Category Archives: Award

Top BBQ in Colorado

Smokin’  Dave’s and GQ Championship BBQ on national list.

Adrian Miller, Denver-based lapsed lawyer, author of the James Beard Award-winning Soul Food: The Surprising Story of American Cuisine and The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our Fed Our First Families from the Washingtons to the Obamas, is also a certified barbecue judge. He just posted news that two Colorado restaurants (four locations total) have been named on the list of “Best of the Best Barbecue Restaurants in America” by National Barbecue News. Just 29 restaurants nationwide made the list.

In winter, when it’s not crowded, we have sometimes managed to score a table at Smokin’ Dave’s in Estes Park but usually end up stopping in Lyons on the way home. The meats, the chicken, the sauces, the even the sides (especially the sweet potato fries, slaw and the beans) are great. The funky automotive décor is run too. I don’t post every time we stop there, but occasional do, particularly the Lyons location après la deluge of 2013. We’ve never been to GQ Championship BBQ in Westminster, but it’s now on our to-try list.

Interestingly, neither of these restaurants appear on his Soul Food Scholar blog’s selection of his own favorite spots in the state and elsewhere. However, Durango-born Serious Texas Bar-B-Q (two in Durango and one each in Fort Collins and Loveland) meets his standards.

Little Man Named Denver’s Best Ice Cream

Thrillist.com cites LoHi-based ice cream shop as “the best.”

I don’t envy “the decider” about which dipping store to crown “Denver’s Best Ice Cream”on Thrillist.com,  because there are so many good ones. But the site did name Little Man Ice Cream, whose flagship is in the vibrant LoHi ‘hood. Here’s what one Andy Kryza wrote for the round-up of “The Best Ice Cream in Every State“:

Denver – Little Man Ice Cream

Look, we’re suckers for anything served out of a giant version of its core ingredient, but it’s not just the fact that Little Man’s housed in a gigantic old milk bottle that has us excited. It’s also not the fact that the Scoop for Scoop program matches each order with its equivalent in rice in beans for those in need around the world, though that’s also great! But this place could serve scoops out of an outhouse and we’d still be stoked about flavors like Fluffernutter, Creamsicle, and Banana Pudding, plus ample gelato and sorbet options. Maybe not as stoked, but still pretty stoked. Given the typical lines, Coloradans seem to be stoked as well.

 

Oskar Blues in the News

Craft brewery cited for innovation and also coming to Boulder.

Mid-country restaurants and other purveyors are largely like the Rodney Dangerfield of the food and beverage biz:  They “don’t get no respect,” or not enough respect. Coastal myopia, I’m afraid.

Denver and other Colorado locales have a robust craft brewing industry, from giants like Fort Collins’ New Belgium (the country’s 4th-largest brewer) and Blue Moon (Coors’ craft-beer sidekick) to tiny breweries in very small towns (Silverton Brewery and the Crestone Brewing Company, respectively deep in the San Juan Mountains and in an off-the highway community in the San Luis Valley). The Denver Festival is one of the largest in the country.

But when it came to listing “The 25 Most Important American Craft Beers Ever Brewed,” Food & Wine could think of only one (Longmont-born and -based Oskar Blues) and that was for its retro innovation (packaging), not for any of its beers or ales. Relying on a perhaps biased panel that includes a number of brewmasters, F&W wrote:

15) Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale

Not all innovation happens in the brewing process. In 2002, Colorado’s Oskar Blues did something with a solid, but otherwise unassuming pale ale that changed craft beer forever: They put it into cans, becoming the first craft brewery to do so independently. Dale’s Pale Ale launched a movement (currently 2,162 beers strong, according to CraftCans.com) and this once-lowly container now holds some of the world’s most coveted beers.

On another note, Oskar Blues is coming to Boulder’s Pearl Street, taking over the space at No. 921 vacated by the World of Beer. Sometime late this summer, the location just west of the Mall will become taproom and live-music venue.  I’m not sure what, if any, food service there will be, but the food at Oskar Blues brew pubs, CHUBurgers, CylceHops Cantina and other Oskar-owned venues is very good and very fresh.

The Kitchen On Best Farm-to-Table List

Food & Wine asked bloggers and other food experts in every state about “The Best Farm-to-Table Restaurants” in the state where they live. A number of Colorado restaurants now have their own farms, but Toni Dash, who blogs as  Boulder Locavore, selected a pioneer in farm-to-table sourcing and sustainability. Her choice  was The Kitchen, a Boulder baby that now has other Front Range locations in Denver and Fort Collins:

Colorado: The Kitchen

“Over the past five years in Boulder and Denver, I’ve noticed a big shift towards a vibrant restaurant scene with a palpable verve around sustainability,” said Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore. “Restaurants like Black Cat, Potager, and Fruition have really stepped up to the plate to deliver inspired seasonal cuisine.” Paving the farm-to-table way in Colorado is The Kitchen, which has establishments in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins and applies its strong eco-friendly philosophy—that includes everything from the locally sourced ingredients to wind power to composting—in each location. Founders Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Husk have also created a nonprofit that’s built over 200 Learning Gardens in schools in Colorado, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Memphis for 120,000 students to discover the benefits of growing and eating fresh healthy food.

I don’t know who changed the spelling of the name of one of the co-founders. It’s actually Kimball Musk, not Kimball Husk. He’s the brother of Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, but his commitment to good, healthy food does not end at his restaurants. Late last year, he launched Square Roots, an urban farming incubator program in Brooklyn, New York.

Frasca & Redzikowski are Beard Finalists

Colorado contending for Outstanding Restaurant & Best Chef Southwest .

Narrowing down the annual list of James Beard Award winners is a length process: nominations, semi-finalists and finalists all announced with deliberate timing by the James Beard Foundation. Two Colorado contenders have made it to the finalist round: Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine in the Outstanding Restaurant category and Steve Redzikowski of Boulder’s Oak on Fourteenth and both Acorn and Brider in Denver as Best Chef, Southwest. As I have written before, being nominated is an honor. Being a finalist is greater honor. And winning a Beard Award is, well, over the moon.

Jasinski on Best Women Chefs List

Gayot.com picks the country’s top 10, including one in Denver.

I have mixed feelings whenever I see a list of the “best women something.” Unless it’s a sport that requires brute strength, I wish women were given equal opportunities and judged equally. But since they aren’t (yet), we have the token woman in a list of men and also “the best women.” The latest in the culinary realm being Guyot’s selection of the “Best Female Chefs in the U.S.” When I saw the title, I figured that she was a shoe-in.

Chef Jennifer Jasinski Photo by Clayton Vurciaga, courtesy Gayot.com

Here’s what self-described “guide to the good life” wrote about her:

Chef Jennifer Jasinski climbed the culinary ladder at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant empire before settling down in Denver, where she and business partner Beth Gruitch have had a string of hits.

At Rioja, she adds her own big, bright flavors to the culinary traditions of the Mediterranean. Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen puts an upscale spin on the American gastropub, while Stoic & Genuine is a sanctuary of pristine seafood. Bistro Vendôme remains a favorite for French comfort food.

Flagstaff House Cited for Views

Dining rooms with views list includes Boulder’s finest dining aerie.

The Culture Trip’s “14  Most Stunning Restaurant Settings in the U.S.” includes Boulder’s Flagstaff House. No argument from me. Not just the view but the ambiance, service, wine list and of course, the food are also stratospheric.

Just a five-minute drive from Boulder, find Flagstaff House: a family-owned establishment built into the mountainside. At an elevation of 6,000 feet (1,828.8 meters), views from the window-encased dining room and outdoor patio overlook the city and surrounding mountain scenery. Known for its extensive wine list – Flagstaff House has a 15,000-bottle wine cellar on-site – and French-American cuisine, this Boulder favorite is perfect for special occasions and romantic evenings.

Congrats to the Flagstaff House for yet another honor. We have a 25th anniversary coming up next year.  Hint, hint, hint to my husband.  🙂