Tag Archives: New Boulder restaurant

CSA Model Used for New Boulder Restaurant

Fresh Thymes Eatery employs a different funding concept

FreshThymes-logoFresh Thymes Eatery, anallergy-conscious, ultra-natural foods restaurant scheduled to open in June in the former Elephant Hut Thai space at the Boulder Steel Yards, is a “community-supported” enterprise whose funding, in addition to traditional financing, is to come through member shares of $250 to $5,000. Is this a first?

According to the Boulder County Business Report“The funding model is similar to that of ‘”community-supported agriculture,’ or CSA, in which people buy a ‘share’ of vegetables from a farmer before the growing season and get them delivered – usually weekly – during the summer months. Fresh Thymes members will get special deals, meals and other goodies once the restaurant opens…[focusing] on healthy takeout items such as ‘ingredient-conscious’ salads, sandwiches and hot items. Customers will be able to pick up items or eat at the restaurant.”

Owner Christine Ruch plans to open Fresh Thymes in June. She has had her own issues with food allergies and autoimmune disease, and in fhe process of her own struggles ultimately became the head culinary instructor of Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Boulder and also has served as head chef for the Growe Foundation, a fresh vegetable food program in the Boulder Valley School District. Fresh Thymes will be located at 2500 30th Street in Boulder.

Tasting at PastaVino’s Grand Opening

Sampling new Boulder restaurant’s Italian fare

Although PastaVino, just west of Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall, has been in business for several weeks, the official grand opening was Sunday evening, May 6, and that was the first time I set foot inside. The stylish new restaurant promised free food samples and live music. Tables had been pushed aside, and it was S.R.O. around the tasting station, the wood oven area and the gorgeous bar. The food kept coming out — pizza, pasta, lasagne, gnocchi, salads, calamari, sweets.

Chef Fabio Flagello uses natural and organic ingredients. The menu is in Italian with English “subtitles” and an indication as to whether each dish is gluten free, gluten free option and/or vegetarian. The food was good and provided incentive to return to try more — and a table to savor it in comfort. I was taken aback when a modest pour of red or white wine cost $8. At the time, I thought that least happy hour pricing ought to have applied. But as I look at the online menus, I see that PastaVino, despite its name, seems to be promoting beer and spirits, with large lists of both and a happy hour discount on both. Surprisingly, there is not even a wine list on the website.

Classic bruschetta made with roasted tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil, a bit of mozzarella and a lot of flavor.
Penne in a flavoful tomato sauce.

Continue reading Tasting at PastaVino’s Grand Opening

A Riff on Riffs

Riffs Urban Fare an appealing replacement for beloved Book End Cafe

For years and years, some of my Boulder Media Women friends and I would meet every Friday morning for coffee and conversation at Boulder’s Book End Cafe, next to the Boulder Book Store. The cafe got grubby, but we loved it anyway for its good coffee, better house-baked goods, south-facing patio, even the leaky bi-fold front windows but mostly just because it was our once-a-week cafe. Tom Christopher, one of the regulars who always arrived earlier than the BMW group, would save the front center table for us until we had a “quorum,” which meant just two women. It was what German-speakers would call our Stammtisch.

We regulars were sad when the Book End closed and have been semi-homeless, trying to find an equally congenial replacement, but Riffs Urban Fare, the restaurant that now occupies the space, has retained a few treasured artifacts, notably the big ball of string and the architectural cornice high on an exposed brick wall. It’s a nice nostalgic touch.

Dramatic lighting on architectural salvage that Riffs retained from the old Book End Cafe.

The scene on a recent Friday evening with an impending C.U. home game was energetic, both at the bar and at the tables. It already seems to be a new Boulder hotspot. Opened recently by the talented John Platt of Q’s at the Boulderado, Riffs on the Pearl Street Mall calls itself a “foodbar” and serves attractive and well-conceived small and semi-small plates.  (Apologies for photographing my own shadow. The lighting tended to trick the camera — or at least the photographer).

Avocado Mash with chipotle-black bean relish and corn tortilla "spoons" is a contemporary take on guacamole with chips and salsa.

 

Riff's take on chicken satay has one piece of grilled boneless chicken per skewer atop a nest of soba noodles with not-really spicy peanut sauce and minted chopped cucumber.

 

Gold potato gnocchi with similar-sized kabocha squash, chanterelles, sage and Parmesan foam. A few more gnocchi and several fewer cubes of squash would have been a better balance. And I guess that foam is back!
Wonderful salad of flash-cooked Brussels sprouts with leaves off peeled off the heads and served in a soup bowl with brown butter, hazelnuts and crisp shallots.

Price check: In the evening, small plates, $6-$11 plus Denver Bread Co. boule with white bean purée and sea salt, $2; salads and soups, $5-$11 plus antipasto plate, $15; vegetables, $4-$5; “Pasta & Such,” $10-$15; sandwiches, $8-$10 including fries or salad; “Other Fun Stuff,” $13-$15 (fun including steak and duck confit; desserts, $8.

Riffs Urban Fare on Urbanspoon

First Bites at The Kitchen [Next Door]

Trendy & edgy restaurant opens in Boulder today after yesterday’s preview

The Kitchen [Next Door], the much anticipated pub-style restaurant just west of and connected to The Kitchen in downtown Boulder, opens to the public today at 11:00 a.m., but Boulder has been buzzing about it for weeks. It’s run by the same team as The Kitchen, namely co-owners Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Musk and talented and dedicated cast of supporting players. When that restaurant opened more than six years ago, it was a pioneer in sourcing from local purveyors and farmers, composting/recycling, zero waste purchasing practices and in many ways large and small conserving energy and resources. Now, its practices have gone mainstream, in Boulder anyway.

Yesterday was preview opening for [Next Door], which takes the original Kitchen’s environmentally aware practices and enhances them. According to a pre-opening press release, this “casual, farm-to-table community pub that will serve super fast, slow food (in other words, farm fresh food will come in less than 10 minutes). The new restaurant will also introduce a zero plastic, aluminum and glass waste program. All beer and wine will be served directly from the barrel (unprecedented in any other Colorado restaurant and perhaps one of the first in the nation to do so!). Also, part of the proceeds from [Next Door] will go to building gardens in local schools.” Overly precious name with those annoying [square brackets] aside, it has the earmarks of wonderful food, a successful future and positive community involvement.

The Look
The space is pared-down and functional with gunmetal gray walls, white ceiling and simple furnishings. Gray metal backless stools at the community table, hightops and bar, and retro supperclub booths in the dining area. The floor is covered in beetle-kill wood, and the lighting is a combination of drop fixtures and indirect light, plus, of course, daylight. Only one small shabby chic, distressed washstand softens the overall edginess.
The community table in the front of the restaurant exemplifies the restaurant's 's spare, pared-down look. The hanging lights recall those at St. John in London.
Local wine writer Bruce Schoenfeld likened the back bar to that at St. John Restaurant in London. He travels way more than I do, and either Hugo or Kimbal, to whom he made the observation, confirmed that the trendy, pricey London restaurant served as the inspiration. When I looked at photos of the St. John and compared them with [Next Door], the main resemblance I saw was in the ceiling fixutres with their dark metal shades. There seemed little commonality between St. John’s white walls and white tablecloths and [Next Door]’s bare wood tables and (mostly) darker walls.
St. John Restaurant in London was a partial inspiration for the decor but fortunately not the price.
The Food
I suppose it’s not unreasonable to call [Next Door] a gastropaub — a healthy, locavore-oriented gastropub with a a small, light-on-meat lunch menu printed on plain brown paper. Some dishes have been adopted from The Kitchen, but others are brand new, creative and tasty too. There are six items in each of four categories: plates to share, sandwiches, salads and sides, plus four soups and three desserts. The beverage list features eight wines wines and ten beers, all organic and sustainably produced, and tapped directly from the kegs, thereby further cutting down items to recycle.
Conferring behind the bar. The bottles over the back bar are for show with a line of taps for use. The arrangement was inspired by the St. John Bar.
The offerings — at least at this time of year — are primarily meatless, part of the co-owners’ commitment to keeping the menu as local as possible. There’s a roast lamb sandwich and a pulled pork sandwich, but a beet burger rather than a beefburger and a mushroom loaf rather than meatloaf. The buns deserve an award. Firmer than supermarket burger buns but softer than most whole-grain rolls, they combine wonderful texture with good, unaggressive flavor.
Wine-red beet burger topped by a few aurgula leaves and a bit of feta cheese, with a side of toothsome quinoa.The subtly beety burger has a tendency to fall apart, but that's what forks are for.
Slow-roasted pork sandwich with salsa verde.
Salmon salad on arugula with lemon dressing and marinated beans.
Three desserts on the card — each one a favorite. Chocolate mousse and panna cotta lost out to an ice cream sandwich.
The ice cream sandwich comes to the table in a brown wrapper.
Unwrap it, and you’ll find vanilla gelato sandwiched between house-made chocolate chip cookies.

Price check: At lunch, shared plates, $6.95-$8.95; sandwiches, also $6.95-$8.95 plus $2.95 to add grilled chicken, lamb or pork); soups, $3.25 and $5.95; sides/snacks, $1.95-$3,95; “sweet,” $3.95-$5.95.

Urbanspoon does not yet list The Kitchen [Next Door], but you’ll find it at 1035 Pearl St., Boulder; 720-542-8159.