Tag Archives: Boulder restaurant

Shine’s Healthy Lunch-Time Glow

Healthy, tasty & almost paleo at downtown Boulder restaurant

P1050032I’ve been to Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place any number of times for happy hour and to celebrate friends’ book launches. Click here for a post about my first happy hour visit, including a description of the beguiling décor. The other day, I not only went there for lunch for the first time, but I also had a chance to chat with Jessica, one-third of the Emich triplet team that owns Shine. She is the one who went to culinary school.

Jessica Emich, executive chef and partner/owner with her sisters of Shine.
Jessica Emich, executive chef and partner/owner with her sisters of Shine.

The Emichs’ previous downtown Boulder venture, Trilogy, was a restaurant, wine bar and entertainment venue. When they felt they had outgrown the late nights, they sold the restaurant and then took on the challenge of operating the Gold Lake Resort & Spa, a tranquil retreat in the nearby mountains that garnered rave reviews under their guidance. When when the property was sold and ultimately closed, they took a break — if getting married and having babies could be considered a break.

Shine is something of a grown-up version of Trilogy — a restaurant with a focused menu that is healthful, gluten-free, natural, seasonal and on the paleo threshold. I write “threshold” because it is not 100% paleo (also called the “caveman diet”). The main deviation is that sandwiches, which Shine serves, require bread. Turns out that the grinding or milling grains is considered “processing,” and that is not part of the paleo. I had no idea. Jessica says, “It is the way I cook, eat and feed people.”

No surprise that when I went there on a warm fall day with another woman, we both drew a bead on the salads. Two women at lunch = two salads:

Raw House Salad.
Raw House Salad.
Mediterranean Salad.
Mediterranean Salad.

There’s nothing exotic these days about “seasonal” food and “local” sourcing, but paleo remains cutting edge, at least in the restaurant realm. I don’t pay much mind to fad diets, so I didn’t recognize it on earlier visits, Shine aces the paleo approach (also called “the caveman diet”) focusing on vegetables, meats and seafoods — with foods either raw or cooked, but otherwise unprocessed.

In addition to sustainably crafted wine and cocktails, and beers brewed on-site, Shine’s  elixir bar features age-old tonics combined in potions that are said to be high in antioxidants, great for anti-aging, help digestion and so on. Shine’s potion bar features flower essences and elixirs in unique combinations to pep you up, calm you down or even have aphrodisiac effects.

I tried he Owl Eyes, because I can use all the mid-day energy boost I can get. It was pleasant and effervescent.
I tried he Owl Eyes, because I can use all the mid-day energy boost I can get. It was pleasant and effervescent.

What’s next? A small retail area that will include potions. Expansion of a food line currently being sold though Mile High Organics. More fermented items. Fermentation, it seems, is has the stamp of paleo approval. Cooking classes. Continuing the welcome community. The sky, it seems, is the limit — is long has there is a health-conscious community up there.

This traditional cabinet in Shine's foyer currently displays some gift items, but it will be the nucleus of a small retail area for potions that will be bottled.
This traditional cabinet in Shine’s foyer currently displays some gift items, but it will be the nucleus of a small retail area for potions that will be bottled.

Price check: At lunch, starters, soups and salads, $7-$12.50; sandwiches, $9.75-$12.50; entrees, $9.50-$13.50; protein add-ons, $4.50-$9; sides, $5.50; desserts, $2.25 (raw chocolate truffle) and $7.50 (all others).

Shine seems to have slipped off Urbanspoon’s roster. It is located at 2027 13th Street, Boulder; 303-449-0120.

Chautauqua Dining Hall Does Shine

I met friends at the recently overhauled Chautauqua Dining Hall for coffee-and, which means I still haven’t had a meal there. We occupied a corner table on the shaded porch, and since there were plenty of empty tables, we didn’t feel guilty lingering over coffee and a couple of pastries. No worth photographing, but I did slip inside to see what I’d read so much about when it reopened 2½ months ago. Here are a very few images from the “new” dining hall:

The Dining Hall's shady porch is heaven on a summer day or evening.
The Dining Hall’s shady porch is heaven on a summer day or evening.
No need for a fireplace in summer, but won't this and others be welcome in winter?
No need for a fireplace in summer, but won’t this and others be welcome in winter?
The scarred bar top was originally a railroad boxcar floor. Note the antique model train on the plate rail. Not visible, old railroad signal lanterns.
The scarred bar top was originally a railroad boxcar floor. Note the antique model train on the plate rail. Not visible, old railroad signal lanterns.


Lunch at The Kitchen [Original]

Downtown Boulder restaurant’s ever excellent mid-day meal

001The Kitchen opened its doors on April 15, 2004, becoming the city’s first restaurant committed to aggressively sourcing organic ingredients, composting, using wind power, aggressive packaging and recycling and other environmentally conscious practices. And it was also a local farm-to-table pioneer.The folllowing year, the second floor became The Kitchen [Upstairs], introduced as a community lounge, and in 2011, The Kitchen [Next Door] opened as a less expensive community pub. The Kitchen concept was also extended to Denver. I’ve been to all of them since the last time I ate at the original Kitchen, so I was pleased to have lunch there. The food remains as excellent as I remember and the service was excellent, not to be taken for granted at lunch.

Thick slabs of rustic, crusty bread -- my favorite.
Thick slabs of rustic, crusty bread — my favorite.
The quiche of the comes with a well-dressed green salad.
The quiche of the day comes with a well-dressed mixed salad.
The currey chicken salad with hazelnuts, raisins and apple atop a pile of crisp greens.
The curry chicken salad with hazelnuts, raisins and apple atop a pile of crisp greens.
Steak frites made with Koberstein Ranch dry-aged beef with maitre d’hotel butter, beefy fries and a crisp green salad.

Price check: At lunch, starters, $9-$17; “Nibbles,” $6; “Light,” $7-$12; salads, $8-$17; sandwiches, $11-$14; mains, $15-$19.

The Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Retro-Franco Fare Rules at Jill’s

St. Julien Hotel’s restaurant rewinds to fine, classic French fare

The last time I dined at Jill’s Restaurant in the St. Julien Hotel, the menu had a strong Mediterranean-Italian accent. Now, with Philippe Antoine, a native of France’s Languedoc and the third generation of his family in the restaurant business (and the first in the US), as general manager and Laurent Mechin from the French Jura as executive chef and culinary director, Jill’s has changed its provenance. Except for breakfast and the ever-popular Tuscan Table at lunch, Jill’s remains a fine-dining restaurant in an excellent hotel, but its focus is now on dishes that are more classic and more French —  dishes that veteran foodies might not realize they’ve miss until they have them again.

The warm and elegant ambiance of the restaurant remains  — and for a couple of hours, we food bloggers had it all to ourselves. Since my last visit, Jill’s Frenchmen shifted culinary gears and introduced a Gallic version of comfort food. Rather than such American comfort food as meatloaf, mashed potatoes and mac-and-cheese (which growing up with my Austrian grandmother’s and mother’s cooking. I never much cared for anyway), Jill’s does French comfort food that back in day was considered haute cuisine in the US. Jill’s invited local food bloggers to sample some dishes from the current menu.

Boulder Food Media Event at Jill’s Restaurant
Tuesday, December 4     6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Passed hors d’oeuvres and welcome toast

 Welcome Cocktail
Leopold Blackberry Kir Royal

Passed Appetizer
Jill’s Bistro Tots
truffle caviar and aioli, reggiano cheese, chervil

~Dining Event~
Farm table display and sampling & action demonstration stations

 Farm Table
Rocky Mountain Cured Charcuterie and Colorado Cheese Board
cornichons, mustard, nuts, grapes, grilled bread

Baby Kale Salad
pine nuts, pears, parsnip chips, pickled onions, Tuscan olive oil

Action stations
E&J Farm Trout Amandine
roasted fall vegetables

Pumpkin Ravioli
sage brown butter, toasted pepitas, cipollini onions, reggiano, crumbled amaretto

Bananas Foster
bananas sautéed tableside with brown sugar, rum, crème de banane, cinnamon, vanilla ice cream Continue reading Retro-Franco Fare Rules at Jill’s

Bácaro’s $15 Anniversary Dinner

3-course prix fixe is a blast from the restaurant price past

I can’t quite recall how long ago $15 bought a three-course dinner in Boulder, but I’m thinking it must have been more than 15 years ago. But that’s what the Bácaro Venetian Taverna  is charging for its limited-selection dinners on Sunday and Money evenings in November to celebrate its 15th anniversary. When my husband and I and friends went to take advantage of this offer, it was the first time I’ve been there since Aaron Bennett became executive chef this past summer.

The restaurant’s decor and food have changed subtly over the years. The style remains attractive and somewhat rustic, and the food is still solidly Italian, but with more more of an emphasis on organic, natural and local. Among the more obvious changes are organizational. Bennett has pared down his predecessor’s complex menu of many small plates and returned to a more traditionally sized and structured card of antipasti (including their popular individual pizza), salad, pasta, meats, fish, salume, dessert.  The anniversary menu is really tight –two starts, two mains and one dessert, with the selections changing every weekend.

The marinated shrimp skewer first course rests on a green salad accompanied by herb-marinated cherry tomato and aoili.


Chicken piccata with herb-roasted squash and lemon-caper butter.
A pair of prosciutto-wrapped diver scallops atop saffron-basil infused risotto.
Caramel apple bread pudding with house-made caramel and spiced whipped cream.

Three of us had the anniversary special, but my husband’s culinary contrarian ordered from the regular menu.

Hand-cut (but neither crisp nor hot) fries with a choic of sauces. He selected the roasted tomatoe aioli.
Pan-roasted filet mignon Florentine with garlic-sauteed spinach, potato gratin, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Bacaro on Urbanspoon

Previewing Eric Skokan’s New Bramble & Hare

Eric Skokan’s new Boulder restaurant offers affordable eats & long hours.

This was my Eric Skokan weekend. On Saturday, his Black Cat Farm stand was my first stop at the Boulder County Farmers Market. and on Sunday, I previewed his new restaurant. At the market, I bought some greens plus a baby fennel from Eric, and he added a few sprigs of fresh basil for good measure. Elsewhere, I picked up sweet red peppers, zucchini and summer squash. That evening I chopped and sautéed all but the basil along with onions and garlic that I had in the fridge in olive oil with salt and pepper, served it on penne pasta topped with grated Parmesan and chopped basil. It was good, fresh and simple.

On Sunday, my husband and I were invited to a friends-and-family preview of the Bramble & Hare,  Eric’s whimsical and wonderful new restaurant next to and phsyically connected with his  Black Cat Farm to Table Bistro. Bramble & Hare is a really new concept (at least in this area). Restaurant chains have co-opted the word “concept” to describe a theme — something usually copied and re-conceived by a marketing committee, given a catchy name and not really a new idea at all. But Bramble & Hare really is a ground-breaker with its affordable everything-from-the-farm menu and playfully rustic, vintage decorative elements.

Touches included linen sacks stuffed with wool from Black Cat Farm’s sheep as banquette backrests, lovely old plates and flatware that don’t match, an old upright piano that someone might play and so forth. Hours will be from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. the next morning, making the Bramble & Hare the too-rare late-night restaurant in town.

Chalkboard specials over simply set tables and banquettes backed with cushions made by Jill Skokan.

Continue reading Previewing Eric Skokan’s New Bramble & Hare

Boulder Welcomes H Burger Co (or Something)

Oddball restaurant name but big, beautiful burgers

Temporary sign for a burger restaurant that expects to have staying power.

Good food and drinks are the redeeming feature of a curiously named burger restaurant that I’ve seen written H Burger Co, HBurger, HBurgerCO, HBurger CO, H|Burger and H|BurgerCO and probably some others. It isn’t cute, and it drives me bonkers. But then, anyplace that serves tasty, moist, copious and fairly priced burgers can call itself anything it wants. The burgers — locally sourced beef plus bison, lamb, turkey, veggie — are thick, juicy and well matched with suggested or you-pick-’em toppings. Other menu items include salads, sandwiches and great sides that can be shared as not-such-small plates. A full bar and fabulous “new school” nitrogen-chilled milkshakes developed by culinary wizard Ian Kleinman, who also wrote the menu and created some of the sauces.

Boulder's H Burger Co layout lends itself to simple yet striking decor. The kitchen stretches across the back of the restaurant.

When the first one opened in Denver’s LoDo a bit over two years ago, I called it a “swank and contemporary burgeria” in my blog post. The newest debuted in downtown Boulder a few days ago, and this second full-fledged restaurant is the peer of the original. (There’s also a Little H on Colorado Boulevard in Denver, but I’ve never been there so don’t know how down-sized it is.) In any case, HBurger (or whatever) fresh out of the blocks won the people’s choice award in the first annual Denver Burger Battle. Boulder’s is located where The Pinyon once was — across the street from Ted’s Montana Grill. Perhaps the corner of 17th and Pearl will have its own burger battle. Continue reading Boulder Welcomes H Burger Co (or Something)