In Superb Taste

Japango at Art Source International

On Sunday, April 19, 500 food lovers toured Pearl Street’s galleries and retail stores for the sold-out Taste of Pearl, a delectable jaunt hosted by Downtown Boulder.

15 of Boulder’s finest restaurants and 15 top Colorado wineries set up tasting stations at a series of stops wending through the heart of Boulder.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), a nonprofit organization that helps community members in need access food, shelter, and basic necessities – and puts them on a path towards financial self-sufficiency. Over the years Taste of Pearl has raised more than $36,000 for EFAA. Proceeds from this year’s event will be enough to host two families in EFAA’s short-term housing program, which includes housing, utilities, food, and toiletries for up to two months.

“In its sixth year, Taste of Pearl continues to be one of our most popular signature events,” remarks Downtown Boulder Inc.’s Director of Marketing and Communications Terri Takata-Smith. “Not only does the afternoon spotlight some of Boulder’s best restaurants and Colorado wineries, it also gives attendees a brief glimpse into Boulder’s amazing retail scene. It’s a shopping event disguised as a food and wine festival!”

“This year, we introduced a VIP ticket option which included a ’16th stop’ for desserts and coffee & tea tastings,” says Takata-Smith. “It was a tremendous success and a great way to cap off the event. This added element kept it new and exciting for loyal attendees who have joined us year after year.”

Taste of Pearl has been recognized with the Governor’s Award for Downtown Excellence – Best Promotional Event by Downtown Colorado, Inc., and in 2013 the event was honored with a Merit Award from the International Downtown Association.

Here’s a sampling of the exceptional food, wine, and boutique experiences on this captivating culinary trail:

The first stop, Art Source International, an antique map, print, and vintage poster store, featured Japango’s sumptuous marinated pork belly with Stilton cheese accompanied by a spicy tuna tataki roll. Wild Cider, a brewery located in Firestone, supplied crisp hard ciders in flavors such as pineapple and hoppy.

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At fragrant and rustic Savory Spice Shop, a locally owned spice store offering over 400 seasonings and 140 hand-blended spices and herbs including hard-to-find asofoetida, sumac, and sizzling Carolina Reaper chili, RIFFs Urban Fare’s Chef John Platt plated a distinctive and delightful albacore tuna on roasted cauliflower and pistachio drizzled with mint and preserved lemon vinaigrette. Chef Platt says he chose his dish for the “ergonomic” value, and also likes to serve cauliflower at his restaurant and wanted to make something “interesting”. The luscious bite was paired with samples from Kingman Estates Winery, a winery located near Palisade, Colorado.

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SALT Bistro’s Chef Bradford Heap stood by approvingly as one of his chefs, Cory, served up a splendidly flavorful albacore tuna on a chip with olives, roasted pepper, and dried tomato brushed with chipotle olive oil. The Mediterranean flavors intentionally matched the surroundings of Oliverde, a specialty olive oil and vinegar shop graced with an extensive selection of fine products, and beautifully balanced wine from Settembre Cellars.

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Amidst the colorful profusion of sculptures and fine paintings at Smith Klein Gallery, Centro Latin Kitchen and Refreshment Palace offered visitors perfectly executed bite-sized chicken tostadas and tart shrimp ceviche shooters with serrano pepper. A refreshing sangria and chardonnay from Boulder’s What We Love Winery were a hit.

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West End Tavern’s succulent BBQ ribs, smoked for 13 hours and coated with their signature BBQ sauce, were outstanding and well paired with Boulder-based Redstone Meadery’s exquisite honey wine. They were hosted by Island Farm, named after a street in Martha’s Vineyard, a clothing, jewelry, and home ware boutique featuring a marvelous collection of locally curated pieces that evokes breezy, casual beach vacations.

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At outdoor gear playground, Patagonia, Jax Fish House served up consummate simplicity: freshly shucked, briny oysters with a choice of piquant sauces. Denver’s Verso Cellars was on hand with a beautifully crafted cabernet sauvignon made from grapes from East Orchard Mesa.

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Other appetizing stops along the tour:

Location: Athleta
Restaurant: Brasserie TenTen
Dish: Duck liver pâté with smoked rhubarb mostarda + pickled radish
Winery: Avanti Winery

Location: Ku Cha House of Tea
Restaurant: The Mediterranean
Dish: Chicken Pastillas with cilantro, apricots and pine nuts
Winery: Garrett Estate Cellars

Location: Weekends
Restaurant: OAK at Fourteenth
Dish: Chilled asparagus soup shooter with goat cheese cream
Winery: Two Rivers Winery

Location: Starr’s Clothing Co.
Restaurant: Flagstaff House
Dish: Ahi tuna with ginger couscous on a celery root chip; also braised lamb shank with truffled polenta
Winery: Bookcliff Vineyards

Location: Chelsea
Restaurant: Leaf Vegetarian
Dish: Mushroom pâté with peanut butter and salt tarte
Winery: Aspen Peak Cellars

Location: Earthwood Gallery
Restaurant: Spruce Farm and Fish
Dish: Blue Island Oysters with lemon-cucumber mignonette and basil
Winery: Garfield Estates Winery

Location: Art + Soul Gallery
Restaurant: Frasca Poulard
Dish: Liver mousse and pickled onion
Winery: Augustina’s Winery

Location: Barbara & Company
Restaurant: Ají
Dish: Bacon-wrapped chorizo stuffed with dates
Winery: Balistreri Vineyards

Location: Pedestrian Shops
Restaurant: Pizzeria Locale
Dish: Polpettine di Maiale finished with smoked ricotta salata and chili oil
Winery: Grande River Vineyards

For more information about Taste of Pearl visit: http://www.boulderdowntown.com/taste-of-pearl

Taste of Pearl is produced by Downtown Boulder and presented by Audi Boulder. The event is sponsored by First National Bank, the St Julien Hotel & Spa, the Daily Camera, and Eco-Products.

Downtown Boulder, Incorporated (DBI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to continued preservation and enhancement of Downtown Boulder as the heart of the greater Boulder community. We work to maintain downtown as the center of commerce, government, culture, and leisure. DBI members support the overall vitality of downtown through public advocacy, political involvement, and community events that enhance the Boulder experience for residents and visitors. Membership in Downtown Boulder, Incorporated (DBI) is voluntary and open to any interested person or organization.

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