I’ll be watching “The Today Show” tomorrow (that’s Friday, February 4) starting around 9:30 a.m. That’s because Boulder chef/restaurateur Hosea Rosenberg will be on a Super Bowl snacks cook-off against a still-unidentified Carolina cooker.
Rosenberg has said that he plans to prepare two Broncos-inspired dishes. He’ll do “Super Nachos” with blue corn tortillas, shredded cheese, smoked pork green chili, crisp Blackbelly bacon bits, and roasted tomato salsa. Also, “Broncos Sliders,” Bison patties topped with strips of green chile, Blackbelly bacon and melted smoked provolone on a bed of Fritos.
I’m putting my money on Hosea to win the cook-off, no matter whom Carolina comes up with. Not only do I know and like him, but after all, he won “Top Chef,” Season Five and is therefore accustomed to televised competition. It gives him a chance to put the Blackbelly name in front of a national audience. He carefully parlayed his renown, his winnings and the gigs that followed into Blackbelly Market, Blackbelly Catering, and Blackbelly Farms, all in Boulder.
Among other titles, Denver star chef Troy Guard is described as the “Broncos chef,” so it is fitting that he created a big burger as a run-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl. But unless you are flying somewhere, you’ll have to go to the airport to try it — and you’ll have to hurry. The $14.50 “Bronco Burger” will be exclusively served at Lefty’s Colorado Trails, Lefty’s Mile High and Lefty’s Front Range within the Denver International Airport — and only through Super Bowl Sunday, February 7.
The 7-ounce bison burger is topped with Tillamook cheddar cheese, sautéed onions, roasted jalapenos, smoky aioli and is served on a toasted pretzel bun. A problem for burger-loving Broncos fans is that all three are on DIA’s airside, meaning that burger lovers have to pass through security in order to enjoy this short-run burger. But Guard does know his burgers, event though nothing similar appears on the menus of TAG Burger Bar in Congress Park or Highlands. Sigh.
New lounge look, plus new happy hour dishes and cocktails
Panzano has put out some of Denver’s best (and best-priced) happy hour dishes for years. With a classy renovated bar, this excellent Italian eatery in Denver’s Hotel Monaco has also expanded and enhanced happy hour food and drink offerings. In short, the very good happy hour just got better.
Chef Elise Wiggins puts out sophisticated Continental specialties in what she calls “happy hour-sized portions” at happy hour prices from 2:30 to 6 p.m. every night. Wiggins’ front-of-house ally in enhancing the happy hour experience is Derek Lovell, the new bar manager. I’m seeing this as the ideal pre-theater watering hole for the many shows with 6:30 curtains at the nearby Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
FIVE Colorado, restaurant consultant Leigh Sullivan’s ninth annual selection of leading local culinary and beverage talent, has been announced. Originally called the Denver FIVE, the list features five chefs, including an alumni chef from a past season, and a beverage team, to create five unique dining experiences throughout the city, represent the city and state at Aspen Food & Wine in June, and wrapping up their rein with a truly special dinner at the James Beard House in New York City on October 13 , 2016.
The 2016 FIVE chef roster:
John Depierro, Alumni Chef & Chef/Co-Owner, Mijo
Dana Rodriguez, Chef/Owner, Work & Class
Alicia Luther, Executive Pastry Chef, Black Eye Coffee
Thach Tran, Chef, Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro
Darrel Truett, Executive Chef, Barolo Grill
The 2016 beverage team:
Gerard Collier, Pinche Tacos
Ryan Fletter, Owner & CoMS advanced sommelier, Barolo Grill
The Post Brewing Company opened a couple of years go in a former VFW Post in downtown Lafayette, but good intentions aside, it was only yesterday that I finally got there. My husband and I went for a New Year’s Day walk at Barr Lake State Park near Brighton, so East Boulder County was a logical place for something to eat. The pickings are slimmer than in the Boulder orbit.
I have high regard for anything David Query and his Big Red F Group put together — a gaggle of distinctive eateries that are all so different that they don’t feel like part of a group. several Jax Fish House locations, Zolo, Centro, the West End Tavern and Lola are really cut from different culinary cloths, and The Post Brewing Company, operated in partnership with former Zolo executive chef Brett Smith, was different from all the rest. We were glad to show up just as happy hour was starting, but in truth, the very limited happy hour menu didn’t really appeal to us. Everything else is à la carte, a format I don’t love.
The large space contains a tempting pastry case right at the entrance, booths, high-top tables, a couple of bars, the brewery run by Bryan Selders in the back and both enclosed patio and seasonal outdoor seating on the west side of the building. It certainly can handle a crowd, and as we were leaving, people were pouring in.
Price check: I don’t have a menu, and none is available on-line, but the five items above plus an additional 50¢ for a biscuit came to $32.25, plus tax.
Geographically challenged Zomato claims that Post Brewing is in Louisville, but it’s really in Lafayette, specifically at 105 West Emma Street; 303-593-2066.
Keystone was one of the first ski resorts in the Rockies to emphasize very good food. Keystone Ranch is an original 1930s homestead turned AAA Four-Diamond rated restaurant and Wine Spectator Award and DiRoNa winner. It is introducing a new menu when it opens for the ski season on Friday, November 20. In place of the earlier fine-dining approach, the Ranch now is presenting a Colorado steakhouse experience.
The Ranch décor — over-sized log cabin, river-rock fireplace, elk antler chandelier and such — really lends itself to the steakhouse format. Chef Steven Vlass and his culinary team are utilizing the finest meats, a variety of game, locally sourced products and sustainable practices. Menu items include Imperial Ranch Waygu New York strip, Rosen Farms lamb chops, garden herb-rubbed Red Bird chicken breast, pumpkin and quinoa croquettes and the Ranch’s signature soufflé dessert.
Previously, The Bighorn Bistro & Bar in the Keystone Lodge, which previously was a steakhouse, now offers fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere. Its focus is on seasonally inspired from-scratch appetizers and entrees, locally sourced when possible.
Kelly Whitaker’s Basta and Cart-Driver celebrate Sockeye Week.
Chefs Collaborative, a group of influential chefs dedicated to promoting sustainable, natural food sources. The group has declared this to be Sockeye Restaurant Week through November 15. Restaurants and other businesses across the country are featuring wild sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, Alaska, on their menus. No, sockeye isn’t fresh in November, but it was flash-frozen and is just about as good.
Bristol Bay is the world’s largest sockeye fishery. Today, it is celebrated by no less that President Barack Obama, a supporter of Bristol Bay’s pristine nature, who took action to protect the ecosystem and the fishing community. His actions assure that it will remain a sustainable and productive fishery. Until then, there was a long and ugly threat from the proposed development of the Pebble Mine, a porphyry, copper, gold, and molybdenum operation that would have put Bristol Bay and its population of all five types of salmon at risk if the mine were developed and its waste containment were to fail. Think of the Gold King mine mess near Silverton last August and the far worse situation in Brazil right now, where two burst mining dams have already cost 28 lives, safe drinking water and numerous small villages. Imagine that crap spilling into Bristol Bay. Fortunately, the mine project didn’t come to pass, and now, let’s think about delicious salmon again.
Chefs Collaborative member Kelly Whitaker is hosting two sockeye specials at Cart-Driver (Denver) and Basta (Boulder). Cart-Driver is replacing its popular tuna mousse with sockeye mousse, and Basta is they are extending Sockeye Restaurant Week into First Bite Boulder with a sockeye special.
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.