Part 2: Something Old, Something New, Nothing Borrowed, But Lots of Blues!

Part 2: Cooking at home

By: Kate Smailer

Every May since 2004 we stay at Fletch’s Cove Villa in Little Harbour. This one bedroom, 3 bathroom oceanfront villa with spectacular views, pool and gardens is a special property! The housekeeper, Cecile is the sweetest lady and she takes special care of us. We feel like family!

Spiny lobster

Jim loves to cook in several nights depending on food availability. This May was awesome! We procured lots of fresh produce and plenty of seafood – lobsters, crayfish and queen snappers!

A most favorite meal of the trip was Jim’s special spiny lobster salad, featuring simply-grilled fresh lobster with lemon juice, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. It is a recipe he got from Ezio, a dear Italian chef friend from the Cafe Santa Fe in Todos Santos – such a simple recipe and such terrific flavor! I so love spiny lobster as it’s much sweeter than Maine cold water lobster.

Rainbow Farms is always a treat. Noel and Duke actually recognized us on the road and yelled hello! I know they meet a lot of people and we were touched they remembered us and made a point to greet. Rainbow had lots of tomatoes this year, great wild arugula and basil.

Seasoning peppers

We ventured to the East End to find the new Sensational Flavours Market. What a nice size farm they have. When we visited, they were in between planting but we still managed to get a favorite item – seasoning peppers! These bright red peppers have the perfume of a habanero but not the heat! Jim lightly dresses them with sherry wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and grills them on the barbecue – oh so good!

Part 1: Something Old, Something New, Nothing Borrowed, But Lots of Blues!

Part 1: Restaurants and Hotels

By: Kate Smailer

This May was our 21st trip to Anguilla! Once we found this gem of an island in 2002 we looked no further for a perfect beach destination. This trip offered new hotels and restaurants.

Manoah Hotel

Manoah HotelManoah Hotel (formerly the Anguilla Ku Hotel) had its restaurant and bar open even though the main hotel will not open until November. We enjoyed two lunches here, great Mt. Gay and tonics, buckets of Coronas and the most comfortable chaise lounges and umbrellas.

Each day we set up at Jacala Beach Restaurant. Lunch there is a treat! Jacques and Alain take super care of us—they take such pride and care with everything they do. We had all our favorite foods – grilled crayfish, lobster risotto, watermelon salad, mahi mahi poached in olive oil, chilled cucumber soup with tomato sorbet, calamari risotto and tuna tartare. Jim always asks Alain to serve his snapper ceviche with coconut milk and cucumber, which he serves in a coconut shell – divine!

Jacala - Lobster risottoIn addition to our lunches, we enjoyed one dinner at Jacala. The atmosphere at night is different – so special, very romantic.  The palm trees dance in the breeze and glow with white lights. White table cloths and candles dress the tables. Often, there is a spectacular sunset!

Hibernia Restaurant Art Gallery

We dined at Hibernia Restaurant Art Gallery two evenings. They feature open-air dining with a lovely pool and garden – we decided to give them a try and we are so glad we did! Hibernia is special and not to be missed!

HiberniaThe owner Mary Pat’s attention to detail is top notch (and she sets a most beautiful table), and the food that Raoul – the other owner – prepares is innovative, fresh and delicious. For appetizers we so enjoyed the smoked fish plate served with toasted homemade brown bread and a horseradish and ginger cream cheese, as well as a trio of tuna: gravlax, smoked and cured, and the sashimi plate alongside wahoo, scallop, crayfish and conch.

Entrees were also delicious. My favorite was the Crayfish sautéed out of the shell with vanilla, lemongrass and roasted onion and yam. This crayfish was so tender and incredibly sweet. Mary Pat told us that sautéing crayfish out of the shell results in a slightly different flavor and texture than the more commonly grilled crayfish. I am still dreaming of this taste!

Of course no meal at Hibernia is complete without the homemade rum raisin ice cream served with a snifter of aged rum. The dessert is served in a lovely bowl with long silver spoons to help you savor every luscious bite.


CastleCoves - Baby OctopusWe did try one new place for a dinner after reading such stellar reviews about CoveCastles and their executive chef Marc Alvarez. The restaurant had 5 tables that night and the atmosphere had a good energy. Jim introduced himself to Marc, and he was so friendly. Marc enjoyed showing Jim his special restaurant equipment – a wood fired pizza oven and a most special wood-burning grill made by Grillworks. Marc recommended the night’s special, which Jim enjoyed—grilled baby octopus served over homemade squid ink orecchiette. He started with the fried conch served with a tangy lemon aioli.

CastleCoves - BurrataI enjoyed the grilled cherry tomato and burrata bruschetta, as well as the homemade lobster and pea ravioli.

Upon leaving, Marc came over to our table and suggested we come for lunch to try his pizza and said he would happily set us up on lounge chairs with and umbrella to enjoy the day on the beach. We did just this on our one cloudy day. Lunch was wonderful. Marc made us a great salad made with gem lettuce, avocado and tomato dressed in a vinaigrette made from olive oil and a most lovely vinegar (Vinaigre de Calamansi).

CastleCoves - PizzaWe also devoured two pizzas – a bianca and a margherita – AND a piece of the freshest snapper which he grilled on his wood fired grill. A most wonderful way to spend a cloudy day!

We Love June!

The Boulder Farmers Market is in full swing, and we’re excited about the gorgeous seasonal and local veggies we find there. Greens are finally in season, and Chef Jim is already crafting ways to weave them into our dishes, incorporating fresh, organic arugula into our salads and introducing a variety of braising greens into daily specials.

IMG_4831Of course, the Farmers Market isn’t our only source of fresh produce—our garden is brimming with delicious herbs. Throughout the summer, we cultivate a variety that make their way into dishes, appear alongside them as garnishes and get muddled in summer cocktails. We are proud to bring you such hyperlocal treats as lovage, basil, sage, oregano, borage, lavender, rosemary, parsley, sorrel, thyme, fennel, mint and more.

20130407-172957If all this talk about fresh greens has you hooked, grab some fresh parsley from the market this weekend and try Chef Jim’s great Spring Salsa Verde recipe. We highly recommend pairing this delectable sauce with fresh white fish or steak and a nice, crisp white wine.

And of course, we always welcome you to join us for a taste of these local and seasonal flavors any day of the week (we’ll help you pair the wine). Never hesitate to ask about our daily specials or recommendations. Chef Jim’s just getting started!

May: One of Our Favorite Food Months

In Boulder you can always confirm the arrival of spring with the sights and sounds of our legendary farmers market. Booth after booth, the market seems to expand each year, marking the arrival of established and new farms and ranches. Who can keep up with this bounty?

Jim at Farmer's MarketA longstanding devotee of the market, our Executive Chef Jim Smailer certainly does his best. Undeterred by the chill of an early spring morning, Chef Jim arrives early for the best selection. Lots of folks enjoy the Market, but for Chef Jim, finding the freshest local asparagus and greens is like panning for gold.

“I feel like I say this every year, but May is one of my favorite food months at home and at the Cork. We come out of five months of virtually no local produce, and May really starts the Farmers Market season off. The world comes alive in spring,” Chef Jim said.

It’s true that freshly-picked produce stands on its own, but its ability to elevate a dish is remarkable. That’s where Chef Jim’s true talents come in to play. The joy in his face reflects his delight in cooking with these kinds of quality ingredients, as well as the creative opportunities hyper-seasonal selections, such as pea shoots, offer.

Asparagus ravioliThat asparagus in his hand might just turn into Asparagus ravioli, which you can also try at home with Chef Jim’s recipe. Pea shoot pesto and squash blossom pizza are other examples of Jim’s artistry. To supplement goodies from the farmers market, The Cork regularly receives deliveries from the best local farms.

It’s also a great time for seafood.

“Wild salmon and halibut have been long gone. These two great American fish make a welcome return in the spring,” Jim said, “Oh, and I almost forgot to mention softshell crabs which I eagerly await!”

Halibut Salad (better lighting)Together with Jim’s hand-picked produce, the possibilities for his seafood selections are almost endless.

“We also have spring lamb from Triple M Bar Ranch,” Jim said.

So, who can keep up?

Chef Jim, of course.

Come and enjoy Chef Jim’s inspired spring cuisine at the Cork!

Recipe: Pea Shoot Pesto

Recipe: Pea Shoot PestoIngredients:

  • 2 packed cups of pea shoots
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup of spring onion or scallion chopped
  • 1/4 cup of lightly toasted piñon nuts (preferably Italian)
  • 1/4 tsp. of black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of grated reggiano parmesan


  • Place all of the above ingredients in a food processor and slowly add extra virgin olive oil until you have the right consistency (should make about a 1/3 to 1/2 cup of finished pesto).
  • Can be made a couple of hours ahead of time, covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature.

Chef notes:

  • The pesto is the perfect complement to a piece of fresh halibut because it is a little less pungent than a classic basil and garlic version.

Recipe: Asparagus Ravioli

Asparagus ravioli


  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 spring onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup plus more for topping of Reggiano Parmigiano, grated
  • 1/2 cup plus more for topping of Pecorino Toscano, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large saute pan add the olive oil over medium high heat.
    Add the spring onion and chopped asparagus, reserving the spear tops.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, approximately 10 minutes
  3. Set this mixture aside to cool.
  4. In a bowl whisk together the ricotta, nutmeg and 1/2 cup of each cheese
  5. Add the cooled asparagus mixture and gently mix.
    This mixture is a wonderful spring filling for ravioli. Find your favorite fresh pasta recipe and a ravioli mold and make ravioli.
  6. The ravioli will cook in salted gently boiling water for approximately 4 – 6 minutes depending on the thickness of the pasta. Drain the ravioli and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  7. While the ravioli are cooking melt the butter in a saucepan just until melted, do not brown. Add the reserved asparagus tips and cook until just tender.
  8. Add the cooked ravioli and the 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water to the saucepan with the asparagus tips. Toss the ravioli. Place in warm bowls. Top with the reserved cheeses and few grinds of black pepper.
  9. This recipe makes about 36 small ravioli or 24 free form ravioli.
  10. The size will depend on size of ravioli. This recipe will serve 6 people.

What’s on Tap at the Cork

What’s on Tap at the CorkHere at the Cork, we put a lot of the emphasis on our extensive wine list, and it’s hard to blame us—who wouldn’t want to highlight such a unique selection? But this month, we thought we’d steal a little bit of the spotlight from the vino and shine it on another area we do well: draft beer.

The Cork always features four beers on tap. Our selection rotates, but we’re currently serving Left Hand Black Jack Porter, Hacker-Pschorr Dunkle Weisse, Wibby Lightshine Helles Lager and Upslope Pale Ale.

Left Hand Black Jack Porter is a domestic described in its brewer notes as having notes of dark chocolate, espresso and herbal hops. Coming in at 6.8% ABV, Black Jack Porter took home Gold in the 2010 European Beer Star Competition and Silver in the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. It pairs excellently with rich dishes like our Pepper Steak or Green Chile While Cheddar Mac & Cheese, as well as desserts like our classic crème brûlée.

Hacker-Pschorr Dunkle Weisse (“dark wheat”) is an import out of Munich, Germany. The Hacker brewery had been in business for 555 years, since 1417, when it merged with the Pschorr brewery in 1972. With notes of caramel, apricot and clove, Dunkle Weisse is well-loved for its balance of sweetness and spice, and for its smooth, velvety mouthfeel. It contains 5.3% ABV and pairs beautifully with strong cheeses like asiago and gorgonzola, so don’t be afraid to try it with our delectable Happy Hour Waffle Chips!

Wibby Lightshine Helles Lager is a local favorite made just down the street in Longmont, CO. With its light, sweet finish, the Bavarian-influenced lager pairs well with pretty much anything, but we especially like it with our Drunken Fish Taquito appetizer or Dijon Chicken Sandwich. Lightshine Helles Lager weighs in with 5.5% ABV.

Last but certainly not least, we have Upslope Pale Ale, another local stunner made right here in Boulder. Upslope describes their 5.8% ABV signature beer as “clear, crisp and dry” with “a unique spicy hop bitterness” and a light-to-medium body. Try it with our burgers or one of Chef Jim’s featured seafood dishes.

We’re also excited to have recently installed a glycol-chilled, four-faucet Ice Cobra tower to chill and dispense our draft beers. Made in Italy, this tower is top of the line and will ensure a perfect pour and ice-cold beer every time. There couldn’t be a better way to enjoy one of our drafts—come check it out!

This Valentine’s Day: Your Night of Romance Starts at Boulder Cork

Valentine’s Day: Your Night of Romance Starts at Boulder CorkStart Valentine’s Day off right with a perennial local favorite, the Boulder Cork’s prix fixe Valentine’s Day dinner.

It doesn’t get any more romantic than Boulder Cork. With our soft lighting, rustic ambiance and impeccable service, time slips away, allowing you to focus on what matters most—the person across the table.

Then, there’s our incredible three-course Valentine’s Day menu, featuring a variety of indulgent favorites like our Slow Roasted All Natural Prime Rib of Beef, Sake-Marinated Salmon, Filet Oscar with king crab meat, and special house-made desserts including crème brûlée, cheesecake with whipped cream and berries, and Italian affogato with Glacier ice cream.

And, of course, what’s Valentine’s Day without world-class chilled champagne? We’re always well-stocked with a variety of sparkling favorites, including 2004 Dom Perignon Millesime and Nicolas Maillart Brut Rosé Grand Cru out of the historic Champagne province in France, Borgoluce Prosecco di Valdobbiadene from Veneto, Italy and Gruet Blanc de Noir, a New World wine out of Engle, New Mexico.

The Cork’s prix fixe Valentine’s dinner represents excellence and exceptional value. Chef Jim’s 30+ years of experience shines as he crafts a three-course dinner made from the highest-quality local ingredients. His varied menu offers an array of elegant selections, with something for even the most discriminating palates. Personal attention is of course always included.

The Cork’s Valentine’s Day dinner sets just the right tone for the rest of your evening. Wherever you head next, there’s simply no better way to start this special night.

Please contact us for Valentine’s Day reservations; we recommend contacting us at least one week in advance. Brindiamo all’amore!

Opus One: The Old World and the New

Opus OneIf you’re a Cabernet fan who has trouble deciding between old world and new, consider Opus One, a blended Cabernet. Founded in Napa Valley in 1979, Opus One comes from the marriage of two countries, two continents, and two of the world’s most famous wine families: Robert Mondavi of California and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Mouton Rothschild, France. In the 1970s, Rothschild’s involvement was big news in the wine industry and added considerable respectability to an up-and-coming Napa Valley. In 1981, a single case of Opus sold for $24,000 at auction, the highest price ever for a California wine.

Opus One began modestly on 35 acres. The vineyards have since come to span 170 acres, producing 25,000 cases annually. Opus appears to have reached an astounding level of respect in both old and new worlds: close to 50 percent of its wine is now sold overseas, with a distribution office in Bordeaux. Its popularity extends beyond even France and the United States; Japan is one of its leading importers.

To produce its world-class wine, Opus One relies on a gentle, unhurried process. It begins with harvesting the grapes, transporting them carefully in small batches before sorting them by hand. Opus also employs the use of a highly advanced optical sorter, which recognizes a grape’s color, size and shape to ensure that only the most optimal grapes have been hand-selected. Opus dedicates each of its 50 elevated fermentation vats to a particular parcel of the vineyard, so the grapes grow and ferment together. The elevated vats use gravity to release the juice, after which the wine is aged in French oak barrels for a year and a half. Another year and a half of aging in the bottle finishes the wine.

Boulder Cork is pleased to offer Opus One in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages by the bottle as well as the 2011 vintage by the glass (a steal at $72). A winery famous for its Bordeaux-style blends (referred to as Meritage blends when from American soil), varietal percentages vary across Opus vintages to make the most of the year’s grapes and their flavor profiles. The 2010 vintage, for instance, consists of Cabernet Sauvignon 84%, Cabernet Franc 5.5%, Merlot, 5.5%, Petit Verdot 4%, and Malbec 1%. Detailed information on each year’s growing conditions is available on the Opus One website. It’s worth noting that the 2010 vintage received especially strong critical acclaim, described, for instance, as “picture perfect” by wine critic Antonio Galloni.

In the tradition of many great Bordeaux estates, Opus One began crafting a second non-vintage wine, Overture, in 1993. Because of the highly selective Opus One blending process, some lots, despite possessing outstanding qualities, are ultimately not selected for the final Opus One. These lots are afforded more time in the barrel and subsequently blended with other lots across vintages. Overture is aged in the same French oak and consists of the same five varietals as Opus One. Boulder Cork is pleased to offer Overture as well.

If you’re looking for an excellent wine this holiday season, ask us about our Opus One vintages. We love talking about wine!

Kate’s Pumpkin Pie Exploration

Chef Jim’s wife Kate test-baked four pumpkin pies for the Cork’s holiday season. Try one of the recipes (especially Kate’s favorite) for your Thanksgiving this year.

pumpkin pie

My tried-and-true holiday-time pie tradition has always been more apple than pumpkin, and I bake a much-loved apple pie for the holiday season at the restaurant. This year, however, I decided to give the fall-favorite pumpkin pie a chance. I volunteered to help bake pumpkin and pecan pies for our seasonal menu and made it my personal mission to find a pumpkin pie that everyone would crave when the air became crisp and the leaves began turning. I researched recipes and reviews online and decided to taste-test these four pies:

1.  Bobby Flay’s Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Crunch Topping

2.  Joanne Chang’s Pumpkin Pie

3.  Martha Stewart’s Traditional Pumpkin Pie

4.  Food Network Pumpkin Pie

“Bobby Flay’s Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Crunch topping” won the contest. The graham cracker crust was a game-changer. The recipe also met my high standard for a filling both light and creamy, with the right amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove. Of course, I judged the aesthetics of each pie as well, and the extra egg yolk in Flay’s batter recipe made for a filling that did not crack upon cooling. The pie is topped off with a Cinnamon Crunch, which is reminiscent of an apple crisp coating, and a sinful Bourbon and Maple Syrup-flavored whipped cream.

In the end, Flay’s recipe won because it spiced up the usual, boring pumpkin pie, and it passed the ultimate test—I wanted another piece! This holiday season, I hope you will drop in to enjoy a slice of the pumpkin pie that has made me a believer.

Happy holiday season to everyone!

– Kate Smailer