On previous visits to Santa Fe, lunch or dinner at Cafe Pasqual ‘s has been on the food docket. I always enjoy this cheery eatery a couple of short blocks from The Plaza. The breakfast items are unusual, with flavorful versions of popular New Mexican favorites plus items I’ve never seen before.
Former John’s location to be reborn as innovative seasonal eatery.
Come summer, a new community-focused restaurant called River & Woods should be open in the charming old John’s Restaurant space on Boulder’s East Pearl Street. John’s. This jewel of a special occasion restaurant was as classic as they come, but River & Woods will be nontraditional — innovatively crowed-sourced from funding to recipes.
The marquee name is Daniel Asher, the talented and idealistic chef who is known for his obsession with local agriculture, sustainable sourcing, seasonality and food justice. He was culinary director of The Edible Beats Group (Root Down, Linger, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox), and he continues to oversee sustainability and culture for the group.
The partnership opening this restaurant consists of Asher and Josh and Kate Dinar (he being the publisher of DiningOut magazines in Denver and other cities, cofounder of First Bite Boulder and other food-related enterprises). Crowdfunding via Indiegogo is part of the business plan. The project raised nearly $5,000 in its first 15 hours. Maybe other restaurants have tapped into such sources, but I sure am not familiar with any. It is hard to imagine Asher needing help in developing recipes for the restaurant’s planned “Colorado comfort cuisine,” but there is a call for just that in order to engage customers in the totality of the restaurant.
Not only is the vintage building at 2328 Pearl Street being brought up to snuff, but there is to be a large, fully-enclosed backyard oasis. The building comes from a time when lots were generous, even in the city, so I’m guessing that it will sizable. In the plan — a grassy area for kids to run, an outdoor rotisserie and food bar, a mobile beer, wine and cocktail bar, strung lights and beautiful landscaping, Sounds lovely.
A few days ago, my friend Julia Joun and I took ourselves on our own food tour in River North (RiNo), an emerging neighborhood in Denver. Her foodie credentials are solid. She she runs the Flatirons Food Film Festival. At this point, my credentials reside mainly on this blog, which I’m proud to say has won several awards. We left Boulder at 9:30 a.m. and didn’t return until almost 6 p.m. What a great and delicious day.
We actually started at Rosenberg’s Bagels in Five Points, near enough to RiNo to count. A couple of years ago, when bagel shop and deli were a bright gleam in Josh Pollack’s eye, he stopped by and dropped off a bag of New York-style bagels. Were they ever good! Read my post here.
The Welton Street light-rail stop is directly in front of Rosenberg’s door, while some customers, like us, come in the back way from Clarkson. The gal from one of the city’s Whole Foods came in that way too, to pick up the morning order. Whole Foods is fussy about its sourcing, so this is a testimonial to the quality, taste and authenticity. Knowing that we had a long day of eating ahead, we shared an everything bagel with salmon cream cheese.
Babette’s Bakery at The Source
If one baked item for breakfast is good, two are better, so Julia and I proceeded to The Source, a renovated, repurposed and totally cool 1880s foundry that now houses restaurants, retailers, watering holes and other semi-related businesses.
We made a beeline for Babette’s Bakery, which initially became known for its fabulous artisainal French country breads. The pastries fall in the to-die-for category too. We split one, bought things to take home — Julie snagged some bread to take home, and I bought a ham and cheese croissant for my husband.
Downtown main drag gets a sparkling new restaurant.
When I moved to Boulder, Rev Taylor’s Country Restaurant in downtown Niwot was a rustic dining destination on the second floor of an old wooden building. It has been closed for many years, but finally, a new place occupies the building. The 1914 House, which opened a few weeks ago, is on the main floor. No need to climb creaky stairs to eat.
The space is now warm and modern, with the makings of an outdoor patio complete with raised fire pit on the side. A small waiting area at the entrance, a bar to the left and booths and tables beyond are bathed in the glow of attractive light fixtures. Four of us sat in the comfortable arc of a semi-circular banquette, giving each of us a view of the dining room. The only flaw was that our shiny oak tabletop was already warped, and anything placed to near the edge landed on the floor. Fortunately, only flatware hit the deck. The lovely stemware was unscathed.
The service is still a little hiccuppy, but the American menu features a mix of nostalgia dishes and contemporary ones. The cocktail list looks good, but we all opted for glasses of wine from an eclectic list. It came in individual carafes, left for us to pour into nice glasses at will. Although the waiter assured me that the menu is available online, it isn’t, so I can’t provide the official name of each dish or the customary Price Check.
The 1914 House is at 21 Second Avenue, Niwot; 303-588-5511.
The weather forecast for this coming weekend is uninspiring, but I hope the weathercasters are wrong and this Sunday afternoon is dry. The seventh annual Taste of Pearl is a picaresque event with 15 Boulder restaurants paired with 15 Colorado wineries that are hosted in 15 of downtown Boulder’s best boutiques and galleries.
Attendees will enjoy a stroll from one location to the next a lot more if it is not raining. It takes place on April 17 from 2 to 6 p.m. in the heart of what is called “America’s foodiest town.” Click here for participating restaurants and here for participating wineries.
VIP tickets are sold out, but some general tickets are still available for $65 if bought online, and a limited number may be on sale for $70 the day of the event at the Visitor Information Center(1301 Pearl Street in front of the courthouse).
Samples of food and wine from all participating restaurants and wineries.
Keepsake wine glass.
A re-usable wine carry bag.
A compostable, re-usable wine plate to hold your wine glass while tasting the food.
$5 off a bottle of wine from one of the participating wineries.
Special Offers for event attendees at hosting retail locations (including drawings, free gifts with purchase, discounts and more).
Ambitious eatery offers varied menu & modest prices.
Span-ish is a breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant that occupies a big U-shaped space that was previously Five Guys Burgers. The chain closed this location On The Hill in favor of Twenty Ninth Street, which harbors the majority of Boulder’s fast casual eateries. In his year-end roundup of his 15 favorite dishes, Daily Camera restaurant critic included Span-ish’s Chicken Marsala. I should try it next time.
We went there for early dinner before a performance on the CU campus. We were the only party in the unpretentious dining room until a few other people came in. By the time we left, there were never more than four occupied tables — on a Friday evening. Perhaps things will pick up after Span-ish gets its liquor license sometime after April 20. Perhaps it’s busier at breakfast and lunch. I hope so.
The modest-sized menu is a grab-bag of dishes from various roots: some Italian, more Latin American than Spanish, seafood, a couple of steaks and surprisingly pad Thai. The portions are generous. It bills itself as serving budget-friendly fine dining. Easy on the wallet? Yes. Fine dining? Maybe in the context of The Hill — except, do remember that Cafe Aion is right down the street.
Price check: At dinner, starters, $6.50-$10; entrées, $14-$18, plus two steak dishes at $25 each.
Zomato.com has not yet found Span-ish, which is at 1143 13th Street, Boulder; 720-465-9063.
Project to cut down on red meat consumption & up taste.
This is the second year for the Blended Burger Project, designed to make burgers “better” by combining ground meat with chopped mushrooms. Not a promotion directly aimed at consumers (that is, you and me), it challenges chefs to create “an incredibly delicious burger that’s healthier for your guests and more sustainable for the planet.” The burgers, which are to be on the restaurants’ menus from Memorial Day through July 31, must be made with at least 25% cultivated, chopped mushrooms. Foraged wild fungi need not apply.
The James Beard Foundation is behind the project, and winning chefs based on diners’ votes get a trip to prepare their blended burgers at the JBF Food Conference, October 17-18, the prestigious James Beard House in New York. I’m not clear on whether any Colorado chefs were involved last year, when it was called the Better Burger Project. The five winners were respectively from Indiana, Louisiana, Tennessee, California and Pennsylvania), but three of Denver’s best are offering a sneak peek to the 2016 project, and others are invited to participate, so there’s hope for this year. Chefs Alex Seidel (Fruition, Mercantile), Justin Brunson (Old Major, Masterpiece Deli) and Troy Guard (Guard & Grace, TAG Burger, Sunnyside Burger Bar and more) have each created their own renditions of a blended burger.
A media preview is scheduled at Fruition later in the month, but I’ll be out of town so won’t be able to attend. I regret the timing, because A) I believe that for environmental reasons, even the most responsibly raised beef cattle take their toll on the environment; B) for health reasons, many people need to cut down on their red meat consumption; C) I like mushrooms.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.