The Wyndham Hotel Group recently purchased the Boise Hotel and Conference Center, 3300 S. Vista Ave., and gave the hotel a much needed makeover.
Phase two of the renovation will happen in the next year or so, and it will include modernizing the Castle Ranch Steakhouse and Sports Page Bar.
Of course, Castle Ranch Steakhouse has been around since the Boise Hotel days, and executive chef Dean Fuller, who also serves as the food and beverage director, is still calling the shots at this hidden gem of a restaurant.
“The new owners told me to do what I want with it,” he says.
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Fuller is known for using a profusion of local foodstuffs on his seasonal menus. He recently unveiled a new menu that offers more than 24 small-plate choices to go along with the big, juicy steaks.
Expect to find a litany of locally inspired tapas offerings such as Idaho caviar-potato tacos, lentil hummus, herb-marinated roasted lamb and braised Basque-style chicken.
Fuller even has a farm in the Magic Valley raising ducks for him, which get turned into dishes such as mu-shu duck and crispy duck breast (with huckleberry-ginger sauce) served with golden fries cooked in duck fat.
The gluten-free crowd will find lots to eat at this place. Instead of dredging meats and seafood in wheat flour, he uses Idaho-grown teff flour to give a crispy exterior to proteins. Try the brown butter Idaho trout finished with capers and lemon.
Fuller is a busy guy. He’s constantly cooking at events around town, and he particularly likes working with wineries in the Snake River Valley.
“There are so many great wineries in Idaho. I plan do more wine dinners at the restaurant,” Fuller says.
Castle Ranch Steakhouse is open for breakfast 6:30-10:30 a.m. daily, dinner 4-10 p.m. daily.
Phone: (208) 343-4900
GET READY FOR FREDDY’S
Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers is setting up shop all across the Treasure Valley. The Wichita, Kan.-based based fast-casual chain has opened with three locations in the last year and two more are on the way.
Freddy’s debuted in Caldwell, at 5009 Cleveland Blvd., in late May, after the company opened stores in Meridian (3180 E. Lanark St.), near the corner of Eagle and Franklin roads, and in Nampa (1305 N. Happy Valley Road) next to the Interstate 84 and Garrity Boulevard interchange.
Other restaurants are in the works for Eagle (State Street and Idaho 55) and on Broadway Avenue in Boise.
Freddy’s is known for serving Midwest-inspired frozen custard (swirled with all kinds of sweet treats) and grilled-to-order ground steak burgers. The menu also has patty melts, grilled chicken sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs topped with mustard, chopped tomato, marinated sport peppers, onion, pickle and a dash of celery salt.
The company, with more than 150 locations nationwide, draws inspiration from the original Freddy’s in Wichita, which was opened by Freddy Simon in the 1950s.
Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers are open 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
SIPPIN’ IN THE CITY
Speaking of Dean Fuller, he will be the spotlight chef at Sippin’ in the City on Nov. 5 at the Linen Building, 1402 W. Grove St., from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Buy tickets ($35, brownpapertickets) now for this autumn food and wine soiree put on by the Idaho Wine Commission.
Castle Ranch Steakhouse will serve a huge spread of food such as chicken salad bruschetta, red lentil curry bruschetta, pulled pork quesadillas, freshly made potato chips with a yogurt ranch dip and more.
Zeppole Baking Company and Idaho Preferred also will be on hand with freshly baked bread and dessert, respectively.
Expect to find eight Idaho wineries pouring select wines, including Split Rail Winery, Colter’s Creek, Huston Vineyards and Cinder Wines, to name a few.
SPOOKY DOUGHNUTS AT KRISPY KREME
It’s that time of year again when Krispy Kreme, 1525 N. Eagle Road, Meridian, starts pumping out spooky doughnuts through Oct. 31.
Besides cream-filled jack-o’-lantern and spider web doughnuts ($1.49 each/$8.99 dozen), the company recently introduced its new Monster doughnuts decorated with ghoulish faces.
Krispy Kreme’s fall lineup also includes a new salted caramel latte doughnut and the ever-popular pumpkin spice cake doughnut.
Krispy Kreme is open 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The drive-through stays open until 11 p.m.
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