Soul Food - Barbacoa - Original Pankcake House 

Soul Food Turns 15

The annual Soul Food Extravaganza celebrates its 15th anniversary this weekend, and for director Rich Williams, who's been organizing and growing the event for the last 10 years, this year marks his last. For a recap of Williams' years of service, as well as to read what he has to say about the future of Boise's Soul Food Extravaganza, see this week's insert in Boise Weekly.

This year, we're happy to report that it's status quo when it comes to the culinary lineup. Brother Brown's Bar-B-Q returns with barbecued ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans and potato salad. Chef Roland's Cajun Cuisine provides the spicy, with jambalaya, rice and beans, gumbo and cajun shrimp and chicken. Catfish, collard greens, black-eyed peas and coleslaw come courtesy of B and B Soul Food. Last year's sweet potato pie from A Piece of Cake will, thankfully, be making another appearance, as will the peach cobbler that was so tasty, it sold out almost immediately. Making its debut this year is Devine Fruits, which will venture out of its Hyde Park location to grill fruits and vegetables, fry okra and mushrooms, and provide the obligatory hot wings.

Saturday, August 4, 11:30 a.m., Julia Davis Park

Bar-ba What?

Based on a simple tick mark scoring system in which each question posed by an acquaintance or friend of mine gets a stroke, it looks like Barbacoa is not only edging out Matt Damon (whose Boise movie openings are, apparently, either not well enough publicized or have become passe for Idaho's blockbuster-lovin' public) on my score sheet, but also that the foodies, as well as the casual diners, are hoping the third time is a charm for this lakeside location. Unfortunately, as the record shows, Boiseans are often little impressed with the more aesthetic side of dining, tending, instead, to fall for name brand recognition and a gimmick here or there. Barbacoa, however, seems to have both creative and kitsch appeal.

Thanks to the path paved by a few brave Boise restaurateurs, Barbacoa will find Boiseans ready for food that's not served on a plate, but rather skewered and hanging from sculpted metal. And with eight cuts of meat—ranging from a lamb porterhouse ($33) to a choice of two filets ($24, $36), and including more unusual choices like a bison ribeye ($28)—carnivores may have to flip a coin to make a decision. Entrees like paella ($21), cedar plank salmon ($25) and chicken pot pie ($15) won't be anything new to the valley, but they do obscure any definitions that have been drawn to assign Barbacoa a food genre, as do starters like tableside guacamole ($9), a crab mojito (reminiscent of ceviche, $12) and queso fondito ($8), all of which hail from various global locales.

Barbacoa officially opened for dinner this week. 276 Bobwhite Ct., 208-338-5000, www.barbacoa-boise.com

One Long-Awaited Breakfast

With the notable exception of Goldy's Breakfast Bistro, the newly opened Original Pancake House in Eagle may have had the honor of being the only restaurant to quote an hour-plus wait on a non-holiday Sunday and actually still have people lined up in the lobby, on the sidewalk and milling around in the parking lot.

Apparently pancakes are just what Eagle residents were waiting for. And apparently, there's a lot more happening than pancakes.

Without an hour in my schedule to wait, I moved along for breakfast elsewhere, but because I know there's a plate of strawberry waffles with my name on it, I'll return. In the meantime, it's up and running with breakfast daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit www.originalpancakehouse.com for an online menu.

Original Pancake House, 177 E. Eagle River St., 208-938-5530

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