Like a lot of Americans, I could stand to lose a little weight. At least part of this probably has to do with the fact that I consider food to be very sensual, whether I’m cooking it, eating it, or even just watching it prepared on Top Chef (how awesome was last night’s Restaurant Wars?!). I’m not one of those joyless people shovelling flavorless slop into their faces just to keep the machine going. You know that moment where you pop a morsel of something truly delightful into your mouth and time seems to stop? Your chewing slows, you close your eyes and tilt your head back slightly, maybe a smile spreads over your face…when I manage to make something that provokes that reaction in my girlfriend, it completely makes my day. Ask your average person what dish their mother cooked that they liked the most, and check out the transcendent look that washes over their face. My mother just kills soups. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better soup than Mom’s homemade Zuppa Toscana. Mothers just seem to corner the market on comfort food, and it’s for that reason that I’m almost certain that the proprietor of Native Taters has to be a mother.
Do a search on pretty much any food review site that lists Native Taters, from my beloved Urbanspoon to Yelp and you’ll see that the raves are pretty consistent. The phrase “best sandwich in Boise” pops up more than once. Another thing that comes up fairly often in people’s comments is that you wouldn’t think food that good would be coming out of a trailer in the parking lot of a tobacco store. But sure enough, trek out to the corner of Boise Avenue and Protest Road, and that’s where you’ll find them. I got out of work early last Friday and decided to finally try the place out.
|Native Taters’ menu|
I think I may have mentioned it before, but I really dig sandwiches. Even though the menu at Native Taters isn’t exactly expansive, almost everything on it looked delicious to me. When in doubt, I narrow the menu down to sandwiches that include bacon. When I did that, the Turkey Bacon Cheese jumped out at me. It’s described on the menu as “grilled turkey, bacon, jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on sourdough bread”. So that’s what I ordered, along with a side of the potato soup I’ve also heard mentioned in rather glowing terms. I was asked whether I wanted my sandwich cold or grilled, and that stopped me in my tracks for a moment. Lettuce and tomato were really sounding good, but it with the temperature in the 30’s and knowing I’d be eating outside, I couldn’t pass up a hot sandwich. I stretched my legs in the parking lot, did a little texting, and before I knew it my order was ready. I hopped in the car, found a nice spot up the hill to park, and opened my take-out container…
|Turkey Bacon Cheese with baked potato soup|
Everything was neatly wrapped, packaged and in its place with nary a crumb or drop spilled (once again, I’m thinking mother here). A little baggie containing plastic flatware and a napkin was sealed with a sticker bearing a quote by Aristotle. I tried to remember anything Aristotle said about bacon or soup, realized I haven’t read much of his stuff, but decided to worry about that another time. I lifted the lid on the soup.
|Native Taters’ baked potato soup|
This, my friends, is how potato soup should look. Creamy, cheesy, and with lots of visible green onion and bacon bits floating throughout. And it tastes every bit as good as it looks. It felt like I inhaled it, and I was left wanting more even though I had yet to try my sandwich.
|Native Taters’ Turkey Bacon Cheese sandwich, grilled|
At first glance, this sandwich didn’t look like much. I love meat, cheese and sourdough bread as much as the next guy, but we’ve all had grilled sandwiches before. One bite banished any doubt. The turkey was of the sliced lunch meat variety, but it had definitely been seasoned and grilled. The bread and cheese were very good and the bacon was bacon, but that turkey definitely stole the show here. It was hot, juicy and extremely flavorful. I started hitting the wall about two-thirds of the way through that sandwich and couldn’t believe that mere moments before I was lamenting the fact that I hadn’t gotten a larger container of soup. I finished the meal in a warm, happy, comfort-food trance. The damage? Right around five bucks. You see, only one item on the Native Taters menu costs more than five dollars, and that one (Chili Spaghetti, proclaimed as the “house specialty” on the menu) only costs $5.50. Every entrée comes with a side, so you’re not going to break your bank here no matter how hard you try. I’m already trying to decide whether to get an entrée-sized portion of soup or a BLT next time. Maybe someday I’ll even work up the curiosity to try that Chili Spaghetti. Someday.
Final Grade: A-