Food News September 29 2004 

Soon to be a slam dunk: Ten

Everyone knows sports and beer are a match made in heaven. But what about sports and martinis? The two can make a great pair, according to the new owners of Ten, a bar/restaurant in the old Pie space on Grove Street. Scheduled to open October 1, Ten's owners Eric Lenweaver, Christian Curtis and Rick Bennett first tried this concept of sports bar by day and martini bar by night in Chico, California, where two of them went to college. Their success in Chico motivated the trio to seek out another market to open a sister bar. Boise stood out as primed and ready, with its growing population and vibrant downtown.

Ten will retain the same basic layout as Pie and its slightly upscale atmosphere, with new colors, furniture and seating. The biggest changes are the mahogany couches in the upstairs nook and four big booths where the stage used to be. During the day, Ten will have eleven televisions fired up in the L-shaped space and all kinds of sports packages and drink specials to help recruit all you sports fans. Come night, the televisions will magically disappear and the club lighting and music will be turned up. And there will be more drink specials--both at Happy Hour and at 10 p.m.

The food menu will feature New York style pizza, salads, sandwiches and all your favorite bar snacks. The extensive drink menu will feature 30-50 different kinds of martinis. So who do they plan to attract with this slightly schizophrenic concept? Adults 23 and older looking for a nice bar atmosphere with great deals on both food and drinks.

Urban Tea House

Sometimes we at Boise Weekly need to wake up and smell the tea--we just realized that this adorable new teahouse, Urban Tea House, had quietly opened at 216 N. 9th Street some six weeks ago (in the old Badass Coffee space). Owner and successful webmaster Dave Carlin had an unhealthy, addictive relationship with coffee that landed him in the hospital and forced him to make the switch to tea. Now he spends his days surrounded by hundreds of teas from all over the world--white teas, black teas, green teas, oolongs, rooibos, chais, jasmines, earl grays, organic teas, decaffeinated teas, herbal teas, and many, many more. (There are currently 150 on display and there will soon be 320 total.) The teas cost anywhere from $20 per pound to $220 per pound but don't be put off by the price of good tea because a pound of tea yields many more cups than a pound of coffee--180 cups versus 60 cups. And you don't have to commit to buying a whole pound either, you can purchase as little as two ounces of any tea.

Just looking at the hundreds of clear canisters makes you want to become a tea drinker; the size, color and textures of the leaves offer up so much variety. And some of the teas are so unconventional-looking you can't help but be curious--like the hand-rolled jasmine pearls that unfurl like flowers when placed in hot water or the special green tea that has been wrapped in bamboo then left in a cave for several years and now looks like bark. If looking at the teas isn't enough of a sensory experience, you are free to unscrew the canister cap and sink your schnozzle in. The smell of a tea will often help you determine whether you will like the flavor or whether it is indeed that tea you once sampled while traveling in Sri Lanka and have not been able to find since.

Most customers so far have purchased tea to take home, though Carlin will happily brew a pot for you to enjoy while relaxing in the sunny, homey sitting area. To help increase the sit-down traffic, Carlin will soon introduce Bubble Tea, an iced tea drink with a cream base, giant tapioca pearls and the flavor of your choice--like almond, mango, rose or papaya. And he will be selling tea treats in the form of pastries, cookies, shortbread and crumpets. At present, the tea house hours are slightly changeable, since Carlin is a one-man operation. He's often open by 8 a.m. and always open by 9 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and he generally closes around 9 p.m. Give Carlin a ring at 429-6515 for more about his hours and teas. :

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