Best Terrain Park
Don't be jealous Bogus, we still love you, too, but in a different way than we did before. You see, we've found a new love. While not as close as you are to us, this new love has something you're missing. A bitchin' half-pipe and a super fun terrain park. Oh, and a beginner park that is, well ... actually as it sounds, for beginners. Rails, all sorts, some steep, some wide, some skinny, some curvy--you get the idea. Tabletops with perfect transitions. An amazing wall of a quarter-pipe. We're becoming overwhelmed with emotion. Please let us catch our breath, we're not as young as we used to be. Did we forget to mention the funnest feature of all ... the half-pipe! A real half-pipe that gets groomed and has nary a kink in the wall and is less than two hours away. We have to stop; our hearts are racing to fast. Just please promise you will get to Tamarack at least once this winter. And try out the terrain park, it's good for you.
2099 W. Mountain Road, Donnelly, 1-877-tam-resort
Best Summer Job
Poker Houses / Online Betting
We're not kidding. If you're not a card shark, it may take some practice and a hefty flow of cash to use for buy-ins, but once you get the hang of it, a $25 buy-in could return as much as ten grand for first place. Winnings get dropped into your account or mailed to you by check without a trace of their origin. Urban myth? BW knows at least one Boise State student who paid his tuition and living expenses with one summer of serious betting.
Best Reason to Get in a Bar Brawl
The fight hit full-steam two years ago with the publishing of Michael Lewis's book Moneyball. Pushed heavily by NPR and the New York Times, the book tells the story of the 2003 Oakland Athletics, an under-financed, small-market baseball team who hired Harvard statisticians rather than grizzled old baseball scouts to build a team of improbably successful castoffs and misfits. Ever since, baseball fans have been split right down the middle. On one side, the cold, hard math-heads or "sabermetricians," who cite the paramount importance of VORP, EqA, WARP-1 and a bunch of other statistics nobody has ever heard of. On the other, the old-schoolers, who believe in things like "RBIs" and "team chemistry." The brawl can start with a phrase as simple as, "I think Alfonso Soriano is one of the finest hitters in the American League," or "The A's can't stay in the hunt without a 'proven closer.'" Or, if you really want to piss off the old guard, just drop one line: "'Chemistry' is a three-run homer." Sure, it's a private language to most, but it's also been a long time since a spectator sport has made so many nerds so happy.
The Crescent "No Lawyers" Bar and Grill
You can play bar games at any bar in town, but only at the Crescent "No Lawyers" Bar and Grill you can play every bar game. They've got it all: horseshoes, peerless pool tables, darts, Golden Tee, beaucoup shoot-em-up video games and the most insanely contested Tornado foosball tables in town. And you can eat a million chicken gizzards and deep-fried bull testicles. And watch TVs a million miles wide. And drink a million-ounce mug of beer. And because both kids and lawyers are verboten, you don't have to play nice or be completely accurate in your assessments of ... anything.
5500 W. Franklin Rd., 322-9856
Best Kid Keeper
We figure you can reinvent Children of the Corn by dropping your kids at the corn maze entrance with a box of granola bars and a Camelpack full of Kool-Aid and then promising them you'll be back in time for kid karate practice on Wednesday. Who needs a babysitter that'll just park your kids in front of Desperate Housewives while she ties up the phone lines and raids the fridge? Take that mid-week romp down to Vegas or treat yourself to a spa weekend in Sun Valley. If our calculations are correct, you've got at least two days before the youngins emerge from the stalks.
Overland and Meridian Road, 888-4041
Best Threat Made to BW by an Angry Reader
Plane of Poop
The information contained in this Best of Boise blurb is true. We have not altered, exaggerated or misquoted anywhere herein simply for the sake of a laugh. We are willing to sign sworn affidavits or submit to a polygraph test as evidence to support the fact that the following statement was made to our offices following a story we published about hot springs. Upset that "secret" hot spring information was disclosed within the public pages of BW, one reader expressed a strong desire to fly over our offices and dump shit on us. It's true folks, there's at least one reader who wants to see us at the bottom of a steaming pile of excrement. Now there's a pretty thought.
Best Bowling Alley
All bowling alleys were created equal. Same greasy food. Same strange smell of wax, shoe deodorizer and cigarette smoke. Same flouro-lit warehouse feel. What distinguishes Emerald Lanes from the local competition? Its location. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Navajo Bar, one can sneak down the sidewalk to squeeze in a couple of karaoke performances between frames. But what's really cool is that Emerald Lanes has a liquor license, so you don't have to leave to buy your buddies the round of shots you owe them for failing to score over a 50.
4860 Emerald St., 344-2695
Like hot springs and camping spots, everyone has a favorite and there's not much consensus on which of the hundreds of secret spots are best. If you can get to Trinity just after the snow and just before the masses of camping trailers, it is nothing less than tranquil. Park at the upper lake, make use of the facilities at the trailhead and take off uphill. The first mile gets you up to the top of the ridge, where you can look down on hidden lakes and up at the Trinity lookout. If you're feeling up to it, hike up to the lookout---yes, the one that's precariously perched cliffside---and enjoy the view. It may be possible to see all the way to the Pacific from up there.
Best Ridiculous Use for Athletic Uniforms
Cheerleader's Bar & Grill Waitstaff
A distant second in this category is using athletic uniforms as décor. It's possible that Cheerleaders is guilty of both crimes, however, only a sympathetic shout goes out to the staff who has to sling beer and hot wings looking like they're heading to a Friday night football game at Eagle High. Then again, perhaps the staff doesn't mind reliving the glory days of high school when cheerleading was life and life was so much easier.
287 E. Shore Dr., 939-9209
Best New Skateboarding Awareness Group
Boise Skatepark Association
This grass-roots group is working tirelessly to better skateboarding in the Boise area. With such projects as Rhodes Revamped and the skate park at the YMCA (west), you can thank BSA every time a new skate park gets under way around here. Eventually, they will have a Web site or a blog, but for now, if you want to help, call Prestige and ask for Paul.
Best Insane Sports Club
Hash House Harriers
"Drinking. Running. That's all." It's no secret that the Harriers are a drinking club with a running problem. Weekly meetings find trail blazers trekking over the river and through the woods, pounding pavement in subdivisions and scaling trails in the foothills. And how much more fun is running when there's beer to look forward to at the end? Beer guzzling sessions conclude the weekly three- to five-mile run and as if things weren't interesting enough, the group often schedules theme runs. See a large group of people running down the street in nothing but underwear? Chances are it's the Harriers and if you follow their trail, it leads to a pretty good time.
Best Doing Nothing on a Saturday Afternoon Activity
We suppose this could qualify as entertainment but have decided that garage sale-ing most definitely falls into recreational. It can be a pretty intense contact sport. Tug-of-wars over a set of KMart silver-plated candlesticks marked $2 have left would-be bargain shoppers with bumps and bruises. For the salesman, bargaining with cheapskates and preventing sticky fingers from walking away with unwanted junk is enough stress on the body to qualify as aerobic activity. Not to mention all the heavy lifting associated with getting that damn solid oak dresser out of the basement, into the driveway and then into the back of someone's pick-up.
Best Place for a Picnic
In a perfect world, we'd all have a boat to whisk us around the reservoir to various camping and picnicking sites, towing us around on skis and wakeboards ... a boat with a good stereo and lots of cooler space. If you don't have a boat, you'll have to start swimming to enjoy those secluded little places on the lake that only a boat can get you to. We love hanging out on the docks, taking afternoon naps after a fat meal of dogs and burgers, and we love the shadiness of those little picnic tables after a day too long on sun and too short on sunscreen.
Best Place to Use Your Canine to Help You Hookup
Dog Park off Reserve
Unleash the beast within ... er, with you and throw Fido's ball in the direction of some other solitary canine lover. Let your four-legged friend do the dirty work for you by training your faithful companion to pick fights with other dogs (thereby prompting the other dog's owner to run over and separate your mangy mut from his/hers and providing you opportunity to start conversation and check for the necessary finger jewelry). The success rate of this mate searching method is still unknown, but if your efforts prove unfruitful in getting yourself a date, at least you'll have fodder for John Cusak when he needs script ideas for a sequel to his latest piss poor pooch film.
Best Place to Turn the Kids Loose
So maybe we're indulging our inner child with this one. Who doesn't want to spend an afternoon putting miniature golf and then day dreaming of an alternate career as Mario Andretti on the Go-Kart track? Play some laser tag, hit some baseballs--go under the guise of taking the kids for an afternoon of family fun, and ditch the Saturday afternoon yard work.
1385 S. Blue Marlin Ln., Meridian, 898-0900
Best Place to Streak
Off the top: Streaking ain't what it used to be. In today's Idaho, someone convicted of felony indecent exposure will qualify as a sex offender and have to register as such wherever he or she lives for 20 years or more--and the line between misdemeanor and felony ain't always clear during the planning of such a spectacle. On the other hand, if you're OK with that risk, go for the golden ring of streaking: Bronco Stadium. Home football game. Sure, there are a lot of "security" people walking around in orange coats, but they're mostly old folks and people who want to watch the game for free. So drop trow and run like hell--and, if you can find a way to convince a few dozen of your friends to do it with you, all the better. They can't make all of you register as sex offenders, can they? (Answer: yes, they can).
Best Place Where You and Your Kids Might Learn Something
The Discovery Center
Whether you are 7- or 70-years-old, there is plenty to learn at The Discovery Center. Sure you know about the little bike that spins really fast, but do you know how to navigate a video-controlled navigation rover? As an extra bonus, The Discovery Center offers educational day camps during the school year. The classes will not only get the kiddies excited about making volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar, the classes will also teach 'em more than they realize. Did you know that you can pick the fortified iron out of your cereal with a magnet?
131 Myrtle St., 343-9895
Best Place to become a Budding Ornithologist
TIE-Audubon Christmas Bird Counts/ Idaho Bird Observatory/ World Center for Birds of Prey
Who says we can't be indecisive about what's the best in Boise and pick three? OK, it's cheating just a bit, but here's our reasoning. If you don't know the difference between a European Starling and a House Finch, there are plenty of experts in the Boise area who will teach you. During the fall, students and naturalists congregate on top of Lucky Peak to count and band migrating songbirds and birds of prey. During the weeks before Christmas, Audubon members trek out to take an inventory of who's around (usually, by a nice dinner). And of course the World Center for Birds of Prey is open year round to show you what's up with the hawks. There is plenty good about getting out and keeping track of our feathered friends. Nobody wants a silent spring.
Best Place for Public Whoopie
At the Jones's
Letting a secret like this out is like telling everyone where your stash is hidden. Official answer: People who have sex in public places are perverts worthy of having a giant "P" sewn on their frocks, and people with stashes are degenerate potheads. Unofficially, let's just say there is an upside to the "housing bubble." Hundreds and hundreds of homes where nobody lives, many of which have very nice hot tubs, swimming pools and jacuzzi tubs ...
Best Sport Group to Get Involved With
Little bit of football, little bit of frisbee and nothing but fun. There are leagues for everyone: beginners, pros, you name it, there's disc throwin' fun for everyone. It's a great way to make friends and get in shape. We hear the players are welcoming and all about getting you involved. As an added bonus, tournaments frequently turn into a party. Check out: www.boiseulitmate.com for more information.
Best Hole at a Public Golf Course
Ridgecrest Golf Club No. 17
A few local golf courses utilize our valley's immense east-west-running natural shelf--you know, the one that separates Boise from Garden City, Eagle from Meridian, and Star from the rest of the civilized world--in their design. But none do it with such imaginative cruelty as Ridgecrest. At the 17th hole of Idaho's premier links-style course, golfers are required to go up the shelf in just over 400 of the beastliest yards imaginable. Sure, that may not seem bad to those pansies who play golf while riding around in little cars, but those who play the way the sport was meant to be played--walking--will earn their 19th-hole beers and then some. As for getting a par or birdie ... don't get greedy, buddy.
Best Place Not to Say "Hi" If You're on a Bike
If you are on a bike, there isn't any glass or metal separating you from passersby so you can't act like you're tuning into your radio or talking on your phone. There's no excuse not to go ahead, step out a bit and say "hi." At least give a friendly nod. If your workout is so intense that you can't be a little bit friendly, then we feel sorry for you. This suggestion can, of course, be overlooked if you're competing in something like the Twilight Criterium. If that's the case, then by all means, take yourself seriously.
Best Place to Commute or Catch the Bus
I-84 Between Boise and Beyond
Things can get a little sticky on the Interstate between Boise and surrounding areas--especially when people are headed to work and going home. Thousands of single car drivers clog the freeway and lead to myriad problems: they compound the air quality and inversion conditions, they create stop and go traffic and they make everyone a little later than they need to be. Go ahead, jump in a car with your friends, bring some good tunes and make it a little nicer for everyone.
Best Place to Inspire You to Watch Urban Cowboy
Dirty Little Roddy's
There is something totally addictive about a mechanical bull. The old Shorty's bull is now down at 6th and Main, and it's a blast. Between watching inebriated patrons fall off the bull and getting psyched up to take the bull on yourself, not even cow tipping is this much fun. The only downer? Girls are free and guys are five bucks. Lame. Roddy's should take a cue from Gilley's (see Urban Cowboy) and start hosting bull riding tournaments. Seriously. In the meantime, lose the five buck charge and make it super cheap all around. Maybe a buck a ride or something like that. It won't be long before Charlie Daniels is rocking the house and dudes are wearing Dirty Little Roddy's T-shirts.
Best Mountain Biking Trail
Corrals-Bob's Trail Loop
But here's the thing: you have to do it in reverse. The challenging single-track ride starts between Bogus Basin Road and 8th Street and spits you out above the Highlands. Once you've mastered the big guy, take your arrogant and unsuspecting buddies up to school 'em on how the real bikers do it. Be warned, it's no trail for sissies, so leave the whining at home, put your serious face on and don't forget to stretch.
Best Place to Have a Great Sunday
Redfish Lake Lodge in the Summer
Redfish is already known as one of the most picturesque places in Idaho. And it is only getting better. They have begun hosting afternoon concerts on Sundays and there cannot possibly be anything more fun happening on a Sunday. This last summer, they hosted artists such as Rebecca Scott, Ned Evett and Jerimiah James. Kids dance on the lawn, groovy tunes waft through the air and a scenic backdrop helps you relax. Jump in your car, bring your swimsuit and tent, and make a weekend of it.
Best Game That Everybody Mistakenly Thinks They've Outgrown
All you need is a ball, a glove and space. Any park'll do, or pretty much any other patch of grass. After all, who's going to call the cops on you for playing catch? At BW, we play in the street regularly, and the bike-cops just ride by and wave. But the real catch is, catch is a helluva lot of fun. The back-and-forth rhythm is calming--meditative even. And whether you throw for accuracy, for power, to hurt your catch-mate's hand, or to try to figure out a Nolan Ryan heater, Greg Maddux change-up, Phil Niekro knuckler, Steve Carlton slider or a Mariano Rivera cutter--it can be game seven, the bottom of the ninth, with every pitch. Growing up is so overrated.