The Daily Meal selects casual spots with memorable food — only one in Colorado.
Yes, I’m at it again — scouring yet another list of noteworthy eateries to see which (if any) Colorado restaurants appear. This time, it’s The Daily Meal’s annual list of “The 101 Best Casual Restaurants in America.” In Colorado, the site likes Bones, one of Frank Bonanno’s Denver restaurants, and only Bones. I give The Daily Meal credit for acknowledging that Colorado is one of the fly-over states, but the 101 selected are so top-heavy with New York (with strong representation from Texas, California and New Orleans) that there’s little room for others. Sigh. The Daily Meal wrote:
#82 Bones, Denver, Colo.
The home page animation on Bones’ website shows old-timey Chinese warriors invading Paris, and that’s basically Bones in a nutshell: French-inspired Asian noodles and buns, with menu items you probably won’t find anywhere else on earth. Escargot potstickers; chilled vermicelli with shrimp ceviche and chimichurri; lobster ramen with edamame, beurre blanc, scallion, and miso lobster broth; green chile ramen with braised pork shoulder, hominy, queso fresco, and a fried egg… Wait, that last one isn’t French, it’s Tex-Mex! Well, whatever, it’s still insanely delicious. Bones is a culinary jumble in the best way imaginable.
“Here you go again,” you might be thinking. Yes, I’ve become obsessed with passing along word of every local or national award and honor or even recognition bestowed on Colorado food and beverage purveyors. This time, it’s Denver’s Glazed & Confuzed that’s on the site’s “Best Donut Shops in America.” The donuts sound delish (most of them, anyway) and I love the humorous name that plays off all the ampersanded eateries around the metro area. Here’s what Thrillist post:
“Step into some of Denver’s finest coffeeshops (Kaladi, Aviano, Pablo’s), and you can spot Glazed & Confuzed’s donuts pretty easily; aside pastries and muffin varieties so boring even your grandma would pass on them, you’ll find their donut-y take on the Girl Scout Samoa with a caramel glaze, toasted coconut, and chocolate drizzle, and the cheekily-named Guava D’s Nutz with a cream cheese cake donut and a guava glaze. In mid-2014, the donut boundary pushers behind G&C opened their first standalone shop in Mile High, giving donut lovers even more variety to choose from, where they have the capacity to make crazy donuts like… umm, a Boston Cream Pie. Sometimes the classics can be good too.”
It’s all the way down on Leetsdale, a haul from Boulder just to try the donuts, so I won’t be there anytime soon. But eventually, for sure.
Long known as the hardest partying college town in the country, Boulder can also rank itself among the tastiest. Moe’s Broadway Bagel serves the best in bagels and a schmear in town, and The Kitchen is a cool and communal space with a seasonal, farm-to-table menu featuring homemade tagliatelle carbonara, Colorado quinoa with broccoli, and Colorado steak frites. For an even more authentic taste of Boulder, students should hit the Boulder County’s Farmers Market.
Other than the flying comma (it’s the Boulder County Farmers’ Market), my only quibble is the selection of The Kitchen. A better fit for students, IMO, would be its neighboring sister restaurant, The Kitchen Next Door, which is equally cool, more communal (i.e., more big community tables) and less expensive.
Special Note to Picky Proofreaders: I have tried every which way to add a line space between the paragraph ending with “….”Farmers Market” and the one starting with “Other than….” WordPress keeps overruling me. I only add this because it would be the height of irony to have let this stand in a picky post about else’s punctuation.
Mea culpa. Make that “Colorado almost has a New Master Sommelier.”
Yesterday I posted the following:
“Nicholas Barb, sommelier at The Little Nell Hotel’s Element 47 in Aspen, was one of 18 candidates who just passed the grueling Master Sommelier examination. If you saw the movie, “Somm,” you might have an inkling of what a triumph it is to pass this odyssey of deep knowledge about wine, super-human tasting skills and exemplary service set forth by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He follows in the footsteps of Richard Betts, who gained the honor in 2003 when he was with the Little Nell.”
And I did it in good faith, thanks to incomplete information I found on Facebook — not posted by the Little Nell but by someone else. Turns out that Barb passed the Advanced Sommelier exam, one step below Master Somm, which the Little’s PR spokeswoman May Selby “is the likely next goal.” I jumped the gun, I hope my mistake foretells Barb’s future. I really do know better, but it also explains why 18 names appeared on the list — a number never achieved in one year at the Master Somm level. It should have been a red flag, and it is a reminder to me not to take half-baked info for gospel.
Barb’s bio on the hotel website reads:
“Like many culinary professionals, Nick Barb made his debut with a high school job in a local kitchen. Smitten, he later traded international business and economics studies for a place at the Culinary Institute of America. While there, he took an internship at the Larkspur Restaurant and Market in Vail, where he was once more smitten, this time by the Rockies. In 2009, Nick joined the team at Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan, where he spent five years honing his wine knowledge and his craft of impeccable but relaxed service. During his tenure, the restaurant received three Michelin stars and was rated the fifth-best restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino. But the mountains were calling, and we’re happy to claim Nick as one of our own now. With the ability to interact with guests from around the world, study for his master sommelier exam with our world-famous team and ski – Nick’s happy too.”
Annual restaurant selections include the area’s very best.
The March issue of 5280 Magazine arrived in my mailbox while I was out of the country. It is the month that the “Best New Restaurants” list comes out, and I am always eager to read it. Senior editor Amanda M. Faison had the Herculean task of winnowing the contenders down to just 10. Here’s the 2015 list:
Meanwhile, Eater Denver (or is it Denver Eater?), that interesting by notoriously fickle site, has published its Heatmap, a periodic list of the hottest (!!!!!) restaurants in Denver right now, unceremoniously spurning those that were hot just a few months ago. The compulsion to name hot spots is tiresome, but what is interesting to me are the restaurants on both lists. It is gratifying somehow when the hotspots are also praised for the cuisine, ambiance and service. Here are the site’s selections:
One name leapt out at me when I read the list of the 2015 International Association of Culinary Professionals’ awards finalists, and that was Eric Skokan for his wonderful book, Farm, Fork, Food: A Year of Spectacular Recipes Inspired by Black Cat Farm. If you don’t know the book, you might know Eric for his smiling presence at the Boulder County Farmers’ Market or for his nearby restaurants, Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare. He and his wife, Jill, remain on the forefront of Boulder’s commitment to organic foods and sustainable farming, as well as their personal idealism and open-hearted generosity. I am rooting for this book to win in the best American cookbook category, which will be given at the IACP conference in Washington, D.C., at the end of this month.
CineCHEF culinary event added to Boulder film fest.
The Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) adds a new culinary event to showcase Boulder’s nationally recognized chefs. CineCHEF, as the signature event had been dubbed, challenges the town’s favorite chefs to choose a movie theme and create film-inspired dish for a fun and friendly competition on Friday, March 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Rembrandt Yard in downtown Boulder.
Participating chefs are David Query of Centro Latin Kitchen and other restaurants in the Big Red F REestaurant Group, Kyle Mendenhall of The Kitchen, Bradford Heap of Salt and Colterra, Kelly Kingsford of Brasserie TenTen and The Med, John Platt of RIFF’s Urban Fare, Radek Cerny of L’Atelier and Alec Schuler from Arugula. These chefs will set movie-themed tasting stations serving small plates based on their chosen themes. Guests will enjoy wines from Francis Ford Coppola Winery, craft beers and desserts by celebrated pastry chef Jennifer Bush of Lucky’s Bakehouse. Music by Maxwell Hughes, formerly of the Lumineers. Guests vote on their favorite offerings, with the winning chef awarded with a sculpture by the late Bill Vielehr and the title “Best CineCHEF, BIFF 2015.
Tickets ($95) are available online and benefit BIFF. If your tastes run more to fine food than to film, know that festival attendance is not required for CineCHEF.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news.