Originally uploaded by themiliones
Now would be a great time to tell you about the first official date I went on with my husband. He decided to take me somewhere in Meridian; somewhere called Epi’s.
Warm, inviting, matronly and elegant, of course this man and this restaurant captured my heart. Our repeated candle-lit visits are always a celebration of our love of one another.
Epi was the grandmother of the woman who runs the restaurant currently, which is mostly family run. Epi moved from the Basque country from the province Bizkaia as a very young woman long ago serving the sheepherders in the country side. She had not cooked much before she had first arrived, but as the story on the printed menu states, she did have cookbooks! She eventually became very well known for her hospitality and cooking, mostly in the Basque boarding house that they ran in Hailey.
The restaurant is like stepping into the home of the Ansoutegi family with candles and closed windows, and the greetings are out of this world. I was called “sugar plum” and my husband was called “my boy” and we loved it. The way that you are taken care of at this restaurant is better than most of the hospitality I have experienced in Europe, and more like being invited inside a family’s home, a family that loved you, for dinner. You are always treated as you enter as if you are a part of the family.
Indeed the elegance as well as the glowing and vibrant intimacy of the place set the stage for the best first date anyone could ever go on. I am always adventurous and tried the squid cooked in its own ink as well as the Basque stuffed pimientos. The stuffed pimientos, which were stuffed with cheese (maybe Idiazabal?) which are no longer, sadly, on the menu because those peppers are no longer imported.
On other occasions we have had lobster, steak, and of course salt cod. We always enjoy the flan.
One of the highlights of our most recent meal was the large, green, blistered peppers we were served with our meal. These special Basque peppers are called piparras. They have the pungent un-sweet flavor of a spicy pepper without being hot at all. They are completely innocuous.
The house wine was a perfect compliment to the cod with pimientos and roasted garlic sauce. The halibut was flown in from Alaska that very morning, and was served with a citrus crust and lobster sauce with an incredibly decadent flavor.
Nothing can really quite compare to this restaurant’s tranquility, love and flavors. I hope you’ll go and experience it all too, with great love. We cherish our visits to Epi’s and know that you will too.