Cool tofu salad contentment, French-Vietnamese cupcakes on Colfax, and Zolo’s famous corn chowder

II’ve been drinking a stout at Boulder’s Mountain Sun Pub since it opened in 1993, usually paired with a good cheeseburger and hot fries. Especially in the dark months, this consolation trio filled various gaps.

However, on a hot July afternoon at Table Mesa’s Southern Sun Pub, I perused the menu and settled in for light and a Thai tofu salad.

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I love fried cubes of tofu anyway, especially in Asian dishes, but the pub’s homemade chickpea tofu upgrades the flavor and texture of the vegan protein. Tossed in a sweet chilli dressing, it’s a chewy treat made with spinach, veggies, pickled carrots, and roasted cashews in a ginger-lime dressing.

I also shared a boom boom sandwich—basically an Italian Philly steak sub without the steak. Ciabatta bread is packed with chewy mushroom fillets, roasted red peppers, melted mozzarella, basil and roasted garlic mayonnaise.

The stouts can wait for the February freeze. I stuck to a mild Sobchek Pilsner.

Another road food attraction: transcultural cupcakes

When traveling in the Denver area, it’s fun to just search for “bakeries near me.” That’s how I found the Bánh & Butter Bakery Cafe at 9935 E. Colfax Ave. in Aurora. It’s a new place from Thoa Nguyen, the next generation of the family that made Denver’s New Saigon Restaurant a culinary landmark.

Located in the former Third Culture mochi donut site, this bakery beautifully blends three dessert and bread traditions: French, Vietnamese and American.

The glass cases are filled with pastries and desserts, including stuffed croissants, fruit cruffins, multi-layered mille crepe slices, and pancakes.

The café uses fresh, home-baked chewy baguettes and serves made-to-order banh mi sandwiches with cold cuts or vegan pie, plus pickled daikon and carrot, cilantro, cukes, jalapeno, and garlic aioli.

Given the selection, I was captivated by the serious cupcakes in cool fillings, flavors and toppings ranging from bright green pandan coconut to purple ube. For the way back to Louisville, I paired a well-made soft crumbled cupcake that combines the flavors of Thai iced tea with a frozen Vietnamese coffee.

Recipe flashback: Soup from the cob

Boulder’s Zolo Grill was known for its Southwestern cuisine before it closed during the pandemic. Over the years, Colorado’s famous candy corn has been featured on the menu every summer, including this memorable soup. Zolo’s chef Paul Schutt shared this recipe in the 1990s. For even more corn flavor, simmer the shaved corn in water, strain and use the liquid instead of water in the recipe.

Zolo Grill Corn Jalapeno Soup

3 tablespoons of butter

2 cups white onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and seeded

1 ancho chilli, stemmed and seeded

1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups fresh cob corn

4 1/2 cups water

2 corn tortillas

salt, to taste

sour cream (for glazing)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fry all but the last four pieces in butter until onions are light brown. Add water and bring to a boil. Cut a corn tortilla into strips and toast strips and a whole tortilla until golden brown. After the soup has come to a boil, add the whole toasted tortilla. Save the strips for garnish.

Caitlin Rockett Colorado Sake Co

Take the soup off the stove and let it cool for 10 minutes. Blend the soup in a blender until creamy. Return to low heat on the stove. Taste and adjust the salt. Place in large bowls and garnish with tortilla strips and sour cream.

Culinary Calendar: Sake and Chocolate

CDenver’s Olorado Sake Co. to Host Sake and Artisanal Chocolate Tasting on August 3rd, coloradosakeco.com… Slow Food Denver to Host September 17th Dinner at Hope Hill Farm in Lafayette Featuring Chef Sam McCandless of Boulder’s Corrida, slowfooddenver. org/summer- slow down… Don’t miss the Summer 2022 Guide to Boulder County’s Roadside Farm Stands, available at BoulderWeekly.com.

Submit information about food and drink events, classes, festivals, farm lunches, farm stands and tastings in Boulder County and Colorado to:
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