All posts by Claire Walter

Awesome Avelina Launches in LoDo

New LoDo eatery with sterling pedigree.

Avelina executive chef John Broening.
Avelina executive chef John Broening.

Chef John Broening and pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, partners in life and in business, are the culinary brains behind Avelina, a big new restaurant carrying a name that means “little bird.” Individually and together, they have produced exquisite fare in a number of restaurants, and Yasmin has been a James Beard finalist/semi-finalist pastry chef more times than I can recall.

Chef de cuisine John Broening and sous-chef Bradley Yard in the large, open kitchen.
Thumbs-up-from chef de cuisine John Broening  (ight) and sous-chef Bradley Yard in the large, open kitchen.

I first encountered Broening at Primitivo, at the time the only fine-dining restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs, and again at Brasserie Rouge in the Ice House before Union Station’s major make-over.  He joined Udi’s on Broadway, where and Yasmin met.  They were in turn at Duo, Olivéa, Spuntino and now Avelina, which is owned by North Carolina-based Urban Food Group out but thanks to them and their team, it has a distinct Colorado flair.

A quiet moment before Avelina's opening party gets roaring.
A quiet moment before Avelina’s opening party gets roaring.

The enormous space. which is proportioned like a big bank with high ceilings, large light fixtures and commodious furnishings, made for a grand setting for the grand opening party. The food — small bites or this and that — was as delicious as  it was beautiful and vice versa. The servers were busy as worker bees ferrying out platter after platter (and beverages as well).  Sometimes they  had time to let guests know what we were eating. Other times not, so here are some uncaptioned food pictures.

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Price check: Shared plates, $5-$16, charcuterie, $11-$12; large plates, $19-$39.

Avelina is one block from Union Station at 1550 17th Street (entrance at Wazee Street),  Denver; 720-904-6711.

Luxury Touch at Navy Mess

Submarine  cooks to get tips on Colorado cuisine.

nuclearnavy-logoWhen the “USS Colorado,” America’s newest Virginia Class nuclear submarine, is launched later this year,  its cooks will have in their repertoire recipes that enhance the submarine service’s reputation for some of the best food in the Navy. Since a nuclear submarine produces its own air and water, it can stay submerged for as long as they have food. It’s not uncommon for submarines to stay under water for weeks at a time. Therefore, food is a top priority.

Chef Michael Wright of The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa meets with two members of the crew today for cooking lessons on how to prepare some traditional Colorado dishes. These include Brown Palace and Colorado specialties such as the Ship Tavern’s famous Prime Rib and Rocky Mountain Trout and Ellyngton’s classic Eggs Benedict, house-made sausage, Brown Palace granola and of course, the Denver omelet. The crew will then be able to serve these dishes at sea — or more accurately, under the sea.

In addition to the Brown, two other iconic Colorado hotels were selected to provide the cooking lessons: The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs and the Four Seasons in Vail. I’m not sure what the Broadmoor and the Four Seasons will do as a follow-up, but the Brown is putting on a Chef’s Table luncheon for 20 or so invited guests.

Lonely Planet’s New Food Series

With food a major part of travel, publisher adds titles.

lonelyplanet-logoLonely Planet, now the world’s largest travel guidebook publisher (and my favorite line of titles), is launching the Lonely Planet Food imprint. Food is a key way in which we experience a place when traveling. Out on October 18 is Food Trails: Plan 52 Perfect Weekends in the World’s Tastiest Destinations ($24.99), promising “a gastronomic tour of the greatest, most memorable food experiences worth planning a trip around – from barbeque in Texas to patisserie in Paris, fine dining to cooking classes.”  Also coming this fall are Food Trails (October), From the Source: Spain, and From the Source: Japan (both September). Coming in May 2017 is Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour.

The new imprint is launched with impressive ambitions. Associate publisher Robin Barton says, “We will be publishing a wide range of titles, including recipe books that feature food in its place of origin, and travel companions to food and drink trails around the world. We show chefs cooking, customers eating and ingredients being bought in markets, giving readers a true sense of place. A huge part of the food experience is the surroundings, atmosphere and people – our aim is to bring the complete package to people at home who are keen to experience world food at its most authentic.”

In Lonely Planet fashion, the publisher says that its “experts scoured the globe to create a comprehensive guide to a year’s worth of weekends in food heaven. Both practical and inspirational, Food Trails features culinary experts, reviews of restaurants, cafes and markets, and maps and information on where to go when and how to get there.” And did I mention that the food and ambiance photography promises to whet travelers’ appetites?

Cross-posted to Travel Babel.

The Bell Tolls for Conor O’Neill’s

Boulder Irish pub to close after 17 years.

conoroneill-logoConor O’Neill’s, downtown Boulder’s Irish pub, has that time-worn ambiance of a place that’s been around for decades. In truth, became an instant institution a mere 17 years ago. It is closing on October 2, collateral damage from Boulder’s construction boom. First, its cozy back room and congenial patio fell victim to demolition/construction virtually in its backyard.

Little wonder that it felt so genuinely Irish. The owners has the whole restaurant built in Ireland. “The light fixtures, the furniture, the antiques and even the paintings on the walls were all made in Ireland and shipped over,” co-founder Colm O`Neill told the Daily Camera in 1999. “We even have four Irish bartenders who have come over to the states to work for us.”

With the shuttering of the pub, the fate of the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade that “marches up and down the block is in  question. Meanwhile, the other Conor ONeiil’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan presumably will remain open.1922 13th Street, Boulder; 303- 449-1922.

…and in Denver
The Campus Lounge, a popular Bonnie Brae watering hole, closed yesterday after 40 years. Click here for the local CBS News report on its last day.

 

Westword’s DISH Food Fest Tomorrow

All you can eat and all you can drink at DCPA event.

westworddish-logoMore than 40 Denver restaurants and other food purveyors are doing their culinary thing in the shadow of the “Two Dancers” sculpture at the Denver Performing Arts Complex tomorrow, September 25, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  during the 22nd annual Westword DISH food festival. It’s a bargain as such things go — $20 general admission and $75 VIP early entry. Both levels include unlimited food samples and beverages (Stella Artois beer and others).

Syrup, Little Man Ice Cream, The Real Dill, Aikopops, Onefold, Biker Jim’s, Roaming Buffalo BBQ, The Vegan Van, Dirt Coffee Bar, Interstate Kitchen, Neighbors Wine Bar, Milk & Cake, Brazen, Il Porcellino, Frijoles Colorado, Amore Gelato, Jozi’s Kitchen & Sheebeen, Americatus, the Nickel and more will all be dishing samples at DISH. It’s not a family event, however, as it’s 21+. (Take RTD and bring an ID.)

You can buy tickets online or at the entrance beginning at 10 a.m. with no service fee.

Honors for Emily’s Brooklyn Pizza

My cross-country, cross-generational connection with Brooklyn pizzeria.

DailyMeal-logoAs you might have noticed, I often post news of national honors or national recognition awarded to Colorado restaurants, chefs and wines. Brooklyn is not normally on my radar screen, but I was thrilled to see that Pizza Loves Emily, a Brooklyn pizzeria now with two locations, was cited as one of “The 25 Best Cheese Pizzas in America,” as selected by TheDailyMeal.com.

The namesake is Emily Hyland, who owns it with her husband Matt. I knew her as a pre-schooler named Emily Shaw. She was a Stevens Cooperative Nursery School classmate of my son, Andrew, in Hoboken, NJ. Emily’s parents Rex and Rona Shaw and I have stayed in holiday letter touch throughout the years, and we reconnected in person recently when they came to a wedding in Estes Park. They both told me that when we next are in New York, we have to go to Pizza Loves Emily. And we will.

I don’t know what has changed but I cannot seem to copy The Daily Meal’s post about Emily, so you’ll have to click on this link in order to read it.

Pizza Loves Emily Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Denver Central Market Opening on Sunday

RiNo’s second market hall set to open officially.

foodmarketstandI’ve haunted food market halls forever — Boston’s long-gentrified Haymarket, the Essex Street Market in New York’s Lower East Side that has also been gentrified and no longer feels like a corner of Eastern Europe, the Fulton Fish Market when it was still in Lower Manhattan, Seattle’s Pike Place Market, the Los Angeles Farmers Market and so many more around the globe.

Ever since it opened, The Source in the RiNo Art District has been one of my favorite Denver destinations, and I am looking forward to the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, although it is diagonally across metro Denver from Boulder. I’ve also I’ve been keeping an eye on The Denver Central Market, since the project was started. Now, according to reports from first looks by other local food writers and bloggers, it’s gorgeous. It is ready to go with the official opening scheduled for Sunday, September 25.

The Denver Central Market early in its development.
The Denver Central Market early in its development — last April. The hoped-for spring 2016 opening was pushed back, but now, it’s happening.

Restaurateurs Jeff Osaka (the late lamented Twelve, Osaka Ramen, Sushi-Ramen) and Ken Wolf (Empire, Pizzeria da Lupo) undertook the ambitious project of turning the 1928 H.H, Tammen Building from a shell into gorgeous light-filled, 14.000-square-foot artisanal marketplace.

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