All posts by Claire Walter

Arroyo Seco Ice Cream Parlor on World List

Recognition for Taos Cow’s pure ice cream.

TaosCow-logo I often complain that when compiling lists of “top” this or “best” that, national sites pay scant attention to restaurants in the flyover states of the Mountain West. When some establishment makes such a list, more often than not, it’s in Denver.

So it came as quite a fine surprise when The Daily Meal’s selection of the World’s 35 Best Ice Cream Parlors 2016  included the Taos Cow in tiny Arroyo Seco, a hamlet between Taos and Taos Ski Valley.  It’s actually more than an ice cream parlor but a place to stop for breakfast and lunch offerings, including really good soups.  I have no delusions that The Daily Meal actually had a correspondent try out. Bon Appétit, USA Today and the two Times newspapers (L.A. and New York) previously  wrote about it. The Daily Meal’s words about this ice cream:

Taos Cow, Arroyo Seco, N.M.

Specializing in all-natural, rGBH-free ice cream since 1993, Taos Cow mixes traditional flavors with local ingredients, creating Southwestern-inspired varieties like Buffalo Chip (vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate-covered coffee beans), Maple Walnut (made with real maple extract and walnuts), Cherry Ristra (cherry ice cream with dark chocolate chunks and piñon nuts), and Holstein Sunset (strawberry ice cream with white, dark, and milk chocolate chunks).

In case you’re wondering, rGBH is a growth hormone commonly administered to cattle.

Steuben’s & Park Burger on National List

The Daily Meal includes Denver eateries on best burger list.

DailyMeal-logoI scan every list of “best” and “top” restaurants for Colorado entries. If there is one, it is usually in Denver or occasionally Boulder, but hardly ever in the mountains.  As for the rest of the Rocky Mountain region, those sites do not seem to realize that New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana even exist. Tsk-tsk on coastal provincialism. Enough of that and on to The Daily Meal’s selection of “The 101 Best Burgers in America 2016 .” Steuben’s — a fun Denver spot with Boston roots — makes the list, as do Park Burger’s four locations.


Opened in 2007, but named in honor of a famous restaurant and nightclub co-proprietor Josh Wolkon’s great-uncles owned in Boston for several decades in the middle of the last century, Steuben’s is a neighborhood diner serving American regional specialties. Representing Colorado’s neighbor, New Mexico, the menu presents what is regularly named the best green chile (or chili, as Steuben’s puts it) cheeseburger in Denver. Said to be inspired by the classic version at the Owl Bar in San Antonio, New Mexico, it’s a fat burger patty topped with American cheese into which green chile strips seem to melt. Lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and mustard ornament the burger, which is served on a challah bun.

Park Burger

With four Denver locations, Park Burger has made a name for itself by serving fresh-ground, high-quality Angus beef from Harris Ranch on custom-baked buns. The most creative (and delicious) burger on its menu is the Croque Burger, a third-pound patty that’s given a deep crust and topped with ham, Swiss cheese, and a fried egg. Rich yet not overly so, all the components play perfectly off of each other


Top Taco Fest Coming to Denver

Restaurants vie for honors in four categories of Colorado favorite.

TopTaco-logoWe may think of tacos as being cheap, filling and casual food. Hole-in-the-wall taquerias, food trucks and upscale restaurants helmed by gifted chefs crank out this favorite food type, as do such disspiriting mainstream  chains as Taco Bell and Taco .

Top Taco on Thursday, June 23  from 6:30 to 9:30 is a competition where a panel of judges determines the best tacos in three categories (traditional, creative and vegetarian, plus tequila cocktail) . It also provides an opportunity for taco gluttony.  Guests get unlimited taco tastes and also some 100 unique tequila samples from more than 40 brands,  beer, wine and live music from Sambadente.

The event on the Auraria campus is pricy, with general admission tix at $69 and VIP admission for $90 .

Food And Wine’s Best New Chefs 2016

Food and Wine Classic in Aspen showcases new culinary luminaries.

Foos&Wube-Summer2016.-coverBeautiful and well-heeled foodies, celeb chefs, leading winemakers and other VIPs in the culinary world are gathering in Aspen for this weekend’s 2016 Food and Wine Classic in Aspen — without any doubt the most prestigious such event in the US.  The festival, among other things, serves as the national coming-out party for the annual crop of the 10 best new chefs of the year. No Colorado chefs made the cut in 2016, but here are the gifted young titans, several of whom already run more than one restaurant, selected by the magazine:

  • David Barzelay. Lazy Bear, San Francisco
  • Kevin Fink. Emmer & Rye, Austin
  • Michael Gulotta. MoPho and Tana, New Orleans
  • Edouardo Jordan. Salare, Seattle
  • Ravi Kapur, Liholiho Yacht Club, San Francisco
  • Brad Kilgore. Alter, Miami
  • Iliana Regan. Elizabeth and Bunny, the micro bakery, Chicago
  • Aaron Silverman. Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls, Washington, D.C.
  • Jeremiah Stone & Fabián von Hausk., Contra and Wildair, New York City
    Kris Yenbamroong. Night + Market and Night + Market Song, Los Angeles

Kelly Liken’s New Edwards Eatery

HarvestKellyLikenChef Kelly Liken’s heart-of-Vail restaurant was one of the resort town’s most acclaimed.  The James Beard Award nominee, TV culinary competitor and personable chef Kelly Liken closed her eponymous restaurant a year ago. Her new venture, Harvest by Kelly Liken, is about to open at the Sonnenalp Club in Edwards.

The buzz is that if will be a neighborhood place with a “community-centric” vibe. The menu is to be seasonal and “approachable” — though for many people any restaurant in the Vail/Beaver Creek orbit is by definition high-end and high-style. Oz Architecure calls it “elevated farmhouse” with indoor/outdoor seating. I rest my case regarding the place on the price and style spectrum. Beyond that, Liken is a gifted chef, and the food will be very, very good.

Signature dishes include Smoked Rocky Mountain Trout with frisée, crisp potatoes, Kalamata olives, haricots verts;  leg  of lamb with slow cooked saag, chickpea mash, sautéed spinach, pickled Fresno chile and carrot salad; and a summery dish of heirloom tomatoes & watermelon with fresh mint, pickled red onions, arugula and feta. She plans to serve Colorado seasonal fare, with plus beer, cocktails and an affordable wine program,  with by-the- glass options on tap.

It is located in the Sonnenalp Club at  1265 Berry Creek Rd., Edwards; 970-477-5353. At roughly the same time, Vintage is taking over the old space at 2 Vail Rd.

AirBnB of Food Unveiled

Singapore start-up books visitors into private homes for meals.

Dining-clipartWe recently returned from Copenhagen, where we stayed in my fourth and my husband’s third AirBnB accommodation. Every experience– from Prague to Sydney — has been wonderful and economical, so I was intrigued by a post on headlined “New Startup Wants to Be the Airbnb of Dinner Parties.” Here’s the gist of the post:

Exploring a different culture via its native cuisine is often tops on a travelers’ to-do list, but it isn’t always easy to distinguish “authentic” from “tourist trap.” One new startup, BonAppetour, is aiming to bridge that gap by offering travelers a good meal — and good company — in the home of a perfect stranger.

Here’s how it works: Users can search the app to connect with “home restaurants” — AKA residential dining rooms — throughout the world, then confirm dates, specify dietary preferences or allergies, and make a payment. The app can also be used by hosts, who can create menus and, if approved, monetize their (hopefully decent) cooking skills. Guests are required to pay a 15 percent service fee on top of the price of the dining experience, which is set by the host.

Vulcan Post reports that the Singapore-based app recently received a $500,000 infusion of capital, which will be used to expand its “presence into the top culinary hubs around the world, including Rome, Paris, and Barcelona, where they already have a thriving community.” BonAppetour currently features dozens of cities platform, from Buenos Aires and Bangkok to Shanghai and Stockholm (and even Houston, Las Vegas, and Seattle).

slew of other companies are working to brand themselves as “the Airbnb of food,” but none have had much success just yet. One issue facing similar apps is that not only do they need home cooks willing to participating, but they need enough diners to attend each meal to make it financially feasible. Some legal experts have also expressed concerns that serving (and charging for) meals prepared in a home falls into a legal gray area, one that could eventually be problematic for companies like BonAppetour.

Coney Island Hot Dogs Reborn — Again

Bailey landmark slated to reopon — with improvements.

ConeyIslandHotDogsI’m in Copenhagen right now, light-years away, it seems, from US 285 through Colorado from the Front Range to mid-state and beyond. Still, I was elated to read that the Coney Island hot dog in Bailey is reopening — upscaling its food, eventually adding a microbrewery and (hopefully) improving its service as well. Here’s the full report from Eater Denver, which got the news from Dining Out.

Coney Island Boardwalk Hot Dog Stand, a familiar site to many mountain goers, is set to reopen under the guidance of John Wallace and his family in June, according to Dining Out. An Aurora native, Wallace aims to eventually operate the spot as a German-style microbrewery – but promises to pair the beer well with the dogs.

Wallace intends to return in mid-June after dedicating some time to repairing the building. Currently, Wallace utilizing Kickstarter to raise funds for the effort.

At the new and improved Coney Island stand, Wallace will serve a variety of gourmet hot dogs, brats, and frankfurters supplied from Continental Sausage in Colorado. The future menu will be stacked with original creations like the Durango Dog, an elk jalapeño dog made with cheddar and topped with poblano-corn-caramelized onion relish and chipotle sour cream, along with Coney Island-style classics. The restaurant will offer condiments sourced from local vendors including Elevation ketchup and Rocky Mountain Soda.

Coney Island Boardwalk Hotdog Stand is located at 10 Old Stage Coach Road in Bailey, Colorado.