Turning 21 is an exciting time, and it was a lot of fun to bring a group of college friends around town on a private birthday tour celebration for a taste of great food, libations, and delectable desserts.
We started at Tahona Tequila Bistro for a flight of tequilas- blanco, reposado, and añejo, as well as a taste of a coin-style margarita made with the three different tequilas.
We then walked to Aji for some Latin American appetizers: ceviche, blue corn dusted calamari, an empanada, and a mojito.
Our third stop was The Pinyon for fried chicken (of course), trotters on a house-made english muffin (The Pinyon is the only place in town serving trotters, by the way), and some 48-hour brisket. We sampled a couple beer cocktails while watching the esteemed chefs prepare each course.
Finally, we went to OAK at Fourteenth for a cocktail by Boulder’s illustrious Bryan Dayton, paired with a sample of their desserts.
As a tour guide, I must say that birthday tours are exceptionally fun. The group doesn’t just sit at one restaurant for a few hours- we progressively eat our way through town on a culinary exploration with friends. Happy 21st! I hope Local Table Tours made it memorable.
We’ve been having a great time on Boulder Cocktail Tours this month. Thanks so much to West End Tavern, Tahona, SALT, and The Pinyon for serving up some great libations along with a mini lesson on spirits, distillation, oak and aging, adding carbonation… there’s so much to learn, which is why I’m thrilled to have been guiding cocktail tours since April 2011. If you haven’t yet joined a cocktail tour, I encourage you to register for a Thursday tour in Boulder or a Saturday tour in Denver. I like to think of these tours as continuing education for anyone who enjoys going out for a good time.
If you have been on a cocktail tour, I encourage you to register for another one. They’re always different and always fun. Here’s an idea of what we’ve tasted this month. Cheers!
Caroline from West End Tavern knows her bourbon and can tell you everything she knows while offering sips of different spirits and samples of her signature cocktails, such as the Ron Burgundy (left) and an Old Fashioned (right).
Tahona has been a fun stop on some tours and we’ve been sampling a variety of blanco, reposado, and añejo tequilas. If you have questions about the differences between blanco, reposado, and añejo, it’s probably time you join us on a cocktail tour…
Tina offered us a blanco Republic Tequila as well as some Republic that they had barrel aged in house into a reposado.
On a different tour, Ally offered us a tasting of Gran Centenario plata, reposado, and añejo as well as a tasting of her coin style margarita.
Connor at SALT treated us to a sweet creation of his, the Barry White and a classic- The Aviation.
The Pinyon was also a featured stop on a couple tours and we drank a Hops not Tonic (left), a beer cocktail created by Dan Mirsky, and a soda bottled cocktail with some dangerously good chicken wings.
Chef owner Theo Adley likes hanging at his own bar, so we’re often very well entertained at The Pinyon.
Boulder cocktail tours run every Thursday. We visit 3 great local bars and get to ask the experts all of our cocktail questions. It’s the best way to bar hop in town.
Well, it’s happened again. Another fantastic restaurant has opened in Boulder. I thought a Tuesday night would be slow, but The Pinyon was packed when we arrived around 7:30. We got two seats at the beautiful, large, spacious, wooden bar and got to watch the busy, meticulous kitchen staff work hard while we enjoyed the fruits of their labor.
We started out with cocktails, of course.
I tried the Waldorf, which was Rye, Sweet Vermouth, and Absinthe. Brought me right back to New Orleans… love that rye.
To start, we split the House Made Farmer Cheese. You must try the house made farmer cheese. It it one of my new favorite small plates ever. The black pepper honey and grilled bread made me want to order an entire bowl of this cheese and a loaf of bread so I could stuff myself on perfection. But… we had other small plates to enjoy.
I don’t know what they do to their braised greens, but if I made greens taste this good, I’d actually eat them every day instead of blend them in a vitamix and drink them. The chefs at The Pinyon must know a secret because you could get little kids to enjoy these greens. The golden raisins and pine nuts are also a nice touch.
And the pickled vegetables! I had never considered pickled yam as a pickling possibility, but The Pinyon did and the pickled veggies are deliciously pickled, yet maintain some crunch. Celery, carrot, cauliflower, yam, turnip, and beets. By the time we finished our appetizers, I was convinced that I loved this place.
Now, let’s talk about fried chicken. I know The Pinyon offers more than fried chicken, but sitting there watching all of the plating taking place, you’d think it was a fried chicken joint. So many people ordered this perfectly battered and fried half chicken with corn cakes and house syrup, and we did too. The Pinyon’s fried chicken is comfort food with a new American, front-range twist. They are well on their way to being the place in town for fried chicken.
I took a chance on the Butternut and Pumpkin Dumplings, thinking they’d be like a Chinese dumpling stuffed with squash and pumpkin. Not at all! They’re so much better than that! They’re like plump gnocchi-like pillows of mouth-watering goodness in a brown-butter sage bourbon sauce that blends well with the gingersnap crumbs, mushrooms, and roasted tomatoes. The frisee works well with the dish and I had a hard time pacing myself. I kept eating and eating and eating…
And, of course we ordered the doughnuts for dessert and started eating them before I even thought to snap a photo. Three kinds of doughnuts rounded off our meal: chocolate, maple glazed, and bourbon glazed. Ahh… doughnuts. Who doesn’t honestly love doughnuts?
The service at The Pinyon was stellar. The food was absolutely delicious. It is officially one of my new favorite places in town.