Had a very busy weekend away from Denver. I hit Yoga on the Rocks on Saturday morning and then we drove down to Buena Vista in the afternoon to go white-water rafting for the very first time. Our tour took us down the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon for about two hours and even though I was so nervous and scared before heading out, once we got in the water and hit some Class III+ rapids it was a lot less scary (and a lot more fun) than I thought it would be. Shout out to our guide Harry from Performance Tours for the awesome adventure!
Capped off the great weekend with a stop in Boulder to meet up with several Colorado foodies for a super blogger dinner at Basta. My husband and I had been to Basta only one time before and had an amazing experience where we did the chef’s tasting menu (NOTE: I don’t see reservations available for the tasting menu anymore – you may need to call the restaurant to see if they still offer this amazing experience). But this dinner was just as special – a pre-order at least two days in advance SCRATCH LASAGNA DINNER featuring one Northern Italy-inspired lasagna and one Southern Italy-inspired lasagna.
Although the weather was dicey earlier on in the day, Mother Nature did us a solid and cleared the clouds (and even brought out the sun) so our seats at the large farm table out on the patio provided a stunning setting for our epic meal.
Sure, we were there for the carbs, but we also wanted to try out some of the other delicious-sounding things on the menu so we ordered a number of additional things on the menu.
How much food do you need to order to satisfy six hungry food bloggers (Nam Eats, Mini Beasttt, Comino Food Stories, Boulder Foodie, and Lindsay from The Hunger Diaries who organized the dinner), their SOs and friends for a total of 13 people? Well here’s the rundown:
- 1 Chicken Liver Mousse (with cherry mostarda, citrus foccacia) – $10
- 1 Shishito Pepper (with pickled cucumber, lemon) -$8
- 1 Sausage Pizza (with house ricotta, burnt onion, sage, and a side bottle of chili oil) – $19
- 2 Pickled Green Tomatoes (with dill, garlic, chili) – $6 each
- 2 Wood-Fired Vegetable Salads (with giant homemade croutons, radicchio, smoked balsamic) – $14 each
- 3 Piada Burrata Breads (with house allium butter, sea salt) – $15 each
- 1 South Lasagna (with tomato sauce, house made ricotta, basil) – $85
- 1 North Lasagna (with white pork ragu, bechamel, domestic parmesan) – $98
The Chicken Liver Mousse was beautifully plated (look at that beautiful citrus slice embedded in the bread!), but not really my thing (I don’t like chicken liver), however, my husband (who does like that kind of food) really loved it.
Something that definitely was my thing was the Piada Burrata Bread. Our server insisted that we get it, and after one bite I could see why. The normal dish is just the piada bread, but for $6 extra you can add the burrata which I highly recommend. It takes this delicious bread to a whole new level of decadence. Each order is basically a whole round loaf, sliced into 4 pieces.
Inside is the allium, with some giant chunks of roasted garlic (heaven!) and a healthy heap of ooey, gooey burrata cheese. The whole thing melts in your mouth – and you really cannot go wrong with fresh made bread, butter, garlic, and high-quality burrata. Total slam dunk!
The Wood-Fired Vegetable Salad was also great – the veggies had a great smokiness to them due to being put in that wonderful wood-burning oven. You really don’t have to do much to make fresh veggies taste good, and I appreciated the completely minimalist approach to the dressing on this dish.
Always love me some Shishito Peppers, which in this case were also roasted in the oven and served along with some pickled cucumbers. A light, beautiful dish.
I personally didn’t try the Sausage Pizza (already was edging on full by this point and the lasagna hadn’t even come out yet!) but it looked lovely and was served with a small bottle of chili oil on the side so you could take the dropper and drizzle on the spicy sauce as needed. Awesome touch. Basta is known for their killer pizza, so pretty much assuming this was as delicious as it looked.
Then it was time for the main event: Lasagna! The menu said that each lasagna could feed between four to six people. I would say that’s true — if those four to six people maybe only order one appetizer and nothing else! Each of the lasagnas came out in large Le Creuset pan cut up into 12 slices each. By this point, some of us were already struggling, but we rallied and dove straight into our slices of North and South lasagna.
So which one is better? It’s really hard to say – they are both so different. The South lasagna (on the right) is probably more along the lines of lasagna that Americans are familiar with – the red sauce variety, whereas the North version (on the left) is a white lasagna featuring a bechamel sauce and pork.
Both are really excellent, and I loved that I got to try both at the same time, switching up every other bite. Personally, I always lean toward tomato-based sauces, so for me, the South lasagna was probably my favorite, but only by the slimmest of margins.
It’s obvious why Basta is always rated one of the top restaurants in Boulder – everything they make is killer – Chef Kelly Whitaker and his team do a fantastic job of making seriously good food with absolutely no pretense, no fads, or cheap stunts. Just fresh ingredients prepared with skill, care, and love.
Basta – 3601 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303 (the restaurant is hidden inside the residential Peloton condo complex)