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December 8, 2004

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Bonjour Andrae's

It's a small miracle for a restaurant to stay on track and actually open on time, but it's a gargantuan miracle when the executive chef, owner and contractor is one in the same person. Andrae Bopp, the one-man machine behind Andrae's, a new upscale French restaurant, held his soft opening on Saturday, November 27 and his grand opening on Friday, December 3--just as originally planned.

Bopp has not only completely remodeled the former MilkyWay subterranean space, he has re-done the hallway and entry, creating an ultra-elegant, posh atmosphere some diners have claimed rivals the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Both the lunch and dinner menus feature some of the finest in multi-course meals, prepared in classic French style. Start off with diver sea scallops with olive oil, lemon confit and fleur de sel; Pumpkin Soup with smoked bacon and fresh Truffle; or roasted pheasant and double onion tart. Follow it with roasted rack of venison with sweet potato cakes and wild mushroom ragout; butter poached lobster with Jerusalem artichoke puree, ginger sautéed enoki mushrooms, cilantro broth and a coconut emulsion; or white bean cassoulet. Satisfy your sweet tooth with buttermilk panna cotta with vanilla grapefruit sauce or chocolate ravioli with hazelnut mousse and bittersweet chocolate sauce. Bopp's culinary expertise (he is a graduate of the world-renowned French Culinary Institute) is enhanced by his talented Sous Chef Jared Couch formerly of The Dish.

In addition to divine edibles, Andrae's offers some of France's finest red wines, white wines and champagnes, as well as stellar offerings from the Napa, Willamette, Yakima and Columbia Valleys in the US. Additional offerings include wines from Spain, Germany, Italy, Austria, New Zealand and Australia.

The intimate, classy space offers several seating options, including private dining and a chef's table. Visit Andrae's impressive Web Site at www.andraesboise.com for private dining options, full dinner and lunch menus and other background information.

Andrae's, 816 W. Bannock St., lunch M-F: 11:30--2 p.m.; dinner M-W: 5:30 p.m.-close and Th-Sa: 5 p.m.-close. Reservations strongly encouraged. Call 385-0707 or go online at www.andraesboise.com.

mobile java: the Coffee Cab

Jill Ashby, former barista extraordinaire and manager of several local Moxie Javas, has unleashed her inner entrepreneur. Ashby is the owner of the Coffee Cab, a mobile coffee shop cruising about town in a bright yellow and black checkered former ice cream/postal truck.

Several months ago Ashby scaled back at Moxie to focus on starting her own business. She considered a drive-thru coffee stand but soon discovered that market was saturated. So she started thinking about how to distinguish her coffee concept from all the others. That's when she decided to go mobile.

Ashby's Coffee Cab (her first and last eBay purchase) is equipped with full plumbing and electricity, and its menu is as extensive as most coffee shops in town. Her highly requested specialties include the Cabbie's Fare, a toasted marshmallow mocha and the Turtle Mocha, a praline and caramel mocha. In addition to a full espresso menu, the Coffee Cab also serves up muffins, bagels and danishes.

Ashby already has a regular lineup of stops at several area businesses on Fairview and by the Auto Mall (where there are no coffee purveyors in easy walking distance). But she is open to calls from any group in any part of town with five or more folks who want a java fix brought to their door. Ashby says, "People don't have to waste their breaks going to get coffee. I will deliver to their desks or they can come outside and order at the window."

The response from the community to Ashby's ambulatory answer to our caffeine craze has been great. She has cars pull up alongside the truck begging for coffee; her very first customer was someone who flagged her down, and she can't go to the grocery store without being accosted by someone.

The Coffee Cab is primed to meet your coffee needs from 6 a.m. to noon on weekdays and will also operate later in the day if there is a demand. The Cab is also available for hire at weekend and special events. Call Jill at 703-0744 for more.

Meridian goes Thai: Sa-wad-dee

Sa-wad-dee Thai Restaurant will hold its Grand Opening this Thursday, December 9. Sa-wad-dee Thai is Meridian's first Thai restaurant and specializes in Bangkok-style, authentic Thai food. Experienced chefs prepare each dish to suit your taste--from mild to spicy, using the best and freshest ingredients. Thai favorites on the 150-item menu include tom kha kai, tom yum koong and pad Thai. Specialty appetizers include kra tong thaong, a crispy shell filled with ground pork and mixed vegetables or mieng kum, a medley of fresh ginger, lime, shallots, peanuts, toasted coconut flakes and dry shrimp on green leaf lettuce with a signature sweet ginger sauce. Specialty entrees include salmon curry (salmon filet in red curry with coconut milk, bell peppers and lime leaves) and chicken volcano (grilled game hen marinated with chef's special sauce, served flaming). Sa-wad-dee also offers a wide selection of wine and beer, veggie dishes and desserts. Here's an incentive to check the place out: During the week of December 10-19, all diners will receive a 15 percent discount off their entire meal, no coupon required.

1890 E. Fairview Ave., Meridian, 884-0701, www.sawaddeethai.com, M-Th: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4:30-9 p.m.; F: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4:30-10 p.m.; Sa-Su: noon-10 p.m.

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