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.
Museum restaurant pairs menu with Wyeth exhibition.
“Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio” is a ground-breaking exhibition at the Denver Art Museum from today through February 7. Executive chef Austin Cueto of Palettes, the contemporary restaurant on the first floor of the museum’s North Building, has crafted a three-course prix fixe menu inspired by specific works in the show.
The Wyeths lived and worked in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in the lovely Brandywine Country, and on the Maine Coast. Some of the dishes (notably lobster and pumpkin bisque, and cod) instantly bring Maine to mind. Too bad that fiddleheads are not in season now.
Chef Bradford Heap’s seafood-centric restaurant’s clever touches.
I live close enough to downtown Boulder to have passed 1043 Pearl Street innumerable times as it transitioned from the ill-fated Pasta Vino in the old Juanita’s space to Wild Standard. The long process finally ended a few weeks ago. If you are looking for the restaurant, don’t expect to see the name on the sign. Easier to locate it by its neighbors, The Kitchen directly to the west and SALT just to the east. SALT and Wild Standard are both operated by chef/restaurateur Bradford Heap.
Heap’s wife, Carol Vitale, designed the contemporary restaurant and softened its edginess with heavy wood beams, attractive lighting and white-washed brick. There’s no coastal kitsch like lobster traps or bouys, but there is a seacoast vibe that makes sense, since it specializes in “global seafood.”
We went for happy hour, from 3 to 6 p.m. and just extended from the original 3 to 5 window. Even once it transitions to dinner, there’s no need for budget-watchers to order from the entrée list. The waitstaff trundles dim sum-inspired food carts and ferries trays to the tables so that guests can pick and choose from small plates with happy hour pricing-type and portions.
Denver International Wine Festival’s Pairsine showcases culinary talent.
Eleven chefs from Colorado and beyond each prepared two dishes to pair with award-winning wines at last night’s Pairsine competition, for me a highlight event of the 11th annual Denver International Wine Festival. Competing chefs often seem to be on the same wavelength. Last night, six of the 11 prepared beef — mostly braised — and two served octopus. But there was not a single dessert. Not one.
Old Major and Glazed & Confuzed Donuts chefs team up.
Justin Brunson of Old Major and Josh Schwab of Glazed & Confuzed Donuts are joining forces to create what they call “a spooky gourmet donut breakfast” on Halloween, October 31. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the pop-up at Old Major (3316 Tejon St.) will be serving a selection of classic and some new and still unnamed donuts from Chef Schwab, as well as some kind of a mysterious sweet and savory dish from Chef Brunson, the savory part presumably featuring some kind of heritage meat.
I have no details and frankly don’t know what’s spooky about any of it being in bright daylight and all, but it will be a surprise for fans of both of these chefs. I’m not sure how long it will go on –maybe as long as some finite amount of the Halloween items last, maybe until 2:30 p.m. In any case, when the word gets out, there could be a line. So plan accordingly. And let me know what they’ve cooked up.
When Mezcal opened in late 2003, it brought Mexican sizzle to East Colfax, a stretch that was not, to put it kindly, oversupplied with appealing restaurants where gifted chefs prepared interesting, seasonal food. Mezcal was bright and colorful, with appealing décor that was something of a play on south-of-the-border cantina kitsch. It was fun, it was popular and it served good food. Over the years, as ownership and chefs changed, and the kitchen saw a lot of hard use, it was time for a makeover.
After several years living the expat life in Buenos Aires, owners Chris Swank and his wife, Loris Inez Venegas, are back running Mezcal — this time without additional partners. The restaurant was closed for three months while the dining room was refreshed, the bar expanded and most important, the kitchen was renewed. The couple also brought in the well-credentialed Chris Douglas as consulting chef to update the menu and chef Juan Ramirez to continue executing the dishes after Douglas’s gig is up. They’ve been tinkering with some dishes and bringing back some old standbys that they thought were history. Things have settled down sufficiently for Mezcal to invite some media for an early evening tasting. Here’s what we tried — in my case, along with delicious and potent margaritas:
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.