Food notes: Bench wine bar opens; Reel Foods launches new menu

doland@idahostatesman.comJuly 18, 2014 

Sweet Valley Organics.JPG

Last’s year’s Outstanding in the Field dinner served nearly 150 people in the meadow at Sweet Valley Organics in Horseshoe Bend.


Vine Wine Shop & Lounge is now open on the Boise Bench at 1320 S. Maple Grove Road in the former Le Coq Rouge spot.

Owners Tim and James Jackson (James is the day-to-day manager and wine buyer) decided to pare down their mobile kettle corn business and plant more permanent roots in Boise.

"This is something that we've always wanted to do," James says. "We love wine, we have friends who make wine and own vineyards, and we enjoy the community."

The Jacksons created the space to facilitate all of the above - a chic, classic atmosphere, warm Tuscan colors, no television, an inviting patio and an interesting selection of local, regional and international wines.

"We focus on boutique wines that you won't find in grocery stores or other bars," James says.

You'll find Idaho wines from places such as Vale Wine Co. and Hat Ranch Winery, as well as wine from Portugal, Bulgaria, South Africa, Italy and the Northwest.

Wines are available by the glass and bottle to consume there, and are sold retail by the bottle as well.

Jackson is starting Tuesday Night Flights, something the now-defunct Grape Escape used to do.

Small-plate lunch and dinner started this week with sandwiches, salads and cheese boards. Long-range plans include hiring a chef to develop a wine/dinner series.

Vine is open 11 a.m. to close daily. Learn about specials and more on Vine's Facebook page. Phone: 949-5561.


Reel Foods Fish Market, 611 S. Capitol Blvd., is rolling out its new menu, lunch service and oyster bar. You can stop in from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and pick out your oysters. The staff will shuck them for you to eat there or take home.

Food and beverage manager Jason Bruzewski is creating a menu for the fish market's expanded food service for both eat-in and to-go service. You'll find an expanded menu of sandwiches, including traditional lobster rolls, and a variety of salads, ceviche, soups and chowders, fish and chips and more.

Reel Foods also is expanding the seating with an outdoor patio along Capitol Boulevard, and plans are in the works for beer and wine service and an official grand reopening sometime in late July.


Owl Tree Bakery, 3910 Hill Road, Boise, is adding espresso drinks and paninis to its menu, says co-owner and baker Krysti Bradley.

She is now serving a full line of espresso drinks from doppios to lattes, and making her own syrups in maple, vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel flavors. She's also making her own ice cream for the bakery's new espresso milkshake ($5).

Bradley started making paninis this week. They are available from 11 a.m. to1 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. New bakery hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

You can find out what the panini of the week is at Owl Tree's Facebook page. Phone orders: 570-7164.


Several Treasure Valley restaurants made Wine Spectator's 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards. A publication known as a leading authority on all things wine worldwide, Wine Spectator gives out three designations to restaurant wine programs: Excellence, Best of Excellence and the Grand Award.

Chandlers Steakhouse, 981 W. Grove St., Boise, again leads the way with another Best of Excellence Award for the depth and quality of its wine program. This is owner Rex Chandler's 15th Best of Excellence nod for this restaurant, beginning when it was in Ketchum. It moved to Boise in 2007.

Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery, 610 W. Grove St. in Boise, Bella Aquila, 775 Rivershore Lane in Eagle, and Fork, 850 W. Idaho St. in Boise, all repeated their Excellence awards from 2013. Ruth's Chris Steak House, which opened earlier this year in the Eighth & Main building in Downtown Boise, made its debut with an Excellence honor.

In other parts of Idaho, The Narrows at Shore Lodge, 501 W. Lake St. in McCall, and Il Naso, 480 Washington St. in Ketchum, also received Excellence awards. So did The Cellar in Coeur d'Alene.

The closest Grand Award winners are in Seattle: Canlis and Wild Ginger.

Search for more winners at


The international farm to fork organization Outstanding in the Field returns for the second year to Sweet Valley Organics, this time to collaborate with State & Lemp chefs Jay Henry and Kris Komori.

Outstanding in the Field started the dinners that helped fuel the farm-to-fork movement in 1999. Everything on the table comes from the host farm or within a 100-mile radius.

The dinner is at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 19, at Sweet Valley Organics on Idaho 52 outside of Horseshoe Bend. It's $190 per person at

Here's a peek at the menu:

• Passed appetizers: Puffed forbidden rice cracker topped with dried and cured egg yoke; fried pig ear; fried salmon skin with hop-cured gravlox.

• First course: A mix of purslane, mizuna, watercress with leek ash vinaigrette.

• Second course: Lava Lakes lamb riblets, served with squash medley, pickled onions and ramp.

• Third course: Malheur River Meats center-cut pork loin and braised pork belly.

• Dessert is a honey semifreddo, sprinkled with almond toffee and berries topped with lavender meringue.

Produce will come from Sweet Valley Organics, Peaceful Belly, Waterwheel Gardens and Next Generation Gardens.

The courses will be paired with wines from Cinder, Sawtooth and Split Rail Winery and beer from Payette Brewing Co.

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