Tiramisu at Luciano's
11 N. Orchard St., 208-577-6415, lucianosboise.com
Luciano's ovens fire up each day at around 7:30 a.m. By the time lunch customers hit the doors at 11 a.m., cheesecakes, crisps and four-layered chocolate cakes have already begun emerging from the kitchen. It's Luciano's tiramisu, however, that became a classic with area foodies. The Italian delight features espresso-soaked ladyfingers layered with sweet mascarpone cheese, but there are a few special touches. "For one, we use Callebaut chocolate, imported from Belgium. It has to be the absolute best for my desserts," said Christi Larsen, a 30-year veteran pastry chef. "And here's the real twist: Rum. A lot of places use espresso liqueur in tiramisu and when I first came here, even I questioned the rum. But this is a legacy recipe and people absolutely love it. We even put extra rum sauce on the side." Luciano's customers have embraced the legacy. "And let's face it, Italian food is not your lightest fare," she said. "But people always seem to save room for tiramisu. And if they haven't, they say, 'Well, next time, I'm starting with dessert.'"
Ice Cream at Delsa's
7923 W. Ustick Road, 208-377-3700, facebook.com/Delsas-Ice-Cream-Parlour
If you're a gourmet ice cream extremist, nothing in Boise is going to beat the unique creations at Delsa's—a retro-themed diner and event venue off Ustick road. Offerings change constantly, but there are sure to be a few neat treats in the cold case—take, for instance the cantaloupe ice cream, which is a bit on the sweet sidebut a darn good ringer for the fruit. The kiddies might enjoy "blue moon"—flavored to taste like the left over milk in a cereal bowl. A personal favorite is the "Rum and Rasin"—not too strong, but with just enough zing to put a smile on your face.
Boston Shake at Fanci Freez
1402 W. State St., 208-429,1400, fancifreez.com
One of Boise's most popular summer treats takes its name from another B-town: The Boston shake at Fanci Freez. It's a milkshake with a sundae on top—but at Fanci Freez, which sells approximately 100,000 milkshakes every year, it's one of the most popular items, accounting for approximately 30 percent of the North End fast food favorite's business. Without getting brain freeze from one of these chilly goodies, no trip to Boise is complete.
Baklava at Sofia's Greek Bistro
6748 N. Glenwood St., 208-853-0844, sofiasgreekbistro.com
Made with layers of phyllo dough, chopped nuts, butter and honey, baklava is thought to have originated in Istanbul, Turkey. It was such an important part of the cuisine, it's believed the sultan presented his janissaries (soldiers) with trays of the treat during Ramadan. Baklava is available at many Greek spots but is so time consuming to prepare—making a pan of baklava can take about 36 hours—what's on the menu is often a wholesale product with the taste and texture frozen right out of it. Not so at Sofia's Greek Bistro. Owner Litsa Manolis, a first-generation Greek American and following in her father's footsteps, opened a restaurant where she prepares delicious dishes from family recipes—including the baklava, which her yia-yia personally trained co-owner (and Manolis' life/business partner) Jessi Strong to make. With a couple of tweaks, Strong has made the recipe her own and the combination of high-quality ingredients, a great deal of patience, training and an inherent knack, at Sofia's, it's as good as it gets.