A travel journal
to Boulder by lcampbell
Quote: Since the town we live in doesn’t have an impressive restaurant selection, at least in our price range, we often head down to Boulder for some good eats. We usually end up in an ethnic restaurant.
Also included in this journal are a couple places that are not in Boulder, but are nearby (mountain towns within 30 minutes of Boulder). I will try to add to this journal as I try different restaurants in the future. For now, here are a few of my favorites.
When we walked into the restaurant, we were directed to a coatroom and instructed to take off our shoes. I’m glad I wore clean socks! The dining room is decorated in rich fabrics and colors; seating is on cushions on the floor around low round tables. I thought this was great, but it might be a challenge for folks who are not very flexible. Before the meal we were given a blessing of rose water sprinkled over us – it smelled great! Then our server came around with a teapot of warm water and a metal bowl – we held our hands over the bowl and she poured water to wash our hands. We were each given a towel for wiping our hands during the meal – important because the entire meal is to be eaten with your hands. No silverware!
The first course was a lamb lentil soup, which we drank from the bowls, and khotz (honey bread). Next came a large platter filled with salads. The salads are served family style, with everyone eating off of the same platter (again, with our hands). There were six salads – spicy carrot, sweet carrot, eggplant, chickpeas, potato salad, and green pepper/tomato/cucumber. Everything so far was SSOOOO delicious, but my favorite part of the meal came next: b’stella. B’stella is a phyllo dough pastry filled with chicken, egg, onion, almonds, and spices. Then there was powdered sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top, which sounds weird, but was excellent. I could have eaten a whole one by myself!
There are both meat and vegetarian entrees. I had a chicken dish, but there were a number of lamb entrees, and a lot of artichokes. It was all good, but I was already stuffed from the first three courses. After another handwashing, we were served traditional Moroccan mint tea. Not only was it the best tea I’ve had, there was also a surprise. The servers poured the tea by balancing multiple teacups on various parts of their body (feet, knees, elbows, heads) and then poured the tea into them from a significant distance above the teacups. And they didn’t spill a drop!
After tea came the bellydancers! On Thursday to Sunday, there a number of women who bellydance at Mataam Fez. They were so great – how do they do that with their stomach muscles?! Our dancer pulled my friend onto the floor to try out this sword-balancing thing, and other folks got sashes tied around their waste and received mini bellydance lessons in front of everyone. It was a great night, and we’ve been there twice since – I guess that means I highly recommend it!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 13, 2002
Mataam Fez – Moroccan cuisine
2226 Pearl Street
Restaurant | "Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant"
We were seated in the dining room on backless stools around a masab, or basket table. I guess we would figure out the table later. There is also seating (at normal tables) on a creek side patio, although it was a bit cool the night we were there. The whole place was decorated in African décor, although I’m not sure it was limited to just Ethiopia. My favorite piece was a colorful mural hanging high on one wall.
Shortly after we arrived, a young man started playing an instrument, that I didn’t recognize, and singing in a foreign language. The restaurant advertises "Live African Music – Boubacar (Senegal)"…. I’m not sure if Boubacar was the guy, or the style of music, or the instrument. He was joined later by a guitar player. The music was fantastic! A little girl about 3 years old started dancing around the restaurant – I guess she couldn’t help herself – and our hostess joined quickly in the dancing. I think the hostess was also the owner, Ms.Tsehay Hailu. Boy was she a character! She really looked like she loved her job, and everyone around her. A real people person.
My friend who had eaten at Ras Kassa’s before explained to us that the meals are served family style and in large quanities. She advised that we should order only 3 or 4 entrees for the 5 of us. We choose four: Special Mushrooms (Engudai) $11.95, Spicy Sweet Potato Stew (Metatesh) $10.50, Addis Style Beef (Ciga Tibs) $10.95, and Chicken Breast Stew (Doro Tibs Wot) $10.95. This ended us being way too much; we could have ordered just three but they all sounded so delicious. Everything was great, but my favorite was the mushrooms. This was also my friends favorite, so we finished every little bit.
The meal was served on one big platter, with rolls of injera around the outside and various side dishes (collard greens, carrot salad, bean salad) in between the main dishes on the platter. Injera is a crepe-like Ethiopian sourdough bread (yummy!). It is also your silverware. You take a piece of bread, unroll it, use it to pick up a chunk of food, and then roll it into a ball and pop it in your mouth. We learned all of this from our hostess, who demonstrated for us. She also took my friend’s brother by surprise by popping a huge piece in his mouth when he wasn’t expecting it! It was hilarious! We did try an appetizer of bread and a very hot chile sauce… it was OK, but the other appetizers might be better. I don’t drink wine, but my friends LOVE the honey wine.
I highly recommend Ras Kassa’s.
2111 30th St
Boulder, Colorado 80302
+1 303 447 2919
One interesting tidbit that I found at Peaknet, is as follows:
"Perhaps Nederland's most famous resident is Grandpa Bredo, a man being kept frozen in a storage shed with the help of bi-weekly dry ice deliveries. The freezing and the ongoing arrangements to preserve his body are thanks to past resident, grandson Trygve, who has since been deported by the US government. After the deportation, Nederland officials discovered the body and have since passed a law forbidding such practices. Bredo, it seems, however, has been 'grandfathered' in. A short film documentary of this story entitled 'Grandpa's in the TUFF-Shed' has been making the film festival circuits in recent years."
Very strange, indeed.
I visited Nederland recently to eat with a group of friends at Kathmandu, a Nepali and East Indian restaurant. Even though we had reservations, we had to wait about 30 minutes for our tables. This normally would have been fine, but the restaurant is so tiny, there is nowhere to wait inside… and it was COLD out that night.
After surviving our wait, we were given 3 tables near each other. The décor was cozy and inviting, with objects from and about Nepal displayed all around. The place was busy, but everyone seemed happy and relaxed, so we immediately adopted a similar attitude. We all ordered different dishes at our table, so that we could sample 4 different dishes: I had a chicken and spinach dish that was fabulous, and the other dishes I samples were all very good, including my husband’s curried lamb. There were vegetarian selections as well. Each entrée included lentil soup (Dal) on the side, and another side dish that slips my memory right now. Each meal was $10-15.
We ordered some flatbread separately… garlic cheese nan. I love nan, so was looking forward to eating that the most…. but our waitress forgot to bring it out. She looked new (and frazzled), so we didn’t bother to ask about it until we were done with our meal. She felt so bad. The owner, a very gracious Nepali woman, brought it to us with her personal apologies. Even though we were stuffed from our great meal, we gobbled it up anyway because it was so good!
We combined our trip to Nederland with a trip to the Millsite Inn in nearby Ward to listen to some live bluegrass music – see separate entry. Overall it was a great night, despite a couple forgivable glitches.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 13, 2002
Kathmandu – Nepali and East Indian Cuisine
1 West 1st Street
The actual town of Ward is a bit west of Highway 72, so you don’t drive through Ward while on the highway. The one place around that is inviting to outsiders is the Millsite Inn, directly on Highway 72. The Millsite Inn is a bar and restaurant. While I haven’t eaten there, I know that there is a good menu selection, including pizza, bar-type appetizers, burgers and sandwiches, soup, salad, and various dinners. Some of the dinners were lasagna and other Italian choices, and classics such as meatloaf and beef stroganoff. Friends have said that the food is good.
The reason that we went to the Millsite Inn was for the live entertainment. During the winter months (Labor Day to Memorial Day) there is a live bluegrass jam on Saturday nights. The Millsite invites "legitimate amateur and professional musicians" who can jam with other bluegrass musicians in exchange for free beer and pizza. These folks are so great! The night we went, there were about 20 musicians total (fewer earlier in the evening, and then growing into a large group). There were guitars, banjos, bass, mandolin, and fiddle (my favorite). And, of course, singing! The group was made of locals (who are very friendly and fun, contrary to my description of the atmosphere of Ward in the previous paragraph) and in this situation offer open arms to visiting musicians. They sounded like they have been playing together for years (and probably have) and we loved every minute of their playing. The place was packed with all types of people, loving bluegrass, even for just one night. I will definitely be returning to the Millsite Inn for more bluegrass fun!
More info at Millsite Inn. Great in combination with dinner at Kathmandu, a Nepali restaurant about 15 minutes away (see separate entry).
44365 Highway 72
Boulder, Colorado 80481
Attraction | "Pearl Street"
Around the perimeter of the 2-3 block area that is called Pearl Street Mall are numerous small shops. These shops are trendy, funky, and often expensive. There are clothing shops, and art stores, and bookstores, as well as restaurants and coffee shops. The only one that is overly memorable for me is the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop…. yummy! I also bought a hacky sack last time I was there that I only used once before giving it to some kids in Thailand…. but that’s another journal…..
The big draw is definitely the street entertainers. There are musicians of all different sorts and skill levels. Guitar players singing folk tunes, guitar players singing popular tunes, guitar players… well, you get the point. Seriously, though, I have also seen a couple people playing didjeridoos, and the classic One Man Band. Sometimes there is a mini orchestra set up, or a mariachi band, or something like that. There are local artists selling their wares or doing sketches of people on request. There is one puppeteer that wanders around looking eerily like a leopard – kind of creepy. My personal favorites are the performers that I catagorize as "other." One very charismatic gentleman is a contortionist who puts himself into a tiny box among other things. This doesn’t sound very exciting, but he is quite funny and puts on a good show. Another crazy character is the "Zip Code Guy" (my friend calls him that) – you can give him any zip code and he can tell you the city, and often a fact about that city. When I see a performer that I particularly enjoy, I always put some money in their collection buckets. I don’t know if they have day jobs or not, but I figure that they are out there working for the joy of their art, and entertaining me at the same time, so they deserve some money. Hopefully it will help them continue to continue doing what they love.
One thing to look out for on Pearl Street is a group of teens that beg for money. Unlike the performers, they do not perform a service of any type, but they expect to be given money anyway. I have not personally experienced any bad situations, but there have been newspaper reports of these groups surrounding tourists and intimidating or threatening them for money. No actual violence so far as I have heard. One girl asked me for money for drugs…. I guess she thought the honest approach was the way to go. I do not know this for a fact, but there are rumors that these teens are actually from wealthy families, but are begging because they are bored.
Pearl Street Mall
Boulder, Colorado 80302
Port Angeles, Washington