One of four cities to host the first American version.
I can still remember my first taste of gelato. It was in Rome a long lifetime ago at a gelataria across the street from and just to the right of the Pantheon. Thanks to the Internet, I am pretty sure it must have been Cremaria Monteforte (via della Rotonda 22), and that small flavor bomb on a hot summer day was the first of many that I have savored over the decades. It is still there — and still widely praised for its flavors and authenticity. And I do remember it even though I’ve consumed many little cups and cones of gelato since then.
The Gelato Festival launched in Europe 2010 and has taken root there, and Boulder is the first stop of the first Gelato Festival America from September 29 through October 1 at the Twenty-Ninth Street shopping area. The unique creations of seven gelato makers from Italy, the U.S. and Canada compete for the honors of being the best in show as voted on by a panel of judges and by the public. There are also sessions to learn about the long history of gelato and how it’s made.
Click here for tickets and here for a GroupOn offer that saves 20 percent. In addition to the Boulder event, Gelato Festival America then goes to Santa Barbara (October 20-22), Scottsdale (October 27-29) and Tucson (November 3- 5).
Sixth annual festival features a smorgasbord of films plus culinary stars.
The Flatirons Food Film Festival continues to attract foodies, film lovers and the intersection of both as it has since 2012. Taking place in several Boulder venues from September 27 through October 1, it comprises nine film programs, an entire short documentary series focused on Colorado and culinary superstar chef Jeremiah Tower as guest speaker.
He is a hugely influential and controversial figure in American gastronomy. He began his career at Chez Panisse, then opened Stars, an iconic San Francisco restaurant, before disappearing from the culinary scene at the height of his success. He re-emerged decades later at New York City’s struggling Tavern on the Green. He was already middle-aged and left after less than a year after failing to revive the famous restaurant and have serious disagreements with the owners. Perhaps he will even tell tales that only he can know. ‘Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent’ is an award-winning film about his life. It will be screened on Sunday, September 30 at 7:15 p.m., followed by an after-party at License No. 1 in the Hotel Boulderado.
Speaking of hugely influential figures, few outshine the legendary James Beard. Beth Federici, the filmmaker and director of “James Beard: America’s First Fooodie,” is also a speaker. Other local and visiting speakers include journalist Corie Brown; chef Frank Bonanno of Denver’s Bonanno Concepts; Dr. Allen Lim of Skratch Labs, and Jorge de la Torre, director of culinary education at Denver’s Johnson and Wales University. Food documentaries, short films and food-oriented classics fill the program. There’s also a kids’ farmers’ market walk. And yes, some feature actual food to eat and beverages to drink. Click here for a complete schedule and admission prices.
“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.
French Quarter Brasserie now open on Pearl Street Mall.
After months of renovations to turn the former Paradise then Panera bakery space into a restaurant, the French Quarter Brasserie opened last Friday in Boulder. We went this evening, and considering that this is the third location (Washington, D.C., and Fairfax, Virginia being the first two), this restaurant just didn’t seem ready for prime time.
The décor is simple with barely adorned brick walls and low lights. The recorded jazz is LOUD. But then again, almost every eatery in Boulder these days is LOUD — some worse than others. The restaurant is just one door away from Broadway, so traffic noise and busker noise (the one outside today was blowing a trumpet and tap dancing) compete with the music.
The awning says “French Quarter Brasserie and Oyster Bar.” I don’t know where they hid the oyster bar, but I sure didn’t see one. A few minutes after 6, there were a handful of happy hour lingerers on the patio, only one party in the large restaurant area and no one at the bar. Still, service was pitifully slow. There was a hostess, a bartender and (I think) three waiters, but I wonder whether there was anyone in the kitchen. One supposed-to-be hot entrée and one salad took a very long time to come out. And even then, cold rice was not most promising foundation for the classic red beans, andouille sausage (veggie version) and rice dish.
Also discouraging was that none of the staff who had very little to do bothered picking up the two cardboard coasters that had blown onto the patio floor. Did no one see them? (I was tempted to post a picture, but ultimately decided not to. Wrong decision.)
I don’t know what the East Coast locations are like, or whether this one will survive or thrive, but I’m disinclined to return — except perhaps for $1 oysters at happy hour. I wonder what happy hour wine pricing might be, because my very modest pour of rosé was $10 at dinner.
Price check: At dinner, starters, $10-$25; entrées, $18-$35; entrée accoutrements (i.e., sides), $6-$12. No desserts are priced on the dinner menu. At lunch, they are $5-$8.
1207 Pearl Street, Boulder. No local phone number yet on the website. And nothing yet on Zomato.com.
Tom Coohill, chef and co-owner of the Denver restaurant that bears his name, and Daniel Asher of Boulder’s River & Woods recently made their second trip this year to Washington, D.C., to work with Plate of the Union, a food advocacy organization that is working to address hunger issues through the 2018 Farm Bill.
Soon they are heading to South America for the 10th annual El Sabor Barranquilla Gastronomic Festival in Barranquilla, Colombia, August 25-27. They will demonstrate cooking techniques and participate in culinary forums using his recipes and the Colombian region’s ingredients.
El Sabor Barranquilla is a three-day event focusing on the foods of the Caribbean, with cooking demonstrations and contests, forums exploring biodiversity, sustainability, culinary techniques and advances, and a variety of dishes cooked by chefs from around the world.
“A crew came out from SaborUSA TV last year to film at the restaurant, and things went so well that they reached out for this event,” says Chef Tom, who will be accompanied by his wife and Coohills co-owner Diane Coohill. “They’re flying me and Daniel down there, and as we proved in D.C. recently, Daniel and I work well together. So, I think this is a great opportunity to have a really cool cultural exchange through food.”
The east side of Boulder’s Community Plaza Shopping Center is an unlikely place for a pizzeria. It’s not the side with the Broadway and the parking lot. Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage is run by Audrey Sherman (San Francisco, New York, Italy and culinary school in her past). BTW, there’s no garage in sight in case you are wondering.
We went there on a warm summer evening, hankering for a pizza. The store had a typical pared-down, brightly lit pizzeria look. The patio was the more appealing option for us. We shared and half-and-half pizza, a satisfying East Coast-style pie. There’s no adult beverage license, but my desire for a tannic Italian red was satisfied when we went around to the Boulder Wine Merchant on the Community Plaza’s other side for a couple of bottles, and they happened to be holding a tasting of Italian wines. The pizza and wine were therefore sequential rather than consecutive.
Price check: $14 for a 14-inch cheese pie to $26 for a 20-inch New York pie.
Denver’s legendary grand hotel’s suitably grand 7-course dinner.
Colorado Day (August 1) commemorated the 141st anniversary of our state’s entry into the Union. Just 16 years later, on August 12, 1892, the doors open to Denver’s splendid Brown Palace — a suitable hostelry for the booming Queen City of the Plains.
The hotel is celebrating its 125th with a weekend-plus of events (August 11-13). For well-heeled gourmands, the seven-course Degustation Menu in the posh Palace Arms restaurant has no peers. Timothy Ralphs is The Brown’s new executive chef. The alumnus of Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale has cooked his way around the world, including a 2014 appearance at New York’s James Beard House. He came to The Brown from a private club in Palo Alto, California, and his first major event was this anniversary dinner about two months after his arrival here.
NATIVE STRIPED BASS creamed corn pudding, roe, local summer squash in bloom
MARINATED LAMB grilled cucumber, curried yogurt, green almond tapenade, freekeh
COLORADO WAGYU BEEF carrots cooked in carrot pesto, charred beets
RIVER RUNS BLUE CHEESE whipped honey, shiro plum, casatiello
NEAPOLITAN ICE CREAM TERRINE huckleberry, vanilla, dark chocolate, cake
And here is one of the gorgeous dishes:
At $150 plus taxes, gratuities and wine or other beverages, there’s no question that the dinner is pricy. But nothing like this is likely to come along for the next quarter of a century. Click here to reserve for this memorable meal.
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.