Words & Deeds

Boise is Northwest’s ‘best-kept secret,’ USA Today says, quoting Californians to prove it

Have you heard about a website called Facebook that’s becoming sort of popular?

Or this band called The Beatles that might wind up getting kind of famous?

And while we’re sharing timely tips, did you realize folks are beginning to think Idaho might be a nifty place?

Gee, thanks, USA Today, for spilling those beans. In a humor piece masquerading as a travel story about new Boise restaurants, the newspaper recently exposed us good — real good.

The headline: “Burgeoning Boise, the best-kept secret in the Pacific Northwest.”

USA Today has got to be trolling us. This is a spectacular example of shark-jumping, out-of-state Boise promotion.

“With affordable real estate, accessible recreation and a burgeoning food scene, Boise is claiming some of the spotlight from regional neighbors Seattle and Portland, Oregon,” the article says. “Just get there before the crowds.”

Where. To. Begin.

“Affordable real estate”? Has USA Today not seen the obscene amount of cash those two “Boise Boys” are flipping North End bungalows for on that “secret” HGTV cable channel? Is it also possible USA Today missed the Idaho Statesman article from June titled, “Expect to pay more as Treasure Valley home prices rise again and choices stay scant”? The one that mentions Ada County’s median house prices hit a record $308,950 earlier this year?

And, uh, “Just get there before the crowds.” Yes. Excellent advice. You can’t even get to hot springs three hours away before the crowds.

The article’s sourcing provides the obvious clue that it must be an inside joke. (Look! A story about “secret” Boise quoting almost exclusively restaurateurs who came from California!) The owners of Madre taqueria grew up in California before recently relocating to Boise. The owners of The Wylder pizzeria moved here from Cali. The article even informs us that Richard’s owner Richard Langston, who has lived in Boise more than a quarter of a century, is “Boise’s original California chef transplant.”

(Nooooo! Not you, too, Richard!)

The STIL co-owner Kasey Allen, who also was quoted, laughed this week when I pointed out the article’s overt Golden State slant. “That’s really funny,” he said. “I didn’t even think about that. I guess I might be the only born-and-raised Boisean (in) there.”

(The STIL’s other co-owner, by the way? A longtime Midwesterner ... who moved to Boise from California.)

Ultimately, the USA Today article was fun exposure for all these food purveyors with California backgrounds. They’re all welcome additions to Boise’s restaurant scene. But that headline had to make them chuckle.

Or, like the rest of us, cry.

I will say this: You beat the crowds to Boise, Chef Langston. Barely.

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