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Note: Food Ain't All About Restaurants


Change has been a long time coming in the Food section, and this week's edition represents the culmination of several months of work. Back in October, I alluded to an impending major overhaul, though I did not name the Food section specifically as the target. More recently, however, I've been using this space to walk you through some of the section's evolution. Unlike the recent changes in the Screen section, which were rather drastic changes with little forewarning, I've tried to be gentler with news of changes in Food. Our coverage of restaurants is among our most popular content and it's content about which, it seems, everyone has an opinion. It's also content that I've long thought we could improve upon.

The biggest change in Food is that after eight years, we've retired the double restaurant review. The new review format is a spin on an occasional element we called Hot Dish, in which we'd highlight a single, notable food find. What is now simply "Dish" is a less forgiving restaurant review that's reminiscent of the Hot Dish model. One reviewer, one dish, one chance to hit us with your best shot. Our reviewers have been equipped with instructions on how to best ferret out that single dish, and I can tell you that it requires everyone on a restaurant's staff to be good at what he or she does, from the server to the pantry chef.

Along with a weekly review element, every week this year we will publish a piece from Guy Hand on the Year of Idaho Food. As you'll remember from last week, those pieces highlight food and agriculture in Idaho, with a focus on the economic, cultural and social challenges of our food choices. Food News will also make regular appearances in the Food section, with updates on restaurant openings, menu changes and other foodie gossip. In Wine Sipper and Beer Guzzler, Dave Kirkpatrick will continue to advise us on the best ways to stay ... ahem, hydrated.

The last major change is the elimination of restaurant listings. In years past, it was actually possible to print a fairly thorough list of restaurants in town. Today that list is simply too large. You can, of course, find an enormous database of restaurants at boiseweekly.com, but in print where those listings once were, we'll be covering what falls under the broad category of "everything else." Basically it's all the stuff that we've been missing--the bits the former Food section was too limiting to accommodate. Bon appetit.