Mateo Restaurant in Boulder CO: a taste of French Provence region

December is not only a holiday season but also my bday season. So, friends and family rallied together and I was craving for some heavy French food, so I chose Mateo for this year’s celebration feast, celebrating for my one step closer to a “stand-up adult”. πŸ™‚

There is a Chinese saying, “δΈ‰εθ€Œη«‹”, meaning when you hit 30 years old, you should already finished laying the foundation for future life and “stand up” straight and firmly on the “ground”, lol. In other words, I am getting *old*. πŸ˜›

We started with some appetizers, plateau provencal – a plateful of charcuterie and artisanal cheeses, fruits, olives and roasted nuts to get ready for the main course.

I had their confit de canard – of course, I got the duck, who am I kidding, I have a serious addiction for ducks! The duck leg was wonderfully cooked, the meat was tender and fell off the bone so easily and the savory flavor just sent me over the roof immediately.

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I tried husband’s ragout de sanglier. Wild boar usually is hard to cook and very hard to incorporate with the gamey flavor of the meat. But the ragout here was so good that night that I think it might have an slight edge over my duck! It was creamy but not greasy, very well seasoned and flavored. Bravo!

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And then we went onto the dessert, “black and white” and pot au chocolat. The pot au chocolat was good, but I am not a sweet person, it came off a little overly sweet in my opinion – although the accompanying gelato’s coldness was a nice offset to the cake’s sweetness.

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But the “black and white”! Oh, my, gosh! The brownie was great, but I don’t particularly have the sweet tooth for that. But the vanilla pot de creme! Jesus! That was to die for! The ultra smooth silky texture but not sticky, the tad bit of sweetness that teased the tongue, the creamy taste without the heaviness! I am drooling just thinking about that. And pairing that stick of home-made brownie (by itself, a bit too sweet) with that creme, now that IS genius!

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All in all, that was a great meal! From the fine ingredients to refined skills, we had a blast. I went home with the ambition of making my own version of vanilla pot de creme! Cannot wait to taste that again and this time, I want to capture the essence with my own hands! πŸ™‚

The Leaf in Boulder CO: vegetarian experience

So a family dinner brought us to this infamous Boulder vegetarian restaurant. I am always very skeptical of vegetarian food, lol. But I have to say, it was a pleasant surprise to find a place where they know how to cook well. But I was expecting to find good cheese, mushrooms and wine to offset the lack of animal protein or seafood, which they did seem to have these elements. πŸ˜›

I totally forgot to take pictures so I will talk about their menu items.

http://leafvegetarianrestaurant.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/leaf-dinner1.pdf

We had their beet perigees, pimento cheese poppers, and celeriac gnocchi as starters. The gnocchi was good, but the beet perigees and the cheese poppers were fantastic! Especially the cheese poppers, were excellently executed, crispy and light tasting, perfectly paired with the chutney. Their home-made bread was quite the hit as well – not being a bread person, I even ate 3 pieces, lol.

Onto the entree, I had their special of the night: home-made stroganoff with almond flour, cheese, portobello mushrooms, seitan and garnishing vegetables, way too much cheese in my opinion and that covered up the ingredients’ original flavor. I tried husband’s flat bread pizza, and beet steak, curried chickpeas & sweet potatoes from other family members’ plates. All the entrees were alright, I didn’t mind eating them, nothing to write home about though. But my palate is very hard to please, so I can be critical, especially cranky when no meat is consumed. Although, I was really full after the entree, so the portion was definitely generous considering I usually feel underfed when mainly eating vegetables. I was so full, I did not have room for dessert.

Overall, the best part was definitely the appetizers and I would love to try to replicate those items in my own kitchen. But it was nice to know vegetable dishes need not be blend but can also shine under good execution.

I will start blogging some of the new/good dishes I make again, slowly picking up speed here after a bountiful and relaxing holiday season! πŸ™‚