Tag Archives: restaurant

How Jenna Sue’s Is Like a Visitor Center

I know we have our new visitor center open at the north end of downtown, but there is an unofficial one that has had their doors open for almost a decade.

It doesn’t take more than a visit or two for any regular patron at Jenna Sue’s (where my gallery is lovingly on display) to witness/participate in group conversations with out-of-towners. A nice couple from Long Island sat down at the bar and became the center of attention from staff and patrons as they were offered great food, directions to some county sights-to-see, and within short order were partaking in sharing photos of family and places.

Several other things happened behind the scenes though that when they do happen, my sensitive emotions can be affected. A fellow patron sitting across the room saw my camera and walked over to tell me some beautiful things about my work and what she thinks of my pictures. It was the second time in half an hour that someone either wanted to hold my camera or offered beautiful words about what they saw in my work. Admittedly I got a little wispy. But attention immediately turned to Lori as she offered some chocolate-dipped strawberry samples to the visitors…

As the couple got to hear from other patrons about where to go and what to eat (which once I received my astronaut plate – the lady immediately said we are getting that!) my conversation naturally turned to the fire service, of which this gentleman had been on FDNY during 9/11. As with every single fire personnel or resident of NY that was there on that day, physical health is an issue. I sometimes feel there is not enough stated in the world about the long-term health effects of everyone in the city that week.

But here in Boulder, two tourists were given some short and long term trip ideas nearby before they leave to go back east – and I was reminded how amazing our home is as the enthusiasm being worn by all of us bullet-pointing an endless list of what’s here that is beautiful, was clear.

Couldn’t pass up on showing the latest little addition to the bar; probably one of the best card holders one will see adorning a local counter. And thank you to the amazing ladies that work there for doing all that you do.


Focaccia – Santa Cruz mixed dining, loved it!

I know the reviews were mixed and the restaurant had recently reinvented itself as a new eatery, but the New Years dining experience was RIDICULOUS in the Cruz that night; we tried more than several restaurants on the west side and downtown – all with hour-long waits, exorbitant custom pricing menus for that one night, or just bad food. In retrospect, we were lucky and took the last bar/window seating at Focaccia on Water Street (we had not eaten there before but the frustration level was high and hunger factor even higher).
The staff is amazing, and the owner was very attentive himself and helped take care of us above and beyond. The menu is a mix of amazing looking Mexican dishes and delectable Italian plates. IMG_6024The salads were fresh and the dressing just right.
They have a decent wine list for a small eatery (seats 20 I would say), but the best treat came after dinner. The pasta plates we ordered were adequate and cooked well. Mine was a perfect mix of sauce and meat, while Charmian’s was slightly overcooked on the chicken – but I ate the leftovers the next day anyway.
I swear Charmian and I get more enthused about the desserts than the actual meal when we go places – and once again the Tiramasu was GREAT IMG_6032– but then we were treated to homemade frozen limoncello out of the glass – wow…felt like Italy again…thank you so much to a wonderful staff and a nice little restaurant.

Diego’s in Grass Valley, CA

The tough part about traveling and finding good food is whether to trust Yelp – or the local intel from the “eaters on the ground” (EGs), and to be very clear: EGs win every time IMHO. I feel the best EGs are the restaurant staffers who live in whatever local area you happen to pass through…and amazingly Charmian & I were afforded the chance to do some New Years Day traveling; this time upon the beautiful area of Grass Valley and Nevada City, CA. And being even luckier in this journey was the local intel from a well-informed lady that works at one of the best restaurants in GV, but unfortunately they were closed on the holiday – so she said Diego’s was the next best…and it was, to skip the obvious Justin Timberlake reference: “Da Bomb”.
She warned us that it looks like a hole in the wall and nothing matches inside, but the food is superb. Parking is truly a treat, especially for those that love the insurance ads of your driver’s door being ripped off by the hick truck going 50 – which can easily happen here. But when I saw the sign over the door – which is now my blog header – I knew I had found my home for food in the gold country of California.
The interior is almost inexplicable; rife with candles, cloth interiors that would make any fire inspector act like Fire Marshal Bill from In Living Color, Renoir replicas, mosiacs, colored lights, two kitchens (not sure why but both functioning simultaneously), and so on.
Then the wait staff sat us and provided our time there with the best “your mom is serving you” performance. She sits at the table with you, is charming but positive in knowing what you will like, yet makes you feel like you are welcome.
We ordered the special somethings (I cannot remember the name so forgive me)- and as it said on the menu the most “popular” dish there, but tonight being a holiday it had some extra panache. Fortunately, we split it in half as the portions are quite large. The theme of this place is described as true Latin American food with an Italian influence, so even the bread was authentic as were the dipping fluids (so do not go here if you want the Americanized version of “South American” food).
I could further this review with a plethora of details about ambiance, service and menu items – but I am skipping that tonight instead and adding this summary: I truly feel should you find yourself driving through the famed region of gold mining in CA – that this restaurant will make you want to stay the night in Grass Valley. Desserts looked great, the drinks ample, the food authentic, and the atmosphere – unique.
There is outdoor seating but at 25 degrees, the indoor tables are more than appealing. The second kitchen and back-area dining appears as almost a second restaurant. The community artist chalkboard affords a glimpse into local talent, but I suppose what matters the most is the quality of food – and I think they meet the bill…hope you enjoy. And as a credit note – if you don’t see Charmian in the pic – she took it…especially if it looks great…

Casa Nostra…further research

The guys were all there again when I visited – this time for lunch. I chose to sit at the bar because I love how it turned out; the thick wood, large showing of red wine bottles, mirrors and a new cappuccino enticed me over.


One of the owners was having a carbonera that looked great. It was – the meat is thicker than I have had at other places (usually it is that ultra thin prosciotto – spelling I know) but it tasted amazing. Just the right amount of salt and the sauce was delectable. Got treated to some mushroom research by they guys as shown below…

The guys were hashing out some menu items for that night so plenty of Italian and arm talking was happening…


Finished things up as it was when I visited Rome…have to drink something hot and jitter-inducing..

Once again these guys get all the stars on whatever rating system you use…that bar pic where he is mixing my favorite drinks into a bowl is tiramisu being concocted for later…love it!

Red Pearl – Boulder Creek Chinese

I feel we are lucky to have so many styles/themes of food in our small town – and through the years the main lady at Red Pearl has treated me very well. I cannot understand most of what she says – especially when those hilarious yelling matches go on in the kitchen – but she is a sweetheart.


The pine nut/nut chicken plate is my favorite. Has a good taste even on the 2nd day when re-heated. The expense of eating here is offset by the fact that the portions they feed you last for two days. The kids love the broccoli dishes, especially the bbq one. She is always offering extra freebies for side dish stuff, and is gracious when any tip is given.


Truly the best people watching spot in Boulder coupled with sit-down eating. Most everyone in town that I have talked with about RP is set in their way; go/no-go, so this blog was more of a thank you to her and how hard she tries, and yes I would put her name here if I understand it someday..-)