Category Archives: Award

Boulder Farmers’ Market Voted No. 1 in the Nation

Local market tops USA Today list.

FarmersMarket-logoThe Boulder Farmers Market, our wonderful seasonal marketplace for locally grown produce, locally produced food products and local artisans, tops USA Today’s 10Best Farmers Markets list  or 2015. Twenty contenders were selected by a panel of food and travel experts — Bernadine Prince, president of the Farmers Market Coalition; food writer Eric Grossman; travel writer Megy Karydes; M. Linda Lee, former editor for Michelin Travel Publications, Akila McConnell travel and food blogger, The Road Forks; Larry Olmsted, USA Today food writer, and food writer Kim Sunee. The panel’s selections were presented to the public for four weeksof daily votes.

Boulder Farmers Market is the brainchild of a group of local farmers, who came together with their vision of a local market in 1987 at the Boulder Courthouse. What started with a few tables of produce loaded off the backs of pickup trucks has evolved into a robust destination market on 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue more than 100 vendors who set up for the longest market season in Colorado. There’s also an outdoor food court with wine beer and sangria available too at the Wednesday night market that runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. from early May through early October, and the original Saturday market runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. from early April through late November. During the peak summer season, the Boulder Farmers Market attracts over 5,000 customers per day.  My husband and I are often two of them.

Denver’s Tender Belly Pork Cited for Fast Growth

Natural heritage pork is increasingly what’s for dinner.

Tenderbelly-logo Inc. magazine has announced that Denver-based Tender Belly, a nationally recognized purveyor of all natural heritage breed pork products, ranks No.  698 on the 34th annual Inc. 5000, a prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents what is said to be “the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs.”

Tender Belly was founded in 2010 by brothers Erik and Shannon Duffy with the mission to provide the highest quality of pork products on the market. The result is natural, delicious pork that foodies can eat with clear consciences. Tender Belly’s array of products including bacon, franks, ham, ribs, various cuts and whole hogs. The brand is carried by major national distributors and in specialty stores throughout Colorado,  Arizona and Texas.

Tender Belly is committed to environmentally responsible and fully traceable farming methods, as well as to animal well-being. As part of their focus on farm-to-table cuisine and local purveyors, they source from small family farms with generations of history that produce the finest quality pork.

All of the animals are fed a 100% vegetarian diet — with no rendered animal byproducts, antibiotics or hormones, and live with plenty of space to roam. This approach helps Tender Belly deliver a line-up of pork products to  distinguished restaurants across the country including those helmed by big-name chefs.  Click here for Colorado restaurants serving Tender Belly cuts of pork

Colorado’s Place on Top Pizza List

Pizzeria Locale, Frasca’s quick-serve pizza offshoot, appears on national list.

DailyMeal-logoThe Daily Meal, a national foodie site, just released its selection of the “101 Best Pizzas in America 2015.” Colorado makes is customary token appearance on a “best” list. Here’s what the site wrote about Boulder’s Pizzeria Locale, accompanied by an image of a thin-crust pie made of exceptional dough (topped with mozzarella: pecorino, fontina, porcini, roasted white mushroom, garlic and shallot) and baked hot until the crust becomes slightly charred and served unsliced to be eaten with knife and fork:

“It shouldn’t be surprising that Frasca, one of America’s best restaurants, launched an offshoot that serves some of the best pizza in the country. What happens now that restaurateurs Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson have teamed up with Chipotle to launch the restaurant as a fast-casual concept, however, remains to be seen.

“There seems to be a thought out there that America needs a high-quality fast-casual Neapolitan pizza chain. Maybe it’s true that there’s a gap in a market dominated by somnambulant franchises that have been content to churn out doughy, overly sweet-sauced gut-bombs for years. Maybe there’s really nothing wrong with the idea of rotational hearth ovens powered by gas and infrared that take the human element out of cooking. Or maybe Americans will think pizza from a fast-casual spot should be able to be eaten with one hand and without a knife or fork, you know, like what New Yorkers would call “a slice.” What has been made clear so far is that this self-described contemporary pizzeria inspired by the traditional pizzerias of Naples knows how to bring it.

“The full-service Pizzeria Locale in Boulder serves 14 pies (seven each white and red), among them the funghi, which, for $20, you can next-level with Umbrian black summer truffle. The menu at the “quick-serve” Pizzeria Locales in Denver (where there are two), Kansas City, and soon Cincinnati features 10 11-inch pies that are a little more mainstream (though a version of the mais pizza with sweet corn, ham, crème fraîche, and garlic did make the cut). But you can craft your own interesting combos with their 25 toppings.”

What surprised me: Five honorees from my native Connecticut that appear on  the list are the plain pie (no cheese) from Roseland Apizza in Derby, the plain pie (slices of fresh tomato) from Ernie’s Pizza in New Haven, Domenick and Pia’s pepperoni in Waterbury, mashed potato and bacon (what!?!) from Bru Room at BAR in New Haven, special (mozzarella, mushroom, sausage and marinara) at Zuppardi’s Pizza in West Haven, the Italian Bomb (bacon, sausage, pepperoni, garlic, mushroom, pepper, tomato, onion and mozzarella) at Modern Apizza in New Haven and tomato pie (no cheese) at Sally’s Apizza in New Haven. Sally’s neighbor and perennial rival, Frank Pepe’s, is mysteriously absent this year.

Metate Room on List of Great Park Eateries

The Daily Meal likes SW Colorado restaurant.

DailyMeal-logoThe Daily Meal, a popular food site, loves “10 best lists.” The most recent is “America’s 10 Best Restaurants in Parks” — city parks, state parks and national parks. Listed as No. 4 is the Metate Room in Mesa Verde National Park. Though neglecting to mention the critical fact that the restaurant is open only seasonally (mid-April through late October), here’s write-up on the site:

Metate Room

Perched high in southwest Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park is Far View Lodge. From its 8,250-foot elevation, visitors can overlook four states while enjoying a contemporary menu at the Metate Room. Inspired by regional foods and flavors, the Metate Room does a stellar job of incorporating history into their menu. Specialty items to order: pork and chili stew, pueblo portobello stack or roasted vegetable salad.

Chefs Honored for Best Beer Pairings

Culinary competition featured nine chef, 37 beers & 18 dishes.

Pairsine-logoThe 2015 Pairsine/Taste of Elegance beer-pairing competition is in the can, so to speak. Nine Front Range chefs each prepared  two dishes to pair with beers that were winners in an earlier phase of the competition. A panel of judges (including yours truly) selected the Best Chef overall Billy Chartres of Stuft A Burger Bar, Fort Collins, and Most Creative Chef, an honor that went to Steven Chandler of the Omni Interlocken,  the Broomfield resort hotel where the event was held. People’s Choice honors went to Darrell Jensen of Samples World Bistro in Longmont.

Chefs and their assistants prepare tasting portions of two dishes for the crowd of Pairsine guests.
Chefs and their assistants prepare tasting portions of two dishes for the crowd of Pairsine guests.
Maia Parish, me, Jean-Luc Voegele and Rudi Helvig. Jean-Luc Voegele, a judge this time, has been a frequent winner of Pairsine events, both food and wine pairings.
Maia Parish, me, Jean-Luc Voegele and Rudi Helvig. Jean-Luc Voegele, a judge this time, has been a frequent winner of Pairsine events.

There always seem to a few dishes prepared by more than one chef but executed differently. This year, Chandler and Tim Berry  of Boulder’s Fate Brewing Company both made spring rolls. Chandler’s were soft and spicy; Berry’s held together and were crisp. William Merwin of The Blue Star in Colorado Springs and Kirk Spare of the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, not far from the Omni in Broomfield both made fried chicken. Merwin’s was cut into small tasting pieces that were skinless and crustless; Spare’s was hot and crisp. Merwin and Jensen both prepared versions of arancini. Merwin’s had a hint of coconut and accompanied cocoa-braised short ribs; Jensen’s rice balls encased chili con carne with cheddar in the middle.

The next event will be the 11th annual Denver International Wine Festival, October 28-30, and I’m looking forward to it already, since wine is more up my alley than beer.

T&L Taps The Source for Top Food Hall List

Prestigious magazine cites RiNo landmark on world list.

TheSource-logoWhen Travel & Leisure published its list of The World’s Best New Food Halls, I was thrilled to read that The Source in Denver made the hallowed list of just 12 around the globe — that is, the whole world.  I’m a big admirer of renascent urban neighborhoods, and RiNo exemplifies urban creativity. T&L wrote:

The Source, Denver

The 15 vendors and restaurants at The Source, a repurposed 1880’s brick foundry building, range from sour beer specialists (Crooked Stave) to locally beloved coffee purveyors (Boxcar Coffee Roasters) and a taco truck-turned-modern taqueria (Comida). Don’t miss: wood-fired Colorado trout from Acorn, sister restaurant to Boulder’s renowned OAK at Fourteenth.
This recognition comes just as Zeppelin Development has announced that it is building an eponymous 100-room next door. If there was still a shred of doubt that RiNo is Denver’s most innovative and exciting areas, this should put all that to rest. The hotel, scheduled to open in early 2017, will feature an eighth-floor- rooftop deck with a beer garden and pool; a second 25,000-square- foot market hall with 20-foot ceilings; a ground-floor craft brewery;
a signature independent restaurant joining the great eats in the original; open market-style shopping areas with as many as 12 additional vendors; food and beverage counters, and more. The operators of Boulder’s Hotel St. Julien have been selected  to run The Source Hotel.

Beer Muscling in on Wine Turf

Flagstaff House beer dinner & Parisine beer event with chef competition.

Until recently, chefs tended to devise gourmet meals to pair with wines, and by and large, cooks in this country made far more casual dishes to go well with beer. The lines are blurring, the scene is shifting — and that shift is evident in two special beer-centric culinary evenings that are coming right up.

Flagstaff House Fare and New Belgium Brews

FlagstaffLogoWith its 15,000-bottle cellar and numerous Wine Spectator Grand Awards of Excellence and other honors, Boulder’s Flagstaff House boasts a phenomenal wine program.  Breaking away from its image, this legendary restaurant teams up with Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery to present top brews paired with the culinary creations of chefs Chris Royster and Mark Monette on Thursday, July 9.

The evening begins with an hors d’oeuvres reception on Flagstaff House’s gorgeous terrace (weather permitting), followed by a sit-down dinner in the spectacular dining room.  New Belgium’s Master Brewers and Flagstaff House chef Royster introduce the food and beer pairings. New Belgium pours rare, cellared and newly released beers, paired with exquisite Flagstaff House cuisine. The event is $95 per person, plus $31  for tips, taxes and online convenience fee.  Buy online. Here’s the mouth-watering menu:

  • Hors d’oeuvres  with Fat Tire & Slow Ride
  • Rabbit Rillette, Frisée Salad, Rosemary Onion Jam, Pear Chips with 
Pear Ginger Beer
  • Kauai White Prawns, Lemon Risotto, Sage Brown Butter Emulsion with 
Snap Shot & Transatlantique Kriek
  • Crisp Duck Confit, Duck Breast Roulade, Orange Braised Barley, Arugula, Dried Cherry Chutney, Black Pepper Gastrique with Rampant & La Folie
  • Banana-Bacon-Chocolate  with Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout

Pairsine for Beer

Pairsine-logoWine Country Network, whose Pairsine/Taste of Elegance chefs’ competitions have become Front Range faves with foodies, now also puts on a comparable beer event. It challenges 10 local chefs to prepare two dishes each to pair with 20 winning beers from the 2015 Denver International  Beer Competition. The beer Pairsine takes place on July 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the  Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield. General admission is $75, including tastings of all the beers and all the food, plus a neat complimentary beer glass. Buy online. Here’s the 2015 line-up of participating chefs and restaurants:

  • Eli Odell, Executive Chef, Highland Tap & Burger
  • David Davis, Executive Chef, The Sink
  • William Merwin, Executive Chef, The Blue Star
  • Dylan Zwart, Executive Chef, Low Down Brewery
  • Jean-Luc Vogele, Executive Chef, The Westin Hotel, Tabor Center
  • Joshua Hasho, Executive Chef, Omni Interlocken Resort & Spa
  • Jeffrey Samoska, Chef de Cuisine, Pub 17 on Welton/ Grand Hyatt
  • Tim Berry, Executive Chef Fate Brewing Company
  • Kirk Spare, Executive Chef, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
  • Michael Long, Executive Chef, Le Central French Restaurant