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.
I generally try not to eat anyplace predictably uninteresting, but today was an exception. As we were driving south of Broadway in Boulder to go for a sunny-day hike, I suddenly got hankering for spicy Chinese food. The power of suggestion was great, and my husband bought into it.
But we had miles to hike before we ate. On the way back, we were ravenous, so we pulled into the Base-Mar shopping center, where May-Wah has been located ever since it came into my consciousness. It is located in a strip mall, so I had few expectations of interesting fare and have always avoided it. My expectations were met. When we arrived, a single woman at one table was finishing her meal, and one fellow was waiting for his take-out order. One table was left to be cleared. It still took quite some time to have our order taken and then for our food to be brought out
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.
Spruce Farm & Fish in the Hotel Boulderado does a dynamite happy hour — A) because the prices are good and B) because it stretches from 5 to 7 p.m. — none of this 3 to 5 stuff. The atmosphere is also exceedingly pleasant, with a noise level that allows for pleasant conversation. The dishes are pared-down versions of what’s available at dinner, and I really like that.
Spruce Farm & Fish is located in the Hotel Boulderado, whose front entrance is at 2115 13th Street, Boulder. The side entrance is on Spruce Street, hence the name. The phone number is 303-442-4880.
Cured has opened a second smaller shop just a few blocks from my house. Color me happy that exquisite charcuterie, excellent cheeses, unique imported and artisanal American grocery items and small assortment of mouth-watering sandwiches and salads are to be had less than a 10-minute walk from my door. Oh yes, and chocolate.
Will and Coral Frischkorn’s original Cured a few blocks east of the Pearl Street Mall has a greater selection, but proximity has its benefits. The shop is simple, pared-down and classy with quality finishes to its shelves, counters and islands as a suitable backdrop for the quality items.
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.
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.