Category Archives: Award

Fried Chicken, Anyone?

Just one Colorado eatery on new national list.

DailyMeal-logoI’m actually not a fan of fried chicken. I was put off by an early taste of KFC krap (when the chain was called by its full name, Kentucky Fried Chicken). Now when confronted with fried chicken elsewhere, I usually remove the often-greasy batter and skin to get to the meat, thereby missing the whole point of fried chicken. The Colorado fried chicken I’ve liked the best has been the skillet-fried version, served family-style at The Slogar in Crested Butte.

The Daily Meal selected “America’s 75 Best Fried Chicken Spots,” and the site found just one in Colorado that it found worthy. The fried chicken caboose at #75 is Jus Cookin’s in Lakewood. I’d never heard of it, but when look at its website, it turns out that it opened in 1988, the same year I moved to Colorado.

“Fried chicken in Colorado? Don’t let the unlikely location of this family-owned eatery fool you into thinking it doesn’t have the drumsticks to wow your palate. Jus Cookin’s has been serving some of the nation’s best fried chicken from its unassuming “little yellow farmhouse” since 1988. The restaurant’s humble yet hearty meals have drawn the likes of Katie Couric and former Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook in for dinner.”

Abbott’s on National Seafood List

Connecticut institution cited as great lobster shack.

DailyMeal-logoWhen I moved to Colorado in 1988, I was cheered to find prepared clam chowder from Abbott’s of Noank at my local King Soopers. A true taste of New England was much appreciated by this Connecticut native. I used to buy it all the time, until it disappeared from the refrigerated case. I guess there weren’t enough nostalgic New Englanders in Boulder (or all of Colorado) at the time.

Now Abbott’s gets top billing in The Daily Meal’s list of “America’s 40 Best Seafood Shacks.” Well okay. It is first because the list is alphabetical, but I’d put it right up there with Maine’s finest anyway.

Any New Englander worth his or her salt knows how to deal with a whole lobster, given nutcrackers and a pick. I like my lobster plain -- no drawn butter needed to compete with the sweetest of all seafoods. Photo: Flickr/outdoorPDK
Any New Englander worth his or her salt knows how to deal with a whole lobster, with a nutcrackers and a pick. I like my lobster plain — no drawn butter needed to compete with the sweetest of all seafoods. Photo: Flickr/outdoorPDK

Here’s what The Daily Meal posted: “According to the digital countdown clock on the Abbott’s website, at the moment this is being written there are 18 weeks, six days, seven hours, 19 minutes, and 36 seconds, oops, 37, oops…well, you get the idea, left until Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough serves their last lobster of the 2015 season. This reminder is convenient, because you do not want to miss out on this. Abbott’s has been in business for more than a half century, and they put a spin on lobster rolls by low steaming them and serving them hot with melted-on butter — not that it makes them shirk on buttering the roll. Local oysters are on offer, too.”

Denver’s Bones on National List

The Daily Meal selects casual spots with memorable food — only one in Colorado.

DailyMeal-logoYes, I’m at it again — scouring  yet another list of noteworthy eateries to see which (if any) Colorado restaurants appear. This time, it’s The Daily Meal’s annual list of “The 101 Best Casual Restaurants in America.” In Colorado, the site likes Bones, one of Frank Bonanno’s Denver restaurants, and only Bones. I give The Daily Meal credit for acknowledging that Colorado is one of the fly-over states, but the 101 selected are so top-heavy with New York (with strong representation from Texas, California and New Orleans) that there’s little room for others. Sigh. The Daily Meal wrote:

#82 Bones, Denver, Colo.
The home page animation on Bones’ website shows old-timey Chinese warriors invading Paris, and that’s basically Bones in a nutshell: French-inspired Asian noodles and buns, with menu items you probably won’t find anywhere else on earth. Escargot potstickers; chilled vermicelli with shrimp ceviche and chimichurri; lobster ramen with edamame, beurre blanc, scallion, and miso lobster broth; green chile ramen with braised pork shoulder, hominy, queso fresco, and a fried egg… Wait, that last one isn’t French, it’s Tex-Mex! Well, whatever, it’s still insanely delicious. Bones is a culinary jumble in the best way imaginable.

Denver on the Thrillist Donut List

Glazed & Confuzed cited for donut deliciousness.

Thrillist-logo“Here you go again,” you might be thinking. Yes, I’ve become obsessed with passing along word of every local or national award and honor or even recognition bestowed on Colorado food and beverage purveyors. This time, it’s Denver’s Glazed & Confuzed that’s on the site’s “Best Donut Shops in America.” The donuts sound delish (most of them, anyway) and I love the humorous name that plays off all the ampersanded eateries around the metro area. Here’s what Thrillist post:

“Step into some of Denver’s finest coffeeshops (Kaladi, Aviano, Pablo’s), and you can spot Glazed & Confuzed’s donuts pretty easily; aside pastries and muffin varieties so boring even your grandma would pass on them, you’ll find their donut-y take on the Girl Scout Samoa with a caramel glaze, toasted coconut, and chocolate drizzle, and the cheekily-named Guava D’s Nutz with a cream cheese cake donut and a guava glaze. In mid-2014, the donut boundary pushers behind G&C opened their first standalone shop in Mile High, giving donut lovers even more variety to choose from, where they have the capacity to make crazy donuts like… umm, a Boston Cream Pie. Sometimes the classics can be good too.”

It’s all the way down on Leetsdale, a haul from Boulder just to try the donuts, so I won’t be there anytime soon. But eventually, for sure.

 

Boulder Named to Another National Food List

Boulder-logoNot surprisingly, Boulder has made it to another “best” list — this time, TheDailyMeal.com’s “Best College Towns for Food in America,” which posted the following:

3. Boulder, Colo.
Long known as the hardest partying college town in the country, Boulder can also rank itself among the tastiest. Moe’s Broadway Bagel serves the best in bagels and a schmear in town, and The Kitchen is a cool and communal space with a seasonal, farm-to-table menu featuring homemade tagliatelle carbonara, Colorado quinoa with broccoli, and Colorado steak frites. For an even more authentic taste of Boulder, students should hit the Boulder County’s Farmers Market.
Other than the flying comma (it’s the Boulder County Farmers’ Market), my only quibble is the selection  of The Kitchen. A better fit for students, IMO, would be its neighboring sister restaurant, The Kitchen Next Door, which is equally cool, more communal (i.e., more big community tables) and less expensive.
Special Note to Picky Proofreaders: I have tried every which way to add a line space between the paragraph ending with “….”Farmers Market” and the one starting with “Other than….” WordPress keeps overruling me. I only add this because it would be the height of irony to have let this stand in a picky post about else’s punctuation.

Colorado Has a New Master Sommelier

Mea culpa. Make that “Colorado almost has a New Master Sommelier.”

Master Sommelier Nick Barb.
Master Sommelier Nick Barb.

Yesterday I posted the following:

“Nicholas Barb, sommelier at The Little Nell Hotel’s Element 47  in Aspen, was one of 18 candidates who just passed the grueling Master Sommelier examination. If you saw the movie, “Somm,” you might have an inkling of what a triumph it is to pass this odyssey of deep knowledge about wine, super-human tasting skills and exemplary service set forth by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He follows in the footsteps of Richard Betts, who gained the honor in 2003 when he was with the Little Nell.”

And I did it in good faith, thanks to incomplete information I found on Facebook — not posted by the Little Nell but by someone else. Turns out that Barb passed the Advanced Sommelier exam, one step below Master Somm, which the Little’s PR spokeswoman May Selby “is the likely next goal.” I jumped the gun, I hope my mistake foretells Barb’s future. I really do know better, but it also explains why 18 names appeared on the list — a number never achieved in one year at the Master Somm level. It should have been a red flag, and it is a reminder to me not to take half-baked info for gospel.
Barb’s bio on the hotel website reads:

“Like many culinary professionals, Nick Barb made his debut with a high school job in a local kitchen. Smitten, he later traded international business and economics studies for a place at the Culinary Institute of America. While there, he took an internship at the Larkspur Restaurant and Market in Vail, where he was once more smitten, this time by the Rockies. In 2009, Nick joined the team at Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan, where he spent five years honing his wine knowledge and his craft of impeccable but relaxed service. During his tenure, the restaurant received three Michelin stars and was rated the fifth-best restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino. But the mountains were calling, and we’re happy to claim Nick as one of our own now. With the ability to interact with guests from around the world, study for his master sommelier exam with our world-famous team and ski – Nick’s happy too.”

Congratulations are in order.

‘5280’ Names Denver Area’s Best New Restaurants

Annual restaurant selections include the area’s very best.

5280-cover2015The March issue of 5280 Magazine arrived in my mailbox while I was out of the country. It is the month that the “Best New Restaurants” list comes out, and I am always eager to read it. Senior editor Amanda M. Faison had the Herculean task of winnowing the contenders down to just 10. Here’s the 2015 list:

Eater Denver’s Top 15 Right NOW

HeatMap-logoMeanwhile, Eater Denver (or is it Denver Eater?), that interesting by notoriously fickle site, has published its Heatmap, a periodic list of the hottest (!!!!!) restaurants in Denver right now, unceremoniously spurning those that were hot just a few months ago. The compulsion to name hot spots is tiresome, but what is interesting to me are the restaurants on both lists. It is gratifying somehow when the hotspots are also praised for the cuisine, ambiance and service. Here are the site’s selections: