All posts by Claire Walter

Two Single Sources = One Trendy Pairing

Single-vineyard wines + single-estate chocolate a fortuitous pairing.

WineChocolateSingle sourcing seems to be a thing these days — single-vineyard wines and single-estate coffee, tea and now chocolate are capturing connoisseurs’ fancy. Boulder’s Settembre Cellars hosts a Valentines Weekend pairing of four of its own single-vineyard wines with four sweet bites of Boulder’s Fortuna Chocolates — two bonbons made with single-estate cacao and two ganaches.

I’m familiar with Settembre Cellars’ traditional, Italian-inspired wines, and I learned about Fortuna from a Daily Camera piece called “For the Love of Chocolate.” The take-away is that cacao beans grown in the shade of mango trees possess unique flavor characteristics that have captivated the trio that runs Fortuna Chocolate in its “mobile chocolate lab,” which is a glamorous way of describing a trailer

Frankly, this might all be too subtle for me, but I will rely on the refined tastebuds of those who. Meanwhile, I do know that nothing says Valentines Day like the combo of wonderful wine and divine chocolate. The Settembre Cellars tasting room is hosting this inspired local pairing this weekend  — Saturday and Sunday, February 13-14 from 1 to 4 p.m. The cost is $17 online or $19 at the door. The tasting room is at 1501 Lee Hill Road, Boulder.

Tomorrow, Chef Hosea is on ‘Today’

Boulder chef doing Super Bowl foods on TV.

TodayShow-logoI’ll be watching “The Today Show” tomorrow (that’s Friday, February 4) starting around 9:30 a.m. That’s because Boulder chef/restaurateur Hosea Rosenberg will be on a Super Bowl snacks cook-off against a still-unidentified Carolina cooker.

Rosenberg has said that he plans to prepare two Broncos-inspired dishes. He’ll do “Super Nachos” with blue corn tortillas, shredded cheese, smoked pork green chili, crisp Blackbelly bacon bits, and roasted tomato salsa. Also, “Broncos Sliders,” Bison patties topped with strips of green chile, Blackbelly bacon and melted smoked provolone on a bed of Fritos.

I’m putting my money on Hosea to win the cook-off, no matter whom Carolina comes up with. Not only do I know and like him, but after all, he won “Top Chef,” Season Five and is therefore accustomed to televised competition.  It gives him a chance to put the Blackbelly name in front of a national audience. He carefully parlayed his renown, his winnings and the gigs that followed into Blackbelly Market, Blackbelly Catering, and Blackbelly Farms, all in Boulder.

Lakewood Coffee Roaster on Top-21 List

Lakewood’s Sweet Bloom on the national map.

Thrillist-logoWhen I read the headline,  “The 21 Best Coffee Roasters in the Country,” I idly wondered which Boulder or Denver roaster would be on the list. Answer is “none” — or “one, sort of.”  Sweet Bloom is the only Colorado roaster to make the list. It’s located in Lakewood, but its bags say “Denver.”

Sweet Bloom
Lakewood, CO
The bean: San Adolfo Colombia (floral, berry, nougat)
Most roasters are proud to have visited the farms they source their coffee from, but Sweet Bloom takes it a step further by actually inviting its farmers to its Lakewood, CO headquarters to taste the fruits of their labor, which happen to be roasted by a guy who’s taken home first or second in nearly all of the most important competitions in coffee. The roasts skew lighter than average, with an emphasis on sweetness (go figure) and floral aromatics. Word on the street is that Colombian beans are the move, but it’s hard not to try the Guatemalans once you hear the story of the third-generation farmers behind the crop.

Marczyk’s Burger Night by Day

Popular summer event back to celebrate Super Bowl.

Marczyk-logoYesterday, I wrote about a Bronco Burger created just for Super Bowl — with the crucial caveat that it is necessary to pass through Denver International Airport security to try it at any of the three Lefty’s at the . Marczyk Fine Foods has an easier (and cheaper) way to honor the Denver Broncos with its own burger offering.  The market is setting up Burger Night — well Burger Afternoon. On Friday February 5, the crew is  rolling out the grill to bring back a favorite summer burger for one winter day only. Cost is $8.99.

The original location on 17th and Clarkson will be grilling the market’s signature hand-pattied Niman Ranch burgers from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Like football itself,  this is a snow or sun event.
While you’re there, stock up on Marczyk Fine Foods’ game day favorites — Pete’s famous Pork Green Chili, Disco Jim’s Pimento Cheese Dip (yes it’s orange) and beef-and chicken-fajitas made in-house by the meat crew.

Chef Troy Guard’s New Burger

DIA eateries featuring Bronco Burger this week.

SuperBowl50Among other titles, Denver star chef Troy Guard is described as the “Broncos chef,” so it is fitting that he created a big burger as a run-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl. But unless you are flying somewhere, you’ll have to go to the airport to try it — and you’ll have to hurry. The $14.50 “Bronco Burger” will be exclusively served at Lefty’s Colorado Trails, Lefty’s Mile High and Lefty’s Front Range within the Denver International Airport — and only through Super Bowl Sunday, February 7.


The 7-ounce bison burger is topped with Tillamook cheddar cheese, sautéed onions, roasted jalapenos, smoky aioli and is served on a toasted pretzel bun.  A problem for burger-loving Broncos fans is that all three are on DIA’s airside, meaning that burger lovers have to pass through security in order to enjoy this short-run burger. But Guard does know his burgers, event though nothing similar appears on the menus of TAG Burger Bar in Congress Park or Highlands. Sigh.

Winery Colors: Not Just Red & White

Settembre Cellars puts a colorful spin on wine tastings.

SettembreCellarsI didn’t pay too much attention to the adult coloring book phenomenon until I heard a piece about it on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” and now, I notice the fad/fashion/trend all over the place.

Blake and Tracy Eliasson, the owners of Settembre Cellars, also noticed. The winery in north Boulder hosts adult coloring sessions every Sunday afternoon from 1 to 6 p.m.  Participants can bring their own coloring books or make a selection from Settembre’s library. While they’re coloring, guests can enjoy they winery’s elegant and balanced wines, available by the glass or flight — or bottle (to take home). I just wonder whether people get wilder as they imbibe — or whether they have problems staying within the lines. If they do, they probably don’t really care.

The tasting room is open Thursdays through Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring picnic fare while they sample the wines. 1501 Lee Hill Road, #16,  Boulder; 303-532-1892.

Aloy Thai Opening Today in Denver

Expanded, enhanced branch of Boulder restaurant in Ballpark area.

037When they selected  February 1, sisters Bo Bean and Arisa Chanchokpong didn’t pick the most auspicious day to open Aloy Modern Thai, an uptick from their Boulder eatery.  Big snows are forecast for this evening, and I’m not sure what the chefs they’ve brought in from Asia will make of it. But snow melts and warm weather will arrive, and by then, I’m guessing that Denverites will have come to appreciate Aloy’s food, as Boulderites have taken to the original. Smaller than the Denver location and set in a Boulder strip mall, it certainly is one of the best in town.

I got a chance to sample an infinite procession of dishes during a media preview last week on an evening mild enough for a pleasant walk from the 16th Street Mall. Located in in the former Trillium space on Larimer Street, its decorative makeover was largely cosmetic.  In addition to Thai classics, there is a definite Japanese undercurrent that appears here and there on the menu.

Guests were presented with 18 courses along with sips of a like number of excellent and unusual beverages to match. Even with modest tasting samples. The menu boasts of a farm-to-table connection and lists farms from which they source seasonal ingredients are sourced.  The food was dazzling. Here goes with a sample of the sampling, as it were:

Passed hors d'oeuvres included Cracking Tofu.
Passed hors d’oeuvres included Crackling Tofu with shitake bacon, a roll of cucumber and miso sauce.
Smoked Verlasso salmon, a premium farmed salmon from Chile. It is served on an arched yucca chip with orange aioli.
Smoked Verlasso salmon, a premium farmed salmon from Chile. It is served on an arched yucca chip with orange aioli.


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