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:
“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.
There’s a new French connection in Denver in a few days as Bistro Vendome debuts its Movie Night series with one of my favorite food movies, “Julie & Julia,” made from one of my favorite food books of the same name. The story involves a young woman in New York who embarked on an ambitious project to take her mine off her dreadful job. The project: Julie Powell cooking her way through the Julia Child opus, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Along the way, she started a blog, which caught the right attention that resulted in a book contract and then a movie.
Bistro Vendome’s state-of-the-art audiovisual system in the main dining room is showing the delightful movie on a 103-inch screen. Guests are served the classic culinary comedy paired with a three-course prix fixe menu by chef Adam Branz.
Heirloom tomato bruschetta
Choice of Fillet of Sole with brown butter, lemon, parsley or Boeuf Bourguignon
Apple Tarte Tatin
Show time is 8 p.m. on Monday, July 11. Please make reservations at 303-825-3232. The restaurant promises future movie nights. It is at 1420 Larimer Square, with an entrance via the Sussex Breezeway.
I’m pleased and proud that this food/restaurant blog is one of 11 local blogs featured in the Denver/Boulder edition of ‘DiningOut.” It is also the longest-running of the near-dozen blogs that were spotlighted. I describe it as Colorado-centric but not Colorado exclusive. Click here to see the roundup. Thanks to Maya Silver and the other “deciders” at Dining Out.
The Daily Meal just doesn’t get the middle of the country.
Once again, a New York-based dining authority may know lots about food but seems to know little about Colorado. It includes Keystone’s Ski Tip Lodge in a list of worthy if remote eateries. Worthy it is. But remote? Not really.
This historic building is now part of the vast Keystone Resort that includes six lodging pods that stretch for miles along US 6. Except arguably in mud season, the resort throbs with activities and can be crowded visitors. It is an hour give or take from Denver, the largest city in a 600-mile radius. Interstate 70, a prime east-west route across the country, is just 6 miles away — and those 6 miles are hardly through wilderness but increasingly developed.
When the snow isn’t falling and the tourists aren’t touring, Keystone, about 70 miles west of Denver, is a town of only 1,000 residents. However, the local Ski Tip Lodge —within an 1800’s stagecoach stop that was once the home of Keystone’s founding family — has a restaurant that makes a trip here worth the trouble. Executive chef Kevin McComb offers a four-course meal daily that constantly changes, with dishes like porcini mushroom and potato purée with truffle whipped cream, hoisin cured crispy pork belly, braised and glazed al natural beef short rib, and bourbon marinated Colorado lamb chop. The romantic dining experience is enjoyable and slow-paced, which is possible because the restaurant only offers two seating times per night.
The photo caption perfectly summarizes the site’s ignorance. It reads, “This Ski Tip Lodge meal can be yours! All you need to do is travel into the middle of a forest in the Rocky Mountains.” Not exactly.
I interrupt my usual Colorado fixation with this post about Connecticut. When I was growing up, Norwalk, which had been urban-renewed within an inch of its life, was the more vibrant of the two downtowns. South Norwalk was by the New Haven Railroad tracks. It had the railroad station, City Hall, the big library, the big post office and a lot of vacant turn-of-the-last-century commercial buildings. Neglect turned out to be a good thing, since those buildings remained ignored.
Chocolate Truffle: La Madeleine au Truffle, Knipschildt Chocolatier, Norwalk, Conn.: $250
Master chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt is selling the most expensive chocolate truffle in the world from his shop in Norwalk, Connecticut. It’s made via a seven-step process and contains chocolate ganache made from 71 percent Valrhona dark chocolate, French Perigord truffle (or Italian white truffle if they’re not available), and truffle oil. If you want one for yourself (or for your significant other), you’ll need to order it at least five days in advance so Knipschildt can import the truffle.
Fritz Knipschildt also runs a cafe and retail shop called Chocopologie on Washington Street, the main drag of South Norwalk. Next time I return, I’m going to the cafe and will pay homage the over-the-top truffle with a cappuccino and a chocolate treat of some sort.
Franchise fudge shop named one of the best in the US.
In part of the space on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall that once housed Trattoria on Pearl, a Kilwin’s shop is taking shape with a promised January 9 opening. I’ve been to the Kilwin’s in downtown Fort Collins and am therefore looking forward to its appearance in Boulder too.
TheDailyMeal.com just release a list of what it considers “America’s 25 Best Fudge Shops” to be. Eight are in Michigan, but Colorado’s Front Range will soon have two locations of one brand. Here’s what the site says:
Kilwins was founded in 1947 by Don and Katy Kilwin, and today there are nine locations as far and wide as Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Atlanta. The fudge recipe used at all the locations was created by Don and Katy themselves, and crafted on marble slabs. Top selling flavors include classic chocolate, sea salt caramel, and turtle; with seasonal favorites including egg nog and peppermint stick.
The Daily Meal’s writer isn’t much of a reporter, claiming that there are “nine locations far and wide,” when in truth there are more than 100 which would be both farther and wider.
Too often, restaurants in such fly-over states as Colorado are overlooked by coastal arbiters of what eateries American diners should revere, admire, patronize. Thankfully, Denver has veteran food critic Lori Midson to wave the banner of the local scene. She writes in Zagat.com’s “The Top 17 Food Cities of 2015.” Seventeen states of 50 isn’t totally exclusive, but it’s better recognition that Colorado usually gets.
As Denver’s culinary climate continues to soar, the Mile High City’s restaurants and chefs –– as well as the foodies who live here –– are celebrating its gastronomic prowess. And so are national media outlets. Uncle, Tommy Lee’s insanely popular noodle house, secured a notch on USA Today’s roster of the top 10 ramen restaurants in the country, while Punch Bowl Social, Robert Thompson’s playful restaurant and entertainment mecca, was named one of the 10 Breakout Brands by Nation’s Restaurant News. Forbes.com recognized Jennifer Jasinski, the James Beard Award–winning restaurateur and kitchen magician who presides over Euclid Hall, Bistro Vendome and Stoic & Genuine, as one of the top 10 female chefs in the country –– and speaking of Stoic & Genuine, it was also named one of the “Coolest Train Station Restaurants” in the world by Travel + Leisure. Meanwhile, Bon Appétit singled out The Source, a European-inspired market for its “newer take on the classic artisan food market,” while the Food Network named Avanti Food & Beverage, a collective food hall, one of Denver’s must-visit destinations.
In addition, several Colorado chefs and restaurants, including Dana Rodriguez (Work & Class); Alex Seidel (Fruition and Mercantile Dining & Provision); Steve Redzikowski (Oak at Fourteenth and Acorn); and Frasca Food &Wine were all named as James Beard Foundation semi-finalists. And Redzikowski was also a Food & Wine magazine People’s Best New Chef nominee. And while Denver’s food scene is on fire, so is its cocktail culture. At this year’s Spirited Awards, the Best American Cocktail Bar award was bestowed upon Denver’s Williams & Graham, Sean Kenyon’s sultry speakeasy. Esquire magazine waxed poetic about Williams & Graham, too, calling it a “meticulously crafted fantasy.”
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.