My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


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...


Mmmmmm...


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...

Raw Vegan Key Lime Pie

Wishing all my fellow Yankee Doodlers a very safe and festive 4th of July, and a fun-filled month of July to all!


16 comments:

  1. Just reading your post has left me too full and inebriated to move from my chair. Fort Collins/Boulder is a vegan food and beer wonderland, isn't it? I fear for you if you retire there what with all the temptation. First it will be birthday lunch and dinner, then birthday week, birthday month and then before you know it, it will be permanent birthday debauchery. Sounds like you picked the perfect place for a vacation, and I'm thinking I need a little vacation like that!

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  2. I can't believe you guys fell for that french fry scam...lol. You'd have a right to get suspicious if someone siddled up to you while you were eating your arepas and quasa and said that they need some for a scavenger hunt. :D

    The healthy Venezuelan/Columbian place is a score!! Great find. I wish we had cool places like that around here, and having said that: I want all that food! It all looks and sounds amazing.

    BTW, what's different about Venezuelan sour cream than other sour cream?

    The Indian looks great and way to go out with a bang at your last lunch at tasty harmony. The living falafel wrap sounds spectacular...I'm going to have to see if I can make something along those lines here...but, I have to say, a well done Reuben is very hard to beat in terms of flavor/texture bombness and overall tummy happiness.

    Of course the beer is calling to me...I've been laying off it lately...trying to slim a bit...man, it has my mouth watering...nothing better than a cold one on a hot day...nothing better.

    Thanks for yet another travel log that let me have a bit of vacation delight from afar!

    Happy 4th Laurie, have fun at RodRun!

    Peace!...That's the best sort of wish for the 4th!!!

    :)

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  3. "Permanent Birthday Debauchery"...total LOL Andrea!...Um, have you been spying on me?

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  4. Your entire post just gave me a wanderlust big time! That area has such great dining options.

    That's so funny about the scavenger hunt. What a strange item to have on it, though. I started to imagine that you'd have a constant stream of scavenger hunters coming up to you, only to be left with no fries left to eat! lol

    All of the food looks spectacular, but the spicy black bean burger looks especially good. We often make spicy black bean sloppy joes (adapted from a McDougall cookbook) that we adore. Black beans rock. That picture of BW in front of his burger, fries and beer is priceless. He looks so happy!

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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  5. Andrea ~ LOL! Wouldn't it be great if we actually could enjoy "virtual dining" that way? Think of it, with all those great vegan food blogs out there there'd be an embarrassment of abundance to choose from, we'd save all kinds of $ on our grocery bills, and we'd never have to cook or do dishes if we didn't want to. :-) F/C and Boulder are indeed beer and vegan food wonderlands, we felt terribly spoiled! And your fears for us retiring there are well-founded. The only things that would save us would be our retirement income (reducing such splurges as we enjoyed on vacation) and all the hiking and biking (and maybe kayaking!) that we'd be enjoying. Otherwise, we'd probably have to use the port of entry truck scales to weigh ourselves! LOL

    As for enjoying a similar vacation yourself, you could always swing a bit south on your trip back to Seattle to spend a couple of days in F/C! ;-)

    Rose ~ LOL, you and Andrea are on a roll! The Great Fort Collins French Fry Caper definitely hoodwinked us. ;-) And you're right, suspicions would have been raised had they claimed their scavenger hunt demanded an arepa (or a sip of beer!)

    Zudaka was a VERY fun find. I just wish I'd gotten a photo of the interior (it was sweet), and better food photos. We'd originally sat by the window where I'd have had much better lighting, but it was much too hot there. So we moved to a dark, cooler corner where we caught what little breezes there were coming through the open door, trading good food-photo lighting for physical comfort. Our only other indoor meal, at Taj Mahal which has no outdoor seating, didn't photograph as well either. Nothing like natural lighting to make the food look nearly as good in photos as it did in person.

    I have no idea what makes Venezuelan sour cream different! Or, for that matter, how guasa differs from guacamole. It looked and tasted like regular guacamole. (In other words, delicious!)

    I'm betting if anyone can replicate that living falafal & hummus wrap, it'll be you! It was really good, perfect for a hot summer's day. But oh boy, that Reuben! I'll be thinking about it till we return to Fort Collins, like I did the burrito all last year!

    And all those beers were fantastic. We loved that Asher's beers were organic as well as vegan. And isn't it a beautiful color? Why would anyone drink Bud Light?!

    My pleasure, Rose, thanks for coming along vicariously! :-)

    We missed the Rod Run, had to deal with a Mocha crisis (all's well, but it made us get to town 90 minutes after the Rod Run had dispersed!), but I did get photos of one seriously spiffy car as it cruised past us in Kendrick Park, and that will show up in a future post. I have a LOT of future posts in the hopper, I've been a mad woman with the camera lately. But first, we'll wrap up Colorado!

    I agree with you that a wish for peace is the best kind for the 4th! And so I wish you a very fun and very peaceful holiday! :-) xoxo

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  6. Molly ~ Well, I know you're wishing you could take a trip this year, and I know how painful a bad case of wanderlust can be when you can't satisfy it. But if my posts are getting you to want to revisit Colorado, then yee-haw! :-)

    LOL @ you, too! You guys are tickling my funny bone this morning. I love how you imagined a stream of scavenger hunters obliterating our pub fries! That got me thinking of Stephen King's short story, Smokers, Inc., where people who sign up for their smoking cessation program are under surveillance at all times, even when it seems impossible. And if they sneak a smoke, very bad things are done to them. It got me thinking that had your scenario been our experience, I would have suspected the McDougall Clinic was behind it! :-)

    Totally agree with you that black beans rock, they are a staple at our house! I just made the delicious black bean and corn salsa out of the McDougall cookbook yesterday, in fact (we eat it like salad, not salsa, so it doesn't last!) - and your sloppy joes sound wonderful! That Coopersmith's burger was the best I've ever tasted. You'd have loved it!

    I really love that photo of BW too. He is so relaxed and happy on our vacations - wish UPS (and other life challenges we often have to deal with) didn't beat the crap out of him the rest of the time.

    Here's hoping you, Mike and the girls all enjoy a very relaxing, low-humidity holiday! :-)

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  7. Ok, I think this is the post that will undoubtedly get me into the truck & on my way to your house! Holy smokes lady....I was lost in this post! Num, num & num. xo Happy 4th!!!

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  8. Izzy ~ Okay, you can swing by here and pick me up and we'll head to Fort Collins and Boulder together. Maybe we can time it so Andrea can come along too! :-)

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  9. Laloofah -- Well the food was well presented. I am not a restaurant kind of person so I am a rather drab commenter today. Coffee houses are about as foody as I can muster myself. It all sounded fun and I'm sure you'll be back there soon. Maybe retirement? -- Barbara

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  10. What a fantastic trip - I've loved seeing it through your eyes.

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  11. Barbara ~ Eating out like that is such a rare treat for us, we only do it on vacation. When we're in town and have to grab lunch, it's at a sandwich/smoothie/coffee & tea shop! We especially enjoy eating at vegan (or mostly vegan) restaurants when we're traveling, feels good to support them with our business. Not that any of them seem to need it, they're always crowded! Yay! :-)

    Definitely Fort Collins is a serious contender for a retirement location! But first, it'll be the scene of at least another mini-vacation or two, I'm sure.

    Jamie ~ Thanks! It wasn't Switzerland (I need to catch up on your trip posts!), but it was beautiful and a lot of fun! Glad you enjoyed it through my blog. :-)

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  12. Well, thank you VERY much! I now have a damp right shoulder! John was looking at the photos of your food, over my shoulder, and drooling!

    Funnily enough, he had a wheat beer for the first time at a new vegan cafe in Glasgow the other week.

    And, being the trusting wee soul I am, I was totally un-cynical about the scavenger hunt!

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  13. Taterwad! Seriously, I don't know what looked better....the cool grub, the tastey brew, or the Ft. Collins area. I know we'd love there and Boulder...maybe someday. We did go to Yellow Springs today....about as close as you can get to Boulder in Ohio ;-). I'm glad you two had so much fun. Oh yeah, if I haven't already, a very belated Happy Birthday to BW ;-). Later, TW

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  14. Penny ~ Oh, so John's a shoulder surfer, eh? Well, maybe you need to keep a towel over your shoulder, like you did when your kids were babies. LOL Can't hardly blame him, those goodies are all definitely drool-worthy! :-)

    So how did you like your wheat beer and the new Glaswegian vegan cafe? And good for you for being so trusting and lacking in cynicism about the alleged perpetrators in the Great Fort Collins French Fry Caper! :-)

    Spud ~ Oh, you'd love it indeed, the entire Fort Collins/Boulder package of scenery, weather, food, beer, shops, attitude... hope you can make it out there one day! I've never heard of Yellow Springs, OH, I must look it up. I'm glad you have an Ohioan counterpart to such fun places as FC & Boulder, and REALLY glad you got to go do something fun! Your work schedule has been so brutal.

    Belated birthday wishes have been duly delivered and many thanks are being sent back your way. :-)

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  15. As you know, I love the food posts the most and given your ample descriptions and very wonderful photos, I can almost taste everything!

    I love that I was treated to latin food, a pub burger and indian food! What a nice variety. May I have a nibble of the Yuca and the guasa, the soup and the arepa but I'll have a whole black bean burger please. Or maybe I'll order the portebella burger and we'll share some of each!!

    The indian food looks yummy too and I'd love to try that roti and the basmati rice in particular.

    I'm so glad there was beer. On behalf of BW, I'm very grateful to you for driving first so he could have that Tree Hugger organic Amber - my favorite choice of the beers you had as I'm SURE you guessed. Love the name as well as that rich color!

    I love the idea of potatoes and a muffin for breakfast! Thanks for sharing the photo of the muffin.

    BTW, your camera does such a wonderful job and my new one s__ks! I guess you get what you pay for. So I admitted my horrible error to Jim and asked for a good camera for my birthday. I know I don't deserve it since I just bought a new one but photos are so important to me and I didn't get a single good one at graduation and over 50% of my photos are blurry. I gave him your model number as an example of a good carmera!

    I didn't mean to digress - just wanted to compliment you on your good decision!

    Thanks for a tasty post!

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  16. Jo ~ I didn't realize the food posts were your favorites, but I did know you really enjoy them and I always think of you when I'm putting one together! (And, come to think of it, when I'm ordering the food and beer, eating the food and drinking the beer, photographing the food and beer...) :-)

    We really enjoyed the variety of cuisines too. And I think you'll definitely be wanting one of those black bean burgers all to yourself, but love your idea of ordering the portobello sandwich and sharing it. In fact, let's live it up and get the wild mushroom burger and share it too! (Each of these burgers/sandiches will require its own beer to accompany it, of course). ;-)

    All our beers were awesome, but the Tree Hugger Amber was my favorite! I love that it's organic, love the name and the gorgeous color as well, and loved the flavor. In other words, what wasn't to love?! Wish we could get that here!

    I think potatoes and a muffin is the TRUE breakfast of champions. LOL I'm glad you enjoyed the tasty part of this trip, especially!

    What kind of camera do you have? That's such a shame your new camera let you down on those important photos! That DOES suck. (It's okay, you can spell out "sucks" on my blog. LOL) I love everything about my camera except for the inability to take really close macro shots. It won't focus on anything closer than 1-2 feet away, and sometimes I would like to get extreme closeups of flowers or insects (though I can sometimes end up with a similar result by cropping). But for an affordable, portable, point and shoot digital, it's hard to beat! It's even got manual settings I've yet to use. Do check out Molly's camera too, especially since it's for your birthday! :-)

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • 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"