I have been intending to check out Pacific Ocean Market in Broomfield since it first opened a couple of years ago. I finally did so yesterday. We returned from Hawaii in the morning, where Asian, pan-Asian and Asian fusion fare reigns, and in the afternoon, took 120th Avenue to attend a party in Broomfield. What a perfect re-entry to the mainland this quick look at POM (as it calls itself) turned out to be. Boxes of mangoes (not from Hawaii but from the Philippines), spiky durian in mesh bags, bok choy (baby and full grown), gnarls of fresh ginger as big as a grown man’s splayed hand and more filled the produce counters. Fish and shellfish, both on ice and live in tanks, comprised the seafood section. The meat and poultry counters displayed cuts not seen in conventional American supermarkets, as well as familiar parts. The shelves were stacked with varieties of rice, beans, sauces, noodles, soy products, sauces, specialty canned goods, sweets and more. And oh, the spice selection! For cooks, there were woks, strainers, ladles, cleavers, steamers, rice cookers, teapots and more. Soup bowls, rice bowls, serving dishes, tea cups and chopsticks enable anyone to set a true Asian table. The clientele was overwhelmingly Asian/Asian-American. I’ll be back. POM is at 6600 West 120th Avenue (at Main Street), Broomfield; 303-410-8168.
I’m just as deadline-crazed as I was a few days ago, but I am trying to catch up by posting three messages this morning — diverse topics that I ordinarily would have posted over several days. Here’s some restaurant news of note (in addition to the opening of Amuse by Michel, which I wrote about earlier today):
- Mista Trattoria is a bit like a hermit crab, inhabiting spaces vacated by a previous tenant. The first Mista took over the old Laudisio’s space in North Boulder, and the second is situated the old Rudi’s World Cuisine space in South Boulder (4720 Table Mesa Drive; 303-554-5828). Rudi’s, a long-time Boulder tradition, is gone for good — or so it seems.
- But sometimes “gone” is only temporary. Lulu’s Kitchen, serving up down-home, Southern-style food, is back. It had a short run in East Boulder recently but is up and running again, now on the Hill, at 1124 Thirteenth Street; 303-449-6637.
- City, O’ City, a coffee house and vegetarian/vegan pizzeria, is now at 206 East 13th Street; 303-831-6443. It has taken over the previous location of WaterCourse Foods, a vegetarian restaurant, which relocated to 837 East 13th Avenue; 303-832-7313. They, as well as the WaterCourse Bakery (214 East 13th Avenue; 303-318-9843), are under the same ownership.
- The Corner Office is open in the Hotel Curtis (1405 Curtis Street; 825-6500), offering up breakfast, lunch and dinner — and it has a martini bar too.
- After shuttering Mel’s Restaurant and Bar, the Masters clan and executive chef Adam Mali have turned their attention to a second location for their quick-hit Montecito Restaurant & Bar (the new one is at 5970 South Holly Street, Greenwood Village; 303-777-8223) and nearby Annabel’s at 5960 South Holly; 303-488-2662. Both are in the the Denver Tech Center area. The first Montecito’s is at 1120 East Sixth Avenue; 303-777-8222.
- Ping’s Favorite Chinese Restaurant in the strip mall behind Video Station has closed. A sushi restaurant has taken its place.
- The small store at 2359 Arapahoe that housed Tastefully Toasted, the best donut store around, is empty.
- The mixed Mediterranean olives with fresh herbs, lemon, orange, spices and garlic. I doubt that Wahaltare cures his own olives, but they displayed variety and marinade was terrific.
- Seasonal Pacific oysters (right) with Maui onions mignonette. The oysters were “gentle,” not assertive, thereby not competing with the onions — and vice versa.
- The lemon buerre blanc that blanketed the potato gnocchi was delicious.
- Even better was the saffron mustard cream sauce for the PEI mussels. Understandably, given so many dishes to try, there was no bread on the table, but if there had been, I would have been tempted to sop up every drop. As it was, I made sure that ever mussel was well coated.
- The Mountain Meadow Colorado lamb loin was tender and sweetly lamb-y, and the cassoulet of beans and balsamic emulsion was a lovely counterpoint.
One of Michel’s marketing minions came around and asked what we thought of different dishes, so if I was not alone in my opinions, the following dishes might change in the future, but as of last Tuesday, the least successful were:
- The Red Bird Farms chicken drumettes confit with home-made ginger and sun-dried apricot barbecue disappointed. The chicken was tender enough, beneath a coating of a tempura-like batter, but I couldn’t taste the ginger, just the apricot, and the “barbecue” component mystified me.
- The lightly fried citrus almond-crusted calamari served with spiced tomato sauce featured tender enough calamari, but the crust bore no taste of citrus or of almond, and the tomato sauce packed no flavor punch other than the tomatoes.
In any case, on Monday evening, I attended a small cooking class put on by George Poston, chef at the downtown Denver Maggiano’s. Normally when the restaurant invites some media friends, the classes are hands-on in one of their kitchens, but this time, every dining room was packed, the kitchens were all occupied and we were exiled to the very pleasant patio where the class ended up being a demonstration. (Poston is above right, with his “assistant,” 7News consumer reporter Bill Clarke)
I’ve never been to a cooking class — hands-on or demonstration — where I didn’t learn something. This time, I learned that there are better ways to make buschetta than my never-quite-totally-successful oven-toasting. Poston took very good Italian bread (from Whole Foods, he said, which makes better stuff than Maggiano’s generally puts on the tables) grilled it over very low heat (200 to 250 degrees) in a cast-iron skillet with a bit of olive oil and garlic until lightly toasted and then topped it with chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil, seasoned with salt and pepper.
I’ve been deadline-crazed lately and haven’t had/found/made time to blog for several days. But I just found out which Denver chefs will be at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 15-17 and can resist sharing their names with you.
I don’t have a schedule so don’t know exactly what each one will be doing or when. Speaking generally, some chefs go to Food & Wine to cook for admiring crowds in the Consumer portion of the event, which is truly an honor, but others quietly attend seminars and panels in the Restaurant Trade portion of the event and network with their colleagues. The combo makes it a chef fest of the highest order. The Front Range chefs heading for this toniest of food events, which is billing itself as “the height of good taste,” are:
Matt Anderson, Bistro Vendôme
Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja
Carl Klein, Corridor 44
Ian Kleinman, O’s Steak & Seafood at the Westin Westminster
Curtis Lincoln, Ellyngton’s at the Brown Palace
Christian “Goose” Sorensen, Solera
Tyler Wiard, Elways