Category Archives: Award

‘Dining Out’ Mag Readers’ “Prime Picks”

Diners select their Denver & Boulder favorites.

PrimePicks-logoDining Out magazine — mostly menus but some features too — invited readers to select what they considered the best in various categories. Like all such reader selections, the results are heavily weighted toward what’s “hot” and “in” now, not necessarily the best. How, for example, would Black Cat and/or its sister restaurant, Bramble & Hare be left off the farm-to-table list? And not to put to fine a point on it, but Chez Thuy is not really Chinese and Sherpa’s is not really Indian. But here, with that caution, is the Prime Picks list. Clicking on a category should bring up details on the winner:


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Boulder Breakfast Spot’s Pancakes Cited

The Village Coffee Shop makes Thrillist top-21 list.

Thrillist-logoBoulder’s Village Coffee Shop is a favorite local greasy spoon, beloved by folks who revere traditional American breakfast and lunch dishes. It’s a coffee-not-cappuccino kind of place in a small strip fall.

I’ve been there any number of times and always order the pancakes (usually blueberry). They are huge. Three are too many for me. Even two are more than I can handle. One is just right. But at the counter and at the Formica-topped tables, regulars wolf down gargantuan portions. First-timers are called “Village virgins” and are given a special welcome. But it’s the pancakes that captivated’s scout, who wrote on “The 21 Best Pancakes in America“:

“It’s a cliche to say certain places make it feel like you’ve “stepped back in time,” so we’ll just say that when you see the burnt-orange stools and wood paneling at Village Coffee, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Boulder circa 1971, when the joint opened and unleashed the same pancake recipe used today. There are but three pancake varieties here: buttermilk, blueberry, and chocolate chip. All are the size of a dinner plate. Pair ’em with eggs or bacon, or just show up on the weekend when they sometimes serve a “mancake special,” where they stuff their enormous pancakes with bacon, ham, and sausage. If you ask nicely, they can also prepare it whenever you want.”


5280 Mag’s List of 25 Best Restaurants

Some oldies but goodies and some new faves — and more honors for Frasca.

5280-cover-restaurants2015Come September 25, the always-anticipated October issue of 5280 Magazine will arrive. It’s the issue that features the monthly mag’s selection of the year’s 25 best restaurants in metro Denver. Andra Zeppelin of Denver Eater got the list first and noted that the newest entry is Boulder’s Blackbelly Market, launched last November, and Barolo Grill, which opened in 1992, is the most venerable. Here’s the list:

  1. 1. Acorn
    2. Frasca
    3. Mercantile
    4. ChoLon
    5. Populist
    6. Work & Class
    7. Beast + Bottle
    8. Sushi Den
    9. To The Wind
    10. Basta
    11. Oak
    12. Barolo Grill
    13. Mizuna
    14. Fruition
    15. Old Major
    16. Stoic & Genuine
    17 Guard & Grace
    18. Cart Driver
    19. Bistro Barbes
    20. The Plimoth
    21. Bittersweet
    22. Duo
    23. Rioja
    24. Blackbelly Market
    25. Uncle

Not only is Frasca Food & Wine Number 2 on 5280’s list, but it was included on’s list of “12 Perfect Plates Across the U.S.” The Boulder restaurant was cited specifically for “spoon dumplings.”  Here’s what the national food site posted:

Frasca, Boulder

Spoiler: Frasca, whose gracious hospitality is matched by its earthy, clean-tasting northeastern Italian cuisine, will remain on the national Eater 38 in 2016. The summer dinner that cinched its place included zlkrofi, a variation on “spoon dumplings” from Slovenia filled with roasted chicken, prosciutto, and ricotta and garnished with fresh porcini mushrooms. 1738 Pearl St, Boulder, (303) 442-6966,

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.