Livability.com, a website that takes readers on a sojourn of America's Best Places to Live and Visit, just released its list of the "Top 10 Foodie Cities" of 2014 -- a roster of allegedly restaurant-strong cities that "strongly support local farmers, showcase regional cuisine and provide residents with bountiful opportunities to discover new flavors, textures, cooking techniques and healthy foods." Omaha, Nebraska is on that list, as is Burlington, Vermont and Traverse City, Michigan. And coming in seventh on that list a city that often finds itself in familiar territory: Boulder, Colorado.
In 2010, Andrew Knowlton, restaurant editor of Bon Appétit, called Boulder the "Foodiest Town" in the country. In 2012, Livability.com ranked Boulder third on its scroll of the country's foodiest cities. It took Forbes Travel Guide another four years to jump on the bandwagon, and when it did, earlier this year, the website named the college mecca one of the "Five Secret Foodie Cities" in the United States. Except, you know, the secret was already out.
Nonetheless, the national press loves Boulder, bestowing far more lofty praise on that city's food climate than on Denver's culinary scene, which strikes me as surprising (and what about Fort Collins?). Yes, Frasca Food and Wine, a restaurant that's ballyhooed in this year's Livability.com list, is brilliant, but come on: It's been around for nearly a decade, and it begs the question: If it weren't for Frasca, would Boulder make any top food list? My guess is not. True, Boulder lays claim to other culinary wonderments, including Zoe Ma Ma, Black Cat, BRU, and, most notably, Oak at Fourteenth, all of which are restaurants that we justifiably brag about, but here's the reality: It's old news. It's been at least two years since a new restaurant opened in Boulder that really made headlines, save for BRU. I'm not dissing Boulder, and I'm all for the accolades, but is the ongoing worship really deserved?
If you read the verbiage that Livability.com extols upon Boulder's restaurants, the hard truth is no. And the fact that it names four restaurants -- Frasca, Brasserie Ten Ten, the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House and Amu -- not one of which is remotely new, is even more telling. And not one word, either, about Boulder's craft beer scene.
Here's the shout-out in its entirety. You be the judge.
Known for its array of outdoor adventures, the mountain town of Boulder, Colo., contains an equally impressive collection of restaurants, markets and food purveyors. Boulder made our first Top 10 Foodie Cities list back in 2012. You'll find residents here get just as excited about the opening weekend of the neighborhood farmers market as they do the opening of surrounding ski resorts. They take pride in knowing where their food comes from and patronize restaurants that use local, sustainable ingredients. Boulderites eat out and spend more on meals than average Americans, proving they love their city's restaurants.
The Boulder Dushanbe Tea House offers one of the most unique dining experiences in the city. International dishes like Indonesian peanut noodles, Caribbean trout and North African harissa chicken are served in a house originally constructed in Tajikistan and rebuilt in Boulder. Brasserie Ten Ten provides diners with a true taste of France and a vast assortment of handcrafted cocktails. Dishes like the Provencal seafood stew, potato crusted salmon and gruyere crepes please sophisticated palates. With the feel of an authentic Japanese sushi bar, Amu delights with exquisitely made sushi rolls, sashimi and more than 40 types of sake to taste. The winner of a 2013 James Beard Foundation Award for "Outstanding Wine Program," Frasca Food and Wine dishes out Italian meals prepared with locally sourced produce and meats. Inside the restaurant's cellar are more than 200 varieties of wine ranging from acclaimed European vineyards to smaller winemakers. Frasca's chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson won the JBF's "Best Chef: Southwest" award in 2008.
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