Studio F Brings Pop Up Restaurants to Denver: Inaugural Dinner with Chef Charles Dale and Sutcliffe Vineyards wine

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Chef James Mazzio, Winemaker John Sutcliffe and Chef Charles DalePhoto of John Sutcliffe courtesy Sutcliffe Vineyards websiteAny self-respecting watcher of ‘Top Chef’ will certainly know of the Pop Up Restaurant concept from the angst-producing ‘Restaurant Wars’ segment of the series.  What might not be as well known is that outside of reality TV, pop up restaurants are currently the rage in cutting edge culinary trends.  Specifically a pop up restaurant is a temporary dining experience where a restaurant is set up in a vacant building (or in this case Studio F) for a limited time.  It affords the opportunity for exceptional chefs to swoop in, dazzle a culinary audience for a few nights and whisk back to their city of origin. Starter Duet of Tuna Tartare on a Blue Corn Blini with Crispy … {continue reading}

Kissing Winter Goodbye: Homemade Pear-Infused Brandy

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Normally this time of year would be a seasonal cusp, ebbing and flowing between a dwindling winter and promise of summer.  This year however it has been unseasonably warm punctuated by a brief attempt at snow last week.  As winter disappears quickly into our rear view mirror I had the idea to infuse some brandy with the last of winter’s pears.Though pears are seen to be a winter fruit they too are cusp fruit with some of the last varieties such as the Red D’Anjou lasting into May and even June.  I love the color, flavor and look of this pear.  Unlike some other counterparts it does not bruise easily, get mushy or change color as it ripens.  The skin is a bit thicker to me as well which probably aids in its structure holding steady.PEAR INFUSED BRANDYThe quantity of this recipe can be … {continue reading}

Discovering the Original Frito Pie in Santa Fe and Breakfast in Taos New Mexico

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The planning for my virtually spontaneous Panhandle-Plains road trip dead ended in Lubbock Texas, leaving a question of the route to be taken back to Colorado.  I love a good loop, preferring not to repeat a route if avoidable.  Somewhere between Palo Duro Canyon and Lubbock I caught wind that the first Frito Pie known to the culinary world was created in Santa Fe New Mexico.  After enjoying our Frito Pie at Robinson’s inAmarillo so much I could not resist a bit of investigative research. I headed North West toward a city I’ve always loved, Santa Fe.  Last year I took a road trip all through New Mexico, eating, drinking and reporting along the way.  I’ve visited Santa Fe many times throughout my life and had no idea that the former Woolworth’s 5-and-10 cent store (a) had a snack bar, and … {continue reading}

Great Tasting Wine in West Texas: Llano Estacado and McPherson Cellars Wineries

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As an ex Northern Californian having lived for years with wineries a stone’s throw away I would be lying to say Lubbock’s bevy of wineries did not pique my curiosity.  So much so that they became a target of my recent whirlwind food and drink road trip hunting for notable local fare in the Panhandle-Plains region of West Texas.  I was unsure what I’d encounter with wines from Texas but with fingers crossed I set forth.Llano Estacado (Llano pronounced ‘yawn-o’) is probably the best known wine in this region though the fame of their wines is not limited to West Texas.  I found their wines popping up in wine competitions nationally, at wine conferences with candid wine blogger reviews speaking highly of their line.  Thanks to my iPhone ‘gal pal’ Siri, I became miserably lost attempting to … {continue reading}

Silk Dyed Easter Eggs and Bunny Shaped Hard Boiled Eggs

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Last spring my daughter came home from Middle School brimming with excitement over a special Easter egg recipe her beloved World History teacher had shared.  It was from the teacher’s family and the only method she now uses to make her Easter eggs.  The intriguing part was the source of the dye is silk neck ties.  Having never heard of such a thing I logged it for this year feeling it was a ‘must try’.  After dying eggs exclusively from food and spices last year (click here to read), reverting to flimsy egg dying boxed kits seemed out of the question. A month ago I contacted the teacher asking if we might try her recipe and if she’d be willing for me to share it on my blog.  I must step back and say this teacher is completely enchanting.  To even receive an email from her and be … {continue reading}

Palo Duro Canyon and Where the Locals Eat in Lubbock Texas

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If I told you I just spent 48 hours staying here…… Would you envy me or think I had been incarcerated?  Three words: Off-The-Grid.  When poking around to put together my road trip route, Palo Duro Canyon State Park worked its way onto my radar.  It is the second largest canyon to the Grand Canyon in the U.S. having been developed as a state park in the 1930’s.  This area is steeped in history; Spanish explorers, the rise and fall of the Comanche Indians, Western pioneer settlers.  Much of the history reflects the turbulent pains of claiming land for one’s own.   The canyon is a painted desert, with the light appearing to highlight different colors of the layered cliffs all through the day into the evening. When exploring options on a travel route I learned there were 6 … {continue reading}