Category Archives: Event

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.

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. 

Visit Denver’s Restaurant Week Tips

Ready, set, go for Denver Restaurant Week.

DenverRestaurantWeek2015For ten days (February 20 to March 1), nearly 300 Denver  restaurants offer multi-course dinners for $30 per person, plus taxes and gratuities. Menus and details can be found at DenverRestaurantWeek.com. Visit Denver acknowledges the challenge of narrowing down such a wide choice spread around the greater metro area and has assembled a list of considerations:

  • Gluten-free or vegan, no problem! There are 169 restaurants offering gluten-free items, and in true Colorado fashion, a whopping 93 have vegan options.
  • The new kids on the block. It’s always exciting to try a restaurant brand new to Denver Restaurant Week! Here are a few hotspots that should make your list: Cart-Driver, Cebiche Highlands, Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Café, Chowder Room, Dorchester Social Eatery, Timberline Steakhouse DIA, Season’s 52 and Stoic & Genuine.
  • Tried and true. Many of Denver’s top restaurants participate in this culinary event year after year, offering tasty multi-course meals of signature dishes and exciting new plates. You can’t go wrong with one of these Denver Restaurant Week staples: Barolo Grill. Bistro Vendôme, The Broker Restaurant, Carmine’s on Penn, Denver Chophouse & Brewery, Elway’s Cherry Creek, The Fort; The Greenbriar Inn, Luca, Maggiano’s Little Italy, McCormick’s Fish House & Bar, Rioja and The Summit Steakhouse.
  • It’s all about the extras. A number of restaurants are offering wine, cocktails, beer or a fourth course as part of their restaurant week menu. Here are a few of the restaurants offering something extra: At Southern Hospitality, a Colorado draft beer, house wine, whiskey or Moscow Mule. A glass of house wine or house-made limoncello at Colore Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria. iFish Japanese Grill & Sushi offers both a sushi starter and large carafe of hot, cold or house-infused sake. A bottle of wine to share at Racines.  A Limon, an amuse bouche to share.
  •  The spirit of dessert. With most restaurants offering some sort of dessert in their multi-course meal offering, this is not the time to count calories. This year, several restaurants are boozin’ up their desserts with beer, wine or whiskey. Try one of these over-the-top desserts. Modena Wine Café’s selection of alcohol-infused ice creams, including Left Hand Nitro Stout and a Cosmo Sorbet. Duo’s Figgy Pudding Brandy sauce with orange ice cream.; Belgian Chocolate Torte with Housemade Porter Ice Cream at Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Café. Bourbon Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée at Charcoal Restaurant.
  • No shortage of short ribs. It’s all about the beef, ‘bout the beef…no chicken! Colorado is ranching country, and as you would suspect, beef is what’s for dinner on many Denver Restaurant Week menus. Blackbird, The Berkshire, Coohills, The Dorchester, Spruce Farm and Fish and Spuntino are among those offering short ribs, each with their own unique flavor. Randolph’s Restaurant features a buffalo short rib and  not to neglect chicken entirely, Altitude Restaurant is offering a chicken-fried short rib.
  • How would you like your mushrooms? Mushrooms are hot in 2015, and some of the tastiest offerings include: Winter Mushroom Ragu at 1515 Restaurant, Crespelle ai Funghi at Panzano, Wild Mushroom Duzelle Arancini at Charcoal Restaurant and a Cup of Morel Mushroom Soup at Bent Fork American Grill.
  • What was that again? Some of the more memorably exotice items: Bones’ Escargot Potstickers. The Nickel’s Squid Ink cavatelli. Corridor 44’s Caviar Potato Chips. Coohills’s  Wild Burgundy Snails.
  • There’s something “fishy” happening in Denver. When you realize most fish is shipped by airplanes, then airports become seaports, Denver is therefore one of the largest and busiest “seafood ports” in America. To try: Humboldt Farm Fish’s  smoked trout dip with potato chips and sweet onion jam. And perhaps arriving by truck rather than by air, Kevin Taylor, Vita and Beatrice & Woodsley all offer their own versions of Colorado Striped Bass with plenty of delicious complementary (or complimentary?) sides.

Continue reading Visit Denver’s Restaurant Week Tips

Cochon 555 Showcases Heritage Pigs

Annual pork-fest and competition returns to Denver.

Cochon555Cochon 555 is back in Denver on Friday to Sunday, March 6-8. This three-day feast and culinary competition celebrates family farms, heritage breed pigs and tilt the scales in favor today’s emerging chef community struggling to pay premium prices for safer, more flavorful food raised by real farmers.

Denver is again a stop on a national tour that spotlights notable chefs, super-skilled butchers, spirited bartenders, top winemakers, brewers, distillers, oysters, caviar and sweets, now in  its seventh year.It starts Friday evening with a guest chef dinner at The Nickel in the Hotel Teatro, followed by a large- format meat feast on Saturday at Colt & Gray with wines of Antinori /Antica Napa Valley and then the main event Cochon 555 on Sunday at Ritz-Carlton Denver –

On Sunday, Cochon 555’s five Denver area chefs cook five pigs in an intense but friendly competition. This year’s competing chefs are Kelly Whitaker of Basta, Matt Vawter of Mercantile Dining & Provision, John Little of Harman’s Eat & Drink, Christopher Thompson of The Nickel and Rich Byers of The Corner Office. Using heritage breeds from family farms (an  Old Spot and Large Black from Autumn’s Harvest Farm, Mulefoot from The Piggery, Red Wattle and Large Black  from Heritage Foods US, and a Mulefoot from Climbing Tree Farm), they will prepare a maximum of six dishes, Voting are a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated local  judges.

Tickets begin at $130 (plus service  charge). Click here to purchase.

Denver FIVE Class of 2015 Named

Five top Denver chefs to represent city’s culinary scene.

DenverFive-logoLeigh Sullivan, an ardent promoter of Denver’s culinary scene, established the Denver FIVE to showcase the local food and beverage talent.   The “Class of 2015″ with five more Colorado culinarians plus a two-man beverage team has been announced. The chefs are to create five unique dining experiences throughout the city, and then represent the city and state at the swell Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in June then a dinner at the storied James Beard House in New York City, in September. Sullivan calls the selection process “a responsibility and a privilege.

I'm afraid I can't identify this line-up, and the announcement didn't help put names fo faces -- but I do like the dramatic image. What a group!
I’m afraid I can’t identify this line-up, and the announcement didn’t help put names fo faces — but I do like the dramatic image. What a group!

The 2015 FIVE

  • Aniedra Nichols. Alumni Chef and Executive Chef, Elway’s Cherry Creek.
  • John Depierro, Executive Chef, Bones.
  • Noah French, Co-owner & Executive Pastry Chef, Sugarmill.
  • Kevin Grossi, Chef de Cuisine, Lola Mexican Fish House.
  • Enrique Socarras, Executive Chef, Suehiro Old Town.  

Beverage Team: 

  • Gerard Collier, “Bar Ninja,” Pinche Taqueria.
  • Aaron Forman, Owner and “Wine Samurai,” Table 6.