Category Archives: Restaurant & multiple restaurants

The Bell Tolls for Conor O’Neill’s

Boulder Irish pub to close after 17 years.

conoroneill-logoConor O’Neill’s, downtown Boulder’s Irish pub, has that time-worn ambiance of a place that’s been around for decades. In truth, became an instant institution a mere 17 years ago. It is closing on October 2, collateral damage from Boulder’s construction boom. First, its cozy back room and congenial patio fell victim to demolition/construction virtually in its backyard.

Little wonder that it felt so genuinely Irish. The owners has the whole restaurant built in Ireland. “The light fixtures, the furniture, the antiques and even the paintings on the walls were all made in Ireland and shipped over,” co-founder Colm O`Neill told the Daily Camera in 1999. “We even have four Irish bartenders who have come over to the states to work for us.”

With the shuttering of the pub, the fate of the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade that “marches up and down the block is in  question. Meanwhile, the other Conor ONeiil’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan presumably will remain open.1922 13th Street, Boulder; 303- 449-1922.

…and in Denver
The Campus Lounge, a popular Bonnie Brae watering hole, closed yesterday after 40 years. Click here for the local CBS News report on its last day.

 

Westword’s DISH Food Fest Tomorrow

All you can eat and all you can drink at DCPA event.

westworddish-logoMore than 40 Denver restaurants and other food purveyors are doing their culinary thing in the shadow of the “Two Dancers” sculpture at the Denver Performing Arts Complex tomorrow, September 25, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  during the 22nd annual Westword DISH food festival. It’s a bargain as such things go — $20 general admission and $75 VIP early entry. Both levels include unlimited food samples and beverages (Stella Artois beer and others).

Syrup, Little Man Ice Cream, The Real Dill, Aikopops, Onefold, Biker Jim’s, Roaming Buffalo BBQ, The Vegan Van, Dirt Coffee Bar, Interstate Kitchen, Neighbors Wine Bar, Milk & Cake, Brazen, Il Porcellino, Frijoles Colorado, Amore Gelato, Jozi’s Kitchen & Sheebeen, Americatus, the Nickel and more will all be dishing samples at DISH. It’s not a family event, however, as it’s 21+. (Take RTD and bring an ID.)

You can buy tickets online or at the entrance beginning at 10 a.m. with no service fee.

Rebirth of a Culinary Landmark

Former John’s Restaurant location reborn as River and Woods.

011The small house at 2328 Pearl Street in Boulder long was John’s Restaurant, an atmospheric, romantic, family-run restaurant.  Chef-restaurateur John Bizzarro operated the place for decades, and then Corey Buck took over. Eventually, Buck moved on and the quaint cottage stood empty. John and his wife Nancy still own the building, and they were determined that no chain would occupy the space. It took a while to find a team to renovate and operate it.

John's exterior was red. The new paint job is sky blue with dark trim.
John’s exterior was red. The new paint job is sky blue with dark trim.

That team, publisher/restaurateur Josh Dinar and Denver star chef Daniel Asher, have created River and Woods, a new paradigm in Boulder dining. There is neither river nor woods nearby, but the name implies a simpler, more natural approach to food.  Asher was behind the cutting-edge food at Denver’s Root Down, Linger and Ophelia’s. Dinar is a co-owner of Boulder’s T|ACO, co-founder of First Bite Boulder and publisher of DiningOut Magazines.

The bar near the entrance is light and bright -- at least in daylight. We'll have to see what it's like on a winter evening when the sun sets early.
The beam-ceilinged bar near the entrance is light and bright — at least in daylight. We’ll have to see what it’s like on a winter evening when the sun sets early.
Outdoor tables made from gorgeous rustic reclaimed wood.
Outdoor tables made from gorgeous rustic reclaimed wood.

River and Woods is a sprightly new space with a terrific outdoor backyard. A few rustic tables and wooden barrels were scattered amid the trees on pre-opening weekend, and there’s also an outdoor kitchen that wasn’t yet operating. The new menu uses local ingredients to create food that is both familiar and infused with innovation. Some of the recipes are tributes to the Bizzarro days. Others derive from contributions solicited from Boulder foodies. Still others come from the fertile culinary mind of Daniel Asher.

Chef Daniel Asher passing River and Woods' unusual and excellent gazpacho.
Chef Daniel Asher passing River and Woods’ unusual and excellent gazpacho.

We were invited to the Friday night opening party where wonderful small bites were  passed around (spicy corn dogs were the best — and I don’t generally like corn dogs all that much). And today, we sampled the real thing at a Friends and Family Brunch.

When is a Bloody Mary not a Bloody Mary? When it's made with the restaurants Tomato Barbato Gazpacho, which I'd loved two evenings before, and Spring 44 Vodka and an application of lime salt on the side ot the glass.
When is a Bloody Mary not a Bloody Mary? When it’s made with the restaurant’s Tomato Barbato Gazpacho, which I’d loved two evenings before, plus Spring 44 Vodka and an application of lime salt one the side of the glass. Look closely next to the lime wedge and you’ll spot it. The gazpacho recipe was shared by Lisa Barbato, a Spanish teacher at Boulder High School.
The improbably delicious croissant BLT is loaded with Tenderbelly bacon, organic greens, heirloom tomato, two-year cedar from Vermont, Calabrian pepper aioli and a Cottonwood Creek egg, over easy. On the side, the restaurant's excellent breakfast potato. Josh Dinar told me that his 10-year-old son made these breakfast sandwiches. The kid has a future!
The improbably delicious croissant BLT is loaded with Tenderbelly bacon, organic greens, heirloom tomato, two-year cheddar from Vermont, Calabrian pepper aioli and a Cottonwood Creek egg, over easy. On the side, the restaurant’s excellent breakfast potato. Josh Dinar told me that his 10-year-old son assembled these breakfast sandwiches. The kid has a future!
Zimmer Challah French Toast, a recipe contributed by Pat Miller (aka, Gabby Gourmet) from a recipe she got from Sara Zimmer a concentration camp survivor. In this tribute dish, the challah bread with Marionberry cream cheese and baked in an individual lidded cast iron mini-casserole until the top is golden. On the side, warm maple syrup,, those excellent breakfast potatoes and some dressed organic greens
Zimmer Challah French Toast from, a recipe contributed by Pat Miller (aka, Gabby Gourmet) from a recipe she got from the late Sara Zimmer, a concentration camp survivor. In this tribute dish, soaked challah bread is combined with Marionberry cream cheese and baked in an individual cast iron mini-casserole until the top is browned.. On the side, warm maple syrup, those excellent breakfast potatoes and some dressed organic greens.
Close-up of the top of the French toast.
Close-up of the top of the French toast.
A generous cup of coffee, attractively served as is everything else at River and Woods.
A generous cup of coffee, attractively served — as is everything else at River and Woods.

The old John’s Restaurant was a special-occasion place to dine, and judging by our initial experience, River and Woods will be that as well.

Price Check: At brunch, entrées, $7-$13.

River and Woods is at 2328 Pearl Street, Boulder.

Hot Start to Mild Mexican

Classic favorites on Old Santa Fe Grille menu.

001The chips and salsa were the first things delivered to the table when my husband, two friends and I sat down for lunch at the Old Santa Fe Mexican Grille in Louisville. I dipped a large chip into the dish of salsa, bit into it, swallowed and started coughing as soon as it hit my throat. I like hot and spicy, but there must of been some ingredient in that salsa that got to me. No water had been delivered yet, and no waiter or busser was in sight, so it was a while before our waiter appeared and brought some relief in the form of tall plastic glasses filled with water. No one else was affected the way I was.

French baskets of big crisp chips were replaced whenever the neared emptiness.
FresWe were thereh baskets of big crisp chips were replaced whenever the neared emptiness.

The food when it came was standard-issue, comfortable Mexican — the usual dishes and combination plates — which is to say that there was shredded iceberg lettuce,  chunked tomato and shredded cheese.  I can only identify what my husband and I ate, but here are all four plates:

Combo plate of beef taco, smothered chile relleno and enchilada with no rice but double beans.
Combo plate of beef taco, smothered chile relleno and enchilada with no rice but double beans.

004

Spinach enchiladas smothered in green chili with rice and pintos alongside.
A pair or spinach enchiladas smothered in green chili with rice and pintos alongside.

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When the waiter overheard that we were there to celebrate one friend's birthday, he brought a basket of sopapillas with one squeeze bottle of honey (common) and one of caramel (unusual).
When the waiter overheard that we were there to celebrate one friend’s birthday, he brought a basket of sopapillas with one squeeze bottle of honey (common) and one of caramel (unusual).

Price check: The cheapest items on the menu are some apps for $7.99; the most espensive, an order of steak, pork sausages and more, $19.99.

592 McCaslin Blvd. (physically just behind the McDonald’s),  Louisville; 720-890-8456
Old Santa Fe Mexican Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

No Holds Barred at Bar Dough Brunch

McKissock’s LoHi hit adds weekend brunch.

024Drives to Denver in the middle of the day are usually predictably mellow and stress-free. Traffic is light, and if it slows down, I can switch to “Toll” on my transponder. Except this past Thursday, when a couple of cars piled into the concrete barrier and/or each other on Davidson Mesa, and  traffic backed up behind the accident. I’m betting that one or both drivers were texting of jabbering on their phones.

I was irritated, because I was heading for Bar Dough, Max McKissock’s highly praised restaurant in LoHi for a brunch preview. I arrived after the other guests had done damage to several of the dishes. What was left looked good, and what was served from  then on was delicious and beautifully presented.

Simple modern lines serve as a setting for Bar Dough's complex dishes.
Simple modern lines serve as a setting for Bar Dough’s complex dishes.
I suppose it helps to be oa certain age to recognize French sexpot Brigitte Bardot perching on a bar somewhere in France in this picture perching on Bar Dough's bar. Love the humor.
I suppose it helps to be of a certain age to recognize French movie star Brigitte Bardot perching on a bar somewhere in France in this picture perching on Bar Dough’s bar. Love the humor.

Continue reading No Holds Barred at Bar Dough Brunch

Colorado Proud Dinner Coming in Centennial

South suburban ViewHouse hosts feast of in-state products.

ColoradoProud-logoIf I posted news of every wine-pairing dinner and fundraising feast in Colorado, I’d write about nothing else and (I probably wouldn’t have much time to sleep either), but fresh from the Governor’s Cup wine event, I have things grown, raised and in Colorado on my mind. August is Colorado Proud Month, highlighted by a Colorado Proud dinner party on August 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Centennial ViewHouse’s fabulous open-air dining room.

Executive chef Jose Guerrero has crafted a ‘Colorado Proud’ four-course dinner made with local meats and produce, craft cocktails and wine, plus live acoustic music (which I hope won’t be so loud that guests won’t be able to talk about the food made from  agricultural products that are grown, raised or processed in Colorado.

THE MENU*

  •  First Course. Braised Tender Belly Pork Belly with Pueblo Peppers, CO Popcorn Grits, Grilled Tricolor Corn, Pork Belly Jus and Micro Bulls Blood.
  • Second Course. Mixed Beet Confit served with Baby Arugula, Colorado Nut Brittle, Colorado Honey-Goat Emulsion and Micro Chives.
  • Third Course. Peppercorn Glazed Colorado Striped Bass and Lamb Chop with Disanti Bean Succotash, Roasted Fingerlings, Tender Belly Lardons, Lamb Jus and Micro Lolo Roassa.
  • Fourth Course. Dessert Trio with Cantaloupe Mouse, Peach Tart and Honey Dew Sorbet in a Sugar Cookie Sandwich.

*The menu above came from the organizer. I am not familiar with some of the products, so if you have questions or an issue, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

Purveyors from around the state include Denver’s Tender Belly, Parker’s Mountain Man Nut & Fruit, Longmont’s Haystack Goat Cheese and Rocky Mountain Eggs. Spirit and wine pairings come from Loveland’s Spring 44 and Denver’s Infinite Monkey Theorem.
Tickets for the dinner and beverage pairings are $55 per person (plus tax or gratuity), and guests must be 21 or older to attend. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the restaurant at 303-848-3366. It is located at 7101 South Clinton Street, Centennial.

Seafood Restaurant Wins Denver Burger Battle

Judges awarded top burger honors to Stoic & Genuine.

DenverBurgerBattle-logoI wasn’t at the sold-out Denver Burger Battle the other day, and I might not even write about it here except that I was tickled by the irony that Stoic & Genuine’s entry was selected as the best of the 15 entries selected by a panel of judges. Stoic & Genuine, one of the fine restaurants in Union Station, specializes in seafood, and the winning entry is offered on its lunch menu. The People’s Choice honors went to the Cherry Cricket, whose burgers are perennial favorites among carnivores.