Begin your beautiful drive of the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway with a tummy full and ready for the day! Whether for breakfast or lunch, The Orchard House provides food made from scratch. The chef is “hand cracking” each egg and utilizing as much locally sourced product as possible. In fact being located on the byway they are able to get fresh fruits and vegetables directly from local suppliers. They also have their own garden they tend in the back. The Sunnyslope Scramble is very popular as well as their seasonal offerings such as Peach and Apricot Pancakes. Located right on Sunnyslope Road across from Ste. Chapelle Winery, a day of wine tasting at the 14 wineries along the Byway is a great way to show off the state of Idaho to friends visiting. The Orchard House owners, Kris Thompson and Sherri McCay, along with Head Chef Rubio Izaguirre, Jr. welcome you into this charming historical location with a full outdoor patio with waterfall and creek.
Culinary Specialist, Chef Patrick Rolfe stopped by to visit the Orchard House to find out more…
Q: What is it like to be on the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway?
A: Being surrounded by all the famous Idaho wineries, there is hardly a day when we don’t have a local wine maker enjoying a meal here. Some of the wineries do not have tasting rooms, so we will set up private tastings upon request. We were highlighted in the Sunset Magazine Fall Travel edition in 2011. Additionally, we are proud to serve only Idaho wines – over 85! We have been voted the “Best wine list in the State of Idaho” by the NW Wine Press for the last two years. For those on a winery loop tour, we offer box lunches to go. One of our signature items is our fresh pear pie, an afternoon treat.
Q: What else can you say about your menu?
A: We have three separate menus: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We keep up on current menu trends; in fact we have recently embraced Gluten Free offerings. People come from all over just to have a bowl of our made from scratch soups. Our sandwiches are made with the highest quality bread which to the Orchard House is the base of a true quality sandwich. Only Rice Bran oil is used in cooking which is lower in cholesterol, but also is so light that less oil is absorbed into the food so the flavor of the food lingers in your mouth (and reduces overall calories). We have many customers who purchase bottles of rice oil to use in their own cooking. Customers know that good scratch food takes a little longer to prepare. Our motto is “Fresh, Local, and Seasonal Cuisine. We think all happiness depends on a leisurely meal!”
Q: What is your biggest success?
A: We’ve been in business now for five years and I think our biggest success is “We’ve survived!” Opening up when the recession was first hitting, and gas prices were soaring was a challenge. Located out this far, we really had to develop ourselves as a destination spot. Now we are packed most weekends. Many people really enjoy the scenic drive to the countryside of Sunnyslope. We host special events like “Meet the Wine Maker”, and “Christmas at Sunnyslope”. Besides the regulars like birthdays and anniversaries, large group reservations include rehearsal dinners (for weddings at nearby wineries), tea parties, bridal showers, and class reunions. The large outdoor patio makes a perfect place for celebrations!
Chef Patrick finishes the Snake River Canyon tour by visiting Brick 29 in Nampa. A perfect location to end your tour with a dinner you will never forget. Executive Chef/Owner Dustan Bristol and his wife Keela welcome their guests with a smile. And why not, according to food lovers in southwest Idaho, the best restaurant in Boise is actually in Nampa! Brick 29 is the culinary love child of the Bristols where Chef Bristol brings a culinary panache to traditional comfort food.
Culinary Specialist, Chef Patrick Rolfe stopped by to visit the Brick 29 to find out more…
Q: Explain your concept of reinventing comfort food.
A: Well here is an example. I like to take something traditional, for example Poutine (a Canadian dish of fries, gravy, and cheese curds) and put my spin on it. So I created an Idaho Poutine from all locally sourced products: Potatoes from Wada Farms, Ballard cheese curds, Beef Cheeks from Homestead Farms, Purple Sage chives, with a glaze sauce made with a local Snake River Appellation Cabernet. I happened to serve my creation to a gentleman from the Idaho Potato Commission who ate three of them and had one packed to go! That was a compliment.
Q: What else on your menu have become your signature dishes?
A: Four entrees have really evolved to my customer’s liking. Bistro Chicken: sautéed chicken breast with mushrooms, shallots, bourbon and cream served with crispy polenta. Angus
Ribeye Steak: dry aged, spice rubbed, fingerling potatoes, blue cheese fondue and crispy onions. Eggplant Napoleon: Parmesan crusted eggplant layered with roasted pepper, mozzarella, and basil, oven roasted and served with polenta, tomato coulis and seasonal vegetable. Lamb Shank: domestic raised lamb, slow braised, smoked mushroom risotto and red wine demi glace. Even though these are my signature dishes per se, I don’t particularly like repetition myself so I’m always coming up with something new. Right now my favorite thing on the menu is our new BLT Pizza (with brown sugar and chili bacon)!
Q: Do you enjoy being on the tail end of the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway?
A: Yes, we see many people ending their wine loop having dinner here. We offer “Free Corkage” when guests bring a bottle from any local winery. And we have just completed some Brick 29 brochures with two separate wine loops designated with a full map and history of the SW Idaho local wineries to visit. Our wine list consists of 25% local wineries, where most fine dining restaurants carry about 10%. And we only have beer taps from Treasure Valley breweries. I love supporting all Idaho products, mostly to support the local economy as I myself am a local business owner. We also have a Happy Hour from 4-6 if you want some light snacks after your tour, because then we also offer “Grab and Go” dinners.
Q: What is your biggest success?
A: I think it is the evolution of my staff and that we work as a full team. My Sous Chefs really understand my palette and have begun to think like me. They are thinking and creating on their own which is exciting. I also have my wait staff work 6 hours a month in the kitchen and 2 hours at the bar. They understand personally about how everything is prepared and become the spokesperson on the floor for the Chef. I don’t do any suggested wine pairings on my menu as I think everyone enjoys differently. So the time my wait staff works in the bar, they are tasting the wines and become a part of knowing how to recommend.
Q: I know you also have your Food Truck B29 Streatery that’s taken off with the Food Truck craze. What’s next for you?
A: We opened On The Fly Rotisserie Deli in downtown Boise (8th & Main). It serves breakfast and lunch with sandwiches and salads made fresh every morning. A couple soups are available, but just minimal seating so we will are set up for “grab and go” too. Perhaps I’ll add a business delivery service with kids on bikes. But I really want an avenue to explore braising meats and rotisserie. And maybe we will try a Happy Hour from 4-6 before closing for the day. It’s just an exciting project to expand.
For a list of wineries in the Snake River Canyon visit www.idahowines.org.
Learn more about the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway and all of Idaho’s scenic byways here.