Omega and Alpha

This will be the last Treasure Valley Treats and Tragedies post.  I'm not quitting blogging, but honestly it's time for a change.  The main reason is that I'm just plain sick and tired of this site.  The name is the worst part, believe it or not. I thought the hyperbole was cute when Ms. Golden Rule and I came up with it (her suggestion was Treasure Valley Treats and Travesties, I just changed the last word), but I have a hard time meeting someone's eyes at an event when they ask for the name of my site. I mean a mediocre or bad meal is hardly a "tragedy", especially in a time when it seems like real tragedies are a daily occurrence.  It makes the name seem extra cheesy, and not the kind of cheesy that I like.

There are other issues.  I don't like that I've saddled myself with a name that limits me to a certain geographical region, especially when I write quite a bit about things outside of that region and end up feeling guilty for doing so.  I'm tired of spending hours on each blog post trying to make them seem more professional (or at least more family friendly).  I'm bored with the design capabilities of this platform (Blogger).  Hell, I'm tired of feeling like I'm only "allowed" to write about food (trivia FYI, my initial desire was to start a "bad movie" review blog).  All of these things have contributed to the lack of posts over the years.  If I don't enjoy doing it, what's the point?

The upshot of all of this is that in very short order (fingers crossed), my new site Good Taste / Bad Taste will be live at, I'll let you know when it happens.  My posts will still be primarily about local restaurants, of course, but I'll no longer feel bad when someone says "Why do you post about places in other states so often?".  There will also be posts about movies, music, books, events, games, and anything else I feel like throwing whatever influence I have at bringing attention to.  The writing will be more of an "off the cuff" style, so you can also expect more profanity and off-color humor, because honestly that's a more accurate representation of who I really am.

Of course I recognize there's going to be a downside for some, or probably even the majority, of my readers.  I know a lot of you would rather just see pictures and reviews of Boise area restaurants, or even just restaurants in general, without seeing reviews and screenshots of horror TV shows, or kung fu movies, or comic books, or whatever else.  I did think about cancelling my Facebook and Instagram accounts and setting up new ones for that reason, but it's honestly more work than it's worth so I'm just rebranding them.  I mean I follow so many ostensibly foodie accounts where about a third of the posts are essentially advertisements or posts about beauty products and health supplements or whatever, but I like the food posts so I just scroll past the rest of it.  I anticipate a lot of unfollowing and unsubscribing, but maybe some of you will stick around to see how it turns out.  I fully expect that this new freedom will result in me posting more often in general, primarily local eatery write-ups as I said before, but I know that won't be good enough for some.  But who knows, if you can be patient I might in the end decide this has all been a horrible mistake, and it will end up just being a food blog again...

I don't know how much longer I'm going to leave this site up in its current form.  It might be easier to just leave it as an archive, or I might import the posts to the new site and redirect this site's traffic to that one (assuming I can figure out how to make that work).  In the meantime, as a parting gift for those of you who will be going bye-bye, here are some pictures from restaurants that I didn't feel like formally reviewing, and from return visits to restaurants I've already written up.  Granted, most of them have already been posted on my Facebook feed, but they've long since been buried unseen by most thanks to Facebook's idiotic algorithm.  Happy trails...

Tsukemen from Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton, OR

Brisket, pulled pork, and chili cheese fries from Big Daddy's BBQ in Meridian

Dim sum from Red Maple Chinese Restaurant in West Valley City, UT

Sushi from Shige Japanese Cuisine in Boise

Fondue and Meriwether cider from Melty Melty Cheese Night at Whole Foods Boise

Dungeness Crab Sea Pups from Ocean Bleu at Gino's in Newport, OR

Animal Style Double Double and fries from In-N-Out Burger in Draper, UT

Phở from Baguette Deli in Boise
Taste of Mahider combo from Mahider Ethiopian Restaurant & Market in Salt Lake City, UT

Swedish Cured Salmon Benedict from La Maison Bakery and Cafe in Newport, OR

Thai beef jerky from Pad Thai House in Boise

Blue Ice Vodka

So my New Year's resolution was to post more stuff more often, and while I'm sure it will be every bit as successful as all the previous times I've made that promise, I figure I should at least make an effort.  The good folks at Blue Ice Vodka apparently wanted me to post, because they sent me a bottle of their Handcrafted American Potato variety to make my annual Christmas cookie baking marathon more tolerable.

Eureka! (soft opening)

I first heard of Eureka! last year, when it was announced that they'd be opening a location in downtown Boise.  Downtown probably needs another burger joint like, well, like I need to eat more burgers.  Still, they do have a burger featuring bone marrow, and a selection of small batch whiskeys.  It's pretty safe to say I was intrigued.  Now I don't seek out freebies.  I don't contact restaurants or PR firms and hint that I'd like to be able to access a place early, or for free, or whatever.  Still, sometimes these people contact me, and I was kind of hoping that would happen in this case, simply because I expected them to be annoyingly busy when they first opened and knew I would likely wait a few weeks or even a couple of months before I finally got around to trying them.  A few weeks back, I signed into my email to see a message from Eureka!'s PR awaiting me, but it turned out to just be an opening date, a press release, and an offer of high res photographs.  You know, just in case I wanted to give them a little free advertising.  Now if you've been reading my stuff for a while, you'll know this is a pet peeve of mine.  I don't just post other people's words and pictures.  Still, I wanted to check them out eventually, and I figured I'd just post my own words and pictures when I got around to it.  I mean maybe they weren't even going to have a soft opening.

Nope.  They did indeed have a soft opening, and yours truly scored an invite, albeit in a completely unprecedented and unexpected way...

Meraki Greek Street Food (soft opening)

As usual, I'm several months behind in my reviews.  I've been easily distracted by family, friends, road trips, movies, books, TV, video games, shiny objects, you name it.  I've actually had to junk reviews because I just don't remember enough about a particular visit to a place to turn it into a cohesive write-up.  But forget about all of that for the moment, because I'm not dipping into my queue right now.  You may be wondering what got my brain out of storage and my fingers back on the keyboard (FYI, there's a big hint in the title)...

On the Road: Vertical Diner (Salt Lake City, UT)

So, a couple of months ago I took a trip to Salt Lake City to attend a concert.  My road trip buddy this time out was one of my oldest friends, and someone I haven't traveled with in a couple of decades.  She wanted to attend the concert as well, and she was in desperate need of a weekend out of town.  The last time we hit the road, she was a lapsed vegetarian (my bad influence, I'm afraid), but over the years she has rebounded to become a vegetarian with vegan leanings.  Not exactly an ideal dining companion for someone like myself, but what the hell.  I'm a (relatively) nice guy and I enjoy a challenge.  I researched a lot of places that were vegan, vegetarian, or at the very least had very decent options for those types (SLC has become a very good place to eat for them, a surprising number of the highest rated restaurants on Yelp are geared that way).  But of course she had her own suggestions, and I decided to risk her favorite place in town despite the serious misgivings I had based on the menu and the reviews I'd read.  If you're wondering if I was pleasantly surprised, the answer is no.  I wouldn't go back to this joint even if I were offered a free meal.  Feel free to stop reading if you like, but if you want details you can find them below.

I didn't take this picture, it's from their Facebook page.  I just wanted out.