim options. The server brings you the glass to continue to fill up and add every type of pickled items, a variety of hot sauce, and then a plethora of spices and seasonings. 
    • Two things came to mind to my friend and I as we were making our Bloody Mary, one-they need bacon as a garnish...and two, we didn't know what we were doing or what exactly to add. So we decided that the "build-your-own" option is best for experts that know what they are doing because ours were not awesome. But we did like all the options.

  • So, this next one, made Jeff and I stop because it reminded us of being in Fort Collins, CO. Back in Colorado, we knew it as CB Potts, here and elsewhere, it is called RAM. It truly is your basic, tasty Bloody Mary with and upgrade in size and a shot of their house beers. The garnish has all the basics plus a couple of chunks of cheese, worthy of an appetizer. 

  • After the original post of this blog, several friends told me I had to try one more signature Bloody Mary. So this time I gathered several friends and we made it a group "research" project! We went to Lucky Fins in Meridian (there is also a location in downtown Boise). This Bloody Mary is quite the sight. It is a double sized version, served in what looks to be vodka bottles turned into glasses. It is well spiced and garnished with a seafood feast. Two crab legs greet you as they set the glass down, as well as, shrimp, blue cheese stuffed olives, and celery. This drink is totally worth $15, but they also serve a traditional pint sized version without the crab legs.
We struggled to get a picture of this monster of a drink, so we took several pictures!!

 Part of the crew helping me do "research"!

The traditional pint-sized Bloody Mary

If you live in the area, please share any others that I need to go and "research" but for now, I have shifted my "research" to the Breweries of Boise. Stayed tuned for my next post on that topic! 🍻

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Meal Prep Delivery Options - My Opinion

Although I love watching Top Chef and my friends describe as a "foodie," cooking is not my strongest skill. I can cook, but I make simple mistakes that can break even the simplest recipes. I get intimidated with cook times on poultry or over season dishes.
A couple of years ago, a friend suggested a meal prep company and I thought it was worth a try since the first delivery was discounted and the recipes looked intriguing. Overall, we enjoyed the service but only used it a couple of times, no real reason why, we just went back to the basics and my husband continued doing most of the cooking.
This past summer, we moved to a new area and got busy with new jobs. After the newness of our move, we got in a rut of boring cooking. A friend suggested trying a meal delivery service again, and there just seemed to be so many options for services that I didn't know existed 2 years ago. We decided to try as many as we could to make a decision of what we thought were the best services.
I am going to share what we tried and rank the companies based on the following criteria-
    • Quality
    • Variety
    • Ease of recipes
      • Easy to create as well as easy to duplicate on own
    • Packaging
    • Website (ordering, pausing service, deactivating)
    • Customer Service 
    • Price (this is the lowest priority because most are about $10 -$12 per person/per meal)
  • Home ChefLink to save $30 off your 1st order!!   Home Chef is my favorite because of easy to follow steps and minimal ingredients to eliminate mistakes. The cost is $59.95 for three meals. The cards come hole-punched and you get a binder with your first order to keep track of your recipes. The packaging is another reason that I am a fan of this company. The box come well equipped with ice packs and then there are only 4 bags, one with all the proteins in their own bag and then a plastic bag for each recipe with all of the ingredients in the bag. It works well because there is minimal waste, and the the bag is perfect to collect and seal aways any trash while cooking. The website is really easy to manipulate your choices and pause your account. There are no hoops to work through. The customer service is very easy to work with, I emailed a concern about my box and they stood behind their product but also sent me a credit to cover my next order. 
 Attached below are some entrees that we have  

had over the past couple of months.

Mushroom Chicken (Like Green Bean Casserole without waiting for a holiday)

Roasted Salmon

Steak Sandwich

Chicken Marsala

            My favorite dish so far... Hot Honey Salmon

            Steak is an affordable option as well-

            Salmon used to be so intimidating until I started using Home Chef-

            • Hello Fresh-is very similar to Home Chef with just a bit more of complexity in their options. Until recently, the reason that Home Chef was rated higher to me was the packaging of the meals. As of our most recent delivery, it is now packaged with each meals components in a recyclable brown bag with the meat separate as described with Home Chef. 
                   Click to save $40 on your first order

            • Green Chef-great quality, great selections, very customizable. The cost is a bit more at $11.95 per meal/per person but you can select from numerous diets. Omnivore, Carnivore, Vegetarian, Paleo, and Keto options are all available. There are less to choose from within the categories but if you consider all the categories and the options under each, they offer something for every palette. The website is easy to select options as well as to put your account on hold or cancel. A con for the service is definitely the packaging, there are a lot of components for each meal but they are color coded.
            • Gobble-these menu items are more prepped and make weeknight cooking easier. For example, the mashed potatoes were already prepared, we just had to add the butter and cream. This service is affordable and easy to assemble with the design that dinner will take less than 20 minutes. Not my favorite service... Unfortunately, we did not take pictures of these dinners. It was easy to sign up and to cancel.
              • Least Favorite (Will not order again) - BLUE APRON

                1. Product Quality-we had the steak option and the steak had a tendon running through the steak that could not be cut. When we reached out to the customer service, they apologized and gave us a credit of $9.95. We were disappointed because we could not eat the steak at all, and now we had to reorder if we wanted to use the minimal discount.
                2. Packaging is all separated and some seasonings or dressing are just for Blue Apron, so you could not duplicate the recipe on your own.
                3. Customer Service-when I spoke to the general customer service person about canceling, she was very unhelpful and when I asked to speak to someone else, she just stated that the policy was the same no matter whom I spoke with about the issue
                  • On a positive note, when I wrote a review about my experience on their website, a team member reached out with the most respectful tone to see if there was anything at all he could do for me.  
                4. Does not send emails of upcoming orders
                5. Difficult to cancel with multiple steps.
              Pictures of the delivery day-

               Everything is well labeled but all separate. 

              If you have a favorite service that I have not mentioned, please share because I am always open to trying new things!!

              Sunday, December 10, 2017

              Downtown Boise..."Celebrity in the Making" Sighting???

              Two months ago while showing off our new city to one of my closest friends, we cruised our bikes to downtown Boise to the Basque Block. Jeff and I are fans of the Basque area and the Basque Market's tapas and Paella on the Patio and wanted to take Rachel to this fantastic place. We noticed several cameras and a film we just had to ask questions.

              Turns out that is was a hush-hush filming of a Food Network show. We couldn't find out much information but then a few weeks later, we read an article in the Idaho Statesman Newspaper about Guy's Big Project. Two guys known as The Grill Dads were on the hunt for their own show on the Food Network. After watching the competition show for the past few weeks...THE GRILL DADS got their own show on the Food Network. So as new residents of Idaho, we are super excited to watch the show and see if we see ourselves in the background of a Boise recording.
              Tonight's FIRST episode took them to Boise Fry Company!
              Congrats to The Grill Dads
              We will have to keep watching to see the episode filmed in the Basque Block
              It's hard to see but there is a film crew in the background of this picture. In the actual picture is the tapas and frozen sangria at the Basque Market, they ran out of paella because of this filming....
              Oh My so many tapas~

               The Basque Block

              Tuesday, October 17, 2017

              It's Been Awhile...Living in Boise the First Few Months!

              Life has been busy and let the blog slide to back to burner for the last several months, so it is time to catch up with the world through this post.
              If you know me personally, you know that my husband and I packed up our little lives in Colorado and headed west. We moved to Boise, Idaho on July 31st! Since our move, we have been exploring the area and have had a few guests to play tour guide with as we learn our way around Boise.
              Leaving Colorado was a tough decision when you have so many friends to leave behind. We are grateful for so many gatherings and farewell celebrations that we had throughout the summer.
              The day we loaded up to leave, we had some last minute helpers to see us off. These cute boys helped packing up the last few things. Their fabulous mom and I were shedding tears as we hugged "see you later" but not good-bye.
              Day One-
              The new house!
              We were so lucky to have friends here in Boise to help unload the moving truck and help us with a head start on getting settled! Thank you to Ben & Kama!!
               Our new puppy, Gus, made himself right at home quickly.
              Our first visitor came from Colorado and took a detour to get back to Kentucky! We really toured around while Trina was in town. She had a list of "have-to" stops she was interested in seeing.
              After helping me set up my classroom, we headed downtown to see the State Capital Building.
               You can't come to Boise, without a pit -stop at Boise Fry Company!!
               Later in the week, we headed downtown on bikes, cruising the Greenbelt. Renting bikes was so easy!
              Once we got downtown, we took a walk through Freak Alley to check out all of the graffiti artwork. Turned out that Freak Alley is in the Top Ten Things to See in Boise.

              New State, New City, have to have a New School with a New Team!! This is our First Day of School photo opt! We may be a new team but I few so comfortable working with these amazing teachers!!
              Just before the fist day of school, the district bused all staff to one location to view the Solar Eclipse!
              This is most of our entire staff!
               Just a couple of snapshots of putting the room together, thank you to my first visitor for helping!!

              As we rolled into our second month in Boise, we had our second visitor! My favorite "name twin" flew out for Labor Day Weekend. The Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic was a great way to start our weekend out and about in Boise!

              After the viewing the balloons, we headed to my favorite breakfast place...Big City Coffee! Seriously all of their pastries are as large as your head...
              Once we were full from breakfast, we headed downtown to a couple of familiar places:
              Freak Alley
               A quick view the State Capital Building
               Of course, a quick snack at the Boise Fry Company
              As we have been getting settled, Gus has been getting big and loves to play. He thinks that all balls belong to him, no matter the size. It makes playing basketball tough for Jeff.
               When Gus is not playing, he makes himself comfortable pretty much anywhere in the house!
              Jeff and I have ventured out a few times to explore the breweries of Boise! We thought we would be losing that culture when we left Fort Collins, Colorado but Boise has a very competitive brewery scene.
              Having a new house has given us the opportunity to decorate in some new ways with the new layout. We found these two pieces at a festival and really felt like they were appropriate for our new home! Colorado was our home for so many years but Idaho is really offering a new adventure for us!!
              As month three begins, we had another visitor! Rachel came to visit from Colorado!
              We started off at Ahi for lunch and shared some sushi!
              We headed to the breweries to see how they compared to Fort Collins! Payette Brewing was our first stop!

              You won't believe it but we headed to Boise Fry Company for a snack...and then we noticed a curtain off to the side of the restaurant. Rachel and I are both very nosy and peeked around the curtain and found a speakeasy we had to go! Press & Pony is a great bar with a fantastic bartender!
              Jeff ordered a drink with fire so we had drinks and a show!

              The next day we rode bikes to downtown!! Some things you just have to do over and over!
              We rode bikes on the Greenbelt towards downtown! We made our way to the Basque District to have tapas & Sangrias at the Basque Market!!
               Another stop in Freak Alley
               Another brewery stop...
              As we wrap up 3 months of living in Boise, I have to share a little bit about our neighborhood. We live just up the road from Boise in the foothills, where we are surrounded by 100 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails just out our door. This past Sunday, it was a beautiful 60 degree day so we went exploring. Just a 3 mile loop from our front door of open air and fields. Gus loved the trails!!