‘Petite 4’ Stands Tall On Boise’s Elite Restaurant Short List

When I found out that Bleubird was closing I could barely leave my house. The sudden evaporation of the city’s finest sandwich shop felt like a nightmare. Bleubird’s brilliant sandwiches, inventive side salads and herbaceous fruit sodas were so beloved that a line often curled out the door and down the block on Friday afternoons.

At the nadir of my emotional crisis, I was saved by astounding, thrilling news. Sarah and David Kelly, the power couple behind Bleubird’s massive success, were opening a new restaurant on Boise’s bench. Cleverly dubbed ‘Petite 4’ (a nod to its diminutive size and location at 4 N Latah St.), the Kelly’s new venture would serve French food in an ‘upscale casual’ environment. I made reservations as soon as possible.

My girlfriend and I visited Petite 4 on a Saturday evening at 7:30 pm. Reservations are mandatory unless you plan on fighting for space at the bar. Petite 4 has inherited much of its stylistic vision from Bleubird, but the execution is closer to impeccable. A striking kitchen forms the heart of the restaurant, and every member of the staff looks dapper in a pinstriped apron.

Dave Kelly’s sodas border on artwork. His newest creation combines turmeric, ginger, mint, and apple cider vinegar to produce something with the crisp bite of ginger ale and the earthy, acidic tones of Kombucha. It’s called ‘The Cure’ and you must order it.

My girlfriend, blessed to be born in 1997, turned to the wine list. I, a cursed child of 1998, examined the sodas. We asked the waitress for guidance, and she said that most people order one starter, one vegetable, and two entrees. Expecting small, fine dining sized portions, I ordered those four dishes and a cheese plate. Little did I know, the entrees here are roughly the size of a family sedan. When you consider the vastness of some of these meals, the prices are closer to a brewery than a steakhouse.

The menu is laid out simply. On the front: soup, salad and sandwiches, starches, vegetables, meat, seafood. On the back: cheese and charcuterie. On a separate card: today’s specials, including oysters and dessert.

If I had it to do over, I would order one starter, two vegetables, and split an entrée. That way, I would have had room for dessert.

Here is what we ate:

Continue reading “‘Petite 4’ Stands Tall On Boise’s Elite Restaurant Short List”

I Fell in Love With Nut Cheese

This is the second of two posts evaluating the viability of nut-based fake cheese.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the dairy industry’s panicked response to the rise of nut milk and nut cheese. Today, I am going to tell you why that panic is justified:

I fell in love with nut cheese.

I never thought I could be converted. Nut-based cheese imitations have been, for most of human history, absolute trash. But then I discovered a product called Kite Hill, and, I know this sounds crazy, but I literally believed this stuff was real cheese for three weeks.

Kite Hill, and the equally excellent Treeline, set themselves apart because the nuts are ground to the point of absolute smoothness and then introduced to cultures just like actual cheese. The result is a beautiful substance that I actually prefer to cream cheese.

I know what you’re thinking: “Great Henry, you found an acceptable replacement for cream cheese, which is barely a type of cheese. You’ll have to pry my cheddar from my cold, dead hands.”

Continue reading “I Fell in Love With Nut Cheese”

Laura Reiley on the Fiction of Farm-To-Table

“IF YOU EAT FOOD, you are being lied to every day.

The food supply chain is so vast and so complicated. It has yielded extra-virgin olive oil that is actually colored sunflower oil, Parmesan cheese bulked up with wood pulp, and a horsemeat scandal that, for a while, rendered Ikea outings Swedish meatball-free.

Everywhere you look, you see the claims: “sustainable,” “naturally raised,” “organic,” “non-GMO,” “fair trade,” “responsibly grown.” Restaurants have reached new levels of hyperbole.

What makes buying food different from other forms of commerce is this: It’s a trust-based system. How do you know the Dover sole on your plate is Dover sole? Only that the restaurateur said so.”

Laura Reiley’s exhaustive exposé on Tampa Bay’s farm-to-table movement will make you regard even the most sincere restaurant chalkboard with a healthy suspicion.

The Dairy Industry Is Having a Cow

This is the first of two posts evaluating the viability of nut-based fake cheese.

Milk consumption in the United States is falling faster than a Holstein with a defective parachute, and alternative milks—from soy milk to pea milk—are a big reason why.

How obsessed is America with alternative milk? New York City recently experienced an oat milk shortage… and there was widespread panic.

I’m serious.

The dairy lobby was uncomfortable with these developments. So they fought back.

In January 2017, a bill—co-sponsored by Idaho’s own Jim Risch—appeared in the United States Senate. It was called the DAIRY PRIDE Act.

Why is DAIRY PRIDE in all caps? Because it’s an acronym: Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese To Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act

I’m serious.

Continue reading “The Dairy Industry Is Having a Cow”

Episode 2: Crush Your Business Lunch

Jesse Maldonado was elected to City Council in Lewiston, Idaho when he was just 18. He appeared on the Eating With Henry podcast to ​talk about government’s influence on food and what to order when you’re networking. He also reccomended mustard pizza, which I wasn’t aware existed.

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Episode 1: Should We Eat It Upside Down?

The first episode of the Eating With Henry podcast has arrived! A big thanks to Carl Vellotti for calling in from Los Angeles.

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Some Thoughts About Pizza Cones

On Saturday I attended Boise State’s destruction of Connecticut, and I took a moment at halftime to check out the stadium food options.

I recognized most of the vendors from games past. But I also discovered something new and delightful: a pizza cone stand.

Seeing this stand caused a brief internal struggle. It went something like this:

ME: It’s after 10pm. Should I eat something called a pizza cone?

MY COLON: That’s gonna be a no for me dawg.

Continue reading “Some Thoughts About Pizza Cones”

Caity Weaver on TGI Friday’s

“Earlier I said these mozzarella sticks taste like garbage. I would like to amend that statement. They taste worse than garbage. I would prefer to eat garbage, because then there would be the chance I would get to eat a bite of something good someone started to eat but couldn’t finish, or paper.

The water outside TGI Friday’s is black now.”

Caity Weaver’s 6,000 word account of a day spent at TGI Friday’s is an effort in clickbait worthy of Dickens.