Where do you want to eat tonight?
In a town like Boulder, with more than its fair share of top-rated,
nationally known restaurants, that can be a tough question to answer.
Locally sourced bistro The Kitchen? Vegetarian superstar Leaf?
Ever-changing, dynamic The Black Cat?
Instead of agonizing over picking just one — a nearly impossible task — diners can call up Megan Bucholz and take part in one of her Local Table Tours.
Bucholz, the mind behind the Bolder Table food blog, jumped on the chance to launch a gourmet dining tour when she realized Boulder didn’t have anything like it.
“A friend of mine went on a food tour in another city and came back to Boulder and was like, ‘Wow, there’s this thing called a food tour. It’s so cool, and I can’t believe we don’t have one in town.’ So it was an obvious next step for me, being that I was already interested in food, to just create food tours,” Bucholz says.
It’s not just the variety of dishes that attracts tour-goers. According to Bucholz, participants also enjoy the opportunity to talk with chefs and the chance to sample special items that aren’t on the regular menu.
“You get to taste food that the chef feels like preparing, so you don’t order something, per se. You’re presented with what they want to highlight that particular day,” Bucholz explains. “You get a chef interaction or you talk with the manager, you walk away from the restaurant with a much greater understanding of that restaurant than if you just go there for a standard dinner where you order off the menu.”
And because the dinner tours take place at 2:30 or 3 p.m., depending on the day, the atmosphere is more relaxed and intimate as well.
“The restaurant is often totally empty around 3 o’clock, yet there’s something warm and inviting about having places set already waiting for [tour participants],” she says.
Bucholz offers four kinds of tours. The Downtown Dining Tours, held year-round on Fridays and some Saturdays, stop at three restaurants plus a dessert destination. As the name says, these are dining, not sampling, tours, so it’s best to come with an appetite.
Diners on the regularly scheduled tours find out which restaurants
they’ll be visiting at the start of the tour. For private events, which
can be arranged just about any time during the week, guests can pick the
restaurants they’d like to stop at.
On Wednesdays during the Boulder Farmers’ Market season, Bucholz leads Market to Table tours, which offer a slightly lighter, farm-to-table dining experience, as well as the chance to talk with local producers at the farmers’ market.
The Friday morning Coffee & Pastry tours stop at some of the best independently owned coffee shops in town, giving participants the chance to find their favorite cuppa. The tour, which starts at 10 a.m., includes coffee samples and a light breakfast.
And for a new way to experience the spirits of Boulder, weekly Cocktail Tours on Thursdays hit some of the highlights of the city’s watering holes. Participants learn about different kinds spirits and the history of “mixology,” and also get a chance to mix some of their own creations.
The list of participating restaurants is a Who’s Who of downtown establishments. Q’s Restaurant, The Pinyon, The Corner Bar, Tee & Cakes, The Cup and Salt are just some of the possible stops on the various tours.
“I choose only the best downtown restaurants. We have so many great places to eat downtown,” Bucholz says. “The most important thing for me is, ‘Is it locally owned? Is it an independent restaurant?’”
You can see a full list on the Table Tours website, and Bucholz says she is still adding new bistros and restaurants.
Bucholz is also planning to include “ride and dine” tours, where participants bicycle between different restaurants, which she says will happen this summer.
And no matter which tour you choose, you can be sure the experience will be an adventure.
“I just love doing it, I have a great time,” she says. “I just want to make sure everyone else has a great time.”
For more information, visit www.localtabletours.com.