Best Side Dishes in Boise? This Local Favorite Has a Case

Here’s something I believe deeply:

There is no food more satisfying than rice and beans.

And if you’re looking for some top-notch rice and beans, dash to CasaBlanca Cuban Grill on Overland. Now six years old and still getting rave reviews, CasaBlanca has cemented itself as a Boise standard.

CasaBlanca serves the kind of hearty meals you would make at home if you had any idea how to season things properly. The bulk of the menu is meats served alongside the glorious triumvirate of rice, beans, and fried plantains. (I challenge you to name a better trio of side dishes.) They also offer soups, salads, appetizers, and tasty Cuban sandwiches.

I recently ate lunch at CasaBlanca with my girlfriend. We started our meal with Mariquitas—thin, crispy plantain chips. These chips are superior to potato chips; they’re sweeter and earthier and more fun to chew. They’re also served with a housemade garlic sauce that made me shimmy like Shaq in an Icy Hot commercial.

(Pro tip: notice how I ate the garlic sauce with my girlfriend. If I alone had eaten this breath-destroying elixir and then tried for a kiss on the cheek, I would be single. Garlic breath must be shared.)

For my main course, I enjoyed the Pechuga de pollo a la plancha, which featured ‘grilled chicken breast marinated in garlic and lemon, topped with sauteed onions’. The lemon brought forth delightfully atypical flavors from the chicken and onions. My girlfriend enjoyed the Sandwich de pollo, which boasted perfectly toasted Cuban style bread.

CasaBlanca’s festive interior put me in a good mood before I ate a single plantain chip. When I remembered that rice, beans and plantains were just a moment away, I was truly joyful. ∎

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