Last Wednesday was a another beautiful day for a tour through downtown Boulder! When we met on Pearl Street, there were hundreds of people milling around, enjoying all the performers and the sights and sounds of a perfect Colorado afternoon. We walked down Pearl Street to our first stop – Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant.
At Leaf, the group enjoyed 3 perfectly plated samples: A Raw Wrap with swiss chard and basil almond pâté, Raw Ravioli with beet, and Buffalo Seitan with blue cheese, carrot and celery salad paired with a Spanish white wine from Catalunya. All our tour groups have enjoyed the beautifully appointed dining room, as well as the samples of delicious creations by Chef Steve Dustin.
We continued on to SALT, where a brandy cocktail with a honey cardamom simple syrup was waiting for us. We sat at the bar overlooking the impressive kitchen. Evan, the Beverage Director at SALT, talked with us about mixing the perfect cocktail, and pairing wine with our food samples. Executive Chef Kevin Kidd talked with us about sourcing local ingredients as we enjoyed crostini with butter, radish and arugula; followed by prosciutto wrapped asparagus, Hazel Dell Mushroom and Haystack goat cheese in filo; all paired with a California Gewurtztraminer. The extra special treat at the end of our visit was a sample of SALT’s famous dark chocolate caramel salt tart.
Before continuing to our next partner restaurant, we stopped at Savory Spice Shop to talk with Dan about the variety of spices and seasoning mixes he carries at his shop. We sampled different kinds of cinnamon from around the world, freeze dried corn, and candied ginger. The staff at Savory paired up with our tour guests and expertly helped us through seasonings to use with some of our favorite dishes.
As we walked up to the Boulderado Hotel, a bridal party was checking in to this beautiful, historic hotel. The dining room at Q’s is elegant, and we sat on the restaurant’s enclosed glass porch to enjoy the Chef’s garden greens with house smoked salmon and capers, paired with Q’s signature orange- cranberry spritzer. Q’s manager talked with us about the variety of programs and initiatives they use to be as sustainable as possible, including using wind power and partnering with a local biodiesel company.
We ended our tour at the bustling Boulder Farmers’ Market. First, we took in the sites and sounds of the busy market, stopping to sample Sugar Snap peas from Munson Farms (one of the original farms to participate in the market over 20 years ago), and popcorn from Boulder Popcorn. Then we met up with Antonio Laudisio, who cooked us pizza in his brick pizza oven using Hazel Dell mushrooms. We topped off our tour with a small scoop of all-natural, vanilla ice cream from Boulder Ice Cream.
If you would like to experience Boulder’s culinary scene for yourself, please click here for a listing of upcoming tours. We look forward to seeing you on a future tour. Each tour varies slightly, and as different seasonal ingredients become available, our chefs will change up what they share with us.
Julie and Megan