Category Archives: Award

Kudos for The Kitchen

Boulder Restaurant cited by Food and Wine.

A Food and Wine magazine feature listed “The Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant in Every State.” For Colorado, The Kitchen in Boulder was honored. Here’s what the magazine thinks:

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.

New Executive Chef at Gateway Canyons

Hartwell now heads culinary team at luxe resort in western Colorado.  

I’ve never been to, much less dined at, the Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, a world-class destination practically at the Utah state line. But I’m impressed at the credentials of the new executive chef. Thomas Hartwell has accepted position at the resort in the spectacular Unaweep Canyon. Its remoteness alone is a challenge, and so are  the five dining facilities (Entrada, Paradox Grille, Kiva Café Cantina and Duesey’s Diner) with different styles. The combination is a challenge.

Like other leading chefs, Hartwell began his restaurant career modestly, first as a prep cook and busboy at the Stage Door Restaurant outside Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  After holding several positions at various restaurants in his home state of Michigan, he moved to Santa Rosa, California to join the team at Restaurant Matisse, a French-inspired California cuisine restaurant under the guidance of Chef Michael Hirschberg.  From there, he landed a coveted internship at Michelin-starred Land Hoff in Solingen, Germany.   

Chef Robert Hartwell

Over the years, Hartwell also held culinary positions at The Westin Copley Place in Boston and at the historic Boston Park Plaza Hotel under Chef Roland Z.  He then opened his own restaurant, The Old Stone Farm House, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to joining the team at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, Hartwell served as chef de cuisine at the Meritage Hotel and Resort in Napa and also  the popular restaurant, Zuzu, in downtown Napa for four years.  

The elegant adobe-style resort, offering a whole lot more than just food and scenery, has enjoyed recognition beyond our red-rock country. Among its awards, in 2017 it was named the #3 “Best Resort in the West” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards competition, #52 in the Top 100 Hotels in the World category and #11 in the Top 15 Resort Hotels in the Continental United States category. Seems as if Gateway Canyons and Chef Hartwell are a good match. And perhaps I will get there someday.

Top 10 Listing for Colorado Mountain Winefest

USA Today’s selections puts upcoming festival in the spotlight. 

Just as a prelude to the upcoming Colorado Mountain Wine Festival (September 14-17) comes word that it was voted the best wine festival in the U.S. by USA Today’s 10Best website. That’s right: THE BEST in the whole country, even beating out New York and Chicago.

A panel of wine and travel experts nominated 20 of the best festivals celebrating wine, wine culture and wine tourism across the country’s top wine-making regions. The panel included Jill Barth, an internationally published wine writer and journalist; Jil Child, partner and co-owner of Wine Tours of the World; and Karen MacNeil, one of the foremost wine experts in the U.S. Readers pared the nominee list by half to come up with the 10 winners.

The Top 10
(In addition to being thrilled that a Colorado festival took the top spot, I’m happy that Charlottesville, Virginia, was voted #3 — good news for a city recently in the headlines for terrible reasons.)

  1. Colorado Mountain Winefest – Palisade, Colo.
  2. Vintage Ohio – Kirtland, Ohio
  3. Virginia Wine Summit – Charlottesville, Va.
  4. Finger Lakes Wine Festival – Watkins Glen, N.Y.
  5. Chicago Gourmet – Chicago
  6. Hawaii Food & Wine Festival – Honolulu
  7. BottleRock Napa Valley – Napa, Calif.
  8. Taste of Sonoma – Sonoma, Calif.
  9. New York City Wine & Food Festival – New York
  10. Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest – Rhinebeck, N.Y.

    Click here for a list of participating wineries and here for a schedule of events, which include wine country tours, tastings, pairings and the big “Festival in the Park” on the 16th. It is the state’s largest and oldest wine festival featuring more than 55 Colorado wineries, live music, a grape stomp, live demonstrations and seminars.

 

Fabulous Franks in Colorado

Biker Jim’s cited, but Tenderbelly is best at home.

In a feature called “America’s Best Hot Dogs,Food & Wine tagged Biker Jim’s — the usual suspect in Colorado for interesting sausages of all sorts. Of this Denver institution that started as a cart on the 16th Street Mall and now has two restaurants (including Coors Field) and five carts, the magazine noted:

Jim Pittenger emphasizes sourcing ingredients as close to home as possible, then veers as far as he can imagine from the ballpark frank: elk and jalapeño cheddar; wild boar; rattlesnake. The franks are spilt, grilled till charred and loaded with Coca-Cola–soaked grilled onions and a drizzle of cream cheese.

For the rest, most seem to have been selected for the amount of stuff piled onto the franks — perhaps to disguise the taste. Not necessary (or desirable) with Denver-born Tenderbelly pork frankfurters, which are so good that they ought to be minimally adorned.

I don’t eat very much meat, but when I do, I want it to be really, REALLY good. Tenderbelly meats qualify.
These franks are so good that all you need to do is grill them and serve them on a lightly toasted bun with a bit of relish or mustard. Corn goes well for this summer treat.
No matter how good the base, my husband likes to gild the frankfurter, so to speak, by spreading some horseradish mayo on the bun and topping the hot dog with relish and mustard. With a combo like that ,he could go commercial too.

It’s available online via the company’s website.

Kudos for Denver’s Señor Bear

Pan-Latin food and dynamite drinks earn LoHi eatery honors.

Whenever Zagat lists the best restaurants in select cities, Denver is always one of them. Here’s the shout-out in the site’s “Hottest Restaurants in 15 American Cities” post about Señor Bear, the site’s choice for the Mile High City. The “powerhouse team” referred to is headlined by Max McKissock, Blake Edmunds and Juan Padro and Katie O’Shea Padro. For McKissock, it’s a bit like old home week, since he was the chef at The Squeaky Bean, when it occupied the LoHi space.

Denver: Señor Bear
Built by the powerhouse team behind Bar Dough, this bright, breezy, instant destination in LoHi showcases the flavors of Latin America — from Peru to Puerto Rico — in both food and drink.

Must-order: Start with a pisco cocktail and any of the elegantly executed dishes comprising the mariscos section of the menu, including mofongo with shrimp and crab (pictured).

Insider tip: If you’re noise-sensitive, ask to sit on the patio — the small dining room can get extra-festive.

3307 Tejon St.; 720-572-5997

Two Denver Eateries on “Best New” List

Bon Appétit picks 50 in the country.

There seems to be no end to the “best of” and “top” lists. When a national publication or organization does the listing, I’m pleased when Colorado gets a nod.

The latest is Bon Appétit’s selection of the nation’s 50 best new restaurants. The magazine must have a thing for food halls, because it selected Annette in the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora (restaurants and so much more) and the entire Central Market in RiNo. Click here for my post on Annette, and here for my post about the then-anticipated opening of the Central Market in RiNo.

Denver’s Tender Belly Named a Top Bacon

Time Inc. launches food site with bacon rating.

Another “best” list has appeared on the cyber-scene. Well Done is a new daily newsletter from the editors of Food & Wine,  Real Simple, Cooking Light, MyRecipes and other publications from the Time Inc. Network.  Bacon critic Scott Gold started off with a sampling of bacon from all across the country to crown the Best Bacon in the United States.  He cited Tender Belly, which makes thick-cut and delicious bacon in several flavors. 5149 Race Court, Denver, 800-975-6806.

PHOTO BY SCOTT GOLD

Tender Belly was highly recommended by one of my food writer friends in Denver as their great local bacon. It has a lovely, dark lean to it that you’ll only find in quality pork, and good striations of fat without being overly unctuous. It also boasts an excellent thickness quotient, right there in my favorite “Goldilocks” zone. Most distinctively, though, is that Tender Belly opts for cherrywood in smoking their signature bacon, and while you can hardly taste the apples in applewood-smoked bacon, you can actually taste the cherry here. It might not be for everyone, and it’s certainly unique among the bacons I’ve sampled, but I enjoyed the bold decision to go with such a heavily flavored fruitwood for