food and beverage underground

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You might think of Energy drinks, the raw food trend and Kombucha when you think of Boulder and food in the same sentence. While we do lean on the healthy side of life we are not all health fanatics. Even though you will find many a health food creation, Boulder has a fabulous menu of dining options. We are lucky to have a very talented crop of chefs that create
cosmopolitan menus rivaling big towns. It's hip lifestyle and natural beauty is a draw for many of these top- notch chefs.

The city boasts more than 300 sunny days a year, which feeds the locals’ interest for eating outside. Many restaurants, especially those among Pearl St. offer patio seating. A good number of the upscale restaurants reside downtown, either on or in the vicinity of Pearl St., which happens to be the pedestrian mall. Many are now moving into the newly developed 29th St. mall. With its upscale shopping and piazza like atmosphere, it is the new hotspot for eateries and high-end boutiques. The “Hill”, which is the University district, has the majority of cafes, pizza parlors and burrito joints and not to forget the sandwich shops and smoky bars.

Population centers on the students and the University, expect to wait a bit if school is in session especially on a Thurs-Sat. night. In the summer things are not as crowded. A local government ban prohibits smoking inside restaurants and bars, but some establishments have very creative ways around that. But be in the know-most Boulder residents are very proud of that ban and would not have it any other way. It is also nice to take advantage of Boulder’s casual atmosphere. Regardless of cost, most of the restaurants in town are in no need of the suit and tie you may have brought on preconception.

Downtown Boulder

The best time to be walking along Pearl St., in my opinion is right around 6:30 pm. The first round of the dinner crowd has begun to place orders and the kitchens are warming up with tantalizing aromas and banter. From sophisticated food to good “bar” food, you will not be lacking in choices nor disappointed with your final decision. Upscale bistros and stylish atmospheres pepper the downtown vicinity. From 19th and Pearl all the way down to 9th. Pearl St. is a veritable playground of gastronomy. Spruce and Walnut streets parallel Pearl and offer as much culinary competition. American fare, Italian, Mediterranean, Sushi, Asian fusion and California re-born are just a few of the styles that are represented in this vicinity. Brew Pubs and Seafood establishments also are not to be overlooked. It is ironic how in a land-locked state such as Colorado, you can get some amazing fresh seafood. Most local chefs feature homegrown and organic ingredients including seasonings, spices vegetables, meats, game and cheeses.

Downtown ethnic offerings span the mountain heights of the Himalayas, the cold coastal waters of Japan and spice mysteries of India all in less than a 10- block area.

Out Skirts of Downtown

If I have lead you to believe that downtown is the “scene” of culinary delights, pardon me-that’s not all folks! One of Boulder’s treasures that are in itself an experience is the Dushanbe Teahouse. Dushanbe, Tajikistan is a sister city of Boulder and the Teahouse was a gift from the city of Dushanbe to Boulder-literally. The Teahouse was brought over in pieces (large pieces) and was assembled on 13th street by Dushanbe artisans. It truly is a thing of beauty, and the food is not bad either, but the tea is better! There are more than 100 different choices of tea the teahouse offers. Reading the descriptions themselves of the varieties is alone worth the visit. The menu includes creations from Tajik and Algeria.

There is much banter to be had on world religions and philosophies in the many coffee houses that pepper the streets of Boulder. For those that don’t so much like the banter there are more than a few Starbucks and Pete’s in town.

29th St.

This area of Boulder houses many of the big chain restaurants that have moved into town-if Boulder were any smaller there most certainly would have been picket protests outside many of these eateries. Pei Wei, Chipotle, California Pizza Kitchen are just a few that have set up residence. Surprisingly, some of these chains are quite good. Pei Wei and Chipotle are a good fast substitute for the drive-thrus and Daphne’s Greek Café is; well really good!

Not bad for a town where settlers were not sure if they could grow anything in such an arid climate. Local big crops consist of wheat, barley, corn, dry beans and alfalfa. Grass Hay and sugar beets are still primary crops as well. Local small farmers have done well with growing local produce to sell at many of the Farmer’s Markets. These are the same growers that supply much of Boulder’s restaurant industry with personal visits to the backdoors of the kitchens to sell what is fresh for the day.

For all the healthy hype surrounding Boulder, locals appreciate good food and are fervent believers of work hard, play hard and eat a really outstanding meal in-between. Of course, please recycle that to-go carton. Bon Appetite!

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