Isaac Asimov’s second rIle of robotics in the novel I, Robot states that “a robot shall obey any instruction given to it by a human.” At Boulder’s Rakkan Ramen, the instructions given to the red-and-white robot with piercing eyes are pretty simple: “Bring food to table 6.”
The machine, “Alexa,” rolls over to the table, but it’s only a dozen feet or so, and a server must load my bowl onto the table. It’s nothing spectacular compared to what middle school STEM students are devising these days, but it is a glimpse into our dining future.
The ramen is remarkable. Rakken dishes five or more ramen varieties based on the broth with vegan options. My creamy Quartz-style ramen was loaded with rice noodles, grilled pork, soft-boiled eggs, green onion and bamboo shoots. I added corn for sweetness and textural interest, but it was tough to eat with chopsticks. Highly slurp worthy and jammed with umami, it was good to the last slurp.
It’s true that hot soup cools you off on a hot day by making you sweat. If you add the hot chile oil on the table, you get even cooler.
On a second visit, I enjoyed a rice bowl topped with baked tofu, tomato, sesame seeds with the salty sea salt crunch of sea vegetable salad.
If you do visit the Boulder location of the Rakken Ramen chain, be sure to ask Alexa to tell a joke. They are very bad dad jokes.
Another Roadfood Attraction: Sourdough Bread Tour
In the past few years, Colorado has become nationally recognized as a center of authentic sourdough bread baking, with artisan bakeries across the state.
The bakeries that form this bread culture are devoted to sourdough, despite the challenges, and utilize heirloom grain milled into flour onsite.
Boulder County has its sourdough favorites including Moxie Bread Co., Dry Storage and Babette’s Artisan Bakery, but across the metro area and the state you’ll find a roster of destination breads worth checking out.
Berthoud: Rise Artisan Bread (riseartisanbread.com)
Golden: Grateful Bread Company (gratefulbread.com)
Grand Junction: Kulina Lani Organic Bread (kulinalani.com)
Steamboat Springs: Smell That Bread Bakery (smellthatbreadbakery.com)
Colorado Springs: Sourdough Boulangerie (thesourdoughboulangerie.com) and Nightingale Bread Co. (nightingalebread.com)
Denver: Denver Bread Co. (thedenverbreadcompany.com), Raleigh Street Bakery (raleighstreetbakery.com), Reunion Bread Co. (reunionbread.square.site) and Rebel Bakery (rebelbread.com).
Boulder Recipe Flashback: Scones for tea
The Great Harvest Bakery, open since 1983 in Boulder, was one of the first local bread bakeries to mill its own wheat onsite. In the late 1990s, the bakery shared this recipe for classic scones.
Great Harvest Bakery Currant Scones
4 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 pound butter
1 cup currants (or golden raisins)
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Butter should be very cold and cut into small chunks. Using a fork, cut the butter into the flour and work until the mixture forms rice-sized pieces. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and cream. Add to mixture but do not overmix. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead three or four times and divide in half. Pat out each half into a circle about one inch thick and cut in six equal wedges. Sprinkle each wedge with sugar and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until light golden color.
Culinary Calendar: Tasting Every Culture
Sima Amsalem teaches chocolate workshops at The Studio Boulder including marzipan (July 20) and pralines and truffles (July 27). Schedule: simaschocolate.com … Longmont’s Farm 49 hosts Stone Soup of Kindness on July 30. Participants contribute a vegan ingredient for a soup cooked in a large cauldron. Details: bit.ly/3uET80g (will lead to Eventbrite) … Denver’s Rebel Bakery offers monthly tours that include sourdough bread tasting, instruction and sourdough starter to take home, plus a pastry and coffee. Details: rebelbreadco.com/classes-events/bakery-factory-tour-ticket
Send information about Boulder County and Colorado food and drink events, classes, festivals, farm dinners, farm stands and tastings to: firstname.lastname@example.org.