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Andrae's - Gelator Cafe - India Place - Cold Fuzion - Market Limone

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Au Revoir Andrae's

That's it. It quit. I refuse to write yet another eulogy for a downtown restaurant.

Last Friday's announcement that chef Andrae Bopp would be closing his eponymous high-end French restaurant has left me deflated, to say the least. Andrae's is the fifth in a string of recent downtown closings that includes long-standing restaurants The MilkyWay, Mortimer's and Gino's Grill, as well as the popular BoDo burrito joint KB's. One local media outlet ventured to make a rather noncommittal observation by saying the closures were "bordering on a trend." How very astute.

But no one likes a Debbie Downer, so let's go with a "celebration of life" speech instead.

In the kitchen, Bopp was known for his elegant and seamless contemporary French cuisine, and for that, Andrae's easily held top honors among the finest of the fine dining. Bopp may be nixing dinner service at the restaurant, but, he said, he's not taking himself out of the game altogether.

"I'm not opposed to doing Andrae's dinners in people's homes," Bopp joked last week. But he's serious. He and former Idaho Statesman restaurant critic James Kelly are pursuing the catering business that Bopp has already established through Andrae's. Whether it's a party of nine or 90, Andrae's catering dishes up what Bopp does best: good food.

Out of the kitchen, Bopp has been a frequent supporter of charitable causes throughout the city, as well as a vocal champion of local business. He's well-known for supporting local food producers, growers and ranchers in his menu choices; in fact, his support for the local food movement was the subject of a 2006 segment on Boise State Radio's Edible Idaho. The segment re-aired last April and just this week, in a piece on chain restaurants downtown, Bopp told Edible Idaho's Guy Hand: "I just think that what needs to happen is that the community needs to rally behind independent restaurants and make sure they're supported and make sure they're thriving." I couldn't agree more.

Goings On all Over Town

Downtown may be losing its loving feeling when it comes to restaurants, but apparently, that's not the case elsewhere in the valley. In the mall area, Cold Fuzion frozen yogurt opened at the corner of Milwaukee and Fairview. The gig is less about the yogurt than it is the toppings: fresh fruit. Don't dig on syrupy, mushy strawberries or tasteless canned pineapple? Check out Cold Fuzion's eight fruit toppings. 8137 W. Fairview Ave., 208-378-5824.

In similar "news of the cold," Brian Wetzel, the new owner of Gelato Cafe in Meridian, has recently acquired a liquor license and is serving gelato-flavored martinis. Little vodka, some triple sec and a dollop of gelato sound like an idea that should've been invented long before now. The cafe also serves Tuscan-style pizza and gyros, as well as sushi from Superb Sushi. Gelato Cafe is currently open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but Wetzel says a Sunday make-your-own bloody mary bar may be in the near future. 2053 E. Fairview Ave., #101, Meridian, 208-846-8410.

Had enough of dessert? How about Indian food? India Place has opened two locations. Its Fairview restaurant opened the first of May and the Eagle one has been in business just about a month. Both offer lunch buffets six days a week, but pay close attention because the no-go day is Tuesday. Yep, Tuesday. 8061 Fairview Ave., 208-375-0495; 600 S. Rivershore Ln., #170, Eagle, 208-939-8879.

And finally, out in Nampa, Market Limone in the Belle District is opening a restaurant in its mezzanine level. With black and white movies playing and a menu that includes quail, Kobe beef, buffalo and ostrich, the new eatery sounds like something Boise could seriously envy. 112 13th Ave. S., Nampa, 208-442-1313.

This Week's Wine and Dine

Chef Jon Mortimer has picked up the vintner dinner torch from his recently closed Mortimer's and taken it out to his Eagle restaurant Franco Latino. Next week, the riverside restaurant hosts Dr. Wade Wolfe, owner and winemaker at Thurston Wolfe Winery in Prosser, Wash. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person.

Also at Franco Latino is a monthly flight and bite. Every First Thursday, the restaurant features a themed flight with five wines and five complementing nibbles for $15.

Franco Latino, 775 S. Rivershore Lane., Eagle, 208-938-2850, francolatino.com. For information and reservations, contact the restaurant.

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