Category Archives: Cookies

Great Scotts at Happy Hour

Excellent happy hour at new North Boulder restaurant.

Photo: Grade(full) Plate
Photo: Grade(full) Plate

The space just to the left of Ideal Market in North Boulder has had several names on the sign and several culinary concepts. Early in my years here, it was an Italian place whose name I can’t recall. Over time, it was Masa  (a Mexican place), Radda Trattoria (an Italian place) and Ella Fine Diner (an eclectic place run by Edward Zoe, whose Chinese place, Zoe Ma Ma is a Boulder-Denver fave).

Enter Douglas Scott, whose life-long passion has been food. Is it because he’s from Santa Fe? Culinary school? Check. California restaurant? Check. Catering business? Check. His last stop before establishing Scotts on Alpine was  five years with Whole Foods Market.  The space at 1265 Alpine was, of course, set up to be a restaurant. Maybe he made some changes in the kitchen, and maybe not, but he did redecorate the bar and dining room into cozy, contemporary and very welcoming space.The transformation into Scott’s on Alpine includes toning down the formerly excessive noise level. This was especially merciful since we went at happy hour, where we were surrounded on three sides by energetic families.

Scott wisely hired Kodi Kassell, who had worked with him at Whole Foods, as executive chef.  Her resume includes everything from the Flagstaff House to a food truck, and she brings that level of skill and verve to the restaurant.

A trio of oysters with garlic and Parmesan, flash-cooked in the pizza oven.
A trio of oysters with garlic and Parmesan, flash-cooked in the pizza oven.
Roasted Brussels sprouts in a glaze of Vermont maple syrup and garlic Dijon.
Roasted Brussels sprouts and winter vegetables in a glaze of Vermont maple syrup and garlic Dijon.
Taco of the day -- flour tortilla on the bottom queso fresco on top and veggies in between.
Taco of the day — flour tortilla on the bottom queso fresco on top and meat and veggies in between– and a lime wedge alongside.

Price check: At happy hour, $4-$6 (plus $8 pizza of the day and also $8 smoked baby back ribs, $9 artisan cheese selection). The happy hour drinks list merits mention. Wines, beers and a beer and a shot, $3-$5, plus a “dealer’s choice” cocktail for $8 that’s a surprise when it arrives.

Zomato has not yet discovered Scott’s on Alpine, which is at 1265 Alpine Ave., Boulder, 303-441-6100.

Illy Cafe in Denver Hotel

Colorado’s first location of Italian cafe.

Illy-logoIlly, which the company insists on writing with a lower-case I (attractive on the logo but challenging to read in sans-serif type), recently opened  opening its first free-standing café in Colorado,

Actually, the 650-square-foot Illy Caffé Bar is semi-freestanding, since it is located within the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel but also has a direct street-side entrance on the hotel’s 17th Street side, just off Champa. Indoor and outdoor seating for 40 mean it’s more than an stand-up/take-out place.

Since its founding in 1933 by Francesco Illy in cosmopolitan Trieste, Italy, the family-run company continues to be a prestigious brand for coffee culture in more than 140 countries.

 

Organic, Seasonal, Local & Tasty Sandwiches in Boulder

The new Organic Sandwich Company lives up to its name.

008I’ve ordered from the Organic Sandwich Company’s stand at the Boulder County Farmers’ Market, but until this evening, I’d never eaten in the store that opened in the challenging month of January. The invitation-only tasting of many of the sandwiches provided a sequential comparison of flavor combos.

Trays of small sandwich samples were passed around.
Trays of small sandwich samples were passed around, allowing each guest to select what s/he wished to try.
Owner Marcy Miller demonstrated how to make bacon jam. The Organic Sandwich Company currently is using it with sliced turkey.
Owner Marcy Miller demonstrated how to make bacon jam. The Organic Sandwich Company currently is using it with sliced turkey.

There were caprese sandwiches — delicious, but hardly exotic. There were Beetniks, a cleverly named and unusual combo of roasted beets, almond feta and pea shoots. Then there’s the glory of any sandwich made with the house-made bacon jam, the preparation of which owner Marcy Miller demonstrated. What better way to cap an intro to a sandwich joint than with a dessert of gelato sandwiches?

Gelato between cookies makes for a terrific dessert sandwich.
Gelato between cookies makes for a terrific dessert sandwich.

Right now, Turkey and Bacon Jam, Turkey and Brie and Spicy Veggie are the top sellers on the menu that changes according to what’s fresh at the market This is Boulder, so of course, there are gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo and dairy-free options, as well as offerings for easy-to-please omnivores.  But mercifully, nothing is taste-free at the Organic Sandwich Company. And because Marcy herself is the mother of two young children, there are kid-friendly items too.

The Organic Sandwich Company is on the southwest corner of 16th and Pearl, Boulder. Phone: 720-639-3986.

Lola’s of Littleton on Best Candy List

LolasSugarRush-capTravel & Leisure magazine’s recent selection of “America’s Best Candy Shops” included Lola’s Sugar Rush of Littleton. If I lived anywhere near there, I might be haunting this cheerful shop at 2490 West Main Street. Here’s what this prestigious national magazine published about what they call “a shrine to sweets” — largely nostalgic old-timey sweets, really:

Lola’s Sugar Rush, Littleton, CO

“Perhaps it was inevitable that a woman whose nickname is Sugar would open a shrine to sweets.”  About 200 glass jars line the shelves of Lola Salazar’s fanciful pink and white boutique. “We serve every single customer, and we welcome them and tell them how it works. We want to make sure everyone who walks through the door has personal assistance,” she explains. Besides the gummies, jelly beans, and other bulk candies in the jars, the store sells nearly 900 types of novelty and retro treats like candy cigarettes, Astro Pops, and Sky Bars, as well as ice cream and cookies.”

Beaver Creek’s Cookie Contest

Beaver Creek selects this season’s official chocolate chip cookie.

Beaver Creek ResoBeaverCreek-logort opened on November 26 with 589 acres of terrain, six feet of snow in November and the new Centennial Express combination gondola/chairlift.  But for chocolate chip cookie addicts, perhaps the best part was the afternoon taste-testing of 5,000 cookies at the 11th annual World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition.

Cookie bakers submitted their entries to Beaver Creek Resort Company back in October, and the five finalists were chosen by local judges. Entries came from all over Colorado plus Texas, California, Wisconsin, Georgia, Oregon and elsewhere. Conveniently, the finalists all came from Colorado, because each one had to bake 1,000 cookies to be judged. Finalists were Lori Lavicka of Avon, Cassie Sewell of Eagle, Kristen Gorrell of Gypsum, Hannah Bailey of Lone Tree, and Julianna Kopec of Avon. After sampling all of the cookies, guests had the opportunity to vote on their favorite recipe. Kristen Gorrell and her “baker’s Dozen” recipe took home the top honors and $1,000.

Her recipe is the new “official” Beaver Creek cookie for the season. Second place winner, Hannah Bailey won third place and $750 for “Hannah’s Mile High Chocolate Morsels,” and third place winner, Julianna Kopec  took home $500 for “Cookies of Prey.” Fourth place recipient, Lori Lavicka’s “2015 Champion Chip Cookie” earned her two tickets to Dancing Like Pros Live performance at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, and fifth place netted Cassie Sewell two tickets to the Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk at the Vila for her Cassie’s World Class Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

Beaver Creek's signature daily cookie service begins on day one of the ski season.
Beaver Creek’s signature daily cookie service begins on day one of the ski season.

Cookie Time is Beaver Creek’s guest service program daily at 3 p.m. when Cookie Time chefs in chef whites serve warm, fresh, chocolate chip cookies on silver trays.  The tradition started in 1985 and evolved into the cookie competition in 2004 providing opening day guests with a village celebration. More than 500,000 cookies are served annually and the new Beaver Creek Cookie & Crepe Company, located by Beaver Creek Lodge, now allows guests to purchase their favorite Beaver Creek cookies to take home  or to their resort accommodations.  

Kristen Gorrell’s Baker’s Dozen Cookies

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, partially melted
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons additional brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups  semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beaver Creek did not provide baking instructions, but typically all ingredients are combined (I’m guessing first dry ingredients, then butter, then sugars followed by eggs and finally chips). The dough is dropped in balls about two inches apart on cookie sheets often lined with parchment. Without instructions, I’m mystified by the divided brown sugar, but perhaps you will figure that out and post a comment. Bake at 350 to 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges begin to brown and crisp. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Devour.

Cheese Importers: A Place for Foodies

Cheese, tabletop items and more in historic Longmont utility building

P1050018Longmont’s Cheese Importers was located originally in a warehouse not far from the railroad tracks. It’s a good thing that they moved to the repurposed history electric company building on the south end of Main Street, because it’s likely that their old location was flood during the Big Rains.

Long before it was repurposed to house a gourmet cheese emporium, this building was the home of Longmont's municipal electrical utility.
Long before it was repurposed to house a gourmet cheese emporium, this building was the home of Longmont’s municipal electrical utility.

The current Cheese Importers is a European-style marketplace that is heaven for foodies in general and cheese lovers in particular. This family-owned business boasts Colorado’s largest refrigerated cheese sales room. Artisinal cheeses from all over, plus salume, an olive bar and assorted condiments that need to be cool are on display there. Many are available for tasting, and once I tasted, I wanted to be one of everything, as well as the items above, below and next to what I had tried. I wanted one of everything. And the charming Bistrot des Artistes serves lunch and dinner in the European manner. Another large room displays colorful tabletop items, linens, accessories and books. I wanted a lot of those items as well. Self-restraint was required.

Cheese of all sorts -- 350 varieties, in fact -- are sold in the refrigerated retail area called La Fromagerie.
Cheese of all sorts — 350 varieties, in fact — are sold in the refrigerated retail area called La Fromagerie.
The olive bar and its temptations.
The olive bar and its temptations.
Although Cheese Importers does not do its own baking, a bakery counter sells terrific pastries and other baked goods.
Although Cheese Importers does not do its own baking, a bakery counter sells terrific pastries and other baked goods.
Charming and colorful outdoor seating in the back of the old power plant building underscore the transition.
Charming and colorful outdoor seating in the back of the old power plant building dramatize the transition.

Cheese Importers is open daily at 103 Main Street, Longmont; 303-772-9599.

New York Cronut Craze Spreads West

Hybrid sweet puts SoHo bakery on the map & The Broadmoor leaps on the bandwagon

French-born, French-trained pastry chef Dominique Ansel traveled the world opening outposts of Fauchon, the ne plus ultra of French pastry, and then spent six years as the executive pastry chef at Daniel, a culinary mecca in New York. Earlier this year, he was a finalist for James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef honors. With such sterling credentials, he opened Dominique Ansel Bakery in the oh-so-trendy SoHo district of lower Manhattan, where he created the “Cronut,” a hybrid of a croissant and a donut. Each of these addictive sweets is made with thin sheets of pastry that are layered like croissants and fried like donuts, then dipped in sugar and filled with a sweet cream. And yes, there’s a hole in the middle.

Cronut

Ansel introduced Cronuts on May 10 of this year. The date might eventually be sanctified as National Cronut Day, as they went viral in Manhattan, where cutting edge can devolve into passé in a very short time. While riding the Cronut crest, the bakery was sporting lines up to two hours before opening. After all, they only bake 200 a day for the retail trade. Scalpers soon occupied the head of the morning line, buying the limit of two Cronuts for $5 each and reselling them for $20 apiece.

The name Cronut has been trademarked, so that when The Broadmoor’s executive baker, Johann Willar, heard about it, began experimenting with it at a considerably higher elevation than Manhattan and finally came up with a rendition that he liked, he called it The Broadmoor Donut. It debuted earlier this month in two flavors, raspberry and cinnamon. The process is so labor-intensive that he makes just 24 a day, which are available in the Café Julie and at Espresso’s. The price is $5 per donut, the same price as in New York at Dominque Ansel Bakery. But unlike at the birthplace of the Cronut, there have not as yet been reports of anyone scalping the sweet treat in Colorado Springs.

The Broadmoor Donut, Colorado version of the Cronut.
The Broadmoor Donut, Colorado version of the Cronut.

I’m not kidding when I describe this phenomenon as a craze. It’s been Tweeted, Facebooked and even has its own online site.