Saturday, February 11, 2012

Brick 29 Bistro: Intense.

I'd been to the Brick 29 Bistro a few times before, but only for lunch.

They had it in the bag for this wannabe food critic; this wasn't exactly going to be a tough sell. Not only do I love Brick 29's culinary style, location and moody decor, but I've also tried their B29 Streatery's fare once and have been dreaming of it ever since. I've never seen anyone put together what they called a simple 'grilled cheese' sandwich with marinated pulled pork, specialty bread and jalapeno aoli. And I might have been mistaken, but that was no ordinary cheese they were was exquisite.

For someone like me who loves a powerful punch of flavor, I don't think you can go wrong closing your eyes and pointing at just about anything on the menu. You'll get your flavor and then some.

I chose the Hagerman Trout this time. (That's twice while dining with the Foodies that I've surprised myself and selected seafood. One might think I'm a big fish person, although I've never considered myself as such). In a word....YUM.

Diced butternut-apple hash and mashed red potatoes were tucked underneath a seriously grande piece of gorgeous-colored trout. There was no hesitation of the fork; I dove right in. What I got was sweet, salty...and...could this be....spicy? That last part kicked me over the happiness edge; I was in my own private heaven, being a pepper-a-holic. I suspected it was cayenne but would have to check in with the chef to be sure.

The cool thing about dining with Foodie friends is that they're open to sharing whatever they order. I shared my calamari (on which I swear the crunchy, slightly salty crust also had some cinnamon or nutmeg in it, which I found curious and satisfying both at the same time), while Deb shared her Niman Ranch skirt steak and Sarah dished up a rather large pumpkin ravioli square on a side plate for me. None of it disappointed.

Since I tend to be a somewhat dramatic, colorful person, I like my food the same way. Nothing was too over-the-top for this gal, but in discussing it with the other Foodies, we talked about there being merit in the subtle, too. How does a chef know when to punch it up, or when to put on the brakes and allow a sub-layer flavor to do the talking? That's not for me to know, but certainly something for me to think about. Because of my nature, Brick 29's food appealed to me in a big way. To me, it was reminiscent of my trip to Donelly and the Buffalo Gal restaurant. I think to say they're in the same quality and style bracket wouldn't be too much of a stretch...both being excellent eateries.

I'm sorry to say that I was a little disappointed with the creme brulee. I'd had it once before for lunch and unless my memory isn't serving me well, at that time it was infused with some grated orange peel with several deep red raspberries riding on the burnt sugar's crusty surface. The heavy cream, back in that day, could easily be discerned, not to mention a quality vanilla bean extract or even shavings of the actual bean itself. Not so this time. It was good; just not what I'd been craving ever since I got my fork on the first one.

It's been repeatedly said that people from the far East of Boise (Columbia Village and beyond)are happy to drive to downtown Nampa for this carnival of culinary delight. Intensity would be the word for the flavor, atmosphere, and vibe at this flavorfest.

If you like it intense, you'll like the Brick 29 Bistro, but make sure your wallet is feeling just as healthy. Including the tip, I spent around $43 for the calamari appetizer, a cup of (divine) lobster bisque, a couple of sodas and my entree.

 *For more adventures in Idaho, (with recipes between the stories!) get the "Appetite for Idaho" book here.

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