Category Archives: Award

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


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

The Inventing Room on Tabélog’s Dessert List

Over-the-top desserts include a Denver original.

InventingRoom-logoAnother day, another appearance by a Denver eatery on some “top” this or that list. This time, it’s The Inventing Room’s “volcanic” root beer float, devised by the clever owner/chef Ian Kleinman, that is one of Tabélog’s 10 selections for “The 10 Most Outrageous Desserts in America!” Exclamation theirs — as is the mysterious accent aigu on the “e” in Tabélog. The selections are eclectic, ranging from a Michigan sports pub to Chicago’s ethereal Alinea. As usual, The Inventing Room occupies a category of its own. The site posted:

Our next outrageous dessert literally blows up in your face. The Inventing Room in Denver, CO is known for their crazy dessert creations. Unusual flavors of ice cream, frozen honey and frozen Cheetos are just a few of the tricks up their sleeve. But The Inventing Room got serious with their signature exploding whipped cream which provides a perfect topping for their root beer float. This normally fizzy dessert drink is made downright volcanic dessert thanks to the use of liquid nitrogen. Ask for some pop rock topping for maximum eruption.

The ice cream shop is at 2020 Lawrence Street, Denver; 303-885-2802.

The Source On List of Best Food Halls

Thrillist selects 50 across the country.

Thrillist-logoDenver’s pioneering food hall, The Source, appears as #45 on Thrillist’s new list of “The 50 Best Food Halls in America 2016.” Its write-up doesn’t mention that it largely launched the RiNo phenomenon — drawing artists, creative businesses, residents and additional hospitality services (including two coming hotels) to the underused area north of the Ballpark neighborhood. Thrillist wrote:

The Source is a group of food artisans and merchants gathered into a circa-1880s brick foundry building in Denver’s River North District. Their 15 merchants include nine food-and-drink-based tenants, like Acorn (a contemporary American restaurant), Comida (a Mexican taquerEia), Babettes (a boulangerie focusing on French country-style breads), and Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project.

I’m eager to see whether next year’s list will include Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace, opening sometime in 2016 . “What’s #1?” you might ask. Seattle’s venerable Pike Place Market, founded in 1907 and still a working seafood market as well as a great visitor attraction on the waterfront.

2016 Beard Awards to Grandin, Chimayo & Miller

Temple Grandin Colorado’s sole honoree; Chimayo also cited..

BeardAwardNo Colorado chefs or restaurants were James Beard Award winners at a glittering ceremony in Chicago last night, but the remarkable Dr. Temple Grandin, an animal rights expert and advocate at  Colorado State University, was named to 2016 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America,  an honor roll of major influencers. Click here for the entire list of 2016 honorees.

Media awards are presented separately, and one Coloradan is coming home with one. Toni Tipton-Martin of Centennial was honored in the reference and scholarship category for The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African-American Cookbooks. The history of American-American food books appears to be a mini-niche in Denver. Historian Adrian Miller for his book, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time.

P1090352Also recognized was Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante and owner Florence Jaramillo as being one of the 2016 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics honoree as a long-running heritage. As it happens, I ate at this sprawling half-century-old restaurant just last week as part of a day tour from Santa Fe.

Chimayo is famous for its chile-centric dishes, and this restaurant uses almost the entire annual crop. It accommodates groups in a large garden extension in the back and small individual parties in the front, which is the original ranch house. Note the similarities between the settings and the chairs.

A table set for group meals.
A table set for group meals.
Restaurant in the old ranch house.
Restaurant in the old ranch house.
Classic NM combo of a protein, beans and greens.
Classic NM combo of a protein, beans and greens.
Chile relleno with customary New Mexican accompaniments.
Chile relleno with customary New Mexican accompaniments  calabacitas (squash), rice beans and greens. The chile is either a poblano or an Anaheim. Chimayo chiles are too small to be stuffed with cheese.
Silky vanilla pudding with whipped cream and a crisp cookie.
Silky vanilla pudding with whipped cream and a crisp cookie.

300 Juan Medina Rd. (Santa Fe County Road 98), Chimayo, New Mexico 87522; 505 351-4444 or 505-984-2100.

Rancho de Chimayó Restauranté Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Frasca Named One of the 101 Best Restaurants in the US, issues 2016 list.

DailyMeal-logoIt’s never a surprise when Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine appears on yet another “best of” and “top” restaurants lists. I’m again thrilled about Frasca’s inclusion, and I note that editor Colman Andrews has addressed my biggest gripe: the snooty reverse provincialism of the list. He wrote (and I liberally condense his intro to the list):

We expect to hear complaints… because we haven’t included any of the doubtless excellent restaurants in, say, Providence, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, the Twin Cities, Santa Fe, Phoenix, San Diego — or any of the hundreds of smaller towns across the U.S. …Yes, we’re food snobs who recognize only the restaurants of New York City, Chicago, the West Coast, and a few token municipalities scattered around other corners of the country…. But here’s the thing: There are more than 600,000 restaurants in America, counting fast-food outlets, dinner house chains, small places…. Our list has room for only a tiny fraction of these, and not surprisingly they tend to be concentrated in those cities that are, for reasons that are probably cultural as well as economic, our best “food towns.” Chief among these are Las Vegas (four restaurants), San Francisco (six restaurants), New Orleans (six restaurants), Chicago (seven restaurants), Los Angeles (12 restaurants), and (grumble if you wish) New York City (27 restaurants).

Given these constraints and the fact that New York is credited with more than one quarter of the allotment, it is remarkable that Frasca is not only honored but was promoted from #71 last year to #32 this year.

Here’s what The Daily Meal posted about Frasca:n the Friuli region of northeastern Italy, a frasca is a roadside farm restaurant, serving simple regional food. Frasca Food & Wine captures the spirit of these venues, while also championing the vast diversity of Colorado’s unique culinary resources. Owners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson have created a warm and inviting space that can accommodate an impromptu dinner or an evening of fine dining. They offer a unique menu that includes salumi and cheeses along with entrées like Broken Arrow Ranch quail; gnocchi with Buckner Farm lamb sausage and broccolini; and raviolo of veal ossobuco, bone marrow, cipollini onion, and salsify. Just be sure that you don’t miss the frico caldo, a crispy pancake of potatoes, onions, and Piave cheese — a Friulian specialty. Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson have a new restaurant in the works, slated to open in Denver by the end of the year, and it’s one of the year’s most anticipated openings.