Category Archives: Award

Frasca One America’s Top Restaurants — Again

Boulder’s finest recognized by eater.com once more.

Eater-logoHere is eater.com’s list of the 38 best restaurants in the country (red highlight is mine):

Al Ameer, Dearborn, MI | ★ Alinea, Chicago | ★ Benu, San Francisco | ★ Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY | Cosme, New York | ★ Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME | ★ FIG, Charleston, SC | ★Franklin Barbecue, Austin | ★ Frasca Food & Wine, BoulderGarcia’s Mexican Restaurant, San Antonio | Herbsaint, New Orleans | Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, AL | Hugo’s, Houston | ★ Husk Nashville, Nashville | Kachka, Portland, OR | Liholiho Yacht Club, San Francisco | Milktooth, Indianapolis | Miller Union, Atlanta | ★ Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York | Parachute, Chicago | Petit Trois, Los Angeles | La Petite Grocery, New Orleans | Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix | Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh | ★ Prince’s Hot Chicken, Nashville | The Publican, Chicago | Raku, Las Vegas | ★ Roberta’s, Brooklyn | ★ Rose’s Luxury, Washington, DC | Saison, San Francisco | Sarma, Somerville, MA | Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis | Sqirl, Los Angeles | Szechuan Impression, Alhambra, CA | The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA | ★ Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore | ★ Zahav, Philadelphia | Zuni Cafe, San Francisco

Not surprisingly, Boulder’s stellar Frasca again makes the list. The restaurant continues to dazzle Bill Addison, the site’s restaurant critic. Click here for his 2014 review and ode to Frasca partner and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey.

Denver Rises on Top Food Cities List

Mile High City on Zagat’s list of country’s  best cities for food.

Zagat-logoThe Zagat name has been synonymous with restaurant reviews and recommendations since Tim and Nina Zagat launched it in New York in 1982 as a compilation of diner reviews. It’s now an on-line empire with correspondents in what in considers to be worthy food cities. Zagat’s newly released list of “The 26 Hottest Food Cities of 2016.”

The write-up includes the links that Zagat typically inserts into all its posts, and the image accompanying the write-up is of Denver’s hot new Central Market in RiNo.

No. 3: Denver, CO

The best city for singles. For millennials. For entrepreneurs. For outdoorspeople. Over the past few years, Denver has ranked at or near the top of virtually every U.S. index there is; it was only a matter of time before outsiders “discovered” its dynamic dining scene too. This year alone, Nobu Matsuhisa, Gregory Gourdet, Deborah Schneider and Hugh Acheson staked claims here; Jeffrey Wall of Atlanta’s Kimball House is on his way, and so is the team behind New York’s Death & Co.

Meanwhile, there’s no stopping our homegrown talent. Beard award-winners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (Frasca) will be opening Tavernetta soon; fellow recipient Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja et al.) is expanding her mini empire with Ultreia. Rising stars like Hop Alley’s Tommy Lee, The Way Back’s Chad Michael George, Joshua Pollack of Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen and Bar Dough’s Mac MacKissock have swiftly garnered national acclaim. The spotlight that was already trained on our impressive field of food halls (The Source, Avanti F&B, Union Station) just intensified with the opening of The Central Market; Stanley Marketplace will be even bigger. And though Denver’s long been at the craft-brewing forefront, it’s poised to break whole new ground (theoretically, at least) with the legalization of cannabis use in restaurants and bars. Innovationwise, this is the wonderfully Wild West all over again.

Ruth Tobias

Lyons Liqueur Medals in New York

Local liqueur features decaf coffee & clean alcohol.

richardosbottleRichardo’s Decaf Coffee Liqueur, a 40-proof liqueur made with naturally decaffeinated coffee, pure vanilla and neutral grain spirits, was awarded a Silver Medal at the 7th Annual New York International Spirits Competition. It is the fifth international award win for Richardo’s, which can be used in cocktails, cooking and baking, and served neat or over ice. Do alcohol and decaf coffee cancel each other out?

Richard England makes his liqueur through a patent-pending process blending neutral grain spirits with England’s signature mix of naturally decaffeinated coffee, high-quality vanilla and other ingredients, then aged for at least 30 days. England and his wife, Linda, started making Richardo’s in small batches in 1986 , mainly for family and friends. In 2012, he teamed up with Spirit Hound Distillers to take his recipe to production scale while still keeping the rich, creamy and smooth taste of the liqueur intact.

According to England, Richardo’s Decaf Coffee Liqueur is made with high-quality vanilla and decaffeinated coffee, which requires less sugar to overcome the natural bitterness of caffeine.

Made just outside Denver in Lyons, Colorado, Richardo’s is available at Spirit Hound Distillers tasting room on the east side of in Lyons. We’ve passed it a million times en route to Estes Park. We’ve got to stop next time for a distillery tour and to try some Richardo’s. If you aren’t going though Lyons, click here for Colorado liquor stores and restaurant where you can find it.  4196 Ute Highway (US Highway 36), Lyons; 303- 823-5696 (tasting room) or 720- 636-4525.

Hop Alley Named Eater’s Best Restaurant

Nationnal site’s annual Denver honors announced.

EATER_Awards2013No Colorado chefs/restaurants made it to Eater.com’s 2016  national honors (disappointment again, but no surprise), but Denver and the greater metro area’s list of local awards is out. Click here for the whole four-item list that includes nominees and people’s choice honors.

  • Restaurant of the Year. Hop Alley.
  • Chef of the Year . Kelly Whitaker (Basta and Ash).
  • Most Beautiful Restaurant of the Year. Matsuhisa Cherry Creek.
  • Bar of the Year. B&GC.
  • Game-Changer of the Year. The Denver Central Market.

Five Top Colorado Steakhouses

Open Table’s “100 Best” list includes a handful in metro Denver.

OpenTable-logoOpen Table, the online restaurant reservation site, has unveiled its users’ choices for the 100 Best Steakhouses in America for 2016. Of those, five are in Colorado — all in Denver or the greater metro area. They are:

  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Greenwood Village
  • Elway’s Cherry Creek, Denver
  • Guard & Grace, Denver
  • Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Park Meadows, Lone Tree
  • Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Denver

I was alerted to this by a Del Frisco’s spokeswoman, who also noted that this upscale steakhouse chain has three interesting insiders’ features:

  • Secret menu items  that “only those with prior knowledge know to order the off-menu delights, many inspired by Del Frisco’s regulars and local celebrities.”
  • Non-traditional spirits  that vary by each location, offering “some of the rarest vintages and bottles available in the U.S.
  • The recently created recently created Somm Wars pitting “Leaders of Women in Wine” against each other, “with Del being “home to many top female sommeliers and a friendly three-city wine competition, which will become an annual event.” The three cities are Dallas, New York and Chicago.

National Bison Day: Buffalo Back on the Menu

Newly designated “National Mammal” makes for good eating.

natlbisondayNot long along, American bison, which most of us call “buffalo,” were near extinction. President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act on May 9,  making the well-recovered North American bison the official National Mammal of the United States. This is a great milestone for an animal that once faced extinction. November 5 has been designated by some organization as National Bison Day.

The bison has played a central role in America’s history and culture and helped shape the Great Plains and the lifestyle of Native Americans. Today, bison live in all 50 states and serves as a symbol of unity, resilience and healthy lifestyles and communities. These big, shaggy beasts are now also sufficiently abundant in the wild and on ranches that they have become an increasingly popular alternative to beef.

With his enormous Western ranches, Ted Turner can be credited  with much of the bison’s robust return. Not surprisingly, bison is on namesake Ted’s Montana Grill’s menus in the form of nachos, burgers, meatloaf,  pot roast and chili.

River and Woods has a terrific.ay specials for adults and kids. Order the bison burger with fabulous fries and a local 12-oz. draft beer for $10 ($8 during happy hour, 4 to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday). A kid’s version, including fries and a soft drink is $5. They can also grab a game or other activity to keep them occupied.

The Fort’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday Buffalo Prime Rib special includes bread and muffins and the restaurant’s multi-ingredient house salad. Price is $39 for an 8-ounce cut, $49 for 12 ounces and $59 for 16 ounces. Call 303-697-4771 for reservations.

Meanwhile, the University of Colorado – Boulder honors the buffalo/bison in its own way. The school’s mascot is a bison named Ralphie, the teams are nicknamed “The Buffs” and home games always start with four students running Ralphie around the football stadium. In truth, the real Ralphie (this current one being Ralphie V, donated by one of Ted Turner’s ranches) is a she, not a he. This has been going on for half a century, and the CU Heritage Center’s “Here Comes Ralphie” exhibit recognizes this tradition.

 

Denver Chef to Cook at Beard Pork-A-Palooza

Justin Brunson among 10 selected chefs.

JamesBeardFoundation-logoAs it says on that chef’s apron that is a  popular gift for hefty home cooks, “Never trust a skinny chef.”  Bu that measure,  chef-owner Justin Brunson of Denver’s Old Major, Masterpiece Kitchen and Masterpiece Delicatessen is one of the most trustworthy chefs around.

Chef Justin Brunson.
Chef Justin Brunson.

His skill and rep for his way with meats, not his BMI, earned him an invitation to at the James Beard Foundation’s Pork-A-Palooza on October 4 at the James Beard House. The kitchen cadre:

  • Stephen Gerike, The National Pork Board. Des Moines, IA
  • Jason Alley. Comfort and Pasture, Richmond, VA.
  • Justin Brunson. Old Major, Masterpiece Deli and Masterpiece Kitchen, Denver.
  • Brad Farmerie. Public, New York, and Saxon + Parole, New York.
  • Jose Garces*. Garces Group, Chicago; Moorestown, NJ; Palm Springs, CA; Philadelphia; Scottsdale, AZ, and Washington, D.C.
  • Paul Kahan.* One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago.
  • Adam Sappington. The Country Cat Dinner House and Bar, Portland, OR.
  • Chris Shepherd*. Underbelly, Houston.
  • Celeste Campise. Who’s Hungry?, Magazine and Room 1520, Chicago.
  • Jared Rouben. Moody Tongue Brewing Company, Chicago.

    *James Beard Foundation Award winners.

The cost of the dinner is $160 for Beard members and $210 for the general public.