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Powell's - Aromas - Openings, etc.

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Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do

Have a hankering for those elusive chocolate pieces in a roll of Necco's? Want to send the oh-so-wrong Valentine's Day message with a jar full of only green M&M's? Maybe you just can't get enough of the puke-, dirt- and booger-flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans? Chocolate covered ants? Two feet of pixie stix dust? Truffles? Old school, new school, gross school and too-cool-for-school school, Powell's has every kind of candy, chocolate and sugar-based no-no you thought they didn't even make anymore—including candy cigarettes.

Sure it's a kid's candy-coated heaven, but for we nostalgic, sweet-tooth-having adults, Powell's Sweet Shoppe falls just short of being Boise's own private Willy Wonka world. It's as good as it gets without going to the factory itself. And Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory plays day in and day out on a television screen in the back. (The Gene Wilder version, in case you were wondering.)

But enough of my shameless editorial endorsement, and onto the news. This weekend, Powell's celebrates its one-year anniversary with a proper Wonka party. The first 100 people in the door get a free Wonka bar, and there will be a free raffle for Wonka prizes. What's newsworthy, however, is the appearance of Paris Themmen, the original Mike TeeVee. Local Powell's franchisees Joe and Debbie Giordano host the afternoon with free photographs for autograph signings, a store full of candy and a world of pure imagination (cue music ...).

Sat., Jan. 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Powell's Sweet Shoppe, 3064 S. Bown Way, 208- 424-6099.

Boise So-Bo scene gets a dose of authenticity

This one comes to you direct from a helpful reader with discerning taste in south-of-the-border food, and as far as I'm concerned, it came in just the nick of time. Mexican food is for me what boxed mac and cheese is to most Americans—quick and easy default sustenance that was once a childhood favorite. In recent months, however, I've instituted a dietary boycott on all restaurant-created Tex-Mex because, quite frankly, it's not that great. (Taco trucks and Jalapeno's Grill 2 excepted.)

Enter helpful reader with news about Aromas.

In August, Uriel and Sonia Montelongo opened Aromas Mexican Bakery on the corner of Glenwood and Chinden in an often forgotten shopping center. It soon closed for a remodel and expansion and only six weeks ago, reopened as what Sonia Montelongo describes as a "really traditional Mexican food and bakery." In her second year as a student in Boise State's two-year culinary arts program, Montelongo not only brings a proper education to her restaurant's kitchen, but asserts that Aromas is the authentic cuisine she grew up eating in Bruno, where her parents immigrated to many years ago.

Montelongo says that rather than dish up and reheat pre-made food (as is sadly the case in most So-Bo food), Aromas serves only the fresh stuff, sauteing everything to order. That means rather than the five minutes it takes food to hit your table in other joints (four minutes in the nuker and at least a minute getting old under a heat lamp), your food may take an extra few minutes while it's actually cooked. And don't go in expecting the usual menu fare. Montelongo says there's only one burrito on the menu—and that's only because it's what people expect—however, not a single chimichanga will be served out of her kitchen. And, she says, the enchilada list is short. Very short. What to try? The mole. Montelongo says she's been getting lots of compliments on it, and in fact, it's the mole that my much appreciated, and appreciative, caller was raving about.

Aromas, 6748 Glenwood St., 208-853-5499. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., closed on Sunday.

Openings, etc.

• ONO Hawaiian Cafe celebrates its grand opening January 11-13. 2170 Broadway Ave., 208-429-6800.

• Raw, the awaited sushi bar adjacent to Willowcreek Grill, has opened. More news and dates on a grand opening in next week's column. 2237 Vista Ave., 208-343-0270.

• New management and a new menu await at a newly reopened Chela's Mexican Grill. 5616 W. State St., 208-853-1770.

• The quirky moniker is apparently working well for Pizzalchick. Owners Brad and Judy Breakell recently acquired the space next door and expanded to increase the restaurant's seating capacity by almost fivefold. 7330 W. State St., 208-853-7757.

Got Food News? Pass it on. E-mail rachael@boiseweekly.com.

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