June 22, 2007

Summer means sandwiches to go with soups and salads

Traditionalists, for whom the word “soup” is inextricably connected to the word “sandwich,” will be pleased to learn that Spoons Soups & Salads in Fort Collins now offers four flatbread sandwiches. Chef Tom Stoner has for some time been toying with the idea of adding sandwiches to the menu, but the time finally seemed right. It’s summer.

“We needed to find a way to make a fresh sandwich very quickly,” he said. “So we use whole grain pita flatbread, which is a little thicker than a pocket, prepare it open face and then fold it over.”

The sandwich menu features BBQ pulled pork, herb-roasted chicken, lemon-pepper salmon roasted in house and garden veggie with roasted peppers and eggplant. Each comes with fixings from one of the signature salads.

“We suggest the chicken with Caesar and the salmon with the farmer’s market salad,” he said. “For the pulled pork we make a marinated slaw relish. We’ve had a marvelous response to it.”

Stoner added that the sandwiches are a nice size ($3.50 for one), making it possible to eat one with a cup of soup or salad (for an additional $2.95) and not feel stuffed.

“Our customers have confidence that we make everything fresh every day,” he said. “Some have even decided that soup makes a good meal year round.”

Other news from Spoons: Melissa Britton has been promoted to general manager.

“She opened the Lory Student Center location for us,” Stoner said. “We need her talent as we grow.”

Somi’s goes bistro

Quicker than you can say Jack Robinson (a man who paid such brief visits to acquaintances that there was scarcely time to announce his arrival before he had departed), Jay Stoner had leased the space vacated by Somi’s II on Harmony to Chantal and Jean Martini.

“We had quite a list that wanted to be in that space, and so we took a little time to interview those who were interested,” Stoner said. “Jean and Chantal were both so excited and passionate about getting back to creating fine food, they were the obvious choice for the location.”

The new restaurant’s name, The Savoy Brasserie, recalls the name of the Martinis’ successful fine dining establishment – The Savoy – that they opened in 1992 in Berthoud and closed 13 years later, planning to retire. The new place, a brasserie, will be informal in the French style.

For inquiring minds, the word “brasserie” comes from the French word “brasser,” to brew, as in a brewpub. The word “bistro” arrived in France when the Russians occupied France after the Napoleonic wars. Russian soldiers wanted their food, “Quick! Bistro!” Brasserie and bistro are often used interchangeably.

Tropical cravings

On the off chance that you do not have the $1,000 handy to hop on a plane to satisfy an unexpected craving for lau-lau and haupia on the Big Island, you’re still in luck. Juliet and Andy Higa have given lau-lau a permanent place on the menu for Okole Maluna Hawaiian Grill in Windsor.

The word lau-lau means “many leaves.” This all-in-one Hawaiian meal, the kaukau at the big luau, features meat or fish – in this case the pulled pork that Andy Higa prepares himself – wrapped in lu’au or taro leaves first, then in ti leaves for steaming. While some restaurants make do with spinach in place of the lu’au leaves, the Higas decided to stick with the traditional for this dish, often reserved for special occasions because the preparation requires so many steps.

“We ship in the taro leaves from the Big Island,” Juliet Higa said. “With our pork, lau-lau has become very popular here in Windsor.”

For those in a vegetarian frame of mind, no worries. The Higas also recently added udon – thick, firm Japanese noodles made from wheat flour salt and water – to the menu. A vegetarian udon dish comes with tofu. Delicious. And don’t forget the haupia, the coconut dream dessert.

Chimney Park hosts fund-raiser

It is not too early to sign up for the fourth annual fund-raiser for Chefs for Students, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to giving back to the future of the culinary industry. In Colorado, the eight-course extravaganza (think Chipotle Barbecued Squab Tamale with Cilantro Cream or Chile Oil Asian Fennel Slaw on Blue Crab and Ginger Sauce) is hosted by Chimney Park Bistro in Windsor.

In addition to host Chef Florian Wehrli, three local chefs – Jay Witlin, Jay’s Bistro, Fort Collins; Ernie Post, Columbine Café, Fort Collins, and Evey Post, Chimney Park Bistro -will be joining the roster of chefs from Colorado and across the country.

The event will be held at the Chimney Park Bistro on July 31. For further information, go to www.chimneypark.com or call (970) 686-1477.

Powerful information

Square-foot for square-foot, restaurants rank among the most energy-intensive commercial spaces. According to a California-based organization, Flex Your Power, not only the cooking equipment gobbles energy. The heating, cooling, lighting and sanitation (11 separate cost items in a dishwasher alone) all contribute to energy costs that nibble away at already slender profit margins. For more information on how to scale back energy costs, check out the Green Restaurant Association’s Web site.

Traditionalists, for whom the word “soup” is inextricably connected to the word “sandwich,” will be pleased to learn that Spoons Soups & Salads in Fort Collins now offers four flatbread sandwiches. Chef Tom Stoner has for some time been toying with the idea of adding sandwiches to the menu, but the time finally seemed right. It’s summer.

“We needed to find a way to make a fresh sandwich very quickly,” he said. “So we use whole grain pita flatbread, which is a little thicker than a pocket, prepare it open face and then fold it over.”

The sandwich menu features BBQ…

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