Local Table Tours: Boulder, Colorado

by Grace Boyle on December 14, 2010

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A few months back, I received a warm e-mail from Megan. As a local Boulder food blogger, she was happy to have connected (as was I) with another of ‘our kind’ in the area.

She also mentioned she helped to start Local Table Tours – a foodie, walking tour of Boulder and their finest restaurants. I jumped out of my seat, I had seen their postcards around town and had been meaning to partake.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending my first Local Table Tours after an invite from Megan and it was nothing short of incredible. Take a culinary and photographic walk with me and then next time you’re in Boulder, sign up and register for one of their delightful tours. It’s a dining experience that no one gets to experience, so whether you’re new to Boulder, a long-time resident or just passing by it’s a perfect choice for all.

Megan keeps the tours purposely small for a more intimate dining experience and personal service. Our group had five of us – she usually doesn’t go over eight.

On this particular tour we stopped at: Salt Bistro, Aji, Oak, Tee & Cakes, Oliv You & Me and Savory Spice Shop.

First Stop:

Salt Bistro. Ironically, I’ve reviewed this restaurant (new to Boulder, in the last year) on the West End of Pearl Street.

We were warmly greeted by Micah Nushawg, Managing Partner. We cozied up to the bar facing the kitchen for a more intimate experience, allowing us to interact with and talk to Kevin Kidd, the Executive Chef.

We were first served their cocktail menu program that allows you to select a base liquor, a flavor then a style. I went for a vodka, lavender martini.

Menu (in order of appearance):

Housemade butternut squash agnolotti with sage, pine nut, brown butter and parmigiano. I forever love the butternut squash and brown sage butter combination. How indulgent this was.

Grilled D’Anjou Pear, over crispy polenta with a creamy, dolce latte Gorgonzola sauce and toasted pine nuts. This was succulent.

Wood fired oven, hazel dell shiitake mushroom flatbread with fontina cheese, carmelized onions drizzled with truffle oil.

Dark chocolate caramel salt tart with coffee cocoa nib ice cream. The salt and the dark chocolate pairing is amazing.

Salt was a warm experience. Kevin took time to explain each dish, the history of Salt, their mission and their service was impeccable. Sitting with the chef is just one way Local Table Tours offers a more intimate view of dining than you could regularly experience.

Second Stop:

Aji, a Latin American restaurant on the East End of Pearl Street.

This time we sat in a round booth in the eclectic, lively Aji interior. Although we didn’t sit with their chef, we were brought two drinks, one was a hibiscus cooler that they brew in house and the other was their house margarita, also made in house with fresh rum and lime juice.

Menu:

Plated all together were the colorful Latin dishes of:

Bananas Asadas, grilled banana, black bean puree, fresco cheese, spicy walnuts.

Tortilla & cornmeal crusted calamari, chile jam, Latin slaw.

Vegan tortilla soup with jicama, bell peppers, cilantro, tortilla strips.

Shrimp with peanut sauce over greens.

Empanada roasted poblano, asadero with a beat creme.

I liked the plating here but again, Salt offered a more intimate experience. I think Aji gave the best spread of what their dishes and drinks offer in terms of variety.

Third Stop:

Oak at Fourteenth, less than two weeks old to Boulder and the first time tour stop for Local Table Tours. Located right on the Pearl Street Mall on 14th and Pearl, Oak has a oak-fired oven and grill and offer selections locally sourced vegetables, meats, sustainable seafood and house-made pastas.

The interior is warm and classy. The Western facing glass windows across the restaurant with the wooden tables and glassware glistened as the sun set.

We sat at the bar and watched as the bartender made two cocktails for us. The first was the Steph, a signature drink made of Ketel One Vodka, Aperol, St. Germain, Grapefruit. Reminds me of a grapefruit mimosa. They make all their own bitters (pictured below, top left) and The Monk’s Garden cocktail was delicious: tarragon infused vodka, green chartreuse, cucumber, basil, lime and lavendar syrup.

Menu:

Wood oven roasted cauliflower with capers and raisin vinaigrette served on oak.

Fried farm pickles with green goddess aiöli.

Chicken pâté.

I can’t wait to get back and try some of their other menu items. They update it weekly (seasonally) and have a large amount of small plates, great for sharing and groups.

Next Stop:

Tee & Cakes for dessert, cupcakes! Around the corner on 14th and Pearl is Tee & Cakes, a cupcake, apparel and pastry shop. It makes you feel like you’re in the heart of Brooklyn when you walk in.

We had pistachio, coconut, ginger and chocolate. Of course, I gobbled down two. I love it here!

Next Stop:

Oliv You & Me for an olive oil tasting. Located off of Pearl Street and Broadway owned and operated by Boulderite, Patti Scott.

We sampled mostly California olive oils as Patti likes to keep it close and local as possible. The Olio Verde from Italy was particularly rich and almost spicy, with a hint of a Wheat Grass-esque taste. We sampled straight, without dipping in bread, for a more authentic taste.

Patti’s store is so classy. I could window shop for hours and loved that she also carries artisan snacks and kitchenware. Great for gift-shopping!

Final Stop:

Savory Spice Shop next door to Oliv You & Me. Pungent spices and aromas fill your nose as you step foot into this beautiful spice shop.

Dan, the owner of the Boulder shop (it started in Denver) warmly greeted us. We sipped on mulled spiced cider as he talked about their spices and how they work directly with farmers and distributors around the world.

I also bought a Chai spice packet ($2.50) which is great for gifts.

After the two and a half hour tour, I left pleasantly full and happy. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends about how amazing the tour was. At each stop, we were able to interact with either a chef, owner, or manager intimately. It’s great for a Saturday afternoon activity or to bring out of town guests and no, I wasn’t paid to write this post :)

For More Information:

http://www.localtabletours.com/ – megan@localtabletours.com – 303.909.5747

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  • Julie Pellerin

    Not only was this tour delicious, but the people interesting. I had a great time making new friends over the delicious drinks and food. I have already signed up for another tour when my Mother comes to visit in January. This is perfect for out of town guests, and as everyone in our group was a local on this tour, it is obviously perfect for local Boulderites as well.

    • http://gracefullplate.com grace

      Hi Julie! Thanks for stopping by and I completely agree :)

      So happy to hear you booked another tour, I am planning on it as well.

  • Anita English

    What a wonderful idea. We will be back in Colorado in January. This is on the top of my list. Thank you so much.

    • http://gracefullplate.com grace

      Hi Anita, it is a great idea! Let me know what you think of the tour :) Megan is wonderful!

  • http://jacquelinemercedes.tumblr.com/ jacqueline

    beautiful representation of your experience!!!

    • http://gracefullplate.com grace

      Thanks my dear! I hope to always capture the best possible experience, I don’t want anyone to miss out 😉

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  • http://www.BeHappyLifeCoach.com Lenora Boyle

    I am so looking forward to the Local Table Tour when I visit you on Feb 8 in Boulder. My mouth is watering. As you know, Iowa is not known for its ‘foodie’ restaurants.

    • http://gracefullplate.com grace

      I know, can’t wait!

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