It’s a little more than 1,000 miles to the ocean nearest Boulder County (my research indicates that Los Angeles is the winner, edging out Texas by a few dozen miles and a couple of hours by car, but damn it, Jim, I’m a writer, not a geographer), but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying seafood.
Over the years, the cuisine writers of Boulder Weekly have said it again and again: Just because Colorado’s landlocked doesn’t mean you can’t find good seafood.
Go ahead, I’ll wait for you to make a joke about Rocky Mountain oysters.
There, now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, let’s get back to business.
There are the staples of Boulder County’s seafood scene, but you can find great seafood in Boulder in unexpected places. Take Avery Brewing for example.
First thing’s first: Avery’s got an ever-changing menu. You may wander in looking for rabbit and waffles and find it gone. (P.S., Avery: Would you bring that back and maybe send us an email? We’ve had a hankering to try it since we first saw it on the menu back in 2015, but we were lured in by the Meat, Meat, Meat platter and missed our chance. Thanks!) On my most recent trip to Avery, my dining companion and I saw beer-and-butter soaked mussels on the menu and decided that was the way to go.
Swimming pool of beer and butter aside, mussels are pretty good for ya’. A serving of mussels is around 6 ounces — that’s about 20 mussels, which is maybe 15 more mussels than you’re going to consume from the appetizer at Avery if you’re sharing with a friend. A serving of mussels contains about 292 calories, about half of which comes from protein. Mussels are low in saturated fat and contain high levels of selenium and magnesium, which promote healthy immune function and synthesize sex hormones, respectively. (Deep Dish tangent: Mussels, like oysters, are known as aphrodisiacs, likely because of their ability to encourage hormone production. Green-lipped mussels, found in New Zealand, are known to improve fertility because of… some stuff about fluids that’s probably not kosher to talk about in a cuisine column.)
Remember that Avery is a pub. These mussels are topped with a serving of fresh cut French fries, which, by the way, are perfect for dunking in that sea of garlicy beerbutter.
As we pulled open the shells, my colleague mused that there is something very primal about pulling the meat from a mollusk. It gives you great satisfaction; you’ve got to work a bit for your food. We look around the room and notice that at least half a dozen other tables are happily prying apart shells and dunking fries in the butter bath.
It’s a decadent dish that leaves little need for another nosh when you’re done.
So head to Avery real quick and get yourself an order of the meatiest mussels you’ve likely had in awhile — who knows when they’ll switch things up.
Avery Brewing Company. 4910 Nautilus Court, Boulder, 303-440-4324.