Category Archives: Denver

A New Spin on New Mexican Ingredients

Hotel Andaluz chef cooks out of the culinary box.

As award-winning Cordon Bleu-trained chef Marc Quinones was cooking his way around some of the top restaurants and resorts in the Southwest, he prepared a lot of excellent versions regional favorites. But when the recently appointed executive chef of downtown Albuquerque’s historic Hotel Andaluz was asked to cook for a Denver media reception on behalf of New Mexico travel interests, his imagination took wing, and he offered contemporary dishes from various traditions but using New Mexican-grown and -raised ingredients.

Some of the dishes:

Pineapple, watermelon and grape salad with Marcona almond crumble and pimenton. oil.
“Peas & Carrots,” a whimsical name for toasted corn and white Balsamic/sambal chile dressing.
New York strip steak (two levels of doneness) with jalapeno butter. Thick slices of toasted sourdough were in a separate dish. Since it is New Mexico-raised cattle, perhaps it should be called New Mexico strip steak.
Hatch Green Chile Hummus on Broken Lavash with cilantro oil and red pepper gel.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with caramelized onion ragout and Cascabel chile Romesco sauce.
For sheer creativity, my ad hoc award goes to the Pinon Brittle, a clear sugary rectangles topped with oreango gremolata and lemongrass yogurt.

I think I was too busy eating and sipping cocktails made with Colkegan single malt whiskey or gin from Santa Fe Spirits, a craft distillery, to take pictures of two terrific dishes: the Berkshire pork belly with Anasazi bean ragout, yellow corn and harissa-sherry reduction  and the super-fab Mew Mexico ceviche — Bay scallops in tangerine, Maldon salt, pickled red onion and Chimayo chile vinaigrette.

Then there was the chocolate — the wonderful chocolate from Cacao Santa Fe,  which produces fantastic chocolate bars, beautiful and interesting bonbons, workshops led by master chocolatier Melanie Boudar and Factory tours with owner Derek Lanter.

Then there was Clear Light, the Cedar Company, which has been producing Cedar Essence and other aromatic potions since 1971, giving complimentary hand and forearm massages. The boss’s business card is a thin slice of cedar.

It was wonderful to have New Mexicans bring their eats and drinks  (and more) to Denver. High time to head south to eat in situ.

Project Angel Heart Fundraiser Today

250 Denver-Boulder eateries participate in Dining Out for Life.

I’m en route back from South Asia today and am not certain I will be back home in time to eat out — or, if I will have the energy after three flights across eleven time zones, but if I do, it will be at one of the 250 of so participating restaurants and breweries in the Denver/Boulder area that are donating 25 percent of their day’s sales to Project Angel Heart’s Dining Out for Life. This wonderful organization prepares and delivers medically tailored meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, kidney disease and other life-threatening illnesses. Funds raised from the Dining Out For Life event are used specifically to support clients living with HIV/AIDS.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Select a participating restaurant or brewery.
  2. Make plans to dine out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or drink a pint!) with friends, family, or colleagues. If possible, make a reservation at your selected restaurant or brewery. (Bonus points for letting them know you’ve selected their establishment because they’re participating in Dining Out For Life!)
  3. Enjoy a great meal or beverage, knowing you’ve made a difference for people in need.

Colorado Natural Wine Event

Organic and biodynamic wines showcased.

I’m in China and have been unable to attend any of the events of Colorado Natural Wine Week, but I turn your attention to the event’s Grand Showcase coming right up on April 19, 4:30 to 8 p.m.. It features more than a dozen winemakers and importers including winemakers, winery owners, importers and winery representatives from Artadi, Domaine Marcel Deiss, Fattoria Poggerino, Jack Rabbit Hill, Cooper Hill, Ovum, Scribe Craft Wine Company, Kermit Lynch, Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Becky Wasserman & Co, Louis-Dressner Selections, Jenny & François, Domaine Select and more in partnership  with Slow Food Denver. Cost is just $39 per person, $75 per couple. Location is the Space Gallery,400 Santa Fe Drive, Denver. Click here for tickets.

Free Slow Food Event in Denver

Mark your calendar for food event born in Italy.

Slow Food USA announces that Slow Food Nations takes place in Denver from July 14-16. Inspired by Slow Food International’s biennial Terra Madre gathering in Turin, Italy, Slow Food Nations combines the energy of a street food festival, the rigor of an academic conference and the inspiration of a cultural exchange. Big culinary names like Alice Waters, Ron Finley, Simran Sethi, Jack Johnson,  Alon Shaya and Colorado’s own Hosea Rosenberg are among the food movement leaders joining the festival.

Entrance to the festival is free and includes a taste marketplace with 100 exhibitors and producers, an outdoor culinary stage, gardening and cooking activities for kids and families, heritage food tastings, author talk, and more.

Ticketed Events

I am posting this now because tickets for some of the key events went saleon  Monday, April 10 . Slow Food leaders from around the globe are to participate in an all-day delegate summit including small group discussions, focused working groups and a lunch by Alice Waters that will explore school lunch as an academic subject. Delegates will then serve as hosts and speakers during the weekend festival.

The first round of ticketed events  and include taste workshops, block parties, regional food and farm tours, roundtable discussions, and one-of-a-kind dinners.

Slow Food Nations is organized to reimagine the food festival to inspire individuals and communities to change the world through food that is good, clean and fair. As Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini says, “If you want to change the world, don’t do it with sadness; do it with joy.”

‘Top Chef’ to be Filmed in Colorado

Denver, Boulder and Telluride to be featured.

Boulder chef Hosea Rosenberg was the winner of “Top Chef,” season 5, and a decade later, the highly rated Bravo show is going to be filming in Colorado. Details have not yet be revealed (after all, “reality” shows thrive on suspense), but Denver, Boulder and Telluride are slated as venues.

Entertainment Weekly broke the news host Padma Lakshmi and  judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Graham Elliot are to be featured. Colicchio, the head judge, is an admirable member of the culinary community for his anti-hunger work and advocacy for organic foods.

“We are always on the hunt for the next great culinary destination and Colorado is fast becoming a hot spot for young chefs and foodies, making it an ideal backdrop for our upcoming season,” executive vice president for current production at Bravo Media Shari Levine told Entertainment Weekly .

Uncle Joe’s After Travel Show

Hong Kong-style happy hour after to Travel & Adventure Show.

We traveled the world vicariously at the Denver Travel & Adventure Show on the weekend, visiting a lot of Asian exhibitors. These particularly interested me because we are going to Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan next month. We spent a fair amount of time hanging at the Access China Tours booth, where the first of several pairs of Sherpas were stationed. After we had walked every aisle, collected more literature than necessary, we were hungry. I was also primed for Asian food.

I had just been to a media event when Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro first opened in December 2015. It was the second Denver eating event of the day, and I couldn’t do it justice. But I loved the spare décor, and I did my best with the food; click here for my first experience. And I’ve posted about our happy hour at Uncle Joe’s, when I was hungry.

Four-hour-long happy hour is a big deal at Uncle Joe’s.
Tasteful and simple place setting.

Continue reading Uncle Joe’s After Travel Show

LOW Now in LoHi

Steamboat Springs restaurant’s new location in hot Denver ‘hood.

Two and a half years ago, I learned to appreciate Southern cooking at the original LOW Country Kitchen in Steamboat Springs. Click here for my epiphany. Now Brian and Katy Vaughn have brought LOW to Denver, specifically to LoHi. I love the synergy between these names.

The bar and some tables are located at street level, with the rest of the dining room behind, a few steps higher and separated by a high room-dividing wall. Gray and white are the dominant hues. The food, served family-style to our group of invited media, echoes the fare in Steamboat Springs.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Mash, a welcoming cocktail of Four Roses bourbon, charred strawberry and rhubarb shrub, lemon slide and Amaro Sfumato. I had to look up “shrub” as it pertained to a cocktail ingredient. Turns out that it dates back to Colonial times and refers to a pre-refrigeration way of preserving fragile fruits by make a syrup of them.

Continue reading LOW Now in LoHi