Category Archives: Boulder

Boulder Farmers’ Market Voted No. 1 in the Nation

Local market tops USA Today list.

FarmersMarket-logoThe Boulder Farmers Market, our wonderful seasonal marketplace for locally grown produce, locally produced food products and local artisans, tops USA Today’s 10Best Farmers Markets list  or 2015. Twenty contenders were selected by a panel of food and travel experts — Bernadine Prince, president of the Farmers Market Coalition; food writer Eric Grossman; travel writer Megy Karydes; M. Linda Lee, former editor for Michelin Travel Publications, Akila McConnell travel and food blogger, The Road Forks; Larry Olmsted, USA Today food writer, and food writer Kim Sunee. The panel’s selections were presented to the public for four weeksof daily votes.

Boulder Farmers Market is the brainchild of a group of local farmers, who came together with their vision of a local market in 1987 at the Boulder Courthouse. What started with a few tables of produce loaded off the backs of pickup trucks has evolved into a robust destination market on 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue more than 100 vendors who set up for the longest market season in Colorado. There’s also an outdoor food court with wine beer and sangria available too at the Wednesday night market that runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. from early May through early October, and the original Saturday market runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. from early April through late November. During the peak summer season, the Boulder Farmers Market attracts over 5,000 customers per day.  My husband and I are often two of them.

Chautauqua Dining Hall A Summer Fave

Broad and shady porch is one of my happy places in Boulder.

DiningHallThe historic Chautauqua Dining Hall is one of my favorite places to be. The food is good but it’s the ambience that elevates it to great. In winter, the bar and restaurant are cozy retreats. In summer, the broad porch is shady and catches whatever breeze might be around. I especially like to take out-of-towners to this charming building in the Chautauqua National Historic Landmark.

When cousins arrived early on Friday, hungry from their drive all the way from Maryland, Chautauqua was our choice to introduce them to Boulder. A table on the porch, a bit of a mountain view and the Dining Hall’s generous portions was a fine perker-upper.

Enormous flatbreads are really large, thin-crust pizzas.
Enormous flatbreads are really large, thin-crust pizzas.
Sandwich of buttermilk-fried chicken topped with American cheese, aioli and cole slaw and a mixed salad on the side.
Sandwich of buttermilk-fried chicken topped with American cheese, Ole Bay aioli and cole slaw and a mixed salad on the side.
Summer salad of kale, Fontina cheese, honey-roasted almonds, red grapes and Mandarin orange slides. The kale is from Three Leaf Farm, owned by the folks who operate thr Dining Hall.
Summer salad of kale, Fontina cheese, honey-roasted almonds, red grapes and Mandarin orange slices and an add-on of tofu. The kale is from Three Leaf Farm, owned by the folks who operate the Dining Hall.

Price check:  At lunch,”Shared,” $6-$14; soups, $4-$6; salads, $5-$12 (plus optional add-ons, $2-$4, sandwiches and wraps (including salad, fries or soup); flatbreads, $10-$12; entrées, $13-$14.

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Colorado’s Place on Top Pizza List

Pizzeria Locale, Frasca’s quick-serve pizza offshoot, appears on national list.

DailyMeal-logoThe Daily Meal, a national foodie site, just released its selection of the “101 Best Pizzas in America 2015.” Colorado makes is customary token appearance on a “best” list. Here’s what the site wrote about Boulder’s Pizzeria Locale, accompanied by an image of a thin-crust pie made of exceptional dough (topped with mozzarella: pecorino, fontina, porcini, roasted white mushroom, garlic and shallot) and baked hot until the crust becomes slightly charred and served unsliced to be eaten with knife and fork:

“It shouldn’t be surprising that Frasca, one of America’s best restaurants, launched an offshoot that serves some of the best pizza in the country. What happens now that restaurateurs Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson have teamed up with Chipotle to launch the restaurant as a fast-casual concept, however, remains to be seen.

“There seems to be a thought out there that America needs a high-quality fast-casual Neapolitan pizza chain. Maybe it’s true that there’s a gap in a market dominated by somnambulant franchises that have been content to churn out doughy, overly sweet-sauced gut-bombs for years. Maybe there’s really nothing wrong with the idea of rotational hearth ovens powered by gas and infrared that take the human element out of cooking. Or maybe Americans will think pizza from a fast-casual spot should be able to be eaten with one hand and without a knife or fork, you know, like what New Yorkers would call “a slice.” What has been made clear so far is that this self-described contemporary pizzeria inspired by the traditional pizzerias of Naples knows how to bring it.

“The full-service Pizzeria Locale in Boulder serves 14 pies (seven each white and red), among them the funghi, which, for $20, you can next-level with Umbrian black summer truffle. The menu at the “quick-serve” Pizzeria Locales in Denver (where there are two), Kansas City, and soon Cincinnati features 10 11-inch pies that are a little more mainstream (though a version of the mais pizza with sweet corn, ham, crème fraîche, and garlic did make the cut). But you can craft your own interesting combos with their 25 toppings.”

What surprised me: Five honorees from my native Connecticut that appear on  the list are the plain pie (no cheese) from Roseland Apizza in Derby, the plain pie (slices of fresh tomato) from Ernie’s Pizza in New Haven, Domenick and Pia’s pepperoni in Waterbury, mashed potato and bacon (what!?!) from Bru Room at BAR in New Haven, special (mozzarella, mushroom, sausage and marinara) at Zuppardi’s Pizza in West Haven, the Italian Bomb (bacon, sausage, pepperoni, garlic, mushroom, pepper, tomato, onion and mozzarella) at Modern Apizza in New Haven and tomato pie (no cheese) at Sally’s Apizza in New Haven. Sally’s neighbor and perennial rival, Frank Pepe’s, is mysteriously absent this year.

Fab Fundraiser for Flatirons Food Film Fest

Wine, foodies & song in Boulder.

FlatironsFoodFilmFest-logoThree art forms were showcased at yesterday evening’s Flatirons Food Film Festival fundraiser: cinematic arts, musical arts and, of course, culinary arts. The event opened with food samples from some of the city’s finest chefs and adult beverages. Then there was a fast-moving live auction (some guests scored great deals). Then came short films on food subjects curated by James Beard Award-winner The Perennial Plate, which documents what it calls “adventures in sustainable eating.” Each chef viewed one of the films that inspired the dishes he presented, and in addition to the resulting food/film pairings, four fine singers from Opera on Tap Colorado performed operatic pairings.

Alex Krill & David Query, Jax Fish House

Query, who founded and operates the entire Big Red F Restaurant Group, of which Jax is just one concept, said that “10 Things We love About Italy” inspired him to offer fresh, simple food, preparted with “not a lot of over-thought, just thought.”

David Qurey and the shoulder of Alex Krill (sorry, Chef).
David Qurey and the right shoulder of Alex Krill (sorry, Chef).
“Crispy, creamy and cheezy” (their spelling) polenta with cured tuna, pickled mushrooms and a sauce of sweet corn, basil and olive oil.

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Colorado Wine Event on Colorado Day

Celebrate the day Colorado joined the Union on August 1 with Colorado wine.

ColoWineBoard-logoColorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper has been a beer guy, but he presides over a state with a long wine-making history.  These days, there are so many wine  and beer events here that I can’t keep track of them all, but the Governor’s Cup Wine Competition is the only statewide winemaking one exclusively for Colorado wines.

This year’s competition drew 241 entries from 37 local wineries, which were judged by a panel of sommeliers, winemakers, writers and wine experts from around the country. The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board invites the public to attend a tasting of this year’s 16 winners at the History Colorado Center on Saturday, August 1.

The top 16 Governor’s Cup wines included a tie for top honors between Canyon Wind Cellars’ 2013 Anemoi Lips and Turquoise Mesa Winery’s 2013, both Syrahs made from a red grape that originates from the Rhône region of France.  “Syrah often excels in Colorado as a varietal wine and also makes a wonderful component in blended wines,” said Doug Caskey, executive director of the CWIDB. “It is quite a statement that four Syrah-based wines are among the top 12 wines in the competition.” Canyon Wind is one of the Grand Valley’s oldest vineyards and wineries, while the Turquoise Mesa Winery is located in Broomfield but uses Western Slope grapes.

Also new with this year’s Governor’s Cup is a separate judging by a different panel for cider, mead and all “other than standard” and agricultural wines.  Additionally, the event features small plate pairings made from locally sourced ingredients from six noted Colorado chefs.

Tickets ($60 for History Colorado members, and $75 general admission) are available online . The event begins at 7 p.m. for VIP entry; 7:30 p.m. for general public entry.visit .

Chinese Exotica in Boulder

Regional authenticity in North Boulder.

001Where a Subway once catered to staff from the now-shuttered Boulder Community Hospital’s Broadway building there is now a small and fairly new Chinese restaurant that appeals to those seeking more unusual dishes than the usual Cantonese/Szechuan/Hong Kong offerings.  Until I read about it recently (perhaps on another food blog), I hadn’t noticed Flower Pepper in that former Subway space. Its droopy, temporary-looking sign is under an awning and behind some trees is challenging to spot in passing.

Painfully tight space -- room enough for one table by the window. Images of Chinese markets and food hang on the wall.
Painfully tight space — room enough for one table by the window. Images of Chinese markets and food hang on the wall.

The offshoot of a  tea importing business, its menu is presumably limited by the kitchen that could be created in the wide and shallow space on the side of parking garage. Noodle and rice dishes predominate, though sadly not the soup dumpling I had somehow hoped for in this fast-casual spot. The tea, served in a thick white ceramic tumbler, was so hot that I couldn’t pick it up, even with two napkins, until I was finished with my food.

Excellent steamed wontons in delicate wrappers.
Excellent steamed wontons in delicate wrappers.

Continue reading Chinese Exotica in Boulder

Beer Muscling in on Wine Turf

Flagstaff House beer dinner & Parisine beer event with chef competition.

Until recently, chefs tended to devise gourmet meals to pair with wines, and by and large, cooks in this country made far more casual dishes to go well with beer. The lines are blurring, the scene is shifting — and that shift is evident in two special beer-centric culinary evenings that are coming right up.

Flagstaff House Fare and New Belgium Brews

FlagstaffLogoWith its 15,000-bottle cellar and numerous Wine Spectator Grand Awards of Excellence and other honors, Boulder’s Flagstaff House boasts a phenomenal wine program.  Breaking away from its image, this legendary restaurant teams up with Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery to present top brews paired with the culinary creations of chefs Chris Royster and Mark Monette on Thursday, July 9.

The evening begins with an hors d’oeuvres reception on Flagstaff House’s gorgeous terrace (weather permitting), followed by a sit-down dinner in the spectacular dining room.  New Belgium’s Master Brewers and Flagstaff House chef Royster introduce the food and beer pairings. New Belgium pours rare, cellared and newly released beers, paired with exquisite Flagstaff House cuisine. The event is $95 per person, plus $31  for tips, taxes and online convenience fee.  Buy online. Here’s the mouth-watering menu:

  • Hors d’oeuvres  with Fat Tire & Slow Ride
  • Rabbit Rillette, Frisée Salad, Rosemary Onion Jam, Pear Chips with 
Pear Ginger Beer
  • Kauai White Prawns, Lemon Risotto, Sage Brown Butter Emulsion with 
Snap Shot & Transatlantique Kriek
  • Crisp Duck Confit, Duck Breast Roulade, Orange Braised Barley, Arugula, Dried Cherry Chutney, Black Pepper Gastrique with Rampant & La Folie
  • Banana-Bacon-Chocolate  with Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout

Pairsine for Beer

Pairsine-logoWine Country Network, whose Pairsine/Taste of Elegance chefs’ competitions have become Front Range faves with foodies, now also puts on a comparable beer event. It challenges 10 local chefs to prepare two dishes each to pair with 20 winning beers from the 2015 Denver International  Beer Competition. The beer Pairsine takes place on July 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the  Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield. General admission is $75, including tastings of all the beers and all the food, plus a neat complimentary beer glass. Buy online. Here’s the 2015 line-up of participating chefs and restaurants:

  • Eli Odell, Executive Chef, Highland Tap & Burger
  • David Davis, Executive Chef, The Sink
  • William Merwin, Executive Chef, The Blue Star
  • Dylan Zwart, Executive Chef, Low Down Brewery
  • Jean-Luc Vogele, Executive Chef, The Westin Hotel, Tabor Center
  • Joshua Hasho, Executive Chef, Omni Interlocken Resort & Spa
  • Jeffrey Samoska, Chef de Cuisine, Pub 17 on Welton/ Grand Hyatt
  • Tim Berry, Executive Chef Fate Brewing Company
  • Kirk Spare, Executive Chef, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
  • Michael Long, Executive Chef, Le Central French Restaurant