Second role of Isaac Asimov’s robotics in the novel I robot states that “a robot must obey any instruction given to it by a human”. At Rakkan Ramen in Boulder, the instructions given to the sharp-eyed red and white robot are quite simple: “Bring food to table 6.”
The machine, “Alexa”, rolls towards the table, but it’s only about a dozen feet, and a waiter has to load my bowl onto the table. It’s nothing spectacular compared to what college STEM students are designing these days, but it’s a glimpse into our culinary future.
The ramen is outstanding. Rakken offers five or more broth-based ramen varieties with vegan options. My creamy quartz-style ramen was loaded with rice noodles, grilled pork, boiled eggs, scallions, and bamboo shoots. I added corn for sweetness and texture interest, but it was hard to eat with chopsticks. Very slurp-worthy and packed with umami, it was good down to the last slurp.
It is true that hot soup cools you down on a hot day by making you sweat. If you add hot pepper oil to the table, you become even cooler.
On a second visit, I enjoyed a bowl of rice topped with baked tofu, tomatoes, sesame seeds with the salty sea salt crunch of a sea vegetable salad.
If you visit the Boulder site of the Rakken Ramen chain, be sure to ask Alexa to tell a joke. These are very bad dad jokes.
Another Roadfood Attraction: Sourdough Bread Tour
In recent years, Colorado has been nationally recognized as a center for authentic sourdough bread making, with artisan bakeries throughout the state.
The bakeries that form this bread culture are dedicated to sourdough, despite the challenges, and use ancient grains ground into flour on site.
Boulder County has its sourdough favorites including Moxie Bread Co., Dry Storage, and Babette’s Artisan Bakery, but across the metro area and state, you’ll find a list of destination breads worth checking out.
Berthoud: Rise Artisan Bread (riseartisanbread.com)
Golden: Grateful Bread Company (gratefulbread.com)
Grand Junction: Kulina Lani Organic Bread (kulinalani.com)
Steamboat Springs: Smell That Bread Bakery (smellthatbreadbakery.com)
Colorado Springs: Sourdough Bakery (thesourdoughboulangerie.com) and Nightingale Bread Co. (nightingalebread.com)
Denver: Denver Bread Co. (thedenverbreadcompany.com), Raleigh Street Bakery (raleighstreetbakery.com), Reunion Bread Co. (reunionbread.square.site), and Rebel Bakery (rebelbread.com).
Boulder Recipe Flashback: Scones for Tea
The Great Harvest Bakery, open since 1983 in Boulder, was one of the first local bakeries to grind its own wheat on site. In the late 1990s, the bakery shared this classic scones recipe.
Great Harvest Bakery Currant Scones
4 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 pound butter
1 cup currants (or golden raisins)
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
1 1/2 cups whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. The butter should be very cold and cut into small pieces. Using a fork, cut the butter into the flour and work until the mixture forms pieces the size of rice. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and cream. Add to the mixture but do not overmix. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface, knead it three or four times and divide it in half. Pat each half into a circle about an inch thick and cut into six equal wedges. Sprinkle each cube with sugar and place it on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden in color.
Culinary calendar: taste all cultures
Sima Amsalem teaches chocolate workshops at Studio Boulder, including marzipan (July 20) and pralines and truffles (July 27). Schedule: simaschocolate.com … Longmont’s Farm 49 hosts Stone Soup of Kindness on July 30th. Participants bring a vegan ingredient for a soup cooked in a large cauldron. Details: bit.ly/3uET80g (will lead to Eventbrite)…Denver’s Rebel Bakery offers monthly tours that include sourdough bread tasting, instructions, and take-home sourdough appetizer, plus pastry and a coffee. Details: rebelbreadco.com/classes-events/bakery-factory-tour-ticket
Send information about food events, classes, festivals, farm dinners, farm stands and tastings in Boulder County and Colorado to: [email protected]