If you thought potatoes were the only food for which Idaho was famous, think again. Trout is a big export as more than 70 percent of the trout in America is reared in the crystal-clear, natural spring habitats. Clear Springs Foods in Buhl is the world’s largest producer of Rainbow trout, which raises more than 20 million pounds each year. Check out the rest of Idaho’s diverse culinary landscape from fine dining to famous dinners and dives.
Vino and Upscale Elegance
For the best in elegant dining, book a table overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene at Beverly’s in the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Acclaimed for its million dollar wine cellar (with free tours at 4:30 pm daily), Beverly’s chefs creatively use northwest products such as huckleberries, seafood, and of course, potatoes, for an unforgettable foodie experience. The official state fruit and a local beauty, the huckleberry is easy to find here. Take a little of Idaho home with you-huckleberry jams and jellies are readily available in local gift shops.
The climate between Caldwell and Marsing is perfect for growing grapes and fruits. Numerous wineries dot the region, with tasting available regularly or by appointment. Perhaps the best known is Ste. Chapelle Winery near Marsing, named for a 13th century chapel in Paris. The charming tasting room features vaulted ceilings flanked by bright cathedral windows and stained glass. Music lovers can sip award-winning wine and enjoy catered lunches during Music at the Winery, a series presented in the summer on an expansive lawn at Ste. Chapelle Winery. In early June, don’t miss the Mountain Brewers Beer Festival, the premier beer event in the Northern Rockies with more than 80 breweries.
Outdoor Markets for Fresh Foods
With all of the produce available each summer, farmer’s markets abound in southwestern Idaho. The Capital City Market in Boise runs each Saturday, from May through October, while the towns of McCall, Emmett, Middleton, Caldwell, Nampa, Eagle, Meridian, Kuna and Mountain Home have their own markets, most running from June to October. Visitors can fi nd fresh fruits, vegetables, and breads as well as wines, arts, and crafts by local artists, at all of these great outdoor venues.
Of the Ethnic Variety
Boise’s ethnic cuisine is unbeatable, with everything from Basque, Greek, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Arabic and Thai. Restaurants such as Leku Ona on the Basque block, Cazba on 8th Street, Mai Thai on Idaho Street and Chef Roland’s Cajun and BBQ on Boise Avenue offer distinct culinary creations in authentic settings. But if you’d prefer a famous shake and an old-fashioned hamburger, don’t miss Moon’s Kitchen, a Boise classic.
The city of Twin Falls has several unique culinary opportunities in which to indulge, from a classic diner like Depot Grill, to Rudy’s, a culinary specialty store with cooking classes and wine tasting. For a really unique meal, check out the Snake River Grill in Hagerman, where chefs prepare locally-grown catfish, alligator, and trout.
Potato Ice Cream?
Rounding out the culinary experiences in southwestern Idaho, those famous potatoes can be quite refreshing on a hot summer day. With Idaho ice cream potatoes, that is. Made famous by Chef Louis Aaron at Boise’s legendary Westside Drive-In, this creative little treat begins with a scoop of vanilla ice cream shaped like a potato, rolled in cocoa, and then topped with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and nuts. You have to get really close to see it’s not the real thing! Or stop by Cloverleaf Creamery in Buhl, where they serve up huge scoops of original ice cream in unusual flavors like black licorice and vanilla cloverleaf.