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Laudisio’s Restaurant: Cibo, Vino, Amici!

Laudisios Restaurant: Cibo, Vino, Amici!“Cibo, Vino, Amici” (Food, Wine, Friends) is the motto Antonio Laudisio has followed faithfully over the course of 20-plus years in the food service industry.  His landmark restaurant, Laudisio’s, has long satisfied the hunger, thirst, and loneliness of Boulder locals and visitors alike with authentic Italian cuisine, fine wines, and an atmosphere that is at once inviting and comfortable.

Laudisio’s menu includes applewood-fired pizzas baked in onsite wood burning ovens, seasonal offerings sourced locally whenever possible, and a delectable wine and dessert list, making for a delicious array that could put a warm smile on the face of even the most strident critic.

“Italian cooking is ingredient centric,” he says.  “I like to run a proletariat kitchen, where you let the ingredients speak for themselves and the cook takes his ego out of it.”

Food and wine may make up two thirds of the words in the Laudisio motto, but anyone who has spent time with Antonio knows that friendship and community come first in his book.  “The challenge of all business is how we treat our employees and the community.  We’ve been living in a CEO-take-all culture that is subject to the tyranny of the cash register.  I think it’s more important to close the circle with the community.”

Laudisio’s commitment to sourcing locally means he serves the freshest ingredients possible while also supporting local business and agriculture.  The restaurant is also committed to an environmentally sustainable business model that is progressive even for a Boulder restaurant: waste is composted or recycled; energy efficient dishwashing units, compostable to-go containers, waterless urinals, and natural lighting all reduce the operation’s energy use.

But perhaps his biggest contribution to the community is the gathering space at the restaurant.  Long famous for its extended Happy Hour and extremely friendly staff, Laudisio’s is a place where the people of Boulder can congregate and enjoy the pleasure of their mutual company.

“Especially during tough times, it’s important to have a refuge, and I think it’s important to nurture our customers,” says Antonio.  His patrons know exactly what he’s talking about.

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Food Safety At Turley’s Part 2: Staff Training

Food Safety At Turley’s Part 2: Staff Training

Turley’s restaurant in Boulder, CO

Earlier this week I ventured to get a feel for practical food safety practices in a real restaurant.  Turley’s, an iconic Boulder, CO eatery known for its eclectic menu full of healthy eating and fantastic international flavors, was kind enough to spend some time talking to me about their food safety program.

I sat down with second and third generation Turley family members and managers David and Sandy for an extremely informative chat on practical food safety applications in a working restaurant.  What I soon discovered is that procedures and guidelines are all well and good, but if you don’t promote a food-safe culture through staff training and pure vigilance, all those rules aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

Turley’s staff start their food safety education with a S.T.A.R. (Sanitation Training Assistance for Restaurateurs) course through the Boulder CountyFood Safety At Turley’s Part 2: Staff Training Office of Public Health.  The course covers six fundamental food safety concerns: viruses and bacteria, potentially hazardous foods, time/temperature control, personal hygiene, cross-contamination, and sanitization.  Turley’s management are also ServSafe certified.

However, it’s not enough to just teach staff about food safety issues once and then get on with the hectic life of the restaurant business.  “We have goals, not rules,” says David, “And it’s an ongoing thing.  We’ve got to be a food safety driver, because if you’re not willing to commit, the issue just goes away.”

Turley’s keeps food safety front and center by carrying out campaigns on specific topics, starting with the daily shift meetings.  One recent campaign focused on disposable gloves for staff working the line.  Because cross-contamination and hand washing are vital concerns, but also extremely hard for management to constantly police, disposable gloves are required for anybody on the line in Turley’s kitchen.

At first, everyone wore the gloves with few exceptions.  But as time went on, busy kitchen staff sometimes forgot to put on the gloves while prepping food, and the disposable glove policy started going by the wayside.

Turley’s management responded with a campaign, reminding kitchen staff at the shift meetings to wear their gloves at all times on the line, and soon the repetition of the campaign turned glove wearing into second nature for the staff.

David sometimes feels like a broken record, but the harping has paid off, and the management’s commitment to following through on campaigns is a vital follow up to the basic training courses.

Food safety campaigns for the front of the house are a little more difficult because turnover in a college town like Boulder makes training new staff a constant chore.  Turley’s management continues to focus on education, however, and take a mentoring rather than policing approach.  Every shift meeting presents a new challenge and a new opportunity for improving the awareness of the front of house staff.

The evolution theme is probably the most important lesson about an effective food safety program that I took away from Turley’s.  Even as I learned about all the things the restaurant does every day to manage food safety, the management was already looking ahead to the next campaign, and the next strategy.

David is thinking about conducting self inspections: unannounced walk-throughs of the entire restaurant with his health inspector cap on, looking for things that are hard for management in their normal roles to catch.  It’s just one more way Turley’s works to keep the restaurant in top shape for their customers every day.

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Beano’s Cabin: A Slice Of Rocky Mountain Goodness

Beanos Cabin: A Slice Of Rocky Mountain GoodnessNo one would say seafood tastes better anywhere else than right beside the ocean.  There’s something special about enjoying food in the place that produced it. Local food, or “regional cuisine,” has enjoyed resurgent popularity in recent years as restaurant patrons rediscover the unique experience of combining physical place and cuisine.

If a great meal is about gaining a sense of place as well as flavor, then Beano’s Cabin is truly an extraordinary place to experience everything the Rocky Mountains have to offer.  Nestled in a high alpine meadow in the heart of Beaver Creek Resort, just getting to your table at Beano’s has an air of expedition and adventure – a fifteen minute sleigh ride through aspens and deep snow drives home just how remote the West really is.

After settling in the spacious, comfortable cabin and taking in the stunning mountain views, the real Beano’s experience begins: Rocky Mountain cuisine so fresh it will make you want to leave the suburbs for good. Elk, buffalo, trout, and lamb are all a regular part of the menu, as well as fruits and vegetables from farms along the Colorado River.  Local flavors enhance these offerings further, including wild blackberries and sweet potatoes.

Chef Steve Topple is the chief architect of this idyllic slice of the Rockies, and his work at Beano’s has been recognized nationally.  He discovered the possibilities of American West cuisine while working in ski resorts further east, including Lake Placid, New York.  Eventually he followed his culinary nose to Colorado, where Beaver Creek and Vail ski resorts welcomed his fresh approach to the local cuisine.

“It’s not your every day type of menu.  It’s really cool when people come up and find elk and buffalo on the menu and they realize that Colorado has a lot to offer them,” Chef Topple says.  His handiwork, in the expansive yet cozy venue of Beano’s Cabin, is a testament to just how great the blending of place and food can be.

“Getting creative with Colorado cuisine is something I love doing,” Topple adds.  After you take a bite and gaze out at snow-capped peaks, you’ll be glad he does.

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In The Field: Food Safety At Turley’s

Here at The Back Burner we have talked a lot about food safety.  It’s an ongoing project for any restaurateur, and also a potential matter of life and death for any food service business given the stakes if a food borne illness were to break out in your restaurant.

So instead of sitting here in my ivory tower writing blog articles about the importance of this or that food safety procedure or product, I decided to get out from behind my computer (a rare occurrence, I must say!) and venture out into the real world for a closer look at the practical application of a food safety program in a real restaurant.

In The Field: Food Safety At Turleys

Turley’s Restaurant in Boulder, CO

Turley’s Restaurant in Boulder, CO is a family owned business that has been a Boulder icon since 1977.  Their eclectic menu focuses on diversity and healthy eating while serving exquisite flavors and beautiful presentation.

Turley’s management also take their food safety program very seriously.  Sandy and David are second and third generation Turley family, respectively, and they took a moment recently to talk about food safety in their restaurant.

Every good food safety program has a primary line of defense at critical points in the process of turning product and ingredients into entrees ready to be eaten, and the line in the kitchen is definitely one of those points.

Turley’s two-date temperature logs allow line cooks to track product over time and make sure it’s staying out of the temperature danger zone between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is prime bacteria breeding weather.

The restaurant equipment on the line is also checked and logged routinely by line cooks to ensure they are reaching the proper temperature, and the high-temp dishwasher is also monitored to make sure it’s sanitizing dishes at 180 degrees.  Turley’s management then spot checks product and equipment at random to make sure accurate readings are being logged by the kitchen staff.  Their preferred method for checking temperature is a quick-read digital thermometer.

“It’s an evolving process,” says David as he shows me the temperature logs he prints for his line cooks.  “It gets involved very quickly, but if you make people sick, you’re out of business.”

A recent evolution at Turley’s has been identifying problem product that has trouble staying out of the danger zone and putting it in freezer pans to make sure it chills quickly and stays below 40 degrees even if it’s pulled frequently for use on the line.

The process of collecting data, analyzing it and identifying trouble spots, then developing a solution is what makes a food safety program effective.  It’s also a cycle that must be repeated consistently to make sure your restaurant is a success.

Please stay tuned as we talk further with Turley’s management David and Sandy and get some important tips on staff training and their philosophy on a successful food safety program.

Visit Turley’s if you’re in Boulder at 2805 Pearl St., Boulder, CO 80302.

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Special Ties: A Tundra Ran Charity Organization

The Back Burner is written by the employees and friends of Tundra, and while we usually try to make this blog as informative as possible without imposing our brand on the information, sometimes there’s just going to have to be an exception. Don’t worry, we’re not going to suddenly turn this thing into a diatribe about how great Tundra is (although we’re confident we are pretty sweet).  Instead, we’d like to simply mention a great idea one of our employees had a while back that has come to fruition.

Special Ties is a charity operated by Tundra that serves many good causes in the Boulder community. In the past, Special Ties has donated time to the The Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and the Women’s Shelter, and money to charitable organizations like:

Tundra has always felt strongly about giving back, and now we can do even more with our Special Ties program!

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Microbrew Rebels: Oskar Blues Does Craft Beer Their Way

Microbrew Rebels: Oskar Blues Does Craft Beer Their WayWhen Oskar Blues opened its doors in 1997 in the tiny burg of Lyons, CO, just north of Boulder, it was just a place to get some great Southern style food and listen to the best offerings from the local music scene.  That all began to change when Oskar founder Dale Katechis began brewing beer in 1999.  In November 2002, Oskar Blues produced its first microbrew in a can, an event that has since been dubbed the “Canned Beer Apocalypse.”

The arrival of Dale’s Pale Ale turned the bottle based craft beer industry on its head.  “We thought the idea of our big, luscious pale ale in a can was hilarious,” says Katechis.  Cans have other benefits as well.  The lighter, more durable containers made Oskar beers much more portable, an essential ingredient in outdoors-crazy Colorado.  Can liners also lock in brew freshness and prevent the aluminum from affecting taste.

Soon microbrew aficionados from all over the U.S. were picking up on the Apocalypse that had taken place in Lyons.  In addition to Dale’s Pale, Oskar Blues’ Old Chub Scottish Ale, Gordon Imperial Red, and Mama’s Little Yella Pils Malt Pilsner have all earned accolades in an impressive collection of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Beeradvocate.com.

Oskar Blues canned microbrews are now available in 25 states, and production is humming along with a new brewing facility and taproom in nearby Longmont, CO.  The canned beer revolution started here has since spread to other well-known Colorado microbrews, but Dale and his team take special pride in turning non-believers on to the benefits of full bodied beer in cans.

“We’re in this to have fun and put some extra joy on the planet,” Katechis says. “We love the way people’s heads spin around after they try one of our four-dimensional canned beers. ‘That came out of a can?’ We hear it all the time.”

If you’re interested in carrying Oskar Blues “Liquid Art in a Can” in your establishment, contact Wayne at wayne[at]oskarblues[dot]com.

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Boulder Spotlight: The Kitchen Cafe’s Sustainable Restaurant Ethos

Boulder Spotlight: The Kitchen Cafes Sustainable Restaurant EthosThe Kitchen Café community bistro takes the community part of their name very seriously.  The Boulder, Colorado restaurant provides a simple, rustic setting where friends, families, and neighbors can gather to enjoy great tasting, unpretentious food and a world-class beer and wine list.  Meals can be ordered family style any day of the week and weekday “community hours” feature shared plates and drink deals.  Everything about this place invites you to enjoy the atmosphere of togetherness.

But The Kitchen’s commitment to community doesn’t end there.  The restaurant is 100% wind powered.  Almost 100% of leftover food and food scraps are either given to staff at the end of their shift, composted, or recycled.  And the menu evolves with the seasonal availability of mostly local herbs, greens, vegetables, and meat.

“Depending on the time of year, upwards of 70% of our ingredients are sourced locally,” says Adam Watts, a Kitchen chef.  “We change our menu to what’s available.”  These local ingredients are fresher, save hundreds of food miles, and compost created from the scraps ends up back on the farmer’s fields.  “The quality is absolutely better,” Adam says.  “When you have to wash off the dirt, you know it’s fresh.”

Sustainable practices and a community oriented atmosphere gives The Kitchen a lot of credibility when they call themselves a “community bistro.”  The great thing about The Kitchen, however, is just how serious they really are about their Boulder neighborhood.  They have partnered with local non-profit The Growe Foundation to help sponsor the Garden To Table initiative, which educates local kids about the cycle of food, from planting seeds to harvest to the final product on the dinner table.

Garden To Table takes a hands-on approach with 9 schools from the Boulder Valley School District.  Each school plants a garden, harvests vegetables and greens, and then, with the help of The Kitchen chefs, create salads and dishes to be eaten at school benefit functions.  To chef Adam Watts, it’s all about educating future generations about where food comes from.  “We want to create a new culture that understands garden-to-table ethics,” he says.

The Kitchen represents a new movement in food service, one that focuses on the benefits of not only serving good tasting food, but sustainable food as well.  To The Kitchen, it’s just another part of being a member of a community.

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Boulder Has A New Top Chef

Boulder Has A New Top Chef

Boulder Chef Hosea Rosenberg Is THE Top Chef

As some of you may know, Tundra and The Back Burner are based in Boulder, CO so we were especially pleased to learn that Boulder chef Hosea Rosenberg claimed first place on Wednesday’s finale of Top Chef: New York.

Rosenberg is the executive chef at Jax Fish House in Boulder.  He graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in engineering physics before pursuing his true dream in culinary arts.  Rosenberg has worked with top chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Kevin Taylor, and Sean Yontz.

The Top Chef win garnered Rosenberg a $100,000 prize, and he is currently working on a food line with Whole Foods and a new restaurant is in the works as well.

Another Boulder chef, Melissa Harrison, was also a contestant on the show but was eliminated earlier in the season.

We would like to congratulate Hosea on his win and we look forward to enjoying his work in the Boulder area for years to come!

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