Category Archives: Event

Taste of Fort Collins This Weekend

Food, drink and entertainment in Old  Town Fort Collins

TasteofFortCollins-logoMore 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.)

Chili Heat & Cool Brews at Snowmass

Mammoth Fest features chili cook-off.

mammoth-logoMore than a dozen top chili cooks from Colorado and beyond turn up the heat during an International Chili Society (ICS) sanctioned regional cook-off on the Snowmass Village Mall during Snowmass Mammoth Fest.  Free tastings of red chili, chili verde (green chili) and salsa, along with live music, are offered to the public on Friday, June 12 from 5 to 9 p.m.  Tame the heat with premium microbrews available for purchase.

The next day if your palate has recovered, taste free chili and salsa tastings from 12 noon, along with, a 25-Microbrew Grand Tasting grand tasting on Saturday at Town Park. Cooking starts early in the day. Once the tastings begin, come sample chili and salsa, mingle with the cooks and vote for the People’s Choice Award for the best red chili. Following International Chili Society rules, a panel of expert judges will select the three top winners in each category. All 1st place winners will advance to the ICS World Championships.

THE COOKS & THEIR CHILI (SALSA,TOO)

  • Edward Huffman (red chili, chili verde, salsa), Iron Horse Chili, Peyton, CO
  • Hank Wedemeyer (red chili, chili verde), Medicine Man, Littleton, CO
  • Judy Wedemeyer (red chili, chili verde), Flam-N-Go, Littleton, CO
  • Kathy Weiss (chili verde, salsa), Rocky Mountain Harmony Chili, Centennial, CO
  • Mary Parker (red chili, salsa), Dragonfly Chili, Peyton, CO (1st place winner from 2014 ICS World Championship)
  • Matthew Levy (red chili, chili verde, salsa), Hunt Valley, MD
  • Mick Weiss (red chili), Rocky Mountain Harmony Chili, Centennial, CO
  • Mike Rook (red chili, chili verde), Rook’s Road, Highlands Ranch, CO
  • Priscilla Licon (red chili, chili verde, salsa), Scilla’s Chili, Pueblo, CO
  • Sean Richardson (red chili, chili verde, salsa), Maverick’s Grill, Granby, CO
  • Stephanie Richardson (red chili, chili verde, salsa), Maverick’s Grill, Granby, CO
  • Stevan Rodriguez (red chili, chili verde, salsa), Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Steve Vedora (red chili), Coogee Mountain, Denver, CO
  • Jeff LeBeck (red chili, chili verde, salsa), Voodoo Moon, Westminster, CO
  • Greg Virant (red chili), Going Up Chili, Omaha, NE
  • Lynn Kost Virant (salsa), Going Down Chili, Omaha, NE

The main part of Mammoth Fest is actually  a big entertainment event with name performers. Click here or call 877-987-6487 for ticket information, prices and purchasing.

Everything’s Coming Up Rosé

Celebrating a favorite wine for the warm months.

RoseWinesWhen my husband and I visited Greece last year, I started drinking the country’s rosé wines. It started a summer of drinking these light and lovely wines almost every evening. Therefore, I’m cheered that the first-ever Drink Pink Vino International Rosé Wine Festival is coming to the Omni Interlocken Resort’s Outdoor Pavilion in Broomfield on Thursday, June 11.

Chris and Darcy Davies, the fine folks who run the Denver International Wine Festival and other events celebrating adult beverages and interesting food, are presenting Drink Pink Vino. Davies clears up a common misconception of what rosés are: “Far from being a diluted red, rosés are produced from the same grapes as more full-bodied reds, but the juice is only allowed to ferment with the grape skins for a few days, giving rosés their delicate pink color.  Rosé wine consumption in the U.S. is growing by double digits. More and more producers are releasing their versions of incredibly food-friendly Rosés. The Drink Pink Vino International Rosé Wine Festival offers wine enthusiasts the chance to sample over sixty new releases right before the summer Rosé drinking season.”

Rosé brands committed to pour at the event include Ponzi Vineyards, Chêne Bleu, Presuqu’ile, Buglioni, Schramsberg, Scharffenberger and Henri Gaillard Rosé Côtes, Barton & Guestier, Saved, Rosatella , Mouton Cadet, Simi, Wild Horse and Creekside Cellars.

Celebrity hosts will include Top Chef Season 5 Winner Hosea Rosenberg of Blackbelly Market and Restaurant and Madeleine de Jean (aka, “Madame Champagne”). Participating restaurants include Blackbelly, Oceanaire Seafood Room and Big Mac & Little Lu’s Seafood Room.

Click here to purchase general admission or VIP tickets.

Wonderful Wine Pairing at 1515 Restaurant

Four courses and eight wines make for indulgent evening,

001I had long heard about 1515 Restaurant on the fringes of Denver’s LoDo district, known for great dining options, but I had never eat there — until last night. Owner Gene Tang, executive chef Joseph Arena and master sommelier Emily Papach tag-teamed to present a four-course feast, each one paired with one wine from Cambria Estate Winery and one from Freemark Abbey, both in California’s Napa Valley, several being single vineyard wines.

A table set with starched linens, multiple wineglasses and a an artillery of flatware is always a promise of fine food and wine to come.
A table set with starched linens, multiple wineglasses and a an artillery of flatware is always a promise of fine food and wine to come.
Emily Papach table-hopped after each course to ask us all which wine we thought paired better with the dish we just ate. Our little pod of four seemed to agree that some wines tasted better by themselves and some worked better with the food.
Emily Papach table-hopped after each course to ask us all which wine we thought paired better with the dish we just ate. Our little pod of four seemed to agree that some wines tasted better by themselves and some worked better with the food.
The first course was an artistic presentation or a wonderful crisp-crusted egg prepared sous-vide so that the white and yolk cooked evenly, a frog leg (
The first course was an artistic presentation or a wonderful crisp-crusted egg prepared sous-vide so that the white and yolk cooked evenly, a frog leg (“tastes like chicken”). edamame, bits of spring green onion, sherry and butter sauce (called vin jaune) and red olives. Yes, red olives! Both wines were 2012 Viogniers, the Napa Valley label from Freemark Abbey and Tepusquet Vineyard from Cambria.
Roasted golden tilefish. which tastes something like snapper, buerre blanc, asparagus tips arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern and capers.
Roasted golden tilefish. which tastes something like snapper, buerre blanc, asparagus tips arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern and capers. The wines were both 2013 chardonnays Freemark’s Napa Valley and Cambria’s Katherine’s Vineyard.
My little camera cannot ever capture beef dishes as beautiful as they are on the plate. This course of 7X Wagyu beef topped with crisp tidbits of bone marrow, plus rainbow chard and a wonderful ragout of wild mushroom Bordelaise. The beef was flavorful but not especially tender, but what left a bad taste was learning that 7X Cattle Company is a holding of one of the Koch brothers. Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and Cambria Benchbreak Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 went a long way in helping me overlook that knowledge.
My little camera cannot ever capture beef dishes as beautiful as they are on the plate. This course of 7X Wagyu beef topped with crisp tidbits of bone marrow, plus rainbow chard and a wonderful ragout of wild mushroom Bordelaise. The beef was flavorful but not especially tender, but what left a bad taste was learning that 7X Cattle Company is a holding of one of the Koch brothers. Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and Cambria Benchbreak Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 went a long way in helping me overlook that knowledge.
The exquisite composted dessert was a fitting finale to this wonderful meal. A deep chocolate terrine topped with a perfect vanilla tuile with salted caramel ice cream called for fabulous wines. Cambria's Tepusquet Vineyard Syrah 2012 was fine, but the Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Caber Sauvignon was over the top. Aged in new French oak plus a year of bottle-aging, it retails at $107 per bottle and was by far the most expensive wine poured at this wonderful dinner.
The exquisite composted dessert was a fitting finale to this wonderful meal. A deep chocolate terrine topped with a perfect vanilla tuile with salted caramel ice cream called for fabulous wines. Cambria’s Tepusquet Vineyard Syrah 2012 was fine, but the Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Caber Sauvignon was over the top. Aged in new French oak plus a year of bottle-aging, it retails at $107 per bottle and was by far the most expensive wine poured at this wonderful dinner.

1515 Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Green Chile Cheeseburger: Denver or Santa Fe?

The capitals of Colorado and New Mexico lay claim the best of this Southwestern fave.

SantaFe-logoAsk a Coloradan which city makes the best green chile cheeseburger, and the instant answer is Denver, The Mile High City. Ask a New Mexican, and the reply is Santa Fe, The City Different. There are plenty of reasons to visit beautiful, artistic San Fe, and its Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail is one of them.

Here’s what Santa Fe claims: Santa Fe, NM is a burger lover’s paradise, and ‘The City Different’ spends 365 days celebrating the Green Chile Cheeseburger. Santa Fe’s indigenous cuisine dates back to the area’s Native American roots and their staples of beans, corn and squash. With the introduction of foods brought by the Spanish like onions, tomatoes and of course, chile, the table was set for what became the distinctive New Mexican fare with its enduring emphasis on the use of chile in and on almost everything.  The green chile cheeseburger has been a staple on menus around the state of New Mexico since at least the middle of the 1900s.

Continue reading Green Chile Cheeseburger: Denver or Santa Fe?

Boulder Kitchens on View This Weekend

Fundraiser for I Have a Dream Foundation opens great local kitchens.

DreamKitchens2015If you are thinking about building a home or remodeling the one you have and are looking for ideas, or if you just enjoy visiting fabulous kitchens in terrific homes, or if you just want to support the 25-year-old I have a Dream Foundation, the 2015 Dream Kitchens Tour this weekend, Saturday, April 25. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday the 25th, 12 noon to 4 p.m. is for you.

On the 2015 tour, six homes are in West or North Boulder, one is near downtown and one is in Niwot. Some of the Boulder locations are within walking distance. Tickets good for either or both days are $20 when purchased at the I Have a Dream office (3012 Sterling Circle, Suite 200, Boulder) or at Studio3 Kitchen & Bath (1719 Fifteenth Street, Boulder). Online purchases or tickets bought at any King Soopers carry a service charge. FoMoInfo, call 303-444-3636.

2015 Wine & Food Festivals in the Colorado Rockies

ColoradoFlagDurango, Telluride & Steamboat put on really good wine and food fests.

Most of us don’t have the budget for the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen (June 19-21 this year), an annual see-and-be-seen extravaganza in Aspen, but smaller events are both more affordable and more manageable. Here are a few of Colorado’s upcoming festivals in the high country. Expect to find such components as a grand tasting of hundreds of wines and perhaps other adult beverages, wine-pairing dinners in local restaurants, tastings guided by top sommeliers, cooking demonstrations by local or visiting chefs and other food/wine options. Click on the links for price and ticketing info. When it comes to events in mountain towns, consider that lodging is always at low-season prices in spring and still affordable in summer.

April 23-25 and May 19

DurangoWineExperience-logoComing right up is the ninth annual Durango Wine Experience in Historic Downtown Durango that starts with a special VIP welcome reception on the evening of April 23 that is followed by public tastings, more than seven educational wine, craft beer and spirit seminars and multiple wine dinners. The multi-location “Walk-About” on Friday, April 24 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. features tastings in downtown galleries, shops and such delightful outdoor venues as the Rochester Hotel Courtyard and Steamworks Brewing Company’s Patio. It benefits the United Way of Southwest Colorado.

A few short weeks later, on May 19, Main Street is shut down for the Taste of Durango, a one-day event to benefit the Manna Soup Kitchen. Featuring local craft breweries, artisan cocktails and countless samples of the interesting and high-quality cuisine that Durango’s top restaurants offer. In addition to food and drink, guests enjoy a fantastic selection of music, dancing, fun and friends, old and new.

June 25-28

The Telluride Wine Festival benefits from timing, coming on the heels of the Food and Wine Classic. A number of vendors/exhibitors/chefs customarily stick around and do both. At this writing (late April), the schedule of classes and small-batch tastings, list of exhibitors and roster of guest chefs and sommeliers was not yet available. But traditionally, more than 1,000 guests attend the large tastings, which include wine, spirits and unique foods.

August 5-9

The Steamboat Wine Festival is noteworthy for its mix of wine, food and outdoor activities on the mountain, in restaurants, classrooms, and around town. Seminars and tastings increase knowledge, and enjoyment of food and wine, and other activities including hikes, bike rides and standup paddling. To stay informed on all the happenings, check out the website. And FWIW, the Farm to Barn dinner on August 8 is already sold out.