Category Archives: Colorado

A Corner of N’Awlins Now in Boulder

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.

Ringside table for the passing parade on the Mall — this being one little moment when no one was walking by.

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.)

Fried foods dominate, so the still-gleaming kitchen has a six-basket Fryolator.

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.

Red beans, andouille sausage and rice was supposed to come with corn bread but it didn’t. We didn’t notice — and neither did our waiter.
A salad of “blackened” mahi-mahi atop spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers served with an indiscernible amount of Parmesan, croutons and blood orange vinaigrette.
A shareable trio of beignets — chocolate, classic and honey — with an appropriately generous amount of powdered sugar.

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.

Potato Day & Potato Fest

Celebrating the spud nationally and in Colorado.

Today, August 19, is National Potato Day — right between National Fajita Day (yesterday) and World Humanitarian Day (tomorrow).  Potato promoters offer up statistics and recipes galore, but for Coloradans, the real celebration is Saturday, September 9 when the annual Colorado Potato Festival takes place in the San Luis Valley.

Monte Vista in the southern part of the valley hosts the festival in Chapman Park (4 Chico Camino, Monte Vista), 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day is filled with mostly FREE fun activities and events like the Tater Trot 5K Race, music, crafts, guided tours, kids’ games, chef demos using freshly harvested Colorado potatoes, the infamous Mashed Potato Dunk Tank and more.

There’s a free four-hour bus tour of the valley’s potato farms  and shipping centers and two one-hour train tours, also free  courtesy of the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad.  Contact the Colorado Potato Assn. (719-852-3322) to reserve spots on the bus. but you can just show up for the train. It departs from Fullenwider Park, so there’s a free tractor-pulled shuttle between the two parks.

At 5 p.m., a concert by country star Brooke Eden takes place at the Ski Hi Park Arena, 2331 Sherman Ave., Monte Vista. Tickets are just 15. Purchase on-line before August 25 and be automatically entered into a drawing for four tickets to Coors Field for the Rockies versus the Diamondbacks and parking.

2018 Denver Dining Passbook on Pre-Sale Now

The 2017-18 Denver Dining Passbook, known for two-for-one entrée deals and other benefits, is on pre-sale now, making the savings even sweeter starting now and valid though August 15, 2018. Hurry, because the special is on only until August 31. Even though we live Boulder, I ordered one, because it only takes a couple of dinners out to break even — and then, it’s pure savings.

The Passbook features some 90 restaurants, including 30 new ones like Mizu Izakaya, Departure, Candela Latin Kitchen and the soon-to-open FNG Restaurant.  Buy now for $39 including shipping (way down from the regular cost of $99 plus shipping) for a year’s worth of dining deals. Click here an enter promo code PBPRESALE2017.

Participating Restaurants

10 Barrel Brewing Co., 1515 Restaurant, 801 Chop House, Adelitas Cocina Y Cantina, Adrift Tiki Bar, Aloy Thai, Atticus, The Avenue Grill, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, Bar Dough, The Berkshire, Biju’s Little Curry Shop, Billy’s Inn, Blackbird Public House, Blue Island Oyster Bar, Blueprint Bar, Brider, Brodo Italian Scratch Kitchen, Broken Rice, bubu, BurgerFi, Butcher’s Bistro, Candela, The Cherry Tomato, CHUBurger, Corner Office, Crafty Fox, Denver Deep Dish, Departure, DiFranco’s, Dos Santos, El Jefe, Element Kitchen, Esters, FNG, Fish N Beer, Gaetano’s, Go Fish, Grind Kitchen + Watering Hole, Hashtag, Highland Tap & Burger, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Humboldt Farm Fish Wine, Ignite Kitchen + Cocktails, Ink! Coffee, Jack’s Uptown Grille, Jax Fish House Glendale, Jett Asian Kitchen & Sushi Bar, Kachina, La Sandia, Leña, Lime, Little India 6th Avenue, Little India LoDo, Lo Stella Ristorante, The Lobby, LoHi Steakbar, Lola Mexican Fish House, Los Chingones, Low Country Kitchen, Lucky Pie, Marco’s Coal Fired Pizzeria, Marg’s Taco Bistro, Max’s Wine Dive, Mizu Izakaya, Modern Market, North County, Olive & Finch, Onefold, Park Burger, The Pig & The Sprout, PokeCity, Prohibition, range, Recess Beer Garden, Revelry Kitchen, The Rosedale, Scratch Burrito, Shells & Sauce, Ship Tavern, STK, Sushi Hai, Sushi Ronin, Tacos Tequila Whiskey, TAG Burger Bar, Tamayo, Tap & Burger at Sloan’s Lake, There…, Tupelo Honey, Uno Mas Taqueria, Urban Farmer, White Pie, The Wooden Table

Kudos for Denver’s Señor Bear

Pan-Latin food and dynamite drinks earn LoHi eatery honors.

Whenever Zagat lists the best restaurants in select cities, Denver is always one of them. Here’s the shout-out in the site’s “Hottest Restaurants in 15 American Cities” post about Señor Bear, the site’s choice for the Mile High City. The “powerhouse team” referred to is headlined by Max McKissock, Blake Edmunds and Juan Padro and Katie O’Shea Padro. For McKissock, it’s a bit like old home week, since he was the chef at The Squeaky Bean, when it occupied the LoHi space.

Denver: Señor Bear
Built by the powerhouse team behind Bar Dough, this bright, breezy, instant destination in LoHi showcases the flavors of Latin America — from Peru to Puerto Rico — in both food and drink.

Must-order: Start with a pisco cocktail and any of the elegantly executed dishes comprising the mariscos section of the menu, including mofongo with shrimp and crab (pictured).

Insider tip: If you’re noise-sensitive, ask to sit on the patio — the small dining room can get extra-festive.

3307 Tejon St.; 720-572-5997

The Daily Meal Likes Denver’s Lowry Beer Garden

Food site comments on beverages too.

The Daily Meal, a site that posts about the food scene in key American cities (including Denver), occasionally does a beverage round-up too. It just listed “America’s Coolest Beer Gardens,” one of which is the ginormous one at Lowry, Here’s the word about the Lowry Beer Garden:

This is a great place to park it for day drinking. Adjacent to the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, Lowry has over 4,500 square feet of outdoor garden and open-air space, with communal tables to share brats and other sausages. Their beer selection focuses on Colorado brews, with a rotating tap and cask selection from Grimm Brothers, Great Divide, and many more.

Buy Tix Now For Denver Burger Battle

Burgers, brews and more sing the song of summer.

The eighth annual Denver Burger Battle on Thursday, August 3   features  craft beer, boozy milkshakes, bite-sized desserts and 16 of the best burgers in Colorado. It takes place on the Tivoli Quad Park in Denver. VIP entry begins at 5:30 p.m. and general admission at 6:30. Prices are $69.99 and $124.99 respectively. This event tends to sell out. Click on the website link to purchase tickets.

2017 Competitors

Stoic & Genuine (‘2016 judges’ champ)

Cherry Cricket (2016 people’s champ)
TAG Burger Bar
Parkburger 
Highland Tap & Burger
Crave Real Burgers
Uber eats 
American Grind 
Stanley Beer Hall 
Pig & Sprout 
Concourse 
Prohibition
Departure 
Marczyk Fine Foods
My Brother’s Bar 
Bully Ranch 

Slow Food Nations Coming to Denver

Major food event adds to Denver’s culinary luster.

The international Slow Food movement was founded in Italy in 1989 as an antidote to the corporatized fast food that was engulfing the world. The concept of Slow Food is a growing movement that has gained increasing momentum over the years, spawning the farm-to-table restaurants, home gardens and sustainable agriculture. Denver hosts Slow Food Nations, a weekend celebration of sustainable foods raised with respect for animals, the environment and farmers.

It comes to Denver this weekend with informative, inspiring and mouth-watering events. Some are only for Slow Food delegates, others have paid entry but many of them are free. Organizers expect some 10,000 chefs, policymakers, farmers and food lovers from all over the world to participate in this confab whose theme is “street food-festival-meets-sustainability and policy discussion.”

I missed out on the media application (was I away, or was it just my brain that was on hiatus?), but I am volunteering on Sunday the 16th. I probably won’t be able to rub elbows with the likes of Alice Waters or Rick Bayless, but I will be a small cog in the wheel of this wonderful event that includes free demos on the Larimer Square culinary stage.  Click here for a full schedule of paid and free events.