Everybody, every place and everything has its ups and downs. Everything can be beautiful in its perfection. True love comes from the love of imperfections. It’s easy to love the climate of your home when the sun is shining, but when you truly love where you live you find yourself endeared to the days in-between. As a Colorado native I have grown to love the type of cold dry nights that one only finds during winters in the great plains.
It was on a night such as this that I ventured to Boulder to meet up with Riley and explore PMG. The lights of Pearl Street shown brightly as we parked downtown and began our bitter cold walk. Decked out for the holidays with Christmas lights Pearl Street hummed in its beautiful and unique way. The streets were dry and covered in a dusting of salt and sand from a pervious snow that had melted and refrozen several times leaving small patches of ice scattered about. The windows of restaurants glowed warmly and irresistibly as the cold stillness of the night left us craving warm food and warm company.
Located on 8th and Pearl, PMG is tucked just out of sight of the main drag. We hurried in and bee-lined straight to the bar. I was immediately struck by the décor of this new restaurant. Warm hard wood floors and exposed brick immediately made me forget about the cold stillness of the outside world. The most striking feature however was a large art piece that hung behind the bar. A massive shape made almost entirely of wine corks covered most of the wall.
A casual and friendly bartender came by after a minute or two pouring us water and offering drinks and menus. He had an air about him made you feel as though you were instant friends the moment he noticed you. A comprehensive by the glass wine list gave us several options. Nebbiolo, with its light body and strong tannins seemed like the perfect choice and we settled on a Sottimano Langhe to start with.
Very hungry and still a bit cold we were eager to jump straight into some appetizers and asked our bartender for suggestions. He launched into a description how the menu was designed and the best way to order. He explained that although the menu was very small it was changed on an almost daily basis. The menu was a creative and yet predictable representation of classic wine bar fair. Heavy on cheeses and meats it also contained pasta and two meat dishes.
We began with a plate of prosciutto. While I normally expect to see prosciutto on the menu at a wine centric restaurant the presentation on this particular plate was the far from the expected. Served with apple butter and delicatessen squash we were delighted by the flavors presented. The apple butter provided a wonderful and creamy sweetness that sharply juxtaposed the salt and texture of the meat while accentuating the richness of the squash. Interesting and balanced it left us fighting over the last bite before the next plate arrived.
Two other appetizers followed the prosciutto and squash. The first of which was burratta cheese with roasted rose turnips and grilled bread. Mozzarella with additional cream folded in the cheese was just as rich as promised and beautifully complimented by the sweet and earthy turnips. The last appetizer was a dish of baby octopus. It was served with the most fantastically cooked fingerling potatoes and accompanied by aioli and fresh red onions that added spice and texture. Although underprepared and slightly tough the octopus had a wonderful char to them.
We finished the meal with a plate of lamb ragu. Fresh, house made tagliatelle created the foundation of the entrée. Firm and structured without being chewy it was extremely well made. The addition of cream to the ragu sauce made it rich and filling, perfect for a cold winters night. The part of this dish however that made it stand out was the ragu itself. Bold and gamey the flavor of the lamb was rich, expressive and hearty. It stood in the forefront of the flavors with an aggressive heartiness.
PMG stands for pour ma gueule, which is a French expression used to describe a private or personal stash of wine reserved for friends and family. Simple, friendly and boldly confident in its identity, PMG lives up to the implications of its name. Wine bars can be a tough sell in todays modern restaurant world but after a wonderful meal there I am hoping this one sticks around. With creative and simple food paired, with reasonably priced wine, PMG is the perfect place to keep away the winter chills.