We did serious damage to the basket full of very good, crusty, chewy bread while we deliberated about our food and especially our wine, finally settling on a bottle of Redbank Fighting Flat Shiraz that happily saw us through our leisurely dinner. The guys both enjoyed everything they ordered, but since have been into First Bite Boulder this week, I’ll just post on my meal.
I started with the Warm Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese Salad. The square plate was loaded with a heap of fresh local greens with a bit of local bacon and mustard vinaigrette — crowned with an entire round of slightly warm local goat cheese and croutons made from that same excellent bread.
I thought that the Local Organic Vegetable Tasting entrée (right) would be a light antidote to the two out of three previous evenings of First Biting. In fact, it was a generous tapestry of interesting vegetable preparations: a large rectangle of Hubbard squash gratin with two cheeses, a pile of garlic-seared chard, caramelized salsify (which I never would have identified in a blind taste test, parmigiano flan, roasted baby turnips and crispy panisse.
Frankly, the panisse had me stumped. By the time I got to it, so many flavors were dancing on my palate that I couldn’t identify the flavor, and crispiness masks texture. The waitress was elsewhere when I thought to ask, and when she appeared, I forgot about it. Panisse doesn’t appear in my trusty Food Lover’s Companion or in an old Larousse Gastronomique that I rely on as a last resort.
For dessert, we had two orders of Colorado d’Anjou Pear and Almond Tart (right), which appears on both the First Bite and regular menus, and one of Local Pumpkin Spice Cake. Both came with vanilla bean ice cream.
Colterra is a spacious, semi-fancy restaurant where owner/chef Bradford Heap draws inspiration from France and Italy, meticulously uses fresh ingredients (local when possible) and prepares and combines them splendidly. Colterra is at 210 Franklin Road in downtown Niwot; 303-652-0777.