With so many decent Mexican restaurants in the Treasure Valley, what creates loyalty to a franchise can often be nothing more than a single dish. My father will make a special trip to El Rinconcito in Nampa to take a dip in their Carne Chili Colorado, for instance. When I was an undergrad in Caldwell, I was equally willing to slip out the auditorium door of a snoozer survey course in order to snack on the carnitas at Tacos Cachanilla Amigos, a hole in the wall over by the police station. And in Boise, my siren comes in the form of anything featuring the papasor potatoesat Andrade's.
Seasoned to a radioactive orange color, cut into ¾-inch chunks and topped with salty cotija cheese, these roasted red taters are included alongside several dishes on Chef Javier Andrade's imaginative menu. But while the savory chunks of potato are versatile enough to play second fiddle, I also like them in a leading role. Try the immense tostada mexicana ($6.45), a terrifying heap of beans, shredded beef, cabbage, papas, avocado and salty cotija cheese on top of a hard corn disc. Right up until I realized I couldn't finish this beast in one sitting, I had thought tostadas were just for kids. No more. Now I split it with another diner and add an extra papas and cotija taco ($2.50, expensive for a taco but worth it), which comes with a pinch of pico de gallo and an orange slice on the side. Good luck finding a better vegetarian tacoor anyone who won't laugh when you suggest the idea of a vegetarian tacoanywhere else in town.
Andrade's, 2137 Broadway Ave., 424-8890; 2031 E. Fairview Ave., Meridian, 401-0138.