It was time to take advantage of my extended stay here in Boulder, time to hit the road. I’d heard wonderful things about Telluride, but I was not up for a seven hour drive in one shot, so I decided to break the trip up. I looked at a map, did a Google search and picked Salida, 3 1/2 hours from Boulder as my first stop. I headed toward the historic downtown area and was taken by all of the original old buildings, mostly from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The weather was near perfect, the light just fine.
Salida has everything; coffee shop, book store (with an old printing press), 5 & 10, hotels, bars, restaurants and of course, bicycle shops. It was a warm day, I had been walking around this charming town for awhile and decided cool refreshment would be nice, ice cream or a milkshake would be in order. The Salida Pharmacy & Fountain was the place to go. As I perused the menu board I noticed they offered an egg cream. An egg cream 1,920 miles from New York City? For those of you who do not know what this delightful drink is, you put chocolate syrup in the bottom of the glass - it must be Fox’s U-Bet to be authentic (they had it), followed by about 1/2 glass of milk, topped off with seltzer. I gave it a shot, it was near perfect, I was transported back to the 2nd Avenue Deli in Manhattan. I figured this was the perfect day. Great weather, good subjects, could it get better? No way.
Well, I was wrong. Salida has a lot of burger joints, some pizza places, Mexican food and the like. None of which I wanted for dinner, mostly because I had a great burger at the Cornerstone Cafe for lunch. I drove around town and saw a small restaurant with a parking space nearby, always a good omen. I walked up to the front and looked over the posted menu, it was interesting and it wasn’t burgers.
Shallots is owned by Don and Sheree Potts. It’s a charming spot, over a 100 years old, exposed brick, lots of wood and whimsical decor, and a bartender straight out of central casting.
Don is chef, Sheree runs the house. The staff in the place is over the top courteous. Don has been Best Chef in Salida five years in a row and based on my dinner, I would say best chef in Colorado. I followed the recommendations of the server and started my meal with Don’s version of Firecracker Shrimp. Gulf coast white shrimp in a spring roll wrapper, served with a Siracha dipping sauce. Amazing. For my entree I had perfectly pan fried, fresh Idaho Trout with a corn meal crust, glazed with a lemon sauce accompanied by mixed rice and vegetables. I cannot possibly describe in words how good this dish was.
After the last bite I thought I was sated. I made the mistake of asking about desert. I settled on a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. A generous slice was served, I could never eat it all … but I managed, not a crumb left behind. Sublime. A few minutes later, as I was leaving the restaurant, Chef Don called out to me and thanked me for dining at his place. I don’t recall that happening to me anywhere else. If you get to Salida, have dinner at Shallots, and tell Don and Sheree I said “thanks again.”