As I briefly mentioned in the post about our trek to Boise, we absolutely fell in love with Iowa City, IA. I have to say I was pretty shocked, sorry for judging you without getting to know you, Iowa! Ironically, JJ randomly said to me he was pretty bummed his residency program was in Boise, not Iowa City, and then I reminded him that he applied for one at the University of Iowa, which he had forgotten about! After realizing that, and thinking about 3 more days of travel, we were both extremely disappointed... but everyone kept telling us how great Boise is, so we tried to not dwell on it!
I spent some time planning our trip out to Boise, it was not a spontaneous affair. I mapped out mileage, strategically found cities the appropriate miles away from each other, front loaded the first two days a bit, booked pet friendly hotels with pools, found parks nearby, and even researched yelp and urbanspoon for restaurants that had good take-out. It was all printed out, hole punched, and put into my binder. As much as I would have liked to go as far as we could and stop when we felt like it, travelling with two cars, two dogs, and a toddler though some pretty desolate areas, being a planner worked in my favor!
When I researched restaurants in Iowa City, Oasis The Falafel Joint was top rated everywhere, and I knew there would be plenty of vegetarian options for us! I printed out the menu put it in my binder. That night when we were at the City Park, I pulled it out and called in our order to pick up on the way back to the hotel. I settled on Whole Wheat Pita, Baba Ganoush (one of Violet's favorites), Cucumber and Tomato Salad, Tabbouleh, Falafel and Chickpea Salad.
(our glamorous hotel spread)
I knew we'd love everything, but JJ and I both agreed that the Chickpea Salad was out of this world! He asked me to please recreate it as soon as we got to Boise. It tasted similar to my favorite butternut squash and chickpea salad, but much easier to prepare and summer-friendly! I made this along with a homemade baba ganoush (which, let me tell you, is difficult with no food processor or blender!), chopped tabbouleh salad and pita, and it was almost as good as the delicious meal we had from Oasis!
Oasis Chickpea Salad
adapted from Oasis, The Falafel Joint
serves 4 as a side
1 large lemon, juiced
1/4 c. tahini, well stirred
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground corriander
2 scallions, sliced thin (white and green part)
3 c. chickpeas (I use dried, canned is fine)
1/2 lb. carrots, shredded (3 large)
Add lemon juice, tahini, salt, pepper, cumin and coriander to a bowl, whisk well.
Toss in scallions, chickpeas and carrots, mix well to distribute dressing.
If salad is too dry, add a drizzle of olive oil.
Set aside for at least 30 minutes so flavors can develop, serve chilled to room temperature.