Playing ketchup. Get it? Like catch-up? Oh bugger off!

*UPDATE* Apparently Deli George's new location fell through, and they're in the process of trying to find someplace else.

It's been a while since I've done a random tidbits entry and there's just too much of it to post on my Facebook page now, so here's the stuff I know is going on around town:

In the constantly evolving area of Eagle Road between Franklin and Overland in Meridian, a Ling & Louie's Asian Bar & Grill is currently under construction.  It'll be the fifth in a small chain of hybrid Asian and American comfort food restaurants.  Personally, I can't wait.  Some of the stuff on their menu is just plain awesome looking, and I love the fact that they make no bones about the non-traditional nature of their food.  Keep tabs on their Facebook page for further developments.

Speaking of Meridian, a second Yokozuna Teriyaki location is going into the strip mall that's across Fairview Avenue from the Fred Meyer store.  I don't mind heading out to Vista every once in a while, but I'm looking forward to getting a great bubble tea closer to home.  I called the primary location yesterday for a time frame, and they said the new spot should be open in a couple of weeks.  Let's see how well I can type with my fingers crossed...

One more Meridian tidbit.  Even though I haven't written them up yet, Sakana is hands-down my favorite sushi spot in the Valley.  They're just South of the aforementioned Overland and Eagle Roads intersection.  My mother happened to drive by it earlier today and spotted a sign out front advertising $1 sushi on Mondays.  No further details, so I guess I'm going to have to check that out soon too.  Just for the sake of keeping the public informed.

Moving on to Boise, in the strip mall located at the Northwest corner of Emerald Street and Maple Grove Road there are two new developments, both of which should be improvements over the previous tenants of the spaces they're taking over.  The funny-smelling teriyaki joint is transforming into a little sushi place (I believe the name was either Naru or Haru), but the one I'm really happy about is that the old Mexican food spot is going to be a new Squeezers Giant Burgers location.  They tried to expand once before and failed, but I think the area they chose was the primary problem.  I've been to their original spot in Nampa several times and always left happy, so here's hoping this location does well.

Another place I dig but haven't reviewed yet is Deli GeorgeAt this point, I'm waiting until they finish moving to their new location at Orchard Crossing on Emerald Road.  Have I mentioned how freaking much I love the Orchard and Emerald area?  Anyway, Deli George is expanding and will develop into an entity known as Deli George and Continental Grill, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Moving away from the happy stuff, in case you happened to miss it THE YEN CHING BAKERY CLOSES THIS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27TH.  You have only a few more days left to get some delectable Asian pastries, and it'll probably be a long time before you see anything like them around here again.  On the other hand, if you don't know what you're missing, how can you be depressed when they're gone?  It's too late for me, that's for sure...

Ishtar Market & Restaurant

Ask anyone who knows me really well to list my quirks, and one thing you're likely to hear is that the merest fragment of a notion can rattle around inside my skull for weeks and then seemingly out of nowhere, it can explode into full-fledged obsession.  When I read about Ishtar Market & Restaurant over a month ago in Boise Weekly, I remember thinking to myself that I needed to check the place out.  I then promptly forgot about it for several weeks, or so I thought.  A few days ago, all at once I remembered the place existed and decided I needed to go there, and soon.  I dug up the BW review, then decided to go looking around the web to see what other people were saying.  The BW review had only one comment, and that one didn't really talk about the food.  Urbanspoon likewise had one comment, and that one was more descriptive and promising.  Yelp had a few more comments, and they were all positive as well.  This didn't necessarily prove anything, and I've certainly had my share of differing opinions with the mass consensus of Boise area diners, especially when it comes to ethnic food.  Then I came across Ishtar's Facebook page, and was shocked to see that not a single person had "liked" them!  For some reason, that provided the encouragement I needed to head out and see if I would be a member of the majority this time.

Jade's Chopstick

In a lot of ways, I've more or less given up on the local Chinese food scene.  I have a couple of favorites just like anyone, but to a large extent it's all the same greasy, gristly, hole-in-the-wall fare.  Still, it's interesting that I was impaired the first two times I went to Jade's Chopstick.  The first time I was at a friend's house, a little drunk and not hungry so the couple of bites I had of her shrimp fried rice didn't really make an impression, and to be honest I didn't recall it all that vividly the next day.  The second time was with another friend just a couple of weeks ago who had presented the option of Jade's Chopstick or Mongolian Barbecue, and I chose the former.  I liked it fine, but I was also sick and not really at the top of my game when it came to giving something new a fair shake.  This same friend, a long-time patron of Jade's, insisted that we return just a few nights ago.  While I do abhor a cliché...well, most of them anyway...I can tell you that in this instance, the third time was indeed the charm.

Big Daddy's Barbecue

*Edit* - Big Daddy's is now located on Meridian Road in Kuna.

If there's one thing that's painfully obvious throughout this blog, it's that I'm obsessed with pork.  I just know that Lipitor is in my future.  I'm not a big fan of your basic porkchops, but bacon, paper thin shaved ham, sausage, carnitas tacos,  bacon,  Chinese barbecued pork, shumai and all the other wonderful Asian dumplings, pork fried rice, bacon, prosciutto, pancetta, bacon...I think I may have mentioned bacon more than once.  Where was I?  Oh yeah...

One of the things that brings me to an intense and immediate feeling of bliss is barbecue, specifically smoked pulled pork topped with a splash of barbecue sauce done really well.  When I find out about a new barbecue joint, I simply have to try it.  Hell, I even got the burger that's topped with pulled pork at Famous Dave's!  And that's why when I first spotted Big Daddy's Barbecue, a little stand sitting next to the Cabela's on Franklin Road in Boise, I almost stopped immediately.  Even though I was on my way to someplace else for lunch!  From that moment forward, I was unable to get it out of my mind, and the few days between then and my being able to return was very annoying to me.  Finally though, I made it back.  But was it worth all the self-induced hype?

Romio's Pizza & Pasta / Zorba's Gyros

When I found out that the Boise Romio's was moving from their more plush digs to a smaller spot in a strip of businesses located in the Shopko plaza on Fairview and Milwaukee, I was honestly a little surprised.  I had only eaten there once, and it had been so long ago that I couldn't even remember the experience.  I was curious to see how they would fare, but not so much that I rushed to the new location to try them again.  Over the first couple of months at their new spot, I watched as they advertised fresh soups and lunch specials, but what finally grabbed me was when they started advertising Zorba's Gyros.  I knew that they had been running the Zorba's truck at the Western Idaho Fair and I was pretty impressed with the food there, and my curiosity to see how that would translate to a restaurant setting finally provided the motivation I needed.

Casa Mexico (Fairview)

Casa Mexico is a chain of five restaurants scattered around the Treasure valley.  There are three in Boise, one in Eagle, and one in Middleton.  Despite how long as they've been around, I only recently tried them for the first time.  The title of "Best Mexican Restaurant in Boise" is divided amongst my acquaintences, with most choosing either Casa Mexico or Chapala.  My family is part of the minority that is loyal to Fiesta Guadalajara (only the Meridian location), though I usually prefer to get my Mexican food from an eatery on wheels.  Regardless, I finally heard from enough people whose opinions I trust that Casa Mexico was the best, and I finally decided to try them.  Okay, so the Groupon deal didn't hurt...

This is hanging up in the women's restroom!  How cool is that?

Boise Urban Market

This isn't really a review because it's not really about an eatery.  It's more of a public service announcement.  I first became aware of the Boise Urban Market (née Boise Underground Market) some time ago, so long in fact that I don't remember the specifics.  I'm pretty sure I learned about them through Facebook around the time I was really getting into the blogging, and I was mightily intrigued.  A clandestine, monthly, members-only gathering of foodies, where even the location is kept secret until mere days before the event?  My mind reeled with possibilities.  Why all the secrecy?  Were they eating endangered species, or perhaps even practicing cannibalism?  Yes, I know I watch too many horror movies.  Anyway, the basic premise is that the vendors are not necessarily full-time food service professionals, and the stuff being offered is more or less homemade, so there is much diversity.  I signed up for membership immediately, but for one reason or another have just never made it to any of the events, at least until tonight.  I think what finally motivated me was the fact that a number of friendly acquaintances were peddling their wares, but I assure you I'm not pimping anybody's stuff simply because I like them, I just wouldn't mention them at all if I didn't like what they were selling.  There was some unusual stuff available that just didn't grab me the right way, but I'm going to be focusing on the positive here.  Now, on to the details...

Cracker Barrel

Breakfast food is pretty popular around our house.  In fact, one of the first things my girlfriend and I discovered we had in common was a love of breakfast food at pretty much any time of day.  I have my grandparents and all the late night truck stop runs they brought me along on to blame.  And as we all know, the only thing better than making a big platter of eggs, hashbrowns and bacon is having someone else do it.  That way you can eat it while it's hot without having to make the french toast that the kids want.  Cracker Barrel is a good place to be at times like this.

When  you need breakfast and a rocking chair to go...