Category Archives: Locavore and farm-to-table

First Bite at Bacco

Boulder’s restaurant week in high gear.

015The 10th annual First Bite Boulder again presents foodies with the delicious dilemma:  which of 40 or so area restaurants to visit for a prix-fixe dinner. Five of us gathered yesterday evening at Bacco Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar in North Boulder. Wine? Of course. The menu? With a choice of two of four first courses, two of five main courses and two desserts, we just selected two of each course among the five of us. I like Bacco’s food a lot. My one wish is that it were less noisy.

Thick slices of crusty bread with herbed olive oil attractively comes on a wire basket.
Thick slices of crusty bread with herbed olive oil attractively comes on a wire basket.
A generous orb of burrata on a bed of arugula with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers is a generously portioned appetizer.
A generous orb of buratta drizzled with Balsamic reduction and served on a bed of greens with sliced tomatoes, braised zucchini and a wedge of braised eggplant is a generously portioned appetizer.


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Modmarket’s New Purveyor of Greens

California’s Scarborough Farms now supplying greens to Modmarkets.

ModMarket-logoThe eight Colorado locations of Modmarket  are now using  three varieties of greens (spring mix, arugula and spinach) from Oxnard, California-based Scarborough Farms, a 20-year-old family-run farm that follows small-scale, custom farming methods to ensure fresh, just-harvested gourmet products.

Scarborough does not claim to be organic (then again, neither does Modmarket), but it engages in many agricultural best practices, earning a reputation for deeply caring for the land and for fulfilling
the ever-evolving tastes of American cuisine. Grown only in the United States, Scarborough Farms produce is grown according to strict state and federal regulations, following good agricultural practices that their produced is beautiful, nutritious and safe
to eat.

Modmarket, launched in 2009, was created by two Boulderites with zero restaurant experience who figured out that it was possible to
serve healthy, scratch-made fare for reasonable prices in an attractive environment. Affordability, a  fast-casual format and family-friendliness appear to be Modmarket’s secrets of success. Last month, the second Modmarket at Denver International Airport opened (now on Concourses B and C)

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.

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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Potager’s Splendid Table

Farm-to-table pioneer impresses and pleases.

022Potager has been around for 18 of the 27 years I’ve lived in Colorado, and despite being on my to-visit list for years, it took till friends from Vail were in town to get there. Now I wonder why I let it be so long. Potager was way ahead of its time with farm-to-table fare, well-selected wine list and a menu that changes monthly to take advantage of the freshest from leading local farms. What’s almost routine now was ground-breaking nearly two decades ago.

It is the brainchild of Terry Ripetto and her dad, Tom. Their philosophy that has carried Potager through the years is one I buy into. As the restaurant’s website explains, “We follow no style or school of cooking. We are not a French restaurant, although we serve dishes from this cuisine.  I think, basically, the unifying theme is that of being immensely satisfying, locally sourced and seasonally driven.  We serve really satisfying food and do whatever it takes to make it.  We draw upon the season and what is grown locally.”

 Flatware follows the triangle shape of the crisp, folded napkin on the crisp tablecloth. White on white with white plates.
Flatware follows the triangle shape of the crisp, folded napkin on the crisp tablecloth. White on white linen with white plates.

The restaurant is a charming country-ish place in the city just elegant enough to match the food but not really formal. In addition to a lively dining room and semi-open kitchen and outdoor dining in back. No luck getting seated there, but we were not unhappy to be  in the high-ceilinged room with one charmingly distressed-plaster all, high wine racks and a shelf full of impressive cookbooks on a room divider on one side of the kitchen.

We wanted to sample a number of dishes, so we created a tapas-style experience of sharing.

Apricot-forward fruit soup with a smiley face in crème fraiche made us smile.
Super-seasonal apricot and peach soup with a smiley face in mint crème fraiche made us smile.
A special of thinly sliced and artistically stacked zucchini with a sorel emulsion and bread crumbs.
A special of thinly sliced and artistically stacked zucchini with a sorrel emulsion and bread crumbs.

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Fab Fundraiser for Flatirons Food Film Fest

Wine, foodies & song in Boulder.

FlatironsFoodFilmFest-logoThree art forms were showcased at yesterday evening’s Flatirons Food Film Festival fundraiser: cinematic arts, musical arts and, of course, culinary arts. The event opened with food samples from some of the city’s finest chefs and adult beverages. Then there was a fast-moving live auction (some guests scored great deals). Then came short films on food subjects curated by James Beard Award-winner The Perennial Plate, which documents what it calls “adventures in sustainable eating.” Each chef viewed one of the films that inspired the dishes he presented, and in addition to the resulting food/film pairings, four fine singers from Opera on Tap Colorado performed operatic pairings.

Alex Krill & David Query, Jax Fish House

Query, who founded and operates the entire Big Red F Restaurant Group, of which Jax is just one concept, said that “10 Things We love About Italy” inspired him to offer fresh, simple food, preparted with “not a lot of over-thought, just thought.”

David Qurey and the shoulder of Alex Krill (sorry, Chef).
David Qurey and the right shoulder of Alex Krill (sorry, Chef).
“Crispy, creamy and cheezy” (their spelling) polenta with cured tuna, pickled mushrooms and a sauce of sweet corn, basil and olive oil.

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Sustainable, Local Farming Focus of Aspen Lecture

Noted ag author coming to Aspen to give free lecture.

Joel Salatin
Joel Salatin

I am a great admirer of author Michael Pollan, who brilliantly deciphers what is wrong and what is right on the American food scene. Joel Salatin and his Polyface,  Farm (Swoope, Virginia) were featured in Pollan’s New York Times bestseller and in the award-winning documentary, “Food, Inc.” The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, the City of Aspen Parks and Recreation, and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails are bringing Salatin to Aspen to give a talk, “Local Food to the Rescue.”

Joel himself has authored nine books on the topic of farming and sustainability where he passionately defends small farms, local food systems, and the right to opt out of the conventional food paradigm.  As ACES distills this critical issue, “For local food to be a credible part of the global food system it must develop six integrated components: production, processing, marketing, accounting, distribution and patrons. In this lecture Joel will educate our community on how to build a functional local food system, including economies of scale, collaborative food shed distribution, and meaningful volume.V

The talk takes place on Friday, August 7 at 7 p.m. in the  Paepcke Auditorium (1000 North 3rd Street). Click here to RSVP.