Category Archives: Blogs

Denver on Zagat’s Semi-Select List of Top US Food Cities

Mile High City makes the cut.

Zagat-logoToo 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.”

Best Donuts in Colorado? Guess.

Thrillist-logoYesterday, I posted an item about a Halloween pop-up by Old Major and Glazed and Confuzed Donuts. Today comes Thrillist’s list of “The Best Donut Shops in Every State.” Colorado’s is…..drum roll……Glazed and Confuzed. Here’s what Thrillist posted:

Colorado

Glazed and Confuzed (address and info)
 Denver
Alright, get your lazy McConaughey impression over with now. You done? Good, because there’s a lot more to this Denver shop than movie puns. Like donuts with Mediterranean sea salt caramel glaze and cups of joe from local favorite Pablo’s Coffee. (Specifically, the “Danger Monkey” kind.)

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.

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.

Thrillist Calls Buckhorn Exchange State’s ‘Iconic’ Restaurant

Thrillist-logoI’ve taken a holiday hiatus from posting, but not from eating or cooking, but now I’m back on duty with a New Year’s post that cites Denver’s oldest restaurant. Thrillist.com just put up a list of the “most iconic” restaurant in each of the 50 state s and the District of Columbia. Not only did the site pick the venerable Buckhorn Exchange for Colorado, but an image of the restaurant with its signature red-checked tablecloths and walls covered with framed pictures, awards and trophy heads. Here’s Thrillist’s post:

BuckhornExchange

Colorado
Buckhorn Exchange

Denver (Est. 1893)
The Colorado dining scene has come a long way since the Buckhorn Exchange opened. There’s practically a brewery and a buzzed-about restaurant on every street corner in Denver these days. But the Buckhorn Exchange is a glimpse into what Colorado restaurants used to be famous for — giant portions of steak that will feed you, your friends, and your friends’ friends. Beyond the steak, there’s also the opportunity to eat practically every animal that was on Noah’s ark. And eating here puts you in good company, as Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower both dined here.

Have Baby. Love Food. Will Travel.

Adventurous couple eats vegetarian around the world with infant in tow.

Green Kitchen Travels_jacket FINALWhen their daughter Elsa was seven months old, Swedish food bloggers David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl packed their bags, took leave from their day jobs and embarked on a trip around the world, sampling cultures and food along the way. The family’s travels included driving down Highway 1 in California, sleeping in a beach shack in Sri Lanka and more. The recipes come from Morocco, Greece, Italy and Vietnam—and even Brooklyn—and are accompanied by the authors’ own gorgeous, color-saturated photographs.

They returned home to Stockholm,  seven months later, their minds and bellies full of culinary inspiration, hard-earned knowledge on making travel work with a young child in tow. Their blog, Green Kitchen Stories, documents how they cook and eat healthy and simple vegetarian food with natural ingredients, whole grains, good fats, fruit and vegetables. David is a magazine art director (their blog is therefore as attractive as it is informative) and Luise, who describes herself as “the hippie-health-minded” is studying to become a Nutritional Therapist at School of Nutritional Medicine in Stockholm.

In addition to everything else, Frenkiel and Vindahl write cookbooks. Their first was Vegetarian Everyday. Their second  is Green Kitchen Travels: Vegetarian Food Inspired by Our Adventures. They bring their inspiration to the home cook through more than 90 recipes for healthy, fresh fare and requiring only easy-to-find ingredients and using simple instructions. All the recipes are healthy but do not skimp on freshness or flavor. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets are all represented, and they include tips on traveling light with a baby.

Frenkiel and Vindahl’s blog Green Kitchen Stories reportedly has 450,000 visitors per month and was named a 2013 Saveur Blog of the Year. Their work has been featured in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit and ELLE. They are also active on Instagram and 65,000 here on Facebook, with global fan base and tens of thousands of followers on each. Green Kitchen Travels is a hardcover book published by Hardie Grant and distributed by Rizzoli New York. It is sale this month with a cover price of $35.