There aren’t many places we love to visit more than Boulder, Colorado, and this past weekend was one of the best visits we’ve had yet. From the shops of Pearl Street to the delicious food, we saw it all – up to and including the moons of Jupiter (thanks to the fine folks at the Colorado University Observatory). Boulder was recently named “America’s Foodiest Town” by Bon Appetit, and I can certainly believe it; in three trips so far, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s available.
We started off our trip as most people do: with a trip to Pearl Street. There are four places I try not to ever miss when I’m there: Left Hand Books, Into the Wind, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and Peppercorn (see left). Peppercorn is a wonderful culinary shop stacked full of ingredients, cook books, and cooking utensils. Jess’ mom and I always spend a wistful hour browsing around, and if you’ve ever needed a basting spoon or a garlic press that might define you as a person, Peppercorn is a good place to look for it.
We hadn’t eaten any lunch yet, but we were so close to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory that we had to go inside. We were a bit disappointed that they didn’t have any chocolate covered strawberries, but that’s really like being disappointed that Willy Wonka was out of grape flavored Fizzy Lifting Drinks and only had cherry; there’s a lot to choose from here. Candied apples of all sorts, truffles, and a wide variety of chocolate covered tastiness is all around you as soon as you enter this place.
Jess and I opted for the chocolate covered cherries and two truffles, amaretto flavored and cafe au lait. The cafe au lait had a rich coffee flavored chocolate center coated with white chocolate and topped by a crunchy espresso bean. One bite and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to share – which was OK with Jess, as she was busy working her way through the hazelnut topped, chocolate-coated creaminess that was the amaretto truffle. I’ve never gotten a piece of candy here that wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever put into my mouth.
We were ready for lunch by that point, and we had already planned on getting some French food at Brasserie Ten Ten, a laid back bistro on Walnut Street. It was perfection. The courteous wait staff sat us immediately and served us herbed butter and some of the best French bread I’ve eaten, crusty and warm with a soft, chewy center. Jess (and everyone else but me) started with a cup of French onion soup, and I couldn’t help but steal a few bites once it was served. Rich and savory, with a toasted crouton and gruyere cheese, this soup could have been a meal all on its own, and we took our time eating it. It was a wonderful prelude to what came next.
I had previously turned down my own cup of French onion soup because I had seen a bouillabaisse on the menu. When it came time to order, I found myself torn between that and the cassoulet, but went with my first instinct. I was not disappointed. Served up with more of that wonderful bread, this time coated in a delightful and savory sauce rouille, the bouillabaisse was everything I wanted to taste: steamed mussels, tiger shrimp, and fish stewed together in a tomato broth with fennel that blended together perfectly into a hearty (yet not heavy) meal. Missing out on the cassoulet does, however, give me an excellent reason to return next time I’m in Boulder.
Jess didn’t hesitate on her menu choice, and ordered the wonderful coq au vin. The chicken came served with sauteed mushrooms and onions, bacon, and topped with a rich red-wine sauce and chevre. The meat was so tender that it fell off the bone at the slightest pressure of the fork, and the sauce not only complimented the chicken, but also the pommes lyonnaise nestled just under it. There wasn’t a lot of talking at the table as we ate – the main conversation was asking if we might try a bit from one another’s plate. We were far too stuffed for dessert, and there are dozens of things on the menu I hope to make it back and try. This was certainly the best eating experience I had ever had in Boulder, which is saying a lot, as we’ve eaten quite a lot of good food in this town.
If you’d like to see more pictures from our trip to Boulder, including some wonderful ones from our favorite toy store Into the Wind, click here. Be sure to “like” us on Facebook, and stay tuned for more Colorado adventures coming soon!