On the flip side...

On the whole, this working in Nampa thing has been a positive experience food-wise.  I've found unique sandwiches and sushi, addictive Hawaiian, surprisingly good Thai, even a combination Mexican and gyro joint.  But it hasn't been all moonshine and corn dogs.  There is no Indian food.  I have yet to find a truly good burger place.  And despite several attempts, I'm pretty ready to declare that there simply is NO good Chinese food in Nampa.

Let's make something clear here: despite my fondness for authentic cuisine and my constant bemoaning of the lack of it in the Treasure Valley (especially Chinese), I LIKE Americanized Chinese food.  For good or bad, it's pure nostalgia for me.  I grew up on it, and used to beg to go to those buffet joints the way most kids begged for fast food burgers and chicken nuggets.  So, finding a fix in 2C was important, and so far it's been a largely unsuccessful endeavor.  Let's check out a few together.

Nobody said it was gonna be easy, I guess...

So the West End Food Park has barely gotten started, and they're already in trouble by some accounts.  I had hoped the worst had passed once the Kickstarter was funded (after all, some people tend to be more likely to support something once someone else has done all the work), but between the busy Summer season  for the trucks and the variety of excuses from potential patrons as to why they can't or won't show up, it seems like WEFP is having trouble shifting up to the next gear.  The first time I want down there, there was literally one truck in a cracked asphalt lot.  Now there are portable toilets, a hand sanitizing station, covered seating, and painted parking spots for both trucks and patrons.  I've only made it down three times myself so far, but each time has offered different eats and general improvements.  How about some visuals?

The beginning...

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Turkey Leg, tender enough that it can be eaten with a plastic fork.

Covered seating!

Idaho's Best Corn Dogs

It's not just a cute name.  These are giant, hand-dipped and delicious.  They even have honey available as a garnish.  Don't knock it unless you've tried it!.

The Beer Guys

Genki Takoyaki

Fully garnished pork dumplings (even bonito flakes are included).  Delicious!

Mosaic World Crapes

The "Ham and Cheese" - Cheese, prosciutto and bacon.  The crepes were a little thicker and chewier than others I've had, which was not a bad thing because it makes them more substantial.

Just look at all that porcine goodness!

Beurre-Sucre - Just butter, cinnamon and sugar.  Simple and perfect, like a piece of French toast that has soaked up way too much butter, because we all know that way too much butter is still never too much butter.

So you see, it's coming along.  Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of people are holding off.  They don't like the location, they're waiting for more trucks to show up, they're waiting until things are fully up and running so they can get the full effect, blah blah blah.  What it boils down to is that the few trucks making an effort down there?  They're the pioneers.  If you want eight trucks to show up, you have to go down and throw some money around right now even though there are only two trucks.  If those trucks are making profit and selling out of their supplies on a regular basis, other trucks will notice and take a chance.  I know the ground floor is not glamorous, but people in Boise have to learn not to be so casual in their approach to things like this, because nothing is ever going to be perfect, and without support it won't even get close.  Take a chance!  I'll even make it easier by including WEFP's newsfeed below so you can see what trucks will be there and when, so get down there and help it become what we all want it to be.

The BBQ Guy on UrbanspoonIdaho's Best Corn Dogs on UrbanspoonGenki Takoyaki on UrbanspoonMosaic World Crepes on Urbanspoon

Messenger Pizza & Brewery

Have you ever gone to one of those places that gets amazingly good reviews, then you try it and you're just not impressed?  I mean good print reviews, good website reviews, glowing comments from friends, co-workers and family, and you just don't get it.  What do you do in those cases?  Personally, I usually go back another time or two to try and figure it out.  Sometimes it just boils down to a matter of personal taste.  Sometimes it's the power of suggestion.  I mean look at Kripsy Kreme; I'm convinced the reason they're so popular is because if you get enough people to tell others that a particular place is the best at something, they start to believe it without really examining it.  Still other times, it seems to be because people want a place to be good so much that they make excuses and allowances for any issues.  Sometimes, things aren't that black and white.  Stick with me on this one, it's a bit of a roller coaster...

Memorial Day Weekend 2014: Day 3 - Newport, Tualatin, and back to Portland (Fishtails Cafe, Panera Bread, and more Voodoo Doughnut)

My alarm went off at 6 am.  Not exactly the most sensible thing for someone spending a single, relaxing night by the ocean, but I didn't know if the morning crowds were as bad as the evening ones at the local restaurants.  I love breakfast food, and don't go out for it anywhere near as often as I would like because, well, I loathe getting up early.  Yet here I was, doing it on my vacation, and all because someone on my Facebook page happened to mention an eatery that I had already been kind of interested in while I was griping about my disappointing dinner the previous night.

Welcome to South Beach...

Memorial Day Weekend 2014: Day 2 - Portland and Newport (HK Café, Ocean Bleu at Gino's, Nana's Irish Pub)

Sunday morning was kind of a blur.  We got up, got ourselves together, went to look around the awesome Safeway Sis and I had spotted the day before (yes, I get geeky about nice grocery stores), get some coffee, then we checked out of the hotel and headed off to break my three year dim sum fast (I'm not counting the handful of selections available here or the occasional Asian market freezer purchases).

On my first trip to Portland as an adult back in 2010, I did a lot of research on the available dim sum places.  The big contenders at that time were Wong's King and Ocean City.  I ended up choosing Wong's King, loved the experience, went back again the following year, and it would have made sense to go back there on this trip as well.  But of course, I'm me.