Every fall, diners in Boulder look forward to celebrating First Bite, aka Boulder County Restaurant Week, during which they can visit participating restaurants for special fixed-price menu deals. This year, of course, the restaurants are dealing with COVID-19, which made hosting a full-blown restaurant week more of a challenge.
The solution? A cookbook celebrating the wonderful appetizers, entrees, sides, dessert and cocktails at our beloved Boulder County restaurants.
With the in-person restaurant week canceled this year, consider buying a copy of the new, limited-run “A Bite of Boulder” cookbook, which features more than 40 recipes from 30 participating restaurants across the county.
If you’ve always wondered how Santo makes its mouthwatering red chili pozole, you’re in luck — now you can try making it at home. The same goes for OAK at Fourtheenth’s popular kale salad and Zolo Grill’s cactus and corn fritters.
“‘A Bite of Boulder’ honors local chefs and restaurants, and celebrates some of their most popular and beloved dishes to date, allowing home cooks to make these dishes for their loved ones,” said Jessica Benjamin, First Bite’s producer. “Food truly is love, so dig in at home, share favorites with friends, and celebrate Boulder in a delicious new way.”
The $29.99 book is being released Nov. 12 and is available for pre-order online right now. You’ll also find it at local stores and participating restaurants starting Nov. 12. At least 50 percent of the proceeds from cookbook sales will benefit the participating restaurants.
This would have been the 15th year for Boulder County’s nine-day restaurant week, but the coronavirus pandemic had other plans. Even so, organizers are confident that the cookbook accomplishes the same goals.
“The reason we host a restaurant week is to create and strengthen community, to deepen the connection between restaurants and their customers,” said Benjamin. “This year, since we couldn’t offer a traditional restaurant week, yet restaurants need our support now more than ever, we came up with the idea of a cookbook to connect people with restaurants they love, or haven’t tried yet — all while giving back to the eateries.”
Benjamin, a local events producer, purchased First Bite in March 2019 and has already implemented changes to make Boulder County’s restaurant week more diverse and inclusive — and so far, her efforts are paying. Last year, during Benjamin’s first year on the job, participating restaurants saw a 30 percent increase in diners during restaurant week.
You’ll find recipes inside the cookbook from these Boulder County restaurants:
- Acreage by Stem Ciders
- Avery Brewing Co.
- Basta and Dry Storage
- Black Cat
- Bohemian Biergarten
- Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
- The Boulder Cork
- Café Aion
- Centro Mexican Kitchen
- Chautauqua Dining Hall
- Chimera Ramen
- The Empire Lounge & Restaurant
- The Greenbriar Inn
- Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
- OAK at Fourteenth
- The Post Brewing Co.
- River and Woods
- Roadhouse Boulder Depot
- Shine Restaurant & Potion Bar
- Steakhouse No. 316
- West End Tavern
- West Flanders Brewing Co.
- Zolo Grill