Category Archives: Restaurant & multiple restaurants

Good Greek Food in Boulder

Casual, independent eatery’s fresh food.

I wanted to stretch my legs on the drizzly day of errands, so I walked from McGuckin’s to REI. Boulderites will know my route. As I passed the shuttered Volta Restaurant, I rued its loss, but it did put me the mood for Greek food. I recalled a little Greek place in a nearby strip mall. Our errands completed, my husband and I headed for the Kalita Grill Greek Café.  Good decision.

The kitchen is visible from the order counter. The small staff (family?) delivers food to the table.

This is an order a-the-counter place. While there is not a hip open kitchen, the whistle-clean kitchen is visible as you wait to order. Hot food is delivered to the table hot; salads are cold; desserts are room temperature. I don’t know whether every single phyllo thing is made in-house, but everything we had was fresh and tasty — and the portions were generous.

Two skewers of moist and tender chicken breast meat, nicely seasoned and perfectly grilled, are the main attractions of the Chicken Souvlaki plate. It comes with a good Greek salad (feta held at my husband’s request), pita and a small side of house-made tzatziki sauce.
Spanakopita is one of my favorites. Kalita serves two phyllo-wrapped spinach pies that are crisp and flaky, Alongside is a feta-sprinkled Greek salad and some of that fine tzatziki sauce.
Sweet stuff in phyllo. On the left, walnut-filled flogera, a tube-shaped pastry squiggled with dark chocolate. On the right, pistachio-heavy baklava with honey.

If I have one criticism of this wonderful, reasonably priced café, it is the music selection. Greek tunes would be far better than the elevator music-style light jazz — just for the ambiance.

Price check: Soups, $3.50 for a cup, $3.99 for a bowl; gyro sandwiches and shawarma warps, $6.50-$8.50 (plus $2.99 for coma with fries, salad or soup and soda); salads, $8.50-$10.50; plates, $8.99-$12.99;  sides, $1.50-$5.99; desserts, $3.25-$3.99.

Zomato has not yet discovered Kalita, which is in at 2426 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder; 303-443-0596. It is in the row of businesses between So-Fro Fabrics and Doug’s Day Diner.

Rustic Mountain-Town Treasure

Meadow Mountain Café in Allenspark fills up with regulars — and newbies like us.

I can hardly believe that I knew nothing about the Meadow Mountain Café on the business loop of the Peak to Peak Highway. The hamlet of Allenspark’s summer homes and rental cabins draw Texans, Oklahomans, Kansans and other flatlanders, and the café also attracts regulars from Longmont, Lyons and Berthoud. Locals said they come up a few times a year. Judging from the social media comments, it seems that breakfast or lunch at the Meadow Mountain Café is one of the things that draws these vacationers to town.

Walk up a few steps with buttons embedded in the mortar between the stones, pass a forest of birdhouses to a porch that I’m sure is delightful when it’s a tad warmer than it was yesterday morning. Enter the funky, rustic café with about a handful of tables and friendly, efficient service. There was a butt on every chair when we walked in, but happily, one party vacated a right-size table for our party of five. Sharing a table with others is actually OK too.

A miscellany in random frames hang on knotty pine walls. Above are two shelves of mostly figural salt-and-pepper shakers. We expected to see corned beef hash on the “specials” blackboard because our friend told us they were always served the morning of St. Patrick’s Day — but alas, no more.
Santa and Mrs. Claus, a jolly pair at the center of the table along with sugar, hot sauce and flimsy flatware and paper napkins in a holder occupy the center of the table.

Peruse the laminated menu. It lists the items — nothing exotic, but everything served in generous portions on random heavy-duty plates. The coffee comes in random heavy-duty mugs. I didn’t ask for cappuccino!

Heuvos rancheros with a choice of red or green chile, an egg and a folded tortilla.
Exceptional breakfast burrito is plump and fully loaded.
By contrast, the powdered sugar-topped whole wheat waffles with pecan add-on seems positively spartan.

Price check: Eggs, $7.50-$8.95; 4-egg omelets, $8.95-$10.95 (2-egg versions also available); Pancakes, French Toast & Waffles,  $4.25-$9.50 (1, 2 or 3 pancakes per order); sides, 75¢-$3.50.

441 Business Highway 7, Allenspark; 303-747-2541.

Meadow Mountain Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

LOW Now in LoHi

Steamboat Springs restaurant’s new location in hot Denver ‘hood.

Two and a half years ago, I learned to appreciate Southern cooking at the original LOW Country Kitchen in Steamboat Springs. Click here for my epiphany. Now Brian and Katy Vaughn have brought LOW to Denver, specifically to LoHi. I love the synergy between these names.

The bar and some tables are located at street level, with the rest of the dining room behind, a few steps higher and separated by a high room-dividing wall. Gray and white are the dominant hues. The food, served family-style to our group of invited media, echoes the fare in Steamboat Springs.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Mash, a welcoming cocktail of Four Roses bourbon, charred strawberry and rhubarb shrub, lemon slide and Amaro Sfumato. I had to look up “shrub” as it pertained to a cocktail ingredient. Turns out that it dates back to Colonial times and refers to a pre-refrigeration way of preserving fragile fruits by make a syrup of them.

Continue reading LOW Now in LoHi

Frasca & Redzikowski are Beard Finalists

Colorado contending for Outstanding Restaurant & Best Chef Southwest .

Narrowing down the annual list of James Beard Award winners is a length process: nominations, semi-finalists and finalists all announced with deliberate timing by the James Beard Foundation. Two Colorado contenders have made it to the finalist round: Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine in the Outstanding Restaurant category and Steve Redzikowski of Boulder’s Oak on Fourteenth and both Acorn and Brider in Denver as Best Chef, Southwest. As I have written before, being nominated is an honor. Being a finalist is greater honor. And winning a Beard Award is, well, over the moon.

NOMA Popping Up in Tulum

Fabled Copenhagen restaurant’s next temp location in Mexico.

René Redzepi, the wildly creative owner/chef of NOMA in Copenhagen, set the culinary world on its collective ear when the restaurant began collecting Michelin stars and was named the Best Restaurant In The World by San Pellegrino. It wasn’t fancy French cuisine. It wasn’t classically Italian. Or nouvelle anything. It was original. Redzepi became the first star chef to make exquisite dishes from foraged food — no small feat in Scandinavia.

La Zebra at the edge of the jungle where NOMA will set up shop; for just seven weeks.

Following successful pop-ups in Tokyo and Sydney, the next temporary NOMA is soon coming to Tulum on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. This tropical area provides very different ingredients and a way longer growing season, but there is no doubt that Redzepi’s team can meet the challenge.  From April 12 through May 28 , NOMA Mexico takes up residency outdoors under the canopy of the jungle, close to La Zebra, a Colibri boutique hotel  in Tulum on what is promotionally called the Mexican Riviera.

The NOMA Mexico pop-up reunites René Redzepi with Rosio Sanchéz to develop a new and original menu using only local and indigenous Mexican ingredients. Sanchez is a first-generation Mexican-American from Chicago, a former NOMA  head pastry chef and now owner of the taqueria Hija de Sanchez in a Copenhagen market hall.  Sanchez and the NOMA team have reportedly begun to develop their vision for the Mexico residency. A group of international chefs has been traveling across the country in search of inspiration, flavors and preparations from Mexico City to Ensenada, from Chiapas to Puebla, from Oaxaca to Guadalajara and throughout the Yucatán Peninsula for inspiration.

Like all things NOMA, the experience does not come cheap. It is $600 per person person (plus 16% local tax and 9% service charge) for a multi-course tasting menu, beverage pairing including a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, water and tea/coffee. Click here if you have the urge and the budget for what promises to be an extraordinary experience, but don’t be surprised if reservations are impossible to obtain.

Click here for La Zebra’s hotel and dining package (if available) that includes “access to purchase two tickets” for the NOMA Mexico pop-up restaurant, a minimum of a two-night accommodation for two and daily à la carte breakfast. Options previously announced: Deluxe Package, $1,550 per person for three nights’ accommodations for 2 in a seaview suite; Premium Package, $1,850 for same but in a beachfront, ground-level suite with plunge pool, or Penthouse Package, $2,500, same but in a beachfront penthouse with “private ocean view” and plunge pool. Not within waddling distance after the feast but alternatives if La Zebra has no rooms on a particular night are three other Colibri hotels nearby (Mi Amor, El Pez and Mezzanine).

Flagstaff House Cited for Views

Dining rooms with views list includes Boulder’s finest dining aerie.

The Culture Trip’s “14  Most Stunning Restaurant Settings in the U.S.” includes Boulder’s Flagstaff House. No argument from me. Not just the view but the ambiance, service, wine list and of course, the food are also stratospheric.

Just a five-minute drive from Boulder, find Flagstaff House: a family-owned establishment built into the mountainside. At an elevation of 6,000 feet (1,828.8 meters), views from the window-encased dining room and outdoor patio overlook the city and surrounding mountain scenery. Known for its extensive wine list – Flagstaff House has a 15,000-bottle wine cellar on-site – and French-American cuisine, this Boulder favorite is perfect for special occasions and romantic evenings.

Congrats to the Flagstaff House for yet another honor. We have a 25th anniversary coming up next year.  Hint, hint, hint to my husband.  🙂

 

Cochon 555 Returns to Denver

Reprise of chef competition featuring heritage breed pork.

The ninth annual Cochon 555 is back on Sunday, March 19, this year at The Curtis Hotel.  Pork lovers flock to this event, Denver’s tribute to “the other white meat” and what leading local chefs do with it. In addition to chefs, winemakers, distillers, farmers, brewers and bartenders bring their best products and creations.

At last year’s event, chef/restaurateur Troy Guard won the Prince of Porc title. Next, the five following chefs compete for the same title for 2017:
Bill Miner, il Porcellino Salumi, Denver
Will Nolan, Eight K, Viceroy Snowmass
Darrel Truett, Barolo Grill, Denver
Hosea Rosenberg, Blackbelly Market, Boulder
Burton Koelliker, Osteria Marco, Denver

Each chef is given one whole heritage breed pig of 200 pounds and one week to prepare the whole animal. Each chef must present a “Judge’s Plate” of six dishes that a panel of 20 “notable” judges score on utilization, global influences, cooking techniques and overall flavor.  The winner is crowned the “BBQ Prince/Princess” of Denver — even though not all dishes are barbecue items.

For the price of admission, attendees sample 30 chef/competitor- created dishes,  plus beef tartare with the wines of Antica Napa Valley; farmhouse cheeses; baked goods from a La Brea pop-up bakery; bites from a salami snack bar from Creminelli and Divina; ramen noodle soups paired with wines from Twomey and Silver Oak Cellars wines; organic pâté from Les Trois Petit Cochons; Sabatino truffle butter and more; and an innovative take on classic pastry presented by Perfect Puree of Napa Valley.
For beverages, Buffalo Trace and DRY Sparkling, Smoked Old Fashioneds with Breckenridge Bourbon, a Tiki Bar featuring Angostura Rum; a Courvoisier Cognac ‘neat’ tasting with hand-crafted caramels and a Heritage Rum Cart.

Tickets for general admission start at $125; VIP tickets (early admission + exclusive sommelier and cocktail competition tastings) are $200. A portion of all proceeds goes to Cochon555’s sister charity, Piggy Bank. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.cochon555.com/2017-tour/Denver and scroll down.