I slept in a bit today (Friday) and decided that it would then be a perfect time to break in my running shoes on the greenbelt that goes along the Boise River. There is a paved path that goes along both sides of the river for the length of the downtown area, probably three or four miles. One entrance to the path is right across the street from my hotel, so it was not long before I was pounding the pavement. I noticed distances were stamped onto the concrete in 1/10 mile increments. That’s a bit much. They could do with 1/2 mile increments, but whatever….
The path is nice – as I ran away from the hotel on the south side, I first ran along Boise State University (I’m across the street from the football stadium). Just to the west of the school is a nature sanctuary, and it was very peaceful to spend a half mile or so with the river on one side and ducks and butterflies on the other side. Just past the sanctuary is a huge park. At the point I decided I should turn around, it turns out the trail ends. I didn’t know that, and in looking for the extension of the trail (to cross the river and come back on the other side), I started running the wrong direction. Only a half mile or so, but when I expected a bridge and found a cemetery, I knew something was wrong. Then I checked my smartphone, on which I was tracking my run. 4.1 miles in 8:11 pace. I thought I had only gone 3 miles.
Once I found the bridge, all was good. I picked up the pace a bit, running on the north side of the river until I arrived at the Boise Zoo. Here I took the Friendship Bridge, which connects downtown Boise with the university, back to the south side and on back to the hotel. My knees were sore and I was sweating off my sunblock, but the weather was not too warm, yet. I picked a good time of day to run.
For lunch, I decided to drive into the sketchy part of town, to Tango’s Empanadas. It is run by an Argentine family and serves a wide variety of authentic empanadas. Small seating area, a steady line, and an owner who had nothing but a big smile, conversations, and kind words to everyone who entered and exited. That’s a good sign. I found this place by looking at Wikitravel, Yelp reviews and they are one of the top restaurants in the city according to Tripadvisor. It’s absolutely the type of place that would be profiled in one of those Food Network shows. I’d be surprised if it hasn’t already. For $2.50 each, I ordered the Rancho, with “our own refried beans, in house Mexican chorizo, jalapeños and cheddar cheese,” and the Elpuerco, with “shredded pork in our homemade green salsa and potatoes.” As mentioned, there was a steady line… I saw several people ordering a variety and receiving them in a pizza box. I guess when you order six or twelve of them, that makes sense. I decided I should try the dessert empanadas and asked for recommendations. I ended up ordering the Rafi, a Brazilian treat with melted chocolate and cherry filling. It was one of the better desserts I’ve ever had. Not quite as good as a good Napoleon, but up there.
Then I went to the Boise Co-op Grocery Store, which ended up being way bigger than I imagined any Co-op could be. The very first thing I noticed wad that they had kombucha on a member sale way cheaper than I though it could possibly be, so I stocked up on enough of that for a few days. I’ve been drinking it since then. I also checked out their beer selection and picked up a few Idaho selections to enjoy at a later date.
After some more wandering around downtown, I stopped with my laptop into a local coffee shop. Incidentally, I am at this same coffee shop right now as I write this. So my time in the coffee shop involved a couple hours of being semi-productive. My coffee shop time is never fully productive because I find people to talk to, or I people watch, or the music distracts me. In this case, the music was really good and I ended up talking to the barista for a while about music. He’s here again today and I have already learned of some new bands I need to follow. But back to yesterday. I was also got some pizza recommendations, because there are a lot of local pizza joints within a few blocks and Yelp rated them all highly. So I was given two names: Guido’s and Wiseguys. I chose Guido’s and took it to go, so that I could drive up to Table Rock, a hilly viewpoint east of the city. I got there about 30 minutes before sunset and snacked on my two slices……plus one more empanada I ordered to go. I didn’t mention that part earlier, did I? The empanada to go was the classic Gaucho, and I hope the warm weather inside my car kept it at a safe temperature for those few…or eight….. hours.
The evening ended with me back at Bittercreek Alehouse, eating poutine and enjoying a glass of beer. The waitress this time wasn’t as good. She was kind of scatter-brained and not as knowledgeable about the menu, but I think she was just new. I got back to the hotel early this time – 1AM.