Boulder food truck central is also a meetingand mingling place.
At the end of a mostly cool, damp week and a day that included a quick dash of hail, the sun came out on Friday evening — and so did a crowd looking for good food, good brewskis and a good vibe. The destination by bike, by car or on foot was the buzzing Rayback Collective.
It had been a while since our last visit, and since then, Rama Ramen has become a regular that has built its own buzz. There is room for just four food trucks, and last night, the noodle four-wheeler shared space with Colombian food, pretzel and smokehouse meat purveyors.
The Rayback Collective is on Valmont Avenue, just west of 28th Street. Zomato.com lists neither it nor the Rama Ramen truck.
No white tablecloths. No polished wood. No polished waiters either at two modest hawker stalls that were astonishingly and deservedly awarded prestigious stars with the publication of the first Michelin Guide to Singapore that features 29 dining venues In addition to fine dining establishments, the Michelin evaluators had their work cut out for them checking out 100-plus open-air “hawker” centers and some 6,000 stalls selling traditional food.
Chan Hong Meng has been making the honored Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle for 35 years. Even before Michelin bestowed its star on it, people never had a problem finding that stall in the Chinatown Complex, because there is always a line. The 51-year-old Chan serves 150 portions of his signature chicken rice dish each lunchtime for less than $2 a portion. He told reporters that he has no immediate plans to increase the price of his food.
Tang Shay Sang’s Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle located, according to the website, “Behind Immigration and Checkpoint Authority Building,” also specializes in noodle dishes but the favored protein is pork. “One and Only Original (No Branch)” proclaims a sign.
Singapore is the first south-east Asian country to be rated by the Michelin Guide. I’m hungry.
Rayback Collective accommodates trucks, beer hall, play space & more.
For 60 or so years, Rayback Plumbing occupied a long, deep lot on Valmont Avenue, just west of 28th Street in Boulder. After the owner, Marion Arthur Rayback, passed away in 2014 at the age of 92, the fate of this lot seemed briefly in limbo. It is refreshing that rather than another housing complex or some sort of a shopping center, it has been reborn as the Rayback Food Collective — a place near the center of Boulder for food trucks and more.
An energetic young group of locals with the notion of a place off public streets where food trucks could assemble. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to create an outdoor area with food trucks, a stage and a shipping container housing a bar. As the funding came in, the concept gelled into the present Rayback Collective. What opened on Friday was The Marion, generous indoor space with more room for food, beer, music, (eventually) films and community. The plan is for year-round operations. Outdoors is the food truck area and a lawn for games and the welcome sight of lush green grass — at least for the time being.
My husband and I went there for Sunday lunch right at opening time, which explains the emptiness.. Although there is space outdoors for four trucks, there were two (Farmer Girl from Longmont and Sweet Cow’s MooMobile ice cream truck), plus a pretzel cart. One truck canceled. The plan is for four different trucks during the day and in the evening every day, year-round. I hope they’ve thought out how to handle snow, because the ground is either grass or gravel.
Here I go again with another mention from another list, but I do enjoy this stuff. The Daily Meal just listed its selection of “The 101 Best Food Trucks in America 2015.” The site didn’t mention who “the brothers” might be, but here’s the write-up about the Basic Kneads Pizza truck — Colorado’s only entry (but lots for Boston):
#89 Basic Kneads Pizza, Denver
We are suckers for a good pun and even more so for a good pizza. Basic Kneads operates four different units around Denver. The brothers eschew strict Neapolitan guidelines for D.O.C. pizza so that they can integrate local ingredients, experiment with toppings, and use the family dough recipe they’ve developed over the years: a mix of organic whole-wheat flour and refined Colorado flour (they also do a gluten-free crust). There are eight pies on the menu, starting from the basics (Margherita, pepperoni, fennel sausage) to more extreme pies like their sweet Thai chili chicken.
Like many Easterners, my first insight into the barbecue culture came from Calvin Trillin, the Kansas City-born writer who put his hometown’s barbecue on the nation’s food map. In 1988, shortly I moved to Colorado, I went to Kansas City and naturally made a pilgrimage to Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, which Trillin made famous.
I quickly developed an affection for KC-style barbecue with its sweetish tomato and molasses sauce. I’ve tried other regional styles since then, but never developed a taste for the vinegary versions from the Carolinas and elsewhere in the Deep South. Brent Selders, the ex-Kansas City owner of the Smokestack 70 food truck, set out west on I-70 looking for a Colorado lifestyle.
He began competing in the Frisco BBQ Challenge in 2007, with admirers soon urging him to open a restaurant or a food truck or something, and in October 2014, the Smoke Stack 70 truck rolled out. It as named, of course, in recognition of the highway that led him to Colorado. I never heard of it until I received an E-mailed press release today, but I’m intrigued and hope to seek it out. It visits the Anschutz Medical Campus for lunch and various Denver microbreweries in the evening, and Selders is hoping to join Civic Center Eats. That will be my best shot at trying the KC-style “meat candy,” pulled pork, brisket and more.
The Roasted Toad trailer serves flavorful sandwiches & platters.
When I moved to Colorado more than 25 years ago, the low-slung building at Nederland’s roundabout where Highways 119 and 72 come together housed Bob’s Bakery and most recently a sporting goods outlet called Ben’s Emporium. The building is currently the staging area for a BBQ spot in the parking lot. I’d driven by several times since it opened last fall but only yesterday, did my husband and I stop en route home from a James Peak Wildnerness hike — and hungry.
The Roasted Toad “complex” consists of a main trailer with the serving window, an ancillary trailer containing a wood smoker and two unshaded picnic benches sit in the parking lot in front of the building. If you need a restroom, you’ll be sent next door to the KwikStop. The building is slated to become a restaurant with real indoor seating and a larger menu — currently confined to ribs, pulled pork, “pulled” chicken, chicken noodles, sides, a few soft drinks and little else. Why it is called The Roasted Toad mystifies me.
When we were getting ready to leave, I stopped to chat with the owner, who told me his dad once owned a grocery store and learned to smoke meat in Bailey, that he once worked at a BBQ stand at Mile High Stadium (or whatever it was called when he worked there) and such. “What’s your name?” I asked, “Dave,” he said “I’m Claire,” I added and left, mentally deciding that my post would be a play on such other BBQ Daves as Famous Dave’s and Smokin’ Dave’s. When I was starting to write this post and wanted to know more, I found “Roasted Toad Features Smoked Hog” from The Mountain-Ear, Nederland’s weekly newspaper. There are learned that Dave’s last name is Walter. No relation.
The Roasted Toad’s address is 229 Highway 119, Nederland; 303-258-3397.
After a couple of moves, Mexican hut set for “lucky” space.
As we’ve discovered through two locations in dirt parking lots (first on the west end of the Diagonal Highway and currently behind the ReBay pawn shop on North Broadway), La Choza has aced the preparation of down-to-earth Mexican food at down-to-earth prices. When we stopped there a few days to refuel after a hike, we saw an encouraging sign that La Choza was moving around the corner.
My hopes that La Choza would alight at 4457 Broadway are coming to pass. Both Pupusas Sabor Hispano and Julia’s Kitchen started simply there and moved onto to bigger, better spaces. I think of his little storefront as “lucky.” I hope the luck continues for the hard-working owner of La Choza.
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.