All posts by Claire Walter

Leading Chefs at State of the Union Summit

Mr. Coohill and Mr. Asher go to Washington.

Don’t expect Tom Coohill to be at his namesake Denver restaurant or Daniel Asher to be at Boulder’s River & Woods over the next few days. They join such star chefs as Tom Colicchio, José Andrés and Andrew Zimmern at the second meeting of the 2017 Plate of the Union Farm Bill Summit today and tomorrow in Washington, D.C.

 Chefs and food industry leaders from around the country are there to review and discuss food policies surrounding the 2018 Farm Bill. This is a follow-up to the first session in April, when the group, led by the agricultural advocacy organization Plate of the Union, reported its findings and recommendations to the House and Senate.

 Every five years, Congress is tasked with passing the farm bill, which affects things such as how food is grown, what it costs the consumer, the safety of drinking water and whether all Americans have access to healthy, affordable food.

 “One of the main goals of this program that we’re working hard on is addressing hunger,” Chef Tom says. “We’re looking to revamp the labeling system in this country which, if it were done accurately with a standardized approach on the sell-by date, we could be feeding way, way more people with the food that just gets thrown away at the grocery store every day. If we were to get this through, it would basically cure hunger in the United States, because 40 percent of food just goes to waste right now.”

 Plate of the Union is a food advocacy organization with a stated mission of encouraging U.S. agriculture to focus on organic and sustainable practices with positive impacts on land and water, resulting in everyone being able to access “healthy, affordable food – regardless of their zip code – that is fair to workers, keeps farmers on the land and protects our environment.”

Good luck, Chefs. 

Denver’s Tender Belly Named a Top Bacon

Time Inc. launches food site with bacon rating.

Another “best” list has appeared on the cyber-scene. Well Done is a new daily newsletter from the editors of Food & Wine,  Real Simple, Cooking Light, MyRecipes and other publications from the Time Inc. Network.  Bacon critic Scott Gold started off with a sampling of bacon from all across the country to crown the Best Bacon in the United States.  He cited Tender Belly, which makes thick-cut and delicious bacon in several flavors. 5149 Race Court, Denver, 800-975-6806.

PHOTO BY SCOTT GOLD

Tender Belly was highly recommended by one of my food writer friends in Denver as their great local bacon. It has a lovely, dark lean to it that you’ll only find in quality pork, and good striations of fat without being overly unctuous. It also boasts an excellent thickness quotient, right there in my favorite “Goldilocks” zone. Most distinctively, though, is that Tender Belly opts for cherrywood in smoking their signature bacon, and while you can hardly taste the apples in applewood-smoked bacon, you can actually taste the cherry here. It might not be for everyone, and it’s certainly unique among the bacons I’ve sampled, but I enjoyed the bold decision to go with such a heavily flavored fruitwood for

Buy Tix Now For Denver Burger Battle

Burgers, brews and more sing the song of summer.

The eighth annual Denver Burger Battle on Thursday, August 3   features  craft beer, boozy milkshakes, bite-sized desserts and 16 of the best burgers in Colorado. It takes place on the Tivoli Quad Park in Denver. VIP entry begins at 5:30 p.m. and general admission at 6:30. Prices are $69.99 and $124.99 respectively. This event tends to sell out. Click on the website link to purchase tickets.

2017 Competitors

Stoic & Genuine (‘2016 judges’ champ)

Cherry Cricket (2016 people’s champ)
TAG Burger Bar
Parkburger 
Highland Tap & Burger
Crave Real Burgers
Uber eats 
American Grind 
Stanley Beer Hall 
Pig & Sprout 
Concourse 
Prohibition
Departure 
Marczyk Fine Foods
My Brother’s Bar 
Bully Ranch 

Slow Food Nations Coming to Denver

Major food event adds to Denver’s culinary luster.

The international Slow Food movement was founded in Italy in 1989 as an antidote to the corporatized fast food that was engulfing the world. The concept of Slow Food is a growing movement that has gained increasing momentum over the years, spawning the farm-to-table restaurants, home gardens and sustainable agriculture. Denver hosts Slow Food Nations, a weekend celebration of sustainable foods raised with respect for animals, the environment and farmers.

It comes to Denver this weekend with informative, inspiring and mouth-watering events. Some are only for Slow Food delegates, others have paid entry but many of them are free. Organizers expect some 10,000 chefs, policymakers, farmers and food lovers from all over the world to participate in this confab whose theme is “street food-festival-meets-sustainability and policy discussion.”

I missed out on the media application (was I away, or was it just my brain that was on hiatus?), but I am volunteering on Sunday the 16th. I probably won’t be able to rub elbows with the likes of Alice Waters or Rick Bayless, but I will be a small cog in the wheel of this wonderful event that includes free demos on the Larimer Square culinary stage.  Click here for a full schedule of paid and free events.

Fancy Cappuccino in Belgium

This espresso drink wears a cream crown.

Order a cappuccino in even the most modest bar or cafe in Wallonia and it comes mit Schlag and a cookie. Two days, two cafes and two fancy versions.

Whipped cream on the side in Beaumont.
The whipped cream is taller than the coffee in Dinant. Plus it has sprinkles on top.

We will be in Belgium until July 5, I am l looking forward to more such coffee treats.

Top BBQ in Colorado

Smokin’  Dave’s and GQ Championship BBQ on national list.

Adrian Miller, Denver-based lapsed lawyer, author of the James Beard Award-winning Soul Food: The Surprising Story of American Cuisine and The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our Fed Our First Families from the Washingtons to the Obamas, is also a certified barbecue judge. He just posted news that two Colorado restaurants (four locations total) have been named on the list of “Best of the Best Barbecue Restaurants in America” by National Barbecue News. Just 29 restaurants nationwide made the list.

In winter, when it’s not crowded, we have sometimes managed to score a table at Smokin’ Dave’s in Estes Park but usually end up stopping in Lyons on the way home. The meats, the chicken, the sauces, the even the sides (especially the sweet potato fries, slaw and the beans) are great. The funky automotive décor is run too. I don’t post every time we stop there, but occasional do, particularly the Lyons location après la deluge of 2013. We’ve never been to GQ Championship BBQ in Westminster, but it’s now on our to-try list.

Interestingly, neither of these restaurants appear on his Soul Food Scholar blog’s selection of his own favorite spots in the state and elsewhere. However, Durango-born Serious Texas Bar-B-Q (two in Durango and one each in Fort Collins and Loveland) meets his standards.

Upcoming Food Fests in Denver

Two alliterative competitions to find the best tacos and burgers.

Attendees at the massive Top Taco coming on Thursday, June 22 may sample unlimited taco tastes from and signature tequila cocktails  from 45 popular Denver restaurants. They can also vote for favorite in Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Vegetarian Taco and Top Cocktail categories. Add live music, creative tequila lounge areas, and Top Taco is a hard to beat summer event.  Hours are 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. with early entry for the two most expensive tickets. General admission is $69, 1st Tasting is $90 and a VIP ticket is $125. Click here to purchase.

Last minute tickets available:
$10 OFF USE DISCOUNT CODE “LASTCHANCETACO” WHEN BUYING TICKETS AT TOPTACODENVER.COM FOR $10 OFF. OFFER GOOD THROUGH MIDNIGHT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 2017.

Four local burger-meisters compete in the annual Denver Burger Battle on Thursday, August 3. They have to impress a picky and knowledgeable panel of judges — all chefs and restaurateurs — with their creativity and skills. Each chef prepares four types of burgers. Contestant restaurants are The Cherry Cricket, Stoic & Genuine,  and Park Burger. Heavy-hitter judges are Josh Wolken (Steuben’s, Ace, Vesta), Elise Wiggins (Cattivella), Bryan Dayton (Oak on Fourteenth, Acorn, Brider) and Bradford Heap (Salt, Colterra, Wild Standard), and attendees get to vote on the People’s Choice too.

General admission ($69.95) gets unlimited burger tastes from all competitors, open bar with craft beer, wine and samples of premium spirits and desserts from Little Man, Glazed & Confused, Happy Bakeshop & Sweet Action. VIP admission ($124.99) buys all that plus early admission to the event at 5:30 p.m. and reduced lines, exclusive VIP area with covered lounges, extra seating and private bars and specialty VIP cocktails (High Noon Vodka, Rebel Yell hiskey, Cane Rum, Fireball, Exotico Tequila, Buffalo Trace Bourbon or Tuaca), plus  unlimited desserts from Little Man, Glazed & Confused, Happy Bakeshop, & Sweet Action. The event is rain or shine, 21+ only and takes place at Tivoli Quad Park, Denver.