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(post, Kathleen Bauer)
Normally I wouldn't recommend driving seven hours just to have dinner. But the city of Boise, with its richly complex Basque community, makes it well worth the drive. And you might just consider staying a couple of extra days to give the place its due. I was there last week researching a story for NW Palate magazine (thus the dearth of posts recently) and, far from being yet another deadly recounting of historic highlights, I found a thriving culture that is a celebrated part of the city as a whole. So much so that the city dedicated a whole block just steps from the capitol building downtown that is a magnet for tourists as well as a gathering place for the city's Basque community. In the process of conceiving this cultural area, the design committee used Portland as an inspiration and created sidewalk panels incised with Basque surnames and traditional Basque songs (see additional photos on my blog). Even the street surface was decorated with the red and green colors of the Basque flag and the four-pronged lauburu, the national symbol of the Basque region. With restaurants, a museum, a Basque market and more, there's lots to talk about!