Category Archives: Europe

‘Gala’ Dinner in Dolomite Hotel

Hotel Colfosco pasta- and meat-heavy menu.

Table setting for Saturday dinner
Table setting for Saturday dinner – and every evening thereafter.

When we booked a last-minute RCI timeshare trade to Italy, we knew we wanted to stay in the magnificent Dolomites. Cortina d’Ampezzo and other mainstream resorts were not possible, so we are in the Hotel Colfosco in San Martino di Castrozza that is on the RCI program. Half-board (breakfast and dinner) is mandatory (48€ per person, per day additional — ouch!) Most guests check in/out on Sunday, so the hotel schedules its gala dinner for Saturday evening, which is just when we arrived. The night’s offering is a set menu — take it of leave it. Meat, cheese and pasta predominated. Vegetable matter was minimal. I kept thinking, “Toto, we’re not in Boulder anymore.” But I have to say, it was all very tasty — not haute cuisine, but solid Middle European cooking. On the bright side, I know that there’s a salad bar every evening from here on.

Millefeuille with ham ad cheese. The one-half cherry tomato and parsley sprig we almost the only vegetables on this 5-course menu.
Millefeuille with ham ad cheese and a swoosh of light tomato sauce. It plus one-half of a cherry tomato and a  parsley sprig were almost the only vegetables on this 5-course menu.


Two-pronged carb attack. Cannelloni filled with ricotta an spinach (the only other vegetable). Not a US-style pasta  tube to be filled, but the dough and the filling were assembled jellyroll-style. Alongside, toothsome risotto with pearl
Two-pronged carb attack. Cannelloni filled with ricotta and spinach (the only other vegetable). Not a US-style pasta tube that was filled, but rather the dough and the filling were assembled jellyroll-style. Alongside, toothsome risotto with pear. Garnish was the other half of the cherry tomato and another sprig of parsley.

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Fab Fundraiser for Flatirons Food Film Fest

Wine, foodies & song in Boulder.

FlatironsFoodFilmFest-logoThree art forms were showcased at yesterday evening’s Flatirons Food Film Festival fundraiser: cinematic arts, musical arts and, of course, culinary arts. The event opened with food samples from some of the city’s finest chefs and adult beverages. Then there was a fast-moving live auction (some guests scored great deals). Then came short films on food subjects curated by James Beard Award-winner The Perennial Plate, which documents what it calls “adventures in sustainable eating.” Each chef viewed one of the films that inspired the dishes he presented, and in addition to the resulting food/film pairings, four fine singers from Opera on Tap Colorado performed operatic pairings.

Alex Krill & David Query, Jax Fish House

Query, who founded and operates the entire Big Red F Restaurant Group, of which Jax is just one concept, said that “10 Things We love About Italy” inspired him to offer fresh, simple food, preparted with “not a lot of over-thought, just thought.”

David Qurey and the shoulder of Alex Krill (sorry, Chef).
David Qurey and the right shoulder of Alex Krill (sorry, Chef).
“Crispy, creamy and cheezy” (their spelling) polenta with cured tuna, pickled mushrooms and a sauce of sweet corn, basil and olive oil.

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Cured Offers Tour de France Matches

Regional cheeses and drinks echo Grand Tour route.

Cured-logoOnce again, Will Frischkorn is preparing for the Tour de France. The greatest of all the Grand Tour stage races in Europe starts on Saturday in Holland, whisks through a bit of Belgium before its grueling route around France with the traditional finish in Paris. But these days, he’s not getting his body and mind into shape to ride 3,360 kilometers.  Rather, he and his wife, Coral,  who own Cured, have again put together a little Tour of their own. Boulder’s wonderful gourmet shop is set to assemble a special Tour-appropriate offering for who customers with a love of fine cheese, a passion for French wine and a good appetite.


Will broke the Tour into eight stages, each corresponding to 3 to 4 days of racing, and for each region, he has chosen a cheese and a beverage. As the riders make their way around France, it is possible to follow along with region-appropriate cheese and wine and the Tour on the tube or on your computer.

Each stage, available individually for $40 or as part of the whole package for $295, comes with a chunk of cheese and a beverage to pair.  While mostly wine, they also have an exceptional beer and even a bottle of Calvados this year, paying homage to the route that the organizers chose for this 102nd edition of the Tour. Participants in Cured’s entire tour receive a Team Garmin Cannondale musette bag filled with Will’s favorite cycling ride and recovery snacks. This year’s Tour is available for pickup at Cured, or for $90 each week, they’ll deliver a box to  your doorstep with that week’s stages. Call Cured at 720-389-8096 to purchase a Tour and visit their website to learn more and read about the individual stages.

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World’s Fair Focuses on Food

Milan’s Expo 2015 theme is feeding the world.

Expo2015-logoExpo Milano 2015 is the Universal Exhibition that Milan, Italy, hosts from May 1 to October 31. Over this six-month period, Milan will become a global showcase where more than 140 participating countries will show the best of their technology that offers a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the planet and its equilibrium.

In addition to the exhibitor nations, the Expo also involves international organizations. It expects to welcome more than 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million square meters of exhibition area.

As the organizers put it, ” A platform for the exchange of ideas and shared solutions on the theme of food, stimulating each country’s creativity and promoting innovation for a sustainable future, Expo 2015 will give everyone the opportunity to find out about, and taste, the world’s best dishes, while discovering the best of the agri-food and gastronomic traditions of each of the exhibitor countries.”

A tall order, but a necessary world conversation. Wish I could be there.

Iceland Eats on Show at Culinary Fest

Jaw-dropping scenery, Viking culture and centuries-old history of Iceland plus fresh fare.

IcelandFoodFest-logoI wouldn’t even mention this if I weren’t so taken with Iceland, but I am, so I am — if you get my drift. The 14th annual Food ‘n Fun Festival in Reykjavik from February 25 to March 1 brings together chefs who ply outstanding culinary skills, fresh natural ingredients, Icelandic outdoor adventure and the island nation’s famed nightlife to create the ultimate recipe for fun.  Renowned chefs  from America, Europe and specifically Scandinavia join forces with Reykjavik’s best restaurants to vie for the title of “Food & Fun Chef of the Year.” Think it’s trivial? This honor gained respect in the culinary world since Rene Redzepi, owner of Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen, won the award in 2004.

Competitors include Hussein Mustapha, chef de cuisine at Mielcke & Hurtigkarl, a conceptual gourmet restaurant also in Copenhagen; Adam Dahlberg from Adam & Albin Matstudio, a gastronomic hotspot in Stockholm; London’s Robin Gill of The Dairy and The Manor, and James Beard Award winner Douglas Rodriguez from the U.S. Each chef is assigned to one of the participating restaurants to prepare a special menu consisting only of Icelandic ingredients. The menu is then presented by the chefs to the public during the festival week.

Among the restaurants hosting festival events this year are Dill, Apotek, Kjallarinn, Lava at the Blue Lagoo, and Smurstodin. There’s a lot of serious cooking going on, so I’m not sure where the “fun”  comes in. On the last day of the festival, the chefs compete head-to-head with three courses, again all made solely with Iceland ingredients such as Arctic char, grass-fed lamb, fresh caught cod and haddock, local plum tomatoes from a geothermal greenhouse and an Icelandic yogurt called skyr. 

New Cookbook from ‘5280’ Magazine

5280-cookbook-CoverSomehow, 5280s food editor Amanda M. Faison managed to find time to edit a cookbook — not a trivial undertaking. Not surprisingly called 5280: The Cookbook and subtitled “Recipes for your kitchen from Denver and Boulder’s most celebrated chefs,” the recently published book is sure to appear on every local cook’s shelf. Amanda is at the Tattered Cover on East Colfax on Wednesday, November 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. for a talk and book signing. Ryan Warner, Colorado Public Radio’s host of “Colorado Matters,”  interviews Faison and chefs Dana Rodriguez (Work & Class) and Kelly Whitaker (Basta, Cart-Driver), so it will also provide a sense of being in CPR’s studio. Of course, the direct topic 5280: The Cookbook but there will be plenty of discussion about Denver and Boulder’s vibrant—and ever-changing— restaurant scene. As a bonus, Rodriguez and Whitaker are bringing sample samples. The bookstore is at 2526 East Colfax Avenue, Denver; 303-322-7727.


Denver’s Upcoming Taste of Iceland

Food, music & art  form from North Atlantic nation in the Mile High City.

IcelandNaturally-logoI’ve just returned from Iceland, so I’m still a little obsessed by that wonderful little island nation. I soaked in the fabled Blue Lagoon, but I never got a chance to eat at the Blue Lagoon’s LAVA Restaurant. My loss, because it is considered one of Iceland’s best. My re-entry will be eased if I make it to try the special menu of authentic Icelandic cuisine served at Rioja from September 24 to 27.

Chefs Jennifer Jasinski, Viktor Örn Andrésson and Kuklinski.
Chefs Jennifer Jasinski, Viktor Örn Andrésson and Tim Kuklinski.

Viktor Örn Andrésson, the fabled restaurant’s head chef (and 2014 Nordic Chef of the Year), is flying in to prepare this special meal showcasing the best of Icelandic cuisine. He will work with Rioja’s owner/chef Jennifer Jasinski, whose accolades include James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southwest and Colorado Chef of the Year, and Rioja’s Chef de Cuisine Tim Kuklinski to offer the menu below ($65 plus $25 for optional wine pairing). Rioja is at 1431 Larimer Street, Denver. For reservations, call 303-820-2282. And if you don’t happen to be in Denver, Taste of Iceland events are also scheduled for Seattle, October 9 t0 12, and Toronto, November 13 to 16.

Taste of Iceland Menu at Rioja

F  I R S T • Arctic Char
Blow-torched and lemon-cured Arctic char
Beetroots, cream cheese, horseradish, chervil

S E C O N D • Icelandic Cod and Langoustine
Slowly cooked cod and dried seaweed ‘söl‘ from Stykkishólmur
Lightly smoked langoustine salad, apple, black salsify, pickled onion

T H I R D • Icelandic Free-Range Lamb
Roasted rack of lamb and slowly cooked lamb shoulder,  sun chokes, watercress, mustard, mushrooms and Madeira sauce

F O U R T H • Icelandic Viking Skyr
Skyr and red currant mousse, chocolate cremaux,
Marzipan cake, marshmallow, skyr and lemon ice cream

Music, Cocktails & Yard Storming

Denver’s Icelandic experience includes several other events. Music lovers can attend the free Reykjavik Calling Concert on Saturday, September 27 at 7 the 3 Kings Tavern. Mixologist Chris Sage conducts craft cocktail classes at Rioja’s sister restaurant, Bistro Vendome, featuring a variety of cocktails using Reyka Vodka and Icelandic ingredients. Classes from September 25 through 27 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. are free but are limited to 20 guests (21+ only) per class. Reservations are required (and might already be filled), but call 303-825-3232 and try.

BarbaKnit,jpgIceland is a nation of sheep (the four-legged kind) and therefore, also of knitters. Artist and knitter extraordinaire Linda Björk Eiríksdóttir (also known as BarbaKnit) invites experienced knitters and novice knitters alike to a free yarn storming party on Saturday, September 27 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the lawn just east of the McNichols Building at Civic Center Park (144 West Colfax). Guests will create an all-new art installation by “yarn storming” park trees with a splash of color and texture. Guests are encouraged to bring their own knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn or any other fabric lying around. Linda is available to teach guests easy ways to get started in the wide world of knit art.