Recently I went on a local foodie tour led by Megan, who owns the aptly-named Local Table Tours. Megan was a charming host, and I marveled at her knowledge of, and participation in, the restaurant scene. She also prefers to focus her tours on restaurants that she likes to frequent, which are locally owned and operated (as well as focused on really exceptional, good food).
Having frequented much of the foodie scene here in Boulder, I was excited by the prospect of not only tasting some delicious treats, but learning more about the establishments (and chefs) themselves. I’m a firm believer that food tells a story, and I love to soak up more knowledge with each savory bite.
After meeting at the Peppercorn (a long-time woman-owned business that features fabulous cookware, kitchenware, and more), we headed off to Tahona Tequila Bistro. I could barely contain my excitement when we arrived to a table pre-set for our arrival. There were 2 shots of mezcal (one smoked and one un-smoked, which we learned is quite rare), 1 mini margarita (which I winced at only because my previous evening was one long margarita train wreck) and freshly fried flour tortilla chips.
Once we sat down, our servers brought us a tasting plate featuring a smoked ceviche and smoked chicken tostada. We were told that today’s plates and beverages were part of a “smoky” theme.
And they didn’t disappoint.
Before taking a bite, I inhaled deeply; it was spicy/sweet and I felt wrapped in a column of velvet smoke. The smoke was subtle, but clearly discernable, delicate and soft.
I’m awful at taking shots, and these were no different. I did try both mezcals, though definitely tried to a stifle a cough after each. I never knew the difference between tequila and mezcal (all tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequila), and I enjoyed learning (and tasting) the difference between the smoked and unsmoked counterpart.
The mini margarita was delicious—Tahona’s fresh lime and house-made mix is already a treat.
After our visit to Tahona, Megan told us we had a choice to visit Oliverde or Savory Spice Shop next. The other couple on the tour had never been to either, and looked to me to pick one for the team. I’m a fan of both establishments, but I opted for Savory Spice Shop (another local Colorado business), as I was in the market for some Sumac (which is too unique for my regular market).
For me, Savory is always a respite in my day. I love exploring (and smelling) all of the different spices and perusing their recipes to learn about different flavor profiles. It’s a happy place for me, plain and simple. In fact, when we bought a new home I made sure to anoint the new kitchen with some beautiful wood salt and pepper mills they had on display in the store.
And did I mention it happened to be free sample Saturday as well? #Winning.
But time to move on, so we piled our savory treasures (see what I did there?) into our bags and continued our walk down Pearl to visit another favorite of mine, Pizzeria Locale.
I think everyone in town will tell you that this is one fantastic pizza place. I’ve never been to Frasca, their parent restaurant located next door, but I imagine part of Pizzeria Locale’s success is due to the fact that one can experience the Frasca “touch”—eating delicious food and experiencing exceptional service–without breaking the bank.
Our first treat? A refreshing Aperol spritz, consisting of: Aperol, Prosecco and Orange. It was fruity and fun, and I intend to indulge in this beverage again as the weather warms. Next, they brought a small sampler from their appetizer menu (and coincidentally they are also featured on the happy hour menu as well), some Arancini (risotto balls) and the Polpettine (meatballs).
These were indeed yummy treats.
By their fried nature you knew that the arancini would not disappoint. I will say that Pizzeria Locale’s take on their arancini produces a wonderfully gooey interior that, if you’re like me, you find yourself scraping the plate with your fork lest anything is left behind. The polpettine were equally delicious and flavorful, with fragrant herbs and a well-rounded flavor.
But what is a visit to a pizza place without a pizza? We were served a fresh Margherita pizza: thin crust, fresh basil tomato and mozzarella. There’s no going wrong with this. The surprise came with a half-glass of wine to enjoy with our pizza.
If that weren’t enough, they treated us to dessert, their Saltimbocca con Nutella. I should note that I’m not one of those people who eat Nutella much, or ever really. But this dessert is a game changer. Ooey, gooey, delicious. Apologies for the blurred shot…it was my attempt to take a picture as quickly as possible because we were all eager to dig in.
I wasn’t expecting what came next—our host offered to take us to the back of the house and explore the kitchen.
Now I was positively giddy.
I couldn’t contain my excitement; my large eyes and broad smile gave me away instantly. We walked into the back, and watched all of the line and prep cooks hustling before evening service. We even got a close up of the pizza oven in the dining area (the infamous one that was built and assembled in Naples because customs detained their first one), took a peek into the cellar where all of the stemware is housed, and briefly listened to the pre-service meeting happening in the Frasca dining room next door.
I could’ve ended the tour then, and felt like all was perfect.
Unfortunately I think my only disparaging remark for the tour was our conclusion at Tee & Cakes. It’s fair to admit that I know I’m horribly biased when it comes to desserts, because as a professional baker’s daughter I find only few things compare to Afternoon Tea‘s treats. That said it was the end of the day (right before closing), which probably accounted for the lack of an owner/employee meet & greet that we experienced at our previous stops. It was a shame to leave the tour on a lower note, when the rest of the tour was quite fun.
Even though I’ve lived in the Boulder area for some time, I’m always learning something new. I definitely recommend exploring tours in your area, and if you happen to be in Boulder and love to try delicious treats, then definitely check out Megan at Local Table Tours!