New Aurora Ethnic Dining Guide

Great freebie for adventurous foodies.

Yum coverEarly in September, we went to Aurora to have our passports renewed. We ended up grabbing lunch at Sam’s Number 3, because while we knew the city has lots of interesting restaurants, we didn’t know where — in relation to the passport office — to find them. I know I had a pocket guide to Aurora’s myriad ethnic eateries but couldn’t find it.

Since then, the second edition of “YUM Aurora” has come out. Like the first published two years earlier, it features independent ethnic restaurants from African to Vietnamese, plus ethnic markets. Not a single Taco Bell, Olive Garden or other chain among them. Thankfully.

This edition was assembled and written by John Lehndorff, who has double credentials for this project. He has written about food for several Front Range newspapers, including the Boulder Daily Camera and the late Rocky Mountain News, and also did a tour as editor of the Aurora Sentinel, so he knows food and restaurants and the city.

The guide is available online. Anyone wishing a print come can click here and request any number, or find them on the racks in the Aurora Municipal Center at 15151 East Alameda Parkway.

Good Morning, Ella

North Boulder restaurant serves full breakfasts.

Ella is so new that the sign is still a temporary banner.

Ella is so new that the sign is still a temporary banner.

If you want a bagel in the vicinity of Boulder Community Hospital’s Broadway campus, there’s Moe’s. If you want fantastic breads and pastries, there’s Breadworks. If you want designer coffee-and, there’s Vic’s. But if you want a full hot breakfast delivered to your table, there has been a void since Marie’s closed — until early this summer when Ella’s Restaurant opened in the former Radda Trattoria space next to Ideal Market.

The spare dining room is a backdrop for food and congeniality.

The spare dining room is a backdrop for food and congeniality.

Ella’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, and a lovely morning called for a walk to check out this restaurant, opened by Edwin Zoe of Zoe Ma Ma renown. Radda had noise issues, and for all I know, Ella might still have them in the evening, but on a weekday morning, the few early customers tended to be on the quiet side. It was not quite warm enough for the patio, so we selected a window table with a view of the Flatirons over the parked cars.

Hard to beat the morning view of the sun-kissed Flatirons, lovely even over the parking lot.

Hard to beat the morning view of the sun-kissed Flatirons, lovely even over the parking lot.

Ella’s bills itself as a “fine diner” with an eclectic menu that calls for a return in the evening — despite the breakfast hiccups. Coffee for my husband, a cappuccino for me and two entrées that surprisingly took way longer to arrive than they should have, given that only two other tables were occupied — and those folks were already eating. Maybe getting there shortly after the doors opened was too early. I’ll always cut a new restaurant some slack.

Spinach eggs Benedict suffered from an English muffin that required a serrated steak knife to cut, hard-poached egg yolks and thin Hollandaise.

Spinach eggs Benedict suffered from an English muffin that required a serrated steak knife to cut, hard-poached egg yolks and thin Hollandaise.

Huevos rancheros, a mash-up of eggs (easy over here), chorizo sausage, red onions, black bean puree,  corn tortillas, avocado, ranchero sauce, tomatillo salsa and Cotija cheese plus has browns and a heap of shredded iceberg lettuce.

Huevos rancheros, a mash-up of eggs (easy over here), chorizo sausage, red onions, black bean puree, corn tortillas, avocado, ranchero sauce, tomatillo salsa and Cotija cheese plus hash browns, sour cream and shredded iceberg lettuce.

Price check: At breakfast, entrées, $9-$16; sides, special condiments and à la carte items, $2-$4.

Ella on Urbanspoon

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.

 

 

National Kale Day is October 1

Celebrating this nutritious green with pesto.

NationalKaleDay-logoComing right up on October 1 is  the second annual National Kale Day, and I am going to celebrate by harvesting and doing “something” with the kale in my garden that has continued to grow even as I’ve been traveling. That “something” will probably be kale pesto, thanks to a recipe from the country’s kale promoters, who remind us of the benefits of this leafy green superfood.  National Kale Day was spearheaded by Dr. Drew Ramsey and Chef Jennifer Iserloh, authors of the bestselling book 50 Shades of Kale. The recipe that follows is from the book.

Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts

2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the kale leaves, basil leaves and salt. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until the kale leaves are finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the processor. Add the walnuts and garlic and process again, then add the cheese and pulse to combine. Toss with your favorite pasta and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings. Nutritional Information: Per serving (about 1/4 cup): 139 calories, 4 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat (2 g saturated), 4 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 279 mg sodium.

’5280 Magazine’ Publishes Best Restaurant Issue

The top Denver restaurant again is Frasca in Boulder.

5280-logoOld restaurants, new restaurants names the “25 Best Restaurants” in Denver — and again the number one, Frasca Food and Wine, is in Boulder and Acorn in The Source has Boulder roots. Here’s the list, with the links going to the magazine’s write-up, not the restaurants’ websites:

1. Frasca Food and Wine
2. Acorn
3. Cholon
4. Sushi Den
5. Mizuna
6. Fruition Restaurant
7. The Plimoth
8. Basta
9. Colt & Gray
10. Bittersweet
11. Oak at Fourteenth
12. Luca
13. Bistro Barbès
14. The Populist
15. To the Wind Bistro
16. Rioja
17. Lower48 Kitchen
18. Stoic & Genuine
19. Barolo Grill
20. Work & Class
21. Old Major
22. Beast + Bottle
23. Potager
24. Duo Restaurant
25. Tables

Wazee Supper Club’s 40th

Retro LoDo eatery opened before LoDo had that name.

WazeeSupperClub-logoI don’t know why, but I’ve actually never been to the Wazee Supper Club even though it opened 40 years ago. It is located in a Denver historic neighborhood that former Denver Post writer Dick Kreck dubbed LoDo, and it was already an institution when I showed up in Colorado in 1988. This retro restaurant with its signature dumbwaiter, nostalgic Frigidaire and black and white checkerboard floors is celebrating its 40th anniversary today, Friday, September 26  by serving its  large Supreme pizzas all day for the throwback price of $19.74. Wash it down with 40¢ pints of Rail Yard Ale served in commemorative Wazee anniversary pint glasses for the first 100 guests starting at 6 p.m. Now part of the Breckenridge-Wynkoop group, it retains its ambiance of  a classic joint, serving pizzas, strombolis and a large local craft beer selection.  The restaurant is located at 1600 15th Street and is open every day of the week for lunch, happy hour, dinner, late night happy hour and Sunday brunch.

For more information on Wazee Supper Club, please visit http://www.wazeesupperclub.com/

Small Plates & Big Tastes in Lyons

LOCAL sources nearby, just as its name suggests.

033Every time we drive through Lyons en route to or from Rocky Mountain National Park, we wish Fork, which is located in a historic stone building on the west end of the small main drag, were open. It never has been, because we tend to be there before of after hiking — never early enough for lunch or late enough for dinner. Yesterday, we drove to the park to witness the annual elk bugling, so we planned to stop at Fork on our way back to Boulder. Just a couple of doors away and unnoticed on any previous trip was a restaurant called LOCAL. Its sign is so subtle that we’d never noticed it.

The tables gleam, the flowers are fresh and the décor is cool and creative.

The tables gleam, the flowers are fresh and the décor is cool and creative.

Its official name is LOCAL Eat + Drink. It comes across as a Lyons version of The Kitchen Next Door in Boulder and now elsewhere: locals at the bar, long polished tables for communal dining or smaller high-tops. A small selection of small plates. An impressive selection of spirits, plus wine and beer. Locally sourced food. A cool, artsy ambiance. “EAT DRINK REPEAT” is prominently lettered on one wall. An assortment of antique plates hangs on another. Five principals (Katie Baum, De’Anna Duncan, Rachael Kesley, Ryan Elftmann and Drew Reid, according to the website) are involved in the enterprise, with Baum the executive chef. We enjoyed a glass of wine for me, a beer for my husband and beautifully presented small plates for us both.

The menu, the beverage lists and a list of vendors are on old-style shipping tags. Clever.

The menu, the beverage lists and a list of vendors are perinted on old-style shipping tags. Clever.

Caprese salad served on slate consisted of two types of heirloom tomatoes, burrata, fresh basil and croutons.

Caprese salad served on slate consisted of two types of heirloom tomatoes, burrata, fresh basil and croutons.

Pasta intertwined with shaved zucchini m creamy pesto and mushrooms, set off-center on a white plate.

Pasta intertwined with shaved zucchini m creamy pesto, roasted garlic, shaved Parmesan and mushrooms, set off-center on a white plate.

Price check: Small plates, $8-$14; dessert (there was just one), $12);

Local Eat + Drink on Urbanspoon