Category Archives: Colorado

Pizzeria Locale One of the Best ‘Small Chains’

Restaurant trade site likes Colorado chain.

Pizzeria Locale, a casual spin-off of Boulder’s heralded Frasca Food and Wine, got a shout-out from RestaurantBusiness.com in a roundup of “20 Small Chains Poised to Break Out.” The first Locale next door to the mother ship is a table service spot, but the newer locations follow a fast-casual format with lower prices but still with the high food standards expected at a place that Frasca co-founder. chef Lachlan Mckinnon-Patterson, has set up and oversees. Pizzeria Locale is a joint venture with Colorado-based Chipotle. Here’s what the site wrote about Pizzeria Locale in a piece on small chains with fewer than 20 locations:

“The Denver-based build-your-own pizza concept made headlines three years ago when it got funding from Chipotle. It’s since expanded the brand—which cooks pizzas in two minutes in a 900-degree oven—into the Midwest, with restaurants in Kansas, Missouri and Ohio. The chain’s method of differentiating in the saturated pizza segment: a focus on southern Italy, from the ingredients used to the house creations.”

American Gelato Festival Coming to Boulder

One of four cities to host the first American version.

I can still remember my first taste of gelato. It was in Rome a long lifetime ago at a gelataria across the street from and just to the right of the Pantheon. Thanks to the Internet, I am pretty sure it must have been Cremaria Monteforte (via della Rotonda 22), and that small flavor bomb on a hot summer day  was the first of many that I have savored over the decades. It is still there — and still widely praised for its flavors and authenticity. And I do remember it even though I’ve consumed many little cups and cones of gelato since then.

The Gelato Festival launched in Europe 2010 and has taken root there, and Boulder is the first stop of the first Gelato Festival America from September 29 through October 1 at the Twenty-Ninth Street shopping area. The unique creations of seven gelato makers from Italy, the U.S. and Canada compete for the honors of being the best in show as voted on by a panel of judges and by the public. There are also sessions to learn about the long history of gelato and how it’s made.

Click here for tickets and here for a GroupOn offer that saves 20 percent. In addition to the Boulder event,  Gelato Festival America then goes to Santa Barbara (October 20-22), Scottsdale (October 27-29) and Tucson (November 3- 5).

Daily Meal Picks Columbine for Affordable Steaks

Federal Boulevard classic gets national nod.

The Daily Meal’s selection of “The Best Inexpensive Steakhouses in Denver” features a Federal Boulevard standby that is not on everyone’s radar screen when it comes to Denver steaks. Anyone looking for less spendy places than Elway’s, The Capitol Grill, Ruth’s Chris, Guard & Grace and Shanahan’s, can go casual way south on Federal Boulevard (#300) for a super-affordable steak dinner with Texas toast. Here’s what the site posted:

Columbine Steak House & Lounge, Denver

This low-slung, no-frills Denver legend has been going strong since 1961, and its main claim to fame is how amazingly inexpensive it is. Fried chicken costs $8.75, a steak sandwich costs $7.95, pork chops $11.25. And most impressively of all, there are six steaks on the menu, and the most expensive one of the bunch, an absolutely massive porterhouse, costs just $20.75. As for the rest: the large fillet is $18.25, a T-bone is $16.25, sirloin and New York strip are $13.95, and a small fillet is $12.75. Tax is already included in the price, and all steaks also come with salad, potato, and toast.

Not a steakhouse but a old-style New Mexican restaurant that is also a Federal Boulevard classic is going away. Jack-n-Grill at #2524 is closing.

2017 Flatirons Food Film Fest

Sixth annual festival features a smorgasbord of films plus culinary stars.

The Flatirons Food Film Festival continues to attract foodies, film lovers and the intersection of both as it has since 2012.  Taking place in several Boulder venues from September 27 through October 1, it comprises nine film programs, an entire short documentary series focused on Colorado and culinary superstar chef Jeremiah Tower as guest speaker.

He is a hugely influential and controversial figure in American gastronomy. He began his career at Chez Panisse, then  opened Stars, an  iconic San Francisco restaurant, before disappearing from the culinary scene at the height of his success. He  re-emerged decades later at New York City’s struggling Tavern on the Green.  He was already middle-aged and left after less than a year after failing to revive the famous restaurant and have serious disagreements with the owners. Perhaps he will even tell tales that only he can know.  ‘Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent’ is an award-winning film about his life. It will be screened on Sunday, September 30 at 7:15 p.m., followed by an after-party at License No. 1 in the Hotel Boulderado.

Jeremiah Tower in 2015. This culinary legend is the big-name guest speaker at the 2017 Flatirons Food Film Festival

Speaking of hugely influential figures, few outshine the legendary James Beard.  Beth Federici, the filmmaker and director of “James Beard: America’s First Fooodie,” is also a speaker. Other local and visiting speakers include journalist Corie Brown; chef Frank Bonanno of Denver’s Bonanno Concepts; Dr. Allen Lim of Skratch Labs, and Jorge de la Torre, director of culinary education at Denver’s Johnson and Wales University. Food documentaries, short films and food-oriented classics fill the program. There’s also a kids’ farmers’ market walk. And yes, some feature actual food to eat and beverages to drink. Click here for a complete schedule and admission prices.

Longmont’s Beguiling Bin 46

Guest post by my friend Melanie Mulhall.

When those of us who live on the Front Range of Colorado think wine bar on a Friday evening, we are usually also thinking Denver or Boulder, not Longmont. But Longmont is exactly where wine bar lovers will find the chic and very worthy wine bar, Bin 46. This is a comfortable, modern, hip place without pretense. Inside, the walls are covered with art, and there is abundant seating outside for those who want to enjoy their wine and eats en plein air. 

Over three trips, my friends and I have worked our way through many items on the happy hour menu including the PEI mussels, charcuterie, wild trout spread, Spanish anchovies, crab cake, diablo eggs, roasted Brussels sprouts, and brisket mac and cheese. We have also savored an Italian beef slider and fresh figs. Everything we had was several steps up from the usual happy hour fare. 

Bin 45’s smoked trout spread with accoutrements (cucumbers, celery, fresh dill and naan bread).

The smoked trout spread was made with Ducktrap (as in Ducktrap River in Maine) trout. Pleasantly singing with dill, it was served with cucumbers, celery, and naan. Gluten free crackers for the gluten free diner (me) were added cheerily and without fuss by the server.  

Roasted Brussels sprouts in with ale,  Applewood-smoked bacon and Balsamic vinegar.

The roasted Brussels sprouts seem to be a favorite, so if you go, try to snag an order before they’re gone. Made with Bootstrap Brewing Insane Rush Pale Ale and Applewood smoked bacon, they are great as a nosh or to accompany dinner. 

Swoon-worthy, but only available when fresh figs can be had, the figs were spread with goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto and finished with a pistachio and honey drizzle. For those of us who love figs, this would have been heaven on a plate even without the drizzle, but the pistachio and honey drizzle took it to at least the seventh level of nirvana. The figs are an example of the thought and creativity that goes into the offerings, so even if you don’t manage to find them on the menu, know that you will probably find something equally imaginative and delicious.

 This is also a place worth visiting for dinner. The prices are reasonable and the choices range from beef stroganoff and Bolognese to Cubano sliders and spicy chorizo mussels.

 There are 150 wines in stock at Bin 46 served by the bottle, pour, and taste.  I loved the fact that they have a very nice Malbec as a happy hour house red. There’s also a well-curated list of craft beers. 

Owner Candy Campbell’s house rules are these: Love people, love wine, love food. Her execution strategy? Be kind. Be different. Be unpretentious. I think that she and Chefs Eric Dwyer and Marc Hernandez deliver on those promises.

[Here’s a very personal note from Malanie] It was great to see Candy A Campbell, and I had the pleasure of seeing her son, too . . . now pretty much grown up and not the little boy I remembered. But it was also glorious to know that she, the chef, and all the staff have made a place I want to return to again and again.

The Bin 46 rules are these: Love people. Love wine. Love food. And the execution strategy is this: Be kind. Be different. Be unpretentious. I think they deliver.

Price check: At happy hour, $3 for a street taco to $14 for a sizable portion of PEI mussels.

600 Longs Peak Avenue,  Longmont,  720-438-7410 .  

Denver Food/Wine Fest Next Weekend

Showcase for cuisine, wine & spirits.

2016 dates on this logo.

The 13th annual Denver Food + Wine Festival  starts with Barbecue, a food film, at the Sie Film Center on September 5 and concludes on the 10th with the Rise + Dine brunch. The glamour event, of course, is Saturday’s  Grand Tasting on the Pepsi Center grounds, featuring 700 international wines and some 40 Denver restaurants. Lead sponsors at  Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Colorado and the Colorado Restaurant Association. In between are The Shakedown (a bartender competition), a six-course dinner under the stars at Coohill’s Restaurant and the always informative Riedel Wine Glass seminar. Click here for the schedule and here to purchase tickets.

New Executive Chef at Gateway Canyons

Hartwell now heads culinary team at luxe resort in western Colorado.  

I’ve never been to, much less dined at, the Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, a world-class destination practically at the Utah state line. But I’m impressed at the credentials of the new executive chef. Thomas Hartwell has accepted position at the resort in the spectacular Unaweep Canyon. Its remoteness alone is a challenge, and so are  the five dining facilities (Entrada, Paradox Grille, Kiva Café Cantina and Duesey’s Diner) with different styles. The combination is a challenge.

Like other leading chefs, Hartwell began his restaurant career modestly, first as a prep cook and busboy at the Stage Door Restaurant outside Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  After holding several positions at various restaurants in his home state of Michigan, he moved to Santa Rosa, California to join the team at Restaurant Matisse, a French-inspired California cuisine restaurant under the guidance of Chef Michael Hirschberg.  From there, he landed a coveted internship at Michelin-starred Land Hoff in Solingen, Germany.   

Chef Robert Hartwell

Over the years, Hartwell also held culinary positions at The Westin Copley Place in Boston and at the historic Boston Park Plaza Hotel under Chef Roland Z.  He then opened his own restaurant, The Old Stone Farm House, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to joining the team at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, Hartwell served as chef de cuisine at the Meritage Hotel and Resort in Napa and also  the popular restaurant, Zuzu, in downtown Napa for four years.  

The elegant adobe-style resort, offering a whole lot more than just food and scenery, has enjoyed recognition beyond our red-rock country. Among its awards, in 2017 it was named the #3 “Best Resort in the West” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards competition, #52 in the Top 100 Hotels in the World category and #11 in the Top 15 Resort Hotels in the Continental United States category. Seems as if Gateway Canyons and Chef Hartwell are a good match. And perhaps I will get there someday.