Monthly Archives: October, 2011

Where to Eat this Weekend: Pizzeria Locale

October 21st, 2011 Posted by Boulder, Chefs, Culinary Connectors, restaurants No Comment yet

Pizzeria Locale, pronounced Pizzeria Lo-cal-A, has received national attention for their authentic Neapolitan pizza.   A bite of Pizzeria Locale pie will take you immediately to the streets of Napoli. San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and bright basil combine in perfect harmony over thin, bubbled pizza dough baked in a Stefano Ferrara oven.  This custom oven had a dramatic journey to Boulder, making it all the way to customs, only to be turned down because of loose soil in the packaging. The oven was sent back to Italy and built whole this time, making the journey again to it’s new American home in Boulder.

Head pizzaiolo, Jordan Wallace, studied for four months in Italy, spending a month at time with different pizza masters.  He takes no short cuts when it comes to Pizzeria Locale–all dough weighs the same and is stretched the same each time, all ingredients are genuine, and his intention, purely simple and true, comes through in each pie.

Pizzeria Locale

1730 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO 80202

Phone: 303. 442. 3003

Piece, Love & Chocolate

October 17th, 2011 Posted by Boulder, Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

Piece, Love & Chocolate is a small, sassy, truly chocolate boutique in Boulder’s West End.  The moment you walk in your senses are filled with brilliant colors, sounds, and sights from the exotic cocoa world.  Truffles sparkle like gems in jewelry-like cases, cakes rotate and tease, pastries entice.  This is a chocolate lover’s heaven.  There is nothing in this store that does not include, well, chocolate.  Everything is sexy, silky, smooth chocolate.  Piece, Love and Chocolate is unlike any other chocolate shop in the Boulder/Denver area.  You can feel the passion, intensity, and love that owner, pastry chef and master chocolatier Sarah Amorese has put into PL&C.  Everything from the music, the aromas, the décor, the retail items, and of course the edible delights, have something to do with chocolate.  Amorese explains her passion for her favorite medium:

What is your culinary background?

My parents sold fruit pies door to door in South Texas.  I didn’t have much interest in baking until later. I went to college to become a graphic designer.  At the time I was also working at Celestial Seasonings as tour guide. I noticed the café wasn’t getting any business.  I thought, I could go to culinary school and come back to turn a major profit. So I attended the Art Institute of Colorado.  I have also studied extensively with master chocolatier and pastry chef Ewald Notter in Orlando.  In fact, I still call him when I need to troubleshoot.

Do you remember the moment you fell in love with chocolate?

I was in Zurich for my husband’s work. While he was in meetings I went into the famed Sprungli, the original store.  I spent two hours in there.  Just taking it all in.  I bought a few of the truffles du jour, went out on the street and took a bite–the crack of the shell, the explosion of the ganache…  I closed my eyes, a man bumped into to me and said, “Gut, ya?”  I was totally lost in the moment.

Where did you come up with the idea for Piece, Love & Chocolate?

After working in the industry for some time, I realized that this business could be cruel, especially to women.  I started an at-home chocolate cake business.  I became busy with cakes and business hiring me to make chocolate sculptures.  The idea came about in 2001-2002, to center a shop around an ingredient everybody loves.  I also wanted to create a friendly environment that encourages my employees to be creative and part of the learning process.

Why do feel PL&C belongs in Boulder?

People who live in this area are well traveled, they appreciate the finer things in life.  For instance, I have a regular customer who comes in weekly to take a break from her kids and family.  She buys her truffles, sits in the corner, and spends her alone time here. Things like good chocolate are well respected in an area like this.

Do you ever grow tired of chocolate?

No!  There is always something you can do with chocolate. The possibilities are endless.

805 Pearl Street
Boulder, Colorado 80302

Where to Eat this Weekend: Spuntino

October 14th, 2011 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet
Spuntino provides the working food lover with delicious “little snacks,” as the Italian name means.  Simone Parisi, owner of Parisi and Firenze a Tavola, along with Dorina Miller, opened Spuntino with the idea to serve great, simple food that can be enjoyed while on the go or while working on the computer. Known for their pastries, espresso, authentic gelato, and creative colorful popsicles, which have a gravitational pull the moment you walk in the door, Spuntino also offers amazing savory dishes, including Piadine (Italian flatbread) topped with a variety of seasonal vegetables, artisan cheeses and salumi’s.  Paninis are pressed, grilled, and filled with the high quality ingredients Simone is known for. The lamb meatball panini is pure comfort on crackling ciabatta, served with spicy marinara. The bruschettes brilliantly match the ever-changing soups and salads that have memorable flavor, such as the grilled Belgian endive wrapped in prosciutto with lemon-pepper vinaigrette. Spuntino’s will satisfy any gormand on the go.  It is a great Italian escape, if even for a brief time.
2639 W. 32nd Ave
Denver, CO, 80211

A Culinary Orgy

October 6th, 2011 Posted by Culinary Connectors, restaurants No Comment yet

By Becky Creighton

Epiphanies in life are great.  I had one three years ago which is what spawned the idea for my business.  I decided I wanted to be excited about what I did when I woke up in the morning and love what I do.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would come across opportunities like the one I experienced a few weeks ago when I had the honor and privilege of cooking and dining with one of the country’s best chefs, Gary Danko.

It was a picture perfect Sunday at Auberge’s stunning Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley; blue skies, warm air and a glass of Schramsberg sparkling wine.

And that was just the beginning.

I’m not sure words will translate the magical Sunday afternoon I spent surrounded by a landscape of 4,000 acres of natural beauty shared with the astounding meal passionately prepared by Calistoga Ranch’s chef Christian Ojeda  and Gary Danko of Restaurant Gary Danko.

Our intimate group not only enjoyed a signature Gary Danko dish of buckwheat blini’s with smoked salmon, crème fraiche and a dollop of caviar but we were also treated to a cooking lesson on how to make these little bites of love.

My mouth was in heaven as I bit into this magnificent cacophony of flavors which were rivaled only by the many textures that were delivered in this one bite – the sweet fluffiness of the blini coupled with the silky smoked salmon, the creamy “just tar” crème fraiche only to end with the exploding saltiness of the caviar was an amazing taste and texture sensation.   Lucky for me, I now know how to make these tasty nibbles.  Unfortunately for me, it won’t be the same.  I can recreate the blini and I can even buy the caviar but I can’t get chef Danko’s house recipe smoked salmon or replicate his crème fraiche that pulls this dish all together.

But, there was no time to waste mourning what was because next up was our much anticipated brunch.

We were transported to the Lake House restaurant where a beautifully decorated table awaited us with crisp, white linens, fresh flowers and the beautiful back drop of the lake.  At this point, only our anticipation fed our stomachs as everyone took their seats.  First up were two courses by chef Ojeda.

The vibrant colors of the beet Carpaccio with the pumpkin seed encrusted goat cheese was a classic pairing only to be matched with an ‘07 Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc.  The crispness and acidity of the wine easily stood up to the richness of the goat cheese and the tender earthiness of this root vegetable.

Moving on to the second course chef Ojeda treated us to pan seared scallops and a nice contrast of a squash chorizo emulsion.  When they poured the ’08 Robert Mondavi pinot noir I was curious how it would pair versus the sauv blanc still in my glass.  The sommelier nailed it! What a wonderful pairing this fruit forward California pinot noir brought to this delicate crustacean.

As the attentive staff removed our dishes and chef Danko excused himself, it was a few minutes before we would be treated to a classic but never tiring duck confit hash with a perfectly poached egg served along side ginger chutney and gratin of potatoes.

Duck Confit Hash

Chef Danko's Duck Confit Hash

Oh, were there potatoes on my plate?  I hadn’t noticed as my mouth was watering  just looking at the hash, I was in gourmet food heaven.  The only thing that could make this better would be another poached egg – which I was rewarded with when one of my new foodie friends gave her egg to me and to the food company owner to my right.

How do you describe this ethereal dish? The tender saltiness of the duck was such a great combination with the soft egg white and warm yolk.  Each bite was like you were being rewarded for having taste buds and the Pekin duck and the egg colluded to elevate your palette to a level you didn’t even know existed.  Each bite built upon itself, continuing to carry the mission of this definitive pair.  The ’07 Salvestrin Retaggio was a striking pairing with its deep and earthy notes that went so well with the richness of the duck and velvety ovule.

To round out and end our gastronomical orgy was a light and airy lemon soufflé cake and raspberry sorbet paired with a non-vintage Frank Family Blanc de Blanc.  I loved how the bubbles and dryness of the wine effortlessly danced with the tartness of the lemon and sweetness of the bright red sorbet.  The lightness of the cake was such a great ending to an undeniably delectable brunch with great chefs, wine pairings and scenery.

As our brunched ended I felt blessed as new friends were made, unforgettable dining experiences were had and memories of the day will eternally be remembered. I can’t wait to go back.