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Carrabba's - Bistro @ BoDo Wine - PFLAG Pasta

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Corporate Carrabba's wins over a few doubters

Food snobs abound in the offices of Boise's only alternative newsweekly and usually gathering a crowd of skeptics to check out a new restaurant is the easiest task one can accomplish in any given week—except when the intended target restaurant is located far beyond the borders of the '02 hood. With careful psychological manipulation, a few whites lies and the help of an old Wiccan spell, I was able to not only convince a small crowd to escort me to an opening luncheon at Carrabba's Italian Grill in Meridian, but was able to convince one especially malleable co-worker to transport us in her new ride.

Expecting corporate Italian food reminiscent of Carrabba's country cuisine kissin' cousin located on the same traffic-infested corner, we were on a mission to be as optimistic as possible despite a collective hesitation to whole-heartedly endorse food from "the man." But oh, how wrong we were.

Four picky eaters. Five courses. One afternoon. And a collection of compliments that would rival the number of cars per day on Eagle Road. Bruschette, two kinds of calamari, mussels, chicken, sirloin, ravioli and chocolate cake ... and that doesn't include a specialty pasta dish made up for the vegetarian representative in our group. Though the decor is horribly suburbanite universal (add some boomerangs and you're at Outback, swap them for some sombreros and you're at On the Border, throw a stuffed fish on the wall instead and you're at McGrath's), the grub was worth sacrificing atmosphere. We left sufficiently stuffed and satisfied and walked away with boxes of leftovers for the entire office-bound staff, as well as with a new name to add to our list of acceptable restaurants.

Carrabba's Italian Grill, 3284 E. Pine Ave., Meridian, 887-1270, www.carrabbas.com.

Wine is the new beer for sports celebration

Celebrate the Olympics in a way the Italians would approve of ... with good Italian wine. In its first Olympic Winetasting session, the Bistro @ BoDo featured flights of five wines from the Piedmont region in Italy, where Torino (the host city of this year's Olympics for those of you who pay more attention to wine than to worldwide sports competitions) is located. This Thursday's session features wine from other parts of Italy available for tasting and subsequent purchase by the glass or bottle.

Bistro @ BoDo, 409 S. 8th St., 345-0452.

PFLAG Pasta Feed

The Treasure Valley chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) hosts its annual spaghetti feed this Friday. All proceeds will be donated to the Youth Alliance for Diversity, a social network and support group for young people realizing and learning to deal with their sexual orientation. Friday, February 24, 7 p.m., First Congregational United Church of Christ, 23rd Street and Woodlawn Avenue. Children under 12 $5/$6 AYCE, adults $8/$20 AYCE, families $20.

If you have a Füd News item please contact Rachael Daigle at rachael@boiseweekly.com.