A couple of days ago blogger friend Abbe, author of This Is How I Cook, and I drove over to Boulder for a cocktail reception at Salt restaurant. Abbe had been there several times for dinner, but I was really excited because this was my first time visiting this popular Colorado restaurant.
Opened in 2009 in the former location of Tom's Tavern in downtown Boulder, Salt is the second restaurant opened by chef/owner Bradford Heap. In 2006 Heap opened Colterra, which is located just a few miles down the road in Old Town Niwot. Although these restaurants are at different locations, they share one very important thing in common, Heap's passion for serving food with integrity.
Colterra boasts its own on-site vegetable gardens which enable them to use only the freshest, seasonal ingredients resulting in menus that continually evolve and change. Colterra's menu is further influenced by Chef Heap's classical culinary training in Italy and France. The dining rooms are handsome and comfortable, or you can choose to dine on the stone patio which lies under a canopy of hundred year old cottonwoods.
Like Colterra, Salt's menu is also influenced by Heap's European training, but the atmosphere here is that of a warm American Bistro. From the open kitchen with a wood-burning rotisserie and oven, to the brick clad walls of the basement bar complete with a Fleetwood Mac LP spinning on the old school hi-fi in the corner, this restaurant is as warm and comfortable as a good friend's house, but with an air of a sophisticated urban eatery.
On this particular evening we were treated to several delicious appetizers including a homemade andouille sausage served with yellow and brown whole grain mustard (my favorite), Soul Patch melon tartar (OMG), a gorgeous seasonal bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella, achiote marinated pulled pork on blue corn tortillas (fabulous!), brie with organic raspberries and a moist and delicious carrot cake. They were all truly outstanding.
To compliment the appetizers, we were offered two of the restaurants seasonal drinks. The Dancin' Padron, which was a very herbal, peppery gin based cocktail garnished with a sprig of rosemary, and the Fuzzy Fashion cocktail which is a combination of Colorado bourbon, Palisade peaches, and a touch of sugar and bitters. Both were perfect for this beautiful Colorado evening on the patio.
2.5 ounces bourbon
Once sugar cube
One slice of a ripe peach
2 dashes of Saba (a reduced grape juice syrup)
4 dashes of Angostura bitters
Muddle peach and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients. Shake. Serve over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a fresh peach slice. Enjoy.
1 slice padron pepper
1 large slice green bell pepper
1 - 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce orange rosemary simple syrup
4 dashes of celery bitters
1 rosemary sprig for garnish
Muddle peppers. Add remaining ingredients. Add ice. Shake. Double strain and serve "up".