Category Archives: Blogs

Top BBQ in Colorado

Smokin’  Dave’s and GQ Championship BBQ on national list.

Adrian Miller, Denver-based lapsed lawyer, author of the James Beard Award-winning Soul Food: The Surprising Story of American Cuisine and The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our Fed Our First Families from the Washingtons to the Obamas, is also a certified barbecue judge. He just posted news that two Colorado restaurants (four locations total) have been named on the list of “Best of the Best Barbecue Restaurants in America” by National Barbecue News. Just 29 restaurants nationwide made the list.

In winter, when it’s not crowded, we have sometimes managed to score a table at Smokin’ Dave’s in Estes Park but usually end up stopping in Lyons on the way home. The meats, the chicken, the sauces, the even the sides (especially the sweet potato fries, slaw and the beans) are great. The funky automotive décor is run too. I don’t post every time we stop there, but occasional do, particularly the Lyons location après la deluge of 2013. We’ve never been to GQ Championship BBQ in Westminster, but it’s now on our to-try list.

Interestingly, neither of these restaurants appear on his Soul Food Scholar blog’s selection of his own favorite spots in the state and elsewhere. However, Durango-born Serious Texas Bar-B-Q (two in Durango and one each in Fort Collins and Loveland) meets his standards.

The Kitchen On Best Farm-to-Table List

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:

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 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.

‘Julie & Julia’ at Bistro Vendome

French restaurant + film about French cooking.

Marc Piscotty/News Staff Photographer SHOT 5/26/2003 - Bistro Vendome food and scenics
From Bing Images

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.

CulCol on ‘DiningOut’ Blog List

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.

Ski Tip Praised but Placed in Nowheresville

The Daily Meal just doesn’t get the middle of the country.

DailyMeal-logoOnce 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.

Still The Daily Meal included Ski Tip in its restaurant roundup called “Get Lost: 20 Must-Visit U.S. Restaurants in the Middle of Nowhere,” writing:

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.

Costly Candy from My Connecticut Hometown

$250 truffle from Norwalk chocolatier.

Knipschildt-logoI 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.

That was then, and this is now, and the charms of old South Norwalk have been discovered. South Norwalk (promotionally and predictably rechristened SoNo) is now home to the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, hot clubs, cool restaurants and one-of-a-kind buinesses. Imagine my surprise when TheDailyMeal.com’s post and video about “The World’s Most Expensive ‘Cheap’ Dishes” included Knipschildt Chocolatier of South Norwalk.

This truffle doesn't look much different from others. but its rare ingredients make for a $250 price tag.
This truffle doesn’t look much different from others. but its rare ingredients make for a $250 price tag.

The Daily Meal wrote:

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.

Chocopologie By Knipschildt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kilwin’s Coming To Boulder

Franchise fudge shop named one of the best in the US.

Kilwins-logoIn 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.