All posts by Claire Walter

U.S. Restaurant Named World’s Best

Colorado restaurants and chefs have done passably well in domestic “best” and “top” lists, but even our finest have never been on a key global list. New York’s Eleven Madison Park was named the best restaurant on the planet by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, a list that bears the implication of an organization whose name seems self-serving.

The four leaves of Eleven Madison Park’s logo is a vague monochrome echo of that of the late Four Seasons’ trees.

Other U.S. restaurants in the top 50 are Blue Hill at Stone Barns,  Pocantico Hills, NY at No. 11; Le Bernardin, New York at 17; Alinea in Chicago at 21; Saison in San Francisco at 37 and Cosme in New York at 40.

Melbourne’s new designer hotel, QT Melbourne, has partnered with the World’s 50 Best Restaurants,is proud to be the official hotel of the 2017 event program. The World’s 50 Best chefs are set to experience the unique hospitality of QT Hotels and Resorts, with the entire group staying there during the program.

Time for Taste of Pearl ’17 in Boulder

Shops and galleries host restaurants, wineries & distilleries.

Fifteen downtown Boulder shops and galleries are again the venues for tastings from 15 local restaurants and 15 Colorado adult beverage purveyors during this year’s Taste of Pearl.  Terrific tasting and a congenial stroll-about along Boulder’s Pearl Street on a (hopefully sunny) spring afternoon — Sunday, April 23 from 2 to 6.

Click here for participating restaurants, here for wineries and distilleries and here for shops and galleries, some of which offer discounts to Taste attendees.  Ticket for general admission price is $65 in advance and $75 on event day, if any are left. VIP ticket is $75.  Note that the Flagstaff House and Frasca Food and Wine, on the pinnacle of Boulder’s top restaurants, are participating. Doesn’t happen that often.

Biju’s in Boulder

Denver-born South Indian restaurant resides in Whole Foods.

I’d heard all sorts of good things about Biju’s Little Curry Shop in RiNo, but have not yet gotten there. It’s actually come to me with a small food counter inside the big Whole Foods. The offerings are limited and each dish comes in a bowl, but the Chicken Vindaloo so spicy, so well-balanced, so all-fired delicious that I may never order anything else there.

Half a dozen hot main dishes, Basmati rice and condiments..
Chicken vindaloo, ready to take to the cashier,
Basmati rice on the bottom, then a large spoonful of spicy vindaloo — large chunks of moist chunks of chicken thigh, some fresh cabbage, crushed padacam and other fresh vegetables and a bit of yogurt. I was able to eat about half, and brought the rest home.

Biju Thomas opened his first fast casual restaurant in RiNo and his second in Berkley.  Guy Fieri shot an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” that was broadcast a bit over a year ago. There are now outposts in Whole Foods Markets in Boulder and Tamarac. A perfect fit, I’d say.

Price check: Entrees, $9.45-$13.45.

Zomato has not yet found Biju’s, whose Boulder locaition is iInside Whole Fooes at Biju’s Little Curry Shop, 2905 Pearl Street, Boulder.

Taste of Vail This Weekend

Delicious almost-end to epic ski season food and wine event.

The early-April timing of the annual Taste of Vail couldn’t be better. Spring  conditions are great — whether on late season corn or after a spring snowstorm.  I’ve written about the Taste of Vail before. This year’s dates are April 5 to 9. Be there if you can.

For locals, a trip up to the mountains for a day or a weekend of wine, bites and more. is restorative and delicious. The 27th Annual Taste of Vail Festival features more than 30 guest chefs, restaurants and sommeliers as well as more than 55 top wineries from around the world—it is one of the nation’s top food and wine festivals named by Forbes.com and the Travel Channel. The five-day festival includes such in-town and on-the-mountain signature events such as The Mountain Top Tasting, Debut of Rosé, and of course, The Grand Tasting. Click here for tickets.

‘Brewtah’ Now on Artisinal Beer Map

Seven Salt Lake City brewpubs to visit.

My earliest visits to Utah were in a time that was not appealing to those who enjoy adult beverages. Buying hard liquor was complicated and involved short-run membership in “private clubs,” beer was 3.2 and wine was rare. That was then, and this is now, and seven Salt Lake City brew pubs have been identified for their mastery of the brewing art in a hospitable city.

Avenues Proper  

Located in neighborhood, Avenues Proper has the feel of a neighborhood hangout and offers an extensive comfort food menu for lunch, dinner and brunch. Think General Tso’s pork belly tacos, a meatloaf sandwich or chicken and waffles, paired with an array of brews that have become local favorites, such as Brumblin’ Brown, Faultline IPA and Patersbier.

Desert Edge Brewery

Desert Edge was serving beer in historic Trolley Square as far back as 1972 and got into craft brewing in 1995. They been producing “session” beers long before it was cool. And their brews, such as Happy Valley Hefeweizen, Utah Pale Ale and Cluster Fuggle, have a strong core of devotees. The lunch and dinner menu is broad and casual, covering salads, sandwiches and Mexican fare.

Continue reading ‘Brewtah’ Now on Artisinal Beer Map

The Kitchen On Best Farm-to-Table List

Food & Wine asked bloggers and other food experts in every state about “The Best Farm-to-Table Restaurants” in the state where they live. A number of Colorado restaurants now have their own farms, but Toni Dash, who blogs as  Boulder Locavore, selected a pioneer in farm-to-table sourcing and sustainability. Her choice  was The Kitchen, a Boulder baby that now has other Front Range locations in Denver and Fort Collins:

Colorado: The Kitchen

“Over the past five years in Boulder and Denver, I’ve noticed a big shift towards a vibrant restaurant scene with a palpable verve around sustainability,” said Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore. “Restaurants like Black Cat, Potager, and Fruition have really stepped up to the plate to deliver inspired seasonal cuisine.” Paving the farm-to-table way in Colorado is The Kitchen, which has establishments in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins and applies its strong eco-friendly philosophy—that includes everything from the locally sourced ingredients to wind power to composting—in each location. Founders Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Husk have also created a nonprofit that’s built over 200 Learning Gardens in schools in Colorado, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Memphis for 120,000 students to discover the benefits of growing and eating fresh healthy food.

I don’t know who changed the spelling of the name of one of the co-founders. It’s actually Kimball Musk, not Kimball Husk. He’s the brother of Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, but his commitment to good, healthy food does not end at his restaurants. Late last year, he launched Square Roots, an urban farming incubator program in Brooklyn, New York.

Good Greek Food in Boulder

Casual, independent eatery’s fresh food.

I wanted to stretch my legs on the drizzly day of errands, so I walked from McGuckin’s to REI. Boulderites will know my route. As I passed the shuttered Volta Restaurant, I rued its loss, but it did put me the mood for Greek food. I recalled a little Greek place in a nearby strip mall. Our errands completed, my husband and I headed for the Kalita Grill Greek Café.  Good decision.

The kitchen is visible from the order counter. The small staff (family?) delivers food to the table.

This is an order a-the-counter place. While it is not a hip open kitchen, the whistle-clean kitchen is visible as you wait to order. Hot food is delivered to the table hot; salads are cold; desserts are room temperature. I don’t know whether every single phyllo thing is made in-house, but everything we had was fresh and tasty — and the portions were generous.

Two skewers of moist and tender chicken breast meat, nicely seasoned and perfectly grilled, are the main attractions of the Chicken Souvlaki plate. It comes with a good Greek salad (feta held at my husband’s request), pita and a small side of house-made tzatziki sauce.
Spanakopita is one of my favorites. Kalita serves two phyllo-wrapped spinach pies that are crisp and flaky, Alongside is a feta-sprinkled Greek salad and some of that fine tzatziki sauce.
Sweet stuff in phyllo. On the left, walnut-filled flogera, a tube-shaped pastry squiggled with dark chocolate. On the right, pistachio-heavy baklava with honey.

If I have one criticism of this wonderful, reasonably priced café, it is the music selection. Greek tunes would be far better than the elevator music-style light jazz — just for the ambiance.

Price check: Soups, $3.50 for a cup, $3.99 for a bowl; gyro sandwiches and shawarma warps, $6.50-$8.50 (plus $2.99 for coma with fries, salad or soup and soda); salads, $8.50-$10.50; plates, $8.99-$12.99;  sides, $1.50-$5.99; desserts, $3.25-$3.99.

Zomato has not yet discovered Kalita, which is in at 2426 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder; 303-443-0596. It is in the row of businesses between JoAnn’s Fabrics and Doug’s Day Diner.