Restaurant openings and closings, annual food festivals and even new menu items at favorite eateries are a big part of local culture.
In a recent press release, the Boise National Forest announced a "limited mushroom harvest season within designated areas of the Pioneer Fire area from Thursday, June 1 through Friday, June 30" for both commercial and personal-use harvesters. Commercial harvesters must have a map and a permit. Permits cost $300 each, will be sold on a first-come first-served basis—only 400 are available—and will be sold starting Tuesday, May 30, at the Idaho City Ranger District, (Highway 21, Milepost 38.5, Idaho City, 208-392-6681) or the BNF Garden Valley office (1219 Banks Lowman Road). Personal-use harvest is limited to five gallons of mushrooms per day and 10 gallons in possession. Each individual harvester is required to have a mushroom guide and a map, both of which are available at any BNF office or via fs.usda.gov. Visit the website for more info.
A different-than-usual route home recently led to the discovery of the Portuguese BBQ Sandwiches food trailer, which has moved a few times over the years. It's in the parking lot of Pacific Steel and Recycling (5120 Emerald St.) and the menu is still small—chicken, fish, linguisa or steak sandwich; burritos (two); or a quesadilla—but so are the prices: Everything on the menu is $5 and includes a bag of chips and a drink. It's simple, filling food at a perfect price.
If you like your lunch with a view, we have some great news: Zee's Rooftop Cafe on the penthouse level of the C.W. Moore building (250 S. Fifth St.) reopened after months of renovating. Updated counters and decor give the cafe a fresh, contemporary feel, and the food is as good—if not better—than ever. Visit zeechristopher.com for hours, menus and more.
In other food news, Ramen Sho (150 N. Eighth St.), the first ramen-centric restaurant in Boise, opened May 22 next to Shige Japanese Cuisine (on the second floor of the Capitol Terrace). Meanwhile, Boise Fry Co. (204 N. Capitol Blvd.) owners say they're planning to open a ramen spot, RamaPong, later this year in a space below the restaurant.
Finally, Panera Bread is coming to town. It will be part of a massive $50 million development between 11th Street and the freeway connector, where Gardner Co. is currently building a 150-room Hilton Garden Inn, a 650-space garage and 5,000 square feet of office/retail space.