Category Archives: Award

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.  🙂

 

Three Local Chefs Named Beard Semi-Finalists

Redzikowski, Seidel & Skokan on 2017 list.

The James Beard Foundation released its list of semi-finalists for its 2017 James Beard Award. Three Colorado chefs — all from the Front Range — are in the running for Best Chef, Southwest recognition:

  • Steve Redzikowski. Acorn, Denver. He also is with Oak on Fourteenth in Boulder.
  • Alex Seidel. Mercantile, Denver. Also, Denver’s Fruition, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary.
  • Eric Skokan. Black Cat. Also, Bramble & Hare, just next door in Boulder.

Also, Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine was nominated as an Outstanding Restaurant. Not the first time, I believe.

Shamane’s Chicken Pot Pie Top Cheap Eat

Travel & Leisure pegged Boulder bakery.

Travel & Leisure’s latest “In Every State” roundup, “The Best Cheap Eats in Every State,” pegs Boulder’s Shamane’s Bake Shoppe for its chicken pot pie. The Ali Khan cited a noted food blogger and host of “Cheap Eats” on the Cooking Channel.

For an unforgettable comfort meal, head to Shamane’s Bake Shoppe in Boulder to try their chicken pot pie.

The hearty pie, at $8.25, is made with roasted chicken and a stock created from its bones to create an incredibly flavorful dish that Khan says is the best chicken pot pie he has had as of yet.

“What blew me away was the intensely rich and comforting roasted chicken flavors,” Khan said of the dish. “Chicken pot pie is one of those foods we crave often but seldom find done right, let alone done from scratch—not the case here.”