Local flavors

Front Range podcasters and bloggers yield a taste of local food culture

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Adrian Miller has won numerous awards, including a James Beard Award, for his work documenting the culture and history of soul food and barbecue in the U.S.
courtesy of adrian miller

It’s hard to figure out what’s going on food-wise in Boulder and around the state. Various publications and organizations have local bloggers and columnists like me who provide general information about area restaurants, food events and trends. I follow all of them but they don’t paint a complete picture. 

You also need the obsessives. These are the folks who may be associated with the food and beverage business but also blog and podcast out of passion. It’s certainly not for the money. They use the various digital platforms to dive headlong into a particular topic, and they provide all of us with a window into those culinary worlds. 

Here are some of my favorites:   

Vegan Travels: The Something about Food blog and podcast by sober, mostly vegan, chef Chris Clarke features her talks with diverse guests that traverse through food, religion, travel and love, along with NFL football and Alice Waters. Her site includes recipes from her travels for Malaysian peanut pancakes, Moroccan vegetable tagine and Neapolitan fried pizzas. somethingaboutfood.com

The Soul of Food: Denver’s Adrian Miller has earned many kudos, including a James Beard Award for his focus on documenting the culture, history and general yumminess of soul food and barbecue in the U.S. Following his posts is a hunger-inducing exercise. adrianemiller.com/soul-food-scholar-blog

The Zen of Food Travel: Longmont’s Peggy Markel is a food travel pioneer, who also helped bring the Slow Food movement to the U.S. from Italy. She writes about food and travel as a poet/philosopher penning opening lines such as: “Persimmons hang like jewels on leafless branches of the tree, like ornaments.” She shares evocative recipes ranging from 17th century bottom-crusted peach pie to shakshuka and eggs Indian-style. peggymarkel.com

The Art of Feeding: Lyons-based artist Barbara Shark tells beautifully written accounts of her life in art and food recently collected in her book How I Learned to Cook, An Artist’s Life. Well-tested recipes including blueberry pie, carrot soup and roast chicken are accompanied by Shark’s photorealistic paintings. howilearnedtocookanartistslife.blog

Chef Talk: Denver chef Eric Chiappetta hosts his Chef or Death podcast about the restaurant life, talking in real-life terms with notable local chefs, bartenders and food artisans such as Bill Miner of Il Porcellino Salumi, Angela Neri of Pony Up Denver and chef Samir Mohammad
chefordeath.com

Hot and Local: Anita Edge oversees Denver Green Chili, a website obsessed with chilies — where to find them and how to cook with them. Edge offers some great recipes using Colorado green chilies including a peanut butter, pickle and chile sandwich and a dozen world champion green (and red) chile sauce/stew variations. denvergreenchili.com

The Chef as Farmer: Radical Gastronomy is a blog about growing, cooking and eating farm-to-table fare by chef Robert Baxley who spent 22 years in business before buying a family farm east of Longmont. He takes a knowledgeable culinary approach to making real food with posts about making pickled beets, strawberry pie, cultured butter and bread and butter pickles, as well as essays on issues surrounding cuisine and culture. radicalgastronomy.com/new-blog

Boulder Food and restaurant history: Devoted veteran local foodie Laura Bloom maintains a lively site devoted to “all the restaurants ever in Boulder.” For instance, the site on the Pearl Street Mall now housing Illegal Pete’s was previously home to Golden Mountain Chinese Restaurant and Cafe Mediterranean. I cooked there when it was the Heartland Cafe and earlier, Cafe Circolo. Other eateries have been on that corner since the 1940s. sites.google.com/site/servingboulder

Cooking in boulder: Toni Dash’s Boulder Locavore blog caught my attention because she began it while trying to get through a Colorado winter sourcing all proteins and produce from within 100 miles. She has gone on to deliver great recipes for busy people ranging from Instant Pot jambalaya to pumpkin cream cheese muffins. boulderlocavore.com

Foraging for Food: There are two good local blogs that are excellent resources for foraging and eating wild foods, including wildfoodgirl.com and hungerandthirstforlife.blogspot.com. The latter site overseen by Broomfield forager Butter Wylde includes recipes for acorn meatballs and wild greens with ham hocks. 

Colorado-Only Eats: Denver’s Modern Eater webcast and podcasts focuses strictly on Colorado restaurants, brewers, food artisans and growers in a fun format. themoderneater.com

(Do you follow other local food and drink blogs and podcasts that aren’t associated with publications? Let me know at: nibbles@boulderweekly.com)

Local Food News

Boulder’s first food hall, Rosetta Hall, opens in early October at 1109 Walnut St. Restaurants will include Folsom Foods (New American), Jacaranda (West African), Petite Fleur (French bakery), Confit (French), Ginger Pig (Asian street food), La Tigella (Italian), Tierra (Mexican), Eridu (grain-based), Boxcar Coffee and Barceloneta Oyster Co. The second Boulder food hall — Avanti in the former Cheesecake Factory — opens later this year. … Bon Appétit’s fresh list of 50 nominees for the best new restaurants in the U.S. includes three Denver eateries: Beckon, Wolf’s Tailor (from Basta’s Kelly Whitaker) and Reunion Bread Co. … Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant in Lafayette is hosting a Bahamas Hurricane Fundraiser on Sept. 22 with funds to benefit chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen and the Red Cross. … Boulder’s Flatiron Food Film Festival (Oct. 10-13) includes one-time-only events that will sell out, including a film tribute to Mexican cookery legend Diana Kennedy featuring chef Claudette Zepeda and a feast catered by Work and Class, Super Mega Bien, Comal Heritage Incubator, Centro and Teocalli Cucina. flatironsfoodfilmfest.org

Local Taste of the Week

One of the most transcendent things I’ve tasted all year is the cheese-crusted, deep-dish, Detroit-style pies at Blue Pan Pizza (3930 W. 32nd Ave., and 3509 E. 12th Ave., Denver). The bready crusts enveloped in brick and mozzarella develops a caramelized crunch that is a genuine treat, along with a load of first class toppings. 

Words to Chew On

“In Italy, meals were and are still the organizing principle. It’s what they live for. There is an art to it. Flavor is important and dishes are regional and a part of their identity. Even in times of crisis or war, they found a way to make something delicious.” -— Peggy Markel, peggymarkel.com  

John Lehndorff hosts a blog site at johnlehndorff.wordpress.com. He also hosts Radio Nibbles at 8:25 a.m. Thursdays on KGNU. news.kgnu.org/category/radio-nibbles