Category Archives: Boulder

Frasca One America’s Top Restaurants — Again

Boulder’s finest recognized by eater.com once more.

Eater-logoHere is eater.com’s list of the 38 best restaurants in the country (red highlight is mine):

Al Ameer, Dearborn, MI | ★ Alinea, Chicago | ★ Benu, San Francisco | ★ Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY | Cosme, New York | ★ Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME | ★ FIG, Charleston, SC | ★Franklin Barbecue, Austin | ★ Frasca Food & Wine, BoulderGarcia’s Mexican Restaurant, San Antonio | Herbsaint, New Orleans | Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, AL | Hugo’s, Houston | ★ Husk Nashville, Nashville | Kachka, Portland, OR | Liholiho Yacht Club, San Francisco | Milktooth, Indianapolis | Miller Union, Atlanta | ★ Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York | Parachute, Chicago | Petit Trois, Los Angeles | La Petite Grocery, New Orleans | Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix | Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh | ★ Prince’s Hot Chicken, Nashville | The Publican, Chicago | Raku, Las Vegas | ★ Roberta’s, Brooklyn | ★ Rose’s Luxury, Washington, DC | Saison, San Francisco | Sarma, Somerville, MA | Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis | Sqirl, Los Angeles | Szechuan Impression, Alhambra, CA | The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA | ★ Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore | ★ Zahav, Philadelphia | Zuni Cafe, San Francisco

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.

Centro’s Good Food but Poor Service

Perhaps an anomaly — or perhaps wait staff has gone downhill.

centro-logoI’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.

Shrimp a la plancha -- street taco size. The small corn tortilla was stuffed with shrimp4.5 corn tortilla, shredded cabbage, sliced carrot and jalapeño aioli
Shrimp a la plancha — street taco size. The small corn tortilla was stuffed with shrimp, shredded cabbage, sliced carrot and jalapeño aioli. It was a tasty mix.
Carnitas Benny is a Latin spin on eggs Benedict. On a base of a spicy smoked cheddar-green chile biscuit sit two poached eggs, slow- roasted pork and a really good roasted jalapeño hollandaise. Roasted potato chunks (called papas charros) are alongside.
Carnitas Benny is a Latin spin on eggs Benedict. On a base of a smoked cheddar-green chile biscuit sit two poached eggs, slow- roasted pork and a really good roasted jalapeño hollandaise. Roasted potato chunks (called papas charros) are alongside.

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.

w single-0serve portion of this classic
Single-serve portion of this classic “three milk” cake sat in a milk pool and topped with whipped cream and apple-cherry preserve.

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.

Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Boulder Chef to Appear on Chopped

Flagstaff House’s chef de cuisine Royster to be on Food Network.

chopped-logoI 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.

chrisroysterChef 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?

First Bite at River and Woods

Boulder eatery’s restaurant week selection offers wide choice.

p1120592When 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.

Th3 grilled Caesar salad is a head of lightly dressed petite romaine, with Grateful Bread ciabatta, hemp seeds, and kalamata olives..
Th3 grilled Caesar salad is a head of lightly dressed petite romaine, with Grateful Bread ciabatta, hemp seeds, and kalamata olives..
Heirloom blue corndog consists of a Continental Sausage elk cheddar bratwurst, with Grateful Grits heirloom blue cornmeal, wildflower honey mustard and sea salt fries. 
Heirloom blue corndog consists of a Continental Sausage elk cheddar bratwurst, with Grateful Grits heirloom blue cornmeal, wildflower honey mustard and sea salt fries.
John’s Gnocchi Verde, named in honor of the resturant that long occupied this charming cottage, with baby spinach, Reggiano cream ande lemon zest.
John’s Gnocchi Verde, named in honor of the restaurant that long occupied this charming cottage, with baby spinach, Reggiano cream and lemon zest.
River Ranch Bison Burger on Texas toast,with a fresh cheese called Bellweather  crescenza, heirloom tomatoand black garlic aioli.  
River Ranch Bison Burger on Texas toast with a fresh cheese called crescenza, heirloom tomato and black garlic aioli.
Buttermile-brined chicken fried calamari steak made fron eild-caught Humboldt squid with lemon- pepper aioli, and Ozuke collard green kimchi.
Buttermile-brined chicken fried calamari steak made fron eild-caught Humboldt squid with lemon- pepper aioli, and Ozuke collard green kimchi..
This Chocolate Crunch-Berry Trifle combines dark chocolate pudding, peanut butter praline, fudge brownie, whipped Cap’n Crunch white chocolate ganache and organic berries.
This Chocolate Crunch-Berry Trifle combines
dark chocolate pudding, peanut butter praline, fudge brownie, whipped Cap’n Crunch white chocolate ganache and organic berries.

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.
River and Woods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

First Bite Boulder Back with $29 Dinner Deal

Fifty-plus restaurants in Boulder & Broomfield Counties participate.

firstbiteboulderFirst 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.

Fourth Flatirons Food Film Festival

Celluloid celebration of all things food plus great speakers.

flatironsfoodfilmfest-squareThe fourth annual Flatirons Food Film Festival is coming right up (Thursday, October 20 through Sunday, October 24), but since I’m flying off to China on the 16th, I will miss it all this year —  both literally and figuratively.

In addition to films, local and visiting speakers and samples, Saturday is geared to young foodies with kid-friendly food films and pettable goats from a local dairy. Tickets to individual events and the economical and convenient, and  all-film passes are available through eventBrite.

Festival schedule

Thursday, Oct. 20
DOUGH screening, 7:30 p.m., Boulder Public Library
Speaker: Josh Pollack of Rosenberg’s Bagels, just reopened after a devastating fire

Friday, Oct. 21
Chefs Night at eTown Hall: A Celebration of Munchies Films,
6 to 7:30 p.m., VIP party
7:30 p.m., short films screening
Speakers: Chef Theo Adley, Hosea Rosenberg, chef and co-owner of Blackbelly market, Bryan Dayton of OAK at fourteenth, Chad Pettrone of Northeast Seafood Products
Munchies After Party. Dakota Soifer of Cafe Aion, Theo Adley, and Michael DeBoer of the French Twist food truck are cooking dishes that were created by some of the chefs in a film about a pop-up in honor of the Mission Chinese cookbook (Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese, Andy Ricker of the Pok Pok restaurants, and Jessica Koslow of Sqirl).

Saturday, Oct. 22 (all film screenings at the Boulder Public Library)
Children’s Tour of the Boulder Farmers Market. 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Food Films for Children, screening with presentations from Tim Brod of Highland Honey Bees, Dan Hayward of Savory Spice Shop – Boulder and Taber Ward and her Mountain Flower Goat Dairy goats, 10:45 a.m.

FEAR NO FRUIT screening, 1:30pm
Speaker: Hass Hassan, co-founder of the original Alfalfa’s Market
SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE screening, 4 p.m. (followed by a wine sampling at 6 p.m. for SOMM and CITY OF GOLD ticket holders)
Speaker: Bobby Stuckey of Frasca Food and Wine. He is a master sommelier and therefore has gone through the arduous process.
CITY OF GOLD screening, 7:15p.m.
Speakers: Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Gold of the Los Angeles Times, Amanda Faison of 5280 Magazine
After party, 10 p.m., Bramble and Hare restaurant

Sunday, Oct.23  (both screenings at International Film Series, Muenzinger Auditorium, CU-Boulder campus; free shuttle available from downtown)
JUST EAT IT screening, 12 p.m.
Speaker: Philip Taylor of Mad Agriculture
THEATER OF LIFE screening, 2 p.m.
Speaker: Peter Svatek, director

Monday, October 24
Taste the Wild: Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Dinner, 6 p.m., Basta (co-sponsored by Chefs Collaborative and the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association)
Salmon dish chefs: Josh Pollack, Kelly Whitaker of Basta, Kyle Mendenhall of Arcana

Happy News of 3 Reopenings

Conor O’Neill’s, Rosenberg’s & The Campus Lounge comeback tales.

reopeningjpgI recently posted news of the shuttering of two longtime metro area standbys, Boulder’s Conor O’Neill’s and The Campus Lounge in Denver, but couldn’t bear to write about the devastating fatal fire that closed Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen in Five Points. These three are or soon will be back. I suspect there won’t be Grand Reopenings (that was all I could find online), but the reopenings of these favorites will be grand.

Conor O’Neill’s reopened just a week after it closed, thanks to a deal struck with the Irish pub’s landlord.  The Irish pub rehired staff who rushed to put back everything they had taken down just a few days earlier. The new owners of The Campus Lounge in Denver’s Bonnie Brae area say they are keeping the name, the horseshoe bar and even the landmark sign but are redoing much else.

Rosenberg’s is to rise again in mid-October, having satisfied their loyal customers and perhaps finding new ones with a pop-up at the Slow Food Famers Market in The Source in RiNo and elsewhere , and also donated money, time and effort to various good causes.