Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Epi's: Epic.

I was in downtown Boise, spending a little quality time with my daughter. We stopped for a rather filling slice of pizza, then planned to take a walk along the river on the Greenbelt.

We eased the car out of the parking slot and drove through the busy city streets. As we did, we passed the restaurant Fork on our left.

"That's where the Foodies and I went the first time we met, the food was so..." and then I'm sure I did something that looked like a violent spasm.

"Arrrggghh!" I emitted. Memory loss is now a very real possibility, probably PTSD from having to work for a living, my childhood, you name it.

"I can't believe I FORGOT," I moaned, and then: "Do you want to go to Meridian for...dinner?"

We had just had our dinner, but we were about to have another one. The three members of the Culinary Club had been planning to review Epi's Basque Restaurant for at least six weeks. I couldn't not show.

By 5:15 pm, my daughter and I approached Epi's, the house-turned-restaurant on Meridian's main road, right across from the post office. We had reservations, but I had a few of my own...I was just a tiny person, and one trying to watch her waistline at that. How was I ever going to pull off two meals? Usually when I dined with the CC, I ate lightly all day in preparation. I prayed there'd be room for at least some decent sampling, but I had my doubts. I was not hungry in the least.

Epi's front porch had been cleverly made into a private dining area, with a curtain closing off its long, banquet-style table. I liked that, and made a note in my mind or more of a goal, really, to get a large group together and eat out there one of these days.

For a person with zero appetite, I had to admit that the wafting aromas were pleasant, if not even a little tempting.

Immediately we were met by our server, who had a friendly yet non-intrusive way about him. That I appreciated. Owner Chris, on the other hand, didn't bother with being subtle. She beamed her bright personality down upon our little table, to everyone's delight, making us feel as if we were at a very special event and she was our hostess. She chatted with us about her family, about Basque food, and was keenly interested in what we were planning on ordering.

I had double trouble. Not only was I not hungry, but it shocked me once more to realize that for the third time in a row, I was leaning towards the fish. My other alternative was lamb. I hadn't had lamb for quite some time.

Upon hearing that I was wavering between the two, Chris told us that fish was the more authentic food in the Old Country. This lamb thing, she said, had only sprung up since they'd come to America, having been sheepherders. This was something I never had supposed.

"Fish is way more authentic Basque," she told us. That settled it for me. I was going for the fish once more. Halibut, to be exact.

Once more, the conversation between Foodies was more than fun. My daughter, who was greeted warmly, ("The more the merrier," Sarah had said), commented later, "You're all so different!"

That's an accurate assessment. A Mompreneur, an educator, and a recent graduate. The chances of us gravitating towards each other in real life were average; I think we'd have found each other's intellect intriguing. However, we have Twitter to thank for our friendship. Had I not 'stolen' Deb's EatingIdaho username, we might never have met. I apologized to her once more for that, having quickly changed my username to 'Appetite4Idaho', once I realized my error. She just laughed, the same as she'd done the other two times before when I'd asked forgiveness. Sarah, meanwhile, kept us mentally stimulated with her vast knowledge of history and trivia. "She's like a walking encyclopedia," my daughter observed. To keep a sixteen year old interested for as long as Sarah did suggests a knack for conversation, which Sarah clearly has.

Bearing in mind that not only did I have no appetite, but that the thought of more food nearly sent my head say that the fish looked good, smelled great, and tasted superb is really saying something.

My encrusted Halibut with the creamy white sauce was to die for...and at that point, I was deciding that death by overeating was actually worth the risk. It was that good. In a mild state of shock, I was becoming aware of the fact that I could hardly keep from repeating the fork-to-mouth process. If I stopped momentarily, I would crave the flavor, the texture of both fish and the light crust...and need more.

I wondered what it would have been like, had I arrived with a hearty need for food. I wondered if, had I not eaten previously, there would have been any semblance of self-control. Of this I am unsure.

My figurative hat goes off to Epi's, who even got someone who had no compulsion to eat that eat compulsively.


Sarah's review can be found at:

Deb's will be posted as soon as I get it.

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

And visit the Appetite for Idaho Facebook page, with new stuff to do posted every weekday!