In Case You Missed It
Boulderganic Fall 2009
Student Guide 2009
Boulder Weekly Sweet 16 Anniversary
Summer Scene 2009
Best of Boulder 2009
Annual Manual 2009
Newspaper of the Future
Kids Camp Guide 2009
Wedding Marketplace 09
Student Guide 2008
Best of Boulder 2008
Annual Manual 2008
Join Our Mailing List
|April 17-23, 2008
• Kosher cooking, from hip to homestyle
Cookbooks that celebrate the Jewish kitchen
by Bill Daley
• Food Bites
A mid-day retreat
Jill’s Tuscan Table provides for all palates
by Clay Fong
W hile my retirement lurks decades away, one compelling scenario for post-employment life involves retreating to a Tuscan villa. I envision myself easing into the role of country sensualist, amiably sauntering among the sun-drenched hills. A bite of local cheese, olive oil produced from my own trees and paper-thin slices of locally cured prosciutto would be just some of the elements of a late-morning repast taken before a well-deserved nap.
Given these future aspirations, I was enthusiastic about visiting the lunch buffet at Jill’s Restaurant in downtown Boulder. Housed in the St. Julien Hotel and dubbed a “Tuscan Table,” this mid-day offering may not be considered a pure Italian experience. However, it represents excellent value at $10.95 per person and provides something for nearly everyone’s taste.
As my colleague Alice and I entered the expansive dining room befitting a modern luxury hotel, we ran into our friend Dorothy. The amiable former state legislator that she is, Dorothy explained, “This is the best vegetarian spread in town.” She generously gave us the grand tour, pointing out her favorites among the myriad of soups, salads and desserts. Making our way through the restaurant, I was impressed by how the food was attractively presented in a tidy manner without an overabundance of off-putting steam trays and heat lamps.
After deciding to bypass a tempting Caesar salad, I began my meal with a plate of simple mixed greens that was both fresh and crisp and accompanied by a well-balanced vinaigrette. Moving on to heartier fare, I explored the make-it-yourself sandwich bar that featured a formidable selection of breads including eye-catching swirled ryes and savory olive loaves.
The chef behind the counter sliced up a ciabatta roll, upon which I piled slices of rare roast beef and salami. I’m the first to admit that I’m a far better consumer of sandwiches than maker of them. While the quality of the ingredients offered no room for complaint, I’ve just never been able to nail down the correct ratio of meat to cheese to condiment, and I found my creation on the dry side.
I fared better with a full-bodied roasted tomato soup, which provided welcome comfort on a snowy, cold day. The same could also be said for the thin-crusted slices of pizza, and vegetarian Alice took particular delight in her pepper-laden stromboli turnover. This dish’s proscuitto-filled counterpart provided a nice contrast between velvety melted cheese and subtly salty ham. More meaty delights were found in the daily roast, paper-thin slices of hot roast beef that were melt-in-the-mouth tender. Remembering Dorothy’s accolade, I also helped myself to a healthful helping of grilled mushrooms and firm tofu that would also be at home on a vegetarian sandwich.
Unfortunately, the chocolate desserts didn’t live up to the standard set by the rest of the meal. Alice and I were challenged to distinguish between the cake and brownie, although what we believed to be the cake evoked the specter of the supermarket bakery. On the other hand, the lemon bars saved the day with bright and tangy, but not too sweet flavor. It was a fitting end to an altogether pleasant lunch. Although retirement may have to wait for several decades, the St. Julien’s Tuscan Table nevertheless provides a small retreat from the working week for only a small investment of money and time.
Clay’s obscurity corner
My love affair with prosciutto and other dry-cured and salted hams began as a young boy. I always looked forward to my dad’s return from his international business trips, as he would often bring back briefcases full of Swiss chocolate bars and other exotic treats. Upon his return from Lisbon, he brought a desiccated-looking piece of meat resembling a small leg of lamb. This was presunto, the Portuguese cousin of proscuitto that closely resembles Spain’s Serrano ham. Though highly illegal (bringing in uncooked meats to the U.S. was strictly forbidden at the time), this was also highly tasty.
900 Walnut St.,
back to top