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sandwich chronicles: cured’s spicy frenchman

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Last weekend I took you to visit Cured, a favorite gourmet cheese, salumi, wine, and nomnom shop of mine in Boulder on East Pearl Street.


cured



Each day (except Mondays, because they are closed), Cured lists two to three sandwiches on their chalkboard above the salumi and cheese counter. If you subscribe to their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @curedboulder, you’ll get the daily notice. It’s not a sandwich shop where you walk up and order what you feel like, but the choices are quite good and sometimes there are salads, soups, and even breakfast options. Check the board.

the daily sandos



Of course, you’re not going to get the standard sandwich around here. For example, one version of their grilled cheese is seahive cheddar with bacon and tomato chutney (hello!!). Or how about the creamy pear which is Délice de Bourgogne, ham, and pears. I have been itching to catch the allstar as well: prosciutto, manchego, and membrillo. It used to be that you could saunter in and there would be sandwiches to order, but after some great reviews, Cured was no longer Boulder’s best kept secret. By noon it was not uncommon to stand at the counter and watch the staff cross offerings off the board as they sold out. I think it has mellowed out a little bit, but if there is a sandwich you want, go earlier rather than later so as to avoid the risk of deep disappointment. When I went in for a sandwich, there was only one kind left (again, a huge rush on their sandwiches that day).

the spicy frenchman



To the sandwich: The Spicy Frenchman was my introduction to Cured’s sandwiches. They start with their ridiculously good bread (I think the same guy who makes their crowns and other artisan loaves also makes the baguettes) – a French baguette that is buttery soft on the inside with a nice and crusty outside that yields easily under your finger. Layers of thinly sliced ham and generous slices of brie are topped with a perfectly sweet and spicy raspberry-jalapeño jam. The combination of ham and cheese usually makes me drowsy, but the kick from the jam livens up the entire ensemble. Because it happened to be a weirdly rainy and cold day in Boulder (which is rare), I relished my sandwich with a nice pot of hot tea from Boxcar Coffee. I checked the shelves and found that Cured sells jars of that raspberry-jalapeño jam. That’s good stuff. I may just have to try and make some myself.

Where: Cured is located at 1825 B. Pearl Street (Boulder, Colorado 80302), east of the Pearl Street pedestrian mall.

When: walk in and order a sandwich from their board (your best bet is likely before noon) 10:30am – 7pm Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 6pm Saturday, 11am – 5pm Sunday. Cured is CLOSED ON MONDAYS. I know, even I forget sometimes and it can be a huge bummer. They post the menu each day (except Mondays) on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact: Call Cured at 720.389.8096. Visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @curedboulder.

Full Disclosure: My opinions. No comps for the chomps.

Previous sandwich research:

1) The Pinyon’s fried chicken sandwich (sadly, now closed)
2) Cafe Blue’s blackened tuna sandwich
3) Frasca Caffè’s Italiano panini caldi
4) Snarf’s pastrami and Swiss sandwich

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 Caffè (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.

cheeses

cured meats

wines and spirits



**Jump for more butter**

sandwich chronicles: snarf’s

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Now we come to it.

Snarf’s is my favorite sandwich shop in Boulder. In fact, the entire reason I started this sandwich series was because I felt I was making too much of a habit of Snarf’s and thought it in my best interest to branch out. But I still return to Snarf’s time and time again, because I have a sandwich problem – nay, a sandwich addiction.

There are two locations in Boulder to get your Snarf’s fix: downtown Boulder on East Pearl Street and East Boulder on Arapahoe and Conestoga (next door to Ozo Coffee). The shops assault you with brightly painted interiors, eclectic selections of music, and a bunch of hipsters behind the counters building your toasted sandwiches slower than you’d think humanly possible (but they are super nice hipsters). The typical scene at lunch is a line out the door – and that is just to place an order. Popular? Oh yes. It has to be if THAT many people are willing to wait THAT long for a sando.


snarf’s

the colorful menu on the wall



My buddy, Jason, digs on the feta and artichoke sandwich. I highly recommend it. I haven’t tried all of their sandwiches, because I keep coming back to my favorite: the hot pastrami and Swiss. I’m convinced that practically any of their toasted sandwich options will be spectacular because Snarf’s uses amazing bread. In addition to this perfectly crusty-outside-soft-inside bread, every sandwich comes with mayonnaise, mustard, hot peppers (these hot pickled peppers, I love love love), onions (I hold the onions), lettuce, tomato, pickles, seasoning, and oil. Choose Novice (5-inch for $5.50), Snarf’s (7-inch for $7.25), or Pro (12-inch for $10.50) on the regular toasted sandwiches. They only offer Snarf’s or Pro sizes for the specialty sandwiches. You can request fat-free mayonnaise, mushrooms, and sprouts. For $1.50 add your choice of meat, bacon, avocado, portabello, or artichoke. There are sides and salads on the menu too.

snarf’s hot pastrami and swiss



To the sandwich: If I’m alone, I’ll get a Snarf’s size hot pastrami and Swiss. If I’m with Jeremy, we split a Pro. It comes tightly wrapped in paper to hold all of the sandwich goodness together for you to shove into your mouth. Grab several napkins because it’s a juicy experience. It’s the kind of sandwich you can eat with people you don’t even like because no one is talking – they’re all too busy eating their sandwiches. Snarf’s doesn’t skimp on ingredients. There is always a decent helping of pastrami along with the melted cheese, fresh vegetables, pickles, and seasonings. My favorite part of the sandwich has got to be the pickled hot peppers. They sell them in jars at the shop counters and I’ve been tempted to purchase a jar just to deconstruct it and make my own. So so so good. I crave Snarf’s sandwiches. [And for you Thundercats fans, I say “Snarf’s” the way Snarf pronounces his name. Can’t help it.]

I’m realizing from Facebook comments and other discussions that everyone seems to have their own Snarf’s favorite sandwich. I would love to hear what yours is!

Pro tip: After waiting 30+ minutes for a sandwich the first few times, I’ve got both locations’ phone numbers in my smartphone. Call ahead and walk straight to the pick up window, bypassing the 2 dozen patrons waiting in line at lunchtime. Non-lunch times seem to take only 10 minutes.

Where: Snarf’s is at two locations in Boulder: 5340 Arapahoe Avenue (Boulder, Colorado 80303) and 2128 Pearl Street (Boulder, Colorado 80302). There are plenty of locations outside of Boulder too, so check to see if you are lucky enough to have a local Snarf’s of your own!

When: Order any of the fantastic sandwiches from both Snarf’s in Boulder: Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Contact: Call Snarf’s on Arapahoe at 303.444.3404 or Snarf’s on Pearl at 303.444.7766. Visit their Facebook page or follow Snarf’s (Pearl) on Twitter @SnarfsOnPearl.

Full Disclosure: The opinions expressed here are my own. No comps for the chomps.

Previous sandwich research:

1) The Pinyon’s fried chicken sandwich (sadly, now closed)
2) Cafe Blue’s blackened tuna sandwich
3) Frasca Caffè’s Italiano panini caldi