Oh Boy, Oh Boise
I’d never been to Idaho before and after receiving a guidebook from the state’s office of Tourism, I was downright excited. I flew into Boise, the state capital, arriving in the afternoon. I found the land surprisingly flat, but with wonderful foothills in the distance.
My tour would start with a kick-off dinner for members of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writes Association at Chandlers, a favorite local restaurant known for their steaks and Idaho-sourced ingredients. Chandler’s was also the recipient of a 2013 Wine Spectator ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ for their impressive wine list.
We began with Idaho Ruby Trout as a starter, then an appetizer of Snake River Sturgeon with risotto. The dish was paired with an Idahoan wine- Cinder’s “Dry” Viognier. I’m not wild about Viognier but the pairing was right on.
Next came a scrumptious lamb loins , which I love. I rarely cook lamb for myself so this was a treat. The meat was moist, pink in the middle and paired with Vale Wine Company Syrah, much more to my liking.
American Kobe Beef with roasted Idaho garlic potatoes and baby carrots arrived next. I don’t eat much beef but when I do, I go for the best. The Kobe Beef was melt in your mouth delicious; I could see why Chandler’s has such a fine reputation. The wine pairing was also my favorite of the evening: Koenig Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend. It was about this time I started thinking; maybe wine made in Idaho is actually going to rank as good. (And later, when I visited Koening, I grew to truly love their varietals.)
We ended the evening with a lemon curd tartlet with huckleberry sauce. Now, I’m a sucker for dessert, so naturally I devoured my tart– and the Ste. Chapelle Riesling. Again, don’t usually drink dessert wine, but this one was lovely.
The Ten Minute Martini
Although Chandler’s restaurant is known for their beef and wine, they also serve a legendary 10 Minute Martini. During dessert bartender Pat Carden joined us table side and told us the history of the drink.
The story began more than thirty years ago when Pat stumbled on a martini preparation.
He was about to stir a guest’s martini when the man told him to stop, then indicated he would be back shortly. Unsure of what to do, he buried the unstirred martini in the ice well. The customer didn’t return for twenty minutes. Pat said he would be happy to begin again because he was sure the martini was diluted, but the customer said no. After taking his first taste, the man’s eyes widened. “Wow,” he said,” you’ve got to taste this.” Thinking the drink had essentially become water, Pat again offered to make another. “No, take a sip,” he repeated. So, Pat finally took a sip and claimed it was the smoothest martini he’d ever had. The gentleman became a repeat customer asking for a “long martini.”
After pondering the question about why this method worked, Pat said the light finally came on — physics and chemistry. Pat’s explanation sounded like something Sheldon Cooper, a character with a Ph.D on the Big Bang Theory, would say. “We’re talking fluid dynamics here — convection. Some of the same principles, laws and equations associated with ocean currents are applicable to an iced mixing jar filled with gin and vermouth, then buried in ice and left on its own for a period of time. Molecules of liquid descend in suspension as they chill, displacing the molecules below. In a small vessel like a bar’s mixing jar, it is in fact a very slow stirring.”
Whatever, the 10 Minute Martini works. I had a sip and it was very cool indeed.
Disclosure: This evening was part of a trip for the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association sponsored by the Idaho Department of Tourism.