The Boulder Passport: Riffs

As every single one of my tour guests hear, Riffs is one of my absolute favorite places in Boulder. After one of my cocktail tours, Sean and I got together for our third night (in a row) of Boulder Passport debauchery. Two of my cocktail tour guests had returned there for dinner as well, and they were fellow passport holders, so that essentially means they’re hip and have good taste 🙂

Riffs is offering The Ruby Sipper, a barrel aged cocktail, that is finished with a flamed orange. Nice touch.

The Ruby Sipper

Sean, my chef (you all know he’s actually one of the best in town, right..?), was planning on cooking for us that evening as it was his night off from Zeal, so we got a couple appetizers. We ordered their green pea hummus, which I get almost every single time I eat there because it’s one of my favorite bites in Boulder…

Green Pea Hummus

We enjoyed a seasonal menu item: Cornmeal Fried Zucchini. I loved this dish last summer, so I’m glad Chef Platt brought it back.

Cornmeal Fried Zucchini

And all of those former menus they place between plates and other dishes had been sliced by one of my favorite servers that afternoon. Reuse, then recycle. I like that, too, about Riffs.

After our snacks we were ready to visit two more places that evening…

The Populist Kitchen and Bar

I don’t know if I’d ever been as full upon walking into a restaurant as I was when Allie and I spur-of-the-moment decided to check out The Populist. We had been out to lunch at Rooster and Moon and had some more time to wine and dine before she headed to work, so we stopped in to The Populist for a cocktail. As soon as we entered the gorgeous space we knew we had to order at least one bite of food, and you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve been there before. It’s inviting.

I adore their menus, first of all. That’s usually a pretty good sign. Not always, of course, but when so much attention to detail is shown on paper, there’s a good chance it’s being achieved in the kitchen as well.

Rob Corbari, the head tender of my favorite spot, the bar, made us some cocktails. This man has a beautiful bar. Simply gorgeous.











Allie had a Whiskey Sour and I sipped on a Presbyterian, which was Bourbon, ginger, and soda.











Let me just say that this is in no way a real restaurant review- It was such a brief visit and we were so blown away with this place that I’m going back- soon- for a full meal, photos and all. This is just a teaser…

Rob suggested we try the apple and parsnip soup with jalapeño caviar. He knew we weren’t hungry, so he assured us there was no cream or crazy buttery goodness going on in this soup. I’m having a hard time believing him- This was one of the most decadent soups I’ve had. I hope it’s still on the menu when I return. Also, they poured the soup table-side, which is a presentation I enjoy very much. I had to include a photo of that even though it’s blurry. Sorry folks, but, you get the idea.











Next, we nibbled on smoked trout rillettes with mustard, red onion, pickled cucumber, and capers with creme fraiche on pancake disks. Wow. This was a seriously nice plate and we were completely stuffed when Rob, sneaky tender that he apparently is, placed one more order for us…

No matter how full we were, there’s no way we could resist devouring a poached egg on top of a bacon apple jam with lardo toast (or something like that… I think I went into a food coma and blacked out, so my details might be slightly off…)







But, I discovered my new favorite place and I’ll be back soon with an appetite, camera, and hopefully a designated driver.

The Populist- Kitchen and Bar

3163 Larimer St. Denver



Bourbon Peach Sorbet

Peaches. I just love them. I wait for them all year until they are local, ripe, delicious, juicy, sweet, velvety, irresistible… I guess I should say I long for them all year and then eat as many as possible until they are out of season. Then I wait and wait and wait..

Well, it’s that time of year: peach season! PEACH SEASON! I am thrilled! I was consumed by the thought of peaches today after Nathan Miller, the esteemed chef/baker/chocolatier from The Tasterie Truck, asked some friends if they had any requests for desserts with local Colorado peaches.  It had me thinking of peaches all day, and on a near-100 degree day, I had Bourbon Peach Sorbet on my mind when I came home from work.

It’s super easy if you have a Vitamix. You can make sorbet in less than one minute with fresh, seasonal fruits and add as little sugar as you’d like.  I like that.

I added a peach (pit removed, of course), 1/4 cup Maker’s Mark, 1/2 tsp homemade vanilla extract, 1 TB agave nectar, and 2 cups of ice to the Vitamix. Then, with the lid on and the tamper in place, steadily turn it up to 10, then high, tamping it along the way.  It will form 4 golfball size domes when it is done. Turn it off, and serve.
This sorbet was an ice-cold velvety peach delight.  And, there was just enough bourbon for the flavor to come out without overpowering it and making it taste like a whisky cocktail.  It has inspired me to do more with peaches this weekend, and has me eager to taste Nathan’s creations for The Tasterie Truck.  Visit their Facebook page to find out where they are and what they’re serving.  I’m known to be a fan of the whoopie pie.

Vanilla Bourbon

If you read my blog, you’ll know that I have been having a pretty intense love affair with cocktails lately. They’re fun. I like to be around them… get to know them… explore their flavor profiles.

And since it all seems to boil down to flavor profiles at this stage in my cocktail affair, it’s only right to explore the flavor profiles of this spring’s Cocktail Element, created by my esteemed sommelier/mixologist friend, Evan Faber of SALT. Last month I infused some Chipotle Tequila. This month it is Vanilla Bourbon.

How do you make Vanilla Bourbon? Soak a vanilla bean in some bourbon. It’s easy. I got some Madagascar vanilla beans from Savory Spice Shop and let them sit, whole, in a jar of Maker’s Mark for 3 days. I used on bean per liter jar of bourbon. You taste subtle notes of vanilla in my vanilla bourbon, and it seems smoother to me than regular bourbon. Now I need to experiment with a vanilla bourbon cocktail. Stay tuned…


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