Absolutely no cooking took place in our house last week. We are both busy prepping classes for the start of the new semester at CU (the summer is always fleeting), plus I had the opportunity to attend some great food events. The first event was a tasting menu at Colterra, one of my favorite restaurants. There are many, many reasons I love Colterra–the consistently great food, the focus on sustainable practices, the teamwork with local farms–but the primary reason I love them is that you are greeted on the corner of the lovely, outdoor patio by this giant, metal chicken:
It’s hard not to love a place with a giant metal chicken.
The tasting menu was elaborated by Executive Chef Michael Drazsnzak, who has presided over the Colterra kitchen for almost five years. The restaurant is among the growing ventures of Chef Bradford Heap, who also is the creative force behind Salt, in Boulder. Both restaurants do a lot of local sourcing, and feature seasonal menus. Colterra has a lovely garden surrounding the patio area, and some of the herbs were featured in the menu.
Our first taste was a rich start, consisting of pork rillettes with a light mint pickle. The mint was from the “wheelbarrow mint” from the garden.
The second dish was my favorite: a local tomato salad with green beans, corn, basil, and fried croutons to soak up the balsamic must vinaigrette. Those of you who have been following along with my story know that I am not a fan of Colorado tomatoes–they pale (literally) in comparison to those from the Midwest–but these had some decent flavor that well enhanced by the sweet, intense dressing.
We also enjoyed some local melon with proscuitto and pea shoots:
Colterra’s mixologist, Narada, then demonstrated how to make a seasonal martini with gin, Maraschino liqueur, fresh lemon, and a lavender simple syrup:
The next event was at Tundra Restaurant Supply, in Boulder, and it was the launch of a new, national contest for chefs and home cooks who want to enter to win some expert help creating their “Dreamstaurant.” The contest will be accepting entries beginning October 1st, but you can enter your email now to get updates. This event included a tour of Tundra, which is a vast, foodie dream of cooking equipment and gadgets, as well as some molecular gastronomy-inspired appetizers by Chef Ian Kleinman, of the The Inventing Room. We all enjoyed watching him make liquid nitrogen ice cream–flavored with Yuzu, and dusted with curry–and then breathing out clouds of Yuzu-infused steam from the incredibly cold treats.
One appetizer was a cayenne-dusted pork belly served with pickled vegetables and a Nutella-scallion dust. It was fantastic. The other offering from The Inventing Room was a rice crisp topped with crab, compressed apple, coconut cavier, and cilantro. Also good, but really, you cannot beat pork belly.
I was really excited to meet Chef Kelly Liken at this event–she of Top Chef, Iron Chef, and her acclaimed Vail restaurant, Kelly Liken–and she was extremely personable (and had the coolest, hand-painted Dansko shoes). She will be judging the Dreamstaurant contest, along with Chef Ian Kleinman and Tundra designer Jeff Katz, and she served a light (really) creme fraiche panna cotta with watermelon and mint.
We capped off a week of events with the food-booth mecca that is Longmont’s Festival on Main. The food was not as pretty or elegant as the dishes pictured above, but great street food fair–cotton candy, cupcakes, barbecue, gyros, burritos, etc. Our favorites were the samosas and tikka masala from Flavor of India. I will leave you with a few highlights from the festival, and next week I will be back with more recipes:
Have a delicious week,