Moon's Kitchen Cafe 

When I heard that Moon's Kitchen Cafe in downtown Boise offers a milkshake containing Guinness beer for patrons 21 and older, I knew I had to see what it was all about. My husband and I stopped in for a mid-week lunch in the retro-esque space next to Old Chicago. Always a fan of dark beer, hubby vowed to help me polish off the Guinness shake ($6.50) but then promptly ordered the colossal Reuben ($9.95). Doubting his ability to stomach that kind of volume, I settled on the Big Salad ($7.25) and added tuna ($1.50) to flesh it out.

Our shake came with the remainder of a bottle of Guinness, giving us the option to alter its flavor to suit our tastes. But no altering was necessary. Like peanut butter and chocolate, ice cream and beer go together in a way I never dared to imagine.

By the time my Big Salad arrived, I was full enough to be wary of the mountain of lettuce, cucumber, green pepper, tomato, shredded cheddar cheese and tuna before me. But it was so fresh and kaleidoscopically colorful that I took a few crispy bites before boxing up the rest to take home.

Hubby's double-decker Reuben was served on toasted marbled rye with tangy sauerkraut spilling out in all directions. In a twist, thin-sliced pastrami shared real estate with a thick chunk of turkey breast. Nicely crusted Tater Tots rounded out the platter but went mostly untouched, as both of our stomachs were at capacity.

When we ventured back to Moon's with my parents on a weekday morning, I should have refrained from ordering a full stack of Lumberjack Hotcakes ($5.25), along with a side of scrambled eggs ($1.95). A misprint on the menu led me to believe that I would be confronted with only two pancakes; imagine my surprise when our over-tasked-but-cheerful waitress brought out three gigantic pancakes whose lacy edges overhung the plate. Even after sharing big bites with my brunchmates, an entire pancake remained.

Hubby's hobo benedict ($7.95) was a clever variation of an open-faced biscuit stacked with sausage patties and eggs, swimming in gravy. Crispy hash browns waded alongside the savory mess. Dad's veggie scram ($6.95) was a hearty amalgamation of eggs, cheddar, bell pepper, mushrooms and onions, a side of country-style diced potatoes and toast. It must have been good because it vanished before I could wield a ready fork. Conservatively selecting bacon and eggs ($7.25), my mother temporarily suspended her vegetarian status to pronounce the bacon flawlessly cooked and deliciously sandwiched between slices of gluten-free toast (a nice option for an extra $1.25).

With its long history in Boise, Moon's Kitchen is easily the best breakfast nook downtown. The calorie-to-dollar ratio is exceptional for bottomless pits like myself, while the bright interior will inject optimism into anyone's day. And if the decor isn't enough, a Guinness Shake is certain to provoke a smile.

--Sarah Barber shakes it up with or without Guinness.

Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Moon's Kitchen Cafe.

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