Category Archives: Colorado

Steuben’s & Park Burger on National List

The Daily Meal includes Denver eateries on best burger list.

DailyMeal-logoI scan every list of “best” and “top” restaurants for Colorado entries. If there is one, it is usually in Denver or occasionally Boulder, but hardly ever in the mountains.  As for the rest of the Rocky Mountain region, those sites do not seem to realize that New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana even exist. Tsk-tsk on coastal provincialism. Enough of that and on to The Daily Meal’s selection of “The 101 Best Burgers in America 2016 .” Steuben’s — a fun Denver spot with Boston roots — makes the list, as do Park Burger’s four locations.

Steuben’s

Opened in 2007, but named in honor of a famous restaurant and nightclub co-proprietor Josh Wolkon’s great-uncles owned in Boston for several decades in the middle of the last century, Steuben’s is a neighborhood diner serving American regional specialties. Representing Colorado’s neighbor, New Mexico, the menu presents what is regularly named the best green chile (or chili, as Steuben’s puts it) cheeseburger in Denver. Said to be inspired by the classic version at the Owl Bar in San Antonio, New Mexico, it’s a fat burger patty topped with American cheese into which green chile strips seem to melt. Lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and mustard ornament the burger, which is served on a challah bun.

Park Burger

With four Denver locations, Park Burger has made a name for itself by serving fresh-ground, high-quality Angus beef from Harris Ranch on custom-baked buns. The most creative (and delicious) burger on its menu is the Croque Burger, a third-pound patty that’s given a deep crust and topped with ham, Swiss cheese, and a fried egg. Rich yet not overly so, all the components play perfectly off of each other

 

Top Taco Fest Coming to Denver

Restaurants vie for honors in four categories of Colorado favorite.

TopTaco-logoWe may think of tacos as being cheap, filling and casual food. Hole-in-the-wall taquerias, food trucks and upscale restaurants helmed by gifted chefs crank out this favorite food type, as do such disspiriting mainstream  chains as Taco Bell and Taco .

Top Taco on Thursday, June 23  from 6:30 to 9:30 is a competition where a panel of judges determines the best tacos in three categories (traditional, creative and vegetarian, plus tequila cocktail) . It also provides an opportunity for taco gluttony.  Guests get unlimited taco tastes and also some 100 unique tequila samples from more than 40 brands,  beer, wine and live music from Sambadente.

The event on the Auraria campus is pricy, with general admission tix at $69 and VIP admission for $90 .

Food And Wine’s Best New Chefs 2016

Food and Wine Classic in Aspen showcases new culinary luminaries.

Foos&Wube-Summer2016.-coverBeautiful and well-heeled foodies, celeb chefs, leading winemakers and other VIPs in the culinary world are gathering in Aspen for this weekend’s 2016 Food and Wine Classic in Aspen — without any doubt the most prestigious such event in the US.  The festival, among other things, serves as the national coming-out party for the annual crop of the 10 best new chefs of the year. No Colorado chefs made the cut in 2016, but here are the gifted young titans, several of whom already run more than one restaurant, selected by the magazine:

  • David Barzelay. Lazy Bear, San Francisco
  • Kevin Fink. Emmer & Rye, Austin
  • Michael Gulotta. MoPho and Tana, New Orleans
  • Edouardo Jordan. Salare, Seattle
  • Ravi Kapur, Liholiho Yacht Club, San Francisco
  • Brad Kilgore. Alter, Miami
  • Iliana Regan. Elizabeth and Bunny, the micro bakery, Chicago
  • Aaron Silverman. Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls, Washington, D.C.
  • Jeremiah Stone & Fabián von Hausk., Contra and Wildair, New York City
    Kris Yenbamroong. Night + Market and Night + Market Song, Los Angeles

Coney Island Hot Dogs Reborn — Again

Bailey landmark slated to reopon — with improvements.

ConeyIslandHotDogsI’m in Copenhagen right now, light-years away, it seems, from US 285 through Colorado from the Front Range to mid-state and beyond. Still, I was elated to read that the Coney Island hot dog in Bailey is reopening — upscaling its food, eventually adding a microbrewery and (hopefully) improving its service as well. Here’s the full report from Eater Denver, which got the news from Dining Out.

Coney Island Boardwalk Hot Dog Stand, a familiar site to many mountain goers, is set to reopen under the guidance of John Wallace and his family in June, according to Dining Out. An Aurora native, Wallace aims to eventually operate the spot as a German-style microbrewery – but promises to pair the beer well with the dogs.

Wallace intends to return in mid-June after dedicating some time to repairing the building. Currently, Wallace utilizing Kickstarter to raise funds for the effort.

At the new and improved Coney Island stand, Wallace will serve a variety of gourmet hot dogs, brats, and frankfurters supplied from Continental Sausage in Colorado. The future menu will be stacked with original creations like the Durango Dog, an elk jalapeño dog made with cheddar and topped with poblano-corn-caramelized onion relish and chipotle sour cream, along with Coney Island-style classics. The restaurant will offer condiments sourced from local vendors including Elevation ketchup and Rocky Mountain Soda.

Coney Island Boardwalk Hotdog Stand is located at 10 Old Stage Coach Road in Bailey, Colorado.

Topflight Brunch at Under the Sun

Chef-driven menu elevates comfort food & pub fare.

001The Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries has grown from a single microbrewery in downtown Boulder to a tight trio of locations that includes the popular Southern Sun in South Boulder’s Table Mesa Shopping Center and Denver’s Vine Street Pub. The South Boulder location is a two-fer, with the original pub (and large sunny patio) on the upper level and the newer and cleverly named Under the Sun below.

013I’ve been to Mountain Sun any number of times and to Southern Sun’s upstairs brewpub for after-hike or after-ski refreshment and downstairs for happy hour. I didn’t even realize that Under the Sun served brunch, but 3½ years after it opened, Southern Sun has hired a real, classically trained executive chef, Nick Swanson. His credentials are sterling — Boulder’s Bácaro Venetian Taverna and PastaVino (both now gone), a stage at Michelin-starred Relais Villa D’Amelia in Italy’s Piemonte region. Then New York’s French Culinary Institute, graduating with honors. A resume sprinkled with glamour names in the food world: Chefs Fabbio Bocchi and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, cooking for big-name celebs (Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, Calvin Klein.

But enough dropped names. What counts here and now is his position as executive chef of Under the Sun, where he has moved toward seasonality and reasonable price points while putting out creative cheffy takes on classics. I’m not wild about most “comfort food,” but Samson’s spin has me rethinking my preconceptions, and a sampling of the new brunch dishes convinced me that he’s one of the best in town.

The Captain's French Toast, a bizarre-sounding but actually yummy dish made of Captain Crunch-coated challah bread with Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries.
The Captain’s French Toast, a bizarre-sounding but actually yummy dish made of Captain Crunch-coated challah bread with Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries.

Continue reading Topflight Brunch at Under the Sun

Sampling Samples’ Small Plates

A cool time at downtown Longmont eatery.

006Samples World Bistro has been on my radar screen since I learned about its international cuisine. More importantly, I was impressed when I read a piece in the local paper about its self-imposed mandate of employing people with physical or developmental disabilities in “real” jobs — not in isolated sheltered situations.  I admired that, but I also really like its Main Street location, since I far prefer real downtowns to new developments.

With all that, it still took what I now realize was too long to finally get there. After all, food and beer aficionados Mark and Carmen Sample opened it a couple of years ago.  A Longmont friend suggesting meeting there for hapy hour on Friday. On the roof. For drinks and small plates and live music. On a mellow spring evening. Everything went according to plan — except the mellow part. It was chilly and windy. We didn’t last as long as we’d anticipated. But the food was good, the music listenable  (and not too loud) and the company terrific. We shared some plates but ordered others individually.

My husband ordered the Carolina BBQ Beef slider with shredded short ribs and white cheddar. Our friend's lamb slider had goat cheese and green harissa, These two meat sliders essentially look alike -- each sitting alone on an unadorned white plate. Both were pronounced to be very tasty, so presentation isn't everything.
My husband ordered the Carolina BBQ Beef slider with shredded short ribs and white cheddar. Our friend’s lamb slider had goat cheese and green harissa, These two meat sliders essentially look alike — each sitting alone on an unadorned white plate. Both were pronounced to be very tasty, so presentation isn’t everything.
Devils on Horseback is a delicious pair of dates stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in bacon and served with a bit of truffle honey.
Devils on Horseback is a delicious pair of dates stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in bacon and served with a bit of truffle honey.
Bacon and goat cheese flatbread comes with asparagus, caramelized onions and that tantalizing truffle honey.
Bacon and goat cheese flatbread comes with asparagus, caramelized onions and that tantalizing truffle honey. It comes cut into slides for convenient sharing.
Is one fried rice ball still called arancini or is it a single arancino? I don't know, but I do know that the crisp-fried exterior surrounding lush interior with tender rice, a bit of chili and cheese,
Is a single fried rice ball still called arancini or is it a single arancino? I don’t know, but I do know that the crisp-fried exterior surrounded a smooth interior of tender rice, a bit of chili and cheddar cheese atop a cool herb-flecked sauce., plus scallions.
The baba ghanoush with a smooth, subtle version of this Middle Eastern eggplant dish. It came with (not enough) flatbread, celery sticks, cucumber slices and carrot sticks. We asked for more, but nothing materialized before we had to leave. We were not charged for the add-ons that we did not receive.
The baba ghanoush with a smooth, subtle version of this Middle Eastern eggplant dish. It came with (not enough) flatbread, celery sticks, cucumber slices and carrot sticks. We asked for more, but nothing materialized before we had to leave. We were not charged for the add-ons that we did not receive.

Price check: At happy hour, small plates, $2-$6. Also, $2 off draft beers and wines by the glass.

370 Main Street, Longmont; 303-327-9318.

Samples World Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chef Tyler Wiard’s SPAM Tacos

Sample tacos al pastor with laughline meat or make them at home.

SPAMSPAM, the pork-in-a-can product not the E-mail annoyance, is a favorite in Hawaii and the subject of Mainland laughlines. But people stop laughing when they taste dishes prepared by name chefs using SPAM. The SPAMERICAN Tour visits 16 cities across the countries where chefs demonstrate that point with interesting recipes.

SPAM is also an iconic Army ingredient, and there-in lies the backstory of the SPAMERICAN Tour. It is partnering with Operation Gratitude, a volunteer based organization that sends care packages and letters to U.S. Service Members deployed overseas, veterans, wounded soldiers and their families, plus new recruits and first responders here at home. The tour is bringing Operation Gratitude’s letter-writing campaign into 16 communities, supporting its “March to a 2nd Million” goal with a $50,000 donation by pledging $1 for every letter written in-market and online at SPAM.com. I know it’s a little complicated.

But each stop is simplicity itself with free samples of Operation SPAM Gravy with Biscuits  and SPAM fries, plus creations of local chef partners. It comes to Denver’s Sustainability Park, where Tyler Wiard, the energetic culinary director of Elway’s restaurant and a recent “cheftestant” on Bravo’s Top Chef, prepares al pastor tacos. He uses crispy SPAM rather than the traditional pork butt. Taste them for FREE on Saturday, May 14 from 2 to 6 p.m. at The Big Wonderful, a sustainability fair at the park (2600 Lawrence St.).  Continue reading Chef Tyler Wiard’s SPAM Tacos