Category Archives: Denver

‘Dining Out’ Mag Readers’ “Prime Picks”

Diners select their Denver & Boulder favorites.

PrimePicks-logoDining Out magazine — mostly menus but some features too — invited readers to select what they considered the best in various categories. Like all such reader selections, the results are heavily weighted toward what’s “hot” and “in” now, not necessarily the best. How, for example, would Black Cat and/or its sister restaurant, Bramble & Hare be left off the farm-to-table list? And not to put to fine a point on it, but Chez Thuy is not really Chinese and Sherpa’s is not really Indian. But here, with that caution, is the Prime Picks list. Clicking on a category should bring up details on the winner:


Continue reading ‘Dining Out’ Mag Readers’ “Prime Picks”

Don’t-Miss Food & Wine Events

Denver, Broomfield & Boulder host three very different events.

Denver Harvest Week, October 5-9

Harvest-Week-logoGrowHaus, a multi-pronged attack on north Denver’s food desert,  an educational enterprise and a supplier of sustainable foods, again hosts Harvest Week. Each night, a group chefs from independent restaurants come together to create pop-up parties (four dinners, one brunch at the GrowHaus, the city’s ultimate urban garden. Every day includes a full bar, copious amounts of food, and endless amounts of fun. All the festivities of the week go to support EatDenver and the Growhaus. Click here for details and tickets.

Flatirons Food Film Festival, October 19-24

FlatironsFoodFilmFest-logoSix days of films (six features plus shorts), special events, talks, a sushi walk and more taking place in several Boulder venues. The Films page contains descriptions and trailers for all of feature-length films, plus information about short films and events. The new Tickets page contains information about individual films and events, plus different types of passes. The big name is James Beard Award-winning chef Andy Ricker of the Pok Pok restaurant empire in Portland, Oregon, who appears Friday, October 23. He is supporting of “Farang,” a documentary chronicling his search for authentic flavor. He has appeared on Anthony Bourdain’s television series, No Reservations and Parts Unknown, and introduces the film and participates in a Q&A session after the screening.

Denver International Wine Festival, October 28-30

Pairsine-logo3The Denver International Wine Festival drops anchor at the Omni Interlocken in Broomfield with a packed schedule of tastings and seminars. Highlights are the Grand Vinters Dinner at the Omni’s Meritrage Restaurant on Wednesday, the Pairsine wine-pairing competition where top regional chefs prepare dishes to pair with gold medal award-winning wines from an earlier wine competition and the Grand Tasting on Friday. This year’s honorary host is Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible. Click here to purchase tickets.

A Ballpark Loss That’s Not the Rockies

Sad news for Denver’s Scandinavian food fans.

Trillium-logoDenver restaurant maven Lori Midson sent out this news about Trillium, a wonderful Scandinavian restaurant named after an iconic flower, in the Ballpark area:

Chef Ryan Leinonen, who opened Trillium, an award-winning Scandinavian eatery, in December of 2011, recently closed his Ballpark restaurant. “It’s time to move on from Trillium and explore new opportunities,” says Leinonen, a Michigan native whose impressive culinary career spans more than two decades of accomplishments, including working at Denver’s Colt & Gray and Root Down and The Kitchen and Q’s (now Spruce), in Boulder.

“I was living my dream, and I had a ton of fun doing it, plus I won a lot of awesome awards, cooked at the James Beard House and pushed myself — more than I ever thought possible — to achieve success during Trillium’s five-year run,” says Leinonen. “I’ve worked with some absolutely amazing people —people who helped my dream of opening my own restaurant come to fruition —and they’ve all enriched my life more than they’ll ever know. I hope they learned as much from me as I learned from them,” he adds. Leinonen, whose life was recently graced by the arrival of his second daughter, plans to revel in fatherhood. “I’ve been working nonstop for the past several years, so I’m going to take a few months off to stay at home and enjoy some much-needed time with my wonderful wife and daughters,” he says. Still, while he’s happy to relax for a bit, the next chapter, he reveals, will definitely involve a professional kitchen and, he says, perhaps another restaurant that he owns and operates. “The opportunities for me are endless, and the best is yet to come,” promises Leinonen.

I don’t post about every Denver area restaurant opening and closing, but this one hit me. With A Taste of Iceland now in Denver, including special nightly dinners at Coohills, my affection for Scandinavian food has been rekindled, so I’m extra sorry that I won’t be enjoying it at Trillium any longer.

Rock-A-Belly Hunger Awareness Fundraiser

Program helps feed families on weekends.

I just watched a rerun of the devastatingly funny John Oliver’s segment on food waste in America on “Last Week Tonight.”

The notification of Food for Thought’s upcoming fundraiser just became all the more timely and poignant. The anti-hunger program provides students of participating Denver schools with “PowerSacks” filled with enough food to help feed a family of four for the weekend. Over 90% of the students enrolled qualify for free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs, but often come to school hungry on Monday mornings due to a lack of adequate nutritious food over the weekend.

Rock-A-Belly Festival (November 7, 5 to 9 p.m.) is a local hunger awareness event and fundraiser for Food For Thought Denver featuring food tastings, craft beer, and live music. Featuring food tastings from 10 of Denver’s finest restaurants and 10 craft breweries, such as Snooze, Steubens, Jax, and Work & Class, as well as  Tivoli Brewing Co., Backcountry Brewery, and others, with live music from Los Straitjackets and the Hillbilly Hellcats. 9News anchor Kyle Clark is the event’s MC. Tickets are $50. Click here to purchase.

It takes place at the Tivoli Turnhalle, 900 Auraria Parkway, Denver.

A Taste of Colorado by the Numbers

Revelers consumed thousands of pounds of food at Labor Day fest in Denver.

This is the 2013 logo; I can't fine a 2015 version.
This is the 2013 logo; I can’t fine a 2015 version.

I’m in New York, stopping over from Paris to Denver, and I was nowhere near the Mile High City when the annual end-of-summer city tradition, A Taste of Colorado, took place at Civic Center Park. But the organizers have released some numbers of the amount of food consumed at this popular event, which — despite its name — is not all about eating. Ostensibly celebrating Western heritage, it has all the aspects of a summer state or country fare — in the heart of Denver.

Continue reading A Taste of Colorado by the Numbers

Jasinski Cooking at Food Expo

Denver chef selected to showcase American food at world food fair.

ExpoMilano-logoMy husband and I are winding down a week in the Dolomites in northeastern Italy, and when we were planning this trip, I made some efforts to plug a visit to Expo Milano 2015 into our itinerary. The theme is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. This embraces technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity and how they relate to food and diet.” Right up my interest alley.

I couldn’t fit it into an itinerary that includes the resort town of San Martino di Castrozza deep in the mountains, Paris and New York, but Denver chef Jennifer Jasinski  is there. Now. She and her Rioja crew are cooking at the James Beard American Restaurant at Seven Stars Galleria  this weekend. They left for Italy on Monday, August 31 to prepare for the meal.

Other US chefs featured in the September lineup are Ming Tsai, Norman Van Aken and Hugh Acheson, with Tom Collichio, David Kinch, Andrew Carmellini among those scheduled for October, final month of the fair.

“I was blown away and honored to be invited by the US. State Department and the James Beard Foundation to join this incredible lineup of chefs at Expo Milano,” said Jasinski when the invitation was announced. “Expo Milano has been described as the first world’s fair that’s all about food and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Jasinski is serving 70 guests each night at the Milan dinners. She is showcasing contemporary American-accented cuisine for the diverse Expo crowd. These dishes, many including local Italian ingredients, sound awesome:

  • Passed appetizers
  • Crispy bacon cannoli “BLT” with rocket, heirloom tomato, avocado
  • Grilled Virginia ham wrapped peaches, Pedro Jimenez gastrique
  • Apple crisps with tuna tartare, apple, fennel anise vinaigrette
  • Local oysters with citrus-chile granite
  • Fresh cornbread served with cultured butter and Hawaiian sea salt
  • Savory ricotta tart, marinated heirloom tomatoes, pine nut crust, pickled shallots, pine nut pistou, herb salad
  • Alaska turbot, white corn grits, green tomato gazpacho, fresh baby corn, preserved lemons, radishes, watercress
  • Piedmontese beef filet, smoked sweet corn risotto, squash alla Montava, romano beans, sauce bordelaise, bone marrow butter
  • Strawberry rose Bavarian, pistachio-cashew phyllo, Pernod honey, candied rose petals

Buon appetito to the lucky diners

Hopping in at Hopdoddy

Big juicy burger after bike race.

085My husband and I took the bus to Denver for the final stage of the USA Pro Challenge bike race. After finding good viewing spots at Civic Center Park that we didn’t want to leave, we made our way to Union Station for the return ride to Boulder. We were hungry and thirsty, and Hopdoddy Burger beckoned. We ordered and sat at a window table overlooking the plaza. People wearing cycling-themed T-shirts were soon joined by those wearing baseball jerseys and even a couple of topless women celebrating the Free the Nipple movement. Click here for a report.

Tables and booths are all high-tops, and each is outfitted with a roll of paper towel -- a feature usually found at barbecue places.
Tables and booths are all high-tops, and each is outfitted with a roll of paper towel — a feature usually found at barbecue places.

But as Dave Barry often wrote, I digress — from my post about Hopdoddy. Cool fast-casual place that features art on one wall, a kitchen on another and big windows on the other two. The hard surfaces that look so good do magnify the noise — not a problem on the shaded patio, but my husband had had enough of the outdoors after waiting for and watching the bike race and the podium ceremonies. We started with tasty margs with black salt on the glass rims, followed by big, juicy burgers and shared fries brought out a brown paper-lined kitchen trays, just like Mercantile just across the way.

Classic Burger. It arrived neatly stacked, but I moved the top of the fresh-baked bun to show how well cooked the  beef patty was.
Classic Burger made from freshly ground Angus beef. It arrived neatly stacked, but I moved the shiny top of the fresh-baked bun to show how well cooked the beef patty was.
Terlingua burger with chile con carne, corn Fritos, Tillamook Cheddar and
Terlingua burger with chile con carne, corn Fritos, Tillamook cheddar and “sassy sauce”
Thin-cut fries and a generous amount of dipping sauce. Is it the same
Thin-cut fries and a generous amount of dipping sauce. Is it the same “sassy sauce” as on the Terlingua burger? I don’t know.

No price check, because I didn’t take notes, and the online menu doesn’t reveal.

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