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43º North - Costa Vida - Edible Arrangements

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Finer Food Finds Meridian

As west Ada County communities continue to absorb the brunt of the valley's inevitable growth, the suburbs are beginning to claim one of the benefits of city living as their own—finer dining. Prior to last winter's opening of SixOneSix in Eagle, 'burb dwellers who wanted to wine and dine properly had to commute back to Boise. Though Epi's has long been Meridian's solo suave restaurant, the need has certainly been there, says Tom Atkins, owner of Meridian's new 43º North.

"So many people are moving into this area, and so many people who live here drive home after work, take a shower and then drive all the way back downtown for dinner," says Atkins, who's hoping to draw not only Meridianites, but western Boiseans as well.

Since taking up residence in a former Smokey Mountain Pizza location (which Atkins has taken care to vanquish with a fresh coat of paint, new carpeting, polished concrete floors and what he describes as "lots of wood and warm tones"), 43º North has been hosting a packed Sunday brunch and drawing customers in for the patio, which seats up to 48 people.

But let's cut to the chase—what we all really want to know is whether the food can compete with the best downtown has to offer. From Dungeness Crab Cake with Marinated Tomato Salad and Basil Aioli to Fresh Lobster Ravioli with Shiitake Mushrooms and Lemongrass Beurre Blanc on the lunch menu, and Wine Forest Mushroom Tarte to Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Confit Mashed Potatoes on the dinner menu, it certainly appears as though Atkins has set a pretty serious challenge on the plates of valley foodies.

43º North, 112 E. Idaho St., Meridian, 855-2070. Hours: Mon.-Fri.: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Tue.-Sat.: 5:30 p.m.-close, Sun. 10:30 a.m.--2 p.m.

La Vida Loca

This just in: Residents of landlocked states pine so fervently for the bliss that is the beach, they will eat, wear or buy any ocean-, surf- or shore-themed product marketed to them—even if it's from fellow landlocked businesses. Utah-based Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill may hail from the very landlocked Layton, Utah, but its cuisine aims for the food and ambience of Baja's Blue Coast. Billed as "addictively legal," burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and salads with shredded chicken and pork or fajita grilled steak topped with plenty of fresh veggies, beans and cheese, it may sound like typical Tex-Mex, but peruse Costa Vida's Web site and the pics will get you salivating.

Costa Vida, 3340 N. Eagle Rd., 887-6889, www.costavida.net. Hours: Mon.-Thu.: 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. and Fri.-Sat.: 9 .m.-10 p.m.

The Edible Telegram

Looking suspiciously similar to a homemaker project straight from pre-prison Martha Stewart, an edible arrangement is the skewered and often chocolate-covered fruit version of a bouquet of flowers. A franchise based in Connecticut with more than 500 stores internationally, Edible Arrangements recently opened a store in the Treasure Valley featuring carefully sculpted and arranged melons, pineapples, grapes, strawberries, oranges and more. Visit their Web site for arrangement choices for all occasions, or consider a box of chocolate-dipped apples and strawberries. Open Mon.-Fri.: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.: 8 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Sunday. Twenty-four-hour advanced notice is preferred on delivery and pick-up orders, but same-day service is available for delivery orders placed before noon and pick-up orders placed before 2 p.m.

Edible Arrangements, 577 E. Park Blvd., 433-9911, www.ediblearrangements.com.

Got the lowdown on local chow? E-mail Entertainment Editor Rachael Daigle at rachael@boiseweekly.com.

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