Recent Meals in Boulder and Beyond
I've been eating out a lot lately, including at places that don't get mentioned on this board very often. I've blogged about all of them (including photos and drinks), but here's a quick rundown of the food I and my companions ate:
Anniversary dinner at Jill's in the St. Julien Hotel, Boulder: 900 Walnut salad (my favorite). Chiagga beet ravoili w/ poppyseed butter and Gorgonzola (rich and wonderful). Tender prime rib (the 14- not the 29-ounce version; diner gets the choice of starch and veggie sides at no extra cost, in contrast to most steakhouses). New York-style cheesecake. See http://www.jillsdining.com/.
Dinner with out-of-state visitors at FoodHedz, Frsico: Smoked chicken and Olathe corn chowder, and New England clam chowder, looked similar but tasted deliciously different. House salad, crisp and fresh. Thick-cut pan-seared pork fillets with roast green chile, goat cheese polenta, red chile pork natural jus and mango salsa. Grilled diver scallops tarragon-roasted tomato, saffron orzo and chardonnay lemon butter. Ice cream/gelato desserts. http://www.foodhedz.com/
Pre-theater dinner at Mici, Denver: Insalata caprese, regulation ingredients arranged like a flour. Panini Verdura, loaded with veggies and cheese. Insalata della Casa, good salad with disappointing dressing. Individual pizza, from their list or assembled to order. Gelato. http://www.miciitalian.com/
Dinner with out-of-town friends at Grappa Mediterranean Bistro, Golden: Fine fresh salads. Wild mushroom risotto, rich and creamy, with sauteed mushrooms beside the rice. Chicken marsala, generous portion, well prepared. Fettucini a la primavera in a pesto cream sauce. Too full for dessert. http://www.grappabistro.com/
Happy hour at Bacaro Venetian Taverna, Boulder: Small, thick cheeseburgers made with Fontina melted over mushrooms and topped with crisp-fried onions. Undistinguished parmesam fries. Good house-made pizzas of different flavors. http://www.bacaro.com/
Lunch at Elway's: Steakhouse named after Broncos icon John Elway does more than just beef. Private event with limited choices off the lunch menu. Everyone got a fine house salad, then a choice six main courses (a steak wrap, a couple of salads, fish, a couple of sandwiches and vegetarian pasta) and a choice of three desserts (a pair of warm chocolate chip cookies, "lollipops"or strawberry cheesecake). http://www.elways.com/Home.asp
Diiner 'a Deux' at John's Restaurant, Boulder: Brilliant salads, baby spinach salad with applewood-smoked bacon, brie, cranberries, avocado and tomatoes; and an inspired combination of field greens topped with chunks of English Stilton, slivered Granny Smith apples, red onion and toasted pecans with a simple vinaigrette. Corn/leek soup and palate-cleansing passionfruit sorbet, both compliments of the kitchen. Filet mignon, perfectly grilled 8-ounce filet of Colorado beef with Bordelaise, a classic French sauce. diver-caught sea scallops Huge pan-seared diver scallops with timbale-shaped ovals of white bean purée, green beans and greens with truffle oil. FAbulous peach tart with house-made ice cream. http://www.johnsrestaurantboulder.com/
Yes, locals haven't been posting for / among themselves so much lately as answering out-of-towners' questions about the same old places. Like you I've just been blogging about the newer or more obscure places I've hit rather than posting here, but maybe this'll spark talk, so I'll follow suit:
India's Pearl (Old S. Pearl St., Denver): relatively upscale Indian newcomer in a cursed two-story space; hope they can break the spell, because the cooking is seasoned (in every sense) and careful, a mix of stateside standards and hauter surprises. The wine list is an even bigger surprise, long and varied.
Brasserie Felix (Tennyson St., Denver): Oof. Went within the first couple of weeks of its opening, but the problems went far beyond early kinks, suggesting fundamental carelessness. Cheap bread and butter was inexcusable, the wine list was really lopsided toward just a couple of varietals, my salad lacked the supposed starring ingredient, the size of the Director's bowl of mussels was underreported, etc. Nothing about the place suggested anyone was trying very hard. I'd be curious to hear from anyone else who's been; maybe my bad experience was a fluke.
Bistro One (So. Broadway, Denver): Here had the diametrically opposite experience—though we went within days of its opening, the kitchen already showed enormous potential and high culinary energy, while the FOH bent over backwards. Even the token chicken dish was interesting.
bang! (Highlands, Denver): Disliking bang! would be the equivalent of kicking a terrier. I mean, it's just too easy to like, even given its rather limited downhome-gone-upmarket repertoire. It's cozy, it's affordable, it doesn't take itself too seriously.
Billy's Inn (44th & Lowell, Denver): Ditto, but even better, having a just slightly more blue-collar edge.
What new and exciting places have you encountered lately (*excluding* the already much-hyped Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza)?
I've been busy, and I don't eat out frequently in the first place, but I did make it to a few places during the summer.
Bali to Bombay, 30th and Arapahoe. This one just opened in the spring, in the place formerly occupied by Gemini Thai (iirc). The menu is about 3/4 Indian, 1/4 Thai, and is pretty basic all around. We had one of the Thai curries, which was ok but nothing special. Probably would only return if I were with a group that couldn't decide what kind of food they wanted.
Pho 79, 120th in Broomfield. The pho had a generous quantity of meat, although the broth was unusually oily. We asked for a few minutes to look through the menu when the waiter first came by, he disappeared for a full 30 minutes until we spotted him again and asked him to come back to the table - and this was when the place was nearly empty. I am methodically working through all of the pho joints between Westminster and Boulder, and will report back when this task is complete.
Work lunch at the buffet at Jills - I think this was $11 a plate. This was ok, but I'm guessing they save the better buffet dishes for the considerably more expensive weekend brunch buffet. It also took a bizarrely long time to get the checks taken care of, although everyone in our party of a dozen had gotten the buffet.
Efrains, east Boulder on Arapahoe, in which I discovered that I do not like menudo. Generous portions, but don't think I can judge it properly....
Banh mi counter at the Broomfield POM (120th and Main st) - hidden in the corner near the sort of 'deli' area with the hanging glazed pigs and birds is a sign listing the banh mi menu. I'm not a huge fan of paté, but the BBQ pork banh mi is very nice, and also very cheap ($3-4.50 for a 'small', $5-6 for a ''large". The small is very generous, the large is massive). Last time, the baguette was still warm from the oven.
I will note that the formerly mexican? freestanding restaurant in the Pacific Ocean Mart/ARC thrift shopping center on 120th in Broomfield is being renovated, and has a sign out reading "coming soon seafood dim sum". Crossing my fingers for a new dim sum option not so far away as Denver....
I prefer Pho Duy in the same complex, but I admit it's been a while since I've been to 79.
I already mentioned this on Claire's blog, but that sign on the old Armadillo says "Hong Sing" in Chinese, which is the same as Super Star's Chinese name. However, the English on the ex-Armadillo sign says "Heaven Star".
I live close by and am keeping my fingers crossed, as well!
Ok, I talked to an asian coworker of mine, he says he asked the folks at SuperStar-on-Alameda about the new place in Broomfield. Apparently, the Broomfield location is where SuperStar is going to move when construction begins on the Alameda Square shopping area, and that it is opening "soon". Excellent......
Had a great bowl of Bun Bo Hue today at a Pho joint on the west side of the Pacific
rim market on 120. Between the market and the Pho 76. Last week I had an opportunity
to sample the rebirth of the "Asian seafood Deli." It is a mixed bag of delights. It has
been taken over by a Chinese man who is pushing the new Chinese menu...... The
old Vietnamese menu is now hidden under the counter but if you hassle him enough he will
produce it and you can still order from it. Since the cook is Vietnamese the food I had
was excellent. While I was eating a Vietnamese woman came in with a couple of
kids and tried to order but the proprietor was trying to switch her to Chinese food and
she got mad and left. I was proud of her. Such a shame as I have loved the place
for years as Anna operated it. I have got to go back and try the #115, grilled shrimp
wrapped in grape leaves. I sure hope you can still get it.
Pablito el gordito