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Eat Of The Week – Tacos Y Mariscos

Burrito

Just about every weekend I pack up my car to head into the mountains. I’m there to disconnect from everything, get some adventure, breathe, take in some sun, and discover interesting things to write about on Fresh Air Fort Collins. I’ve been splitting my writing time between Feasting Fort Collins and Fresh Air Fort Collins for a solid four months now, and I love it. When I’m not eating, I’m hiking, fishing, or snowshoeing – and sometimes I’m doing both at the same time.

Depending on the type of adventure, I’ll grab something for the road to eat in the lower part of the canyon. I’m usually driving to the top of Cameron Pass or close to it. One of the traditional stops is the taco truck by Jax - Tacos Y Mariscos (AKA: Primos Mobile Unit). There’s not a lot of good easy food to hit up on North College. It’s either Burger King, McDonald’s, getting something from King Soopers, grabbing take-out from Serious Texas, or making a pit stop at the taco truck. The taco truck is usually my first choice.

The other weekend I happened to be at Jax to grab some snowshoes and decided that a barbacoa burrito would be the perfect lunch before hitting the trails since I was already there.

Man, was it. I think the barbacoa may be one of the best burrito meats here, and then when you drench it in their green salsa that has just a slight touch of heat, it’s the perfect trail meal. I usually grab a horchata in the summer too, however I’d recommend skipping the lengua tacos (I’ve not had a great track record with them). But, I think this may be what Colorado tastes like – burritos, mountain air, and a touch of essence from the Poudre River.

Stuck

And good thing I got something hearty to fill up on that day, because I ended up having to get my car towed out of the snow and all sorts of crazy misadventures that resulted in me writing up a winter preparedness post. So, the next time you’re driving up Poudre Canyon for some fun, grab a burrito on the way. You’ll thank yourself later on the trail and it will be your Eat Of The Week too!

 

Whet Your Appetite with William Oliver’s Celtic Dinner Nights

The Whet Your Appetite post series was initially created to share my first bite impressions from recently opened restaurants. But, I think some new and interesting menus and long-running events fit the category, too. It’s more of a heads up on delicious things than a regular in-depth star-rated review. I hope to give you a glimpse at what’s going on and whether or not you should change your dinner plans!

Celtic Nights

This month William Oliver’s Publick House is hosting guest Chef Eric McBride from the Celtic Caterer. Chef McBride is an award winning chef and Celtic Historian with three cookbooks to his name. He lived in Scotland, Ireland and Wales for several years and worked in some of the top kitchens in London. In 2002, the British Consulate in Denver, John McGuire, named him the official Scottish Historian for Colorado. This chef knows his Celtic cuisine and is dedicated to featuring all eight Celtic Nations – Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Isle of Manx, Cornwall, Brittany, Galicia, and Asturias.

You’re not going to find anything like this dinner series anywhere in Fort Collins. Or Northern Colorado, for that matter. If you’ve been lamenting the long lost Stonehouse Grille, or the lack of Scottish Eggs and Welsh Rarebit, or feel like being adventurous and trying Haggis for the first time, then clear your schedule for this unique dining experience sometime soon before you miss out.

I was able to attend the trial run the day before they began dinner service, being one of the guinea pigs while they worked out the kinks (and there were some). That’s why this isn’t a starred review – it’s like going into a restaurant on the day of opening for a write up. That, and the menu changes daily (you can read the list of menus here), so what I ate this week won’t be available again all month long. It was also a fundraiser for Respite Care, one of William Oliver’s favorite non-profits to support.

Our menu consisted of:

Irish Creamy Potato Soup

Irish creamy potato and leek soup with white wine

 

Scottish smoke salmon cheese pate

Scottish smoked salmon cheese pate

 

Scottish chicken in a tarragon cream sauce with roasted potatoes with bacon and green peas with fennel

Scottish chicken in a tarragon cream sauce with roasted potatoes with bacon and green peas with fennel

 

brazen beef tips with a blueberry port wine demi-glace, champ mash potatoes, and asparagus blue cheese salad

Brazen beef tips with a blueberry port wine demi-glace, champ mash potatoes, and asparagus blue cheese salad

 

Irish Guinness chocolate walnut cake

Irish Guinness chocolate walnut cake

 

If there was one dish that was a smashing success, it was the dessert. The dense, moist consistency of the cake is unparalleled in a town where so many baked desserts are dried out and crumbly. It was exceptionally decadent, and despite feeling completely gluttonous, we ate every single bite.

One of the unique aspects of the dinner is hearing historical accounts from Chef McBride. I am a huge history fan, which is why we have Forgotten Fort Collins as part of our network (and Meg does a fabulous job writing it, too). Combine my love of history and my love of food, and I’m sold!

Chef McBride explained that the chicken in a tarragon cream sauce entree found its origins in an archaeologist dig of a fulachta fiadh, or ancient Celtic cooking site. They found the reminisce of a cooked chicken in a stone groove bowl covered in tarragon with traces of dairy from over 5,500 years ago.

That’s mind blowing to me. Seriously.

With the first week just about complete, things should be running smoothly in the kitchen and dishes ready to impress. Pricing will vary by night. However, the entrée will generally be around $15. If you wish to try all 4 courses the pricing with be around $30. Dinner can be ordered à la carte or as a 4-course meal, with the special menu service starting at 5:30pm. You can get all of the important details from William Oliver’s website.

 

 

Eat Of The Week – Repeal Day Fort Collins

Photo from the hallway at Social

Photo from the hallway at Social

December 5th is Repeal Day, and unlike alcohol-focused holidays like St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo, Repeal Day is written in our Constitution. No other holiday celebrates laws that guarantee our rights outside of Independence Day. You may have seen breweries and bars celebrate with Repeal Day events, often times adding 1930′s inspired costumes to the mix. It might be fun to get dressed up like a cast member in The Great Gatsby, but if you stop to think about what it meant for our country in ratifying the 18th Amendment, it truly is worthy of celebration.

Prohibition lasted 13 years, which isn’t terribly long in terms of recorded history. But they were a dark 13 years creating the rise of organized crime which swooped in to capitalize on underground alcohol sales and production. With 13 years of increased death and criminal activity, it proved that Prohibition didn’t solve the country’s moral problems.

Now brewing, distilling, and wine making are all respectable careers and important contributors to the culinary arts. Just look at what craft beer has done to Fort Collins!

There were a handful of Repeal Day celebrations in Fort Collins this year, which seems to be growing in popularity. But there’s the one and original Repeal Day bash in town and that’s at Social. Owner, Ty Fulcher has been gathering friends in costume and parading around Old Town with Repeal Day signs for a few years now. Since moving from The Melting Pot to build Social, the tradition continues on a bigger scale.

I was able to make it for a night of cocktails and charcuterie with friend and avid Feasting Fort Collins sponsor, Jenny Bond from Nancy Bond Insurance. There were drink specials featuring Spring 44 Vodka, but other than that, it was business as usual at Social. However, the festive excitement was palpable.

This photo reminds me of a still life oil painting. Charcuterie and cheese board at @socialfortcollins #fortcollins

A photo posted by Kristin Mastre (@feastingfortcollins) on

We spent hours sipping on throwback cocktails, like the G & T with fresh Juniper berries, which was crisp and refreshing. The flavor of juniper reminds me of the mountains and the scent of evergreen trees that fill my lungs. We nibbled on meats and cheeses from the board, mixing and matching flavor combinations, and laughing about how much we loved it. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Fort Collins – hangout, drink, eat – and be social.

Repeal Day at Social makes a fantastic Eat Of The Week along with a Local Libation to check out on top of it!