Boulder County Market Report and Amu Restaurant Review

The month of September brought a surprise uptick in countywide overall sales after seasonal declines in August, with sales volume matching September 2013 despite 6% lower inventory year on year.  Initial indications for October are that increased activity is continuing, with the percentage of available inventory going under contract increasing also (although the 2013 flood may be skewing these data currently).  Bottom line- now is an excellent time to be selling, perhaps better than summer, because there is so little competition among available homes.  Although we have seen a seasonal 40% inventory reduction since the June highs that will bottom in December, activity is up, indicating buyers are out in force.  If you would like to know what your house might sell for in this market, visit my home valuation page for a free report at www.boulderareahomevalues.com.  For a more comprehensive study, call anytime.  I also wanted to pass along that interest rates are lower now than they have been in the last 12 months.  If you have a rate above 4%, you might save money by refinancing.  Brian Sharp at Boulder Lending Group is currently offering no fee refinancing to build his portfolio (Disclosure - I do not receive referral fees for this or any of my recommendations).

AMU Restaurant Review

Certain Japanese traditions should be implemented worldwide, and oshibori, the steaming hot towels offered at the table to clean one’s hands before dinner is one of them.  Enjoying the oshibori at Amu last week, I was reminded of when I first arrived in Japan years ago.  I thought they were the coolest thing ever, and I would liberally wipe my hands, face, and embarrassingly neck? Ears? with the towel with a big smile on my face.  I was determined to become fluent in Japanese at the time and one evening years later sat down in an Izakaya very similar to Amu in the heat of Tokyo summer.  I had my way with the towel as usual and I understood a man sitting near me saying to his friend “Look! He thinks he just got out of the shower! Poor Oshibori!” 

There is no Izakaya quite like Amu in Japan, but that’s what makes it so amazing to have here in Boulder.  Izakaya restaurants are like pubs that rotate local dishes on and off the menu seasonally.  Each season in each city or neighborhood generally unveils the same dishes each year, so you know what to look forward to as time passes.  At Amu, there are classics from all over Japan each season in the same restaurant, which feels a lot like Christmas every time I go.  If you feel bewildered, it’s a great idea to ask your server what he or she recommends.  For my palate it’s all been delicious, but let’s face it, raw spiced cod roe or squid and octopus are not for everyone.  If you avoid them at Amu, you will unfortunately miss one of beer’s great companions in the world, Okonomiyaki.  Amu’s version of this Osaka staple is true to its roots, savory/sweet, and happily bears little resemblance to anything in Western cuisine.  

 Grilled duck in miso sauce with fresh local vegetables.

Amu is a food adventure, an umami tour around Japan that is rare in its variety and authenticity. The sake selection is as good as any in town, and you might also want to try its low brow cousin sho-chu, which along with beer is very popular in Izakaya.  Amu is located next door to Sushi Zanmai on Spruce St. and they share the same owner, but that is where the similarity ends.  It’s intimate with space for only about 20 guests- get there early or be prepared to wait.  You will be asked to remove your shoes, and large parties can reserve the community table in back. – Stewart

1221 Spruce Street, Boulder 303 440 0807, www.izakayaamu.net