I meant to write this last night while the memories were fresh, but I decided I needed some sleep. I’ll try my best though:
First full day in Boise – I tried to calibrate my initial thoughts on the city with past experiences. I instantly decided that the large downtown area reminds me of downtown Phoenix. It just has the same general feel, not to mention a similar architectural style, in my opinion. It also feels like Spokane, though, which makes more sense. The population reminds me of a mix between a college town (which it definitely is), and Salt Lake City North, which it very well also may be. It looks like people enjoy living here. Outside the downtown area, which is probably two miles by one mile in area, it looks like an old, run-down, slow-paced city. Oddly, by the time I actually drove into the ‘bad’ part of town, a local had described that side of town as being more like Portland. Not sure about that!
The morning started with me getting to Costco ASAP, as my gas tank was low. I reminded myself how to pump gas again, and then headed to the NIKE factory store because I forgot my running shoes and there is a big greenbelt that I want to take advantage of. Pictures tomorrow. I needed new running shoes anyway and quickly found some for a good price, plus sales tax.
I arrived this morning at 1AM, Mountain Time, so I slept in late. After getting shoes, it was time for lunch so I went back to downtown, specifically to the Basque area, of which Boise has a large population. There’s a Basque festival this weekend and I’ll sure have stories and photos from that. The place where I ate, was not Basque, though. It is called Bardenay and is, apparently, the only/first/something restaurant to have its own distillery on the premises. Gin, vodka, and rum. I ate lunch with a side of Basque Olive Gin Martini.
The next few hours involved wandering downtown – no camera, except for the cellphone. I asked someone for a coffee recommendation and she told me that since I’m from Portland I’d probably appreciate the vibe at ‘Crux’ and since they serve Stumptown Coffee (from Portland), it would be stronger. It did have the Portland lounge vibe and as I sat there drinking my Americano, the person sitting next to me convinced me to come back this evening for a concert happening in the other part of the space. She is apparently in charge of booking bands, told me about the bands playing that night, including Portland-based AAN, and played their album for me over the shop’s music system. I liked the band’s sound and planned to come back.
After more exploring the city, getting some groceries, checking a local beer store, and what not, I got a dinner of famous potato chowder and pizza bread with olive butter and a restaurant/lounge called Bittercreek Alehouse. Last week when I researched TO-DOs, this place quickly found the #1 food slot because the menu looked good and because they have a daily rotating tap list of beers. I sampled several, including one which is about $23 a bottle when you find it in a store. As always, I added my beer experiences to my Untappd page. That’s a phone app for tracking beers.
During the concert, there was a chess board sitting on one table near me (remember, it’s sort of a coffeeshop/performance space) so I made a first move – eventually someone moved the other side, and for the next hour and a half, I was playing chess with a mysterious somebody during a concert. Eventually, they conceded by flipping over their king.
To finish the evening, I went back to the Bittercreek Alehouse, which is attached to its sister, the Red Feather Lounge. Late night menu, more beer, and open ’til 2AM equals fun! Plus, I got some ideas from my waitress for what to do the next few days. Once she found out I was from Portland, she mentioned she was going to be spending a week in Portland/Newport (on the coast) before school (Boise State U.) starts again. We started talking beer and she mentioned she was planning to visit some breweries (and Voodoo Doughnuts) and needed to research. Good deed of the day: As I munched on chicken wings and fries and beer, I drew her an elaborate map of Portland on receipt paper, complete with the best breweries and brewpubs, websites to find more info, all that good stuff. And if you’ve seen me draw a map, they’re pretty good! I wish I took a picture.