Category Archives: Media

‘The Shed’ Launches Website to Support Boulder Food Resources

DiscoverTheShedLocal foodshed becomes reality & gains momentum with online presence.

A bit over a year ago, I wrote a post called “Foodshift to Foodsheds” — a foodshed being defined as a small geographic area that includes the boundaries of where food is produced, transported and consumed. I then thought that the local foodshed comprised the Front Range, but Boulder now has an even more localized one. The Shed, as it has been named, is a new public-private coalition with a website as its first initiative to educate and build awareness about Boulder County’s local foodshed.

A good group of local officials, community leaders and food influencers were present at the Boulder Public Library's new Seed Café for the introduction of The Shed.
A good group of local officials, community leaders and food influencers were present at the Boulder Public Library’s new Seed Café for the introduction of The Shed.

Boulder City Council members Tim Plass and Suzanne Jones shepherded the initiation through the local legislative process. The Shed has emerged as a coalition of nine private and public entities that aims to increase awareness, consumption and production of local foods.  The founding entities are the City of Boulder, Boulder County, Boulder County Farmers’ Markets (Boulder and Longmont), Boulder Valley School District, Chef Ann Foundation, Local Food Shift Group, Naturally Boulder, University of Colorado and 350 Boulder County. While the City of Boulder (again) took the lead, it is a county-wide initiative with room for other communities and organizations to join.

Plass listed benefits from the local foodshed: economic (i.e., keeping more grocery dollars in the community), environmental (reducing the carbon footprint of food consumed here) and social (building community through food).  Continue reading ‘The Shed’ Launches Website to Support Boulder Food Resources

Boulder — An Underrated Food City?

Thrillist-logo Thrillist.com the latest to “discover” Boulder’s vibrant food scene.

I’m always pleased when national media shine the spotlight on Colorado’s food scene — even more so when Boulder is singled out. But I was startled when Thrillist.com selected Boulder as for its roundup of “The 7 Most Underrated American Food Cities in 2015.”

Underrated? Boulder’s highly regarded, even nationally known restaurants are written about all the time, and Boulder  boasts one of the best farmers’ markets in the land and has been the wellspring for natural and organic food companies starting with Celestial Seasonings to whichever food or beverage startup will launch next weekend.

Thrillist.com tasked Cindy Sutter, the Boulder Daily Camera food editor, with writing about the Boulder food scene. She focused on the restaurant aspect, understandably including “the usual suspects.” Here’s what she wrote:

“When people think of America’s culinary capitals they usually look to the coasts: New York, San  Francisco,      and New Orleans all regularly top the lists of the best American food cities. But hiding in the ‘flyover states’ and in ‘harbors-that-not-many-people-live-in’ is a cache of culinary talent that’s just as worthy of sinking your teeth into.

“We’ve already touched on seven of these underdog cities, but our country’s cupboards are hiding so much more deliciousness and so many cities’ scenes have exploded in the past year, so we thought it worthwhile to give props to seven more gastronomically obsessed towns. And to show just what makes each great, we tapped a local writer to share what makes that food scene unique. Here are seven cities you’ll immediately want to visit.”

About Boulder: “Boulder residents would likely be surprised to find their town on an underrated food city list. And it’s not only because Bon Appétit magazine picked Boulder as America’s Foodiest Town in 2010. Take a walk down Pearl Street in downtown Boulder, and you’ll see what the magazine folks saw.

“Start at Frasca Food and Wine, where co-owners Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson and Bobby Stuckey have two James Beard Awards. Stuckey is one of 118 Master Sommeliers worldwide, as are six other Boulder residents. Not bad for a town with a population of 100,000 and change. Head west (toward the mountains) and make another stop at OAK at fourteenth, where local meats, vegetables, and even luscious Colorado peaches take a turn in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven.

“Veer a block or so off Pearl to find the Black Cat, whose chef-owner, Eric Skokan, raises the restaurant’s vegetables (including heirloom dent corn for GMO-free polenta), as well as ducks, pigs, and beef cattle on his farm on county-owned land preserved for agricultural uses. This year, Skokan released a cookbook, ‘Farm Fork Food’, that he edited on his smartphone from the seat of his tractor. Or try The Kitchen, which has nourished relationships with local organic farmers since it opened in 2004; its nonprofit Kitchen Community builds school gardens, placing more than a 100 in Chicago, where it also recently opened a restaurant to positive reviews. You also might want to try Salt, where the food is local, seasonal, and GMO-free.

“Food, health, and sustainable agriculture have a long, intertwining history in Boulder. The bustling Boulder County Farmers’ Market, also near Pearl Street, got its start in 1987. The town that popularized herbal tea and tofu also had a strong hand in craft beer, with Boulder County boasting 40 breweries and counting. After you’ve taken in the scene, do what Boulderites do: eat and run (or hike or bike). There are trails just a few steps away from those amazing restaurants.

“And if that’s not enough for you, go east a couple of miles and find ‘Top Chef’ winner Hosea Rosenberg’s Blackbelly, which received well-deserved national attention when it opened last year.” – Cindy Sutter, Daily Camera food editor.

Rounding out the “most underrated list” are Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala.; Kansas City, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; Portland, Maine and Providence, R.I.

Chef Kleinman Wins ‘Restaurant Startup’

TV victory helps The Inventing Room’s brick-and-mortar location come into being.

InventingRoom-logoColorado’s magic-making chef, Ian Kleinman, out own master of molecular cuisine, has won “Restaurant Startup,” CNBC’s entrepreneurial competition show. Kleinman and partner Mike Coberlain pitched their concept and cuisine to judges Joe Bastianich and Tim Love, and came away with a $150,000 investment. Egalitarian Ian wants to open an affordable, friendly restaurant that showcases the fun of food — or as he puts it, “gastro-fun.” He has been having that kind of fun since he was executive chef at O’s Steakhouse in the Westin Westminster Hotel. Molecular and meat were strange kitchen-fellows, but he honed his craft there and went on to become a popular caterer with parlor tricks galore.

Kleinman reportedly created the prototype of his restaurant – from the design up – for free, with or without help from other creative sorts. If I interpret this correctly, it means that his winnings can all go into the brick-and-mortar Inventing Room that is to open at 2020 Lawrence Street in the Ballpark area. An ice cream shop is scheduled to launch on June 1. “On the Town” columnist Penny Parker wrote, “The ice cream shop will feature composed confections such as a compressed mango and strawberry kabob with salted carmel and chocolate, a carrot cake cookie ice cream sandwich with toasted marshmallow and cream cheese ice cream dipped in liquid nitrogen and a robot that will make chocolate truffles. Oh, and you can also get a pedestrian scoop of ice cream such as Kleinman’s popular hot fudge flavor and classic vanilla bean.”

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.”

‘5280’ Names Denver Area’s Best New Restaurants

Annual restaurant selections include the area’s very best.

5280-cover2015The March issue of 5280 Magazine arrived in my mailbox while I was out of the country. It is the month that the “Best New Restaurants” list comes out, and I am always eager to read it. Senior editor Amanda M. Faison had the Herculean task of winnowing the contenders down to just 10. Here’s the 2015 list:

Eater Denver’s Top 15 Right NOW

HeatMap-logoMeanwhile, Eater Denver (or is it Denver Eater?), that interesting by notoriously fickle site, has published its Heatmap, a periodic list of the hottest (!!!!!) restaurants in Denver right now, unceremoniously spurning those that were hot just a few months ago. The compulsion to name hot spots is tiresome, but what is interesting to me are the restaurants on both lists. It is gratifying somehow when the hotspots are also praised for the cuisine, ambiance and service. Here are the site’s selections:

2015 Food Trends According to NYC Publisher

GCP-logo

Grand Central Publishing, which prides itself on keeping up with food and other lifestyle trends, has declared that 2014 trends that passed their expiration dates include “‘healthy’ gluten-free products, all-juice cleanses, coffee with butter, cronuts, cupcakes (Sex and the City ended 10 years ago), $18 small plates of brussel [stet] sprouts, uni, foraging and vocado toast (thanks, Instagram).”  FWIW, I didn’t know that coffee with butter was a trend. Shows how our of the loop I am. No excuses for this year however, if I pay attention to the publisher’s list top health and food trends for 2015.

  • Fermented foods. Who knew that pickles would become a health food? Turns out that fermented food contains good bacteria and is a digestive aid. So, it’s kind of like the Activia of 2015. In addition to pickles, foods like yogurt, kimchee, kefir, miso and kombucha all share this gastro health benefit.
  • Bone broth. From newspaper articles to your hip restaurant down the street, bone broth is everywhere. And for good reason! There are numerous health benefits to consuming this nutrient-rich comfort food. Bone broth is even known to help eliminate cellulite thanks to the wealth of vitamins, collagen and keratin.
    Nourishing Broth contains all the recipes you need! (Click here for my recent post about the broth bar at Boulder’s Fresh Thymes.)
  • Hybrid vegetables. Kalettes (mash-up of kale and Brussels sprouts) and broccoflower (broccoli and cauliflower) may seem like a foreign language now, but soon they’ll be familiar to everyone. They’ll bring new life into vegetable dishes and will have chefs creating new recipes with these hybrid flavors and textures.
  • Matcha: Green tea is amazing for boosting metabolism and promotes weight loss. Matcha is even better. Matcha green tea has 130x more antioxidants than your standard bag of green tea. There are numerous health benefits from consuming matcha, but the drink contains less caffeine so it provides a more even, soothing energy boost
  • Coco loco. Sure coconut water may seem totally 2013, but be prepared for even more coconut in the coming year! Coconut sugar, coconut aminos, coconut oil, and coconut flour will all be prominent in diet recipes and in health food stores. Coconut sugar boasts a lower glycemic index than traditional sugar, and coconut flour is gluten free, is high in good fats, and is high in dietary fiber and proteins.
  • Hemp seeds. Unlike their cannabis sativa cousin, hemp seeds do not contain THC. However, they are full of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, fiber and much more. They can be consumed raw or toasted, have a mild nutty flavor and can be used in salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and more. (In Colorado, with legalized recreational marijuana, hemp is a non-issue.)
  • Noodle bowls: Japanese-inspired restaurants are cropping up all over, and not just in New York City—ramen bowls in all varieties, from vegetarian to soft boiled egg-topped creations; there is something for everyone to love. Here’s a recipe to try at home from Half Baked Harvest.Fat: But don’t get too excited and start taking bites out of a stick of butter: we mean good fats, not the trans fats found in processed foods. Good fat is derived from both natural sources, so expect to see lots more full-fat yogurt, cultured butter, eggs, and oils being advocated for in a healthy diet. Trust us, this is a good thing. (Click here for my post about Sushi Tora’s weekend ramen bowls. Kasa Japanese Grill on the east end of the Pearl Street Mall is now also offering midweek ramen lunches.)
  • Millet: Millet has been around for a while in granola and breads, but it will become more prominently featured as recipes’ main ingredient in 2015. It’s gluten-free and rich in protein, fiber, and other minerals like magnesium. Also, it’s grown predominantly in the United States, which should help to avoid the backlash that the quinoa farming is generating.
  • Poutine: We’re closing our top 10 list with a much more indulgent food trend. If you’ve been to Montreal, you’ve probably had a plate of these wonderful French fries, slathered in cheese curds and gravy. Well, the trend is spreading, and with more variety from pulled pork, coq au vin, olives, vegetables, and more. Savour!

Frasca Appears on Another List as One of the Best

Eater.com picks America’s 38 most essential restaurants.

Eater-logoSometimes I think that I could write a blog only about the many honors heaped up Boulder’s Frasca Food & Wine. The latest is “The National 38: Where to Eat in 2015,” Eater.com’s list of 38 “essential” restaurants distilled from restaurant editor Bill Addison’s odyssey comprising “the 263 on-the-clock meals I consumed in 29 cities during seven months of travel (or, more precisely, 147 days in the field) in 2014.”

The list of the 38 includes long-running legends such as Galatoire’s in New Orleans and the Café at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, the less expensive offshoot of Alice Waters’ renowned restaurant that is credited with launching New American cuisine. It includes newer culinary landmarks like Manhattan’s Momofuku Noodle, Chicago’s Aliena that brought molecular cuisine to the Midwest and beyond, and several that I never heard of. But there, again, is Frasca.

Addison’s full review after dining at Frasca included the usual rapturous compliments about the hospitality, the service, the consistency and the quality. For the 38 essentials thumbnail, Addison wrote:

Frasca Food and Wine

Frasca’s co-owners, front-of-the-house ace Bobby Stuckey and chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, handle their respective posts with equal distinction. Stuckey and his team know how to gauge guests and reset their moods with calming assurance. Their affable welcome sets the tone for a spectacular meal of specialties from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeastern Italy. That translates to dishes like riso marinara, lush with shellfish; speckled buckwheat pasta lacy with chicken and matsutake mushrooms; and roasted pork chop with feisty Friulian pork sausage. Stuckey earned the title of Master Sommelier as well as a James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Wine Service. The breadth and detail of the beverage list may cause you to drift from table conversation.