Category Archives: Idaho

Spring Road Trip to Tucson, Arizona

Tucson 2017 149

Sonoran Desert landscape in Tucson, Arizona

With winter persisting well into April in Calgary, it was definitely time for a spring road trip to the U.S. southwest and its warming sun. The destination this time was all the way south to Tucson, Arizona—a trip involving plentiful hiking, eating and drinking.

But as they say, the journey is often as important as the destination. So before I delve more deeply into Tucson eats and drinks over the coming weeks, here’s a pictorial sampling of road life on the three-day route down and on the way back.

Tucson 2017 12

Road trip breakfast of chilaquiles at MartAnne’s Burrito Palace in Flagstaff, Arizona

Tucson 2017 14

Early April snowstorm in Flagstaff (elevation 7,000 feet), 2 hours north of Phoenix

Tucson 2017 18

Hanging out with the cool coffee crowd at Lux Central in Phoenix

Tucson 2017 48

Two jumpers in the Wave Cave near Apache Junction, east of Phoenix

Tucson 2017 54

Peeking into the kitchen at Porter’s Cafe in Superior, Arizona

Tucson 2017 58

Open-pit mine south of Superior, Arizona

Tucson 2017 59

Outside Oracle Patio Cafe in Oracle, Arizona

Tucson 2017 65

Chalet Village Motel in Oracle, Arizona

Tucson 2017 86

Aquarium fish at the Desert Museum in Tucson

Tucson 2017 89

Sculpture in Metal Arts Village, Tucson

Tucson 2017 252

Homeward bound: Lunch line at colourful Lone Star Taqueria in Salt Lake City

Tucson 2017 258

Tacos Antojitos Naucalpan in tiny Hamer, Idaho: There’s no place like it

Tucson 2017 254

Run by the incomparable Carmen

Tucson 2017 261

Tesla super charging station in whistlestop Lima, Montana on the I-15

Tucson 2017 267

Hills outside one of my favourite U.S. towns, Dillon, Montana

Tucson 2017 271

Hitchin Post, Melrose, Montana

Lots of Soul in This Bonners Ferry, Idaho Restaurant

img_4439

Tracy delivers the love, and the food, at Soulshine in Bonners Ferry, Idaho

There isn’t a strong tradition of ethnic food in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. So, Tracy Truesdell and Josh Sherven decided to spice things up when they opened Soulshine (“Love and Food”), a little, vibrantly coloured joint in the town’s compact, historic downtown. Sampling their burritos, bowls and wraps is like taking a vicarious trip around the world through your taste buds.

Consider the chile verde, featuring Josh’s tomatillo salsa verde recipe from his days in Mexico. I get this flavourful, pungent sauce ladled over whole pinto beans (cooked in house), rice and guacamole. Africa is represented with a banana chutney, Thailand with a peanut-sauce medley and the Middle East with a Marrakesh salad. They’re even considering adding a Swedish pulled-pork dish as an occasional special.

img_4440

The chile verde has lots of Mexican kick

Tracy and Josh are a lively, friendly couple, happy to share their scratch-made global cuisine or give me a sample of a not-so-international dish—rich, house-made ice cream.

As I leave, I stare up at the sign over the door. “But where’s the love?”

“It’s in the food,” exclaims Tracy. And in the people.

Soulshine
6428 Kootenai Street, Bonners Ferry, Idaho
Weekdays 9 am-3 pm. Closed weekends
208-597-3326

Kickstarting the Day in Ketchum, Idaho

img_4386

Bigwood Bread Bakery adds a full menu to its baked goods in Ketchum, Idaho

I’m always a sucker for a good bakery. Especially if it also serves meals featuring fresh-from-the-oven breads and buns.

So I’m happy to discover not one but two Bigwood Bread Bakery locations in the little resort community of Ketchum, Idaho. Besides baking excellent hand-formed, naturally leavened loaves of, say, sourdough or vitagrain, Bigwood also makes breakfast sandwiches, house-made granola and steel-cut oatmeal with gingersnap walnut crumble.

Of course, I have to try something different—a warm croissant cradling a centre of bacon and gooey cheese. Good stuff.

img_4389

This gooey, cheesy croissant  hits the spot

Bigwood Bread Bakery
380 East Avenue and 271 Northwood Way, both in Ketchum, Idaho
Daily 8 am-3 pm, with 2:30 pm closing at Northwood location.

A good resort town like Ketchum/Sun Valley also has to keep the active folks well caffeinated. At Java on Fourth, they add a few twists to the usual coffee offerings. Like Bowl of Soul, a mix of coffee, hot chocolate and whipped cream. Or the Keith Richards: Mexican hot chocolate and four shots of espresso. That’ll kickstart your morning.

img_4378

Java on Fourth certainly wakes you up with a four-shot espresso

Java on Fourth
191 4 Street West, Ketchum, Idaho
Weekdays 6 am-3 pm, weekends 7 am-3 pm
208-726-2882

Kneading Some Wild Critters With My Ketchum Breakfast

img_4381

All those eyes watching me wolf down my non-meat breakfast

It’s quiet when I enter The Kneadery, in Ketchum, Idaho. Still, I can safely say it’s a bit of a zoo. That’s because I’m greeted by a stuffed, snarling grizzly bear by the front door of this rustic restaurant. It’s merely the start of a menagerie that includes a wall of mounted bison, moose and antelope heads.

With all these critters staring at me glassy eyed, I decide to go meatless at breakfast. It’s a great choice. My half order of French toast is still a plateful of fragrant, organic challah bread (from the nearby Bigwood Bread Bakery), lightly grilled and topped with fresh strawberries and, a lovely touch, warm maple syrup.

img_4382

Strawberry French toast instead

The morning meals at The Kneadery are substantial, as diners around me gamely tackle cage-free eggs Benedict and puffy waffles with gusto.

The Kneadery
260 Leadville Avenue, Ketchum, Idaho
Daily 8 am-2 pm
208-726-9462

Palouse: The Perfect Little Road Trip Town

Palouse is a perfect little road-trip town to visit

Palouse is a perfect little road-trip town to visit

I don’t often come across the perfect, middle-of-nowhere town. One that’s charming, historic and revitalized, with fabulous scenery and one main drag.

Too often, such places go in one of two directions: straight downhill—because there’s nothing left to sustain them—or overrun and loved to death. Hitting the sweet spot of overlooked yet vibrant is the rarest of feats.

I might have found the holy grail in Palouse, Washington, a “city” of 1,000 and a stone’s throw from the Idaho border. Perhaps its greatest attribute is the location, along the eastern edge of the other-worldly Palouse Hills and their rich farming soils.

A broad, tidy main street

A broad, tidy main street

Continue reading

One of the World’s Grand Drives: Through the Palouse Hills

The fabulous Palouse Hills, just north of Pullman, Washington

The fabulous Palouse Hills, just north of Pullman, Washington

Anyone who’s used those AAA state maps is familiar with their dotted lines, indicating a scenic highway. I follow those highlighted routes whenever I can, because they’re a pretty reliable indicator of a fabulous drive, often on a winding, uncrowded secondary highway. But occasionally, I’m left scratching my head.

For instance, I was recently driving north of Moscow, Idaho on Highway 95. Pretty enough, I guess, but hardly worthy of its exalted dotted status.

But just to the west, across the Washington border, are the Palouse Hills, crisscrossed by a network of secondary and smaller highways. Nary a one of them has earned the precious dots. Now, this is a crime. Continue reading