A Bolder Table in Texas

Sean and I had the honor and privilege of being flown down to Texas to cook for one of our clients. We’ve had the pleasure of cooking for them a number of times in Boulder, but never for their friends in Texas. After a brief discussion with the hostess, he planned a spring-themed menu. We had the interesting opportunity to shop in the enormous (which is an understatement) Whole Foods in Austin, drive out to a ranch about an hour away from the city, and experience the peacefulness of a Texas ranch during a few breaks in our marathon of a day.

We started with some h’ordeuvres: a cheese platter and smoked salmon toast points. I was in charge of the cheese platter and followed his directions on the smoked salmon toast points topped with chives and capers. These were ready for the guests upon arrival with a little bubbly to get the book club gals talking.

Cheese Platter

Smoked Salmon Toast Points

After a bit of nibbling and socializing, we steered our guests to the dining room for our first course: chilled pea soup with creme fraiche and mint.

Chilled Pea Soup

Our second course was an arugula, endive, and grapefruit salad in a citrus vinaigrette.

Arugula, Endive, and Grapefruit Salad

Our entree was a citrus brined chicken breast on risotto with grilled asparagus and a citrus olive relish. I must declare- the chicken came out perfectly. I ate an entire portion and had to show serious restraint to not dive into a second.

Chicken, Risotto, Asparagus

Dessert was a pound cake (I made it!) topped with hand-whipped cream and the last jar of Sean’s Western Slope peaches in vanilla syrup that he had canned in Boulder last summer and brought with us to Texas.

Pound Cake

In the end, we had a fantastic time working together, hanging with the homeowners, and staying the night deep in the heart of Texas. We can’t wait to do it again!

The Courtyard Tea Rooms, Poole, England

We had just over an hour in Poole, so we ducked into a pub for a warm, flat beer, and checked Trip Advisor to see what sounded good. The Courtyard Tea Rooms came up as number 3 and had such great reviews, we decided to go there.

There are two rooms inside and an outdoor courtyard for dining or enjoying a tea service. As we walked through the first dining room into the kitchen, it became clear that this establishment had been a home and was converted to a restaurant. The woman working in the home-style kitchen was cooking all of the food and baking all of the cakes in what was hardly larger than most Americans’ kitchens.

I had a fun time being introduced to Fentimans, a botanically brewed beverage. When it’s served, it comes with a quirky card.

Fentimans

I advise reading the card and following the directions for a cute little laugh.

Fentimans Card

The card suggests that one’s right hand is very useful for FURTLING, which, you’ll find, it is.

Furtling

I ordered the soup of the day, which was vegetable soup, and it was served piping hot with freshly baked bread.

Veggie Soup

Fresh and delicious. Next was a cheese and spicy chutney sandwich with a side salad.

sandwich

Sean opted for the frittata of the day, also served with a side salad.

frittata

The service was spectacular, the food was fresh and well prepared, and the owners are clearly hard-working and love what they do. We were so glad to have trusted the good old Trip Advisor recommendations on this one.

Preserved Lemon Salt

Sean loves preserving things- whether it be pickled, fermented, or in salt. Preserved lemons are traditionally salt-cured, and he made a jar of them last year. Salt-preserved lemons are pretty easy to make, as they’re essentially lemons cut in half and then scored, stuffed in a sterilized jar, and completely covered in kosher salt. These need to sit for a couple months in their juices before they’re ready to be used, and most recipes call for just a little at a time. When we finally finished our jar, he scooped out almost a half of a cup of salt and let it dry over night.

Drying Preserved Lemon Salt

The result? Preserved Lemon Salt. It’s pretty spectacular.

Preserved Lemon Salt

Stay tuned for some highlights! We’ll be using this stuff, for sure.

The Love Apple, Taos, NM

Shortly before heading off on our honeymoon to ski in southern CO and Taos, NM, we posted about our upcoming trip on Facebook. Our dear friend Grace, esteemed blogger of Grace(full) Plate, emphatically suggested The Love Apple, so we added it to our dining itinerary.

The Love Apple

The Love Apple, another name for the tomato, is located in an historic Catholic church that was built in the early 1800′s. You enter a beautiful courtyard and are greeted by a blackboard introducing you to the local farms, cheese makers, and other purveyors. Signs like this make me excited to dine, so before even entering or looking at their menu, I was enlivened by this place.

Love Apple Local Sources

The menu has something for everyone, and the wine list is well above average. We ordered a couple glasses of wine while deciding on our food and which bottle of wine we were going to order. Our first shared dish was the Sangre de Cristo Flour Tortillas, made in house daily with locally sourced flour. These were delicious, served with harissa, homemade creme fraîche, and cilantro lime relish.

Sangre de Cristo Flour Tortillas

Next, we shared two salads: the Raw Beet, Avocado, and Southwestern Ruby Grapefruit Salad

Beet Avocado Grapefruit Salad

And the Local Green Salad with Pomegranate, Pecans, and Warm Goat Cheese.

Greens and Goat Cheese

Both salads were first and foremost nutritious and delicious, but the combinations of ingredients was inspiring. I especially enjoyed the breaded and fried goat cheese disk and, though I see it infrequently, never tire of this particular presentation.

Oaxacan Tamale

For an entrée, he ordered the Housemade Baked Tamale and Oaxacan Style Mole which was a tamale filled with sautéed local greens and sweet corn, topped with red chile mole, a fried egg, and creme fraîche. He loved the combination of flavors, thought the mole was exceptional, and thought the egg was perfect and made a nice addition.

I went with the Grilled Ruby Rainbow Trout, which was served wrapped in a corn husk with lime compound butter. It was topped with chipotle creme and rested on top of a quinoa-piñon fritter (hiding behind the tail and missed by my camera), and cilantro lime relish.

Rainbow Trout

I ate every single bite of food on my plate. The fish was perfectly cooked and moist, the fritter was a fun way to have grains on the side, and Sean’s wine choice was a superb accompaniment.

This charming old church was such a peaceful setting for dinner, I opted in to dessert. The theme of The Love Apple seems to be “house made,” so when I heard of the housemade spiced chocolate gelato, I said, “Yes please.”

Spiced Chocolate Gelato

Thank you, The Love Apple, for being an oasis of great food amongst a dessert of mediocre food in the southern CO, northern NM region. We’ll certainly tell everyone we know visiting the area to enjoy a meal from your kitchen.

The Burger Stand at the Taos Ale House

As the website says, The Burger Stand at the Taos Ale House is a brewpub with a diverse selection of small batch handcrafted beer and eclectic and delicious burgers. It’s a great place for burgers and beer in a town that pretty much closes up shop at 5 or 6 pm. There are few places in Taos that are, in the opinion of A Bolder Table, worth frequenting, and the Ale House is one of them.

We ordered a couple pints of locally brewed New Mexican beers, and then went to the burger Stand counter to order burgers off of a nicely varied menu. There’s something for everyone here.

The Burger Stand Menu

While we waited, we perused the extensive condiment selection. They have at least a dozen sauces and accouterments to add to your burger, which got us pretty excited for our meal.

Burger Stand Condiments

We had to try the green chili and cheese fries, and honestly, it’s the only thing we had that was disappointing. The green chili was good, but the fries were obviously pre-made and packaged, not hand cut as I had anticipated, and the cheese sauce tasted processed. So, those are my gripes. Moving on…

Green Chili Cheese Fires

The Quinoa and Arugula salad was good and the dressing on the side as well.

Quinoa and Arugula Salad

My burger was great. Sean ordered one of their veggie burger options, but I neglected to get a photo. It’s always nice when places make veggie burgers in house, and The Burger Stand goes above and beyond by making two completely different veggie patties. I went with a turkey burger version of the Fire Burger, topped with avocado and habañero cactus jam. It was delicious, especially after a full day crushing the steep slopes at Taos Ski Valley.

Fire Burger

We really liked this place, and went back the next night for a beer before heading out to dine at The Love Apple.

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