Saturday, December 22, 2007

Affordable Food

Today a friend came down from Creston, B.C. and we joined some other friends at a local favorite, Under the Sun: a cafe, and clothes store, and just French style general store. I'm not doing justice to it. It's not just a great place for gifts, but also wonderful to browse. Family owned, one daughter does the cooking, another orders the clothes, and yet another does the books. But that's not fair either, because they all do everything, including dishwashing. And Dad fixes whatever goes wrong.

Mom, Shelley, does most of the organizing as well as help with everything: from ordering to cooking to assisting customers to washing dishes. She is amazing and so are her three daughters!

Daughter Kynsie orders clothes, helps at the register, makes coffee drinks, and acts as waitress. Every day Kynsie provides a personal fashion statement with yet another change of clothes, shoes and sometimes even hair. She really belongs in Paris!

It's a busy day for lunch at Under the Sun. Everyone came in at once! Daughter, Kendall, is swamped, but she always has time for a smile! Lunch was delicious, as usual.


The store is in what used to be about the best hardware store in the world: Lindsey-Helmer Hardware. It has a wonderful skylight, shelves up to the ceiling with the wall-sliding ladders, and wooden floors. I hope the photos provide some idea of how wonderful and interesting this place is. At this point, the hardware store has become a bit of France in north Idaho, selling unique items for the home, and, also serving a delicious lunch.


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Lunch is simple but delicious. The food is organic, well-prepared, and bound to satisfy anyone on any given day. And, if a person needs something to start the day, the organic, fair-trade coffee, lattes, and expressos are wonderfully matched to the homemade berry scones that are always available. The occasional lunch specials are all made from scratch and I highly recommend Mom's homemade chicken noodle soup. The Greek salad is also very popular, especially in summer, mounded high with mixed greens, Bulgarian feta cheese and Kalamata olives. I'm also partial to the sandwiches because I can pick and choose my bread and all the ingredients. From turkey to ham to tuna, several kinds of cheese, fresh veggies and different spreads, a sandwich can be built to satisfy any appetite or diet. Homemade spelt bread is available as well as La Brea bakery bread. And lunch stays within the $10-$20 price range. Now that's affordable.

What is not affordable, at least to me and many of the people in my neck of the woods, is Alain Ducasse's newest restaurant, the Jules Verne, at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Oh, don't think I wouldn't want to dine there! The description by Angela Doland, Associated Press (as reported in the Spokesman Review) has already made my mouth salivate. "Roasted imperial langoustine with sauteed green vegetables and black truffles; pan-seared beef tournedos and fresh duck foie gras with souffled potatoes and Perigueux sauce" isn't even in the same category as a ham and cheese sandwich. And that view! Whew! But even if I lived in Paris, I don't think that the price is "'accessible to everyone,': about $108 for lunch and $216 for dinner, without wine." Maybe, if I were employed in my profession (university professor) and if we lived in Paris and if we weren't paying everyday taxes that rise precipitously, then, maybe, we could splurge on such a meal. But given that we are not part of the wealthy elite, the best we can do is copy the menu in my own home kitchen because, as we all know, necessity is the mother of invention. Well, copy except for the fresh truffles....

Actually, for those kinds of prices, I personally would rather attend a day or half day at Ducasse's cooking school, L'Ecole de Cuisine d'Alain Ducasse. But that's out of my budget as well. However, I can read and I can afford cookbooks so I practice and learn on my own and I'm very happy with most of my homemade "haute cuisine" meals. So thank you Monsieur Ducasse for the inspiration, but I'll have to forego personally tasting meals prepared by you and your excellent staff and continue to dream of how I can turn such a menu into affordable cuisine.

Bon appetit!

1 comment:

Bob del Grosso said...

I don't know much about Idaho, but what I am sure of is that the landscape is riddled with traces of French explorers and trappers.So it's kind of cool to read about this charming place, it's Parisian sensibility and chic proprietors.

Oh yeah, I know something else about Idaho: it has many rocks, Idaho-rocks.

Happy New Year IdahoRocks!