Category Archives: Restaurant & multiple restaurants

Denver’s Bones on National List

The Daily Meal selects casual spots with memorable food — only one in Colorado.

DailyMeal-logoYes, I’m at it again — scouring  yet another list of noteworthy eateries to see which (if any) Colorado restaurants appear. This time, it’s The Daily Meal’s annual list of “The 101 Best Casual Restaurants in America.” In Colorado, the site likes Bones, one of Frank Bonanno’s Denver restaurants, and only Bones. I give The Daily Meal credit for acknowledging that Colorado is one of the fly-over states, but the 101 selected are so top-heavy with New York (with strong representation from Texas, California and New Orleans) that there’s little room for others. Sigh. The Daily Meal wrote:

#82 Bones, Denver, Colo.
The home page animation on Bones’ website shows old-timey Chinese warriors invading Paris, and that’s basically Bones in a nutshell: French-inspired Asian noodles and buns, with menu items you probably won’t find anywhere else on earth. Escargot potstickers; chilled vermicelli with shrimp ceviche and chimichurri; lobster ramen with edamame, beurre blanc, scallion, and miso lobster broth; green chile ramen with braised pork shoulder, hominy, queso fresco, and a fried egg… Wait, that last one isn’t French, it’s Tex-Mex! Well, whatever, it’s still insanely delicious. Bones is a culinary jumble in the best way imaginable.

Tandoori Grill’s Lunch Buffet

001Last night, I watched some TV program about street food. It came to my screen via Netflix, so I don’t recall the name of the program. I do know that the only slightly annoying English host was in Mumbai and ate at lot food stalls. So when my husband and I wanted lunch to fortify ourselves for plant shopping, I was pre-disposed to an Indian buffet. The Tandoori Grill in the Table Mesa Shopping Center was convenient. We were at the front door (along with about a dozen others) when it was unlocked, so all the food was still hot and freshly prepared.

Side-long look at the buffet, with rich spinch saag right up front.
Side-long look at the buffet, with rich spinch saag right up front.
Wedges of hot naan are brought to the table and are included in the buffet price/
Wedges of hot naan are brought to the table and are included in the buffet price.
My selection comprised a little of almost everything.
My selection comprised a little of almost everything.

Price check: The lunch buffet is $9.89, plus tax. Beverages additional.
Tandoori Grill on Urbanspoon

Tangerine: Cheery Place for a Gloomy Day

North Boulder restaurant’s cheery ambiance and breakfasts.

001On a gloomy morning with day-long rain promised again, Tangerine‘s allure was irresistible. We entered beneath the tangerine-colored awning into the cheerful and sunny tangerine-rich décor. That started the smiles, and the excellent breakfast dishes made with the tastiest, freshest,  most nutritious ingredients continues to fuel the day the most upbeat day. We got there early. That was a good thing, because a line built quickly and soon guests were being seated in the flexible space between the it and its sister restaurant, Arugula Bar y Ristorante.

Juice, coffee, fine breakfast entrées and prompt courteous service warmed our bodies and lifted our spirits beyond the rainclouds. Tangerine’s full bar provided some temptations that we resisted. What willpower!

A selection of wonderful jams is offered with toast or muffin orders.
A selection of wonderful jams is offered with toast or muffin orders.
BLR (blueberry, ricotta and lemon) pancakes is a stack of  thick but light ricotta and lemon pancakes with  generous topping of blueberry sauce.
BLR (blueberry, ricotta and lemon) pancakes is a stack of thick but light ricotta and lemon pancakes with generous topping of blueberry sauce.
Two poached eggs, wonderful house-made Romesco sauce, plus sautéed spinach and leeks -- the latter in two separate little piles. Mix or not.
Two poached eggs, wonderful house-made Romesco sauce, plus sautéed spinach and leeks — the latter in two separate little piles. Mix or not, and get a choice of breadstuff alongside.

Price check: At breakfast/brunch, Pancakes, French Toast & Waffle, $7-$9.50; On the Lighter Side, $3.50-$7.50; Eggs, $5.95-$13; Benedicts, $10.50-$13.50; House Specialties, $9.50-$13; Extras, $1.50-$4.50.

Tangerine on Urbanspoon

Green Chile Cheeseburger: Denver or Santa Fe?

The capitals of Colorado and New Mexico lay claim the best of this Southwestern fave.

SantaFe-logoAsk a Coloradan which city makes the best green chile cheeseburger, and the instant answer is Denver, The Mile High City. Ask a New Mexican, and the reply is Santa Fe, The City Different. There are plenty of reasons to visit beautiful, artistic San Fe, and its Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail is one of them.

Here’s what Santa Fe claims: Santa Fe, NM is a burger lover’s paradise, and ‘The City Different’ spends 365 days celebrating the Green Chile Cheeseburger. Santa Fe’s indigenous cuisine dates back to the area’s Native American roots and their staples of beans, corn and squash. With the introduction of foods brought by the Spanish like onions, tomatoes and of course, chile, the table was set for what became the distinctive New Mexican fare with its enduring emphasis on the use of chile in and on almost everything.  The green chile cheeseburger has been a staple on menus around the state of New Mexico since at least the middle of the 1900s.

Continue reading Green Chile Cheeseburger: Denver or Santa Fe?

Empanada Excellence

Argentine specialties & ‘futbol’ decor in Boulder.

007Rincon Argentino brings a bit of Argentina to central Boulder.  This fast-casual eatery in The Village shopping center specializes in empanadas — those tasty little pouches of dough that are filled and either baked or fried — at Rincon, they are baked.  Fifteen appear on the restaurant’s menu, each with a different shape. The cognoscenti recognize what filling is in which empanada shape (or at least, which is the favorite). For the rest of us, there are sheets with pictures and captions.

Futbol (aka soccer) on television and framed memorabilia on the walls.
Futbol (aka soccer) on television and framed memorabilia on the walls. Superstars Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi dominate the collection.

In addition to moderately priced Argentine specialties and futbol, Ricon Argentino is also the place to go for mate (traditional, yerba or iced), various espresso options, local beer or wine from Argentina. There is also a small selection of Argentine prepared foods and grocery items.

Two cross-cultural  empanadas: #10, a caprese empanada, and #9, filled with ham and both mozzarella and provolone cheeses.
Two cross-cultural empanadas: #10, a caprese empanada, and #9, filled with ham and both mozzarella and provolone cheeses.
A heap of halved cherry tomatoes make this salad sing.
A heap of halved cherry tomatoes and and a plastic ramekin of flavorful chimichurri make this mixed salad sing.

The website is currently (still) under construction at this writing. It does indicate when the restaurant is open (closed Sundays, it says), The take-out menu that I picked up indicates that Monday is the closed day. Advice: double-check.

Price check: Empanadas, $3.40 each; gluten-free tartas (empanada pies), $6.50; salads, $3.40-$4.50 for side salads and $9.80 for entrée salads; sandwiches, $5.75-$9.50; desserts, $3-$4.99.

Rincon Argentino on Urbanspoon

Seasons is Tops in Any Season

Downtown Durango spot for good food, drinks & service.e

031My husband and I drove to Durango to take my son out for his 21st birthday, complete with a bottle of bubbly to celebrate. His choice was Seasons Rotisserie and Grill. A good choice it was too. On that warm late September evening, we sat on the patio and happily acknowledged an important milestone in his life. That was in 2003, and since then, Seasons has undergone a lot. In 2008, a devastating and fire ripped through the block. The restaurant and neighboring businesses were destroyed. Fortunately, Seasons rebuilt, more attractive and welcoming than before.

On Easter weekend 2015, with winter still over our shoulders, four of us went to Seasons and were seated in a cozy booth. The food was even better than I remembered, and the beverage list and fine service matched the cuisine. As the name implies, the menu changes seasonally, and as can be expected, local purveyors are used and acknowledged on the menu: James Ranch, LB Coop, Banga’s Farm, Rainbow Springs, Adobe House Farm, MT Roots, Bob Laitsch (known locally for his heritage pigs), Southern Roots Farm, Southwest Farm Fresh and Rohwer’s Farm.

Four of us started out sharing the rich and silky Duck Liver Mousse with house-made pickles
Four of us started out sharing the rich and silky Duck Liver Mousse with house-made pickles.
THe other that we shared was the Raclette with Alpine cheese melted in an cast-iron pan and served with wedges of local red potatoes, more pickles and grilled ciabatta. Not traditional, but good nonetheless.
THe other that we shared was the Raclette with Alpine cheese melted in an cast-iron pan and served with wedges of local red potatoes, more pickles and grilled ciabatta. Not traditional, but good nonetheless.

A hearty beef sirloin accompanied by local Yukon Gold smashers, onion strings and a fine demi-glace.

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Gnocchi Bolognese made with local meat ragu -- and please
Gnocchi Bolognese made with local meat ragu — and please “hold the Romano.”

Price Check: Starters, $3-$13; Soup & Salad, $7.50-$10; Pan roasted & Sautéed, $20-$24; Wood Fire Grill & Rotisserie, $17-$28, plus several at market price.

Seasons Grill on Urbanspoon

Unhappy Hour Farewell to Volta

Boulder is about to lose a wonderful Mediterranean restaurant.

001My jaw dropped in sadness and in surprise when I learned that owners Jon and Eleni Deering, owners of Volta, are closing the restaurant and planning to move to Portland, Oregon. Sunday, March 29 is the last day, ending with a farewell taverna dinner where the tears will surely flow along with the wine.  The couple put their hearts and their passion into this terrific restaurant located at Canyon and Folsom next to McGuckin’s. The location, it turns out, was too challenging. Downtown, the couple feels, would have made a world of difference. This is actually surprising, since people tend to complain about the lack of parking in downtown Boulder, and the McGuckin’s lot provided ample parking.

I’ve been there a number of times, mostly for happy hour in the restaurant with modern art on the walls or on the enchanting patio. I also had two fabulous multi-course dinners there: once with a group of food bloggers not long after it opened (click here) and just last October when it celebrated its first anniversary with a special menu (click here). Sadly, there will not6 be a second anniversary. My husband and I went to Volta this evening, again enjoying the tapas menu at happy hour where we made  farewell toast and ordered favorites from the small plates menu — for the last time.

There are as many versions of hummus as there are chefs and cooks around the eastern Mediterranean or inspired by that region.
There are as many versions of hummus as there are chefs and cooks around the eastern Mediterranean or inspired by that region. Volta’s is mostly smooth but with a tad of texture and a fine flavor with chickpeas dominant.
Olives of various colors and flavors come in a small dish.
Olives of various colors and flavors come in a small dish.
Individual pizza with mushrooms, onions and a bit of cheese.
Individual pizza with mushrooms, onions and a bit of cheese.
Spanakopita -- spinach ad cheese in a flaky phyllo crust -- is one of my favorite Greek specialties. Volta serves it with excellent yogurt sauce and tzatziki, a traditional yogurt and cucumber sauce.
Spanakopita — spinach and cheese in a flaky phyllo crust — is one of my favorite Greek specialties. Volta serves it with excellent tzatziki, a traditional yogurt and cucumber sauce, and a few greens.

Price check: At happy hour (which Volta calls “tapas hour,” small plates range from $1 to $10.

Best wishes to the Deerings for the next chapter in their lives. Lucky Portland!