Veteran food journalist to laser in on Denver/Boulder food scene.
Lori Midson, the smart, irreverent and very knowledgeable observer of and reporter on the local food scene, has a new gig: compiling two lists a week of the best of very narrow-focus “bests” in the greater Denver/Boulder metro area for Dining Out’s online feed.
The project is called The List, and it includes not just restaurants but also anything else of interest to diners, cooks and those who just want keep up on all things food-related. It launches on July 5, and I can’t wait to read it. If you are also interested, click here and sign up using the box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.
Last month, when my husband and I enjoyed the new brunch service at Under the Sun (click here for my post), the buzz around the communal table was for Fried Chicken Wednesdays. The chicken was great, we heard. The lines built up, we were cautioned. We promised ourselves that we’d try it, and now we have, arriving shortly after 4 p.m. to avoid the wait.
We ordered Fried Chicken for One, with three pieces and one side, plus a couple of additional sides, which sufficed for us to share. My husband is a mashed potato addict, but when he learned that Under the Sun serves its without gravy, he made a comment and ordered biscuits and gravy instead. The waiter brought a complimentary order of gravy in case the mashed potatoes that they were not sufficiently rich and buttery to stand alone. In my view they were — happily so, since I don’t really care for country gravy. Here’s the array of comfort dishes that we ate:
Price check: On Fried Chicken Wednesdays, Fried Chicken for One (three pieces of chicken, choice of one side), $11.95; Fried Chicken for Two (six pieces of chicken, two sides), $20.95; Fried Chicken for Four (12 pieces of chicken, four sides), $38.95; Fried Chicken for Six (18 pieces of chicken, six sides); additional sides, $2 each.
627-A South Broadway (Table Mesa Shopping Center), Boulder; 303-927-6921.
Chef-driven menu elevates comfort food & pub fare.
The Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries has grown from a single microbrewery in downtown Boulder to a tight trio of locations that includes the popular Southern Sun in South Boulder’s Table Mesa Shopping Center and Denver’s Vine Street Pub. The South Boulder location is a two-fer, with the original pub (and large sunny patio) on the upper level and the newer and cleverly named Under the Sun below.
I’ve been to Mountain Sun any number of times and to Southern Sun’s upstairs brewpub for after-hike or after-ski refreshment and downstairs for happy hour. I didn’t even realize that Under the Sun served brunch, but 3½ years after it opened, Southern Sun has hired a real, classically trained executive chef, Nick Swanson. His credentials are sterling — Boulder’s Bácaro Venetian Taverna and PastaVino (both now gone), a stage at Michelin-starred Relais Villa D’Amelia in Italy’s Piemonte region. Then New York’s French Culinary Institute, graduating with honors. A resume sprinkled with glamour names in the food world: Chefs Fabbio Bocchi and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, cooking for big-name celebs (Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, Calvin Klein.
But enough dropped names. What counts here and now is his position as executive chef of Under the Sun, where he has moved toward seasonality and reasonable price points while putting out creative cheffy takes on classics. I’m not wild about most “comfort food,” but Samson’s spin has me rethinking my preconceptions, and a sampling of the new brunch dishes convinced me that he’s one of the best in town.
Full butcher shop and charcuterie maker now joins Boulder restaurant.
First there was the Blackbelly food truck. And a catering operation, plus a bar and restaurant. Soon a secluded patio on the south side of the building. Then a second, larger and more open patio on the north side. And now, a large shop focusing on meat, meat and more meat joins the rest. Before this. the chefs and the butchers were competing for space. Now, there are two kitchens, the original and the new one on the meat side, where breakfast and lunch are prepared.
Nate Singer, born and raised in Cody, WY, runs the butcher operation. His family’s steakhouse across from the rodeo grounds and his father’s passion for hunting were the “classroom” where he first learned butchery skills, overlaid with official courses resulting in various certifications. He heads the full-fledged butcher shop that sells meat that has been broken down from whole animals and cut on site. The crew also makes all manner or sausages and cures meat. Getting US Department of Agriculture approval for such an operation is no mean feat, and what they produced is spectacular. Media had the opportunity to taste some of the specialties.
1606 Conestoga Street (Blackbelly is just north of Araphoe Avenue), Boulder; Butcher Shop and Market [breakfast & lunch], 720-479-8296.
Fundraiser for I Have a Dream Foundation opens great local kitchens.
If you are thinking about building a home or remodeling the one you have and are looking for ideas, if you just enjoy visiting fabulous kitchens in terrific homes, or if you mainly want to support the I Have a Dream Foundation, don’t miss the 2016 Dream Kitchens Tour this weekend, Saturday, April 30. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, May 1, 12 noon to 4 p.m.
On the 2015 tour are 11 Boulder County homes — up from just six last year. Tickets good for either or both days are $20. Purchase at the I Have a Dream office (5390 Manhattan Drive, Suite 200, Boulder). Online purchases or tickets bought at any King Soopers carry a service charge. FoMoInfo, call 303-444-3636.
Three ingredients mandated for Bavarian beer — and that’s all.
April 23, 1516, was not the date of William Shakespeare’s death. That wouldn’t happen for another hundred years. It was the date of the adoption of the Bavarian Beer Purity Act (Reinheitsgebot in German), decreeing that beer could be made only with three ingredients: water, barley and hops. Period.
This calls for all manner of celebrations, certainly in Germany where some festivals will stretch through the summer, but even in Colorado. Here are some:
AC Goldenand Sandlot Brewery, both part of the Coors family, serve limited release of the Reinheit brew at select World of Beer locations. Master brewer Andreas Gahr from St. Johann Research Brewery in Germany has collaborated on this authentic, old-style German lager.
Boulder’s Bohemiian Biergarten is turning up the party juice this evening, even though Bohemia is now the Czech Republic, not Germany. Really, who cares? Beginning at 8 p.m. this evening, they are serving $5 Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr Biers (both from Munich and now corporately related). Also, there’s a raffle for commemorative mugs. Austrian Connection plays live. At least Austrian and Germany share a common language (more or less, depending on regional dialects). Create some Reinheitsgebot-themed attire and get a gift.
Mockery Brewing irreverently calls its its event Reinheitsgewhat?!. It starts today at noon, and the irreverence continues as the brewery invites guests to “spend the day rocking and mocking beer laws.” They’ve got limited beer releases, live music by the The Polkanauts (“Metal by Birth-Polka by Choice”) and commemorative beer steins for the first 100 guests. They are putting details on their Facebook event page.
The Rackhouse in RiNo is serving specialty brews from Call to Arms and Fässer, Andechs Döppelbock monastery from noon on. The kitchen is turning out the Bavarian specialty, Leberkäse, a pâté beloved in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Heifer & The Hen sounds like the name of a pub in an English country village, but it’s Boulder’s newest place for designer ice cream and related treats. It’s the work of the talented Ian Clark, the chef and brewmaster whose BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats turns out unfiltered, naturally carbonated ales and excellent hand-tossed pizzas and pub food. He calls it a “gastrobrewery.”
Last Friday, Clark quietly unlocked the Heifer & The Hen door, and the next day, it snowed. A lot. Still, people made through the weather for the organic creamery’s divine ice cream, milkshakes and floats. I visited on Tuesday afternoon. There were no lines (yet) but a steady stream of adults and kids. Subway tiles cover the walls. The counter features unpainted tin panels made for ceilings with a top or concrete. Seating consists of three swings suspended from metal chains, tall barstools facing the window and on the patio. All over are clever design touches, which Clark credits to his wife Bryce.
Clark is committed to thick, butterfat-rich ice cream made on a custard base in an open kitchen, so guests can watch. Cream + eggs = custard. Therefore, the dipping store’s name. I tasted several of the innovative flavors that he calls “elevated versions of classics. Burnt Honey. Sour Cherry, Buttermilk & Dark Chocolate. Mint, Basil & Dark Chocolate. Each one packs more of a flavor punch than the last.
The side-by-side locations of BRU and the ice cream place make for a symbiotic destination. Families can come to eat, with the beer perhaps enticing the adults, while kids then want ice cream.
I had been lusting after an ice cream sandwich for a couple of weeks, and I found Heifer & The Hen’s irresistible and bought one for the road — the cold stuff between two robust chocolate chip cookies. Worth waiting for.
5290 Arapahoe Avenue, Unit H, Boulder; 720-328-3159.
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.