The Best Butter

When I was 5 I ate an entire stick of butter from the table while Thanksgiving dinner was being prepared in the kitchen. I remember it in full color, and recall rolling my finger along the golden stick of Land O’ Lakes and then licking it. And licking it again, about a hundred times in a row, until the stick was completely gone and all that was left was the greasy block outline on my grandmother’s gold rimmed china.

Definitely not one of my more refined moves but it was a rather tasty experience even with the massive belly ache that occurred later that evening. I guess it’s fair to say that was the beginning of my love affair. With butter.

For my birthday last year my best friend treated me to a butter tasting at the Truffle Table. While it took us 5 months after my birthday to finally get there, it was well worth waiting for. The Truffle Table is the adorable bistro in the LoHi neighborhood of Denver, and is the sister of the renowned The Truffle Cheese Shop. Very simple and charming in design, feel and menu offerings, the Truffle Table hosts some of the finest cheeses- and butter-  you’ll find anywhere in the world.

As it was my first true butter tasting, I leaned on the staff’s expertise to steer us not only in the right direction, but into pure butter bliss. They did not disappoint. We ordered the butter board, with three different butters, a glass of wine each, and a boat load of olives and waited only a few minutes for the magic to begin. Our server was very well ‘butter informed’ and spoke fluently on each of the varieties of the butter she placed in front of us. All of them were delicious, but I have to say that only one of them could be considered the best butter in the world. And that is Rodolphe le Meunier’s Beurre de Baratte. From France, with love. Find it and treat yourself soon.

Truffle Table Butter Taste

My sister and I recently had a conversation about my love for butter. And having just celebrated Easter, the topic of the Butter Lamb came up. A Polish and Russian tradition prevalent in the Western New York region, the Butter Lamb is something that would have been expected in most households in the early days of my youth in a suburb outside of Buffalo. Yet, somehow there was never a Butter Lamb at our table during those years. I know this, because I most certainly would have bitten the entire head off within minutes.

Truffle Table, 2556 15th St, (303) 455-9463

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Spring
Hello Spring! I am so happy to see you. Let’s get down to business and share the goods on where we can find the best handmade, handcrafted, artisan goods and products of the season here in Denver.

Special bonus! I can almost guarantee you’ll find The Real Dill and their amazing pickles and bloody mary mix at every one of these events. How lucky are we?

If I’ve missed any of your favorites, please do let me know and I’ll add them.

Sugar Plum Bazaar
April 26 and 27th
10 am – 5 pm
Parkside Mansion at 1859 York Street, Denver

Horseshoe Market
May 10th
9 am – 4 pm
46th & Tennyson

Colorado Makers Spring Market- hosted by The Source
May 3rd
11 am – 7 pm
The Source, 3350 Brighton Blvd.

Valverde Bazaar Pop-Up Outdoor Market
I might be the most excited about this one. I didn’t know the incredible place on earth that is Eron Johnson Antiques existed until early this year. Recently voted Best New Flea Market in Denver by Westword, this market’s vendor list is overflowing with all things handmade flavored and delicious. I’ll see you there.

Saturday, May 17th
9 am – 4 pm
389 South Lipan Street

The Denver Fleabrought to you by the always fun crew at Imbibe Denver. 
Saturday, May 24th
2 pm
City Park- more details to be announced May 1st

Cherry Creek Fresh Market
Saturdays, May 3 – October 25th
8 am – 1 pm
1st Avenue & University Blvd.

City Park Esplanade Fresh Market 
Sundays, June 1 – October 26th
9 am – 1 pm
Sullivan Fountain, East Colfax & Columbine Street

Stapleton Fresh Market 
Sundays, June 15 – October 12th
8:30 am – 12:30 pm
Stapleton Founder’s Green, East 29th Avenue & Roslyn Street

Belmar Fresh Market 
Saturdays, June 7 – September 27th, 10 am – 2 pm
Belmar Entry Sign, Wadsworth & Alameda

South Pearl Street Market 
Sundays, May 11th – November 2nd
9 am – 1 pm
1500 block of Old S. Pearl between Florida & Iowa Street

Highlands Farmers Market 
Saturdays, May 31st – October 11th
9 am – 1 pm
1500 Block of Boulder Street

Wheat Ridge Farmers Market 
Thursdays, June 12th – October 30th
10 am – 2 pm
4252 Wadsworth Blvd.

 

 

 

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Ibrahim Dahleh

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, chances are good that you know of my deep love for hummus. It’s my favorite food, and one that I can say with all honesty I could eat every day for the rest of my life. Yes. Deep love.

Good friends bring good people together, and those good people enjoy good food. At least in the circles I run in, I’ve always been fortunate to find the people that taste the flavors, know their value and love sharing it. Imagine how thrilled I was when I crossed paths with Ibrahim Dahleh, chef and owner of Phoenician Kabob over the holidays.

This man knows hummus. And its flavors. And loves sharing it.

Ibrahim learned how to cook out of necessity. While living in India as a teen, the spicy foods of the region just didn’t jive with his palate. Born and raised in Palestine, Ibrahim’s tastebuds were more accustomed to the flavors of his mother’s cooking; packed with flavors of spice, but not of heat. Ibrahim promptly called on his mother to send him her favorite recipes. This was the beginning of the culinary adventures that would lead him to the States, to Denver and to building what Denver Westword named the Best Middle Eastern Restaurant in 2010 and 2013.

After chatting the many varieties, flavors and texture of hummus over a few cocktails that night, Ibrahim graciously invited Lauren and I into his kitchen to explore the flavors and be privy to his hummus magic. What a treat.

We arrived late in the afternoon to the restaurant filled with a glowing sunshine, perfectly complementing the colors of the walls that are all thoughtfully painted in the colors of the signature spices used in many of their dishes:  sumac, cumin, cardamom and nutmeg. Ibrahim led us to the kitchen where he performed his hummus magic, followed by the star of the kitchen, the pita oven imported from Lebanon that bakes pita bread in less than 30 seconds.

Simple is best when it comes to making hummus, according to Ibrahim. And I agree. There’s no need for the fancy oils or flavorings. All you need is chickpeas, salt, tahini, a bit of garlic and the key ingredient that I never knew before – ice. Adding a few ice cubes, or ice water to the processor keeps the hummus cold and gives it an unbelievably light and fluffy texture. Simply delicious! Lauren captured Ibrahim in action here behind the scenes:

Behind the scenes at Phoenician Kabob and secrets to the best hummus in Denver! from Lauren DeBell on Vimeo.

Hummus and pita are not the only things on the menu, of course. In fact the menu is quite extensive and offers you a full flavor spectrum. My go-to dish is the Sultan Sampler, a mighty plate to be shared that’s filled with hummus, baba ghanouj, gyro, chicken, falafel, grape leaves and tabbouleh. Outstanding.

Thank you, Ibrahim!


Tip:
When’s the best time to go to Phoenician Kabob? Anytime. Lunch, dinner, takeout are all amazing, affordable and delicious. Be sure to plan for the baklava before you get too full. It’s worth leaving room for.

5709 E Colfax Ave, (303) 355-7213

[Photo: Lauren DeBell]

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I am a big believer in the ‘once a week dish that uses up everything in your fridge’. Growing up I remember my dad throwing just about anything into the sauce pot once a week on spaghetti night. It’s a challenge of sorts to use up all the remaining produce and random bits from the […]

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I remember rummaging through the nightstand in search of one of those tiny little pills my friend had given me. I remember looking down at my tan feet, thinking how impossible it was that just hours ago they were dancing in the sand and sea. I remember staring blindly into the closet of borrowed black clothing […]

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