Raw, Raw, Ree
It's all been a hush, hush, on the down low, word-of-mouth kind of opening for Raw, the new sushi joint adjacent to and conjoined with Willowcreek Grill. According to general manager Zach Chalkus, biz has been steady enough to keep them too busy to think about a grand opening. In case you're wondering, that's a problem all new restaurants wish they had. And since there's such a dearth of sushi restaurants in the valley—insert palpable sarcasm here—we asked Chalkus what was so special about his new place.
"Our executive chef has come up with the 'art of sushi,'" says Chalkus. "We have 10 to 15 original rolls, and of course, nigiri, sashimi and tamaki, but we do our rolls bigger." He assures us that doesn't mean more of the white stuff, it's just a different rolling style that makes for futomaki (that's fat with an "eff!") style rolls. "As far as the decor and atmosphere, we wanted to make it all impeccable, to make [Raw] a dinner location, not just a stop-by spot. It's still the Willowcreek family. We want to offer good food and a good time—not to gouge wallets."
Great, I say. My wallet is already pretty torn up from a monthly gouging by my heating bill.
Raw, 2237 Vista Ave., 208-343-0270.
Beans: Good for the heart
Think your chili blows the smelly socks off Hormel's Dinty Moore? Yeah, take a number, so does everybody else. Want to prove it? Put your money where your beans are, pony up with all your chili fixins and get cooking for the annual Idaho City Chili Cook-off. Yep, how do you know you live in the West? When a chili cook-off has been happening for the last 22 years and the health department has yet to pull the plug. School bake sales may be on the extinct list, but rest assured, it's still kosher to beat the competition's meat. Er ... meat ... and beans and peppers.
A total of 500 smackers (first gets $200, second $150, third $100 and people's choice $50) is up for grabs in prize money. Registration deadline is January 31, but the competition isn't until February 16, which gives you approximately two weeks to figure out how to scale your recipe to five gallons. A whole list of rules apply, so you'll want to log on to IdahoCityChamber.org to make sure your award-winning recipe doesn't violate anything but a digestive system or two.
One Suburb at a Time
Last time BW checked in with Eagle Rib Shack, owner Andrew Petrehn was fighting the urge to give the bird burg's City Council a bird of his own. Last year, Petrehn went a few rounds with the city over a heated tent he'd installed outside his restaurant to provide customers with extra seating in the winter. The city said he didn't have the proper building permits; Petrehn said he'd take his business out of Eagle if forced to remove the temporary structure, yadda, yadda, yadda. In the end, the city had its way. (As government has a nasty habit of doing.) Petrehn took down the tent near the end of April, said he was looking for a new space before the winter and then let it slip that he may be soon expanding beyond Eagle.
Chapter Two began a few weeks ago. Eagle Rib Shack now has a second location—in Meridian. It's aptly named Andrew's Rib Shack, the menu is the same, and no worries, Petrehn says there's plenty of indoor seating at his new location. As for Eagle Rib Shack's move, it's still pending. According to Petrehn, a move is planned for the end of 2008 and then after that ... watch out Boise. Ready for the icing to all that good news? Limited delivery. Both locations. Wonder if the Eagle City Council will be taking advantage of that ... ?
Andrew's Rib Shack, 112 E. Idaho Ave., Meridian, 208-887-1667.