Rob Israel first experienced the fresh flavor of kettle-cooked popcorn during a 2002 visit to a Colorado farmers' market. A year later, he and his wife, Renée, left their home in Manhattan to found Boulder-based Doc Popcorn, an all-natural, gourmet popcorn company. The Israels' goal: to provide an easy snack option that complements the healthy, active lifestyle embraced by their entire family, which includes two young boys and a baby girl due next month. You can find their popular, freshly popped flavors, such as Klassic Kettle, Better Butter, and Cheesy Cheddar, in the Pepsi Center, regional Whole Foods Markets, and 10 (and growing) franchise locations across the nation.
Hand-blown Steuben glasses from Rob's grandmother have served everything from ice cream to Champagne in their 80-plus years of existence. "Any excuse to use them, but not when the kids are around, for sure," Renée says.
The Seventh Day
Each Friday evening, the Israels celebrate Shabbat by sitting down for a family meal. Rob and Renée's silver, wine-filled wedding goblet, a plate of challah, and two metal Israeli candleholders—one from each of Renée's grandmothers—adorn the table as the family takes time to slow down, give thanks, and talk about their week.
Throw a little olive oil and salt in the Whirley-Pop, a hand-crank popcorn popper, to make delicious roasted pumpkin seeds.
Renée brings home a teapot from every new country she visits. She fell in love with this hand-painted pot, which is crafted from an ostrich egg, in a Zimbabwe market.
Pièce de Résistance
"Estoril Five I," a 66-inch by 51-inch piece by painter and sculptor Frank Stella, hangs in the kitchen. Rob met Stella while working in New York.
Refreshing Summer Pasta
This warm-weather pasta can be served as an entrée or a side.
- 1 pound of capellini, preferably fresh
- 1 pint fresh cherry tomatoes (yellow and red), halved
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- generous handful fresh basil, chopped
- salt and pepper
- Parmesan cheese, grated
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix all other ingredients, except Parmesan. Drain pasta and place warm noodles over ingredients in bowl. Toss well. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top and add additional basil for garnish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.