Category Archives: Colorado

Governor’s Cup Honors Colorado Wines

Denver event to honor winning wines, plus top chefs’ food sampling.

ColoradoWineGovCup-logoGovernor John Hickenlooper was famously a beer guy, opening the Wynkoop Brewery with three colleagues back in 1988, the year that I moved to Colorado. He now presides over a state with a robust wine industry too, and on August 4, the winning wines from the annual Governor’s Cup are revealed in a public tasting event at the Colorado History Center.

The Colorado Wine Governor’s Cup is the only statewide wine- making competition exclusively for the Centennial State’s wines, including 236 wines from 33 local wineries.  The panel of such experts as sommeliers, chefs, writers and wine experts annually evaluate the submitted wines to select the 18 (12 grape wines and 6 cider/mead/fruit wines). They are assembled into the “Wine Case” used to promote Colorado’s best.

The Governor’s Cup celebration on August 4 provides the opportunity to taste all the medalists  paired with small bites prepared by some of the area’s best chefs. These include Elise Wiggins (formerly Panzano and soon opening Cattivella) , Mark Reggiannini (Cafe Marmotte), Ben Davis (Tony’s Market Dry Creek) and Ashlea Tobeck (Escoffier School of Culinary Arts).

VIP entry ($90) is at 6:30 p.m. and includes a chance to sample 2015 winners paired with an extended menu by Chef Samir Mohammad of the History Colorado Center’s Café Rendezvous. General admission ($45) begins at 7:30 p.m.  The event ends at 9:30 p.m. Governor Hickenlooper presents the awards to the wineries. FoMoInfo or tickets, call 303-869-9177 or click here.

Don’t expect to see Canyon Wind Cellars, which is closing on July 31, having planted its first grape vines in 1991, early in the current Colorado wine era.  The owners and wine-makers, Jay and Jennifer Christianson, are retiring. I wish them well.

Bistro C.V. Closing & LOW Coming to Denver

Sad news for Steamboat & good news for Denver.

BistroCV-logoSteamboat’s treasured bistro c.v., one of the town’s pioneering fine dining outposts of contemporary Rocky Mountain cuisine, closes on July 29 after a storied 9-year run, that included an invitation just this past May to cook at New York’s James Beard House.

Brian and Katy Vaughn have decided to fold one of their Steamboat tents and set up another in Denver. Bistro c.v. is going away, but coming to the Front Range is a second LOW Country Kitchen, where the food speaks with a refined Southern drawl. They also established YAMA Modern Japanese Cuisine and Ramen Bar at Ski Time Square at the resort base. I am not sure whether it is being affected.

The Vaughns are not the first Steamboat restaurateurs to cross Rabbit Ears Pass. Backcountry Provisions started in Steamboat Springs in 1999 and now has three locations in Denver and one in Fort Collins. The Vaughns, who plan to split their time between Steamboat and Denver, also hope to grow LOW.

Crested Butte Wine & Food Fest Extends Reach

“Think” added to “Food” and “Drink.”

CrestedButteWineFood-logoThe theme of the 2016 edition of the Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival is “Eat. Drink” Think,” due to the addition of panels and TED-style talks about food sustainability, something . Participants in the include James Beard award-winning author Adam Danforth doing a butchery demonstration and tasting.  Michel Nischan,  also a Beard winner, founder and CEO of Wholesome Wave, is a pioneering thinker about food system and its challenges.

Amanda M. Faison of 5280 magazine explained how the expansion came about. “The pilot program grew out of local chefs Alex Seidel (Fruition Restaurant, Mercantile Dining & Provision,  Fruition Farms) and Kelly Whitaker (Basta, Cart-Driver) wanting more out festivals. .. [They] will sit on the panels and contribute to discussions…. The program hinges on the premise that restaurant-goers are increasingly becoming conscious consumers.”

The festival takes place from Thursday, July 28 through Sunday, July 31. Click here for a full schedule and links to ticket purchase pages. While most of the events from hikes to the Tour de Forks to the exemplary Grand Tasting carry a cost, the topics of sustainability are seen to be so important that the panels are free and open to the public, as well as ticket-buying festival goers. The panels  are scheduled for Friday (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 5-6:30 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.).

The festival benefits  Center for the Arts Crested Butte, 606 Sixth St., Crested Butte; 970-349-7487.

Denver’s ‘Shandytown’ Party This Saturday

Natural sodas & ice cream team up for summer cooler event at a brewery.

ShandyPartyWhen it’s hot, we want ice cream or beer or lemonade or some combo thereof. The Denver Beer Company and  Little Man Ice Cream have teamed up with the Rocky Mountain Soda Company, known for its all-natural sodas, to throw a  summer party  this Saturday, July 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Rolling off the successes of the Loveland Lemon Lime Shandy at the Sun Drenched Music Festival, the Denver Beer Company hosts what it expects will be the  first Annual Ice Cream and Shandy Social on its new patio.

Denver Beer Company brewmasters have crafted five delicious shandies of five different Rocky Mountain Soda flavors, paired with five Little Man ice creams. Click here for tickets ($15) good for five 4-ounce shandies and five mini ice cream scoops. The Denver Beer Company is at 1695 Platte Street, Denver.

Boulder Finally Gets Food Truck Park

Rayback Collective accommodates trucks, beer hall, play space & more.

001For 60 or so years, Rayback Plumbing occupied a long, deep lot on Valmont Avenue, just west of 28th Street in Boulder. After the owner, Marion Arthur Rayback, passed away in 2014 at the age of 92, the fate of this lot seemed briefly in limbo.  It is refreshing that rather than another housing complex or some sort of a shopping center, it has been reborn as the Rayback Food Collective — a place near the center of Boulder for food trucks and more.

Brand new picnic tables, mercifully shaded from the hot summer sun.
Brand new picnic tables, mercifully shaded from the hot summer sun.

Then, an energetic young group of locals came up with the notion of a place off public streets where food trucks could assemble. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to create an outdoor area with food trucks, a stage and a shipping container housing a bar. As the funding came in, the concept gelled into the present Rayback Collective. What opened on Friday was The Marion, generous indoor space with more room for food, beer, music, (eventually) films and community. The plan is for year-round operations. Outdoors is the food truck area and a lawn for games and the welcome sight of lush green grass — at least for the time being.

Indoors is for beer and music.
Indoors is for beer and music.

My husband and I went there for Sunday lunch right at opening time, which explains the emptiness.. Although there is space outdoors for four trucks, there were two (Farmer Girl from Longmont and Sweet Cow’s MooMobile ice cream truck), plus a pretzel cart. One truck canceled. The plan is for four different trucks during the day and in the evening every day,  year-round. I hope they’ve thought out how to handle snow, because the ground is either grass or gravel.

We recently ate at Farmer Girl in Lyons, and on Sunday, their food truck rolled into Boulder.
We recently ate at Farmer Girl in Lyons, and on Sunday, their food truck rolled into Boulder.

Continue reading Boulder Finally Gets Food Truck Park

Break-festes Park

Mountain Home Cafe’s breakfast & lunch eats.

070Five things I like about Mountain Home Café in Estes Park’s Upper Stanley Village café: 1) It was not too noisy; 2) The food was scratch-made; 3) service was attentive; 4) breakfast dishes are available any time the café is open; 5) it appears to be a generous business, supporting local and health causes.

Simple café keeps the volume down with acoustic tile on the ceiling and carpet on the floors -- not a modern look but easy on the eardrums.
Simple café keeps the volume down with acoustic tile on the ceiling and carpet on the floors — not a modern look but easy on the eardrums.
Pink ribbon for the battle against beast cancer on the end of booth seats; Other seats are adorned with red ribbons for the fight against drug- and alcohol-related violence.
Pink ribbon for the battle against beast cancer on the end of booth seats; Other seats are adorned with red ribbons for the fight against drug- and alcohol-related violence.

Continue reading Break-festes Park

Denver Indies Shine at The Big Eat

Annual festival showcases Denver’s independent restaurants.

BigEat-logo-jpgThe Big Eat on Thursday, July 14 is a collegial culinary festival that celebrates the best of the local dining scene. Fifty bucks buys  unlimited bites from more than 50 restaurants including popular favorites and even the not-yet-open Mister Tuna. Colorado wines from the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey, a local craft brews and cocktails starring spirits from the likes of Peach Street Distillers and Distillery 291.

The festival benefits EatDenver, a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes the city’s independently run restaurants.  This year, The Big Eat groups restaurants by neighborhood — Berkeley, Downtown, RiNo, etc. 6 to 9 p.m. The Big Eat takes places from6 to 9 p.m. at the Garner Galleria at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1100 13th Street. Click here to purchase tickets