Well…Kinda. We want to start highlighting local small restaurants, cafés, bakeries, and neighborhood gems
First! Allow me to address where I have been and what I have been up to. It has been a hot second since I last joined Mandy Connell in studio and on air. I had an interesting and challenging summer that tested my mental and emotional resilience as well as stressed my physical health as well.
Despite the ups and downs, tears, fears, and long, long, loooooong! walks with my dog, my family, or even by myself with my thoughts and prayers, I am happy to say I made it through the worst of it and have emerged from this break happier, healthier, more relaxed, and weighing currently fourteen pounds less than I was at the beginning of summer (I am a mere three pounds away from my perfect and ideal weight). Now, I may not have seen the kind of results Skinny Guy A-Rod has realized (insert his SOTA promo here!) but the weight I released, thanks to addressing some key diet issues and healing my thyroid and adrenal gland, has been stubbornly hanging around for going on six years (and increasing every year.) If you would like to read more about what I experienced and what has helped me, please click here to jump to that discussion.
But the focus of this blog is not about my summer and fall, but on the #FoodieFriday segment that Mandy and I will be offering in conjunction with our periodic #ThirstyThursday segments (don’t worry, those are not gone forever!)
As Mandy mentioned today on her show, small businesses, across the board, are still trying to recover from Covid, the lockdowns, the subsequent supply chain issues which are resulting in the skyrocketing increases in prices of their basic necessities. Many of these small businesses are having to raise prices, which upsets their customers who are also dealing with inflation challenges, and some may face permanently closing if they can’t make it work (the owner of The French Kitchen recently posted about friends and peers in France and Belgium who cannot afford their bakery supplies and energy costs…many are simply choosing to close.)
I thought it would be a good idea to start going out and talking with these small and local business owners so we can a) find delicious and yummy foods to share with you, b) help support these local businesses so we don’t lose them in our neighborhoods and communities, and c) get your involvement and input into this segment.
Mandy LOVED this idea so we decided to help out the listeners who were looking for a great French bakery up here in Denver if you can’t make it down to the Springs for some French Kitchen. A friend suggested we check out Trompeau Bakery in downtown Englewood and I am so happy that I chose this place for my consumption of gluten for the day. Mandy and I met with the owner, Beth Ginsburg, who is actually a mechanical engineer, but through an interesting turn of events, beginning with opening a bagel bakery in Singapore, is now the proud of owner of several restaurant and wholesale food production businesses. While we chatted with Beth, we noshed on some of the amazing and delicious savory pastry this bakery produces.
I was immediately interested in the savory stuffed croissant and Mandy was immediately drawn to the friand, which I like to describe as a fancy French Hot Pocket. We also selected a classic quiche Lorraine and had the staff warm these up so we could taste while heard about how Beth came to own Trompeau.
First of all, let me discuss that beautiful combination of flaky croissant with green chili and cheese filing. Holy. Cow. Absolutely my favorite thing I tasted this morning from our savory selection (Mandy, Skinny Guy A-rod, and I will be tasting the sweet treats on air). The filling was a perfect ratio to the dough and I could eat that every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Recommendation: EAT THEM ALL
Croissants are made from something known as laminated dough. If you are not familiar with this kind of dough, it was at one time an extremely time consuming and back breaking kind of dough to make. The dough must be kept very cold to allow it to “retard” or slow down the rising process so that butter can be incorporated or “laminated in” so that in conjunction with yeast leavening, mechanical leavening from the butter melting while baking occurs. When I learned how to make laminated dough, and the sweetened version traditionally used to make Danish, I had to use all of my weight and strength to roll the butter into the dough (and because it is kept cold to prevent the yeast from activating while you are working with it, it was hard work!) This is what gives croissants their flaky, buttery, and light texture. Done incorrectly, the dough is dense and tough.
Trompeau’s croissant (and also their Danish dough) is perfectly flaky, buttery, and delicious. We will be tasting their plain croissant along with a classic, and Beth’s favorite, cheese Danish on air. I can’t wait! Now, Trompeau doesn’t have a dozen Wine Yogis standing on their little step stools to laminate their croissant dough. They have a great machine that does it for them which is also used to make their puff pastry (how am I supposed to fit one of these in my kitchen?)
We also decided to try their sausage and cheese Friand. Made from puff pastry, friand loosely translates as a pot pie and is the perfect handheld meal. Trompeau’s friand was nicely filled with a sausage and cheese filling that had great flavor. The puff was crispy and flaky and the perfect contrast to the savory filling. RECOMMENDATION: GET IN MY BELLY
We concluded with the quiche Lorraine. Now, I spent a year making the quiche for The French Kitchen’s café prior to Covid. So, every week I was making the royale (egg filling) for Lorraine and a four-cheese green chili quiche. I am not ashamed to say I am persnickety about the bacon to cheese to egg filling as well as the amount of nutmeg used and, if I may channel my inner Paul Hollywood from British Bake Off, soggy bottoms. The pâte brisée or pastry crust was flaky and held together beautifully. Because it was the last thing I tasted, it was starting to get a little bit of sog, but that was my own fault for focusing so much of my attention on the green chili croissant. Trompeau is not stingy in their inclusion of bacon (some bakeries can be) and the bacon chunks were evenly distributed throughout the quiche. If you are a fan of nutmeg, it was certainly present (some places hide it or leave it out altogether), an homage to the traditional French style of quiche Lorraine. RECOMMENDATION: Pair with an espresso and you have the breakfast or lunch of champions
I also tried their rustic baguette made from their sourdough starter, their palmier and molasses cookies. Tune in tomorrow where I will share my thoughts on these three items (I may or may not let Mandy and Skinny Guy A-rod try them, too.) We will be tasting selections from their sweet and savory pastries tomorrow and I am stoked to be joining Mandy once again.
WE NEED YOU
So, I have done my best to promote supporting local and small businesses, especially since Covid wrecked so many of those businesses for so long. But since I live in the Springs, my knowledge of great local restaurants, bakeries, and cafés (and certainly those neighborhood gems) is limited to my local area.
We want your help! Do you have a favorite local place that you loyally supported before, during, and after the pandemic that you want us to check out? If you do, is there something specific…an appetizer, entrée, dessert, drink, etc., about the place that she and I should try? If we let yall know ahead of time where we are headed, would you be willing to check it out and send in your comments and thoughts? We would love to show some love and support to these folks out there trying to survive everything this world keeps throwing at them. We need your help to do so.
You can always email Mandy at email@example.com but your email may get buried, especially on a busy news day. So, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect through me here or at iamthewineyogi.com so we can check out your recommendations and then get your thoughts on what you love about your favorite neighborhood gem.
We will be chatting holiday wines soon, so if you are looking for suggestions for your holiday pairings, please be on the lookout for when Mandy and I connect back up in November.
Until then, cheers,