January 17: Tap Takeover at Vino Rosso


This just in from Vino Rosso:

Local band, local beers, no cover, downtown- I like the way you think, Vino!

                Tap Takeover:
Snake River Brewing

We are relinquishing our tap handles to the guys from Snake River Brewing! Come sample 8 different beers-only $3 a pint until the kegs run dry!

Live music from local favorite Happyville starting at 9. As always, no cover!

Save the Date! Friday January 17 at 7pm

– A –


Pickle’s Place (and Arco)


Before I get to Pickle’s Place, let’s get a few things straight about Arco. Arco is a gem. Anyplace with a Mello-Dee Club and a giant mountain man on the outskirts of town is in my Book of Cool. Arco was also the first town in the world to be powered by nuclear energy, and while nuclear energy falls into my Book of Hmmm, the story is as follows. Arco was lit for one hour during the night of July 17, 1955 using nuclear energy from the reactors at the INL. The rest of the story, however, is that the following month, at the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, scientists representing the United States proudly declared that they had successfully lit a city with nuclear energy. This was important because the United States was trying to show the rest of the world (and particularly the Soviet Union) that we were not developing nuclear weapons with our research. By lighting the town of Arco, the US showed the world that we were directing our research into peaceful pursuits. Draw your own conclusions. 

But back to Arco, and specifically, Pickle’s Place. Rather than make this too cohesive, however, I think I’ll just tell you what happened and what I saw.

I walk in the front door on a warm day in June. The door is wide open, and there’s a gum ball machine immediately to the right. The gum ball machine is green (like the rest of the decor), and it’s the type where you put your quarter in and your shiny golfball sized gum ball rolls down the spiral ramp until it clinks at the bottom. There might have been lights involved.

The place is empty except for one table of three older, scruffy men. I don’t see a sign that tells me to wait for the waitress or seat myself, so I look to the men to my right. They appear to be talking over the news of the Arco Advertiser, which lay open between them. I smile, say hello, and ask if I should seat myself. They respond by laughing and telling me that there are “no reservations required!”

I order a burger and onion rings. $8.79.

They serve standard road-side burger-joint fare. The dry-erase board on the wall tells me the specials:

Fresh strawberry shortcake: $3.99

Ham salad with fries or salad: $5.99

Grill [sic] cheese and soup: $5.99

While I waited for my meal, I dove into a stack of work. One of the men was leaving, and he walked past my table. “Oh, a report?” he asked, “Well here you go.” He tossed me a Werther’s Original and a peppermint candy.

Directly in my line of sight was the coffee maker. I could see by the little orange lights that two burners were on, but only one burner was heating a coffee pot.

Juice machine; green bar stools; Corona; Miller Lite; Coors; boxed wine; tie-dyed tee-shirts.

Of course I’ll be back.

La Vanilla Bean


La Vanilla Bean has become such a staple in my life that I now refer to it simply as LVB. Actually, there’s another reason for that too, but before I indulge that rant, let’s focus on what’s more important than the name.

La Vanilla Bean

La Vanilla Bean

LVB has awesome food. I’ve been to many a patisserie in my life, and I never dared to dream that Idaho Falls would have a decent one. La Vanilla Bean serves mainly baked goods and coffee. If you’re thinking, “What’s new about that?” well, this is what’s new. When you bite through your croissant, the crust snaps under your teeth and the buttery dough melts with the heat of your mouth. The bearclaws stick to your fingers and the pillowy filling makes you wonder “What is in this?” in a very good way. The LVB also has pies, tarts, macaroons, quiches, cupcakes and a fabulous fruit and Greek yogurt cup. Now, other coffee shops may have their strengths, but when it comes to a good coffee and something to nibble on the side, LVB does it well.

So, what about the name? My complaint centers on the bastardization of the French language. “Vanilla” is a cognate in French, but “bean” certainly isn’t. Calling it The Vanilla Bean would have been equally as effective and it wouldn’t have offended any francophiles. Goodness. I just used offended and francophile in the same sentence. My rant is over.

Carry on, LVB, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

– A –