Sunday, July 3, 2011
CO: The food! The beer! Part 2!
Welcome to post #6 in a series featuring some of the sights and sounds from a recent vacation in Fort Collins and Boulder, CO.
There's just one more Colorado post after this one, so I think it's time we refuel before our final leg!
We spent our second-to-last day in Boulder and decided to try a new place for lunch. Not just new to us, but truly new - it just opened in January. Zudaka, a discovery through Happy Cow, is a vegetarian (very vegan-friendly) Latin food restaurant. Their home-cooked fare - mainly Venezuelan and Colombian - is deliciously simple, yet refreshingly different. It's a tiny, colorful little place, tucked away and not easy to find, but well worth keeping your eyes peeled for!
As a shared appetizer we got steamed yucca (or "yuca," which our server pronounced "YOO-ka"), served with fresh salsa, guasa (Venezuelan guacamole), and vegan nata (Venezuelan sour cream). The jar contains their homemade hot sauce. And speaking of hot, it was a very hot day that day and the little restaurant had no a/c or ceiling fans. Even so, I couldn't refrain from having a cup of their white lentil and veggies soup, and didn't regret that decision one bit! What's a little extra perspiration in pursuit of yummy food? :-) To the right of the soup is the arepita (a lovely, light cornmeal biscuit) that was served with it...
The yuca was similar to mild potatoes,
and the soup was incredibly flavorful and delicious!
BW's entree was the Hallaquitas, a pair of Venezuelan tamales served with black beans, guasa, fresh salsa and an arepita, while I got a Reina Pepiada, an arepa (a traditional Venezuelan cornmeal dough sandwich) filled with meatless (TVP) "chicken" in avocado purée...
BW's tamales and my arepa
Oddly, though it was so hot and Boulder is no slacker when it comes to brewing up great microbrews, we didn't have any beer that day! Probably because we headed to Chautauqua for the afternoon. But fear not, the next day was BW's birthday so you can by-god bet your bottle opener we had beer then! ;-)
Back in Fort Collins for BW's birthday lunch on the 6th, we ate at Coopersmith's Pub & Brewing. Torn mightily between their Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwich, Wild Mushroom Vegetarian Burger, and their Homemade Spicy Black Bean Burger, we both ended up ordering the latter (despite my infatuation with mushrooms!) I doubt we could have gone wrong with any of them, but the Spicy Black Bean Burger was a huge hit. We still talk about it! (And though we normally don't eat such things, the pub fries were a mighty tasty birthday treat!)...
Here's the birthday boy, wearing not only his Happy Vacation Face, but also his Spicy Black Bean Burger beaming smile and his Mountain Avenue Wheat Beer grin...
As you can see from our table setting, I too had a pint of the Mountain Avenue Wheat beer, and as if that weren't enough, BW also ordered a "bullet" (1/2 pint) of Columbine Kolsch, a light German ale. Told you we had beer!...
I took the above photo so you could see our fun table location (great for people-watching!), more of Fort Collins' beautiful flowers, and the Fort Collins Bike Library (the red, white and green building behind the flowers). It was a great place to sit and enjoy lunch, but it wasn't without its perils. Right after our food arrived, we were approached by a man with two young boys in tow. The man rather shyly explained that they were on a scavenger hunt and the next item on the list he held in his hand said, "Ask someone eating at an outdoor table for a French fry." (Oh suuuure it did. LOL) So BW gave them one of his fries and they thanked us profusely and left to find their next tourist patsy. ;-)
Then a couple of minutes later, I noticed a woman with a boy about the same age as the previous two and a girl a few years older, watching us from the vicinity of that green bench you can see behind BW. The woman was holding a piece of paper also, and as she hesitantly approached us saying, "Excuse me, I hate to bother you but..." I held my plate out and said, "You are in need of a French fry!" She and the two kids grinned and asked, "Has someone else been by here already?" We told them that the man and two boys were a couple of minutes ahead of them, so they gratefully snagged their fry and sped away in hot pursuit. BW's theory was that they were all members of the same family participating in a kids' party game, but I think they were contestants in the The Amazing Race. ;-)
Since Tasty Harmony is closed on Mondays, we enjoyed BW's birthday dinner at another favorite restaurant (just around the corner from Tasty H.), Taj Mahal...
The country mice go cosmopolitan when visiting the big city!
Latin food for lunch one day, Indian for dinner the next! :-)
We shared servings of Bombay Aloo (potatoes with spices and curry sauce) and Alloo Chhole (potatoes with chickpeas and spices), along with aromatic Basmati rice and roti (whole-wheat flat bread)...
It was all delicious, and I think the rice is especially pretty!
On our final morning in Fort Collins (boo-hoo!), we went to Whole Foods for breakfast and to stock up on goodies to take home. It was another gorgeous day, so we had our deli breakfast on the patio (we only ate two meals indoors the entire time!) I love savory food for breakfast and wanted to save some of it for supper later, so I got some garlic-roasted potatoes and orzo salad. BW also got some of the potatoes, and we each got a big honkin' vegan blueberry muffin...
We left Fort Collins later than we'd planned because I insisted on one last lunch at Tasty Harmony, which didn't open till 11. But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!
BW ordered the lunch special of 1/2 Tempeh Reuben sandwich and cup of Tortilla Soup. I managed to score a small bite of the Reuben, though it was so delicious that my normally generous husband was actually loathe to share it! Well, birthday's over, bub, so gimme! ;-)
"Tempeh Reuben + cup of Tortilla Soup"
Marinated tempeh, homemade sauerkraut, cashew cheese
and Russian dressing on toasted unleavened rye bread
I'd been tempted by the sprouted falafal & hummus wrap on every visit, so this time I ordered it, along with a side of mashed potatoes with scrumptious vegan gravy (our waiter told me what was in it, but all I remember now was vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast! Sure was good!) My wrap was fresh, light and very tasty, but I confess - I ended up wishing I'd ordered the Reuben after my purloined bite of BW's! At least I know the first thing I'm ordering next time...
"Living Falafel and Hummus Wrap"
Sprouted almond & walnut falafel with our living hummus
topped with cucumbers, tomatoes & sprouts,
wrapped in a large collard green leaf
I agreed to be the designated driver for the first half of the drive home so BW could enjoy one last local beer. His choice: Tree Hugger Organic Amber from Boulder's Asher Brewing Company. His verdict: primo! (I agree, for naturally I had a sip!)...
Asher's Tree Hugger Organic Amber
And of course, we had to splurge on one last dessert before returning home to our better-behaved dining ways. Our encore dessert was a shared piece of Tasty Harmony's raw vegan key lime pie, another re-run from last year's visit to TH, and well worth repeating...
Wishing all my fellow Yankee Doodlers a very safe and festive 4th of July, and a fun-filled month of July to all!
- INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
- MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
- MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
- ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
- QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
- THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
- THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
- THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
- THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.
~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"