The BigEat, a festival of some of Denver’s top independent restaurants, takes place in the covered arcade at the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Thursday, July 23 from 6 to 10 p.m. featuring bits and bites from more than 40 restaurants, plus cocktails from Denver’s top mixologists and craft beer from local breweries.
The Big Eat promises “surprises and countless fun,” all to benefit Eat Denver, which believes that food is fuel for community. The organization says, “Through our food-focused passion, we increase the richness of dining experiences in our community and add to Denver’s unique flavor and cultural flair. Independence as path to engagement. The art of the original meal creates the pathway to one-of-a-kind experiences.”
Tickets are $55, with proceeds benefiting Work Options for Women, Denver Urban Gardens, Colorado Cooking Matters and Eat Denver. Click here for tickets.
Culinary competition featured nine chef, 37 beers & 18 dishes.
The 2015 Pairsine/Taste of Elegance beer-pairing competition is in the can, so to speak. Nine Front Range chefs each prepared two dishes to pair with beers that were winners in an earlier phase of the competition. A panel of judges (including yours truly) selected the Best Chef overall Billy Chartres of Stuft A Burger Bar, Fort Collins, and Most Creative Chef, an honor that went to Steven Chandler of the Omni Interlocken, the Broomfield resort hotel where the event was held. People’s Choice honors went to Darrell Jensen of Samples World Bistro in Longmont.
There always seem to a few dishes prepared by more than one chef but executed differently. This year, Chandler and Tim Berry of Boulder’s Fate Brewing Company both made spring rolls. Chandler’s were soft and spicy; Berry’s held together and were crisp. William Merwin of The Blue Star in Colorado Springs and Kirk Spare of the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, not far from the Omni in Broomfield both made fried chicken. Merwin’s was cut into small tasting pieces that were skinless and crustless; Spare’s was hot and crisp. Merwin and Jensen both prepared versions of arancini. Merwin’s had a hint of coconut and accompanied cocoa-braised short ribs; Jensen’s rice balls encased chili con carne with cheddar in the middle.
The next event will be the 11th annual Denver International Wine Festival, October 28-30, and I’m looking forward to it already, since wine is more up my alley than beer.
The bright yellow Veuve Clicquot en Route truck makes three promotional stops through Colorado next week. Each one is a special mid-summer celebratory treat. Contact each venue for details and reservations.
The first is at the Four Seasons Denver on Thursday, July 16, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. where Veuve Clicquot hosts a rooftop summer pool party featuring music from DJD, a Clicquot Photo booth, fun giveaways, and of course, Clicquot specials. Cool off with Veuve Clicquot N.V Yellow Label for $25 by the glass or $100 by-the-bottle.
On Friday, July 17, there’s bubbles and barbecue with Veuve Clicquot at Acorn. The restaurant in The Source in RiNo offers its Wood Fire BBQ Dinner for two with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot costs $100 and a BBQ Dinner for one with glass of champagne is $40. There’s music from 6 Million Dollar Band.
On July 19, Ajax Tavern at The Little Nell in Aspen hosts Sunday Funday with Sarah Simmons, celeb chef and owner of New York’s Birds and Bubbles. From 3 to 8 p.m., she puts out a custom dinner package including her signature fried chicken, traditional fixings and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label for $100, presumably for two.
Flagstaff House beer dinner & Parisine beer event with chef competition.
Until recently, chefs tended to devise gourmet meals to pair with wines, and by and large, cooks in this country made far more casual dishes to go well with beer. The lines are blurring, the scene is shifting — and that shift is evident in two special beer-centric culinary evenings that are coming right up.
Flagstaff House Fare and New Belgium Brews
With its 15,000-bottle cellar and numerous Wine Spectator Grand Awards of Excellence and other honors, Boulder’s Flagstaff House boasts a phenomenal wine program. Breaking away from its image, this legendary restaurant teams up with Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery to present top brews paired with the culinary creations of chefs Chris Royster and Mark Monette on Thursday, July 9.
The evening begins with an hors d’oeuvres reception on Flagstaff House’s gorgeous terrace (weather permitting), followed by a sit-down dinner in the spectacular dining room. New Belgium’s Master Brewers and Flagstaff House chef Royster introduce the food and beer pairings. New Belgium pours rare, cellared and newly released beers, paired with exquisite Flagstaff House cuisine. The event is $95 per person, plus $31 for tips, taxes and online convenience fee. Buy online. Here’s the mouth-watering menu:
Kauai White Prawns, Lemon Risotto, Sage Brown Butter Emulsion with Snap Shot & Transatlantique Kriek
Crisp Duck Confit, Duck Breast Roulade, Orange Braised Barley, Arugula, Dried Cherry Chutney, Black Pepper Gastrique with Rampant & La Folie
Banana-Bacon-Chocolate with Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout
Pairsine for Beer
Wine Country Network, whose Pairsine/Taste of Elegance chefs’ competitions have become Front Range faves with foodies, now also puts on a comparable beer event. It challenges 10 local chefs to prepare two dishes each to pair with 20 winning beers from the 2015 Denver International Beer Competition. The beer Pairsine takes place on July 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield. General admission is $75, including tastings of all the beers and all the food, plus a neat complimentary beer glass. Buy online. Here’s the 2015 line-up of participating chefs and restaurants:
Eli Odell, Executive Chef, Highland Tap & Burger
David Davis, Executive Chef, The Sink
William Merwin, Executive Chef, The Blue Star
Dylan Zwart, Executive Chef, Low Down Brewery
Jean-Luc Vogele, Executive Chef, The Westin Hotel, Tabor Center
Joshua Hasho, Executive Chef, Omni Interlocken Resort & Spa
Jeffrey Samoska, Chef de Cuisine, Pub 17 on Welton/ Grand Hyatt
Tim Berry, Executive Chef Fate Brewing Company
Kirk Spare, Executive Chef, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
Michael Long, Executive Chef, Le Central French Restaurant
Regional cheeses and drinks echo Grand Tour route.
Once 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.
Food, drink and entertainment in Old Town Fort Collins
More then 50 restaurants and food trucks are gearing up for the 19th annual The First National Bank Taste of Fort Collins (TFC) during the weekend of June 12 to 14 at the iconic Civic Center Park in Old Town, Fort Collins. The three-day program is filled with local and national restaurants serving tastes of their signature dishes plus the Wilbur’s Craft Beer and Wine Pavilion for beverages, entertainment from regional and international musicians, more than 150 local artisans and vendors, and a Kidz Zone designed to entertain the little ones.
Gates open at 5 p.m. for the Friday Summer Kickoff Concert. The modest $5 entry fee. benefits the Taste of Fort Collins’ Colorado State University scholarship fund and the Eyeopeners Kiwanis Club of Fort Collins Foundation.
An event with “Taste” at its first name is food-centric, and the organizers have assembled a neat infographic with the names of the participating food vendors. It’s kind of fun to look it over and find your favorites. Most are casual in the street-food manner. Very fitting for an outdoor event.
Since the pricing structure is a little complicated, I’m quoting the press release so I don’t get anything wrong: “Festival hours are Friday, June 12, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 13, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, June 14, from 11 a.m. to 8:00. Entrance fee to Taste of Fort Collins is $5 per person before 3 p.m. and $10 after 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Children under 12, seniors over 65, and members of the Military with proper ID are admitted free of charge. Present your First National Bank card at the gates, and also get in free. Three-day passes are available for $15-$25 while supplies last and VIP passes are also available at a range of prices for each day at www.TasteofFortCollins.com. Local’s weekend passes will be available in May* at a special rate of $15 at Wilbur’s Total Beverage.” (*Perhaps no longer available in June.)
Boulder’s Dairy Center for the Arts’ upcoming “A Taste of Art” is a food and art festival inspired and driven by Boulder’s strong food culture driven by the bounty of notable restaurants, activists, chefs and thought leaders in the food world.
The inaugural festival (June 12-15) features events, workshops, seminars, food and wine films, performances and interactive experiences centered on food, plus a national food photography exhibit.
Chef Ann Cooper, celebrated author, chef, educator and advocate for better food for all children.
Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, co-founders of nationwide Edible Communities magazines and winners of the 2012 James Beard Award by an unprecedented unanimous vote.
Kimbal Musk, co-founder of The Kitchen restaurants and The Kitchen Community whose goal is to further ‘Community Through Food.’
Iron Chef-style competition hosted at the SRG Culinary Kitchen featuring chefs paired with local artists.
Gallery Exhibition featuring a juried show of food photography in the main gallery at The Dairy.
Barbecue, Blues & Brews on Sunday hosted in the parking lot at McGuckin Hardware from 12 noon to 5 p.m. featuring barbecue demonstrations, free samples, a beer garden and the Jack Hadley Band.
3rd Law Dance special performance Saturday night in the Performance Space at The Dairy.
“A Year in Burgundy” shown in The Dairy’s Boedecker Cinema followed by a Wine Tasting hosted by Hazel’s Beverage World.
The art exhibit and some presentations are free. Other special events and cooking classes are ticketed. FoMoInfo: www.thedairy.org. The Dairy Center for the Arts is at 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.