Before Kassia Koukari parks Roberto, the three-wheeled delivery bike for Kassia's Pasta Farm, for the season, she wheeled him to the Infinite Monkey Theorem on Thursday night for the kickoff of Operation: Turkey Raisin', a food/fundraiser for Denver Rescue Mission's Thanksgiving Turkey Drive. Through November 23, a portion of all Kassia's Pasta Farm's sales will be donated to the cause -- and customers who donate a can of food will get a dollar off a pasta dish. See also: Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery and Wine Lab opens in RiNo
Roberto will still be out on Saturdays through November 16, weather permitting, and will make a pop-in appearance at Wazee Union & Walnut's holiday Artisan Market on November 30 -- "but after that, I feel like three wheels and ice/snow will be more than I'm ready to tackle yet," Koukari says. While Roberto's parked, the bike will get a tuneup, some new gear, and maybe even an umbrella with a logo so that people can find the Kassia's vehicle more easily. Meanwhile, Koukari will be at holiday markets around Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs through December 15, selling dried noodles and ready-to-eat dishes (mac and cheeses, lasagnas, sauces/soups, and ravioli). Then in January, she's going to take a quick -- and well-earned -- vacation, before resuming her schedule of cooking and classes (find updates on Kassia Pasta Foods Facebook page).
For now, though, Koukari will keep cooking up some delicious surprises. "All of our pastas, sauces/soups and goodies are handmade," Koukari explains, "so I have a lot of leeway with flavors (Sriracha, spent grain and basil are some of our regular pasta types). Most of our food is organic and local, which brings the fun of seasonality (and mass tomato orders when it's the season for them), so there's everything on the bike from cold pasta salads to breakfast spaghetti -- hot noodles, basil, cheese, bruschetta and an egg. It's amazing!"
Right now, she's doing winter squash soups for fall, and is currently working on a green chile, which she may roll out this weekend "for everyone recovering from or heading out for a Halloween part two." Keep reading for more photos of the Infinite Monkey Theorem event -- and Koukari's adventures with Roberto.
Koukari has been out a lot with Roberto over the past few months. "The gigs have been fun because everyone's really interested in the bike and wants to chat about it," Koukari says. "There were two gigs that make me smile the most when I think about them. The first was the Urbiculture Community Farms farmraiser down at their garden on Seventh and Santa Fe this spring. They're really great people and the mood was fabulous, and the garden was just getting going. Now, I had just launched the bike and hadn't biked that far with it yet (my kitchen's at 35th and Larimer). So I presumed people on the road would treat me like a food cart/truck and be excited but keep their distance. I quickly learned that being on a food bike means you get even more comments than when you are on a regular bike (my other car is also a bike, so I'm pretty used to drivers, pedestrians, and other bikers chatting me up). But I have never been shouted at by a bus driver who was impressed with my speed and maneuverability, asked what was cooking and if I could just pull over for a minute and get some people dinner, or had so many people walk over (which is disconcerting when you are in a road at a stop light) and chat me up about my bike. But it kind of set the mood for the night, and it was a lot of fun."
And the second fun gig? Festival 38 off of West 38th Avenue and Quivas Street. "The event had been rained out at about 7 p.m. and I was having to bike home in a deluge," she remembers. "Which meant I couldn't use my battery assist, so all the hills I biked through without any help and I kept the umbrella up the whole time -- thankfully, a friend had stopped by and picked up most of my gear, so it was just the bike and some cooking stuff at that point. I was drenched, in a borrowed head-to-toe blue poncho, my phone was in my friend's car, I had never biked with the umbrella up for fear of takeoff.... And that's when I decided the best thing to do would be to sing Mary Poppins songs all the way back. By the time I hit the edge of LoDo I was belting out 'Chim Chimney' and trying not to picture what would happen if the wind really picked up and Roberto and I got airborne. To date it has to be the best commute I've had to/from work -- ever."