Monday, February 26, 2007

More Boulder Hype

The New York Times gravitates toward what is becoming an internationally-renowned, slow-food, eco-friendly, haute cuisine scene in Boulder. They call it "Fine Dining With a Hippie Past" and focus on just a few great restaurants, including the hippest one of all and one of my favorites, The Kitchen Cafe.

Of course, the article skips over some of the more reasonably priced, genuine good-eats joints that are still firmly entrenched in the delicious vegan and vegetarian traditions of Boulder's so-callled granola past, places like the Cafe Prasad, Sunflower, and Leaf, not to mention the ethnic joints like Chez Thuy (Vietnamese) and Ras Kassas (Ethiopian).

Given how much I travel, I often get lots of good advice on where to find the kind of food I want to eat everywhere around the world by doing word searches at Technorati, so this is my chance to "give back" to the organic / healthy / slow food movement and point readers to a few excellent places in my own town. Here are few quick comments on the restaurants above:
  • The Kitchen Cafe: great place to meet and cut a business deal while eating local organic vegies with a variety of meat and non-meat options. Check out their website to see how they integrate eco-friendly community businesses into their operation. The Monday night community meal is pricey but totally fun and gastronomically correct. When we were there, the local farmer who grew the vegetables as well as her clan were at the table with us (only 15 of us total).
  • Ras Kassas: excellent vegetarian options and yes, the injera bread is homemade and there are no utensils. Eat with your hands (suck your fingers for all I care).
  • Chez Thuy: delicious and authentic Vietnamese food in a diner style joint that keeps you coming back for more. Great value.
  • Sunflower: competes with the new Leaf as best restaraunt in Boulder. They do amazing things with tempeh and seitan, and their deserts kick ass! Out of town friends like it because they get to try Rocky Mountain game dishes that I would never touch, like grilled elk tenderloin. I'll stick with the tempeh scaloppini, thank you.
  • Cafe Prasad: best organic, vegan grub in town. Daily "raw food" specials are awesome (though small proportions), and the Berry Drunk Monkey is the best smoothie in town (followed by the Enlightened Orangutan).
  • Leaf: newest kid on the block and definitely worth a visit. We tend to go for lunch. It feels like I'm back in California and the variety of choices is super. Shanghai Oolong Noodles is my current favorite and comes with tofu, udon noodles, red bell pepper, carrot, daikon radish, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, scallions, fresh cilantro, all in oolong tea broth. Great value as well!
To be honest, I'm surprised it's taken this long for the foodie scene to get as good as it's gotten. You would think it would have happened sooner in America's Smartest City (and yes, it is the source of much of the wild-eyed satire in my upcoming 29 Inches, even though I myself partake in it, perhaps more than average Sean or Chelsea).

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