Thursday, February 21, 2008

Something Bad about Boise

I know all of our friends from North Carolina are tired of hearing how great Boise, Idaho is, so this post should soothe those bruised egos. Yes indeed, there is something bad about Boise.

Tortillas are essentially an entire food group in my pyramid, so finding quality Mexican food was high on the list of things to do when we moved here. To complicate matters, we had a really excellent Mexican restaurant in Raleigh, NC called Dos Taquitos. It was Mexican food with an inventive Central and South American flair. The service was great, the margaritas were made with fresh-squeezed juices, and as a side dish they served my favorite vegetable, broccoli, sprinkled with Oaxacan cheese and chipotle sauce. What Mexican restaurant have you been to that serves broccoli? To be fair, perhaps We were spoiled and our expectations were unreasonable.

I had read much about the breadth of Mexican food available in Boise, due to the large community of Mexican immigrants in the area. (I must say, however, that there are not nearly the number of Mexican immigrants here as there are in Raleigh.) I tirelessly read reviews of area Mexican restaurants and we soldiered to many of them in search of our Dos Taquitos. The latest and final edition in my search was Chapala #9.

Although the Chapala restaurants have received good, even excellent reviews, I had avoided them because of the #9. Most people would think, "with nine restaurants, the food must be good," but I was suspicious. Owning one restaurant is hard enough, let alone nine? I was convinced that with so many restaurants, the food could only be mediocre and Jon was wrong I was right. In fact, I would go so far as to say the food was terrible and the service was pleasant, expedient, and annoying.

Weirdly, the waiters and staff kept calling us "amigos". Somewhere along the way in opening nine restaurants, the owners got the idea that white people love being called "amigos", which is Spanish for friends. The phrase was tacked on at the end of every single question and every reply. By the end of the meal, it was so ridiculous that it was making me laugh out loud every time I heard it.

Oh, and when I asked if they had any chopped jalapeño peppers as a condiment for my meal, they served me a whole jalapeño pepper in a cup, stem attached.
Thanks, amigos! For my next act, I will chop this jalapeño pepper with my dinner knife, which is about as sharp as a spoon. Can the chef spare a cutting board?

Here is a rundown of the other area Mexican restaurants that have tried and failed.

El Gallo Giro, Kuna, ID: This place was so highly recommended that we drove 20 miles to eat there. If only I had read this review first: "The fried doughnuts are not to be missed, and there's even a can of whipped cream if you so desire. "
Cafe Ole, Boise, ID
Andrade, Boise, ID
Los Betos, Boise, ID
Casa Mexico, Boise, ID
9 Beans and a Burrito, Twin Falls, ID
La Tapatia, Boise, ID: This is the only place that was slightly above mediocre in my book.

I am so absolutely done eating Mexican food in Boise. No mas!


Jon said...

I'll keep trying to find a good one. What can I say, I'm a sucker for cheese.

jer said...

at least they didn't call you gringo with every question?

"hey gringo, what do you want to drink?"
"anymore chips gringo?"
"would the gringo like the sour cream on the side?"

try and find a construction site and see what those dudes are eating, odds are there's a taco truck somewhere near there. mmmmmm taco truck, i'd keep an eye out for latino markets too, you have to be careful, but those places generally have the best latino food going, i'm not joking either, look for the taco truck i can guarantee you its better than any of those "mexican restaurants"


Jon said...

Indeed we have been to a taco truck here. You just have to avoid ordering the tripe! The hunt is still on, we'll find a good one someday. (even if it involves driving to Salt Lake City to eat at the the red iguana)

Kate said...

A good Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City does not equal a good Mexican restaurant in Boise. It will be a lonely search, my dear, because you are on your own!

jer said...

mmmmmmmmmm, tripe.

Anonymous said...

There are two decent places for Mexican food in the Treasure Valley that I know of. Imelda's in Caldwell is a small tauqueria with a simple menu. For a broader menu, El Rinconcito in Nampa is the best all around Mexican food I've had here. I grew up in Southern California, and El Rinconcito is a style I'm familiar with. Many here seem to like Andrade's, but I don't think much of it.