Category Archives: Award

Three Chefs Honored at Winefest Pairing Competition

Denver International Wine Festival’s Pairsine showcases culinary talent.

Pairsine-logo2Eleven chefs from Colorado and beyond each prepared two dishes to pair with award-winning wines at last night’s Pairsine competition, for me a highlight event of the 11th annual Denver International Wine Festival. Competing chefs often seem to be on the same wavelength. Last night, six of the 11 prepared beef — mostly braised — and two served octopus. But there was not a single dessert. Not one.

Competitors in the 2015 Parisine competition.
Competitors in the 2015 Parisine after the competition was over .
Judges chef Michael Long, chef Jean-Luc Vogele of the Westin Downtown Denver and yours truly. Both of the chefs had won top honors earlier Pairsines.
Judges chef Michael Long, chef Jean-Luc Vogele of the Westin Downtown Denver and yours truly. Both of the chefs had won top honors earlier Pairsines.

This year’s honorees were Best Chef, Laurent Mechin of Jill’s Restaurant in the St. Julien Hotel, Boulder; People’s Choice Chef Franco Ruiz, executive chef,  Fruition Restaurant, Denver, and Jay Spickelmeir, chef de cuisine, The Vail Cascade Resort and Atwater on Gore Creek, Vail.

Click “More” below for more Parisine pix. Continue reading Three Chefs Honored at Winefest Pairing Competition

Best Donuts in Colorado? Guess.

Thrillist-logoYesterday, I posted an item about a Halloween pop-up by Old Major and Glazed and Confuzed Donuts. Today comes Thrillist’s list of “The Best Donut Shops in Every State.” Colorado’s is…..drum roll……Glazed and Confuzed. Here’s what Thrillist posted:


Glazed and Confuzed (address and info)
Alright, get your lazy McConaughey impression over with now. You done? Good, because there’s a lot more to this Denver shop than movie puns. Like donuts with Mediterranean sea salt caramel glaze and cups of joe from local favorite Pablo’s Coffee. (Specifically, the “Danger Monkey” kind.)

Great Deal on Denver Winefest Tix

Metro area wine festival for a song.

DenverWineFest2015-dealI plan to be at the upcoming Denver International Wine Festival for several events. I am again honored to be a judge at the October 29 Parisine wine/food pairing competition, when 10 leading regional chefs will vie for honors in their creativity in preparing dishes to pair with 20 gold medal-winning wines from 2015 Denver International Wine Competition. I’m always blown away by the creativity these chefs exhibit.

The Grand Tasting is the highlight of every wine festival, and organizers of the metro Denver event have dropped the price on entry to the Grand Tasting on October 30 — more than 400 wines, beers and spirits, plus small food samples and food for sale —  for three indulgent hours, 6 to 9 p.m. To buy tickets for just $45 each — regularly $75, including a logo glass, go to <> .

The Festival takes place at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, conveniently just off US 36 whose upgrade is almost complete. Spend the night at the Omni for only $99, take a taxi,  use Uber or have a designated driver so you can fully enjoy the evening.

‘Dining Out’ Mag Readers’ “Prime Picks”

Diners select their Denver & Boulder favorites.

PrimePicks-logoDining Out magazine — mostly menus but some features too — invited readers to select what they considered the best in various categories. Like all such reader selections, the results are heavily weighted toward what’s “hot” and “in” now, not necessarily the best. How, for example, would Black Cat and/or its sister restaurant, Bramble & Hare be left off the farm-to-table list? And not to put to fine a point on it, but Chez Thuy is not really Chinese and Sherpa’s is not really Indian. But here, with that caution, is the Prime Picks list. Clicking on a category should bring up details on the winner:


Continue reading ‘Dining Out’ Mag Readers’ “Prime Picks”

Boulder Breakfast Spot’s Pancakes Cited

The Village Coffee Shop makes Thrillist top-21 list.

Thrillist-logoBoulder’s Village Coffee Shop is a favorite local greasy spoon, beloved by folks who revere traditional American breakfast and lunch dishes. It’s a coffee-not-cappuccino kind of place in a small strip fall.

I’ve been there any number of times and always order the pancakes (usually blueberry). They are huge. Three are too many for me. Even two are more than I can handle. One is just right. But at the counter and at the Formica-topped tables, regulars wolf down gargantuan portions. First-timers are called “Village virgins” and are given a special welcome. But it’s the pancakes that captivated’s scout, who wrote on “The 21 Best Pancakes in America“:

“It’s a cliche to say certain places make it feel like you’ve “stepped back in time,” so we’ll just say that when you see the burnt-orange stools and wood paneling at Village Coffee, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Boulder circa 1971, when the joint opened and unleashed the same pancake recipe used today. There are but three pancake varieties here: buttermilk, blueberry, and chocolate chip. All are the size of a dinner plate. Pair ’em with eggs or bacon, or just show up on the weekend when they sometimes serve a “mancake special,” where they stuff their enormous pancakes with bacon, ham, and sausage. If you ask nicely, they can also prepare it whenever you want.”


5280 Mag’s List of 25 Best Restaurants

Some oldies but goodies and some new faves — and more honors for Frasca.

5280-cover-restaurants2015Come September 25, the always-anticipated October issue of 5280 Magazine will arrive. It’s the issue that features the monthly mag’s selection of the year’s 25 best restaurants in metro Denver. Andra Zeppelin of Denver Eater got the list first and noted that the newest entry is Boulder’s Blackbelly Market, launched last November, and Barolo Grill, which opened in 1992, is the most venerable. Here’s the list:

  1. 1. Acorn
    2. Frasca
    3. Mercantile
    4. ChoLon
    5. Populist
    6. Work & Class
    7. Beast + Bottle
    8. Sushi Den
    9. To The Wind
    10. Basta
    11. Oak
    12. Barolo Grill
    13. Mizuna
    14. Fruition
    15. Old Major
    16. Stoic & Genuine
    17 Guard & Grace
    18. Cart Driver
    19. Bistro Barbes
    20. The Plimoth
    21. Bittersweet
    22. Duo
    23. Rioja
    24. Blackbelly Market
    25. Uncle

Not only is Frasca Food & Wine Number 2 on 5280’s list, but it was included on’s list of “12 Perfect Plates Across the U.S.” The Boulder restaurant was cited specifically for “spoon dumplings.”  Here’s what the national food site posted:

Frasca, Boulder

Spoiler: Frasca, whose gracious hospitality is matched by its earthy, clean-tasting northeastern Italian cuisine, will remain on the national Eater 38 in 2016. The summer dinner that cinched its place included zlkrofi, a variation on “spoon dumplings” from Slovenia filled with roasted chicken, prosciutto, and ricotta and garnished with fresh porcini mushrooms. 1738 Pearl St, Boulder, (303) 442-6966,

Boulder Farmers’ Market Voted No. 1 in the Nation

Local market tops USA Today list.

FarmersMarket-logoThe Boulder Farmers Market, our wonderful seasonal marketplace for locally grown produce, locally produced food products and local artisans, tops USA Today’s 10Best Farmers Markets list  or 2015. Twenty contenders were selected by a panel of food and travel experts — Bernadine Prince, president of the Farmers Market Coalition; food writer Eric Grossman; travel writer Megy Karydes; M. Linda Lee, former editor for Michelin Travel Publications, Akila McConnell travel and food blogger, The Road Forks; Larry Olmsted, USA Today food writer, and food writer Kim Sunee. The panel’s selections were presented to the public for four weeksof daily votes.

Boulder Farmers Market is the brainchild of a group of local farmers, who came together with their vision of a local market in 1987 at the Boulder Courthouse. What started with a few tables of produce loaded off the backs of pickup trucks has evolved into a robust destination market on 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue more than 100 vendors who set up for the longest market season in Colorado. There’s also an outdoor food court with wine beer and sangria available too at the Wednesday night market that runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. from early May through early October, and the original Saturday market runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. from early April through late November. During the peak summer season, the Boulder Farmers Market attracts over 5,000 customers per day.  My husband and I are often two of them.