Posts Tagged ‘Boulder’

Join the DuckDuckDeal Treasure Hunt tomorrow at 4

You’ve heard of DuckDuckDeal, right? You’re following them on Twitter, aren’t you? Liked them on Facebook? (Link goes harmlessly to DuckDuckDeal’s Info page. Link is not a Like link. External Like links can DIAF.) Have you got their iPhone App?

OK, more context. I follow them on Twitter via mobile device, so at intervals throughout the day I get text messages on my phone telling me that, for instance, ModMarket was offering a bottle of wine and a pizza for $10 until 6 PM to customers brave enough to utter the password “duckduck” at the register. That’s a dang good deal, one I regret not having followed up on either time I saw it go active.

Another one I regret forgoing was yesterday’s Treasure Hunt Kick-Off. I saw them tweet its imminent approach while I was busy distressing my thighs with an unaccustomed number of squats in the cause of helping with the eggplant transplanting initiative over at Abbo. (They’re in the ground. They’re already flowering. Stay tuned for the CSA eggplant cornucopia and Niki’s Favorite “I Don’t Like Eggplant” eggplant parmesan recipe.) By the time the clue hit the intarwebs and the treasure-hunters hit the street, I was sacked out in bed being not much good to the world. (Sorry, world.)

So. Congrats to Monday’s Clue #1 winner, who snagged a $50 gift certificate to Japango (dang!) and released a piece of treasure map unto Boulder.

The next clue goes public tomorrow, Wednesday, July 21st at 4:00 PM. It will be revealed exclusively on Facebook. (Don’t worry; the DuckDuckDeals Wall is public. I don’t think you need a Facebook account to play.)

I’m in – are you?

Absolute Vinyl, Bart’s new Shack keep the music playing in Boulder

It seemed like Boulder was bereft of record stores. Second Spin was long gone from the Hill, and just a few months ago Bart’s closed shop on the 11thish block of Pearl.

But the music plays on. Bart has reopened in a new location (and it’s really Bart at the helm again), and a new store had actually opened in January but so quietly you’d be excused if you didn’t know it. Both shops are a bit off the beaten path from a downtown Boulder perspective, but both are definitely worth the hike.

Absolute VinylHead north on Broadway toward the area now known as “Uptown” and you’ll find Absolute Vinyl at 4474 N. Broadway. You can think of it as Broadway and Violet, but you have to go almost all the way to the north end of the long sunken parking lot on the northeast corner of that crossing.. Absolute Vinyl has a good collection of records, from the mundane to the highly collectible, as well as a small offering of used phonographs. At the same address is Little Horse Books, a truly eclectic collection of music-related books and magazine back-issues, local-interest books, classics, and undoubtedly more which this chronicler’s eyes missed upon the first visit.

Also, you’re not crazy. There really is no upstairs.

Phone: (303) 995-1519
Hours: 7 days a week, 11 AM to 6:30 PM

Bart's Music Shack, Porch View

Bart Stinchcomb has returned to the music-store scene, opening Bart’s Music Shack at 236 Pearl Street. Do the math and you’ll realize this is no longer within reach of a brief lunch-break walk from downtown; so what? Take your bike instead. Or hop aboard the 206. When you see the small interior you will be amazed at how many records are on the shelves, in the boxes, on and under the tables, along with a rack of CDs and a shelf of DVDs just to round things out. And Bart tells us there will be more, lots more, in the months to come.

According to the Colorado Daily (linked at the beginning of this article), you should be on the lookout for a grand opening with live music at some unspecified date to come. Watch Bart’s Facebook page (linked in the previous paragraph) for announcements.

Phone: (303) 444-1760
Hours: 11-6 Tuesday through Sunday

Homelessness In Your Community: Discuss.

Restoring the Soul, an organization facilitating the service collaboration of faith congregations, has been hosting a series of monthly community forums for several years now. In the organization’s own words:

One aspect of Restoring the Soul: Faith and Community Partnership’s mission is community education on crucial social issues. These Forums present current information via local, expert panelists who are personally involved with the topic issue. The Forums address the information needs of congregations, service agencies and the general citizenry.

(Emphasis mine.) February’s forum is on a topic near and dear to my own heart. It’s called “Homelessness: Compassion and Tension in Community.”

Tension is an appropriate word. I was here in early 2000 when the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless was struggling desperately to find a more adequate location than the converted motel they used to subsist in way up north on Broadway. A facility became available, one that would allow them to multiply their nightly beds, greatly expand their program helping residents transition into independence, and, being more centrally located, give residents better access to jobs and services–but it was too close to a middle school for Boulder parents’ comfort. Because homeless people are scary, dontcha know, they might sneak up to the fence and sell our kids drugs or, y’know, be visible…

The Shelter is in a much better facility now, but it’s still way the hell north on Broadway, at the very last stop of the SKIP route, far enough north that even the “Uptown” residents don’t have to be acutely aware that homeless people exist.

Well, they do exist, and there but for the grace of our paychecks go most of us. No matter how we may like to pretend it can’t happen to us because we’re good, hardworking people who would never bring the problems of homelessness and poverty on ourselves by being lazy and getting drunk or whatever–it can happen to anyone. All it takes is one unaffordable emergency, one medical diagnosis, one divorce, one abusive family member… And if it happens to you, do you think you’re going to suddenly turn into an amoral predator apt to corrupt children through a schoolyard fence? Would the inability to make the rent turn you into an urban danger overnight?

See also: Being Poor.

So. Important topic. Important forum. Open to the public. If you’re reading these words, you’re invited.

It’ll be this Thursday, February 25th at Congregation Har HaShem (3950 Baseline). The panel, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will be facilitated by Greg Harms, Executive Director of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Panel members will be Joy Eckstine (Carriage House), Joe Pickett (St. Andrew Presbyterian Emergency Warming Center), and Jim Budd (Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow). After the panel there will be half an hour for Q&A.

For more information about attending or how you can listen to a recording of the forum afterwards (via KGNU or online), please visit Restoring the Soul’s informational Forums page.

And thank you for reading.

Elven Career Day Delegation to Visit Boulder Baptist Church

RIVENDELL COLLEGE WELCOME!…What? Oh. Nevermind…

Agave Mexican Bistro & Tequila House

Agave Mexican Bistro & Tequila HouseAgave had been “coming soon” to Boulder for the better part of a year since La Maricopa left the corner at 28th and Valmont. (You know the place. That’s where Gondolier used to be before they moved into where Magic Mushroom Pizza used to be.) Then, about three months ago, I saw Agave posting Now Hiring ads in the paper. And yesterday a friend told me they’d been open for a little while now.

I finally had a chance to try them out today.

The restaurant pings my “fine dining” radar, first with the fancy-schmancy name (“Bistro” tends to mean “add ten bucks”), then with the dimly lit interior, the dark wood veneer tables, and of course the top shelf tequila. (My dining companion and I did not sample the tequila. Next time.) Also, the availability of table-side guacamole reminded me of the high-priced Cantina Laredo Gourmet Mexican Food (“Gourmet” is sort of like “Bistro”) down on the 29th Street Mall. But our bill turned out to fall somewhere between a Cantina Laredo splurge and a Casa Alvarez comfort food dinner: $31 for the two of us, post-tax but pre-tip.

We each had a $10 tamale plate. For me, the omnivore, there were Tamales Rojos y Verdes: one chicken tamale smothered in a delicious green chili, one pork tamale in a slightly bitter (mole, I’m guessing) red enchilada-style sauce. For my vegetarian dining companion, the Tamales Agave, two tamales stuffed with black beans and spinach and covered in green chili. The tamales were presented beautifully, lying atop their corn husks, garnished with cubes of tomatoes and mango.

The dishes came with a common bowl each of beans and rice to share. We had our choice: for beans, refried or black or… I forget what they called it, but it involved chorizo; for rice, Mexican or lime-cilantro. We had Mexican rice and refried beans. The latter came garnished with queso fresco. We ended up needing extra rice (hot tamales!). They didn’t end up charging us extra.

For dessert, we split the fried ice cream ($7). It was just the right size for two people who weren’t sure they had room for dessert. It was everything fried ice cream should be: vanilla bean ice cream served in a tostada shell, covered with the requisite crunchy stuff, topped with whipped cream, garnished with mint and a sliced strawberry, and drizzled with a chocolate sauce so rich it verged on alcoholic.

So the food was awesome. The service was too; we felt more than adequately taken care of and never spent an uncomfortable time waiting for anything. My only complaint, if I had to complain–if you twisted my arm and said, “Complain! Complain, or else!”–was the noise level. We sat in one of the booths near the bar, and I could hear the conversation from the booth behind my friend better than I could hear my friend herself. Our own conversation involved a moderate amount of bending our heads over the table and going “What?” To mitigate this complaint, I should note that there was a party of eight having a grand old time at the big table nearby. And the restaurant was full up, prime dining hour full. So I’m not surprised it was noisy.

Before we left, we made sure to check out the happy hour specials and hours. It’s from 3 to 6 on weekdays, there’s half off of appetizers, and there are beer and margarita specials that I didn’t look too closely at. I mean, after all, we were going to be back soon. We could investigate more closely then, right?

Bears By the Cottage Door

Welded bear sculpture and shed doorConstruction on the east side of 30th Street at Pearl has made the walk from my house down to Walnut Plaza a bit of an obstacle course. So I’ve been doing a bit of “urban bushwhacking” instead–going off sidewalks, out the backs of parking lots, sight-seeing in the industrial mini-districts of near-east Boulder.

Today I followed the train tracks south from Valmont. These bears are sitting beside the tracks on the south side of pearl, in a lot I tend to think of as “The Gay Stoner Shipping Yard.” There used to be a pale blue shipping container sitting here, labeled with low-tech block stick-on letters that spelled out something like “GA STONE” or “GAL STONE COMPANY.” Some wit with a paint can made the obvious alteration.

The shipping container is gone, along with whatever company it pertained to. Now there are bears: Welded iron bears with glass stone eyes. And a bunch of free-standing shed and yard equipment that may have escaped from the Sutherlands yard or perhaps from somewhere more exotic.

Bears! One of the many wonders brought to you by Feet!

Welded bear sculpture

The Seasonal Vultures of Retail Leasing

It is a fact universally acknowledged that any retail space left vacant for a sufficient length of time must be in want of a seasonal discount store. Where the co-op used to be, there bloomed the Boulder Democratic Headquarters last year. Where Ross used to be in Diagonal Plaza before it moved down to Walnut, there blossoms the annual (or biannual, or perennial) Sniagrab (“Bargains Spelled Backwards!”).

And in the former downtown location of Borders Books, we’ve got Spirit.

Spirit at the old Borders

Notice the “Cafe Espresso” sign still on the wall. I’d make a Hamletonian lament along the lines of “funeral meats not yet cold,” except, of course, they are. They are so cold. And they’ve been reheated by the warm summer sun. And the flies and crows have long since had their way with them. They are compost.

Not to be outdone, Halloween USA has taken over the ex-Circuit City.

Halloween USA at the old Circuit City

This has been your official warning that, yo, Halloween is coming. Get ready, y’all.

The Amtrak Pioneer Line: Back From The Dead?

Squee #1 – Amtrak are considering reviving the Pioneer line which used to run between Denver and Seattle (discontinued 1997). Imagine that – Denver Union Station actually serving more than one long distance train route! Wouldn’t that be something? Just four years ago, I heard no common knowledge beyond “Rail travel is dying, enjoy it while you can.” I get wistful looking at those signs in the Union Station tunnel naming and dating all the routes that are no more. The idea of any Amtrak route being raised from the dead fills me with more delight than I can adequately express. And that the route under consideration serves the Denver area? Squee indeed!

Squee #2 – Boulder City Council are urging Amtrak officials to alter that old line a bit. The Pioneer used to run through Greeley, but considering all the local support surrounding FasTracks and the much-anticipated Boulder Transit Village, they suggest the revived Pioneer run instead through Boulder. Direct rail travel from Boulder to Seattle? OMGWTFBBQ!!!1!1!1!!!eleven!

I done saw it in the Daily Camera (also in the Colorado Daily, for more detail, via Twitter feed AmtrakNews) where the sole commenter as of this moment is voicing support for the reinstated line but not for “regular Amtrak trains through Boulder.” I’m not quite sure why. Do they fear the noise and congestion of 20 TRAINS DAY, I SAID TWENTY MILLION TRAINS A DAY, SINGING A BAR OF ALICE’S RESTAURANT– Dude, chill. You got any reason to expect the Pioneer will run more often than the California Zephyr, which is to say once a day in either direction? You think that’ll add any significant hullabaloo to the existing freight traffic that passes daily through town on the BNSF? Or maybe they worry that Boulder will suddenly host a super big amount of car traffic as the new Amtrak Mecca? I am confused. Enlighten me.

As for me, I totally support an Amtrak stop in Boulder. Do you? Squee here! Don’t you? Explain!

Boulder Barack Battle

2/20: updated with link to someone who has some experience with Boulder High and race: Alexis Gentry hit this one pretty well on the head.  Read the whole thing.

My issue with this has little to do with Obama and more to do with the blatant hypocrisy exhibited by naming a school where racism, discrimination, and segregation are not only allowed, but enforced by the staff and administration.

To understand why I am so upset about this, you need to know my back story. As a bi-racial student at BHS from 1999-2002, I have first-hand experience with some of Boulder’s infamous hypocritical behavior.

2/12: updated: Students pull plan

9News reports that Boulder High School students say it’s time for a “Barack Obama High School”.

Well, you have to give them props for going right along with the whole “Yes We Can” motif that has swept the country coast to coast and threatens to drown the rest of us in an overdose of Hope and Change.

All right, maybe that was a little snippy, but I’m just going to come out and say it. This Obama worship that seems to be breaking loose from the far and near corners is a more than a little creepy and embarrassing. In the United States it feels like we’ve suddenly given up hope in ourselves and placed it in the hands of one man. People, he’s the President. He’s not the guy who is going to save America single handily. This whole crisis is not just one guys fault. There’s plenty of blame to go around and Former President Bush is not the only one to put on a pike and dance around gleefully.

Although I suspect some would gleefully suggest such a thing.

(more…)

Elephant Hut Approacheth

Regulars and residents of Boulder’s Steel Yards neighborhood have been eagerly watching the developments in the restaurant space next-door to fave coffee house Joe’s Espresso. The space last housed Kerrigan’s, a sort of local Bennigan’s sort of place: Celtic knotwork on the tables, mostly American food on the menu. Before that it was LuLu’s, a soul food establishment that reopened briefly on the Hill before succumbing once more, I suppose, to local disinterest in stewed greens and damn fine catfish. Kerrigan’s shut down in… 2006? Early 2007? …leaving the restaurant space empty since. A lock box showed up on the door, and the windows got all papered over.

Then, some months ago, obvious signs of interior renovation in action. The sounds of saws and hammers filtered through the wall to disturb coffee-sipping patrons next door.

A sign went up on the 30th Street side of the building: ELEPHANT HUT THAI CUISINE. In the window, an LED sign: CLOSED, it said. For now.

The Sign Is Up

Soon afterwards, a liquor license hearing notification appeared in the window. The hearing date came and went. The notice came down. Around the east side, on the entrance facing the parking lot, hours had been posted: Lunch 11-3, Dinner 5-9 Mon-Thu and 5-10 Fri/Sat. Closed Sunday.

Hours of Operation

Wi-fi obsessed patrons at Joe’s – OK, well, that would be me – noticed a new WPA2-encrypted network in the area. So there I am, still blinking at the word “ElephantHut” in my Wireless Networks dialogue box, when a man walks into the cafe and playfully demands of the barista, “Where’s my pad thai? When do I get my pad thai, dangit?” Dude, I sympathize. I’m not even a fan of Thai food, and I want to know when I can get my pad thai. These incremental changes are like watching a slow-reveal movie hype campaign. They’re like opening the little doors on an Advent calendar. Dude.

This past weekend revealed a new development. My husband and I are walking home from the 29th Street Mall, and we notice something green up ahead on the sidewalk. We get closer and discover these plastic “hedge” blocks set out in a rectangle, surrounding an area of chairs and tables.

Now There's A Porch

That was Sunday; today the furniture are gone, but the “hedge” blocks are still there, some of them tumbled over. I’m figuring that one doesn’t set up outdoor furnishings that aren’t chained up or nailed down without having prompt follow-up intentions.

The indoors entrance door, the one near the restrooms, is no longer papered over, so you can see the interior decor. It’s pretty, in a gaudy bamboo-orchid-and-altar-figures sort of way. It makes for an interesting effect in combination with the Steel Yards warehouse-with-exposed-ducts-and-girders look.

You Can See Inside

Sir, I believe our pad thai is imminent. Stay tuned for further developments

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