Where to eat Mexican pastries, how to cook tuna in banana sauce, and deets on the Brewers Guild’s Collaboration Festival

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John Lehndorff

Taste of the Week: Panadería Sabor a México

On a recent Sunday morning, I was gawking at a wall of pastries, cookies and buns when a customer walked in and quickly scanned the glass cases. She looked concerned. “Where are the churros?” she asked. “I need them for my coffee!” The cinnamon-sugar-dusted cake doughnut sticks were located elsewhere on a tray; thankfully Boulder’s Panadería Sabor a México (translation: Taste of Mexico Bakery) is the kind of place where everyone can satisfy their need for sweets.

There are sugar cookies that look like watermelon slices, crisp horns full of pastry cream and Hostess-like cupcakes. My favorites are the fruit empanadas. I try not to pay attention to the gorgeous, frosted tres leches cake. 

Besides being a Mexican-sweet lover’s dream, the Boulder shop’s walls are lined with the cheeses, crema and other essential ingredients for Central American dishes.   

The Panadería is located in an international oasis, a strip mall also boasting the new location of La Mariposa Restaurant and Margarita House Mexican restaurant, Boulder Pho, India’s Grocery, Jin Chan Zhang Restaurant, and the Asian Food Market. Within a block or so are Gabee Coffee, Curry & Kebob, Ali Baba Grill, the Mediterranean Market & Deli, Chez Thuy Vietnamese Restaurant and El Valle Market.  

Drink of the Week: Collaboration Festival 

By Michael Casey

When was the last time you had a beer brewed with ramen noodles? Or an IPA loaded with Szechuan chiles? Well, on Saturday, April 2 you can at Collaboration Festival, the Colorado Brewers Guild’s annual celebration of the craft brewing spirit. Over 100 breweries will be pouring one-of-a-kind ales, and the Guild will be selling merch. A handful of beer writers, including yours truly, will be autographing their books. Have you snagged a copy of Boulder County Beer, the story of how a band of ragtag ruffians turned Boulder County into the cradle of the craft beer movement? Come on down and I’d be thrilled to sign a copy for you. The Collaboration Festival is 2 p.m. Saturday at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver. collaborationbeerfest.com 

Boulder Recipe Flashback: Karen’s in the Country

Karen’s in the Country was a popular brunch and dinner destination at 1900 Plaza Drive in Louisville that originally opened downtown as Karen’s Country Kitchen, current site of The Huckleberry. This recipe was shared by the eatery in the late 1990s. 

Karen’s In the Country Amond-crusted Tuna with Banana Sauce

1 6-ounce tuna steak (or other firm-fleshed fish)

1/2 cup whole almonds

2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper

4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh shallot

1/2 fresh banana, sliced (slightly underripe)

2 ounces (approx.) Puerto Rican rum

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (approx.)

Salt, to taste

3 tablespoons butter, softened 

Chop almonds in food processor—medium crumb, not fine. Place almonds in bowl and combine with cracked black pepper. Press mixture evenly over entire tuna steak. Heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in flat pan over medium heat. Saute tuna on both sides until it just starts to sear. Remove from pan and set aside. Add two more tablespoons of olive oil, shallots and banana slices, and cook for two to three minutes. Reduce heat, add rum, lime juice and salt, and reduce volume by half. Turn off heat. When sauce has cooled slightly, add butter and mix, taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Spoon sauce onto plate, place tuna on top and serve with steamed jasmine or basmati rice with toasted coconut. 

Culinary Calendar: In the Garden 

Boulder’s Benevolence Orchard & Gardens hosts a community Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop April 9, benevolenceorchard.com … Slow Food Boulder hosts a free seed exchange April 13 at the Mountain Fountain in Hygiene. Local farms and home gardeners bring, trade or donate seeds. … Claudia Bouvier of Boulder’s award-winning Pastificio teaches a class in handmade pasta April 14 at Growing Gardens, growinggardens.org … The Blind Cafe Experience April 15-17 at The Dairy is a dinner held in 100 percent darkness featuring music by Dango Rose, Richie Flores and others, thedairy.org 

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