Big Az and Hailey, Idaho

I step into the Shell gas station convenience store, examining the shelves. Do I miss twinkies (not really), Sun Chips (actually, yes), and Big Az Burgers? I am a little stunned by this warm welcome back to America (and horrified by all the MSG and high fructose corn syrup surrounding me), but I must declare it feels good to be home, though not my home exactly -- DJ's home (my mother-in-law, a wonderful lady I sincerely enjoy spending time with).

DJ lives in Hailey, Idaho. You may have heard of it once upon a time back when Demi Moore and Bruce Willis were still married. They used to share a home here, a claim to fame residents don't seem to mind disclosing.

DJ happens to live on the main drag, cleverly called Main Street, where you can find all the comforts of modern civilization, despite the feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere. Locals hasten to point out that the diner Bruce used to own is under new ownership and not as good as it used to be, so we stroll right past Shorty's. We also pass posh (and not so posh) second-hand shops, bistros, and boutiques and peek in the windows of Demi's new unfinished project, while taking guesses at what it might actually be. Away from this hustle and bustle, we find sanctuary in a familiar friend: a paved bike path. Pedestrians, fruit-booters (okay, inline skaters), and cyclists share the road and take in the tranquility of this apparent vacation home destination. Real estate has skyrocketed in this part of the country as the wealthy build their dream mountain cabins just minutes away from Dollar Mountain where Lucille Ball once brought her children for ski trips, or maybe they just want to live next door to celebrities.

For a little Cinco de Mayo treat, we head to Miramar Mexican Restaurant for genuine Mexican food prepared by bonafide Mexicans (believe me, I would know -- and it appears that there is a sizeable Hispanic community in this area).

Finally, we stop at Atkinsons' Market to shop for future breakfast feasts and more Cinco de Mayo bites (ingredients for guacamole and a bag of organic blue corn tortilla chips). Atkinsons' Market provides its customers with amazing and amazingly inexpensive produce, regional specialties (e.g. Sun Valley gourmet mustards), a salad bar, artisan bread, and more.

One last thing -- I can't help it, but I have to search the cheese section for a reminder of the wonders I left behind in Switzerland. Sure enough, I spot this package of expensive Gruyère. A flood of happiness washes over me knowing that for the next few years, I get to eat Gruyère at reduced prices...

For your Rolodex:

Miramar Mexican Restaurant * 401 S. Main Street * (208) 788-4060
Excellent margaritas, fresh tostadas, and enormous side dish servings (refried beans!)

Da Vinci's Italian Restaurant * 17 W. Bullion Street * (208) 788-7699
Trying-to-be-classy atmosphere and almost achieving it except for our male server who wore short tight khaki hiking shorts with hiking boots. Yummy staples like veggie lasagna and chicken parmesana. Delightful specials like scallops and spinach linguine in light lemon zest cream sauce.

Atkinsons' Market * Alturas Plaza * (208) 788-2294
Two other locations in Ketchum and Bellevue


  1. LOOK at those gigantic margaritas!!!!! Wow! That's a lot of limes that need to be squeezed.

  2. You're right, they are huge. You know you're in America when you're sipping a Margarita that's as big as your head.



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