Category Archives: Colorado

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.

Hopping in at Hopdoddy

Big juicy burger after bike race.

085My 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.

Tables and booths are all high-tops, and each is outfitted with a roll of paper towel -- a feature usually found at barbecue places.
Tables and booths are all high-tops, and each is outfitted with a roll of paper towel — a feature usually found at barbecue places.

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.

Classic Burger. It arrived neatly stacked, but I moved the top of the fresh-baked bun to show how well cooked the  beef patty was.
Classic Burger made from freshly ground Angus beef. It arrived neatly stacked, but I moved the shiny top of the fresh-baked bun to show how well cooked the beef patty was.
Terlingua burger with chile con carne, corn Fritos, Tillamook Cheddar and
Terlingua burger with chile con carne, corn Fritos, Tillamook cheddar and “sassy sauce”
Thin-cut fries and a generous amount of dipping sauce. Is it the same
Thin-cut fries and a generous amount of dipping sauce. Is it the same “sassy sauce” as on the Terlingua burger? I don’t know.

No price check, because I didn’t take notes, and the online menu doesn’t reveal.

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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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Kachina Grill’s Seasonal Corn Cart

Westin Westminster restaurant’s fall feature.

Kachina-logoOlathe 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.

Excessively glamorous corn cart girl, but the grilled sweet corn is definitely down-home. Photo: Kachina Grill publicity photo)
Excessively glamorous corn cart girl, but the grilled sweet corn is definitely down-home. (Photo: Kachina Southwestern Grill)

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 corn to each table.

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Colorado’s Top Food Trucks

The Daily Meal likes Basic Kneads Pizza.

DailyMeal-logoHere 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.

 

Lunching al Fresco at Mercantile

Casual lunch & fabulous companion at Union Station restaurant.

008I 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.

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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:

Heirloom tomato salad with eggplant baba ganoush, roasted corn vinaigrette and ricotta from Fruition Farms, like Mercantile, owned by chef/restaurateur/farmer Ales Seidel.
Heirloom tomato salad with eggplant baba ganoush, roasted corn vinaigrette and ricotta from Fruition Farms, like Mercantile, owned by chef/restaurateur/farmer Alex Seidel.
Grilled cheese made with excellent cheese and excellent bread, with a side of pickled vegetables.
Grilled cheese made with excellent cheese and excellent bread, with a side of pickled vegetables.
Confit chicken salad, as requested on a baguette rather than a croissant. Delicious and hearty -- more than I could eat.
Confit chicken salad, as requested on a baguette rather than a croissant. Delicious and hearty — more than I could eat.

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.

Click to add a blog post for Mercantile Dining & Provision on Zomato

Palisade Peach Fests on Both Sides of the Divide

Fort Collins Peach Fest Makes Three

FortCollinsPeachfest-logoWhen 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.

PeachPeaches 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