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a bit rich for my blood--that $60 bowl, i mean.


we have a reservation for january 20. unless the holiday prix fixe calls out to me we probably won't make it their before then. not that we're eating out that expensively with my parents, but we're spending twice as much on every meal out.

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frasca may have lost me a tenure vote last night. at a department dinner there was a conversation about the best restaurant in boulder. i was trying to stay out of it, when a senior colleague offered her opinion that frasca was really a wine place and that for food the kitchen was much better. i refuted this somewhat emphatically. she did not look pleased.

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our dinner at frasca last night was one of our best ever, and i urge occasional visitors like us to get out there while the current menu is current.


it was the two of us plus a colleague who'd visited once before, and in our company. we had a reservation for 8.45, but when we arrived the previous occupants of our table were dawdling, and they dawdled a while. this didn't really bother us, as we all eat late but bobby of course went out of his way to make it up to us. in addition to the tokai they poured us when they first told us about the wait, he sent out a frico caldo and also opened another bottle of a very nice italian white that he poured us each a glass from. and when we finally got to the table an order of the salumi platter was already on it waiting for us. as my colleague said, she was ready to just move to the dessert. but we did not. (by the way the salumi platter has this new thinly sliced salami from san francisco which is just wonderful.)


apps: two orders of the polenta, and i got the zlikrofi with preserved rabbit. i tasted the polenta and it was divine--next time i'm getting an order to myself; my zlikrofi were also excellent--strangely my favorite thing on the plate were the steeped raisins.


mains: two orders of the tasmanian trout, and i got the pan-fried veal loin. the veal is like a very fancy cutlet. pounded, lightly breaded, fried and placed on a bed of spinach, with little cubes of potato and cheese grated around. very, very nice indeed. and confirmed something i think i mentioned a long time ago: they are really very good with the humble greens that accompany their meats. i also tasted the trout, and it was just exquisitely prepared. the flavours, the texture: all just perfect.


wine: since the whites they'd poured us lasted through our apps, we had a bottle of a barbera with our mains. agostino pavia barbera d'asti "bricco blina" 2004, to be exact. very nice indeed. i asked if i might be able to find it around town and alas, they were very dubious. apparently they and the little nell in aspen are the only ones in colorado who got some of it from the distributor*.


desserts: we were very full so shared one order of the panna cotta and a bunch of scoops of sorbet. our colleague is allergic to almonds otherwise i would have voted for the current incarnation of the frangipane tart, which has always been good to me. one slight misstep here as well: we'd asked for scoops of the dark chocolate icecream and fig and strawberry sorbets, but for some reason got cherry instead of strawberry. we were to stupefied at this point by food and wine to care overmuch, but i will note that the cherry (if that's what it was) is not very good.


after dessert: bobby then sent over a digestivo each for us. my green v.e.p chartreuse was divine, and i'm not normally a chartreuse fan. i also finished mrs. jones' digestivo, though i forget what it was (i think rose, our server, said it was nicknamed "witches' brew"). our colleague was guarding her amaro jealously.


all in all: a wonderful meal. not one false note in anything we ate (i don't count the cherry sorbet).


other mouthfullers note: bobby noted that the rlm's had dined there just the previous night. where then is our report?


*one slightly strange note and i hesitate to even mention this: checking their website now to make sure i got the name of the wine down correctly i see confirmed something i was a little confused by when the check arrived. i was pretty sure the wine was priced at $42 but it was $52 on the check. i wanted to make sure that we'd actually consumed what we thought we'd ordered and not some more expensive sibling from the family, so we asked our server to check. we were fine with paying $52 if that was the price of what we'd drank. she confirmed that it was indeed $52 and i put it down to confusion on my part--and in any case given how much largesse they'd already showered on us it seemed churlish to push it. however, on the wine menu on their site i see it is indeed listed at $42 and there's no other barbera listed at $52. i wonder if the lower price is a misprint. either way, i'm glad we drank the wine and $52 is not too much for it.

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(by the way the salumi platter has this new thinly sliced salami from san francisco which is just wonderful.)

Mongo, do you happen to know the provenance of this salami? Is it by Paul Bertolli? Or maybe from Perbacco? San Francisco is undergoing a veritable salumi renaissance at the moment.

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Another fabulous meal at Frasca. We had not been since before the holidays. They had a nice two week break in January and Lach came back ready to revamp the menu and bring the cooking to a new level of sophistication. Many new dishes and not one of them hit a false note. Two of our diners enjoyed the cauliflower crema, a cauliflower soup with Montasio cheese that was rich and yet foamy and light at the same time. The pickled beets and brioche crumbs added additional textures and flavors. Another new appetizer is the Klobasa, a homemade beef and pork sausage "pate" served with stewed lentils and a hint of mustard and horseradish. I had the zlikrofi but was tempted to try another new dish, a hawaain sea bass fritta. Next time.


For the mains, the pork belly was back in an entirely new presentation. The entire pork belly is rolled and compressed and then sliced for the diner and pan fried, making the presentation an incredibly dense, textured almost confit style. Divine. The risotto contained pork sausage, celery flecks and has now been transformed into a heartier and fully balanced dish. The veal loin is as Mongo described, a simple schnitzel style cutlet but cooked to perfection with wonderful spinach and potato accompaniment.


Although much of the staff has changed, all of the newbies are fully trained in all areas of service. It is clear that Bobby has high expectations for these folks and it shows. We asked Matt, named one of Denver's most eligible bachelors much to his chagrine (they put his name in without telling him), when he is going to go for his MS and it will porbably be when the test is back in the US next year.


It was a fabulous meal.

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other mouthfullers note: bobby noted that the rlm's had dined there just the previous night. where then is our report?


I went to _____________ (noun: name of restaurant/wine bar/deli counter/pool hall/brothel) with ______________ (noun: person or people you begged/tricked/drugged into going with you). It was ________ (unimaginative adjective) to acquire reservations, although the person on the phone asked me to ____________ (vulgar-sounding verb) a ___________ (clever-sounding noun)! The atmosphere inside was ______________ (series of adjectives that show you own a thesaurus and/or know the link to Merriam-Webster online) and reminded me of ______________ (noun: name of pricey, chi-chi restaurant you want to name-drop as having been to). We saw _____________________ (noun: name of semi-famous, drunken local celebrity) at the bar drinking ______________ (noun: name of beverage/bottle/entire section of the drink list). One of the owners walked up to us and engaged us in a chat about _____________________________ (noun: name of obscure German wine/type of medieval torture device/favorite Dead Kennedys album). Once seated, we received complimentary pours of ________________ (noun: beverage/brand of motor oil/antibiotic). I started with the ______________________ (noun: detailed description of appetizer and/or salacious off-menu service provided to you by the bus boy) which was ______________ (series of flowery adjectives if the dish/service was acceptable and simulated retching noises if not). This was followed up with __________________ (nouns and adjectives: detailed description of entrée and/or service you provided in return to the bus boy). To cap off the evening, we split ________________________ (noun: type of dessert/utensil/logging method). I will never be the same again.

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a belated report on our last dinner here, some weeks ago.


the dinner got off to an exciting start before we'd even sat down. as we were waiting for our table and drinking the glasses of birthday champagne that bobby had bought us, a table of four stalked out. that is to say, the oldest male in the party stalked out and made the rest follow. why, you ask? the server had carded the older woman in attendance and this twisted the gent's panties so thoroughly that not even the suave senor stuckey could untwist them. the dude asked bobby to step outside, causing me to quietly step out as well just in case; but fortunately for me, violence did not seem to be on the menu, merely ranting and raving (all one-way). back indoors, the rest of the group was filing out. danette asked them what had happened, and this is when we learned that the older woman in the group had been carded along with the younger folk. now, it wouldn't have occurred to me to card this woman, but it was certainly a viable carding, and i suggested to her that she might take it as a compliment. it turns out frasca had hosted a would-be sting operation the previous week (in the guise of a family), and despite having passed it were being extra-careful with people they didn't recognize. i also told them that despite being in my late 30s and a sort of regular i've been carded there myself more than once, and suggested that given the difference in effort and outcome between pulling out a piece of plastic and storming out of boulder's finest restaurant (a very hard to get reservation,) late on a saturday night, with no real late-night dinner options outside of mcdonald's or applebee's, they might have succumbed to being carded and perhaps being bought a drink to make up for the annoyance they felt. but they were sceptical. however, their hissy fit was to our gain as they'd occupied our favorite table (back right, by the window) and we got it! later there was a possible explanation for the high quality of the fit they'd thrown: turns out that the older dude was there with his daughter and her boyfriend and that the older woman was not a mother/wife but a girlfriend of the older dude--perhaps some embarassment about a perceived suggestion that he was dating someone closer to his daughter's age than his own (though this too would be highly complimentary to the woman).


anyway. to the meal:


we started with the salumi plate, finishing our champagne with it. i say "finishing our champagne" even though mrs. jones only had a few sips, the champagne having being given to us before we could tell anyone that she has decided to cut back on wine at meals, since her tolerance for it seems to have dropped off a cliff. personally, i think her recent problems with wine have been with red wine, and that she will be safe with whites of all kind, but she does not want to chance it. at any rate, this meant i was drinking alone the rest of the way, and so went by the glass, leaving it to bobby to choose for me.


with my first course arrived a glass of the 2004 revello dolcetto d'alba, from the piedmont. a perfect pairing with my salad of sliced beef with a parmesan vinaigrette. sounds simple, but was divine. mrs. jones began with the zuppa de pesce, and having a tasted a spoonful i can confirm it was very good indeed. mrs. jones moved on to the beef short-ribs, which she liked, even though i think she was hoping for something closer to an earlier iteration of beef short-ribs there (maybe from a year ago). for my main i got the mustard and brioche crusted lamb loin--i see it is still on the menu; if you get a chance to eat it before it leaves the menu, you should: it was wonderful. and once again i found myself, a dedicated carnivore, almost enjoying most of all the roasted spinach and the fingerling potatoes that accompanied it. with this two generous half glasses of red. over my protestations, bobby said he would open something for me. of course this means i have no memory of what these were. i think one was from tuscany and i know the other was from the languedoc. both were truly wonderful, and i suspect outside my usual shopping range.


i finished the last of my red with the cheese course, which along with some sorbet is what we decided to end with. i wish i could tell you what the cheeses were, but for some reason i waited two weeks to post. i can say we finished them all.


a very nice birthday dinner indeed, and i must go back and check this thread to see how it compared with birthday dinners past.


and indeed it is almost time for us to go back: we have a reservation again for the week of spring break.


(rlm, cheesemonger, bolderite, fred: where are you? i can't imagine you've stopped eating at frasca.)

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