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archive for caffeine

boulder: cured and boxcar coffee roasters

Friday, April 20th, 2012

You don’t just walk straight into Cured and Boxcar Coffee Roasters on Pearl Street. You can’t. There is a little partition that forces you to go right or left, but not straight ahead. The two businesses share a common space with an open zone of mingling and happy browsing in between. Both Cured and Boxcar appeal to the eyes, nose, brains, tastebuds, and tummies.

as you walk in, cured is on the right

and boxcar coffee is on the left

Let’s begin with Boxcar Coffee Roasters. Boxcar roasts their own beans in-house. When you order coffee after an incredible meal at Frasca, they are serving Boxcar coffee. I am told by Jeremy and other trusted caffeine fiends that this is most excellent coffee. As far as local roasters go, Jeremy ranks it up there with his other favorite Conscious Coffees. If you’re talking about where to get a great cuppa, it’s all here east of the Pearl Street pedestrian mall: Boxcar, Atlas Purveyors, or Frasca’s CaffΓ¨ (which incidentally uses Boxcar beans).

serving up some cowboy coffee

Saunter up to the counter and order from the small menu at your left. There is coffee, espresso, and the related variations as well as hot chocolate and hot teas (caffeinated and herbal). To your right sits an assortment of small pastries and confections to further tempt you. Don’t be in a rush for a cup of coffee, because it’s not going to happen in a rush. Theirs is cowboy coffee and it involves precise temperatures, times, technique, and of course, good beans. I don’t even drink coffee and I’d be tempted to pay for one just to watch the process. And you can watch it all being made in front of you while you hang out at the lovely bar. Or if you have business to discuss or a laptop to get sucked into, you can sit at one of the half dozen tables.

a perfect latte

my steaming pot of mint tea on a cold and rainy day

Jeremy loves when I have errands to run in this shop because it means he can enjoy a cowboy coffee (he digs watching it being made as much as I do) or a latte. I actually come here more often without him, and I buy coffee. I mean, I buy beans. Sometimes they are for home (for Jeremy or entertaining guests), but most of the time they are gifts. Boxcar’s beans make excellent gifts for the coffee connoisseurs in your life and the wall at the front entrance has a nice selection from which to choose.

whole bean or ground coffee – great for gifts or your own sipping pleasure

Now if you turn your attention to the East side of the store, prepare yourself for temptation. The other half of this nice, open space is occupied by Cured, which is another little gem on East Pearl Street. It’s like a shop of gourmet delights from seasonal local produce to artisan breads to fancy sea salts to Colorado honey.

inside cured

specialty oils, condiments, pickles, honeys, spices

and chocolate

There is a feel to this shop that I get nowhere else in Boulder, sort of like a foodie field trip. I’m almost afraid to blink for fear of passing over some fantastic little nibble on display. Okay, but Cured really deals in three heavy hitters and for those, you need to take a short walk toward the back of the store. And trust me when I say it’s easy to get distracted on the way.


cured meats

wines and spirits

**Jump for more butter**

thank you so matcha!

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Recipe: matcha green tea shortbread cookies

Someone has been doing their snow dances, because we are finally seeing a little winter love over here. Last week it snowed a nice half-foot at the local hill. I knew it was going to snow. You see, every time Kat comes to visit Boulder from Colorado Springs, it snows!

of course, the winds were not far behind

It mostly cleared up by the time Kat arrived for lunch the next day. We are huge fans of The Pinyon, but when they announced the start of lunch service in the new year we promised one another that this would be our next get together. I mean, a favorite resto that serves my favorite meal of the day? Booyah! We met up with two other fascinating and uniquely wonderful friends: Butter (how can you not love a girl who goes by the name Butter?) and Michael.

we all shared the fried brussels sprouts leaves salad, which was *amazeballs*

my shrimp po’ boy

Jeremy returned from travel and we spent the weekend driving to and from IKEA, disassembling and reassembling the house, working, and waiting for more snow. It was warm, windy, and not snowing.

while we waited: dramatic cloud formations at sunset

a little pink afterglow

But it did start snowing this morning on our backcountry ski and it continued to snow all day, dropping a few inches in the neighborhood and more in the mountains. Our winter weather pattern in the Colorado mountains is mostly like this: if it isn’t snowing, it’s sunny. Sometimes it’s both snowing AND sunny. Usually when it snows, it tends to be overcast and cold. That’s how we like it. Jeremy invariably makes himself a hot cup of coffee or tea when he comes inside from the cold, and if there is a sweet nibble of cookie, cake, or pastry to be had, his day is pretty much golden. I figured, if one likes tea and cookies, surely one would like tea in cookies!

flour, butter, sugar, confectioner’s sugar, egg yolks, matcha green tea powder

mix the matcha and confectioner’s sugar together

I’ve had this recipe on my “to try” list for years. I don’t know why it was buried for so long. I love matcha green tea anything because it’s such an easy and lovely “Asian” ingredient to incorporate into so many western desserts. And because this is a shortbread, I knew it would be reliable to bake at altitude with essentially no need for adjustments. You have no idea how much I love that.

beat the matcha, confectioner’s sugar, and butter until smooth

mix in the flour

add the yolks

**Jump for more butter**

signs of summer

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Recipe: blood orange green tea slushie

For a girl who gushes about winter as much as I do, I must admit that I say “I can’t wait for summer!” a lot. Summer is a lovely concept: wildflowers, hiking and backpacking, cool evenings, mountain biking, summer produce, grilling, open windows, trail runs, hummingbirds, ice cold drinks, afternoon lightning storms, neighbor kids screaming and laughing on their trampoline. That’s because my brain has selectively forgotten about mosquitoes, sunburn, heat, the unrelenting sun, hordes of tourists, pine pollen, dusty trails, and tacky, greasy sunblock. Well, summer has arrived.

she can’t go as far anymore, but she still loves her hikes

and the aspens are finally starting to leaf

caught the tail end of the pasque flowers

a cluster of three

the ever-charming western wallflower

There are signs that usually cue me in to the arrival of summer like the first pasque flowers to bloom on our local trails or the yellow-green haze that develops on aspen stands as their leaves bud. We are typically out exploring and observing these changes throughout the month of May, but May got away from us for a number of reasons this year. Catching these visual signals sets my mind at ease as if Nature is on schedule and the routine resumes. But Nature isn’t on schedule. Spring is late in the mountains, hanging about on the couch like a guest who has overstayed their welcome. Now that Summer has arrived it must contend with the mess Spring left behind. It’s not such a bad mess though…

the intersection of spring and summer: the bike-ski

Spring left a lot of snow in the backcountry. A LOT of snow. I heard on my local public radio station that the Colorado snowpack is 254% of average. No kidding. As we rode to the trailhead with our skis on our packs, we passed 12-15 foot drifts of snow. A forest service ranger said we had a good thirty feet of snow sitting on the backcountry. Then he smiled at our skis and said, “Have fun!”

unpack the ski gear, stash the bikes

that’s what i’m talking about

jeremy ducking out of the wind

happy to have the ski boots off and a fast bike ride back

While I’m anxious to have the trails melt out for some good high-country hikes, I have to admit that I love the fact that there is so much snow. It’s like the best of both worlds because I can ski in short sleeves! More exhausting than the physical exertion is the sun exposure. That sun sucks the energy right out of me – or maybe it’s because I get cranky when I’m hot. The rest of the day, I crave cold beverages. My beverage of choice? Ice water. Next? Arnold Palmer (half lemonade, half iced tea). After that? Anything tea slushie with boba. I can dig a slushie year-round, but it is mandatory in summer.

how about a green tea slushie?

with raspberry and blood orange

**Jump for more butter**