I had come to Boise because I had heard you could get a great cocktail there. Indeed, considering that there is nothing for 350 miles in any direction and that one of those directions is Utah, it’s shocking to report that there’s actually something of a cocktail war in effect between two businesses there: the aforementioned Red Feather and The Modern Hotel and Bar, a onetime Travelodge that’s been transformed into a boutique hotel. In addition to the de rigueur high-thread-count sheets, flat-screen TVs, and an exterior that looks like it’s been beamed in from East Hampton, that now means sophisticated food and drink programs.
The latter is run by Michael Bowers. He is a serious 27-year-old gay man with thick-rimmed glasses and a tattoo of modern composer Arnold Schoenberg’s name on his forearm. In other words, precisely the kind of person who, until recently, would have automatically migrated to one of the coasts to follow his passions. A local boy whose cocktail experience was once limited to drinking mai tais, Bowers had a scales-falling-from-his-eyes moment over a Ward 8 (rye, grenadine, lemon and orange juices) at the bar Milk & Honey in New York. Instead of staying, though, he returned home committed to bringing Boise serious drinks. He researched recipes on cocktail blogs, learned to shake and stir from YouTube. Most important—because the spread of good food is a conspiracy of producer and consumer—he was confident he would find customers.
Where is the most unusual place you’ve ever gotten a good bite to eat? Brett Martin traveled around the U.S. and reported about some of the unusual spots he found for GQ, for example, a hospital in Raleigh, N.C., and a bar created in the remodeled Travelodge described above. (I’m sort of jealous of the 27-year-old—it’s genius.)
The most unusual spot I’ve ever gotten a bite to eat might be the tiny diner in a Ford plant my dad worked in. I also once had a roommate who went to a certain neighborhood in Brooklyn so he could order and pick up a guinea pig dish from a certain apartment. It looked sad and gross. He said it tasted like chicken.