Category Archives: Store

A New Aspen Avalanche of Great Food

Avalanche Ranch spawns from-the-farm market & restaurant.

033Avalanche Cheese Company’s exemplary goat cheese burst on the Roaring Fork Valley culinary scene in 2008 and quickly became a major player on the Colorado artisanal cheese scene. Fast forward to 2014, and owner Wendy Mitchell opened Meat & Cheese, a combination restaurant, farm market and gourmet food market on the order of Alex Seidel’s Mercantile Dining & Provisions in Denver’s Union Station and Hosea Rosenberg’s Blackbelly in East Boulder that are restaurants plus something else.

At Meat & Cheese, the “something else” comprises Avalanche and other cheeses, salume and sandwiches fill the glass cases near the front door, while a long, skinny dining area along the left side of the space is for eat-in guests.

The cheese counter right at the front door features Avalanche and other cheeses.
The cheese counter right at the front door features Avalanche and other cheeses.

Even in the off-season between Thanksgiving and Christmas when i it’s mostly locals in town, the restaurant was buzzing, and with good reason. Locals know what’s good, whether a long-time favorite or, even more so, when there’s a new place. Meat & Cheese has a Continental air about it — what with the farm shop component, the superb artisanal cheeses and cured meats, house-made deli meats, seasonal produce, imported or America gourmet  foods in cans, packages or jars on a tall shelf.  And of course, there are craft beers and interesting wines by the glass and bottle.

Stylish informality means flatware in mason jars is on the reclaimed wood tables.
Stylish informality means flatware in mason jars is on the reclaimed wood tables.

Meat & Cheese is also a terrific place to go for lunch (order from the counter) or dinner  (table service), which I truly enjoyed with two companions. We happily shared “boards” and other items, just the way the menu was designed.

We combined items for the meat and cheese boards -- in a sense honoring the eatery's name. Country pate, pork terrine, saucisson rouge, mortadella, triple-cream brie, Apppalachian tome, cornichons, Herlocher's mustard, pear chutney and Avalanche's own levain bread.
We combined items from the meat and cheese boards — in a sense honoring the eatery’s name. Country pate, pork terrine, saucisson rouge, mortadella, triple-cream brie, Apppalachian tomme, cornichons, Herlocher’s mustard, pear chutney and Avalanche’s own levain bread.
Three grain salad is a healthy heap of black ride, faro and bulgur with roasted winter squash, red peppers, blue cheese, pine nuts and house vinaigrette.
Three grain salad is a healthy heap of black ride, faro and bulgur with roasted winter squash, red peppers, blue cheese, pine nuts and house vinaigrette.
A trio of Wagyu meatballs with hoisin sauce and pureed sweet potatoes with toasted cumin.
A trio of Wagyu meatballs with hoisin sauce and pureed sweet potatoes with toasted cumin.

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Winter spice cake with lime whipped cream encircled by honey.
Winter spice cake with lime whipped cream encircled by honey.

Price check: At dinner, “boards,” $6 (bread board), then $12-$40 (single to double) and local rotisserie chicken ($24 for half and $48 for whole); dinner, $-$28; desserts, $7.

I just alerted urbanspoon.com to Meat & Cheese. Until they add their graphic, know that it is at 319 East Hopkins Avenue, Aspen; 970-710-7120.

Savory Spices in Ketchup & Pickles

Vindaloo adds distinctive flavor to two local artisanal products.

SavoryKetchupSavory Spice Shop, a Denver-based provider of fresh-ground spices and handcrafted seasonings, has partnered with The Real Dill and Elevation Organic Ketchup to provide new spice-infused pickles and ketchup respectively. These products are available for a limited but unspecified time beginning on October 1, and The Real Dill actually had some jars at the Boulder County Farmers’ Market (we bought one).  They both use Vindaloo curry powder, one of Savory’s original signature blends. Savory takes the Vindaloo heat level down to what it calls “an approachable level so we could highlight those other flavors, particularly the cinnamon.”

This is the first co-branding in Savory’s 10-year history. The shops are now found in 13 states (California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington). Savory Spice Shop offers more than 500 high-quality spice-related products, including freshly ground herbs and spices, specialty salts and more than 175 handcrafted signature seasoning blends.

 

 

M-M-Mexican Spiced Coffee

Mexican coffee available on Colorado shelves.

CafeDeOlla-packageAt a recent dinner at The Fort, dessert was accompanied by a sweet, spicy coffee from Mexico. Turns out that this is one of the few items that this landmark restaurant does not make from scratch. They served Coffee de Olla, a balanced blend of Arabica coffee, an unrefined cone-shaped brown sugar called piloncillo, cinnamon, anise, cocoa and some other unnamed spices.

Wimpy coffee drinker that I am, I loved it. Traditionally, café de olla is made in a small clay or earthen pot called an olla. It involves grinding the coffee beans, dissolving the piloncillo, mixing, stirring and such. How much more efficient to make the prepared mixture in a French press.

The Fort sells the brand called Coffee de Olla, but I don’t even have to go that far. Piece, Love & Chocolate, which is right around the corner, also carries it. When we use up the gift bag that I brought back from dinner, I know just where to find it. It is also available by calling 720-236-8008.

Foodshift to the Foodshed

The “foodshed” concept is an interesting aspect of the locavore movement.

LocalFoodShift-logoI learned a new word yesterday evening: “foodshed.” Inspired by and analogous to the “watershed” concept, foodshed turns out to be an early 20th century word that has been revived as part of the locavore movement. A foodshed is a small geographic area that includes the boundaries of where food is produced, transported and consumed. Our foodshed encompasses Colorado’s Front Range and Plains. Click here for a resource directory.

That includes the land our food grows on, the routes it travels, the markets it goes through and in the end, the tables where it is eaten. It involves farmers’ markets, CSAs, food retailers, seasonality, restaurants and members of the public committed to buying food produced as nearby as possible, including growing some of your own. One of the Local Food Shift’s initiatives is the 10% Pledge, which asks members of the community to commit to spending at least 10% of their food budget locally, a big increase over the average 3% now. FoMoInfo or to sign up, click here.

The September floods that devastated many of the canyons and foothills communities also harshly impacted many farms and ranches on the Plains, plunging local food production into a state of uncertainty. There were immediate crop losses, loss of soil, loss of livestock feed, damage to and loss of infrastructure (including the critical ditch irrigation system) and of course, loss of income at the very peak of harvest season. Ironically, little of the millions in flood relief funds that flowed into Colorado was available to local farmers. The Boulder Community Foundation and the Boulder County Farmers’ Markets spearheaded the Front Range Farm Relief Fund to help out afflicted farmers.

Piece, Love & Maya Glyphs

Boulder chocolatier custom-makes pieces for new museum exhibition.

LogoWhile waiting for a media reception for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science‘s new “Maya: Hidden World’s Revealed” exhibition, I browsed the gift shop and say chocolates made by Boulder’s Piece, Love & Chocolate. Click here for my post about the show.

Piece, Love & Chocolate items are for sale at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science gift shop.
Special Piece, Love & Chocolate items are for sale at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science gift shop in conjunction with the current Maya exhibition..

Some of the items, like the sipping chocolate, are regularly or irregularly available at the downtown Boulder shop, but the chocolate glyphs were specially molded for the museum and the Mayan chocolate truffles are larger than the regular ones. The Maya-related chocolate items are on sale only at the museum shop and at the Boulder retail location.

Romesco Sauce from the Rockies

Classic Spanish sauce made by local Boulder company

TarragonaMapA message from Peter Guarino caught my eye for two reasons. First, he alerted me to a fairly new enterprise, a local food purveyor that he calls Peo’s Foods, and second, the food he currently purveys is Romesco sauce. The origins of this an intriguing and complex sauce are said to be in the seaside town of Tarragona in the Catalonian (or Catalunyan, as it is now spelled) region of eastern Spain. Tarragona is known for its Roman amphitheater by the sea, its remarkable double aqueduct and its beautiful cathedral.

The Mediterranean Sea forms a blue backdrop to Tarragona's Roman amphitheater .
The Mediterranean Sea forms a blue backdrop to Tarragona’s Roman amphitheater .

A lifetime ago, my first husband and I went to Tarragona on what was to be a day trip from Barcelona, where in a café, we met another couple from the US with whom we had a lot in common. I worked at Swissair at the time; she was with Air India. My heritage is Austrian; she had been born there. Our husbands had both served in the US Navy. They were renting a house in Tarragona and invited us to spend a couple of nights. My strongest food memories are of the fig tree growing outside the kitchen door and of her gone-local cooking. I had my first, unforgettable tastes both of aioli and of Romesco.

Traditionally,  fishermen from that region would bring in their catch, sell off the best fish for maximum profit and then concoct a stew of what was left with Romesco as a base. I’ve since tried my hand at both, and they turned out well. At heart, I am a from-scratch cook, but sometimes I am happy to be able to shortcut the process and serve a quality prepared product.

Peo's Foods' Romesco brings the taste of Tarragona to Colorado store shelves.
Peo’s Foods’ Romesco brings the taste of Tarragona to Colorado store shelves.

Peo’s Romesco sauce is very Boulder, being a product made from organic tomatoes, organic spices, organic olive oil, organic vinegar and nuts that are free of chemical pasteurization. Also, It is vegan-friendly, and this version his also gluten-, dairy- and GMO-free. Sometimes I think I’m the only person in Boulder with no food allergies or sensitivities, but avoiding GMO foods is one of my hot buttons.

Guarino recommends his complex sauce both for dipping and cooking.  He calls it “the Queen of Spanish Sauces.” If you are intrigued, click here for Colorado stores that currently carry it.

Cross-posted to Travel Babel.

A Few Select Kitchen Items at New Boulder Shop

LON’s Little Shop stresses great design

LON logo on shopping bag.
LON logo on shopping bag.

Lon McGowan grew up in the Vail Valley, nibbled at a restaurant career by working at Mirabelle in Avon, came to Boulder to attend CU and lived in Seattle before returning to Boulder — attracted by the many creative and entrepreneurial people here — much like himself. Last month, he opened LON Little Shop, a teensy downtown store with a big design focus.

The only commonality among LON Little Shop's selection is great design, as mandated by owner Lon McGowan. There are home accessories, fashion accessories, jewelry and more. Hanging on the brick wall are Newgate clocks from England -- the trivia fact being that they are made in the old Laura Ashley factory in a quaintly named village called Oswestry in Shropshire.
The only commonality among LON Little Shop’s selection is great design, as mandated by owner Lon McGowan. There are home accessories, fashion accessories, jewelry and more. Hanging on the brick wall are Newgate clocks from England — the trivia fact being that they are made in the old Laura Ashley factory in a quaintly named village called Oswestry in Shropshire.

LON’s carries unique items from 50 suppliers, including a few  for the kitchen.

These retro enamel bowls and colander are actually snow white with blue rims, but since I didn't use a flash, they look yellow and black here -- actually not a bad combo either.
The pieces in this Prep Set of retro enamel bowls and colander by Falcon are actually snow white with blue rims, but since I didn’t use a flash, they look yellow and black here — actually not a bad combo either. Falcon also makes enamel plate sets, perfect for the patio or a picnic when it warms up again next spinring.

Other kitchen items include timers, espresso pots, Newgate clocks from England and a set of wild, bright soft mixing bowls made of some magic synthetic by a manufacturer whose name I didn’t catch.

If you are shopping for a particular kitchen item for that enthusiastic cook or host/hostess on your list, you’re better off going straight to Peppercorn with its vast selection of cooking, baking and tabletop items, but if you are shopping for something really unique — you know, the old “I’ll know it when I see it” — make LON Little Shop your first stop. The hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The shop is at 2037 13th Street, across from the Boulder County Courthouse.