Category Archives: Award

Masterpiece Deli Named Leading Sandwich Shop

Thrillist.com’s best in the country includes Denver staple.

Thrillist.com assembled a selection of “The 33 best Sandwich Shops in the Country,” and right there is Masterpiece Deli, of which the site’s senior editor Andy Kryza wrote:

Denver, Colorado

Justin Brunson, the chef behind Masterpiece Deli, also owns one of Denver’s most important restaurants (the acclaimed Old Major), and his culinary talents are equally showcased at this humble deli. One of the major feats of this Mile High shop is its versatility. The menu features a mouthwatering 12-hour-braised beef brisket smothered in a rich Taleggio fondue and served on a baguette. And damn it if Masterpiece’s bland-as-hell-sounding roasted vegetable sandwich isn’t one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat, too. The flavors of the fresh zucchini, wild mushrooms, and piquillo peppers mesh gloriously with the hummus, a zesty tomato tapenade, and aged provolone on a baguette. Though the Cubano — loaded with Black Forest ham and brined mojo pork and glued together with melted Swiss — might be enough to tempt even the president of PETA over to the dark side.

The original is in LoHi, where it was a pioneering good-food presence. There’s a second Masterpiece Deli in Uptown and a related eatery,  Masterpiece Kitchen, in Lowry.

The Kitchen Cited as Farm-to-Table Pioneer

Food & Wine picks The Kitchen for Colorado.

thekitchen-sign-jpgFood & Wine magazine selected its choices for the best farm-to-table restaurant in every state, where hey surveyed food writers and bloggers. Even though they didn’t contact me, I’m happy to note that Boulder-born The Kitchen was the Colorado choice.  I concur, because The Kitchen really pioneered the concept in this neck of the culinary woods.

Here’s what Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore wrote (but the fact-checking or proofreading was flawed. It’s Kimbal Musk, not Kimbal Husk):

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 . “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.

Frasca One America’s Top Restaurants — Again

Boulder’s finest recognized by eater.com once more.

Eater-logoHere is eater.com’s list of the 38 best restaurants in the country (red highlight is mine):

Al Ameer, Dearborn, MI | ★ Alinea, Chicago | ★ Benu, San Francisco | ★ Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY | Cosme, New York | ★ Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME | ★ FIG, Charleston, SC | ★Franklin Barbecue, Austin | ★ Frasca Food & Wine, BoulderGarcia’s Mexican Restaurant, San Antonio | Herbsaint, New Orleans | Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, AL | Hugo’s, Houston | ★ Husk Nashville, Nashville | Kachka, Portland, OR | Liholiho Yacht Club, San Francisco | Milktooth, Indianapolis | Miller Union, Atlanta | ★ Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York | Parachute, Chicago | Petit Trois, Los Angeles | La Petite Grocery, New Orleans | Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix | Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh | ★ Prince’s Hot Chicken, Nashville | The Publican, Chicago | Raku, Las Vegas | ★ Roberta’s, Brooklyn | ★ Rose’s Luxury, Washington, DC | Saison, San Francisco | Sarma, Somerville, MA | Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis | Sqirl, Los Angeles | Szechuan Impression, Alhambra, CA | The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA | ★ Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore | ★ Zahav, Philadelphia | Zuni Cafe, San Francisco

Not surprisingly, Boulder’s stellar Frasca again makes the list. The restaurant continues to dazzle Bill Addison, the site’s restaurant critic. Click here for his 2014 review and ode to Frasca partner and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey.

Denver Rises on Top Food Cities List

Mile High City on Zagat’s list of country’s  best cities for food.

Zagat-logoThe Zagat name has been synonymous with restaurant reviews and recommendations since Tim and Nina Zagat launched it in New York in 1982 as a compilation of diner reviews. It’s now an on-line empire with correspondents in what in considers to be worthy food cities. Zagat’s newly released list of “The 26 Hottest Food Cities of 2016.”

The write-up includes the links that Zagat typically inserts into all its posts, and the image accompanying the write-up is of Denver’s hot new Central Market in RiNo.

No. 3: Denver, CO

The best city for singles. For millennials. For entrepreneurs. For outdoorspeople. Over the past few years, Denver has ranked at or near the top of virtually every U.S. index there is; it was only a matter of time before outsiders “discovered” its dynamic dining scene too. This year alone, Nobu Matsuhisa, Gregory Gourdet, Deborah Schneider and Hugh Acheson staked claims here; Jeffrey Wall of Atlanta’s Kimball House is on his way, and so is the team behind New York’s Death & Co.

Meanwhile, there’s no stopping our homegrown talent. Beard award-winners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (Frasca) will be opening Tavernetta soon; fellow recipient Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja et al.) is expanding her mini empire with Ultreia. Rising stars like Hop Alley’s Tommy Lee, The Way Back’s Chad Michael George, Joshua Pollack of Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen and Bar Dough’s Mac MacKissock have swiftly garnered national acclaim. The spotlight that was already trained on our impressive field of food halls (The Source, Avanti F&B, Union Station) just intensified with the opening of The Central Market; Stanley Marketplace will be even bigger. And though Denver’s long been at the craft-brewing forefront, it’s poised to break whole new ground (theoretically, at least) with the legalization of cannabis use in restaurants and bars. Innovationwise, this is the wonderfully Wild West all over again.

Ruth Tobias

Lyons Liqueur Medals in New York

Local liqueur features decaf coffee & clean alcohol.

richardosbottleRichardo’s Decaf Coffee Liqueur, a 40-proof liqueur made with naturally decaffeinated coffee, pure vanilla and neutral grain spirits, was awarded a Silver Medal at the 7th Annual New York International Spirits Competition. It is the fifth international award win for Richardo’s, which can be used in cocktails, cooking and baking, and served neat or over ice. Do alcohol and decaf coffee cancel each other out?

Richard England makes his liqueur through a patent-pending process blending neutral grain spirits with England’s signature mix of naturally decaffeinated coffee, high-quality vanilla and other ingredients, then aged for at least 30 days. England and his wife, Linda, started making Richardo’s in small batches in 1986 , mainly for family and friends. In 2012, he teamed up with Spirit Hound Distillers to take his recipe to production scale while still keeping the rich, creamy and smooth taste of the liqueur intact.

According to England, Richardo’s Decaf Coffee Liqueur is made with high-quality vanilla and decaffeinated coffee, which requires less sugar to overcome the natural bitterness of caffeine.

Made just outside Denver in Lyons, Colorado, Richardo’s is available at Spirit Hound Distillers tasting room on the east side of in Lyons. We’ve passed it a million times en route to Estes Park. We’ve got to stop next time for a distillery tour and to try some Richardo’s. If you aren’t going though Lyons, click here for Colorado liquor stores and restaurant where you can find it.  4196 Ute Highway (US Highway 36), Lyons; 303- 823-5696 (tasting room) or 720- 636-4525.

Hop Alley Named Eater’s Best Restaurant

Nationnal site’s annual Denver honors announced.

EATER_Awards2013No Colorado chefs/restaurants made it to Eater.com’s 2016  national honors (disappointment again, but no surprise), but Denver and the greater metro area’s list of local awards is out. Click here for the whole four-item list that includes nominees and people’s choice honors.

  • Restaurant of the Year. Hop Alley.
  • Chef of the Year . Kelly Whitaker (Basta and Ash).
  • Most Beautiful Restaurant of the Year. Matsuhisa Cherry Creek.
  • Bar of the Year. B&GC.
  • Game-Changer of the Year. The Denver Central Market.

Five Top Colorado Steakhouses

Open Table’s “100 Best” list includes a handful in metro Denver.

OpenTable-logoOpen Table, the online restaurant reservation site, has unveiled its users’ choices for the 100 Best Steakhouses in America for 2016. Of those, five are in Colorado — all in Denver or the greater metro area. They are:

  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Greenwood Village
  • Elway’s Cherry Creek, Denver
  • Guard & Grace, Denver
  • Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Park Meadows, Lone Tree
  • Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Denver

I was alerted to this by a Del Frisco’s spokeswoman, who also noted that this upscale steakhouse chain has three interesting insiders’ features:

  • Secret menu items  that “only those with prior knowledge know to order the off-menu delights, many inspired by Del Frisco’s regulars and local celebrities.”
  • Non-traditional spirits  that vary by each location, offering “some of the rarest vintages and bottles available in the U.S.
  • The recently created recently created Somm Wars pitting “Leaders of Women in Wine” against each other, “with Del being “home to many top female sommeliers and a friendly three-city wine competition, which will become an annual event.” The three cities are Dallas, New York and Chicago.