Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A visitor in town, part 4: Cafe Bluebird, Celestial Seasonings tour, Sherpa's

Catch up! Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3
MC had mentioned that the favorite breakfast place of her boyfriend, a Northern Colorado native, was Cafe Bluebird, and it sounded like a good place to hit up before heading to Boulder for the day. I'm glad we did—Cafe Bluebird was great. Along with nice touches like having coffee available for people waiting and the friendly, charming atmosphere, the food was of high quality and well prepared. I really liked my order of crepes filled with scrambled eggs, onions, tomatoes, capers, and real crabmeat, as well as the cubes of fried potato that came with it. And even though I had asked for my hollandaise sauce to come on the side in case I didn't like it, I ended up finishing nearly all of the sauce between drizzling it over the crepes and using it as a dip for the two thick slices of chewy wheat toast. My experience with hollandaise here was certainly a much different one than the one I had at Silver Grill Cafe; I think at Cafe Bluebird was the first time I ever enjoyed the sauce.
TL asked for the "Corgie Street Benedict," which came with grilled smoked salmon, tomato, and chopped spinach, and said it was one of the better renditions he'd encountered. I'm no benedict expert, but he's a bit of a fan, so I trust that his declaration is a good thing.
From Cafe Bluebird we took off for Boulder, making our way first to Sleepytime Drive, home of the Celestial Seasonings production facility. The tea-makers offer tours every hour, and we joined onto one of the last of the afternoon to check out how they process, package, and ship their products. The coolest part of the tour was being in the "Mint Room," where the plant oils were so thick in the air that with every breath I felt my airways opening and my sinuses clearing.
After that we headed into The Flatirons, a series of five peaks at the edge of Boulder, for a leisurely mountain drive.
The day before MC had also mentioned a Nepalese restaurant that she'd enjoyed, and since I'd never had Nepalese food before, I jumped at the idea. After we came out of the mountains and strolled for a little while along Pearl Street (a much better pedestrian mall than Denver's), we walked over to Sherpa's for dinner. It's a cool restaurant in that it's run by genuine Sherpas who also offer assistance and education in planning a variety of Himalayan travel expeditions.
I was surprised by how much of the menu read like Indian food, though I shouldn't have been, I guess. But not at all like Indian fare were the steamed beef momos, like thick-skinned Chinese dumplings with a slightly different flavor to the filling. They came with a thin tomato-onion dipping sauce, which paired well with the dumplings.
For my entree I ordered the makhini, described as "Tandori chicken cooked in a flavorful, mild tomato, onion cream sauce." The sauce was sweet and tangy, and much less creamy than Indian dishes I've had with a similar name. It came with what seemed like a thin lentil broth, which didn't have much flavor, so I left it alone.
TL ordered the "Sherpa Stew" with yak meat, which turned out to be a huge bowl of vegetables, potatoes, and bland doughy blobs billed as "homemade dumplings" on the menu (I'm Asian—I'm always going to think of dumplings as, you know, meat-filled dough like the above). The stew seemed a little bland, but I can see how it would be totally filling and comforting to down a bowl of the stuff while way up in the Himalayas.

And though I was tempted by the kulfi, we opted to skip dessert: I had baked some brownies the night before, and they were waiting!

A Visitor in Town
Day 1: Thanksgiving, away from home
Day 2: Silver Grill Cafe, Red Robin
Day 3: Earl's, Sri Thai, Rio Grande
Day 4: Cafe Bluebird, Celestial Seasonings tour, Sherpa's
Day 5: Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Austin's American Grill

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