Pauly’s Bar Room is now open in the former Rick’s Press Room spot, 130 E. Idaho Ave. in downtown Meridian.
Owners Paul and Calleen Sitz did a quick makeover on the diminutive space to give it more of a sports bar vibe. Gone is the brightly colored paint with busy graffiti scribbled on the walls. The bar now has brown and teal tones with industrial accents, in addition to comfy chairs, more TVs, a red-felted pool table, a video golf machine and a jukebox.
The taps pour a rotating array of eight craft beers with an emphasis on the Northwest. Besides beer, Pauly’s offers wines by the glass and hand-mixed cocktails.
“We’ll make whatever cocktail you want, but we don’t have a blender here,” Paul Sitz says.
If you’re hungry, grab a bite from The Kitchen, a separately owned business. Chef and owner Mark Neeley opened the attached eatery on Feb. 4.
“We are all working together, his crew and my crew,” Sitz says. “It’s a small place.”
The pub-inspired menu keeps it simple with affordable appetizers ($3.75-$6.50) such as nachos, deep-fried mushrooms and quesadillas.
Try the Blue and Orange salad ($10.50), a shout-out to Boise State University. The large entrée salad is made with greens, citrus vinaigrette, mandarin orange, blue cheese crumbles, bacon and candied walnuts, with a grilled chicken breast on top.
Diners can also get burgers and sandwiches, including a fat Reuben served with crispy fries ($9.50). Neeley has plans to add chicken wings, entrées and daily specials in the coming months.
Pauly’s Bar Room is open 10 a.m. to midnight Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The Kitchen is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Boise chef again nominated for James Beard Award
Boise chef Kris Komori has been named a semifinalist for the 2017 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards.
It’s the second year in a row that Komori, chef de cuisine at State & Lemp, 2870 W. State St., has been nominated in the Best Chef: Northwest category for his riff on modernist cuisine and use of local food.
Being a James Beard semifinalist once is a major accomplishment. Twice? Huge. Twice in a row? Wild.
Besides Komori, another Idaho chef made it to the semifinalist round this year. Chef Laurent Zirotti, who owns Fleur de Sel, 4365 Inverness Drive in Post Falls, garnered his first nomination for an award in the Best Chef: Northwest category. The French-born chef is known for his regional French bistro fare and northern Italian cuisine.
No Gem State bakers were nominated for an Outstanding Baker award for 2017. Moshit Mizrachi-Gabbitas from Janjou Patisserie was a semifinalist last year.
The James Beard Foundation Awards, considered to be the Oscars of the food world, were created in 1990. This year’s finalists (the short list) will be announced on March 15. The winners will be crowned on May 1 at the James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago.
It’s important to note that no Idaho chef has made it past the semifinalist round for a James Beard Award. Maybe all that will change this year. These Idaho chefs (and food enthusiasts around these parts) are surely hoping so.
Geiser Grand Hotel wine dinner
Make reservations now for the Lodmell Cellars winemaker’s dinner ($75 per person) on March 11 at the historic Geiser Grand Hotel, 1996 Main St., in Baker City, Ore.
Lodmell Cellars is an award-winning estate winery from Washington’s Walla Walla Valley that’s known for its luscious reds and bone-dry whites. Founder Kristi Lodmell will be on hand to give participants a palate-training class at 5 p.m. After the educational session, a five-course dinner with select wine pairings will be served from 7 to 9 p.m.
Enjoy sausage-stuffed mushrooms and Brie with pecans and apricot while sipping the winery’s 2009 Merlot, followed by a bowl of creamy seafood chowder paired with a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc.
The third course is an iceberg wedge salad (draped in house-made blue cheese dressing) served with a glass of Sublime, a fruit-forward red blend made with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere varietals.
Then diners will receive a marbled slab of smoked Angus prime rib that should play well with a robust 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon.
The dessert course will come in the form of whiskey bread pudding served with a port-like Late Harvest Syrah-Merlot blend.
To make reservations, call (541) 523-1889.
Celebrate Mardi Gras at Crossings Winery
Head to Glenns Ferry on Feb. 28 for the Mardi Gras Crawfish Boil at Crossings Winery, 1289 W. Madison Ave., next to Three Island Crossing State Park.
The festivities kick off at 5 p.m. with wine tasting and New Orleans-themed cocktails. Then revelers will be treated to an all-you-can-eat buffet ($20 per person, tax and gratuity included) that features boiled crawfish, spicy gumbo and other dishes inspired by the Big Easy.
For reservations, call (208) 366-2313.
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