The first thing you notice when you enter KB's is the use of vibrant color. Every wall is splashed with a bright spectrum of colors that are blended together like the hues of a tequila sunrise. Strings of colorful Tibetan prayer flags wave overhead, and a giant photograph collage of people wearing KB's T-shirts while standing in exotic locations like China, Nepal and Machu Picchu, hangs on the wall behind the concrete lunch counter. A row of comfortable booths line the window that overlooks Capitol Boulevard, and a vibe that says "freshly-showered-world-traveling hippie" permeates the place. Make that a wealthy hippie who can afford the pricey Capitol Boulevard frontage amid the new hotel, movie theater and boutiques in downtown Boise's BoDo district.
Before my first visit, I picked up my eldest teenage son and the two of us hit BoDo for lunch at KB's. He ordered a four-ingredient build-your-own burrito ($4.95 small/$6.25 regular) with beef, chorizo, rice and cabo sauce, while I opted for a vegetarian tofu burrito ($5.25 small /$7.25 regular). KB's offers tacos, quesadillas and burritos made with chicken, beef, fish and shrimp for committed carnivores. Fillings include the usuals like beans, rice, cheese and sour cream, as well as interesting twists such as roasted garlic and sunflower seeds. But they also have vegetarian items that move beyond salads, beans and rice. Yogurt or tofu on your burrito, anyone?
Speaking of vegetarian, I hit the big four-oh last summer, and for the past two years, I've been making a serious effort to eat more roughage and less meat. I've even surprised myself by going a few days in a row without consuming any meat at all. I like the way that my all-veggie days somehow make me feel more centered and less moody, but mostly I'm just trying to protect myself from terrifying middle-age diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
So yeah, I ordered the tofu burrito. It came with lettuce, rice, guacamole, black beans and a slice of tofu (which I mashed into the rice and veggies with my fork), all topped with a nice chipotle sauce. My son's custom beef and chorizo burrito was delicious. The strips of tender steak were cooked perfectly. Our only complaint is that both burritos were heavy on the rice and light on the protein, which for my precious 40-year-old arteries is fine, but for a hungry teenage carnivore, it isn't.
I returned for breakfast the next morning with my husband: KB's opens for breakfast at 8 a.m. on weekends and at 7 a.m. during the week. I went with the vegetarian breakfast burrito ($4.99) while the head carnivore went straight for the steak and egg burrito ($5.99). We waited less than 10 minutes for our food, then hopped back into the car to eat at home. My burrito was loaded with black beans, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, shredded carrot, jalapeno, cilantro, onion and cheese. My husband's burrito came with sliced tri-tip, scrambled eggs, diced potatoes, cheese and red sauce. The flavor of both dishes was good, but his only complaint resembled our son's from a day earlier: heavy on the potatoes and eggs, light on the beef. The beef in my husband's burrito was cooked medium well and chewy, while the beef in my son's the day before was tender and perfectly medium rare.
With their low prices, KB's will need to sell a lot of burritos to pay the rent. They are a great new option for the downtown lunch crowd and an affordable meal choice for hotel guests and movie-goers. Surely, I'll be back.
--Jennifer Hernandez believes chocolate is the fifth (and most essential) food group.