Category Archives: Colorado

Sustainable, Local Farming Focus of Aspen Lecture

Noted ag author coming to Aspen to give free lecture.

Joel Salatin
Joel Salatin

I am a great admirer of author Michael Pollan, who brilliantly deciphers what is wrong and what is right on the American food scene. Joel Salatin and his Polyface,  Farm (Swoope, Virginia) were featured in Pollan’s New York Times bestseller and in the award-winning documentary, “Food, Inc.” The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, the City of Aspen Parks and Recreation, and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails are bringing Salatin to Aspen to give a talk, “Local Food to the Rescue.”

Joel himself has authored nine books on the topic of farming and sustainability where he passionately defends small farms, local food systems, and the right to opt out of the conventional food paradigm.  As ACES distills this critical issue, “For local food to be a credible part of the global food system it must develop six integrated components: production, processing, marketing, accounting, distribution and patrons. In this lecture Joel will educate our community on how to build a functional local food system, including economies of scale, collaborative food shed distribution, and meaningful volume.V

The talk takes place on Friday, August 7 at 7 p.m. in the  Paepcke Auditorium (1000 North 3rd Street). Click here to RSVP.

Metate Room on List of Great Park Eateries

The Daily Meal likes SW Colorado restaurant.

DailyMeal-logoThe Daily Meal, a popular food site, loves “10 best lists.” The most recent is “America’s 10 Best Restaurants in Parks” — city parks, state parks and national parks. Listed as No. 4 is the Metate Room in Mesa Verde National Park. Though neglecting to mention the critical fact that the restaurant is open only seasonally (mid-April through late October), here’s write-up on the site:

Metate Room

Perched high in southwest Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park is Far View Lodge. From its 8,250-foot elevation, visitors can overlook four states while enjoying a contemporary menu at the Metate Room. Inspired by regional foods and flavors, the Metate Room does a stellar job of incorporating history into their menu. Specialty items to order: pork and chili stew, pueblo portobello stack or roasted vegetable salad.

Denver’s Big Eat Celebrates Indie Eateries

BigEat-logoThe BigEat, a festival of some of  Denver’s top independent restaurants, takes place in the covered arcade at the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Thursday, July 23 from 6 to 10 p.m. featuring bits and bites from more than 40 restaurants, plus cocktails from Denver’s top mixologists and craft beer from local  breweries.

The Big Eat promises “surprises and countless fun,” all to benefit Eat Denver, which believes that food is fuel for community. The organization says, “Through our food-focused passion, we increase the richness of dining experiences in our community and add to Denver’s unique flavor and cultural flair. Independence as path to engagement. The art of the original meal creates the pathway to one-of-a-kind experiences.”

Tickets are $55, with proceeds benefiting Work Options for Women, Denver Urban Gardens, Colorado Cooking Matters and Eat Denver. Click here for tickets.

Chefs Honored for Best Beer Pairings

Culinary competition featured nine chef, 37 beers & 18 dishes.

Pairsine-logoThe 2015 Pairsine/Taste of Elegance beer-pairing competition is in the can, so to speak. Nine Front Range chefs each prepared  two dishes to pair with beers that were winners in an earlier phase of the competition. A panel of judges (including yours truly) selected the Best Chef overall Billy Chartres of Stuft A Burger Bar, Fort Collins, and Most Creative Chef, an honor that went to Steven Chandler of the Omni Interlocken,  the Broomfield resort hotel where the event was held. People’s Choice honors went to Darrell Jensen of Samples World Bistro in Longmont.

Chefs and their assistants prepare tasting portions of two dishes for the crowd of Pairsine guests.
Chefs and their assistants prepare tasting portions of two dishes for the crowd of Pairsine guests.
Maia Parish, me, Jean-Luc Voegele and Rudi Helvig. Jean-Luc Voegele, a judge this time, has been a frequent winner of Pairsine events, both food and wine pairings.
Maia Parish, me, Jean-Luc Voegele and Rudi Helvig. Jean-Luc Voegele, a judge this time, has been a frequent winner of Pairsine events.

There always seem to a few dishes prepared by more than one chef but executed differently. This year, Chandler and Tim Berry  of Boulder’s Fate Brewing Company both made spring rolls. Chandler’s were soft and spicy; Berry’s held together and were crisp. William Merwin of The Blue Star in Colorado Springs and Kirk Spare of the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, not far from the Omni in Broomfield both made fried chicken. Merwin’s was cut into small tasting pieces that were skinless and crustless; Spare’s was hot and crisp. Merwin and Jensen both prepared versions of arancini. Merwin’s had a hint of coconut and accompanied cocoa-braised short ribs; Jensen’s rice balls encased chili con carne with cheddar in the middle.

The next event will be the 11th annual Denver International Wine Festival, October 28-30, and I’m looking forward to it already, since wine is more up my alley than beer.

Luscious Brown Palace Nibbles

Fabled Denver hotel’s party fare.

The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa hosts the CLHA fundraiser.
The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa has remodeled its 242 guest rooms — and puts out a delicious spread,

The Brown Palace, Denver’s most iconic hotel, hosted a media event to show off its beautifully redone guests rooms, and hosted a little cocktail/wine/beer reception. Chefs prepared savories on the spot, while sweets came from the bakery on tiered stands along with some finger sandwiches, just as they would for the traditional tea served every afternoon in the soaring lobby. BLT sliders, crabcakes, seared scallops and selections of sweets and savories were presented, and Brown Palace Pale Ale brewed in Parker was introduced.

Slider buns and not-iceberg lettuce waiting for the bacon to be cooked.
Slider buns and not-iceberg lettuce waiting for the bacon to be cooked.
Thick bacon slabs in the pan for BLT sliders.
Thick bacon slabs in the pan for BLT sliders.
Seared scallop on bed of grains.
Seared scallop on bed of grains.
Tower of sweets from the afternoon tea service are THE BEST. Served with  Devonshire clotted cream, the scones had me swooning.
Tower of sweets from the afternoon tea service are THE BEST. Served with Devonshire clotted cream, the scones had me swooning.

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Veuve Cliquot Bubbles Into Colorado

French champagne’s three local stops.

VeuveCliquotTRuckThe bright yellow Veuve Clicquot en Route truck makes three promotional stops through Colorado next week.  Each one is a special mid-summer celebratory treat. Contact each venue for details and reservations.

  • The first is at the Four Seasons Denver on Thursday, July 16,  from 6  to 9:30 p.m. where Veuve Clicquot hosts a rooftop summer pool party featuring music from DJD, a Clicquot Photo booth, fun giveaways, and of course, Clicquot specials. Cool off with Veuve Clicquot N.V Yellow Label for $25 by the glass or $100 by-the-bottle.
  • On Friday, July 17, there’s bubbles and barbecue with Veuve Clicquot at Acorn.  The restaurant in The Source in RiNo offers its Wood Fire BBQ Dinner for two with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot costs $100 and a BBQ Dinner for one with glass of champagne is $40. There’s music from 6 Million Dollar Band.
  • On July 19, Ajax Tavern at The Little Nell in Aspen hosts Sunday Funday with Sarah Simmons, celeb chef and owner of New York’s Birds and Bubbles. From 3  to 8 p.m., she puts out a custom dinner package including her signature fried chicken, traditional fixings and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label for $100, presumably for two.

Zocalito: Oaxaca in the Mountains

Bright & tasty Mexican regional fare in Aspen.

P1030770Turn from Aspen’s Hyman Avenue Mall into a small alley. Go down a flight of stairs into a corner of Mexico.  Atmospheric lighting recalls Mexico after dark rather than blinding sunshine. Sit back and contemplate the interesting and unusual menu. While waiting for the food to arrive, look around at the bright folk art.

Colorful folk art from Oaxaca occupies a prominant corner of Zocalito's front room.
Colorful folk art from Oaxaca occupies a prominant corner of Zocalito’s front room.

The food, which is flavorful and beautifully presented, echoes Oaxaca, the southern Mexico city known for culture and cuisine. It is the city where mole was born. What better Mexican food cred?

Chips and an unusual salsa makes a shareable starter. It is called pico de gallo on the menu, but is unlike any I've had before. Smoky chipotle sauce with the addition of corn kernels, chopped tomatoes and intriguing flavors topped with sou cream and guac.
Chips and an unusual salsa makes a shareable starter. It is called pico de gallo on the menu, but is unlike any I’ve had before. Smoky chipotle sauce with the addition of corn kernels, chopped tomatoes and intriguing flavors topped with sou cream and guac.
Steamed mussels in a spicy sauce of tomatoes, red onion and a Guatemalan-inspired achiote sauce
Steamed mussels in a spicy sauce of tomatoes, red onion and a Guatemalan-inspired achiote sauce.

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