Category Archives: Denver

Chef Troy Guard’s New Burger

DIA eateries featuring Bronco Burger this week.

SuperBowl50Among other titles, Denver star chef Troy Guard is described as the “Broncos chef,” so it is fitting that he created a big burger as a run-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl. But unless you are flying somewhere, you’ll have to go to the airport to try it — and you’ll have to hurry. The $14.50 “Bronco Burger” will be exclusively served at Lefty’s Colorado Trails, Lefty’s Mile High and Lefty’s Front Range within the Denver International Airport — and only through Super Bowl Sunday, February 7.

BroncosBurger

The 7-ounce bison burger is topped with Tillamook cheddar cheese, sautéed onions, roasted jalapenos, smoky aioli and is served on a toasted pretzel bun.  A problem for burger-loving Broncos fans is that all three are on DIA’s airside, meaning that burger lovers have to pass through security in order to enjoy this short-run burger. But Guard does know his burgers, event though nothing similar appears on the menus of TAG Burger Bar in Congress Park or Highlands. Sigh.

Aloy Thai Opening Today in Denver

Expanded, enhanced branch of Boulder restaurant in Ballpark area.

037When they selected  February 1, sisters Bo Bean and Arisa Chanchokpong didn’t pick the most auspicious day to open Aloy Modern Thai, an uptick from their Boulder eatery.  Big snows are forecast for this evening, and I’m not sure what the chefs they’ve brought in from Asia will make of it. But snow melts and warm weather will arrive, and by then, I’m guessing that Denverites will have come to appreciate Aloy’s food, as Boulderites have taken to the original. Smaller than the Denver location and set in a Boulder strip mall, it certainly is one of the best in town.

I got a chance to sample an infinite procession of dishes during a media preview last week on an evening mild enough for a pleasant walk from the 16th Street Mall. Located in in the former Trillium space on Larimer Street, its decorative makeover was largely cosmetic.  In addition to Thai classics, there is a definite Japanese undercurrent that appears here and there on the menu.

Guests were presented with 18 courses along with sips of a like number of excellent and unusual beverages to match. Even with modest tasting samples. The menu boasts of a farm-to-table connection and lists farms from which they source seasonal ingredients are sourced.  The food was dazzling. Here goes with a sample of the sampling, as it were:

Passed hors d'oeuvres included Cracking Tofu.
Passed hors d’oeuvres included Crackling Tofu with shitake bacon, a roll of cucumber and miso sauce.
Smoked Verlasso salmon, a premium farmed salmon from Chile. It is served on an arched yucca chip with orange aioli.
Smoked Verlasso salmon, a premium farmed salmon from Chile. It is served on an arched yucca chip with orange aioli.

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Panzano’s Enhanced Happy Hour Menu

New lounge look, plus new happy hour dishes and cocktails

001Panzano has put out some of Denver’s best (and best-priced) happy hour dishes for years. With a classy renovated bar, this excellent Italian eatery in Denver’s Hotel Monaco has also expanded and enhanced happy hour food and drink offerings. In short, the very good happy hour just got better.

Chef Elise Wiggins puts out sophisticated Continental specialties in what she calls “happy hour-sized portions” at happy hour prices from 2:30 to 6 p.m. every night.  Wiggins’ front-of-house ally in enhancing the happy hour experience is Derek Lovell, the new bar manager. I’m seeing this as the ideal pre-theater watering hole for the many shows with 6:30 curtains at the nearby Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

The Incontrare is a cocktail combining many of my favorite ingredients: silver tequila, Campari, Salerno blood orange liqueur, lime and blood orange soda (Pellegrino, perhaps), and garnished with a slice of blood orange.
The Incontrare is a cocktail combining many of my favorite ingredients: silver tequila, Campari, Salerno blood orange liqueur, lime and blood orange soda (Pellegrino, perhaps), and garnished with a slice of blood orange.
'Ragu is agnello' is Italian for lamb ragout nested with a thick, flat pasta and crowned with mache, a flavorful lettuce from France.
‘Ragu is agnello’ is Italian for lamb ragout nested with a thick, flat pasta and crowned with mache, a flavorful lettuce from France.
Rabbit gnocchi pairs these toothsome little dumplings with tender rabbit.
Rabbit gnocchi pairs these toothsome little dumplings with tender rabbit, sweet peppers, tomatoes, herbs and tangy cheese.

Continue reading Panzano’s Enhanced Happy Hour Menu

Polish Pierogis in a Package

 

Denver’s Bistro Charlotte makes these filled treats.

BC-sealOnce upon a time, there was a cafe in Boulder that made divine pierogis, filled dumplings that could bring gustatory sunshine to a rare Colorado gloomy day. I wrote about them here, but that now is a nostalgic essay rather than a description, because the Eggcredible Cafe is no more.

I just received a heads-up message from Charlotte Pistek, whose frozen pierogis are available in high-end markets around the metro area. Preparing them takes less time than driving across town. Three flavors (traditional Potatoes and Cheese with Sautéed Onions, Kraut & Sautéed Mushroom Potato and the Colorado-inspired Cheddar with Roasted Jalapeño) are sold under the Bistro Charlotte label, though there appears to be no brick-and-mortar bistro.  Amanda Faison of 5280 Magazine has tried them and recommended them, so that’s good enough for me. She wrote:

Look to most any corner of the world and you’ll find a dumpling. Japan has the gyoza, Nepal the momo, Italy the ravioli, and Russia the pelmeni. But to many, the ultimate dumpling is the supremely comforting pierogi. The Polish finger food is usually stuffed with a starchy combo of mashed potato and cheese or potato and sauerkraut. A good pierogi is worth hunting for, especially as winter weather blasts us with cold and snow.

Enter Bistro Charlotte, Denverite Anna Postek’s boutique pierogi company. Postek began making and selling her own dumplings when she couldn’t find the quality she was looking for in the market. “Everything is so processed now,” Postek says. She looked in old books and pestered her Polish mother and family members and friends’ family members until she came up with a pierogi recipe that “is something like what used to be made.”

Postek works every batch from scratch using organic eggs and flour, and the results yield excellent chewy dough stuffed with creamy, satisfying fillings. She sells her Bistro Charlotte pierogi (there are three varieties: potatoes and cheese with sautéed onions, kraut and sautéed mushroom, and potato and cheddar with roasted jalapeño) at Marczyk Fine Foods, Whole Foods, and Sawa Meat & Sausage. The pierogi are so good, we keep a box or two in the freezer for a quick lunch, dinner, or anytime snack.

At Home Tip: We like serving the potato and cheese pierogi with balsamic-red onion jam.

Squeaky Bean’s Bowie Cocktails

Lift a glass of a special drink to honor David Bowie.

SqueakyBean-logoDavid Bowie’s recent death at the age of 69, just after releasing his final album on last Friday, which was also his birthday, shocked and saddened his legions of fans. To commemorate the loss of this unforgettable icon, The Squeaky Bean created not just one, but for the first time, an entire menu of cocktails — pretty appropriate for a rocker who lived large.

The Squeaky Bean launches its Bowie tribute and shrine by introducing the David Bowie cocktail list on January 19, when it is offered special. The Bean will also play David Bowie’s music from 4 p.m. t o close. Guests are invited to dress “in David Bowie fashion,” which can mean that anything outrageous goes. The special cocktail list will be available from at least until the end of January.

The Squeaky Bean's David Bowie shrine with one of the cocktails created in his honor.
The Squeaky Bean’s David Bowie shrine with one of the cocktails created in his honor.
  • The Bowie Shrine Drink: Ziggy Stardust: Mescal, Aperol, Cocchi Americano, dehydrated Campari “Stardust”
  • Heroes: Woody Creek vodka, blood orange, honey, pear eau de vie, Moscato
  • Young Americans: Squeaky Bean Barrel Elmer T Lee bourbon, Amontillado sherry, orange olio sacchrum, bitters
  • Life on Mars?: Reposado tequila, Nardini Amaro, orgeat, lime
  • Space Oddity: Pisco, Meyer lemon, mandorla, egg white
  • Let’s Dance: Lillet Blanc, lemon oil, house apple liquor
  • Golden Years: Reagan Orange Bitters, Ron Zacapa Rum, Pommadine, lemon

Bowie isn’t the first star to be honored with a Shrine Cocktail. The current one is Meadowlark Limoncello in commemoration of the late Harlem Globetrotters star. And there will be a Shrine Cocktail during Denver Restaurant Week (February 26to March 6) commemorating the passing of Penny Parker, Denver’s beloved woman about town gathering news for her columns in the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News.

FIVE Colorado Chef Selection for 2016

DenverFive-logoFIVE Colorado, restaurant consultant Leigh Sullivan’s ninth annual selection of leading local culinary and beverage talent, has been announced. Originally called the Denver FIVE,  the list features five chefs, including an alumni chef from a past season, and a beverage team, to create five unique dining experiences throughout the city, represent the city and state at Aspen Food & Wine in June, and wrapping up their rein with a truly special dinner at the James Beard House in New York City on October 13 , 2016.

DenverFive2016
The 2016 FIVE chef roster:

  • John Depierro, Alumni Chef & Chef/Co-Owner, Mijo
  • Dana Rodriguez, Chef/Owner, Work & Class
  • Alicia Luther, Executive Pastry Chef, Black Eye Coffee
  • Thach Tran, Chef, Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro
  • Darrel Truett, Executive Chef, Barolo Grill

The 2016 beverage team:

  • Gerard Collier, Pinche Tacos
  • Ryan Fletter, Owner & CoMS advanced sommelier, Barolo Grill

Donut Magic on Colfax

Voodoo Doughnut at home in the Mile High City.

072Voodoo Doughnut got its start in Old Town Portland (Oregon, not Maine) back in 2003 and soon became a cult favorite — the kind of place that in-the-know locals would take guests to wow them with the cool, funky vibe and phenomenal selection of donuts (I prefer this spelling).

Retro interior and rope lines to channel traffic in the small store.
Retro interior and rope lines to channel traffic in the small store.

When Voodoo came to Denver, it wasn’t to a sanitized shopping mall or an upscale suburb but rather to Colfax Avenue, a fascinating, vibrant arterial with an urban mix of people and business that cater to them. There always seems to be a line, even on a midweek mid-afternoon.  This may be a deliberate strategy to add to the mystique of the wild flavors. The make cake donuts, raised donuts, crullers and fitters with various fillings and toppings — many of them cereals that I wouldn’t eat on a bet but many people really like — and display one of each on revolving shelves in a glass case.

If the artwork on the boxes weren't black a line drawing on pink cardboard, I'd call it psychedelic. The slogan is
If the artwork on the boxes weren’t black a line drawing on pink cardboard, I’d call it psychedelic. The slogan is “Good Things Come in Pink Boxes.”

My husband and I came out with just three treats: a huge classic glazed donut, an even bigger apple fritter and sinful Maple Bacon Bar donut. All were really delicious. I’m ordinarily not much of a donut eater, but I’d have a tough time if the store were closer.

1520 East Colfax Avenue, Denver; 303-597-3666. Useful facts: Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week (except select major holidays). Cash only; ATM on site.

Voodoo Doughnut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato