Tight Lines café is about good food and great places. I really love to eat and I love to cook. I have all my life. I think about food all the time. When I’m not cooking I’m thinking about cooking. I cook almost every night (okay I poop out too) and cooking keeps me sane. I’ve been that way my whole adult life. I’ll share my “home runs” as well as my “whiffs”. I’ll give you my honest and sometimes “raw” opinion but you’ll always know where I’m headed. We’ll cook some of my favorite recipes as well as favorite recipes from others. First rule. We have no rules. Enjoy!
What kind of food are we going to cook? How about approachable food anyone can prepare? No intimidation here. Remember, I love to cook and I love to eat. It’s my therapy. It has to be easy. The kitchen has to be a “stress release” zone for me. Otherwise, what’s the use? Our lives are complicated enough without stressing over food. My goal is to use the healthiest ingredients available and keep meals as simple as possible. Let’s cook healthy food that makes sense. That seems doable, right? I cook my meals at home and know you will too. I understand some nights we don’t want to cook (or fight the crowds) so we get real creative with what’s left over. Maybe even a bit nutsy. Prime rib fajitas? Why not? I know good food can be expensive and I do my best to suggest ingredients that are widely available, accessible and not too “exotic”. I may have a small advantage (or not) and I’ll confess to it right now. I live in Northern California and we have everything, always. Great meats, fish, produce, cheeses, and so on and on and on. Just the lettuce section in our supermarkets is impressive. Farmer’s markets, unspeakable.
Most of our meals can be done in an hour or less from prep to table. Okay, maybe longer if you get distracted but if you pay attention (and get in rhythm), piece of cake. I’ll explain “rhythm” later. Some of our recipes may be best prepared during the weekend (when time is more abundant) and dinner time is flexible. But your weekends could be busier than your weekdays so you decide when to cook what. I hope to offer something for every level of cook, from beginners to serious chefs. Offer new ideas, twists on old favorites, and solid techniques that will inspire you to create your own dishes. Some recipes may offer gluten free options (can’t hurt) that will be just as tasty as traditional.
Who’s stirring the pot? I’m Kurt Colgan. I’m a home chef with a day job. I’ve never cooked in a restaurant (but was a dishwasher once) at the Elks club in Kalamazoo Michigan. 1970. I loved every minute of it. I was lucky as a child. My mom loved to cook and (remember) I love to eat. She was the best cook I knew growing up. Of course I ate there a lot but still, as a child I can’t remember having a better home cooked meal anywhere. Shirley A. rocked the house. No wonder my friends were always hanging out and waiting for the dinner invite. She was a master. I owe her all the credit for encouraging me in the kitchen and lighting my flame. She’s cooking for the big guy now. She’s yelling right now at Peter to keep his elbows off the table. In my later years I’ve had the good fortune of spending time in the kitchen with some “professionally” trained chefs. They taught me wonderful skills and techniques I am anxious to share. Kudos to Dante. He taught me a lot and he keeps on teaching. I always looked forward his phone call. “Hey Kurt, want to go play with food?” It was time to cook!
What’s with the name Tight Lines café? Why Tight Lines? As much as I love to cook, I also love fly fishing. Tight Lines means “best of luck” to fisherman. Fly fishing takes me to some of the most beautiful places connected to some of the most wonderful people on this earth. I love the culture and the process. Hard to imagine any better therapy than a sport based on standing in moving water.
I really started “survival” cooking when I moved out on my own. I graduated from High School (in Florida) when I was 17. I always wanted to live in the mountains. Hair to the middle of my back, a few dollars in my pocket, and plans of the biggest order, I was ready to go. Robert Plant’s lyrics had reached me (remember Led Zeppelin). “There is a feeling I get when I look to the West”. I had that feeling. Within hours of my graduation ceremony I was on my way to Colorado. I ended up in Basalt, settling on a river named the “Frying Pan”. The Frying Pan is one of the finest, most scenic trout streams in the US. With a name like the “Frying Pan” the cooking and fly fishing world were bound to collide and my universe would never be the same. My fate was sealed!
Come on in to the café. Take a seat and let’s get cooking. Tell a story, bring a picture. Come back and bring your friends. We love that you’re here.