SALT’s DIY Cocktail Menu


The Cocktail Element menu lets you design your own drink

“Anything sangría,” the well-dressed man behind the bar at SALT the Bistro {1047 Pearl Street, Boulder; 303.444.7258} responded when we asked him for recommendations on a refreshing summer drink. But unlike most craft cocktail menus, choosing a drink from the Cocktail Element menu at SALT isn’t as simple as randomly choosing the menu item with the most intriguing name. It’s advertised as a “personalized cocktail invention.” SALT’s DIY cocktail menu employs a three-part ordering system created to encourage customized drinks and the exploration of new cocktail combinations. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Select a spirit. Choose from high-quality and often locally made vodka, gin, rum, tequila, bourbon, or Scotch liquors.

Step 2: Select a house-infused simple syrup. Using fresh ingredients, and all made in-house, the simple syrup offerings range from commonly used simple syrups like vanilla, cucumber, mint, and lemongrass, to unique infusions like strawberry-basil, blood orange-rosemary, chipotle, and ginger.

Step 3: Select a style. Options include French 75 (sparkling wine and lemon juice), gimlet, sour (Rickey), cocktail, fizz (Collins), or an Old Fashioned. Cute images of the glassware for each option will help you identify the kind of style you’re looking for.

Taking a cue from the talented cocktail chemist behind the bar on our trip, we opted for a sangría-style drink made with vodka and strawberry-basil house-infused simple syrup. Not only was the color and presentation of the drink visually stunning, but you better believe it was delicious and downright thirst-quenching on a hot Colorado day.

Find out more SALT’s cocktail program here:

By Tyra Sutak | Contributing Writer 


Tips for Backyard Burger Grilling


Inspired by Rueben’s Burger Bistro in Boulder

Photo credit:

Bust out your “kiss the cook” apron and get out the ground beef and buns, it’s grilling season! When it comes to grilling up the best backyard burgers this summer, try taking a page from the folks at Rueben’s Burger Bistro {1800 Broadway, Boulder; 303.443.5000}, one of the top burger joints along the Front Range, for their tips for backyard burger grilling. Since opening their doors in 2010, this Boulder burger joint has mastered the perfect burger set-up, and here are a few reasons why:

  • They focus on the ingredients. In your quest to cook up the perfect patty, make sure you start with the best ingredients. Rueben’s only uses 100-percent all natural Colorado beef— and trust us, you can taste the difference.
  • They let you build your own! Rueben’s menu has a whole page devoted to burger options, but instead of issuing standard burger menu items, they let you build your own. Pick your protein, pick your bun option, and pick your sauce— then pair it up with one their 16 cycling-themed “toppings” combinations to finish it all off.
  • Think outside the sesame bun. One of Rueben’s offerings that keep diners coming back for more is their signature pretzel bun. The pretzel bun elevates the entire dish and offers a steady and secure vehicle for your burger patty, condiments, and vegetables to come together as one.
  • Add a homemade sauce. At Rueben’s, people dig the fry sauce on everything. But burger aficionados are also ordering up one of the many aïoli options offered on the menu. This includes a roasted garlic aïoli and a chipotleaïoli, which both add a nice touch of flavor to any burger dish.
  • Don’t forget the sides. Instead of regular old potato chips or french fries, offer up some tasty alternative options for your guests. Along with their hand-cut french fries, Rueben’s also serves up some very popular sweet potato fries, a side salad, and beer battered onion rings.
  • Serve it with a cold beer. Unlike Rueben’s, you might not have 42 beer taps from which to serve your guests, but that’s okay. Stock up on a couple of options, serve ‘em cold, and you’re bound to have some happy people!

Check out Rueben’s Burger Bistro’s full menu:

By Tyra Sutak | Contributing Writer


Juice Away Your July 4 Guilt at Zeal


Juices and cleanses that will make it all better

It’s not your fault; we totally get it. It was the smell of those juicy burgers on the grill. And the cooler stocked full of ice-cold beer. That checkered tablecloth topped with sweet treats, and those adorable little red, white, and blue jello shots that seemed so harmless. The Fourth of July holiday weekend owned you, and your liver and stomach have joined forces in a pretty serious revolution against the rest of your body ever since. For those pour souls in the Boulder area suffering through a post-holiday weekend hangover, help isn’t far away.

Inside the vibrant dining room of Zeal – Food For Enthusiasts {1710 Pearl Street, Boulder; 720.708.6309} is a magical fountain of natural elixirs concocted to cure whatever ails you. This downtown Boulder eatery and juice bar is known for their organic, cold-pressed juices, which are all made in-house–some are even served straight from the tap. (Check out Zeal for happy hour from 4-5:30 p.m for $5 juices on tap.)

Order a glass of one of Zeal’s Red, Yellow, Green, or Orange juices made with fresh organic ingredients like ginger, kale, spinach, pineapple, beets, and an assortment of other healthy produce. If you can’t decide on a color, grab a juice flight for $8 and enjoy short pours of all of Zeal’s juice offerings.

If smoothies are more your style, Zeal has a variety of options featuring their freshly made juices plus a variety of other healthful ingredients like honey, cacao nibs, and peanut butter. Get your body back on track with a Green Alkalizer ($8.25) made with spinach, kale, avocado, ginger, chia, cinnamon, dates, green juice, almond, and hemp or coconut milk. If you really went hard over the week, it might be best to order the Delightful Detox ($8.25). The combination of spinach, green apple, cucumber, celery, parsley, ginger, lemon, and coco water might just save your soul.

If you need more than one glass of juice to counter all of the holiday weekend fun you had, Zeal also offers one-day ($70) or three-day ($180) juice cleanse packages from their pals at Boulder-based Conscious Cleanse. The juice cleanses are meant to give your digestive system a rest and to provide your body with nutrients, live enzymes, and minerals needed to detoxify your body and help you feel your best—just in time to celebrate all over again this weekend …

By Tyra Sutak | Contributing Writer 


Colorado-Grown Grapes Fuel Boulder’s Emerging Wine Scene

Colorado is often affectionately referred to as the “Napa of Craft Beer”—but in reality, the state actually has an established wine scene of it’s own. Grapevines were first introduced in Colorado in the 19th century by miners relocating to the southern part of the state in hopes of striking it rich.

Over the years, vineyards began appearing in and around the Palisade/Grand Junction area, producing world-class grapes with the help of southern Colorado’s warm climate and water from mountain runoff. Low humidity and plenty of sunshine create ideal conditions for growers, resulting in sought-after grapes used by wineries throughout Colorado and beyond.

In Boulder, one winery is committed to using only 100% Colorado-grown grapes for their product—choosing to source grapes from select vineyards in Palisade to create their handcrafted beverage. The folks at Settembre Cellars have been mastering the art of winemaking since 2007. Every year, owner/operators Blake and Tracy Eliasson rely on relationships cultivated with their grape growers who alert the couple when the grapes are ready to be harvested, hand-picking and sorting only the finest first clusters to be shipped overnight to the Settembre Cellars winery located in North Boulder.

“I have growers that I can really trust,”said Settembre winemaker and founder, Blake Eliasson. “Stylistic control of wine comes in the very beginning. It starts with the harvesting of the grape.”

As with many founders of businesses in the beverage industry, Eliasson left a job as a full-time engineer to turn his winemaking hobby into career that he and his wife could share. Eliasson holds a Graduate Certificate in Enology and Viticulture from UC Davis (as well as a PhD in Electrical Engineering), which has helped him develop a successful mix of science and nature to create locally-made wines that he can stand behind.

Inside Settembre Cellars, wine enthusiasts can sample from the winery’s collection including single vineyard and reserve wines. Each wine ferments in stainless steel tanks and/or French Oak barrels, both of which you can view from any seat inside of the cozy tasting room.

Outside of the tasting room, local restauranteurs and retail shops are also supporting Boulder’s winemakers.

Foodies visiting Cured in downtown Boulder can have a glass of Settembre Cellars wine with their urban picnic selections of cured meats and artisanal cheese.

“It’s cool having wineries here in town that are outstanding and that we can get behind,”said Will Frischkorn, co-owner and operator of Cured.

Local wine drinkers can also learn more about Boulder wines and Colorado grapes at this year’s Taste of Pearl which features five Boulder wineries in its food and wine pairing lineup. The annual event takes place throughout downtown Boulder on April 19th. Tickets are $65 each and can be purchased here.


Blackbelly Market Boosts Burgeoning East Boulder Dining Scene


By Tyra Sutak

For years, downtown Boulder has been the well-known epicenter of our celebrated culinary scene. Highly decorated chefs wander Pearl Street and neighboring streets every day.

So when the time came for Chef Hosea Rosenberg, poster chef for Boulder’s culinary world, to open the doors of his first brick and mortar venture, all eyes were on available buildings downtown. But in a bold move becoming more and more popular with local dining-driven entrepreneurs, Rosenberg threw everyone a curveball and opted to open up shop east of Foothills Parkway.

“It all really started twenty years ago when Adam Avery dropped anchor out here,” said Rosenberg, inspiring the chef to pass up opportunities in the downtown area and put down roots at his current location. “There are a lot of people out here. Plus, the rent is cheap and there’s a lot of parking.”

Cheap rent, tons of parking, and a handful of established neighbors concocting products of the liquid variety were all factors in Rosenberg’s decision to openBlackbelly Market in East Boulder. Having spent more than a decade making his name in prominent Boulder kitchens, Blackbelly is the culmination of many calculated baby steps in his accomplished career. The restaurant, bar, market, butcher shop, and final resting place for the majority of things grown at Rosenberg’sBlackbelly Farm opened its doors in November of 2014 in the old Minglewood digs at 1606 Conestoga St. #3. What started as a search for a commissary kitchen for Rosenberg’s other venture, Blackbelly Catering, evolved into a market with grab-and-go breakfast and lunch offerings.  A butcher shop was added, ultimately resulting in a full remodel to include a bar and dining room before officially opening the doors to the throngs of curious diners striving to get a seat in one of Boulder’s hottest new restaurants.

“I see this area as the new hotspot,” said Rosenberg. “There’s Wildwoods Brewery. Bruis doing great things along with Ozo Coffee and Roundhouse Spirits. We’re all in the sandbox together out here.” The Top Chef makes it a point to support his neighbors by including locally-made beer and spirits on Blackbelly’s drink menu. Other menus at Blackbelly are filled with house-made meats and locally grown ingredients. $5 breakfast burritos with farm-fresh eggs are flying out the door from 7 to 11 a.m. during the work week, and the line at the market counter from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Monday through Friday) is a long one filled with local workers looking to grab a quick and tasty lunch before heading back to their nearby office. Happy hour is served daily from 4 to 6 p.m. giving dinners a variety of small bites served with a side of mystery. There’s a slider of the day and a fried thing of the day. And of course, in true east Boulder-love fashion, there’s also a $4 surprise Avery beer can of the day.

With Google’s announcement of an additional campus in Boulder and the close proximity of the nearby Ball campus and the Boulder Community Foothills Hospital location, Rosenberg is optimistic that the east Boulder culinary scene will continue to grow and thrive in years to come. “I think there’s going to be a lot more happening out here,” he said. And with a consistently full nightly reservation list and packed dedicated Blackbelly following—it’s hard to disagree.

Photo credit: Blackbelly Market


Avery Brewing Co. to Celebrate Grand Opening of New Facility on February 16th

On February 9, 2015, Avery Brewing Company threw one last party at 5763 Arapahoe Ave., Unit E—the brewery’s home since their inception in 1993. But Avery isn’t closed for business. In fact, this craft beer landmark in Boulder is just getting started. For more than four years, Adam Avery and his crew have been scheming, and dreaming, and waiting, and planning for the day that they would officially open the doors and welcome fans of Avery, and craft beer, into a much larger, more efficient brewery. And when 3 o’clock rolls around on Monday afternoon, that long wait will finally come to an end. For more than two decades, Avery has steadily expanded to a mid-size brewery that has garnered quite a name in Colorado and beyond with their ambitious barrel-aging program and mastery of Belgian-style beers. Over the years, Avery has completely outgrown their original location. With plenty of demand, but no room to expand, it’s not surprising that the brewery sought out a larger, local space with room to design and see-through on the owner/founder’s big dreams.

While Avery’s old location spanned a respectable 20,000 square feet, the new location measures in at a whopping 67,000 square feet with additional exterior space to grow up to 95,000 square feet—additional square footage that the brewery already has plans to take advantage of in the near future. What was once a two vessel system and a 40 barrel brewhouse is now a four vessel system and an 85 barrel brewhouse. Four shiny, new 720 barrel fermenters rise above the brewery’s western facade, pulling doubly-duty as Avery’s unofficial welcome sign. The only thing not shiny in this dream brewery is the mill room, which is littered with discarded bits of grain. Avery’s new mill squeezes the grain instead of cracking it, creating near-perfect husk-conservation and a better end-product.

The brewery has also heavily invested in their lab, an often forgotten but extremely important part of any brewery operation. In the past, Avery lab employees have overseen the quality of the beer and executed extensive sensory panels inside of the walls of a 120 square foot room. But in the new digs, the lab is nearly six times the size of the old space and borders a smaller room solely dedicated to sensory training. Avery’s yeast room has doubled in size. The loading docks are easily accessible to multiple trucks picking up shipments at the same time. And a dedicated room has been created for the brewery’s much-loved barrel-aging program.  It seems like just yesterday that Avery only had a couple hundred oak barrels of aging beer lining the walls of their brewery. With more space and additional off-site storage in the area, Avery expects to grow their barrel-aging program to 3000 barrels by the end of 2015. The microbrewery will also be releasing the first packaged barrel-aged beer in a three-beer “Botanicals and Barrels Series”in late spring. Keep an eye out for the Raspberry Sour, a sour ale with raspberries aged in oak barrels to make an appearance in 22 oz. bombers by the end of April. The Raspberry Sour will be followed by a vanilla bean stout aged in a bourbon barrel and a coconut porter aged in a bourbon barrel—both served in 22 oz. bombers and expected to hit national markets this year. Avery Brewing Co. has additional plans to launch their popular tap room exclusive beer Liliko Keplo witbier-style brew in 4-packs of cans into the market by the end of spring. With a handful of new beer launches this year, more space, and more efficient equipment, Avery is looking to increase their production from 47,846 barrels in 2013, and 49,892 barrels in 2014, to 68,000 barrels in 2015. In 2014, Avery’s revenue was $17.8 million dollars, but with the new brewery, a new tap room, restaurant, and patio that seat up to 235 people, and more space for Avery’s iconic annual beer events, the brewery is projecting $25.6 million in revenue in 2015. Check out Avery’s new digs for yourself on Monday, February 16th from 3-11 p.m. at the brewery’s grand opening of their new location at 4910 Nautilus Court.


The Bolder Life: Thanksgiving on the Town


Tyra Sutak

Published on: November 22nd, 2011

It’s officially the holiday season. As some of you are reading this, you’re probably already entertaining out of town in-laws and possibly some ex out-laws all while reading and testing recipes in hopes of not being the one that screws up the family’s traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is hard work—for everyone. Whether you’re the one responsible for making enough edible food for the entire family, or you’re the smallest of the half-pints at the kids table with the biggest tummy ache from eating too much, Turkey Day definitely is not a piece of cake… or pie.

So why not eat out this year? Dining out on Thanksgiving is no longer reserved for cooking-impaired single parents or out-of-towners unable to make the trip home for the holidays. Dining out on Thanksgiving has become a trendy new tradition and several of Boulder County’s best dining establishments will be opening their doors this year and serving their take on a delicious, traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Check out this list of local restaurants serving turkey to the masses this week—and as I always say… make reservations! Trust me—your family will eventually forgive you if you burn a turkey, make inedible mashed potatoes and forget to buy booze for the meal, but they will not forgive you if they get stuck eating bags of chips and soda from the only convenience store still open on Thanksgiving day.

Peaceful Valley Ranch
475 Peaceful Valley Road | Lyons | 1-800-95-LODGE

Take the family to the mountains this year and dine on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner buffet at the scenic Peaceful Valley Ranch. Rent snowshoes, cross-country skis, or take a hike around the property grounds before or after your meal to help burn off that second piece of pumpkin pie while spending some quality time in the outdoors with the family.
Served buffet style from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
$24.95 Ages 13-54
$18.95 Ages 55 and older
$12.95 Ages 4-12 and Ages 3 and Under Eat Free

The St. Julien Hotel
900 Walnut St. | Boulder | 720-406-7399

Whether your family is the breakfast, brunch of dinner type on Thanksgiving, the St. Julien will have a meal ready for you. Early birds can catch breakfast from 6:30-9:30 a.m. The brunch type will dine from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., and the dinner folk can get together from 5:30 – 10 p.m. Enjoy live piano music by Ralph Sharon throughout the day, and be sure to bring your family and friends to listen to one of my personal favorite local musicians, George Nelson, at 6:30 p.m.
Breakfast and Brunch served buffet style and choose your own three-course meal for dinner.
Breakfast and Brunch: $44.95/adult | $19.95/kids
Dinner: $49.95/adult | $19.95/kids

210 Franklin St. | Niwot | 303-652-0777

Colterra’s dining room has all the same intimate charm as your own dining room and is the perfect place to take your out of town friends and family to sample some of Colorado’s locally grown food. Invite your guests to choose their own three-course menus from Colterra’s Thanksgiving inspired special menu and enjoy wine from Colterra’s extensive wine list.
Three-course menu: $45.00/adult
$22.50/children 12 & under

Black Cat: Farm-to-Table Bistro
1964 13th St | Boulder | 303-444-5500

Join Black Cat for Thanksgiving this year with a thoughtful and tasty way to not only celebrate the holiday, but to help support your community as well. The owners of the Black Cat are opening their doors for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner where guests are invited to pay what they can for their meal or leave a little extra to help someone less fortunate. All proceeds from this special meal will be donated to Community Food Share.

The Bolder Life: Paella & Wine for Everyone!


Tyra Sutak

Published on: November 10th, 2011

Let me paint you a picture. It’s Wednesday. You’ve already been at work for three days and there are still two more work days in the week. You have a minor case of the mid-week blues. You don’t feel like cooking and you’re in need of a friendly ear to listen to you vent about your week.

You need some comfort food, some good wine, good tunes, a relaxing atmosphere and prices that won’t add more stress to your week.

You need to hit up Neighborhood Night at Café Aion. Every Wednesday night, patrons—young  and old, hipster and sporty, hungry and thirsty, pack themselves into the cozy, open dining room in the old Aion Bookstore building located in the historic Hill neighborhood of Boulder. Warm fires roar in both fireplaces, a steady stream of foot-tapping oldies music flows from the speakers, the restaurant’s owners greet guests with ice water poured from emptied out wine bottles and the smell of good cooking wafts from the kitchen, gently reassuring all growling stomachs.

Aion’s weekly Neighborhood Night also doubles as Paella Night.

Now imagine paella, cooked and served family style in cast iron skillets, with braised chicken so tender it practically jumps off of the bone and chorizo with the perfect hint of smokiness, covered in a warm blanket of garlic, tomatoes and an aromatic saffron rice. Sounds good, right? It was absolutely delicious, and expertly paired with a bottle of tasty red wine from Spain.

And now imagine all of this for $35.00. Yes, every Wednesday during dinner service, Café Aion offers enough paella to comfortably feed two hungry stomachs along with a bottle of wine for—for the low price of $35.00.

Such a great deal. And if you can’t wait until Wednesday to dine at Café Aion, then don’t. The neighborhood restaurant is participating in First Bite Boulder (November 11-19th). Click here to get a sneak peak of their First Bite Menu, and once you’re done drooling, click here to make reservations.

You’re going to need them.

Follow Café Aion on Twitter, and Like them on Facebook for updates on the weekly Paella special.