What Makes a Great Business Lunch

What Makes a Great Business Lunch

When you want your business lunch to go just right, every detail matters—and choosing the right restaurant to can be a stressful decision. After all, you don’t know each guest’s palate, and leading a group of colleagues from the familiarity of the office to—well, anywhere outside of the office can be intimidating. With so many people to please, it’s important to find a restaurant that can accommodate everyone’s needs and ensure no one leaves hungry. We’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind so you can focus on what’s most important—getting down to business.

Ample Parking

Arriving at the restaurant should be the least of your guests’ worries—and you certainly don’t want them driving in circles for half an hour waiting for a parking spot to open up. Walking in to lunch late because they couldn’t find parking can leave guests feeling tense and uninterested in socializing, so if a large group of people will be attending the gathering, locations with street parking only are not your friend. Instead, choose somewhere with on-site parking that has plenty of spaces available so guests can easily get where they need to be without stress.

Takes Reservations

This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many large groups don’t make reservations and expect to be seated immediately. Many restaurants seat customers on a first-come-first-serve basis and don’t accept reservations, so make sure you choose a spot that does allow you to book a table or room—and then make your reservation well in advance.

Private Rooms

A good location for a business lunch will be able to seat each member of your party together regardless of whether there are four or 40 of them. Plus, if you’ve ever been that person awkwardly nodding at someone across the table even though you couldn’t hear what they just said, then you probably know the importance of reducing extra noise at a group gathering. Many restaurants offer private rooms with multiple tables, so be sure to call ahead to reserve one. Booking a private room will give your group your own space where you can all sit together and don’t have to worry about yelling to hear each other over the bustle of the staff and other customers.

Variety of Menu Options

Maybe Susan is a vegetarian and Bob’s a pescatarian and you thought Diane didn’t like fish, but you’re pretty sure you saw her eating salmon the other day… Everyone has different needs and preferences when it comes to their diets, and rather than trying to keep track of it all, simply choose a restaurant with a large and varied menu. By doing so, you won’t run into the uncomfortable situation where someone doesn’t order anything and pretends they aren’t hungry, when reality is, they just can’t find anything they can eat.

Appropriate Ambience

You want the mood of the restaurant to match the mood of your meeting. If you’re trying to bond with coworkers, show your colleagues how grateful you are for their hard work or close a deal, a location with loud music and unsupervised children running around probably won’t suit your needs. Look for a space where people will feel at ease and allows conversation to flow naturally. Artwork on the walls, lighting that’s not too dark or too fluorescent and music that isn’t distracting are key.

History

Trying the newest, trendiest restaurant may sound like a good idea… but it won’t be so fun if the service isn’t up to par yet, or portions are so small people leave hungry. By selecting a dining spot that’s been around for a while, you can feel confident that things will go well. It’s always a good idea to check out online reviews, too, to find out about other customers’ dining experiences.

If you’re still stuck trying to decide where to have your business lunch, know that you can always count on a great experience at The Cork. We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, and our restaurant has received a wide variety of awards and commendations. With multiple unique dining spaces, we can comfortably accommodate your party of up to 65 people. Give us a call or reserve a room online today.

Want to Know the Secret Ingredient to an Amazing Meal at the Cork?

It’s time we tell you our secret ingredient. For 50 years, we’ve been giving this to everyone who walks through the door and we think it’s time to clue you in to what makes The Cork so unique.

A great meal starts and ends with amazing staff.

That’s the secret ingredient, and it might be a subtle quality, but you can feel the difference when your entire team is happy and proud of the work they do. After years of working together, pranking each other and just supporting one another in hard times, we know our Cork family pretty well—and want to introduce you to those who make your meal so memorable.

In this special Uncorked Blog, we’d like to introduce you to one of our long-time servers, Lionel:

How long have you been at the Cork?

I don’t know the exact date… I could get that for you, but it was about 12 years ago.

12 years? That’s a long time. What do you think has kept you here so long?

First of all, for me I don’t consider it a job. I look forward to going to the restaurant because for me this place has treated me like family since I started. That’s why I feel so comfortable, I feel like I can be myself at this restaurant. And it’s not just the front of house and customers, it’s the energy we all generate with each other—I love walking into the kitchen because they make my job so easy.

How do you think working at The Cork compares to other restaurants?

In Europe, you don’t stay more than one or two years in the same place. It’s how people do it there, but from the start I knew this was the right place for me because it feels like family… “Family” is a powerful word, but it can be very difficult when you live overseas. When I’m here I feel a little bit closer because there are many Mexican friends who at work the Cork, they make me comfortable because they come from another country and understand.

Tell me more—where are you from in Europe? What brought you to the U.S.?

I grew up in France, in Burgundy. Ever since I was a younger kid, I always wanted to come to the U.S.; I would know who the U.S. president was and not even know the French president. [laughs] When I moved to the U.S., I said it doesn’t matter what kind of work I do, but I’m going to do it right.

So, outside of work, what are some of your hobbies or passions?

I love soccer—I’ve always been around soccer, and I’ve been around this soccer family for a long time and I see their kids coming in and growing up and it’s so beautiful. During the whole month of June, I could take days off with my daughter for soccer. She’s an amazing soccer player and I am just so proud of her. And she works here too; it makes me so happy because I see it as a great education for her in life.

I didn’t know your daughter works here! I imagine that could get interesting…

Oh, it makes me the happiest dad on earth. She understands now why I am certain ways and why I cherish this work so much. Like I said earlier, it’s not just a job. Even when she comes in… it’s the energy that’s around.

Any final thoughts on staying so positive? On keeping that ‘energy’ after all these years?

I just love life, so when I come to work my love for life doesn’t stop, I just want to keep on going. As soon as I come in the door, I love to bring some happiness around.

Lionel, long-time server at The Cork

Thank you, Lionel!

It’s an honor having such a dedicated team here at The Cork. Even after 12 years, he always wears a smile to work and knows how to keep us on our toes. He’s one of many wonderful people in our Cork family who make working and eating here so great. Get to know our whole team—Join us for a meal, happy hour or just a drink at the bar. We look forward to seeing you then!

Behind the Scenes: Infamous Cork Pranks

There are a lot of moving parts to making an unforgettable meal, and what happens behind the scenes often goes unnoticed. Yes, there’s a lot of hard work — hours spent perfecting every detail, polishing every glass, preparing every dish. But, like any job, there are a few fun and games.

After 50 years in business, Cork staff have enjoyed their fair share of pranks. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you’ve probably had your share of fun, too. Maybe your bartender poured a martini into a wine glass or your line cook “garnished” your mashed potatoes with a berry. But if you’re the one dining out, you probably never see these silly stunts—your knowledgeable server knows better than to bring something to your table that isn’t right.

However, some of the shenanigans that go on behind the scenes are just too good to not share. Here are a couple of the most infamous pranks ever pulled at the Cork:

Here’s what happened…

“The waiter would come up to the table, introducing himself—‘My name is so-and-so, I’ll be your server tonight.’ (The usual). Then, he’d grab a water glass and start filling it, and boom! The bottom of the glass falls out and the whole glass of water spills on the table.”

And here’s how they did it…

When the Cork first opened, all the glasses were actually wine bottles cut in half. Fun fact: we did that all in-house, out behind the restaurant! But what you need to know about wine bottles is that they aren’t made out of tempered glass, so they aren’t designed to handle sudden temperature changes.

To make a splash, back waiters would reset tables with nice, clean glasses, fresh out of the dishwasher and piping hot. When the server went up to greet their guests with ice-cold water, the temperature would put too much stress on the glass and cause it to crack or break. Since wine bottles are thicker than an average drinking glass, they can hold heat a little longer, so even if it’s been five minutes since the glass came out of the dishwasher, it could still be warm enough to make this prank possible.

Needless to say, we’ve since switched to traditional glassware, so no one will be getting a lap of ice water any time soon.

Behind the Scenes: Infamous Cork Pranks

So, the story goes like this…

“The server would serve the beef kabob by taking the meat and vegetables off the skewer, then he realized they were hotdogs. The customers are looking like ‘what is this?’”

This is how it was even possible…

Service was different when the Cork still had a salad bar. Back then, guests would head to the salad bar, grab a large plate and assemble their salad. When entrées came out, steaks were served directly onto the salad plate. The waiter would bring out a large serving plate with all orders and distribute each steak to the appropriate guest.

Wondering how a server could miss a pile of hotdogs on a tray of high-quality steaks? Well, some cooks were clever enough to build the plate so it disguised the hotdog kabobs—until it was too late. With a heavy tray of steaks and a hungry group of guests waiting, it’s not hard to believe those kabobs made it to the table now and then.

Today the Cork provides fine dining service, which means you get a clean plate every time. Unless you smuggle one in, you won’t be seeing a “hotdog kabob” for dinner.

All jokes aside…

We love our staff and we love seeing them have fun, even when they’re silly. It’s what makes our jobs so fun! But, in the end, our favorite pranks are the ones that never leave the service area. Our guests come first, and their experience is everything to us. That’s what makes these pranks so “infamous” around here—they made it to the table. Considering we’ve been the go-to steakhouse in Boulder for 50 years, we’re proud to say we don’t often have service blunders to highlight, funny or otherwise.

If you want to hear about more of our staff hijinks, we’d love to sit down and reminisce with you! The Cork is open Monday through Sunday; contact us or make a reservation today.

Throw the Perfect Party: 6 Tips to a Successful Private Event

There’s nothing better than bringing a group together over food and drink, no matter the occasion. However, for many of us, hosting a private party can feel like a lot of pressure, even if it’s just a small gathering. It’s clear why people choose to hire event planners for these things—once you dive into the details of what all goes in to even a modest event, it seems like only a pro could handle so many moving parts. But the truth is anyone can successfully organize a fabulous event, especially at a venue with dedicated space for private parties. And, when it’s hosted somewhere other than your home, you too will most likely enjoy the event more. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Start with a budget

A spending limit will determine several things, from the number of guests to the venue, down to what drinks you’ll serve and how to handle entertainment. Start with a modest budget but be open to spending a little more if needed. Once you know what you’re willing to spend, divide it by the number of guests you want to invite. For example, if your budget is $1000 and you want to invite 12 people, just divide $1000 by 12—in this case, you’d be working with about $83 per person. The cost per person is a good starting point for picking food and drink menus and any possible gifts you want to hand out. Don’t forget: if you plan to bring in entertainment or decorations, you’ll have to subtract that cost from the overall budget before dividing.

Pick a theme

This is usually the easiest part! When picking a theme, consider why you’re hosting an event in the first place. Is this a professional event or are you celebrating a personal milestone? Is it just a casual get-together, or will people come dressed to impress? Be sure to take into account how many people will attend—some ideas are better suited to larger groups, while others just work well in an intimate setting. As it all comes together, think about how décor will fit into your budget—will you need banners, individual place settings, special invitations, centerpieces? Will you fully embrace the theme or keep it subtle? There’s plenty to think about, though it shouldn’t feel overwhelming. With this one, have fun with it and trust your instincts.

Decide on a timeframe

When do you want to throw the event? How much time will you have to plan it? Most importantly, how long will the party last? If you’re hoping to bring your loved ones together to celebrate all night long, you’ll need to do more than hors d’oeuvres and a couple drink tickets. For reference, a seated dinner can take about three to four hours, depending on the courses and any reception before and after. On the other hand, a cocktail party with passed appetizers may last a couple of hours.

Ask about allergies

Or, at the very least, include it as a footnote when you start inviting everyone. Have you ever been to a beautiful party, but had nothing to eat? Whether someone really can’t eat certain foods, or they just have a preference, it’s information you’ll want to include when you start setting a menu. Most restaurants will ask this right off the bat, so make sure to come prepared.

Make it convenient

Location is an important part of this. When choosing your venue, don’t dwell as much on how hip or trendy the spot is—while this is a nice bonus, it won’t affect the experience as much as you may think. Step into your guests’ heads for a second. They’ll definitely have questions about getting there, so avoid making this a barrier. Is there enough parking? Is the restaurant local? These things can make or break your get together—no one wants to get lost on the way there or have their car towed halfway through dinner.

Set the mood

Bring it all together by picking exactly the right space and setting it up just perfectly. Take your party size and theme into account and consider how much space you’ll need. If you’re hosting an intimate event, you won’t want a warehouse-sized room. On the other hand, if you’ve invited a lot of guests and you want plenty of room to move around, make sure the space can accommodate this. Don’t be afraid to work with the restaurant to get all your decorations in place—they’re the experts!

Ready to make your next party extra special? Get in touch with us today to talk about the different spaces, menus and accommodations available at the Cork. We look forward to serving you!

Throw the Perfect Party: 6 Tips to a Successful Private Event

12 Kitchen Tools for Christmas: Holiday Gift Guide for the Family Chef

12 Kitchen Tools for ChristmasChristmas is less than a week away, and many of us are dashing around like headless reindeer trying to scoop up those last (or maybe the first) of the items on our gift shopping lists. If you’re still looking for gifts for the chef in your family or friend group, and aimlessly browsing on Amazon or headed to Sur La Table without a plan — we can help. We picked Chef Jim’s brain for a list of kitchen tools any self-respecting chef should have in their kitchen, and what he told us might surprise you…

We give you: Chef Jim’s 12 Kitchen Tools for Christmas

1. Shun and Wusthof Classic Chef’s Knives

You can’t do anything in a kitchen without a good knife. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy a full set of premium knives for hundreds of dollars. “I see it all the time,” Chef Jim says, “A new cook walks in with a bag of knives — and you just don’t need all of them. You can have one or two great 8” or 10” knives and use them for everything.” Jim primarily only uses two knives: the Shun ® 8” Chef’s Knife, and a 10” Wusthof Classic Chef’s Knife. Both the Japanese Shun and the German Wusthof are made of high quality steel and craftsmanship, resulting in precise, durable and versatile knives that fit well in hand. Each retails for around $150 dollars — a fraction of the cost of a complete knife set — and the family chef won’t be left wanting another knife. “You don’t need a lot of knives or the best knife in the world,” Jim says. “You just need one that is versatile and feels good in your hand.”

2. AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener

If you have knives, you need a knife sharpener — ergo, everyone needs a knife sharpener. “Forget diamond stones,” Jim says. “A farmer friend once gave me an AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener, something they used on the farm to sharpen their tools. It works like a charm on kitchen knives, leaving them sharp enough for cutting anything from steak to fileting Florida red snapper.” Pick one up at McGuckins Hardware for $9.99.

3. Box Grater

Using a flat grater and trying to trap all of your cheese and veggie shavings into a bowl or pan can be frustrating. Enter the four-sided box grater. “It’s one of those kitchen tools that just makes your life easier, and prep work more efficient,” says Jim. Most box graters come with coarse, medium and fine grating surfaces, plus a slicing surface, and some graters come with detachable food storage containers. Chef Jim doesn’t recommend any one grater and says that any will do the trick. Again, find one that feels comfortable in your hand. Box graters range from $6 to $40, depending on how many bells and whistles you want.

4. Staub Cast Iron Baking Dish

There’s a reason cast-iron cookware has been around for thousands of years and is still in use: our advanced species has yet to invent a cooking vessel more durable, better at distributing heat evenly and retaining heat than a cast-iron pot or baking dish. “I use my Staub cast iron baking dish for lots of different dishes, from roasting meat and vegetables to baking cobblers,” Jim says. It may not be the flashiest of cookware, but we challenge you to find something more durable and reliable. Depending on size, Staub cast iron cookware ranges from $60 to $250.

5. 12” Wooden Cooking Spoons

Chef Jim says he couldn’t live without an assortment of wooden cooking spoons, and you shouldn’t either. He uses the 12” spoons for everything from stirring sauces and soups to pasta. “You don’t need long-handled spoons,” Jim says. “A 12” spoon should do the trick for just about anything.” Wooden spoons are nice because they’re safe for use on nonstick and other delicate-finish pots and pans. Pick up one or multiple for around $5 each.

6. Professional Tongs

Most people may have a set of large, metal tongs for grilling, but every chef should also have a set of professional cooking tongs. Get a pair of stainless steel tongs with scalloped tips to use for handling food and even just stirring. “A good pair of tongs becomes an extension of your hand in the kitchen,” Jim says. “Get a couple of different sizes and lengths, and you won’t need many other kitchen tools for handling food.”  Prices vary — compare prices and reviews on Amazon to find the best extension for your hand.

7. Salad Spinner

“The gadget you didn’t think you needed until you have one,” says Jim. Let’s all admit that washing lettuce, herbs and fruit can be such a tedious task that we often don’t bother rinsing, or don’t bother buying greens that require a lot of work. A salad spinner may take up some space, but it’s worth making room for it in the kitchen — you may find yourself eating more fresh, good-for-you foods if you have a tool that makes prepping these foods easier. Pick a cheap one up for $10, or splurge on a fancy one for around $30.

8. Peeler

Do your fingers a favor: put down that paring knife and pick up a peeler.  Again, it’s just one of those kitchen tools that everyone should have to make life in the kitchen easier. There are different types of peelers on the market — the most popular ones being straight swivel peelers and Y-head peelers. Get one of each, or pick one that meets your needs and feels good in hand.

 9. Fishbone Pliers

If the person you’re buying for is like Jim and all about fish, fish pliers may be the ultimate gift. “I use a pair of pin-nose pliers to debone fish,” Jim says. “I can get down the side of a salmon in five minutes with them.” This kitchen tool looks a lot like the needle-nose pliers in your toolbox, but actual fish pliers are spring-loaded, making deboning quicker (and more sanitary?) than a regular pair of needle-nose pliers. Wusthof makes a beautiful pair of 7” fishbone pliers for $40, though you can certainly find cheaper alternatives.

10. Cuisinart Food Processor

You know an essential kitchen tool list is not complete unless it lists a food processor. All the items on this list are tools to make life easier in the kitchen, and a food processor is probably the number one appliance to save a chef time, blood, sweat and tears: instead of slicing and chopping produce, grinding seeds and nuts and hand shredding and grating cheeses, you can just throw your food items into this handy machine and let it do all the work for you — in minutes or seconds. “You can get them pretty cheap, and it saves you so much time and energy,” Jim says. Cuisinart has a variety of models for different budgets and needs.

11. Oven Tiles

A fierce debate is underway between those who make their pizzas at home: which bakes a better crust — the pizza stone, or oven tiles?  “I’d go with oven tiles over a pizza stone,” Jim says. “Tiles provide more room than a pizza stone.” Unglazed quarry tiles, terracotta tiles… there’s an assortment on the market and you can pick up a set of 4 or 6 for around $40.

12. Uuni Wood Fired Pizza Oven

And last but definitely not least (and while we’re on the subject of pizza): the pizza oven.  We challenge you to find a chef or food lover in your circle who wouldn’t love a wood fired pizza oven for their own home.  Jim caved and bought this very gift as an early Christmas present to himself. “These Uuni ovens are just incredible,” Jim says. “They have different models and generations at this point, but all are just so easy to use, portable so you can set them up anywhere, and run on wood pellets.”  The Uuni 3 retails at $300, but Jim swears it’s worth every penny.

And there you have it: Jim’s top-recommended 12 kitchen tools for Christmas. Here’s wishing everyone happy and yummy holidays!

Your Holiday Wine Guide: Thanksgiving Wine

There are few holidays that can match the traditional menu served up on Thanksgiving. While the food will be the same in most households, the wines served up with the feast can be diverse and make or break your Thanksgiving dishes.

Pairing wine with courses that range from delicately flavored turkey to buttery sweet potatoes requires a focus on wines that are light-bodied and subtle in palate. Classic Thanksgiving wine pairings include sparkling wines (which go with almost anything), rosé, riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir and gamay — specifically from Beaujolais. With that in mind, these ten wines we’ll be serving here at The Cork on Thursday will put the finishing touches on you delicious Thanksgiving dishes.

Sparkling, Rosés and Rieslings

1. Gruet Blanc de Noir Sparkling

Gruet is among the best of American sparkling wines, and its story is perhaps the most unusual of those on that list. What began as experimental vineyard in the high country of New Mexico by French winemaker Gilbert Gruet more than 30 years ago has developed into a thriving, million-bottle production. The highest vineyards in the United States, the Blanc de Noir is complex and creamy with baked fruit, appealing minerality and crisp acidity, making it a perfect Thanksgiving wine that can be paired with diverse dishes.

2. Clos Cannarelli Rosé 2016

Although Corsica doesn’t get a lot of attention among wine consumers, make no mistake, the wines produced on the French island merit their share of recognition. This wine is a product of three grapes, two of which — Sciaccarellu and Niellucciu — are native to Corsica. Going through a minimal press featuring whole clusters, the result is a rosé like no other. Extremely light in color, the resulting juice is delicate, fruity and refreshing, worthy of a place at any table, but most especially, your holiday table.

3. Dunham Estate Riesling 2013

While most of the attention in Washington centers on the cabernet sauvignons, the rieslings coming out of the state are second to none — and leading the charge is Dunham Cellars. Using a remodeled airplane hangar as its home, Dunham recently celebrated 20 years of production while reaping awards for a number of its wines. The dry riesling is produced out of Lewis Vineyard and has captured numerous gold medals in international and domestic competitions. Dry and fruity, with pronounced pear and stone fruits, it is bright, crisp and balanced, and is a perfect complement to any Thanksgiving dish.

Chardonnays

4. William Fevre Chardonnay 2015 

The elegant flavors being served on Thanksgiving demand an elegant wine that won’t steal the show. Established in Chablis for more than 250 years, Monsieur William founded the winery as it is known today nearly 60 years ago, and focuses on small, manual harvests from their historic grounds. The result is an expressive, opulent wine that is fruity, spicy and fresh. A sip of this Chablis after a mouthful of buttery turkey, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy will have you loading your plate (and filling your glass) with seconds.

5. Rochioli Estate Chardonnay 2014

Although the Rochioli family has been growing some of the best pinot noir and chardonnay grapes in the Russian River Valley for over 50 years, they’ve only been producing their own wines since the mid-1980s. Despite the late start, their wines are nothing short of spectacular. This chardonnay is 100 percent estate-grown and is a perfect example of the quality Russian River affords. Floral with ripe apple, apricot and vanilla aromas, the apple palate and vibrant acidity will meld perfectly with your turkey feast, making this a must-serve Thanksgiving wine.

Pinot Noirs

Cork and Ridge Vineyards Host Wine Tasting on April 23

6. Siduri Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 

Winemaker Adam Lee arrived in California in the 1980s, intent on learning everything he could about growing grapes and making wines. On the heels of his first release in 1994, it was apparent he was an apt student. Focusing on chardonnay and pinot noir, his labels have received extensive accolades and he’s become known for his Siduri wines. This Siduri gem hails from the Santa Lucia Highlands and is a perfect representation of the region. Fruity and rich, it retains remarkable acidity, creating a perfect wine for the subtle flavors of the holiday.

7. Domaine Lecheneaut Morey-Saint-Denis Pinot Noir 2014 

Continuing with the pinot noir theme, Lecheneaut has been produced by the sons of Patriarch Fernand since 1985. Located in the renowned sub-regions of Cote de Nuits in Burgundy, Morey-Saint-Denis is home to some of the world’s finest Premier and Grand Cru pinot noirs. Unlike our American counterparts, Burgundian pinot noir boasts complex aromas and tantalizing structure. Bright and intense, the black fruit aromatics are balanced by a powerfully earthy, fruity palate.

Gamay from Beaujolais

8. Ruet Morgon Beaujolais 2015

The Ruet family began producing gamay-based wines in Beaujolais in 1926. This wine is produced traditionally, using semi-carbonic maceration (essentially fermentation without yeast) and hand harvesting to make some of the best Beaujolais around. This unique wine is from higher elevation and structured, rich and full of strawberry aromas and tastes. Powerful yet elegant and light-bodied, there may be no better pairing on Thanksgiving Day.

9. Ruet Cote de Brouilly Beaujolais 2015

The big brother to the Morgon production, this Brouilly output takes every taste to another level. Still structured and complex, the fruit is more concentrated, riper and developed. Unlike the strawberry-driven characteristics of the Morgon, Brouilly Beaujolais packs a wallop of cherries and plums along with a fair amount of grip.

The Thanksgiving Wine

10. Abbatucci Rouge Frais 2016

Heading back to Corsica, Abbatucci resides on the southern end of the island and focuses on producing some of the region’s best biodynamic wines. Relying heavily on the native Sciaccarellu, Rouge Frais Imperial is unique thanks to the age of the vines and delicacy of the winemaking. Once out of the vineyard, every stage of the winemaking process is quick, from maceration, to aging to bottling, taking a short, direct path to the consumer’s table. The juice is soothingly light, yet fruity, refreshing and suitable for all of the Thanksgiving pairings short of the pecan pie. Unknown to most wine drinkers, this gem will win over hearts from the first sip.

And there you have it: ten fantastic Thanksgiving wine pairings to bring out every last aroma and flavor of your feast. We wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving surrounded by friends and family. For those of you joining us at the Cork for the holiday, get ready for delicious food and best supporting wines!

Staff provide two decades of quality service at The Cork

What sets The Cork apart from other fine dining establishments? Staff from a good old vintage.

Aging can improve the quality of wines, but not all wines have aging potential. It’s actually very rare to come across a wine that matures well. So when you do come across a good old bottle, you hold onto it for a while…

Sean Gonyea
Assistant Manager Sean Gonyea

Assistant manager Sean Gonyea and staff member Bonnie are two of The Cork’s finest bottles.

Sean and Bonnie have been a part of The Cork family for 20 years, delivering quality service and helping our restaurant mature into the fine dining establishment it is today. Because these two are Cork staples, we want you to know who they are, not just what they do. So allow us to introduce… Sean and Bonnie!

Q: When did you join The Cork family, and how long have you worked with the team?

SEAN: I joined the Cork on May 8, 1997 as a backwait after coming over from Old Chicago, where I was a bar manager. My brother had worked at The Cork and recommended I go in and see if they had a position. They did, and I took it. I quickly worked my way up, and after 20 years, I’m still here.

BONNIE: I’ve worked at The Boulder Cork for over 20 years. It’s been so long that I’m not quite sure of the exact dates, but I believe it was March of 1997.

Q: What do you most enjoy about working at The Cork? 

SEAN: I have always loved the camaraderie and closeness of the staff here. While working towards a unified goal we’ve always been encouraged to be our own personality and take our own approach to achieving that common goal.

BONNIE: The Boulder Cork is a unique restaurant. I’ve worked in a lot of restaurants, from corporate to family-owned. What sets it apart from the rest is the team: Alan the owner, Donna the general manager and Jim, the head chef. They have truly made the staff and customers a family. I look forward to coming into work everyday to spend time with my family.

Q: Do you have a personal life “mantra” or motto?

SEAN: I don’t really have a life mantra but I try to live each day as it comes, respect all creatures, face life’s challenges instead of running from them and not hold grudges.  We all have our differences and those can be just as bonding as our similarities.

BONNIE: Be kind to everyone, because each of us have a different struggle.

Q: If you had one final meal at The Cork, it would most likely be…

SEAN: Tough call. It would likely be the Baked Stuffed Shrimp appetizer, with a Boulder Cork Salad. I’m a huge fan of the scallops, especially wrapped in prosciutto, so that would probably be my entrée.

BONNIE: I rarely do a full course meal, but if it was my last meal then I’d have to have all of my favorites. Appetizer: almond-crusted brie. Salad: Boulder Cork Salad. Entrée: New York Strip with a side of peppercorn sauce and smoked mashed potatoes. Dessert: vanilla crème brûlée.

Q: Outside of work, you’re likely to find me…

SEAN: On the trails with my dog, Rollie, putzing about the house or enjoying the many fine restaurants in Boulder with my friends. My casual time also includes watching football, baseball and hockey.

BONNIE: Crafting, designing, shooting video, and taking lots of pictures.

Q: Something that guests would be surprised to know about me:

SEAN: My friend Jeff and I were pioneers of a sort in the fantasy sports world. We created a web site called Fantasy Sports Realm that was the first site to offer extensive projections in football, baseball, hockey and basketball. We had a run of 11 years before folding up in 2012. It’s now just a hobby rather than a business.

BONNIE: I have my own Etsy store where I design, print and sell calendar stickers to help keep your calendar creative while planning your day-to-day life.

Bonnie and Sean — cheers to 20 years! With your help, we have no doubt that The Cork will continue to mature like fine wine.

A Reference Guide to Meat Cuts

Have you ever been confused reading a meat package or reading a restaurant menu? You’re probably not alone. At The Cork, we take pride in the quality ingredients we serve. We’re confident you’ll enjoy your dinner, and we want to provide you with more knowledge about the cut of meat you may choose.

THE SELECTION.  While the list of traditional beef cuts is vast, here’s the breakdown of popular cuts that you can find on our dinner menu.

Baseball Sirloin: this name generally refers to an upper portion of a top sirloin. The top sirloin cut can be found on the upper hindquarters of an animal, and is a boneless cut of meat. The steak itself is thick—generally at least two inches—and will fill out as it cooks. This contributes to its round, “baseball” appearance. The shorter, finer muscle fibers associated with hindquarter cuts often provide for a more tender textural experience.

Dinner at the Boulder Cork

New York Strip: perhaps one of the more recognizable names in beef cuts, the New York is a cut of short loin. This cut is located on the back of the cow, just behind the ribs and anterior to the baseball cut. It is recognized for its fine muscle fibers and tender texture, along with its rich flavor. A New York may contain higher fat-marbling content, which adds to the texture and flavor.. Because of the size of this muscle, New York Strips are often offered in larger, boneless portions.

Filet Mignon: French for “dainty fillet,” this cut comes from the smaller end of the tenderloin, just above the short loin. Tenderloin (as suggested by its name) is one of the more coveted cuts due to its extremely tender consistency.

Prime Rib: may be our most coveted cut of meat at The Cork. The muscle itself is generally found adjacent to the lower seven ribs, and is hearty in both portion and fat content. The fat marbling contributes to the buttery, tender nature of prime rib, and greatly enhances the meat’s flavor. Prime rib is technically a “standing roast” rather than a steak, which refers to its cooking method.

YOUR Temperature. Next, the waiter or waitress prompts you for a temperature preference. Emphasis here is on preference. While chefs may recommend a certain temperature, your palate may prefer something completely different.

Extra Rare/Blue: this is the least cooked temperature option, and some restaurants will avoid serving this rare. The meat will be extremely red and feel very soft to the touch. It may not be very warm, as the internal temperature will range from around 80-100 degrees F.

Rare: this temperature is slightly warmer, with an internal temperature of around 115-125 degrees F (this may vary, so ask the waitstaff how their kitchen generally compares). The center of the cut will be very red in color, and the edges will generally be light pinkish.

Medium Rare: with an internal temperature ranging from 130-135 degrees F, ordering your steak this temperature will generally present a very pinkish/red center.  There may be slight browning around the edges of the steak, and it will be noticeably warmer.

Medium: will range from about 135-140 degrees F. A medium steak generally has some pink in the middle, but shows even more browning to the outer edges and is firmer to the touch.

Medium Well: now your steak will be browner in color, with slight pink in the middle. The internal temperature ranges from about 140-150 degrees F and the steak will be firm to the touch.

Well Done: with an internal temperature 155 degrees F and above, the steak will now appear uniformly brown in color, and will exhibit clear tactile firmness.

Whether you choose a Filet Mignon or New York Strip, we look forward to preparing your steak with precision and consistency. Now you can order like a professional, and feel confident about how you want your dish to arrive. We look forward to serving your next dinner!

Sweet on Chocolate

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and we’re getting pretty excited for one of our favorite things about this holiday: chocolate.

THE HISTORY. Before chocolate become the treat we know and love, Mayan and Aztec cultures revered the cacao bean, incorporating it into various rituals because of its perceived magical powers. Chocolate didn’t become sweet until European explorers added vanilla and sugar, making the treat widely popular. Originally consumed exclusively as a drink, shops began to sell eating candies like the ones we eat today in the mid-1800s.

THE BEAN. Cacao beans themselves are found inside oval-shaped pods that hang from the cacao tree which is native to South America. The cacao “pod” has a leathery exterior and is filled with a creamy sweet pulp mixture. Within the pulp there are seeds that are extracted, fermented and dried. There are three types of cacao trees, and the seed varieties range in value and taste.

THE FACTS. Turns out Americans love chocolate—nearly half of the world’s supply is consumed by the US. An average cacao pod has 40 seeds, and it takes up to 1,000 seeds to produce 1 kilogram of chocolate (which is approximately 30 candy bars). Today, nearly 70% of the world’s cacao trees are located in West Africa. Annually, the world produces over 4.5 million tons of cacao beans.

THE HEALTH. Chocolate is rich in flavonoids and procyanidins, which are antioxidants associated with lowering risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease. According to a study done by Harvard’s medical school, health benefits linked to the consumption of chocolate may even extend into the realms of learning and memory retention.

Make your Valentine’s Day reservation today by clicking here or calling 303-443-9505.

New Year, New You

Many of us have started the new year with a few resolutions. No matter whether they’re based on social, financial or health goals, we’re here to help you achieve them.

Social health. If one of your goals is to rekindle old friendships or improve current relationships, The Cork is a wonderful meeting spot. Whether you’re enjoying happy hour in our popular cocktail lounge, or savoring dinner in one of our cozy dining rooms, we provide you with a perfect social environment to catch up with the important people in your life.

Eating right.  One of the most common resolutions is about eating healthfully. If you’re out for a date night or you just don’t have time to cook, it can be challenging to stick to this one, but we’ve got you covered. With responsibly farmed meats, local and organic vegetables, and healthy grains, we make it easy to make healthy choices. We’re also happy to accommodate any dietary requests to help you stick to your 2017 goals.

Spending responsibly. Your resolution may be about how and where to spend money in the new year–maybe you resolve to spend less, or stick to small, local businesses like us. We’ve got lots of options that’ll help you stay within your budget, including our excellent happy hour and early bird menus. If you’re looking to save on wine, we also have reasonably-priced wines by the glass, as well as regular wine specials.

Whatever your resolution, you can count on us to help you achieve it!