Eric Skokan planting celeriac seeds at Black Cat Organic Farm in Boulder, Colorado.

Savoring Winter’s Culinary Pleasures + Valentine’s + New Family Style Meals at Bramble & Hare

Spring is nuts on the farm, a busy parade of working the soil, planting, lambing and much more. Summer? The farm demands close attention to irrigation, weeding, planting and loads of harvesting. Epic harvesting and preservation defines fall — finding time to get everything done challenges.

Through it all, every day, we transform the fruits of our labor into dishes at Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare.

And then there is winter. Time to kick back, yes?

Not so much.

Magic happens in the restaurants during winter

Just last week, for example, we were milling mountains of organic corn from the farm into polenta flour. Harvesting greens from beneath row cover. Planting tens of thousands of seeds for onions, celery, celeriac and more in rectangular trays and germinating them in our greenhouse.

Farm manager Xavier pouring just-cracked organic corn from the farm into the "bolter," which turns the corn into flour.
Farm manager Xavier pouring just-cracked organic corn from the farm into the “bolter,” which turns the corn into flour.

We were cooking too, of course. You might think dining at our restaurants during the peak of the harvest, in August, September and October, is as good as it gets. We are true farm-to-table, after all. And during these months, the bounty from the fields inspires awe.

But we think winter dining at Black Cat and Bramble & Hare is just as special. This is when we lean heavily on magic — on the foods we preserved during fall, and on myriad culinary tricks.

Preservation and planning for winter happens year-round

For example, last summer and fall we used our greenhouse to transform more than 10,000 pounds of organic tomatoes from our fields into sun-dried tomatoes. We leveraged the greenhouse, too, to dry our peppers. And now, these are among many stars in the restaurants.

“It’s almost gilding the lily if we bring out the sun-dried tomatoes and peppers in October, because we have so much from the farm,” says Eric. “But in January, they shine. They add so much flavor to winter dishes.”

Consider the peppers. We dried thousands of pounds of peppers. Then we smoked lots of them, and ground them into powder. Voila — smoked paprika.

Tomatoes getting sun-dried in a greenhouse at Black Cat Farm in Boulder, Colorado.
Our sun-dried tomatoes represent just one vegetable we dehydrated in the greenhouse this season.

“True farm-to-table is always challenging, but less so in September,” says Eric. “January through March is a different story. You’ve got to plan far ahead for winter. I devote a lot of time and energy, all year long, to winter in the restaurants. It’s fun. I love it. I find it an intellectual challenge.”

Winter dining at Black Cat and Bramble is especially rewarding. We look forward to sharing winter magic with you during the next few months in the restaurants!

Valentine’s Day at Black Cat Bistro

Valentine's Day at Black Cat Bistro involves Champagne
Valentine’s Day at Black Cat is special. It’s love’s only holiday! We celebrate with elan.

We treasure Valentine’s Day, the only holiday dedicated to the world’s most powerful and important emotion — love.

It is love that animates all that we do in the fields, and in the restaurants. So naturally, we pull out every last stop for Valentine’s Day.

Please join us for our annual celebration. We use both dining rooms for love’s big day.

Valentine’s Day at Black Cat is extremely popular — chances are we will turn away between 300 and 400 diners, as the annual event books quickly. It’s already filling up. If you would like to join us, please make reservations soon!

Our special Valentine’s Day involves four exquisite courses, plus supplements like caviar. Wine pairings are optional.

$115, plus tax and tip.
3 seatings, at 5, 7:15 and 9:30
Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare team up for the same menu and service. Make reservations, however, at the dining room you prefer.

Call 303-444-5500 for Black Cat Bistro, and 303-444-9110 for Bramble & Hare.

Family-Style Meals at Bramble & Hare

Bartenders at Bramble & Hare in Boulder, Colorado
Family-style dinner at Bramble & Hare just might involve these farm-to-glass alchemists.

Bramble & Hare now offers family-style meals (in addition to the regular menu) Sundays through Thursdays. It was family-style, in fact, that served as the inspiration for Bramble when we opened nearly 8 years ago. We ended up crafting a menu that lets diners create their own family-style meal. But we never could quite shake the idea of a set menu designed for sharing around the table.

Our family-style meal option, for now, will involve a family-style appetizer, a large garden salad, Mulefoot pork short ribs with a maple glaze, and country-style polenta, with greens and carrots. And dessert.

Cost: $78, to serve between 2 and 4 people.

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