Bánh Mì, Oh My

Baguette Deli is Boise’s most well-known supplier of Bánh mì, a beautiful category of sandwich that was invented when savory Vietnamese flavors and fillings met the French baguette. The bustling lunch spot is tucked into the side of the Fred Meyer on Orchard and Franklin streets.

The sandwiches offer respectable meat and a fresh bundle of veggies tucked into a flaky and chewy segment of baguette. A generous burst of cilantro and a subtle smear of a delightful mayonnaise variant make each bite exciting.

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The grilled beef sandwich is, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, the finest sandwich on the menu.

But the bread isn’t outstanding; it’s too dry and the uniform pattern on the bottom reveals its factory origins. The mayo is barely there, and the sandwich feels spare unless you pay up for extra meat and extra veggies. The flavors are merely the sum of their parts. In a truly great sandwich, the intersections between flavors become flavors of their own.

The return on investment, however, is hard to argue with. Sandwiches start at $4.95, undercutting the boldest Subway promotions. Your sandwich appears on the counter less than three minutes after you order it. When you combine that with the abundant free parking, satisfying your hunger doesn’t get much easier.

Baguette Deli isn’t a one-trick pony. They offer pho and a variety of boba teas and smoothies. If you’re on the West Bench and feeling peckish, you’d be wise to stop by.

Quote of the Week: Jonathan Gold

“The first responsibility of any great restaurant is to keep you in the bubble, the soft-serve cocoon of illusion where you forget the world exists for anything but your pleasure. And the newly redesigned Spago, from the moment you toss your keys to the valet to the moment you stagger back out again, gives good bubble.”

– Jonathan Gold

Click here for the rest of his review.

 

Manfred’s Is Ready for the Cheese Revolution

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM IN THE HEADQUARTERS OF MISSION TORTILLAS – DAY

FADE IN ON:

The CEO and DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS ANALYTICS sit at the head of a meeting of the BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

CEO: You have the sales figures prepared?
DBA: Of course.
CEO: Another quarter of dominant profits, I assume. Our national obsession with quesadillas only grows.
DBA: Actually Sir, revenues are, uh, trending down.
CEO: WHAT?
DBA: There’s no easy way to say this, Sir, but, people no longer need the bottom tortilla.
CEO: WHAT?
DBA: They’re just, like, putting the cheese directly on the griddle.
CEO: I DON’T BELIEVE YOU.
DBA: I wish I was lying, Sir.
CEO: ARE YOU TELLING ME PEOPLE WILL ONLY NEED ONE TORTILLA PER QUESADILLA?
DBA: We made some charts and they predict a 50% decrease in revenue.
CEO: SOMEBODY GET ME MY STRESS BLANKET!

An intern materializes from behind the door and hands CEO a massive flour tortilla—easily four feet in diameter. CEO throws himself on the floor and slowly wraps himself up in a tight, comforting burrito.

DBA: Sir…
CEO: You know what I thought would put us out of business? Pita bread. Sourdough. Hot dog buns… [chuckles bitterly] …I feared losing market share to every type of bread there is. What a fool I was. In the end, we are destroyed by cheese alone.

The director of business analytics turns to face the table. Board members stare. Blank.

DBA: Alright then, let’s review the minutes from last month’s meeting…

FADE TO BLACK.


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We are living in a golden age of griddled cheese. Something about that feels right to me. Only in the 21stcentury would we have the audacity to say, “To heck with it all, I’m putting the cheese right on the pan.”

We are shedding the bottom tortilla, and I’m not sure we will ever look back.

Manfred’s certainly isn’t. The food-truck-style operation is tucked one door down from Woodland Empire brewing on Front street, and it is churning out edgy meals at an impressive pace.

When I visited Manfred’s last week, I enjoyed the Tacodilla—an open face quesadilla wrapped around carne asada, topped with cabbage, avocado crema, and lime-pickled onions. I was very pleased with the amount of seasoned grease that accumulated at the bottom of this super taco. There was enough to make me happy, but not enough to make me feel bad about myself.

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Is the Tacodilla better than the gringa style taco at Calle 75? Maybe not, but you can never, ever have enough griddled cheese.

Manfred’s serves the divey-yet-artsy sort of food that thrives in our up and coming downtown scene. I look forward to exploring the rest of the menu.

Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?

For years, the internet has been torn apart by a single question: should a hot dog be considered a sandwich? 

Several people have asked me to cover this debate on my blog. I have tried to write about it more than once, but I have to admit that I am genuinely perplexed by this question. The more research I do the more confused I become. 

In this time of need, I turn to the brilliant minds of the Eating With Henry community. Let’s answer this question together. 

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Please email your answer and the reasoning behind your answer to eatingwithhenry@gmail.com

Your response will be featured in an upcoming blog.

(If you have a highly controversial opinion that needs to be published anonymously, just let me know.)

Dat Pizza Dough

Boise, Idaho is a growing, thriving metropolis. It is not yet ‘world class’.

Yes, we live near ‘world class’ river rapids. Yes, we have a ‘world class’ college football training complex. And yes, we may even experience ‘world class’ quality of life. (I assume the mayor is happily nodding at that one.)

But the hard truth is, most of the things we like in this city are only ‘quite good’. Our food scene contains many excellent meals, but few transcendent ones.

This will likely be an inflammatory statement, and I welcome discussion in the comments, but I think there are two ‘world class’ establishments in Boise:

  1. Janjou Patisserie (more on this later)
  2. Tony’s Pizza

Tony’s Pizzeria Teatro is ‘World Class’ with two capital letters. It is the best pizza I have ever eaten. If you pretend that another pizza in this town is comparable, I will fight you.

Pizza begins with the crust. Tony’s crust is perfect. Continue reading Dat Pizza Dough

Lily Yasuda Isn’t Making You a Happy Meal

This is the first installment of Eating and Conversation, a new series of Q & A’s where I talk to interesting people about the interesting things they do—while eating food.


Fellow diner: Lily Yasuda
Establishment: Wild Root Cafe and Market

Lily Yasuda, pictured above weilding a spear of french toast, grew up in Boise and attended Boise High School. She is returning home to make a film. I caught up with her last week. Continue reading Lily Yasuda Isn’t Making You a Happy Meal