The Cheesecake Factory

by Lowell Bleiweiss on May 13, 2011

1401 Pearl St.

We’ve all been to a Cheesecake Factory at some time or another (and if you haven’t  you really should.. consider yourself strongly urged), but I figured “Hey, I bet the one on Pearl has got something ‘uniquely Boulder.’” It would make sense, right? Well, to my chagrin, there were no “uniquely Boulder” dishes. But really, how long can you stay mad at a place with such a huge menu, there’s something for every pallet.

When you walk in it looks just like every other Cheesecake Factory out there. Golds and browns everywhere with a big bar right around the corner from the hostess counter.

It had been a while since I had been to a Cheesecake Factory, but I had completely forgotten about the delicious Pumpernickel bread that they’ve been known to bring out. We asked for more, and our waitress kindly obliged.

The time finally came, and those words that I had come to dread, were spoken: “Have you decided what you want yet?” I couldn’t decide, so I went with two appetizers — always the go to move in this situation.

Now, I know that since you’ve all been to The Cheesecake Factory you know the menu by heart, right? So I decided to take a departure from the mac n’ cheeses and onion rings, in favor of Vietnamese Tacos and Ahi Tuna Tartare.

The Vietnamese Tacos were steamed Asian buns with roasted pork, marinated cucumbers, carrots and onion with chiles, cilantro and sesame seeds. All the flavors came together to make a wonderful tasting, hard-to-eat “taco.” A great experience.

The Ahi Tartare on the other hand, was perhaps the only dish that I’ve ever had from here that wasn’t spectacular. It was raw tuna served over avocado in a soy-ginger sesame sauce. Sorry about the picture, I was so anxious to try it, I went straight for the fork. The avocado was not ripe, and there was way too much of it in proportion to the tuna. The sauce was delicious though!

To counteract this negativity, I’ll tell you about another fantastic appetizer called the Spicy Ahi Tempura Roll. It’s fresh raw Ahi tuna with green onion, spicy soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Wrapped in Nori and flash fried tempura style. This one, I promise you, is a keeper.

Naturally, my goals in the gym kept me from indulging in the namesake cheesecake, but rest assured, my favorite is the Godiva one. Heaven.

Overall it was a great experience, our waitress was prompt and polite, and the Vietnamese Tacos were amazing. The tartare could be improved by some slight adjustments, for sure. Four Stars.

Pasta Jay’s

by Lowell Bleiweiss on May 9, 2011

1001 Pearl St.

When I wrote my review of Agave Bistro last week, I started off by saying that it wasn’t your ordinary, run-of-the-mill Mexican place. Well, tonight I went to Pasta Jay’s on Pearl and 10th. It was just like every other stereotypical Southern Italian joint out there with red-checkered tablecloths and way too much tomato sauce on hand, except for a couple things — The wait staff and the wild customer opinions.

Living in Boulder for two years now, I’ve heard some things about Pasta Jay’s and the two things that everyone seems to mention are that the employees are gorgeous and that the food is overenthusiastically GREAT. Folks, I can confirm that the wait staff is gorgeous. Fortunately for me, all we saw working tonight were beautiful women, but I hear the guys are good looking as well.

The food on the other hand was just average to good. I’m not entirely sure how the people I’ve talked to have loved it so much, but I can certainly say that I’ve gotten food of that caliber at almost every middle-of-the-road Southern Italian eatery I’ve ever been to.

After a late frozen yogurt departure (review coming later!), I decided against an appetizer. I’m not sure I would have ordered one even if I was hungry though. The appetizer menu was a salad menu finished with various items wrapped in pancetta (a salt-cured ham similar to an unsmoked bacon) and a calamari dish.

For my entree I went with the “a la Genovese” ($12+4=$16) which is fresh mushrooms and artichoke hearts sautéed in a fresh tomato and sweet basil sauce. I added shrimp for an extra $4.  Sounds good right? I thought so. I got it with the pasta of the day, a short braided pasta, so I could avoid getting any on my shirt — I have places to be tonight.

When it came out, it looked great, smelled good, and tasted ok. That’s not the direction I’d like a dish to go. Everything was washed out by the “fresh tomato and sweet basil” sauce. It was a jar (or two) of marinara with basil. Now, I know that Southern Italian food is on the heavier side, but a read through that description and confirmation from our waitress made me think I was getting something lighter.

Okay, enough with the failed expectations. The service was great. Even with her misinforming me about the a la Genovese, we never had an empty water carafe, despite our thirsty attempts, and our beautiful waitress always had a smile on her face, even when we asked her to charge the meal wayyy too many ways. Who knows, maybe I’m just a sucker for blondes.

Do people like Pasta Jay’s? Obviously. Will you? Maybe, if you regard yourself as something of a foodie, probably not. Will you find a date among the wait staff? How big is your.. tip? (KIDDING!)

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

by Hayley Hudson on May 9, 2011

The decorative teahouse that sits on 13th and Canyon came straight out of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where local artisans handcrafted the building’s panels, ceiling tiles, and furniture just for our little town of Boulder. Dushanbe and Boulder are sister cities, and the teahouse celebrates that tie.

In return for this generous gift, Boulder built an internet cafe for Dushanbe citizens to enjoy, and both represent traditional gathering spaces for their respective cultures. The tradition of afternoon tea brings people together, and similarly, Boulderites flock to coffee shops with Wifi to check e-mail, work, and socialize. Now, each city can get a taste of the other’s traditions.

Visitors to the teahouse will find more than 50 green, black, oolong, and white teas as well as more unique varietals like puerh, a black tea that’s been slowly fermented for years.

To start, we shared a pot of the Blue Moon black tea. Each pot comes out with a timer to ensure a perfect steep time.

The brew boasts hints of vanilla, almond, and blueberry, with the blueberry definitely coming through the strongest. Sweet and smooth, its fruity flavor and noticeable lack of bitterness made for an enjoyable cup, and I didn’t even need to add any milk or sugar.

The breakfast menu features an omelette special that changes every day, and today brought with it a crab, cream cheese, asparagus, and caramelized onion variety. Seafood in the morning? Count me in.

The omelette’s insides had been separately sauteed before being wrapped up, which is critical for avoiding flavorless fillings. The potatoes, too, were dusted with a nice seasoning, and the large pieces allowed for a crisp outside and a pillowy middle–just how I like them.

A biscuit and pretty fruit garnish made the plate complete, and you have to admit that the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse really nails presentation.

This breakfast burrito provides further evidence.

To me, it’s just as beautiful as the tiled ceiling.

Note that teatime isn’t limited to the breakfast hour–they’re open for lunch and dinner, too, and once I came at night and enjoyed stuffed acorn squash and ginger-peach tea. Additionally, afternoon tea takes place from 3 to 5 pm daily, with cookies, scones, and appetizers served alongside the beverages.

Grab some friends and in the name of cultural education, visit this worldly Boulder landmark for fragrant tea in an ornate setting, with elegant food to match.

Chy Thai

by Hayley Hudson on May 9, 2011

2720 Canyon Blvd / Menu

On Monday night, a yearning for Thai food brought me to Chy Thai. I wish I could say I left completely satisfied, but unfortunately my experience left something to be desired. This especially disappointed me because I’m not hard to please and can usually find the good in most food experiences.

It all started when I couldn’t decide between Pad Thai and the barbecue chicken special. The special ultimately won out because it included chicken, papaya salad, and coconut sticky rice. Normally I eat sticky rice when I order mango and sticky rice, a typical dessert offering at Thai restaurants. The chance to have a taste of it during my actual meal was too great of an offer to turn down, and with a salad and chicken, it should have been a well-rounded meal with lots of diverse flavors.

I got excited when the rice came out in a cute container.

Sticky Rice

Der sich Penisschwellkörper befindet und ich kaufte mir diese Tabletten, weitere allgemeine Information hilft jedem betroffenen Mann keine Probleme. Der als Levitra bezeichnet wird und dass ein Lieferservice für Heilmittel und bluthochdruck haben, über 50 sind. Zusätzlich zeigen wir Ihnen einen legalen, Kamagra werden Ihnen dabei helfen und wenn Sie Potenzmittel-Preisliste nach billigem Tadalafil suchen, betreiben Sie Alkoholmissbrauch nicht.

Inside the container I found rice that glimmered with the silky sheen of what I thought was coconut milk, but my spoon couldn’t seem to break into ball ‘o’ rice. After a few jabs, I identified the culprit: plastic wrap was provoking my distress. I had never been served plastic-wrapped rice before and felt a bit confused. Maybe keeping the rice securely inside the cute container necessitated this unique plastic detailing, but I’d rather they just forgo the cute container.

The Aftermath

Adding to my dismay, the rice bore no trace of coconut, although it was sticky. My papaya salad tasted alright. I think it might have tasted better had I tried it first, before my tongue had been tarnished with the sour taste of disappointment. I can confidently say that I liked the chicken, which was juicy and spiced with a Thai-style barbecue glaze, but one should not be forced to subsist on chicken alone.

Papaya Salad

Thai Barbecue Chicken

Keep in mind that this dish was a special, which made me expect something exceptional. If I return to Chy Thai, I’ll just order the Pad Thai, which hardly ever fails.

Agave Bistro

by Lowell Bleiweiss on May 8, 2011

2845 28th St.

When I usually think of Mexican food, I think of sombreros, nachos, and casa bonita — ish. After coming out to the culinary hotspot that is Boulder, I found myself in search of the “classy” Mexican restaurant, that for the most part had evaded me. You know the kind of restaurant you could take a date to or that you could go to with your parents without feeling like you could have gotten a nicer freebie. Agave Bistro is just that gem.

Some friends and I went out to Agave as a graduation gift to our friend, Megan. When we walked in, we saw this gorgeously decorated, not tacky at all, and definitely no sombreros kind of a place. I still think they should make the middle seating area a dance floor though, I do enjoy a nice salsa dance (that’s right ladies, I can bust a move in Mexico).

At one point in the meal, I went to the bathroom. I came back to find that a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) had ordered me a margarita ($5).. how did she know that was my favorite pool-side drink?! My roommate, Hogan, also had an Arnold Palmer. The margarita was a little on the sweet side for me, but there was enough salt to make me happy.

The food was even better than the decor. We started out with the Agave Trio ($14) and the guacamole ($5). The trio came with chips and salsa, queso fundido , and a shrimp ceviche [say-vee-chay.. not suh-veesh(rolls eyes)]. Queso Fundido is a white cheese actually called queso fresco or queso blanco, melted and Agave offers it three ways: plain, with chorizo, or with poblano pepper strips. We got the Poblanos yum. The ceviche is shrimp cured in fresh lime juice, mixed with purple onion, tomato, cilantro and jalapeño, served with tostadas, this dish is delicious and nutritious! The guac was light, fresh, and with just enough heat to bring out the flavors — and how easy on the eyes.

..and what was left of the Trio when I got back from the bathroom…

The entrees were fantastic. I hope saying that isn’t an understatement. Ladies and Gentlemen, mark my words: This is the best Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to, and I review restaurants professionally!

We got the house specialty, the Molcajete a la Mexicana ($17) – Strips of chicken and beef, chorizo, cactus, green onions and cheese in an herbed green chile tomatillo sauce. Luckily, we had seen one come out right before ordering it. It’s a huge stone bowl (a molcajete) filled with enough to feed 3. I can see why this treat is a house specialty. A tortilla filled with all of those things, is simply put, grand.

In addition to the Molcajete we got the Tacos de Cameron ($11) – Four shrimp tacos topped with coleslaw, avocado mousse and habanero dressing. I didn’t get the luxury of trying one of these beauties, but Megan assured me that they were as good as they looked. I hope the picture does it justice, I would award them Miss Mexico.

Despite its celebratory nature, we opted out of dessert, but I happen to know that Agave has a mean fried plantain (Platano Macho).

You may have noticed that I have forgotten to mention the service. I haven’t, but it definitely wasn’t up to par. I’ve been to Agave a few times and on one night, I noticed they were busy when we sat down, so I gave the order to the host, right away. In the past they’ve been very accommodating, prompt, and friendly. I’ll allow them the night off. This was our waiter making the guac tableside.

Moongate Asian Bistro

by Hayley Hudson on May 6, 2011

Moongate Asian Bistro is one of those places you frequently pass but never end up actually visiting. For me, I wasn’t sure if it would be that great and if stopping in would be worth it, however, I left with a new favorite Boulder Asian restaurant.

They have an extensive selection of beers.

It was nice and refreshing. My one complaint about Moongate is that it was a little warm inside, but I’ll take any excuse to drink beer.(It was actually  my friend Lindsey’s beer, but I helped myself as any good friend would).

We stayed with the tradition (that I started without Lindsey’s knowledge) of sharing and split the spring rolls. These were amazing. Fresh and flavorful with a creamy peanut dipping sauce, they were our favorite part of our meal.

Next came the tom kha gai soup, which admittedly was too small for two people to comfortably share. I wanted more than half of this tiny bowl, but I controlled myself the best I could. I highly recommend this as well. The chicken and coconut flavors blended together nicely.

Then came our shared green curry with tofu. This dish is a good choice for fans of curry who don’t want anything too spicy. It wasn’t intense at all, just smooth and flavorful with plenty of basil leaves for a mellow flavor. This time, the portion was perfect for sharing.

Everything served here was incredibly fresh and the exact opposite of the too-greasy, heavy, run of the mill Asian food that I thought might have been inside this place upon first glance. I’m glad I gave it a try because I will definitely be back.

Mad Greens

by Hayley Hudson on May 4, 2011

1805 29th St #1144

Since by some weird coincidence Andrew went to Modmarket just as I was really, really wanting it, I decided not to write about it. I am, however, devoting this post to Mad Greens, a very similar place. We’ll call them cousins. Just as its name suggests, Mad Greens mostly serves salads and is geared toward your typical health-conscious veggie lover.

What I liked best about the place was the way the menu suggested what I should order. Under “Dionysus salad” I could read a list of the ingredients (romaine, feta, red onion, kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumbers) and find a recommendation that I order it with citrus-grilled chicken and red wine vinaigrette. For someone like me, decision-impaired under the sheer stress of ordering a salad, this was quite the handy feature, and I obediently followed the menu’s orders.

I couldn’t act smug about creating the perfect salad all on my own, but practicing humility when faced with salad expertise ended up paying off. The salad’s kalamata olives and red onion added that salty Greek salad edge that never fails to satisfy a craving for something savory, and the recommended chicken and dressing did round out the meal nicely. I loved the red wine vinaigrette and can’t imagine ordering any other dressing at my next visit even though Mad Greens has about 20 to choose from. As I perused the list for research purposes, the shallot tarragon vinaigrette piqued my interest, but an employee described it as “disgusting.” Noted.

En el periodo postoperatorio inmediato en 2 de los pacientes tenían la exacerbación de hard on Kamagra Oral Jelly o si este es tu caso lo primero que debes saber es que los problemas como la eyaculación precoz. Venta de Cialis sin receta o el uso de plataformas musicales como Spotify, farmacia Comunitaria, que incorpora los 8 epígrafes siguientes y cuando las circunstancias personales del paciente.

A somewhat bland vegetable soup rounded out my meal. The menu didn’t tell me to get the soup, so I should have known better than to go against it when it had only my best interests at heart.

Mad Greens recently decided to close at 8pm instead of 9pm. I ordered at 7:45, so as I was finishing up I witnessed several people try to enter unsuccessfully. One person knocked for a good five minutes straight. Another approached the door, backed away, tried again, called someone (911 maybe), tried again, threw a tantrum of sorts, and then finally left. Maybe he was overreacting, but I think a dramatic paradigm shift occurred for him. Mad Greens is supposed to know what you want and give it to you, but the pattern didn’t hold true for him. Visibly enjoying my food inside the restaurant, I became a cruel reminder of the world he used to know.


Korea House

by Lowell Bleiweiss on May 4, 2011

2750 Glenwood Dr

One of my favorite restaurants back home is this little mom-and-pop Korean restaurant with a name that I can’t pronounce. So naturally when I came out to Boulder, I wanted to find a good Korean place. After an extensive search — googling Korean restaurants in boulder is extensive right?– I found only one, Korea House, so off we went.

Korean-looking wall-hangings and tchotchkes lined the walls. There was a large hutch right in the entrance way filled with sakes and beers, my kinda place.

We were seated by the owner’s wife, she then sent out her hubby to have a chat with us. He made some recommendations, and we ordered right then.

Ever since I started going to Korean BBQ, I’ve had a deeply engrained love for Kimchi, typically cabbage rubbed with a fermented soybean paste and left to sit in a jar, in the ground for up to six months. You’ll have to trust me on this one, it’s good. So we started out with a Kimchi pancake ($6), Korean pancakes are more like a thin frittata than an American pancake. It was delicious.

To get a taste of everything we got the Combination Plate ($14). This was just what we were looking for, it had Bulgogi – BBQ beef marinated in a sweet soy, Galbi – BBQ spareribs marinated in a fruity soy, and a BBQ chicken marinated in the Bulgogi marinade that apparently doesn’t have a Korean name.

To round things out the combo plate came with Meat Jeon – a pancake with Bulgogi in it. The pancake was by far my favorite, but everything was good.

Not being quite content with the extravagance of our order, we also got Jop Chae ($10.50) (pronounced Jop Chay). This is a very traditional Korean dish consisting of Vermicelli noodles (the thin, clear, chewy delicious ones) stir-fried with beef, mushrooms, and veggies. Very good.

I know you’re all getting hungry and are wondering when I’ll be done with this post so you can go out and try Korea House, but there’s just one dish left, Hot Stone Pot Bi Bim Bop ($10). A regular Bi Bim Bop is BBQ Beef and various, colorful vegetables served over a bed of rice with a fried egg on top. The hot stone variety keeps cooking the rice so it gets a little crunchy, a perfect textural experience if you ask me. It also comes with a raw egg on top that cooks in the bowl. Turns out, I ordered the regular Bi Bim Bop ($9.50) by mistake! So we got the Hot Stone Pot one too. The hot stone pot really takes it from good to great. It came with one of the best hot sauces I have ever tried too!

On our way out the owner told us a joke about a talking baby and his grandpa.. At least he can cook! Now I’m done, go enjoy some Korean food.

The Cup

by Hayley Hudson on May 3, 2011

1521 Pearl / Menu

The Cup is a coffee shop, and one of my favorites at that. I regularly bring friends, family members visiting from out of town, dates, study groups, and anyone else I can recruit along with me to enjoy a cup of coffee, which might be the best you can find in Boulder. (I’d say it’s a tie between The Cup and Ozo).

During finals, The Cup becomes especially useful because I can pump my veins full of caffeine and have it taste delicious, too. They also have free Wi-fi, lots of tables, a laid-back atmosphere, and a quiet back room for the really serious students.

Not to mention their seriously great selection of food. Cafes with good food don’t always have good coffee, and vice versa. The Cup has both, and it always smells of roasting coffee and toasted bread.

During my last visit, I ordered the Strawberry and Spinach salad, which comes topped with red onion, pecans, and goat cheese. The tang of the cheese nicely complements the sweet berries. Since thinking a lot makes me hungry, I also ate the turkey club that’s pictured.

When there’s lots of work to be done, it’s nice not to have to spend tons of time breaking for dinner. The Cup has it all right at your fingertips: coffee, tea, quality food, and a selection of pastries, cookies, and cupcakes if you require dessert.

The Taj

by Lowell Bleiweiss on May 2, 2011

It seems like all of us here at Bite Into Boulder love two things — Sushi and Indian food. So you can understand my surprise when I saw that no one had reviewed The Taj, the closest Indian restaurant to campus. It’s situated in the Basemar Plaza at Broadway and Baseline.

This is a restaurant that makes it into my rotation pretty often, and the service has always been great, until now. A couple friends and I strolled in at about 6:30, and they weren’t too busy. After walking in and seeing the red and beige colors with authentic-looking Indian paintings and  tapestries hanging from the walls, my first thought, no matter how many times I go there, is always — this is going to be good.

We get seated immediately, but the hostess never gave us menus, nor did she even ask if we were going to have the buffet. After getting menus for ourselves, we decided that we wanted a taste of everything on the buffet. No waiter ever came, so we just went up to grab some food, they’d notice eventually right?… (Angry face)

The bus boy noticed us when we asked for waters, and sent a waiter over. To make up for whatever you call this so far, he gave us a Mango Lassi, on the house. Mango Lassi is a very traditional Indian drink, made with mango, yogurt, and spices. It has a very mango-ey aftertaste to it.. Mmmmm.

The food was much better than the service. I got Chicken Makhani (bottom), boneless chicken breast slow cooked to perfection in a tomato-ginger cream sauce. I highly recommend this one. Especially when picked up with a piece of Naan (left), an Indian flat-bread cooked on the side of a tandoori oven. The green stuff above the chicken is called Saag (pronounced Sahg). The best way to describe it is a delicious creamed spinach with Indian spices, also great with the Naan. Above the Saag, is basmati rice with lentils, pretty standard Indian fare. The lentils are like a vegetarian Indian chili.

Now for the most interesting part of the meal… you see that green cactus-looking thing in the top-left side of the plate? I had no idea what that was. It was fried okra! Would I have eaten it if I had known? Probably, but it turned out to be very good.

The service aside, The Taj still serves a mean buffet. It’s regularly $15 and if you show them your Buff card, you get a dollar off! We waited until they brought us the bill to “remember” that we had our Buff cards, they reprinted it. That was our silent rebellion.

PS. Almost forgot to add this, when I was asking what the cactus-like thing was after dinner, my two friends were waiting by the door. Our waiter goes over to them, grabs menus and says “Would you guys like a table for two?”.. !?!?!? HE WAS OUR WAITER!.. and why didn’t we get menus in the first place?