Tag Archives: fine dining

High End in Venice? (Barrique Review)

When you’re going out to have a nice, romantic meal for your 1-Year Anniversary, we weren’t expecting to be Hungry & Fit… just Alana & Chris, but we all know it can’t be that easy. If you put food in front of us, we’re probably going to return the plates to you clean, but we’re always going to have a strong opinion about what we just ate. We can’t help it!

You’ll notice that this review is missing something that we normally try to flood you with…our own photos. There are two reasons for that. First, we didn’t bring the fancy camera we use for our reviews. Second, it was extremely dark and every picture that I took with my phone was just blurry, no matter how many filters we applied. We could have used the flash for better results, but that would have taken away from the dining experience of the other guests, and when you’re paying this much for food, you expect an amazing dining experience. Bright lights flashing in your face isn’t the nicest way to enjoy a meal.

When I originally wrote out quick Yelp review for Barrique, I started high… mainly because there was this sense of… it was our anniversary dinner and we were so happy to be together, etc. As I started to think of everything we ate, those feelings faded and that mysterious veil disappeared. All that was left was the service, atmosphere and… the food. So, as always, let’s look at those factors and see just how high-end Barrique really is.

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Boulder’s Best Burger is at 4580

I love burgers. And when I can’t make it to White Manna in Hackensack (NJ) I’m never happy with the burger that I eat. In terms of international burger quality, I somewhat recently had what was most likely my best burger outside of the United States in New Zealand at Burger Fuel but I’ve struggled to find a burger I really enjoy while living in Boulder the last few years.

I’ve eaten in their entirety the best burgers that The Buff, The Med, The Cork, Mountain Sun, Smashburger, Snarfburger, Mustard’s Last Stand, FATE Brewing Company, Five Guys, Turley’s, and many other popular locations in town. I won’t go into detail about those experiences here but I will say that Restaurant 4580 has been awarded “Hungry’s Best Burger & Fries” in Boulder, Colorado. Here’s why.

Dig this deliciousness

Dig this deliciousness

Value: About $10 for the standard burger with lettuce, tomato, and onions. And fries, of course. I add blue cheese and bacon for an extra $2.50, which is well worth it. So you have $12.50 for a plate that will fill up the vast majority of just about anyone’s stomach. (Trust me, I can eat more than you!)

Taste: They always have a chef’s choice burger that changes every week but you can make it how you want. The flavor profile created by the high quality basic ingredients with the bite of the blue cheese and the fat of the bacon create a confusing yet delightful feeling on your taste buds. 

Cooking it Right: When I ask for Medium-Rare a touch on the rare side, they make it that way. Other locations listed above have made the burgers much further done than I ordered. The onions are also grilled, which is far better than getting a slab of raw red onion on your burger. That is just lazy. 

The Fries: These might easily be the best fries in Boulder. They are crispy but never overcooked. They are not dry but also are not soaked in grease. The portion size is great and the kicker is the course salt they use to dress the fries. They’re amazing and never make it home.

There you have it. Those are my reasons that after tasting many of Boulder’s burgers I am telling you stop by 4580 for one. It is reasonably priced for the portion (steak is mixed into the burger patty), you can customize the burger so the taste is spot on, they cook it how you want it done, and the fries are simply the best. Also, 4580 just had a very nice remodel done so it’s worth checking it you. (I also highly recommend the spinach-artichoke dip. Fit claims it is the best she has ever had!

Wanted to take a full picture, but ate too much before that could happen...

Wanted to take a full picture, but ate too much before that could happen…

Other good eats

Other good eats

Obviously, I have not had EVERY burger in Boulder and I have been told Reuben’s is the best, but people also told me that I would like Smashburger so trust no one and find out for yourself. But trust me if you want to stay hungry and fit

Restaurant Review: Dagabi Cucina

For one of our celebratory dinners, we decided to go to Dagabi Cucina after a little debate about where we wanted to go. We’ve been eyeing this place for a while (and I can’t help but call it Dagobah), so we decided this was the night to go. To celebrate our promotions and hard work, this would be the perfect place. We went around 7:30 Friday night, not sure what to expect. It was a hybrid of Spanish (Spain Spanish) and Italian food.

Preview of what's to come..

Preview of what’s to come..

Right off the bat, we were pleased. The flamboyant host asked us whether we wanted to sit outside or not and we couldn’t decide. He then says, “Well most people fight each other to get outside” (I couldn’t place his accent, Chris thinks Barcelona) so we opted for that. They have a beautiful outside arrangement and we were lucky enough to sit next to a nice flower box. Stringed lights hang around us, making it very romantic and relaxing. There were a few other people around us, but nobody was loud or obnoxious. It was a nice summer night, no need for a jacket.

Beautiful night

Beautiful night

Our waiter was excellent. She may have been slightly overworked, but she didn’t miss a thing. To start ourselves off, we got a caraffe of Tinto de Verano (summer red wine with sparkling lemonade). It was definitely worth it as we each got at least 3 glasses out of it. It was delicious, light, and refreshing–very glad we got that. Food-wise, we got Ensalada con Melocoton which was beautifully-made, very light and not overdone with flavor. And of course, we had to get the bread. On Yelp, people rave about their balsamic sauce and boy were they right. The bread came fresh out of the oven, actually too hot to touch at first. Once we could get our hands on it, we couldn’t stop. The sauce was absolutely wonderful, full of complex flavors, a true pleasure to eat. I can’t wait to go back during “happy hour” and just get bread. Our last appetizer was Antipasto Dagabi which sampled meats, cheeses, and olives. It was a good choice: all the cheeses had different flavors, there was some fruit too to pair with cheese, and I actually ate some olives! You can tell in our pictures that the night gets progressively darker…

Delicious drink next to a beautiful flower bed

Delicious drink next to a beautiful flower bed

Bread, oh man, I want some more!

Bread, oh man, I want some more!

Wonderful appetizers

Wonderful appetizers

By this point, I am already near full (what a surprise), but we still have our entrees yet. I ordered the special, which was wild boar meatballs with gnocchi (yep–I finally got to have some meat!) and Chris got Filetes Rusos which was kind of Spanish-styled hamburger with mashed potatoes and asparagus. We both agreed that the entrees were good, but they weren’t of the same caliber of the appetizers. I couldn’t finish mine, so I got had it wrapped ate it on Sunday. For dessert, we got a raspberry creme brulee (Chris pressured me into it, I swear!). Usually I like it plain, but it was very tasty. Chris, who normally doesn’t like creme brulee, shared it with me and enjoyed it as well.

Wild boar meatballs with gnocchi

Wild boar meatballs with gnocchi

Spain-styled hamburger

Spain-styled hamburger

Creme brulee!

Creme brulee!

Overall, it was truly a wonderful experience: a beautiful setting, delicious food, and attentive wait staff made the night a success. We will definitely be coming back here at least for the appetizers and the atmosphere. Fit gives Dagabi Cucina a big thumbs up and can’t wait to get some more bread and balsamic–happy hour is every night, right?! This place is definitely a contender for best Spanish food in Boulder. Eat at Dagabi Cucina to stay hungry and fit! 

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Oh hai, Nymeria

Oh hai, Nymeria

Hungry Eats… SUGARFISH (Los Angeles, CA)

I love sushi! My favorite food is probably a toss up between sushi and ramen. It’s hard to say depending on how I feel, one being hot and one being not so much. If you’re going to find warm sushi anywhere in Los Angeles, it would be Sugarfish. I talk about the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi all the time. It’s one of my favorite films of all time and it highlights the way that traditional sushi is made. The rice should be fresh and warm, the fish is fresh and cool, and the combination is not tainted by the addition of soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi. Any of those are applied only by the chef so that they compliment the fish perfectly. Sugarfish follows these standards and, although the have those condiments on the table, they recommend not using them. So let’s back track and start from when we entered.

Editor’s Note: WARNING: DROOL ALERT AHEAD FOR ENTIRE POST

photo 3 (6)

Fit’s family and I, along with Fit’s brother’s girlfriend (confusing right?) stopped by Sugarfish in downtown Los Angeles at 11:00 a.m. right when it opened on a Sunday (I think). Kai had recommended it and knowing that we are in Boulder where good fish is hard to come by, he decided to treat us to a nice meal. Not nice–amazing is more like it. Their quality control in their recommended dishes is second to none. The six of us were seated immediately and service was very good throughout the meal. It was quite empty but they took dirty dishes immediately and all of our dishes, or nearly all, were delivered warm. One hand roll had soggy seaweed but the rest were crisp and well toasted.

Sophie, Fit's brother, and Fit's mum

Sophie, Fit’s brother, and Fit’s mum

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Hand roll

Hand roll

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Nearly all of us got the recommended “Trust Us” with one person ordering a la carte, one getting the Trust Me Lite and me getting the super trust me (extra… for hungry, as always). The meal is not fresh in my head but nearly everything was great. The tuna sashimi salad was one of the highlights. Its dressing was spectacular and I must have licked the plate clean. The edamame was normal and the rice was always warm. The nigiri was all high quality with the exception of the unagi, which was just slightly off for me. Not quite sauced or toasted properly, but still tasty. It just didn’t match up with everything else. The seaweed on the handrolls were almost all toasted and I even enjoyed the blue crab handroll, which is typically something I would not order. Fit said it was the best hand rolls she had ever had. We drank water and it was refreshing and helped keep my mouth cool and fresh.

Tuna sashimi salad

Tuna sashimi salad

Edemame

Edemame

Unagi

Unagi

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All in all, I would say that Sugarfish is a very high-quality restaurant that utilizes the Nozawa style of creating simple but elegant sushi. If you are interested in complex rolls then you should venture elsewhere. If you are looking to get full on a budget, this is not the place either. The atmosphere is unfortunately very industrial and cold, despite efforts to warm it up. The concrete ceiling is hard to cover so I would advise couples that romantic dates might not be the best here, but they can still be great due to the food. It probably looks nicer at night so that might be a good time for a date. If you find yourself here I would almost certainly tell you to only get either the Trust Me, Trust Me Lite, or the Nozawa depending on how hungry you are. I did the math and the amount of food you get on the Trust Me for nearly 25 dollars would be over 35 dollars if ordered a la carte. Not only is it their best deal but it also highlights the dishes they do best. That is what I got out of our visit and I hope it helps you on yours.

photo 1 (11)

photo 1 (12)

So mouthwatering I can't even handle it. One of the best dishes -Alana

So mouthwatering I can’t even handle it. One of the best dishes -Alana

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Perfect

Perfect

The obesity rate in Japan is over 30% lower than the United States so eating sushi is certainly one way of staying hungry and fit!

Editor’s Note: I made sure to keep all the pictures nice and big to emphasize the drool effect. Can’t wait to eat there again. -Alana

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The Best of Best of Boulder County 2012

This is a review of a review. Every year the readers of Boulder Weekly vote on the Best of Boulder County and while it is all opinion, local businesses love to hang their awards throughout their shops and eateries. Although we haven’t even lived here for a year, we have tried to eat and venture to as many places that our busy lives allow. We are also very opinionated, especially when it comes to food. People can claim they love food as much as me but I would challenge you to put your money where your mouth is if you doubt our hunger. So I’m essentially going to flip from page to page and rant when I feel necessary so hang in there.

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The cover features a picture of Naoto Kanda, the owner of Sushi Zanmai. His restaurant won Best Japanese Restaurant. Despite recommendations from my boss, Ryan, and our family/friend, Fred, we have yet to try this location because every time we walk by it is closed. Despite mediocre Yelp reviews, we’re going ASAP so look for an upcoming review.

Before I move on, since I have already gone through the whole magazine, I would like to say that this isn’t really a fair judge of the Best of Boulder County. I would venture to estimate that 90% of the votes received are from people living in Boulder like ourselves. Other towns in Boulder County, with lower populations and population density, most likely are not fairly represented but it is a poll for readers and everyone acknowledges that truth.

Best American Bistro who cares. I don’t eat bistro sized or priced portions typically so I can’t say much about the top five here. Best Appetizers went to The Med and the one time we went we did enjoy the multitude of appetizers that our large group got so fair enough. Who cares about best brunch? Not me. I want more meals so I break them down… not combine them.

Megan's Graduation...and Chris has Bell's Palsy here so no judging!

Megan’s Graduation at The Med…and Chris has Bell’s Palsy here so no judging!

Here is the first crime. Best Asian Fusion Restaurant. Chez Thuy won with Japango coming in fourth place. Chez Thuy was one of our worst dining experiences yet. We ordered a lot of variety and nearly everything we had was bad. Not decent, but bad. The pad thai was awful. Second worst I’ve ever had to Pong Sri in New York City. Japango was also a bad meal and the menu did not represent many Asian cultures. You want good Asian Fusion… go to Kho’s Asian Bistro in Longmont. It’s New York or L.A. quality.

Kho’s

I’d have to give Best Bakery to Spruce Confections. Their pies and croissants made our family from across the country and world very happy on Thanksgiving. Breadworks serves “fresh” bread at the Farmer’s Market and by fresh I mean stale. Dot’s Diner rightfully wins best breakfast for the bucks. Don’t sleep on The Buff or Turley’s for best breakfast even though they place third and not on the top five. And please try the Panaderia on 28th Street. It has a museum’s worth of delicious Mexican and Latin American baked choices. That should definitely be on the top five for best bakery now that we think about it.

Our latest trip to Spruce

Our latest trip to Spruce

Alana's typical house breakfast

Dot’s Diner breakfast

Us at the Buff! (that's my brother on the left)

Us at the Buff! (that’s Alana’s brother on the left)

Racks of delicious baked goods at Panaderia

Racks of delicious baked goods at Panaderia

Larkburger winning best burger is a sham. It was the worst burger I’ve had in town yet. Expensive, slow, small, and worthless. Mountain Sun takes the cake for me, and Mustard’s Last Stand is the best burger for the buck. Moe’s bagels and service has been awful every time that I have gone and we have Einstein’s in Pennsylvania so it wins by default for having locations near New Jersey and New York.

Tempeh burger at Mustard's (basically what Alana gets)

Tempeh burger at Mustard’s (basically what Alana gets)

Las Palmeras in Longmont has the best burritos along with some Taqueria on Lashley Street. Seriously, if Boulder locations win best burrito with the population of Mexican Americans that exist in Longmont, it’s obvious where people have eaten. Not in the right place. China Gourmet and Tsing Tao are the best Chinese restaurants. China Gourmet is one of the best Chinese food places I have ever eaten in my life. If you want a good restaurant dessert, you need to go back to Kho’s Asian Bistro or Pasta Vino in Boulder. They have a tower of puff pastry and fresh fruit greatness that tops anything I had at The Med.

YUMM

Pasta Vino awesome dessert

I have no quarrels with Best Fine Dining because we’ve only been to John’s Restaurant and The Cork. Ripple and Glacier win as they should for frozen yogurt and ice cream. Tibet Kitchen should win best Indian/Nepali Restaurant or whatever category it fits best into. We haven’t been happy with any Italian yet so that’s that.

Tibet Kitchen...heaven

Tibet Kitchen…heaven

Snarf’s sandwiches are the best. Sun Deli has some good sandwiches as well, definitely better than Deli Zone. Best overall restaurants are Kho’s Asian Bistro and Korea House. Tibet Kitchen and Mediterranean Market are best non restaurant style eateries. Abo’s is the best slice and pizzeria… the makers of this poll don’t know what a pizzeria is. The best gyro is Med Market and not Falafel King. Kho’s and Korea house have the highest quality fish for sushi we’ve had so far. Much higher than Tora and Japango. Tibet Kitchen is the most vegetarian friendly so says Alana the veggie. It also gets the best chai drink. You can tell where we like to eat right? Well that’s enough of my ranting. I’ll stop there before we get into gyms and grocery stores and useless things. We’ll try more restaurants and have a better input for next year. Stay hungry and fit!

Alana's choice...Tuna Melt with everything from tomatoes to lettuce to hot peppers

Snarf’s

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Mediterranean Market platter