Food & Wine magazine selected its choices for the best farm-to-table restaurant in every state, where hey surveyed food writers and bloggers. Even though they didn’t contact me, I’m happy to note that Boulder-born The Kitchen was the Colorado choice. I concur, because The Kitchen really pioneered the concept in this neck of the culinary woods.
Here’s what Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore wrote (but the fact-checking or proofreading was flawed. It’s Kimbal Musk, not Kimbal Husk):
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 . “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 am, in general, unenthusiastic about chains, but my husband and I did try the Pearl Street location of Florida-based World of Beer, and other than the noise level inside, I thought it offered a good happy hour. Click here for my post.
Boulder has now lost is WOB, evicted due to more than a year’s unpaid rent of more than $116,000 for its 3,800-square- foot space at 921 Pearl Street.
It’s not the only shuttered WOB in the Denver/Boulder metro area. In February, the even larger 4,100 -square-foot LoDo location (1555 Blake Street, along the 16th Street Mall next to ChoLon Bistro) closed after less than two years of pulling and pouring. The remaining area WOBs (Belmar and CitySet in Glendale, which the company promotes as Cherry Creek) are reportedly unaffected by the other locations’ problems. So far, at least.
Not surprisingly, Boulder’s stellar Frasca again makes the list. The restaurant continues to dazzle Bill Addison, the site’s restaurant critic. Click here for his 2014 review and ode to Frasca partner and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey.
Perhaps an anomaly — or perhaps wait staff has gone downhill.
I’m not much of a shopper, but I do my modest best to support local independent businesses on Small Business Saturday, an annual antidote to Black Friday frenzy. A downtown Boulder bead shop had the earring wires I needed, one bookstore always has good deals on calendars, another carried the Pam Houston book I wanted to read and one of the two arts coops had a jigsaw puzzle I had my eye on to bring as a host/ess gift to friends’ annual holiday open house.
Even that little shopping made my husband and me hungry (in our defense, we’d eaten tiny breakfasts and hadn’t had lunch). We decided on Centro Latin Kitchen, whose weekend brunch was still in effect. We took a table on the covered patio, ordered drinks and food. The drinks — mercifully strong enough to mellow the irritation that followed — were more or less promptly delivered, but when it came to food, we waited and waited and waited. And did I mention that we waited? One adjacent table turned over completely, but our food was nowhere in sight — and neither was our server. Abducted by aliens?
We finally flagged down a runner and asked where out food might be. That appeared to speed things up. When the waiter himself brought our order, he said he was “sorry” for the delay. I replied, “We’re even sorrier.” He offered to comp a dessert.
From the dessert menu, we selected tres leches cake, served cold so it should be delivered quickly — especially since by that time, the brunch crowd had gone. But again, we waited and we waited and we waited. Again, invisible waiter. This time, we flagged down a busser.
Again, I expressed my/our frustration at the disappointing service. The waiter offered to get the manager, who seemed able to determine from the register tape that we weren’t blowing smoke about our long waits. He gave us some reasons, and I said that it might have been nice it the waiter has stopped by our table with a work of explanation or at least apology. He agreed and offered to comp all the food.
For what it’s worth, Centro’s nom de cuisine is the ponderous Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace, which no one uses. Not ever,
Price check: At weekend brunch, small plates, $3-$8; tacos, $4.5; specialties (i.e., entrees), $7-$18; sides, $1-$5; desserts, $3-$6.
Centro is at 950 Pearl Street, Boulder; 303-442-7771.
Flagstaff House’s chef de cuisine Royster to be on Food Network.
I guess I’m going to have to watch “Chopped” this Tuesday, because another gifted Boulder chef will be on television, and the only time I watch reality TV is when a local is competing. This time it’s Flagstaff House Chef de Cuisine Chris Royster, named on the Zagat 30 Under 30 list, His appearance on the Food Network’s “Chopped” is to be aired on Tuesday November 22 at 10 p.m. EST/8 p.m. MST.
Chef Chris grew up in Hyde Park, NY, and I wonder whether the breeze wafting from the Culinary Institute of America infected him with a passion for food. If not that, it was more likely in the genes. His mother had a cake decorating business, and his father and grandfather were avid hunters. Whole animal butchery is a thing now, but once upon a time, it was country folk and hunters who utilized the whole animal, so he learned those skills from his immediate forebears.
Chef Chris has worked in restaurants since he was a teenager, first — along with his brother, Adam — at a local modern American restaurant called The Twist, rising from washing dishes to being co-chef at the age of 17. Seventeen! He then attended the CIA, where an externship at the Flagstaff House initially brought him to Colorado. Prior to his return to this iconic Boulder restaurant, he cooked in Coloradoat the Red Rocks Amphitheater and various restaurants in the Three Leaf Concepts group and since 2001, back at the Flagstaff House, first as Sous Chef, then as Chef de Cuisine.
I’ll be watching and rooting for Royster. How about you?
When a group of us was picking where to go for First Bite Boulder, my town’s annual restaurant week, we picked River and Woods because my husband and I were the only ones who had previously eaten there and because there were more than three choices for the first and second courses — though just two for the dessert course.
A couple of us ordered from the regular menu, but I’m just posting pictures from the FBB menu here. Sorry about the murky colors and fuzzy focus; just didn’t want to use the flash in this atmospheric restaurant.
Click here for a previous post about the then-newly opened River & Woods, which is at 2328 Pearl Street, Boulder. Note: For reasons known only to itself, Zomato has moved River and Woods to Denver’s Capitol Hill — at least as for as its icon is concerned. I’ve alerted the site manager(s) but as of today, it hasn’t been corrected.
Fifty-plus restaurants in Boulder & Broomfield Counties participate.
First Bite Boulder, the always-anticipated annual opportunity to enjoy three-course prix fixe dinners for just $29, takes place from November 11 to 19 and this year includes more than 50 eateries in Boulder and Broomfield Counties, Participating restaurants range from Aji to Zucca in the alphabet. They include such long-running restaurants as The Greenbriar, the Chautauqua Dining Hall and the Boulder Cork to newcomers like River & Woods, The Lyons Fork and Element Bistro. Also, The Med and The Kitchen Upstairs offer an $18, two-dish tasting menu — new this year. The website enables diners to search by location or cuisine, link to each restaurant’s FBB menu.
Additionally, you can sign up to receive a newsletter called “In the Mix” with the latest local restaurant information and be entered into a contest to win a three-course dinner for two. I did, and you should too.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.