The menu keeps growing for Taste 208, a drinks-and-food festival showcasing Idaho and the West.
In its fifth year, the popular Boise event will bring together a multitude of restaurants, caterers, food artisans, wineries, breweries and spirit producers for a blowout April 22 and 23.
All kinds of new things are planned for this year’s soiree.
First off, it now happens on two nights, instead of trying to cram all that fun into a single evening. And it’s not taking place in Hyde Park, where it’s been the last two years. This time, Taste 208 will happen in two different Boise locations.
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From 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Taste 208’s VIP Experience ($75 per person) will take over the 8th Street corridor between Idaho and Bannock streets.
From 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, the Grand Tasting event ($50 per person) will be held under a big top outside Payette Brewing Co.’s new facility at 733 S. Pioneer St., near the Boise Greenbelt.
With a ticket cap of 300 people, the Friday event is more intimate. The Saturday tasting, capped at 1,000 patrons, is the main Taste 208 event.
“It’s more of a restaurant sip-and-bite kind of thing for Friday night,” founder and executive producer Courtney Feider says. “And then Saturday is a little more fast-paced and crowded.”
Here’s how Friday works: Buy a ticket and you’ll receive a swag bag from Full Circle Exchange, a glass for tasting everything, and access to 22 food and beverage pairings from the restaurants and caterers. Additional drinks will be available at the main bar for $5. Under a big tent, you’ll find a variety of food and libation combinations put out by The Matador, Juniper, The Mode Lounge, Highlands Hollow Brewhouse, Quail Hollow Golf Course, Zeppole Baking Co. and The Chocolat Bar. Reel Foods Fish Market also will be there with an elaborate surf-and-turf spread featuring meats from Snake River Farms and lots of fresh seafood dishes — also included in the ticket price.
Besides a craft cocktail bar hosted by Tom Grainey’s, handcrafted brews will be provided by Highlands Hollow and Payette Brewing. Plus, Proletariat Wine Co. from Walla Walla Valley will pour wines from a six-tap system.
At press time, there were still a few tickets left for Friday, but they are going fast, Feider says. A limited number of tickets are expected to be available at the gate.
Tickets also are still available for Saturday’s Grand Tasting, but don’t be surprised if it sells out. Taste 208’s capacity has grown from 300 its first year to 1,000 last year and has sold out every time, Feider says. That’s part of the reason it was split into two nights and moved.
“The event was getting a little crowded in Hyde Park, and it made sense to have it at Payette Brewing, where we can spread out without having to deal with any road closures,” Feider says.
Saturday’s festival will offer 50 wine, beer, spirits and food tastes, Feider says — all included in the ticket price. Among the varied beverage vendors are Sawtooth Brewery, Boise Brewing, Grand Teton Distillery and Williamson Orchards and Vineyards. There also will be a central bar area, again hosted by Tom Grainey’s.
Although most booths are beverage-only, there will be plenty to nosh. Kanak Attack is putting out a centrally located spread of libation-friendly fare that focuses on locally sourced products. Expect to find fried kalua pig wontons, jerk chicken skewers, beer-brined brisket sliders and more. Archie’s Place food truck also will be there. Both are included in the ticket price.
Heads up to bicyclists: Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance is hosting a bike parking lot where you can secure your ride and receive $5 cash back.
Two-day, all-access Taste 208 passes are available for $100 per person.
Advance tickets: Taste208event.com.
Grit in Eagle adds brunch
Grit American Cuisine, which opened last November at 360 S. Eagle Road, is starting a weekend brunch program April 30.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, diners can enjoy a new daytime menu that also features inventive, eye-opening cocktails.
“There are a few breakfast spots in Eagle, but not many places are doing brunch,” executive chef and co-owner Paul Faucher says. “We thought we would give it a try.”
Besides some standouts from the regular menu, the brunch menu will boast a gamut of seasonal offerings, including brioche French toast with saucy strawberries, eggs Benedict with béarnaise, various omelets and pearl sugar butter biscuits with sausage gravy and spicy Nashville-style fried chicken.
Also expect to find a fun twist on bibimbap, a traditional Korean mixed rice dish with meat and eggs.
“It’s a steak-and-egg type of deal,” Faucher says.
In terms of cocktails, the restaurant will offer new drinks such as vodka-spiked strawberry-basil lemonade, mint juleps (made with local bourbon), grapefruit-jalapeno margaritas and a Bloody Mary reddened with beet juice.
Diners will soon be able to sit outside on the sidewalk patio, which is in the process of being finished. Faucher says they are adding a wrought-iron fence and a roll-up garage door that will unify the patio and main dining room spaces. He expects the construction of the patio to be completed by mid-May.
Spring offerings at Le Coq d’Or
Le Coq d’Or, a farm-to-table French restaurant that opened last year at Chateau des Fleurs in Eagle, at 176 S. Rosebud Lane, recently launched its springtime dinner menu.
Executive chef Franck Bacquet is celebrating the season with new starters such as prosciutto carpaccio, asparagus croque madame and petite kale tempura with cheese fondue.
Larger plates include baked scallops with saffron sauce, spaghetti carbonara and pan-seared lamb tenderloin with quince confit sauce, to name a few.
Le Coq d’Or is open 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
To make reservations, call the restaurant at 208-947-2840.
Submit restaurant news to scene@idahostates man.com.