The Villa

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An open letter to The Villa:

Thank you for being here. I appreciate your friendship, your coffee, and your low prices. And thank you for serving food. When life’s moving too fast, or I am moving too slowly, you’re reliable, cheerful, and your coffee’s hot. You always have a chair for me, and your hours make it so that I can get a latte in the late afternoon.

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For the past ten years, the Villa has been my safe place, the place where I’ve gone to do homework when I can’t stand my house, the place where I’ve gone to relax, and the place where I’ve met first dates and friends. It’s also a place where I’ve had conversations with random strangers who have sometimes become friends. You know that one table on the left against the wall? That’s where I first felt the inkling that one friend may become more than a friend. In fact, he’s become my fiancé.

In case you haven’t been, the Villa is downtown on Park Avenue. The space used to be the Bon Villa Bar, and when the light pours through the high windows in the afternoon, you can easily imagine the place as a smoke-filled bar. The band played in the back, and the back door leads to the “fighting alley,” or so my dad tells me.

I’ve put off writing about the Villa for years because it seems so obvious. And yes, it’s obvious, but it’s also comfortable. There’s a reason why it’s an anchor of downtown. On the rare times when I come to the Villa in the morning, the door never stays closed for long. The afternoon is a bit more peaceful. People linger over conversation at the open tables; others settle in behind their laptops.

If Idaho Falls were judged as a city on the Villa, I’d be okay with that. It’s egalitarian, open, clean, and altogether reasonable. Thanks, Villa.

http://www.villacoffeeandcafe.com/

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Hangtime.com

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Hangtime.com

I am most likely way behind the times on this one, but I just stumbled on http://www.hangtime.com/. Many of the events look intriguing, but some of them look more like they’re private events that are being opened to the public. Just a warning- the site seems to be owned by Facebook, and it requires a Facebook account to login to the site.

Carsten’s Bakery

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DSCN0771I like bakeries. I like to shop for clothes and knick knacks, but I am really very cheap, and I have moved enough times (and have helped other people move) to know that stuff is just stuff. I prefer to spend my money on tasty things that are difficult to make at home. Spending money on a nice pastry is always a good idea.

DSCN0759So, Carsten’s. Have you heard of it? I find that not many people know about this gem, and those that do have strong opinions about it. What inspires such strong opinions is the fact that Carsten’s is distinct. They don’t sell everything that Albertson’s does, and if you come late in the day, there’s a strong chance that your options will be limited. They also don’t make the same things every day. What this adds up to is Carsten’s is a real bakery, plain and simple.

I also like that Carsten’s is cheap. Cheap as in I bought a cream cheese brownie (55 cents) and a peach/cream cheese Danish ($1.50) and they charged me $2.00. Cheap and delicious, I might add. And if you come on a day when they have made their apple sauce doughnuts, call me. Yell at the top of your lungs so that I might hear. Apple sauce doughnuts are special.

Carsten’s is, as my father would say, “retro.” You can buy fruit pies, cream pies, rolls, and breads. Their specialties are:

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Apple Ring- $10

Raspberry Ring- $10

Beehive Cake -$13

Pecan Pie -$13

Pan Cinnamon Rolls- $3.50

Around the holidays, they sell such novelties as plum pudding with rum sauce, Tom & Jerry Mix (What is this???), stuffing bread, fruit cake, mince pie, and Christmas Stollen, which I have heard very good things about.

Carsten’s is the boy in elementary school who was nice to everyone. He’s the boy who was always cute, but you never realized he was handsome until you met him ten years later. It’s time to appreciate Carsten’s, and to give it our patronage before large-scale grocery store bakeries close its doors.

The info:

243 Cliff StreetDSCN0762

Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402

208.529.3929

https://www.facebook.com/CarstensBakery

Worthy Brewing- Tap Takeover at Vino

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Another Tap Takeover from Vino Rosso!

 Brand New to Idaho:
Worthy Brewing!

Available in Idaho for the first time ever, Worthy Brewing out of Bend, Oregon! Join us tomorrow night, Friday February 21 as we unveil four of their tasty brews! Special pricing and giveaways! The fun starts at 7.

Live music from the talented Melody Pulsipher at 9. As always, no cover!

Copyright @ 2014 Vino Rosso

Buttercup Bakery and Bistro

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Quick fact: We associate bistros with the French, but the word actually comes from the Russian word быстро, which means “quickly” and is roughly pronounced as buistra. When the Russians occupied Paris in 1815 following the Napoleonic Wars, they sat in French cafés and shouted “buistra! buistra!” to the waiters, and thus bistros were born.

[My Russian professor once promised me that my education would one day pay off when I could sound snooty and spout off random information about 19th century Russian society at cocktail parties. And, by golly, he was right!]

Also note that what I have just told you is apparently debated by linguists. Subsequently, note that most of what I say is debated by linguists.

DSCN0622So, the Buttercup Bistro and Bakery. Located between Wells Fargo and 1st Street Plumbing on well, 1st street, this relatively new establishment is delightful.

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I wandered in at about 10:30 on a grey day and ordered a bagel (toasted, with veggie cream cheese) and a latté. Also for sale were scones (poppy seed lemon, cranberry orange, and maple bacon), sticky buns, cookies, lemon bars, and brownies. At 11 am every day they put out their artisanal breads and lunch items. When I was there, they were preparing roasted red pepper soup, sourdough bread, and various sandwiches. I’ve heard great things about the roasted veggie and mozzarella sandwich.

DSCN0608The bagels, however, are what really excite me. I don’t know of any other bagel shops in Idaho Falls, and the bagels at the grocery store simply don’t compare to the flavor and texture of a freshly made bagel.DSCN0606

Buttercup’s hours (see below) are impressive for a bakery, so there’s no reason not to pop in for breakfast, lunch, or a mid afternoon nosh.

 

The info:
Buttercup Bakery and Bistro
335 1st Street,83401
208.524.9088

Hours: 
Tuesday - Friday: 7 am - 5 pm
Saturday: 7 am - 3 pm

Idaho Yoga Coop

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     What can I say about the Idaho Yoga Coop? It’s YOGA, and it’s DOWNTOWN!

Huzzah!

     The Coop is somewhat hard to find (I wandered around the building and considered entering a random exterior elevator in my search), but once you’ve found it, you will be pleased. Daysha Hampton has taken what must have been a pretty austere space and turned it into a colorful and versatile studio. What exists now is a full schedule of yoga, dance, tai chi, and art classes at reasonable prices. The Coop is also starting to sell handmade items (scarves, earrings, art, etc) from local artists.

     My dad has always joked that while downtown has changed drastically in his lifetime (this will reveal my youth, but I can’t imagine shopping at the Bon Marche and JC Penny’s downtown!), the bars have remained constant. This continuity is not a bad thing, but I’m glad to see downtown IF becoming more diverse. Let’s make downtown a center of activity (and yoga!) in the city, not just a center of alcohol.

The Idaho Yoga Coop

504 Shoup Ave., Idaho Falls 83402

(208) 716-8321