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Chela's - Franco Latino - Aladdin - Kids' Nutrition - Dia de Los Muertos


What was the name of that California Raisin song?

The restaurant hot line was blowing up Monday morning, folks. I don't know what it is about a weekend that gets all the restaurant dust stirred up, but this week, the bad news was coming in faster than I could read it. Regular readers of Food News may remember that the "hot line" is code for my inboxes—voice and e-mail. Between all the crabbing going on about a recent Bill Cope column (the one in which he says McCain is old, and oh, by the way, for all who were wondering: Bill Cope is over the age of 60 and he's an Idaho native who lives in Meridian) and all the restaurant gossip, I had plenty to wade through Monday morning.

In the ongoing Chela's Mexican Grill saga, it looks like the little restaurant is closed. Again. The place was always getting rave reviews from a few readers who drop me notes now and then, but my guess is the open-closed-open-closed game didn't do much to bring in a regular-enough crowd. The phone is disconnected and the space is for lease.

Let's hope Aladdin Traditional Egyptian doesn't fall victim to the same open-closed-open problem. Aladdin is closed but only temporarily. The interior is undergoing a facelift and things should be up and running sometime in December.

Franco Latino should win an award this week for generating more hate mail in my in-box than Bill Cope. And trust me, that's a feat. Former employees are feeling a mighty burn in the wake of Chef Jon Mortimer's latest closing after showing up for shifts and finding an eviction notice on the door. Although losing their jobs without warning was no doubt a major issue for many employees, the real rub, some of them say, is that they are owed several weeks of wages. In other words, it's restaurant business as usual when things go belly up.

Word on the street has it that the space won't be empty for long, however. Same with Zutto's space. I certainly hope so on both counts ... it would be a nice change of pace to write about a new local restaurant opening.

Eat Your Vegetables, Damn It!

Can't get your kids to eat their broccoli? Maybe this will help. Kids in the Kitchen is an effort to educate kids about childhood obesity and nutrition. An annual program by the Association of Junior Leagues International, this weekend's Boise event is hosted by the Junior League of Boise and the Treasure Valley YMCA. The idea is to educate kids about making good nutrition choices through games, exercises and food samples. So rather than beat your kids into brussels sprout submission like your parents did, gently coerce them through fun and games.

Nov. 1, 9 a.m., FREE. West Boise YMCA, 5959 N. Discovery Way. For more information, visit

This Week's Wine and Dine

Even after Friday night is over, the party doesn't stop. The Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or "day of the dead" on November 1, is a time for the living to pray for the deceased. Rick's Press Room will celebrate Dia de los Muertos starting at 7 p.m. A $25 ticket gets you in the door, two drink tickets, a free pass to the never-ending taco bar and a front row seat for the costume contest. Prizes will be awarded for best costume, most original and Rick's favorite. Make a reservation, you'll need it.

Saturday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m., $25. Rick's Press Room, 130 E. Idaho St., 208-288-0558.