The Boulder Farmers Market, our wonderful seasonal marketplace for locally grown produce, locally produced food products and local artisans, tops USA Today’s10Best 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.
My husband and I took the bus to Denver for the final stage of the USA Pro Challenge bike race. After finding good viewing spots at Civic Center Park that we didn’t want to leave, we made our way to Union Station for the return ride to Boulder. We were hungry and thirsty, and Hopdoddy Burger beckoned. We ordered and sat at a window table overlooking the plaza. People wearing cycling-themed T-shirts were soon joined by those wearing baseball jerseys and even a couple of topless women celebrating the Free the Nipple movement. Click here for a report.
But as Dave Barry often wrote, I digress — from my post about Hopdoddy. Cool fast-casual place that features art on one wall, a kitchen on another and big windows on the other two. The hard surfaces that look so good do magnify the noise — not a problem on the shaded patio, but my husband had had enough of the outdoors after waiting for and watching the bike race and the podium ceremonies. We started with tasty margs with black salt on the glass rims, followed by big, juicy burgers and shared fries brought out a brown paper-lined kitchen trays, just like Mercantile just across the way.
No price check, because I didn’t take notes, and the online menu doesn’t reveal.
Broad and shady porch is one of my happy places in Boulder.
The 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.
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.
Olathe Sweet Corn (capitalized because it is a trademarked brand name) was a little late this year due to all the spring rain. Now it is finally back in a slightly delayed season, and Jeff Bolton, the Kachina Southwestern Grill’s executive chef, is featuring it in several dishes, including the Quinoa Corn Pudding that accompanies the Smoked Bison Meatloaf and in the Corn Salsa, served with both the Chipotle Shrimp + Waffles (blue corn, last time I looked) and the Ruby Red Trout.
But the most distinctive part of the corn season at Kachina Grill, located immediately adjacent to the Westin Westminster, is the restaurant’s “Corn on the Cart.” A waitperson pilots the cart throughout the restaurant to deliver delicious grilled cornto each table.
Here I go again with another mention from another list, but I do enjoy this stuff. The Daily Meal just listed its selection of “The 101 Best Food Trucks in America 2015.” The site didn’t mention who “the brothers” might be, but here’s the write-up about the Basic Kneads Pizza truck — Colorado’s only entry (but lots for Boston):
#89 Basic Kneads Pizza, Denver
We are suckers for a good pun and even more so for a good pizza. Basic Kneads operates four different units around Denver. The brothers eschew strict Neapolitan guidelines for D.O.C. pizza so that they can integrate local ingredients, experiment with toppings, and use the family dough recipe they’ve developed over the years: a mix of organic whole-wheat flour and refined Colorado flour (they also do a gluten-free crust). There are eight pies on the menu, starting from the basics (Margherita, pepperoni, fennel sausage) to more extreme pies like their sweet Thai chili chicken.
Casual lunch & fabulous companion at Union Station restaurant.
I have an assignment to write a feature about Denver’s fabulous Union Station, and while I attended some of the opening festivities last July, have eaten in all of its restaurants and pass though every time I ride the bus to Denver and back home, I couldn’t very well write it without meeting with the extraordinary Dana Crawford, the visionary preservationist who spearheaded the preservation of the historic terminal and was instrumental in redeveloping it into the lively dining, shopping, socializing and transit hub it is now.
But this is a restaurant blog, so I’ll stop writing about my wonderful companion and note that the beautiful summer day called for eating outdoors. Mercantile Dining and Provisions’ patio was where Dana, Julie Dunn and I ate. The system is that you order inside, provide your cell phone number and are notified when the order is ready. Then, you go in to pick it up on brown paper-lined kitchen trays. Simple but a bit slow. Still, with lots to talk about and no office to get back to when lunch hour was over, we didn’t mind. Here’s what we ate:
Price check: Sandwiches, $9-$11; soups and salads, $7-$12 (plus $21 for selection of cured meats, cheese and condiments); cheese, $3-$6 per ounce; pastries, $3-$6.
When I posted news of the 2015 Palisade and Lafayette peach festivals (reposted below and coming up this weekend), I wasn’t aware of the Fort Collins Peach Festival on Saturday, August 22. It features peaches from Palisade (of course), plus a 5K run/walk, children’s activities, entertainment, peach pies, food and beverage sales, local business booths and peach-themed events all day long. Admission is free, and the $5 parking fee supports local causes. It takes place at CSU’s Hughes Stadium, 1800 South Overlook Trail.
Repost of Palisade and Lafayette celebrate Colorado’s fabulous fruit.
Peaches grown in and around the Western Slope (make that far Western Slope) town of Palisade rank as some of the country’s best. Palisade itself celebrates them with a three-day festival that has been going on for nearly half a century. Front Rangers don’t have to travel quite so far, since Lafayette’s one-day festival is a big deal closer to home for greater metro Denver area residents. Continue reading Palisade Peach Fests on Both Sides of the Divide→
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.