Udi's Robin Baron dishes on her new Boulder restaurant, the perfect pizza and why eight inches is the ideal size
What's your favorite knife? A sharp one. I'm kind of little, so going anything past eight inches is a little more than I can handle...
Favorite dish to cook at home: Shakshuka. It's sort of the unofficial national breakfast dish of Israel. It's eggs that are actually cooked in a tomato sauce of garlic, peppers and spices. I serve it with an Israeli salad.
Favorite dish on your menu: Our fresh hummus. It's topped with green tahini, nice olive oil and smoked pimentón, and we serve it with fresh veggies, pickles and our pizza Bianca bread fired in our wood-burning oven.
If you could put any dish on your menu, even though it might not sell, what would it be? Baba ghanoush topped with pomegranate seeds, fresh mint and toasted pine nuts. I'd also love to add moussaka -- smoked eggplant with braised lamb and bechamel sauce. It's unreal.
You're making a pizza. What's on it? It would be my favorite pizza at Udi's Arvada: bechamel, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Taleggio cheese, roasted cauliflower, green olives, breadcrumbs, parsley and truffle oil. But, really, the most important thing about pizza is the dough, and Maurizio Negrini, our head baker, worked on our dough for over a year before we opened the Arvada location. The pizza crust is the key: We ferment our dough for 36 hours to achieve the perfect flavor and texture, and we bake our pizzas in handcrafted Italian ovens with stone bottoms so we can get a great crust with deep caramelization.
You're at the market. What do you buy two of? Avocados. I eat something with avocado every day. They're creamy, sweet and rich, and they complement so many other foods.
Guiltiest food pleasure? French fries -- good French fries. They must be perfectly cooked, hand-cut in-house, blanched so that they're like mashed potatoes inside, fried till they're bronzed and the sugars in the potato are caramelized and crispy, and then, of course, they must be salted.
What's next for you? In less than a month, we're opening a quick-casual Middle Eastern restaurant called Pickled Lemon, on the Hill in Boulder. It's a new concept for Udi's, and I'm very excited. I've been dreaming about doing Middle Eastern food forever. It's my food of choice.