Not Basquing in the Boise Sun…

6 June 2015

After two rather trying days in Seattle and Olympia (mostly the former, thanks to the insane traffic and the brain-dead drivers there), I headed off for the weekend in Boise, Idaho. Huh? No, seriously, always wanted to visit as I have heard it is a beautiful place. After another ridiculously early morning flight, I left relaxed — thanks to a rare upgrade by Delta. Never thought I’d say this, but am so glad to fly Delta after the incompetent insanity with Southwest recently!

Got to Boise and it was hot and sunny. Did some sightseeing in the morning before I dropped into downtown for an early lunch. There was one thing I wanted to focus my culinary adventures on in Boise, and that’s Basque food. Boise has one of the largest Basque communities outside of Europe, and I was hoping the culinary delights were preserved. So I headed to the Basque Block near the Idaho State Capitol and Bar Gernika.

I was told by people to try to beef tongue in garlic sauce at Bar Gernika, which is only served on Saturday — which is today. I got there a little early but went to hide in the bar (most people wanted to sit outside…which is way too sunny and hot for me). I enjoyed a few craft beers alongside the dish of the day.


To be honest it was on the bland side, the meat I mean. I wish they had kept it thicker, as tongue, when sliced too thin, loses its distinct flavour. The garlic sauce was fantastic though, very heavily garlic. A little disappointed as I got out, and once again the “I can’t drink beer anymore” syndrome hit and my stomach was starting to rumble…ugh…

Nevertheless I went around town checking out various sites in the afternoon despite the heat and intense sun. I know I definitely got a tan this Saturday afternoon…

After relaxing a little later in my nice downtown hotel I headed back to the Basque area for dinner. At first I stopped at a local distillery/bar for a drink but the “halloumi” there was so reminiscent of wax I decided to go straight to dinner next door at another well-known Basque restaurant, Leku Ona.

Not a good sign, it was empty on a Saturday night. I was gonna eat at the bar, but they said full service at tables only…oookay. I moved to a table (what’s the difference, everything was empty…) and ordered and enjoyed some wine. But I waited and waited and they apologised for how long it took. Ugh…I guess they didn’t anticipate customers… Eventually my starter came out.


Hmmm…these chorizo looked way too ordinary. Very oily, not bad, but the peppers were absolutely soaked in oil. A little greasy for my taste, even though I usually love a greasy sausage. Not too happy so far… Then my main arrived way later…


Looked okay, but my heart sank when I took a taste of this, what was supposed to be tripe. It looked like they were not ready for it at all. The tripe was utterly flavourless. Obvious they cooked it rapidly, probably boiled it in water and thrown into the good-for-everything sauce. I actually abandoned this dish and closed up and left…

Oh, this was so disappointing. Food in the Basque region is so amazingly good, and this was an utter letdown after all I’ve heard about it. I guess a generation or so dilutes the interest, as does being landlocked. Still, no excuse for the horrible flavourless tripe. You know I am an offal eater and eat tripe all over the world…remember this beauty at Le Zendraglie in Napoli? Or this wonderful thing at Block 13 Beef Offal in Hong Kong? Or just recently in Madrid at La Hoja? This was just nowhere…

I was so disappointed and worn down by the heat at this point I ended up just eating a bag of popcorn in my hotel room watching inane TV… Well, at least I get to catch up on some sleep as tomorrow I’m just driving around the mountains…

Bar Gernika
202 South Capitol Boulevard

Leku Ona
117 South 6th Street
Boise, Idaho

One thought on “Not Basquing in the Boise Sun…

  1. Pingback: Ribs, ribs, and more ribs — from California to Washington to Kansas | melhuang1972

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