I dutifully filled out my Census form, but critical questions were missing: “Are you a practicing foodie? Do you plan vacations around restaurants, smuggle food from other nations and give your knives nicknames?”
Foodies may be the fastest growing segment of the populace. Packaged Facts guesstimates that about 14 percent of U.S. adults—31 million people or so—are foodies. I bet it’s more than 30 percent in Boulder County.
That said, I cringe when someone labels me as one. “Foodie” makes my lifelong culinary pre-occupation sound silly. The alternative monikers aren’t much better. “Gourmet” has become meaningless. “Gourmand” and “epicure” are precious, “locavore” and “foodarian” are political, and “eater” and “taster” are generic. “Gastronaut,” “gastronome” or “gastrophile” are gassy and unpleasant.
There’s no blood test to determine whether you are a person of the foodie persuasion, but research reveals some telltale signs. For instance, you may be a foodie if you hesitate when your significant other asks you to choose between an afternoon in bed or artisan butter-poached foie gras with Ela Farms pear preserves atop Breadworks brioche toasts with a snifter of Colorado ice wine.
You may be a foodie if…
You always know the shortest route to the nearest pho restaurant, pupusa truck, homestead cheesemaker and gin microdistillery. …You’ve already ticked durian, natto, calf brains, blood sausage, Sechuan buttons, miracle fruit, stinging nettles, lamb fries and black garlic off your food “bucket” list. …you won’t buy tires until the old ones are bald, but you don’t hesitate to buy fresh saffron, fennel pollen and Madagascar vanilla. …You have a map that shows where to glean wild asparagus in the spring, chantarelles in the summer and chokecherries in the fall. …You can argue the relative merits of Frasca, Colterra, Black Cat, The Kitchen, Jax, L’Atelier, Empire, Radda, Sugarbeet and Pizzeria Basta because you’ve eaten at each of them five or more times. …You not only know the difference between pancetta, guanciale, speck, and sopressata, you make salume at home. You get extra points if you know what lardo is. …you can name three previous restaurants located in the northeast corner on the east end of Pearl St. Mall where Illegal Pete’s now stands and four restaurants that were located at the Boulderado before Q’s and the Corner Bar.
ON THE MENU
Among the best things I’ve tasted at North Metro area eateries in the past month or so include mozzarella en carozza, irresistible flatbread-wrapped mozzarella grilled until gooey and served with roasted tomato dip at Basil Flats, 1067 S. Hover Road, Longmont; a near-perfect combination “bun,” a bowl of rice noodles topped with grilled pork, shrimp, chicken, and egg roll with mint, pickled daikon, carrot and cucumber at Black Pepper Pho, 2770 Pearl St., Boulder; a surprisingly spicy and meaty black bean patty, griddled with butter, topped with pepper jack cheese, guacamole, veggies, chipotle mayo and jalapenos on a chipotle bun at Smashburger, 1650 28th Street, in Boulder; and a classic Cuban sandwich: a griddled Kaiser roll filled with pulled pork, ham, mozzarella mustard and pickles at Dubbins Sandwiches, a take-out window at 1968 13th St.
Denver-distilled Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey won Artisan Whisky of the Year in the Malt Advocate Whisky awards. …Boulder-made Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter was named Best New Vegetarian Product by VegNews Magazine at the Natural Products Expo West. …Boulder’s Spice of Life Catering earned the Best Caterer (Outside Denver) award in the Colorado Meetings + Events magazine Best of Colorado awards…Frasca Food & Wine was honored as one of the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. according to the Gayot travel guide. Meanwhile, Cosmopolitan’s list of “14 sizzling hot chefs” includes Frasca’s Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson. …At the Gabby Gourmet’s professional pie contest March 27 My Mom’s Pie of Niwot took first place in the specialty category with a raspberry marionberry pie and second place in the apple pie category. Shamane’s Bake Shop of Boulder took third place in the specialty category with a sour cherry rhubarb pie.
Leenie’s Southern Café is open at 2400 S. Boulder Rd., in Lafayette. …The tasting room of the new, organic Asher Brewing Company is open at 4699 Nautilus Court in Boulder. …Coming soon: Zoe Ma Ma, 2010 10th St., former site of Spud Bros; Quaker Steak & Lube, 10392 Reed St., Westminster; and Zucca Italian Ristorante, 808 Main St., Louisville.
Nibbles reader Laura Bloom of Gunbarrel wrote asking why Boulder County is a “fried chicken desert:”
“My friends and I have looked hard but have yet to find real, home-made fried chicken: high-quality on-the-bone parts (thighs, legs, breasts and wings) that are hot from the fryer, crisp-skinned, peppery and juicy. I’ve talked to many chefs about serving it but so far no takers.”
Readers: If you discover any real fried chicken being served locally, let me know posthaste at: email@example.com.
Join me for Radio Nibbles, my weekly food conversation and commentary, at 8:25am every Thursday on KGNU (88.5 FM, 1390 AM, and KGNU.org. …The Boulder County Farmers Market opens April 3; The Longmont Farmers Market begins May 1. …The inaugural Denver International Beer Competition will be held May 1 at Broomfield’s Omni Interlocken. denverbeercomp.com. …The debut Taste of Pearl walking tasting 2 to 6pm April 25 on the Downtown Mall teams Colorado wineries and Boulder chefs with local galleries. Participating restaurants include Brasserie Ten Ten, Centro, Flagstaff House, Frasca, Mateo and Q’s. tasteofpearl.com.
“The rule is jam tomorrow and jam yesterday but never jam today.”—From Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
• Café Circolo, the Heartland Café, and Golden Mountain Chinese.
• Winston’s, The Steak Porch, Fleur de Lis, Fred’s, and the Oyster Bar in the lobby.