Boise has some newer restaurants that make trying ethnic dishes inexpensive and fun. Two cafes that have garnered favorable attention are the Vietnamese Baguette Deli in the Fred Meyer shopping center at Orchard and Franklin and Tangos Empanadas and Subs on Orchard just south of Emerald. Both have small no-frills indoor dining areas or will wrap food to go.
One thing the Vietnamese people gleaned from their years as citizens of a French colony was an appetite for crusty, chewy baguette rolls. They adapted the rolls to local taste by filling them with meats, raw cucumber strips, cilantro, sweet and sour pickled raw carrot shreds and slices of hot pepper. Boise’s Baguette Deli features sandwiches 12 inches long that are about half the width of a regular submarine roll for around $5. Fresh vegetables are the stars of the filling, with a modest amount of meat for seasoning. With or (at your request) without jalapeno peppers, the sandwiches make a light wholesome meal that is an alternative to deep-fried lunches.
The Baguette Deli also serves cold spring rolls, fried pastry rolls filled with meat pâté, smoothies and bubble tea. Intrigue a kid by buying him or her a bubble tea with milk and flavoring. The “bubbles” or “boba” resting on the bottom of the cup are pearl tapioca which your youngster can chase and vacuum up with the large-bore straw provided.
Tangos features Argentine empanadas: fried pies filled with meats, cheese, vegetables or dessert. Some fillings are inspired by South American cooking, others cater to the North American palate by including barbecued beef brisket or ham and mozzarella cheese. Cultures north and south unite in relishing dessert empanadas enclosing fruit, caramel, chocolate, coconut or other sweets. The dessert empanadas are so rich that some customers ask for their order as two half empanadas; one to eat now and one to save for later. The submarine sandwiches at Tangos will satisfy a big eater. They contain delicious and surprising components such as pineapple: fit fuel for a February dining venture.

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