Justin Brunson, the chef behind Masterpiece Deli, also owns one of Denver’s most important restaurants (the acclaimed Old Major), and his culinary talents are equally showcased at this humble deli. One of the major feats of this Mile High shop is its versatility. The menu features a mouthwatering 12-hour-braised beef brisket smothered in a rich Taleggio fondue and served on a baguette. And damn it if Masterpiece’s bland-as-hell-sounding roasted vegetable sandwich isn’t one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat, too. The flavors of the fresh zucchini, wild mushrooms, and piquillo peppers mesh gloriously with the hummus, a zesty tomato tapenade, and aged provolone on a baguette. Though the Cubano — loaded with Black Forest ham and brined mojo pork and glued together with melted Swiss — might be enough to tempt even the president of PETA over to the dark side.
The original is in LoHi, where it was a pioneering good-food presence. There’s a second Masterpiece Deli in Uptown and a related eatery, Masterpiece Kitchen, in Lowry.
Food & Wine magazine selected its choices for the best farm-to-table restaurant in every state, where hey surveyed food writers and bloggers. Even though they didn’t contact me, I’m happy to note that Boulder-born The Kitchen was the Colorado choice. I concur, because The Kitchen really pioneered the concept in this neck of the culinary woods.
Here’s what Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore wrote (but the fact-checking or proofreading was flawed. It’s Kimbal Musk, not Kimbal Husk):
Colorado: The Kitchen
“Over the past five years in Boulder and Denver, I’ve noticed a big shift towards a vibrant restaurant scene with a palpable verve around sustainability,” said . “Restaurants like Black Cat, Potager, and Fruition have really stepped up to the plate to deliver inspired seasonal cuisine.” Paving the farm-to-table way in Colorado is The Kitchen, which has establishments in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins and applies its strong eco-friendly philosophy—that includes everything from the locally sourced ingredients to wind power to composting—in each location. Founders Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Husk have also created a nonprofit that’s built over 200 Learning Gardens in schools in Colorado, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Memphis for 120,000 students to discover the benefits of growing and eating fresh healthy food.
Louisville landmark going dark after nearly a century.
When I moved to Boulder in 1988, “someone” told me about two terrific Italian restaurants in Louisville: Colacci’s and the Blue Parrot. It took me a while to get to them, but compared to the southern Italian restaurants of the Northeast, they were not at all terrific. In fact, to my palate, they were remarkably mediocre. Low-taste recipes and throw-back ambience, better for nostalgia than for actually eating there. The Colacci family was behind both.
Colacci’s closed some years ago, and now The Blue Parrot is planning on closing at the end of the month. Their spaghetti sauce is or was bottled, but I was never motivated to look for it. Too bad it couldn’t hang on for a couple of years to celebrate its 100th birthday. I say “RIP,” but since I couldn’t bring myself to try it a second time, I might be partially responsible for its demise.
Should you wish to pay it a farewell visit, it is at 640 Main Street, Louisville; 303 666-0677.
Tom Coohill raises the bar for professional kitchenwear.
Tom Coohill, chef/owner of his namesake LoDo restaurant, is a notable local chef and also an avid outdoorsman. Chefs’ whites haven’t changed much in a very long time, while outdoor clothing keeps evolving with new materials and new styles.
IKONIC CHEF is a Denver apparel company that is committed to design, performance and function for today’s best kitchens, and if you like the latest and greatest in appliances and gadgets in your home kitchen. check out this high-function apparel that uses IKCoolThread.
IKONIC sought out leaders in fabric technology and designers of performance gear to produce breakthrough chef wear to address the challenges of modern kitchen environments. The result: a system that they say “has been tested, optimized, and proven to keep chefs clean and cool under pressure.” The coat doesn’t come cheap ($169, plus $39 for an optional gray T-shirt), but staying cool and comfortable in the heat of the professional kitchen: priceless. FoMoInfo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-925-2716.
Heritage pigs the spotlight of annual culinary tour.
Cochon 555, which returns to Denver on March 19, features a roster of local chefs and sommeliers but stars heritage pigs. This cutting-edge culinary festival is nationally known for its signature nose-to-tail pig cooking competition with the expanded Heritage BBQ theme. The innovative flavors on offer include the Somm Smackdown, featuring wine/pork matching, and Punch Kings, where top barkeeps face off with cocktail punches. There will be 1,500-plus pounds of heritage breed pork plus a Heritage Rum Cart; Ramen Bar; Farmstead Cheeses; a Pop-Up Butcher Shop for Charity; Smoked Old Fashioneds, and fab artisanal wines.
The event is scheduled for 4 to 7:30 p.m. The chefs and somms are still to be announced, but the location has been firmed up as the Curtis Hotel. VIP tickets are $200 each and general admission is $125. Some of the proceeds go to charity. Click here to purchase — or just check out the great footage of past events to get an idea of the excitement.
I am, in general, unenthusiastic about chains, but my husband and I did try the Pearl Street location of Florida-based World of Beer, and other than the noise level inside, I thought it offered a good happy hour. Click here for my post.
Boulder has now lost is WOB, evicted due to more than a year’s unpaid rent of more than $116,000 for its 3,800-square- foot space at 921 Pearl Street.
It’s not the only shuttered WOB in the Denver/Boulder metro area. In February, the even larger 4,100 -square-foot LoDo location (1555 Blake Street, along the 16th Street Mall next to ChoLon Bistro) closed after less than two years of pulling and pouring. The remaining area WOBs (Belmar and CitySet in Glendale, which the company promotes as Cherry Creek) are reportedly unaffected by the other locations’ problems. So far, at least.
Italian Christmas Eve feast coming to Jax in Old Town.
Several years ago, a friend and I conspired to prepare the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional southern Italian Christmas Eve feast. Eight or so of us had a great time. The food was good, but nothing compared to what a good restaurant kitchen can put out.
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar in downtown Fort Collins is putting on special Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, featuring fresh seafood and other exquisite dishes prepared by Jax Chef Ricky Myers. This is the third year that Jax has put on the Festa dei Sette Pesci, but the first time I’ve been aware of it. In fact, Jax is reportedly the only restaurant in the area that is offering this unique meal on Christmas Eve.
Oysters on the half shell; grapa mignonette
Big Eye Tuna Crudo, pickled fennel and celery, orange segments,
The cost is $55 per person. There will also be an optional bottomless wine offering (red, white or both), and a discounted menu of wine by the bottle. Reservations are required; call 970-682-2275.
The restaurant is at 123 North College Avenue, Fort Collins.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.