Category Archives: England

Denver Chef to Cook at Beard Pork-A-Palooza

Justin Brunson among 10 selected chefs.

JamesBeardFoundation-logoAs it says on that chef’s apron that is a  popular gift for hefty home cooks, “Never trust a skinny chef.”  Bu that measure,  chef-owner Justin Brunson of Denver’s Old Major, Masterpiece Kitchen and Masterpiece Delicatessen is one of the most trustworthy chefs around.

Chef Justin Brunson.
Chef Justin Brunson.

His skill and rep for his way with meats, not his BMI, earned him an invitation to at the James Beard Foundation’s Pork-A-Palooza on October 4 at the James Beard House. The kitchen cadre:

  • Stephen Gerike, The National Pork Board. Des Moines, IA
  • Jason Alley. Comfort and Pasture, Richmond, VA.
  • Justin Brunson. Old Major, Masterpiece Deli and Masterpiece Kitchen, Denver.
  • Brad Farmerie. Public, New York, and Saxon + Parole, New York.
  • Jose Garces*. Garces Group, Chicago; Moorestown, NJ; Palm Springs, CA; Philadelphia; Scottsdale, AZ, and Washington, D.C.
  • Paul Kahan.* One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago.
  • Adam Sappington. The Country Cat Dinner House and Bar, Portland, OR.
  • Chris Shepherd*. Underbelly, Houston.
  • Celeste Campise. Who’s Hungry?, Magazine and Room 1520, Chicago.
  • Jared Rouben. Moody Tongue Brewing Company, Chicago.

    *James Beard Foundation Award winners.

The cost of the dinner is $160 for Beard members and $210 for the general public.


New Cocktails Made with Premium Scotch

The Famous Grouse shines in quartet of new cocktails.

003I am not sure why I was invited to the recent introduction of four bespoke cocktails, All the other guests were in the spirits industry. I was the only food writer/blogger. But I welcome any opportunity to visit TAG Continental Social Food, one of the landmark Larimer Square restaurants. TAG provided delicious hors d’oeuvres to accompany the cocktails, all made with The Famous Grouse Scotch whisky.

I’m really not much of a whisky/whiskey drinkers, but three of these four concoctions went a long way in changing my opinion. They were very, very good. The Old Fashioned was a bit “pure” for my taste. Here’s the new quartet of unique adult beverages:

The Old Scotsman is the name of a new tall cocktail,. It is made with The Famous Grouse blended Scotch whisky, Owl's Brew The Famous Mint Tea, honey mint syrup, Angostura Bitters, lemon juice and ginger beer, Truly tasty.
The Old Scotsman is the name of a new tall cocktail,. It is made with The Famous Grouse blended Scotch whisky, Owl’s Brew The Famous Mint Tea, honey mint syrup, Angostura Bitters, lemon juice and ginger beer, Truly tasty.
The Maesto features The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whiskey. Amantillado sherry, Amaretto, a bit of Peychaud's bitters and twist in a coupe.
The Maestro features The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky. Amantillado sherry, Amaretto, a bit of Peychaud’s bitters and twist in a coupe. It’s a glamorous cocktail.
On the left, the Italian Old-Fashioned -- The Black Grouse, Amaro CioCiaro, Cocktail Punk smoked orange bitters, sugar cube, orange peel and Angostura bitters
On the left, the Italian Old-Fashioned — The Black Grouse, Amaro CioCiaro, Cocktail Punk smoked orange bitters, sugar cube, orange peel and Angostura bitters. Stir My Brandy With a Nail is a curiously named cocktail that combines several ingredients that are unusual in and of themselves and greatly interesting in a balanced cocktail.made with The Famous Grouse, Maison Rouge Cognac, Owls Brew Smoky Earl Syrup and lemon juice, topped by a lemon wheel.

Continue reading New Cocktails Made with Premium Scotch’s Denver Awards

Foodie website’s local winners. names a host of national award winners and all local winners in the cities it covers — one of which is Denver. No person or place from the Mile High City once again made it onto the national list, but we do have local winners to celebrate. They are:

Restaurant of the Year
Nominees: Acorn, To The Wind, The Plimoth, Stoic & Genuine, Work & Class
Winner: Acorn

Chef of the Year
Nominees: Dana Rodriguez , Kelly Whitaker , Jorel Pierce, Pete Ryan, Alex Figura
Winner: Kelly Whitaker

So Hot Right Now
Nominees: Stoic & Genuine, Cart Driver, Mercantile Dining & Provision, Work & Class, Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen
Winner: Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen

Bartender of the Year
Nominees: Jason Patz, Sean Kenyon, Stuart Jensen, Mclain Hedges, Noah Heaney
Winner: Sean Kenyon

Stone Cold Stunner
Nominees: Stoic & Genuine, Sarto’s, Ste. Ellie, The Nickel, The Cooper Lounge
Winner: The Cooper Lounge

Iconic Colorado Distillery
Winner: Leopold Bros.

Congratulations to all.

Taste of Highlands on Saturday

TasteOfHighlands-logoIf I didn’t live in a historic neighborhood in downtown Boulder, which I really like, I could be happy in the Highlands in northwest Denver. It is characterized by an eclectic mix of homes (many of them quite old), walkable streets and a nice mix of mostly independent shops and restaurants nearby. On Saturday, August 17, the Taste of Highlands sets up camp at Highlands Square at 32nd Avenue and Osceola. Organizers promise “premium samples” from restaurants and specialty shops, live music and Wine & Beer Garden (21 and older only), a cash bar. Participating restaurants include the Coral Room, El Camino Community Tavern, Garbanzo’s, Happy Cakes, Julia Blackbird’s,The Matador, Pinche Taqueria, Sushi Hai and Sweet Cow. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door (based on availability). Kids 8 and under get in free.

Brackets Aren’t Just for Basketball

Westword creates metro area culinary brackets

All the recent buzz about brackets in these parts has involved NCAA basketball — at least as long as the University of Colorado and Colorado State University were still alive in the first division. But foodies have had their own brackets to obsess about: Westword‘s Street 16.

The “tournament” started with Boulder, WashPark, Highland West, LoDo, South Broadway, Uptown, Havanna Street and South Federal on one side and Cherry Creek, Upper Larimer, Tennyson, Larimer Square, Capitol Hill (6th & 7th Avenues), Bluebird District, Golden Triangle and LoHi on the other.

After the first round, the foodie neighborhoods still remaining are Boulder, Highland West, Uptown and South Federal on one side and Upper Larimer, Tennyson, CapHill and LoHi on the other. The results so far show how eclectically wonderful the metro area’s dining scene has become, and how wide-ranging the tastes of Westword readers are, when the longer established dining districts of Cherry Creek and Larimer Square didn’t make it past the first round.

There’s still time to winnow the remaining eight to the final four, so start picking. You can’t vote on this blog, but I think you can by clicking here. If not, go to Westword‘s Cafe Society blog and click your way to the ballots. I can’t wait to see the results.

Post-Thanksigiving Get-Together at Denver Pub

 Friday afternoon following Thanksgiving at the Bull & Bush

I didn’t take pictures of Thanksgiving preparations this year or of the dinner itself. The table looked pretty much as it did last year, but set for 14 rather than 12. The menu consisted of appetizers in the living room, and we moved to the diing room for carrot soup, turkey with mushroom stuffing, gravy, two kinds of cranberry sauce,  mashed and sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli and three desserts. Tasty and most importantly, congenial — just the way Thanksgiving needs to be.

After that, the congenail pub is a suitable transition to après-holiday reality. Celebrating its 40th birthday this year, the Bull & Bush is the annual destination.  The pub looks the part — half-timber English style that looks even more pub-like when contrasted with the high-rise apartment and condo buildings along Cherry Creek South Drive. The food is classic Anglo-American pub fare, so I’ll insert the images without taking the trouble to lavel them. Hope that’s OK. Beer-lovers rejoiced (again) in the selection, and I (again) found a reasonable wine — an Carmenere, as it turned out. We’re a congenial group, chilling after the year’s biggest feasting holiday, so I overlook the spacy waitrons and uneven service. Below is some of the B&B’s fare. I’m sure we’ll be back next year — same time, same places, same place.

Bull & Bush Pub and Brewery on Urbanspoon

British Ban (Hopefully) Helps End Shark Fin Soup

Good news on the marine stewardship front

In an age when Andrew Zimmern has made a show-biz career of gross-out eating by ingesting disgusting and/or live foods, probably including threatened species, as a spectator sport, I often think of foods considered to be Asian delicacies, regardless of how cruel they are to individual creatures of how they harm the planet. Take, for instance, shark fin soup. Shark fisherman catch sharks, cut off their fins and return the bleeding, traumatized (or dead) animals to the sea.

According to a report in The Times (London, not New York), Britain is enacting a ban on what they call “shark-finning, the fishermen’s practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea. The move is aimed at preserving the UK’s remaining sharks from destruction by fishermen exploiting Asia’s booming market for shark-fin soup. As usual, moneyed industry lobbyist have weakened earlier EU efforts to curtail such fishing practices.

Environment editor Jonathan Leake wrote: “British-licensed boats kill thousands of the animals each year, targeting species such as hammerheads, mako, threshers and blue sharks, prized for their long tails. Typically, the fishermen cut the fins off the shark and discard the rest of it into the sea. Conservationists say many are still alive and die later in agony. Huw Irranca-Davies, the fisheries minister, said Britain could no longer tolerate the trade and would revoke permits for fin removal.”

…. “He said: ‘I want the UK to lead the way in helping protect these vulnerable species. By stopping these permits we will ensure that the wasteful practice that sees fins cut from sharks and the bodies left at sea does not happen.’

Fishermen would be required to bring the sharks intact to land before removing their fins, drastically reducing the number they could catch on each trip. Conservationists have long questioned Britain’s support for a practice widely viewed as abhorrent and cruel, especially since the European Union introduced legislation to ban it in 2003. Those rules reduced the trade a little but industry lobbying left it full of loopholes. One clause allowed EU members to grant their vessels special permits to slash fins from the majority of sharks caught, provided a few were landed intact.”

…The trade is driven by the high price of shark fins compared with other fish products. The fins can sell for more than £100 for 1lb. Ali Hood of the Shark Trust, which has led the fight to ban finning, said the British move was welcome but long overdue.”