By Tyra Sutak
Walk a bit. Sip some wine. Sample tasty culinary creations from local restaurants. Rub elbows with award-winning chefs.
It’s all part of the Taste of Pearl, back in its 6th year on April 19th, and it’s a fabulous way to kick off spring, support local, and spend an afternoon getting lost in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Boulder’s historic Pearl Street. Whether you’re a local, or visiting from out of town, this event is a great way to take a whimsical tour of the Pearl Street Mall, Boulder’s impressive dining scene, the area’s emerging wine scene, and the unique and quaint shops that line the streets of Boulder’s bustling downtown hub.
The event is put on by the folks at Downtown Boulder, Inc.— the non-profit organization responsible for promoting and preserving downtown Boulder as a center of commerce and community in the city. The Taste of Pearl features pairings from 15 different restaurants and 15 different Boulder County wineries, all taking place within 15 different retail shops along the Pearl Street Mall. It’s the best of all worlds.
“It’s a great tasting event that also puts the downtown retail scene in the spotlight,” says DBI’s Marketing & Communications Director, Terri Takata-Smith. While ticket holders get to experience the food and wine scene in Boulder at a micro level, they also get a fun introduction to retail shops of the clothing, shoes, art, and artisanal food supply variety as well. Participating retailers include: Patagonia, Starr’s Clothing— a Boulder clothing store icon since 1914, Savory Spice Shop, the Pedestrian Shops shoe store, Art + Soul Gallery, and more. This year’s restaurant participants include two James Beard award semifinalists— Frasca Food & Wine (nominated for Outstanding Restaurant), and OAK at Fourteenth (nominated for Best Chef: Southwest, for chef/owner, Steve Redzikowski) along with Spruce Farm and Fish, newcomers to the Boulder dining scene. Beloved downtown sushi joint, Japango, is also participating in the Taste of Pearl for the first time as one half of a pairing with Wild Cider. Proceeds from the event benefit EFAA, Boulder’s Emergency Family Assistance Association. Over the past five years, the event has managed to raise $35,000 for EFAA, a local organization that provides food, shelter, and other basic items for those in need.
Food. Wine. Shopping. Supporting local and non-profit orgs in your community. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the colorful tulip gardens that rise up from the bricks along the mall are starting to bloom. In addition to the food and wine pairings that you’ll find at each retail stop along the way, Taste of Pearl-goers can also enjoy future discounts from participating vendors included on the tasting tour.
“It’s all about loving local,” said Anna Salim, Downtown Boulder, Inc. Event Director. “It’s definitely a unique experience, and downtown Boulder has a really hot culinary scene right now.”
For a full list of Taste of Pearl participants, and to purchase tickets, visit Taste of Boulder online.