Archive for Food and Drink

Nov
30

Coffeehouse tastings in Boulder

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Boxcar Coffee Roasters one of the newest coffee shops to join others along downtown Pearl Street in Boulder.

Laughing Goat has some of the best coffee in Boulder and lots of room to spread out.

Just wanted to post a few photos of some coffee shops along downtown Pearl Street. I’ve just started using the Hipstamatic photo app on my iPhone, and I’m really having fun with it.

It’s time for you to put The Pinyon, a newer entry on the East Pearl Street area, a notch higher on your list of good Boulder restaurants to try out.

We were looking last minute for a reservation for dinner over the 4th of July weekend, and while many of the more well-known restaurants here were booked until late, The Pinyon was available. Turns out, we very much enjoyed our first time to this restaurant.

The Pinyon has been renovated from the last restaurant (Bimbamboo) that occupied the space, with a nice bar area where you can watch the chefs preparing your food. We chose a seat along the windows to do a little Pearl Street watching. But just a word of warning here, if it’s early evening, beware of the sun and glare from the large windows. So far, the restaurant does not have any shades installed, and the setting sun in the summer comes directly in.

Nevertheless, the wait staff was very friendly, and even offered to move us if the sun was bothering us.

The Pinyon lists itself as contemporary American, focused on “small batch, craft driven food and drink.” You have choices of small plates, although we all chose items off the large plate menu, which range in the $18 to $24 price. Salads and some sides are extra.

I tried the grilled flank steak, tender and tasty, which came with delicious padron peppers, grilled spring onions and confit tomato. The arugula salad, with some fresh strawberries and tiny Oregon huckleberries, was a delicious starter.

Others with me tried two different hand-made pasta dishes, one served with summer vegetables, another with shredded lamb. Both were mouth-watering and worth sharing bites around the table.

It was a great summer weekend, so we started with a bottle Oregon Rose that was recommended, and it was perfect for the summer heat.

It wasn’t terribly busy for a holiday weekend Sunday evening, but that might just be part of Boulder getting to know The Pinyon a little better. Chef and owner Theo Adley was busy cooking and chatting to a few customers, but it might be nice to see him come out and mingle with guests a little if the pace is slow since he’s cooking right in the main room of the restaurant anyway.

It’s those small friendly touches that pay off big in the extremely competitive Boulder restaurant market.

I’ll definitely be back. The Pinyon does offer a happy hour with small plate specials, and that could be fun to try out if you’re not looking for a full dinner.

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On-the-scene reports of earthquake relief efforts in Haiti are increasingly moving off the evening news, but a Boulder benefit this Friday night plans to raise money with all proceeds going to the Haiti Relief and Development Fund of the American Red Cross. 

The fund-raiser, organized by Boulder residents Mike and Caron Ellis with a group of volunteers, is calling itself the ABCDEFG Haiti — short for the Amazing Boulder Carnival Dance and Earthquake Fund Gathering for Haiti. 

That might be a mouthful, but for a $25 donation, you get in the door to a night full of music, a silent and live auction and gourmet food prepared by Tom McNeill, owner and executive chef of The Gourmet Cowboy in Vail. 

Rockin' Robin Abb, who organizes Niwot's Rhythm on the Rails, is the event's special host.

Dr. Clayton Harper, a dental surgeon who recently returned from Haiti, will be a guest speaker at the event with a photo slide show provided by Dr. Jim Sears of "The Doctors" TV show about his recent mission to the country. 

The fun gathering runs from 7 to midnight at the Boulder Elks Lodge, 3975 25th St., and tickets are available online at www.ABCDEFGHaiti.com. If you can't attend the event, you can also make donations directly on the site. 

Caron Ellis said she and her husband, with the help of several volunteers, have pulled the event together in less than a month, forming a nonprofit so they could move the proceeds easily to the Red Cross. 

All of the performers, who include Chris Daniels, Ayo Awoskia, Jaden, Megan Burtt, Rob Drabki, Kyle James Hauser and others, are donating their time. There will also be face painting by Eydie Cady, palm readings by Mryna Lou Goldbaum and caricatures by Ken Crouse. Auctioneer Glenn Locke will lead the live auction, which will include a year of Comcast Triple Play service, courside Nuggets tickets, an electric bike and more.

The Carnival is a major holiday for Haiti, and now you can enjoy the costume contest, dancing and cash bar at the Mardi Gras-themed fund-raiser for just $25 on Friday night, Feb. 19. 

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Nov
05

Vic’s Again … again

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Vics

Vic's Again is opening its second location on Boulder's 30th Street on the east side of the city, serving a large number of both office and retail workers in the area.


Yes, it's Vic's Again … again. And the new Boulder coffee shop takes over the former location of the former Java Hut on 30th Street in the shopping center that also houses OfficeMax.

Vic's is betting that Boulder's apparently endless thirst for coffee continues. The original Vic's Again is just up the street a way, north at 3305 30th St., capturing a lot of traffic coming and going off of the Boulder-Longmont Diagonal. And across from the newest 30th Street location is the always busy Walnut Cafe that serves some of the tastiest breakfasts and lunches in Boulder, with, of course, a full array of coffee drinks.

Although under different ownerships, Vic's now has locations around Boulder including the very popular Vic's Espresso & News across from Boulder Community Hospital and near the Newlands neighborhood at 2680 Broadway, and a recently opened South Boulder location at the site of a former McDonald's on Table Mesa that offers a drive-thru lane for busy commuters heading out down U.S. 36. There's also a Vic's Again on Main Street in Louisville and a Vic's Too in Longmont's Prospect development.

Boulder is one caffeine buzzed town — and the surrounding Boulder Valley cities aren't lacking in numerous good independent coffee shops as well. I try to keep up with them all on my own Google map of local caffeine fix stops, but I  admit, I'm now getting pretty far behind giving them all a taste test. 

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PacoPena
Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco Pena and his dancers' performance at Boulder Theater brought the audience to their feet several times in the two-hour show. I won a "retweet" contest for tickets to the show.


Nothing's wrong with good, simple marketing ideas in Twitter. In fact, isn't that what Twitter was supposed to be all about?

One of the easiest ideas to get your business message circulating is offering an incentive — a simple contest for example — asking your followers to retweet your tweet. I've seen this being used effectively by many Boulder area businesses, and it's so easy to do.

This week, the Boulder Theater was promoting an evening performance of Paco Pena, one of the best flamenco guitarists in the world. They offered up the chance for two concert tickets to anyone who retweeted their short promo for the show. Instead of just reaching their Twitter followers, their message spread out to the followers of many of their followers.

Personally I like to save my retweets for things I find especially interesting and that I think Boulderites and others who follow me might also like to know about. A world-class Spanish flamenco guitarist is not someone you get the chance to hear everyday in Colorado, but it was certainly the "contest" that got me to help promote the show. I'll be honest, I'd never heard of this performer. Now I'm a fan.

So guess what?  I won the contest, and off I went to what turned out to be one of the best shows I've seen. The audience loved the exciting combination of flamenco guitarists and dancers. 

The contest is such a simple idea, and now I'm even giving back a little more publicity to the Boulder Theater by thanking them for the free tickets.

Allison and I also went to George's Food and Drink, the very cozy and comfortable bar that now adjoins the theater and is the perfect spot for a drink and food before or after the show. So even though I won the tickets, they still got a paying customer.

I do think you need to offer up an enticing offer for your retweet competition — concert tickets were great, but you might consider a free meal or bottle of wine if you run a restaurant. Make it really worth while for me to retweet your business — a discount where I have to buy something anyway probably isn't enough incentive for me.

The concert seats were also in the reserved section, not stuck somewhere in the back of the theater. 

With a tweet announcing the winner, you show that the contest was serious and hopefully your winner will tweet back their thanks! That starts to add up to quite a few messages flying around promoting your business, not to mention all of the good karma!

I did find an archive of some simple retweet contests online at a site called Retweet Please. There might be a few ideas there for you to use in your business.

Categories : Food and Drink, Web/Tech
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IMG_1308

BOULDER — The single aisle in front of frozen foods was jammed up. The search for the free jug of juice with your coupon was frantic. And outside, cars prowled the parking lot for spaces like a Sunday Broncos game.

Today's opening day for Boulder's newest natural foods grocery, Sprouts Farmers Market, was pretty much a mad house all morning. But the new employees kept on smiling, answering everyone's questions as clerks loaded up groceries into new, free bright green recyclable Sprouts grocery bags. After all, the name on your carrying bag in Boulder shows where your loyalty starts — King Soopers, Whole Foods, Safeway, Lucky's, Sunflower Farmers' Market?

The freebies on opening day weren't quite as good as even a normal shopping day at Whole Foods, but customers seemed to be smiling at the prices. Located in the Williams Village Shops on Baseline Road in the former space of 24-Hour Fitness, the Arizona-based chain has picked a pretty good location to serve the south end of the city. 

Wild Oats, bought and renamed by Whole Foods, in the Basemar Center also on Baseline, was pretty much the only natural foods-style grocer in this part of town until King Soopers in the Table Mesa Shopping Center modernized its store and added a large natural products and vitamins section as well as a much larger selection of organic products.

Recently there's been talk that Whole Foods will sell its smaller store in South Boulder, and a rumored bidder might be Lucky's, the independent but very popular North Boulder grocery. 

On my opening day visit, the store has the look and feel of the Sunflower Farmers' Market in the Village Shopping Center near McGuckin's. If I had to guess, I'd say Sprouts — if they can continue to keep some prices low and offer regular weekly specials — will do a pretty good job of denting the market for the smaller Wholes Foods on Baseline and Sunflower. 

Categories : Business, Food and Drink
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Downtown Boulder is trying out a new downtown festival this weekend, and there's an added bonus — beer and wine will be available to sample.

Boulder might be getting a clue from the very popular StreetFaire in downtown Louisville, where every Friday the crowds have been big for top bands playing under a tent, where you also can purchase beer and wine. Although Boulder downtown is full of great bars and rooftop decks where one can imbibe, the BoulderFest is bringing in local wineries Bookcliff Vineyards and Boulder Creek Winery as well as several local breweries including Boulder Beer, Twisted Pine and the city's newest microbrewery, Upslope Brewing Co.

The festival runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday evening and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday in the 1300 block of Pearl Street. Several bands will be playing on both days with Rebecca Folsom, the Nacho Men and Matt Clark Band performing on Friday and , and Sunday at Vics, Big Bang!, Mohammed Alidu & the Bizung Family and the Freddi-Henchi Band on Saturday. Food also will be available from downtown restaurants. Get the full schedule on Downtown Boulder's Web site.

Downtown Boulder is calling this a "Love the Local" celebration. Sounds like fun, and maybe if this goes well, next's years downtown festivals might find a way to add beer and wine as well.


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PowWowParadeJuly4

Boulder's July 4th Pow Wow parade in early 1930s marched down Pearl Street for the holiday. Photos courtesy Carnegie
Branch Library for Local History, Boulder Historical Society Collection.

BOULDER – Continuing the
celebration of Boulder’s 150th birthday, Boulder residents, families
and friends are invited to participate in a historic Sesquicentennial Stroll on
July 4.

 Organized by the Boulder 150
Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee, the Stroll is a daylong series of
celebratory events inviting people to stroll through the city, visiting many of
Boulder’s historic landmarks. Maps will be available at all of the Stroll
stops.

 The day kicks off at 11 a.m.
with an official welcome ceremony in the historic Chautauqua auditorium and
concludes with Boulder 150 tie-ins that evening at Boulder’s July 4 fireworks
at Folsom Field – a city tradition since 1941.

 Parking at Chautauqua is very
limited so participants are urged to park cars at the Twenty Ninth Street
retail mall and use free HOP buses running every 15 minutes from there to
Chautauqua, Baseline Road, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Buses also return to
Twenty Ninth Street after fireworks at Folsom Field. Bike riders are encouraged
to participate.

 Food will be sold along the
Stroll. The Chautauqua Dining Hall will be open for service with barbeque on
its patio following auditorium program. Some Farmers’ Market vendors will
remain open during the afternoon. The Millennium Harvest House is offering
reservation-only July 4 barbeque, and the St. Julien Hotel is hosting a special
July 4, 5-7 p.m. happy hour and live music from 7-9 p.m. on its outside
terrace.

Participants who complete the
full Stroll route, with maps stamped at each stop, will receive a commemorative
award in recognition of the Sesquicentennial (limit one per family).

 A full schedule of all
Sesquicentennial events, as well as links to stories and interesting facts
about Boulder’s history are online at www.boulder150.com.

CourthouseJuly 4

Schedule for the July 4
Sesquicentennial Stroll is:

11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Welcome Ceremony presented by the Chautauqua
Association. Rocky Mountain National Park Superintendent Vaughn Baker will
present National Historic Landmark plaque. Welcome by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis.
Special performances will celebrate the history of arts past and present in
Boulder.

12:15-1:30 p.m. Colorado Music Festival Brass Band will perform under
tent  on the Green, barbeque
available from Chautauqua Dining Hall. Event will be zero-waste, with Eco-Cycle
assisting.

Visit Sesquicentennial
Quilt
display in Chautauqua Dining
Hall June through July. Quilt program, 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 1 in Community
House.

 

1:30–4:30 p.m. Stroll to these sites:

 Columbia Cemetery, “Stroll
with the Spirits” presented by Historic Boulder, Inc.

Boulder History Museum serves
“Happy Birthday Boulder” cake and hosts the opening of  “Only in Boulder” exhibit. Activities
for children include gold panning and arts and crafts.

CU Heritage Center presents
“Boulder and CU Through the Years.” Since 1876 Boulder’s growth and development
have been closely tied to that of the University of Colorado. Learn about CU’s
colorful history.

2-5:30 p.m. Bluegrass Concert at Central Park Band Shell
featuring Boulder Acoustic Society and Blue Canyon Boys. Some Farmers’ Market
food vendors will remain open. Welcome by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

2:30-3:30 p.m.  4th
of July Children’s Bike Parade in Central Park organized by Parenting Place;
come early to decorate.

2-5:30 p.m. Stroll “globally” and celebrate ties with Boulder’s
Sister City communities in Africa, Asia and Central America at Municipal
Building Plaza. Learn about projects and exchanges in this people-to-people
program.

8-10 p.m. Ralphie’s Independence Day Blast at Folsom Field
featuring a Boulder 150 birthday party.

Following
the July 4 celebration, the next major event for Boulder’s Sesquicentennial
will be a “Coming Back Home” gathering, extending the city’s friendship with
the Northern Arapaho tribe, Aug. 7-8, on the Pearl Street Mall.

For
more information on the Boulder Sesquicentennial and 150 banner sales, go to
the Boulder 150 Web site at www.boulder150.com.

 

Categories : Food and Drink, Travel
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Daverogers

Dave Rogers gets a plug for his new social media startup, Localbunny.com, at Downtown Boulder's breakfast meeting discusson on using social media.

A good pounding of wet spring snow couldn't keep more than 100 downtown Boulder businesspeople from learning more about how to tweet, blog, yelp and simply try to understand the rapidly growing world of social media. 

While it's so easy to think you're drowning in the flood — make that "deluge" — of social media sites, there's always something new to discover. A few of us had some slightly nervous laughs learning we're getting close to an emerging "silver surfer" crowd (60 years and older). The breakfast presentation at the Hotel Boulderado also included good info on Yelp, which came to the Denver area with its restaurant and retail reviewers just about a year ago.

Flashing a Powerpoint page showing literally hundreds of social media site logos, Amy Moynihan and Ashley Cohen of GoundFloor Media told the downtowners not to panic if they're new to the social media world. "Pick one or two, and just dip your toe into it," Moynihan said to one woman who asked why she shouldn't run away screaming from the whole social media invasion.

Facebook, Twitter and Yelp could be the top three mediums to get started on in the online conversations and marketing that include everything from blogs, wikis, podcasts, vlogs, Internet forums, virtual communities and micro-blogging (Twitter.)

If you're running a "brick and morter" retail location, Moynihan said, you absolutely need to be taking a look at Yelp, because probably there's already a "yelper" posting a review of your service or product online. The really active "yelpers," she said, get to be "elite yelpers." 

Fact is, many downtown Boulder businesses, including the Downtown Boulder organization and businesses such as Boulder Theater, Tee & Cakes, Boulder Baked, Laughing Goat Coffeehouse (my usual coffee hangout), the Dish, Spudbrothers (here is their Yelp page), and others (certainly the bars and breweries) have already made the plunge. Think the 20,000 students at CU are important to your Boulder business base? Then social media is a no-brainer. 

I'm a "fan" of Downtown Boulder's Facebook page, and heard about this latest Downtown Community Exchange via their Twitter. Downtown Boulder is actively promoting various "specials" or pointing to reviews — national and local — of restaurants and other businesses. New DBI Director Sean Maher told me the Dish, a gourmet sandwich shop, tweeted a secret "password" to followers, offering a one-day discount to whoever knew the word. About 40 customers came in with the tweet word of the day. 

GroundFloor Media pushed home the point that Facebook and other social media are not just for teens anymore. Demographics show the fastest-growing group using social media is 25 years and older, and that includes a whole bunch of us — let's say "somewhat older" adults (whew, found out I'm not yet a silver surfer after all) — who are starting to "surf" with the teen set. (The leading topic right now for the next Ignite Boulder, by the way, is "My mom just joined Facebook, now what?)

eMarketer, the morning presentation showed, is predicting the number of U.S baby boomers using the Internet at least once a month (you have to wonder who uses the Internet just once a month?) will jump by 5 million to almost 64 million in 2011.

As snow piled up outside the Boulderado, Dave Rogers, former publisher of the Onion in Boulder, announced he's just launched a new social media tool called Local Bunny. This just-born startup, unveiled recently at the Boulder Denver New Technology Meetup, allows businesses and organizations to not only get their specific business noticed, but to list specific dates and schedules. Local Bunny will then push that information out to social media like Facebook and Twitter, letting users search information not just by name, but by the "time" of a class or event. 

Dave told me he's just out of the gates with this one, but quickly showed me on his iPhone how he could search Twitter by typing "@localbunny yoga, boulder" and bring up a listing of Boulder yoga classes by time. Looking for a 9 a.m. class? There they are, or at least that's the idea.

Downtown Boulder will be planning some more smaller sessions for DBI businesses on social media, and here's my suggestion: Get a bigger room. I tried to get into one of the social media sessions at the World Affairs Conference, where a whole bunch of the "silver surfers" were grabbing all the seats, and people had to be turned away.

Hey, I've got to end this blog. While writing, a tweet came in showing downtown Boulder restaurant Bimbamboo is following me. I love their "small plates" menu … think Asian tapas. Now I'm following them, too.
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Aug
01

Barlow’s new Diamond Crown Lounge

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Barlow’s new Diamond Crown Lounge
Originally uploaded by Jerry W. Lewis

Trey Barlow, right in photo, runs one of the friendliest cigar lounges in Colorado, Barlow’s Premium Cigars & Pipes. I just read an interview with Dennis Hopper where he was walking a beach in California, smoking a cigar and the police told him he couldn’t smoke there. It was a “no smoking” beach!

It’s almost as impossible to find a place to smoke a good cigar around Boulder, although there are two decent spots, Johnny’s Cigar Bar in downtown Boulder, and Fullers Cigar Bar in the Millennium Harvest House Hotel.

Trey Barlow celebrated the July 30 opening of its new Diamond Crown Lounge with Eric Newman, left, president of the J.C. Newman Cigar Co. The Tampa, Fla. company selected 40 cigar lounges nationwide to carry the name. Barlow’s now has a large variety of Diamond Crown cigars in its walk-in humidor, so drop in and try them out.

Several cigar aficionados that night said they were impressed by taste and quality of Diamond Crown brand.

Categories : Food and Drink
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