Saturday, June 20, 2015

A brief visit to Boise and onto Salt Lake City

Thursday we said good bye to Kurt and Alison and headed East from Seattle through Yakima, WA, Baker City OR and on to Boise ID. Our decision to stay in Boise was driven (pun intended) mainly by the distance but we were interested in seeing the Birds of Prey Center.

We stopped in Baker City at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center for a little history lesson on how the Northwest was populated. After more than 150 years you can still see the ruts made by the wagons. Note: The Oregon Trail begins in Independence Missouri. The trek took 6 months and of course could only be made in spring through fall. 
Pat on the Oregon Trail
Diorama at the Oregon Trail Center
We stayed at the Modern Hotel & Bar and enjoyed our smoked trout salad, gnocchi (with garlic pesto, mushrooms and spinach) and tortellini (with house pork sausage, sage and parmigiano) and a Liveli Passamante Negroamaro (from Puglia, in the heel of the Italian boot), followed by an intense chocolate pot de creme. All very tasty, Pat's gnocchi was extremely light and she proclaimed it the best she has had. (The chef is a James Beard nominee.)

Up in the morning to go see the The Peregrine Fund World Center for Birds of Prey just outside of Boise. They specialize in assisting in the rejuvenation of endangered species of raptors, including the California Condor. 

A rare Aplomado Falcon - the male and female hunt as a team
with each using their special skills

Lunch at  Bitter Creek / Red Feather consisted of a lettuce wedge, smoked trout and polenta fries (great texture) and a local wine, Cinder Viognier. The crowd was noticeably young - 30-something or less - with a 2 or 3 tables of us more "mature" folk.

A short walk away was the Basque Block of Boise. Here at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center we learned more about the Basque people (from NE Spain & Western France) and their history in the US. Two items of note:

  • the Basques were often employed as sheepherders. We had thought this tied to a skill they brought with them. But in fact they choose to be sheepherders because it took no special skills (other than coping with long periods without social contact.) 
  • they brought with them a game played on a two or three sided ball court (a Fronton) with a ball (pelota). Folks who travel to Florida probably know this game as Jai Alai.
Oh, did we mention that the Basque is renowned for it's food...and yet there was none to sample at the Museum. Sigh.

A map of the Basque Region
Note the location on the map of Europe in the background.

Between Boise and Salt Lake City we shared the highway with numerous trucks, many with three trailers. We also observed many small & large farms with MANY silos.

In Twin Falls we stopped at the Perrine Bridge and had a great view of the Snake River Canyon.  The Canyon is wide enough there to host a golf course!!  Slightly up river are the Shoshone Falls where we enjoyed the view and picnic lunch. The falls are 45 ft higher than Niagara.
Shoshone Falls (& Rainbow) 

We arrived in Salt Lake City in the late afternoon. We visited Eva's Bakery to stock up for breakfast.  Aside from our purchases they gave us a loaf of sour dough bread, two chocolate cookies, and a blueberry muffin. Since they (as are many businesses including restaurants) are closed on Sunday these would have been thrown out.  And since it was also way to much for us, we gave the loaf of bread to a homeless lady who rewarded us with a huge (nearly toothless) smile.  Dinner was a Valter’s Osteria. Dinner started with a three part appetizer, gnocchi with Arrabiata sauce along with one spinach and one squash (best of the group) ravioli. The main course for Bill was a very meaty and tasty lasagna. Pat enjoyed her veal scaloppini with roasted potato and green beans. Complimentary cups of the richest chocolate ever were delivered to us following the meal.

No comments:

Post a Comment