Ramen — that cheap student staple that comes in a cellophane package with its own (usually salty) flavor packet– rises to ethereal heights when five gifted Denver chefs who do a lot with contemporary Asian cuisine prepare their versions from scratch. They compete for the title of Ramen Showdown Shogun on Monday, November 13 from 6 to 10 p.m. with guests slurping (or not) and doing the judging.
Departure Restaurant + Lounge hosts the event. Its own chef, Gregory Gourdet competes against Steve Redzikowski (Acorn, Oak on Fourteenth), Lon Symensma (ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro and others), Tommy Lee (Uncle, Hop Alley) and Corey Baker (Sushi Ronin). Guests attending the ramen showdown vote for a winner and watch the live results unfold on a 55-inch screen.
Each guest gets to try five ramen tasting bowls plus Departure’s bite-sized Koji-Chestnut ice cream with persimmon and miso butterscotch dessert for $30 including tax and tip. There’s also an optional five-course sake pairing for $20.
A portion of the proceeds goes to Project Angel Heart, a fabulous organization that has delivered 335,000 meals to more than 2,900 Coloradans living with AIDS or other life-threatening illness this year.
Departure Restaurant + Lounge is located at 249 Columbine Street, Denver. FoMoInfo or tickets, call the restaurant at 720-772-5020.
One of four cities to host the first American version.
I can still remember my first taste of gelato. It was in Rome a long lifetime ago at a gelataria across the street from and just to the right of the Pantheon. Thanks to the Internet, I am pretty sure it must have been Cremaria Monteforte (via della Rotonda 22), and that small flavor bomb on a hot summer day was the first of many that I have savored over the decades. It is still there — and still widely praised for its flavors and authenticity. And I do remember it even though I’ve consumed many little cups and cones of gelato since then.
The Gelato Festival launched in Europe 2010 and has taken root there, and Boulder is the first stop of the first Gelato Festival America from September 29 through October 1 at the Twenty-Ninth Street shopping area. The unique creations of seven gelato makers from Italy, the U.S. and Canada compete for the honors of being the best in show as voted on by a panel of judges and by the public. There are also sessions to learn about the long history of gelato and how it’s made.
Click here for tickets and here for a GroupOn offer that saves 20 percent. In addition to the Boulder event, Gelato Festival America then goes to Santa Barbara (October 20-22), Scottsdale (October 27-29) and Tucson (November 3- 5).
Sixth annual festival features a smorgasbord of films plus culinary stars.
The Flatirons Food Film Festival continues to attract foodies, film lovers and the intersection of both as it has since 2012. Taking place in several Boulder venues from September 27 through October 1, it comprises nine film programs, an entire short documentary series focused on Colorado and culinary superstar chef Jeremiah Tower as guest speaker.
He is a hugely influential and controversial figure in American gastronomy. He began his career at Chez Panisse, then opened Stars, an iconic San Francisco restaurant, before disappearing from the culinary scene at the height of his success. He re-emerged decades later at New York City’s struggling Tavern on the Green. He was already middle-aged and left after less than a year after failing to revive the famous restaurant and have serious disagreements with the owners. Perhaps he will even tell tales that only he can know. ‘Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent’ is an award-winning film about his life. It will be screened on Sunday, September 30 at 7:15 p.m., followed by an after-party at License No. 1 in the Hotel Boulderado.
Speaking of hugely influential figures, few outshine the legendary James Beard. Beth Federici, the filmmaker and director of “James Beard: America’s First Fooodie,” is also a speaker. Other local and visiting speakers include journalist Corie Brown; chef Frank Bonanno of Denver’s Bonanno Concepts; Dr. Allen Lim of Skratch Labs, and Jorge de la Torre, director of culinary education at Denver’s Johnson and Wales University. Food documentaries, short films and food-oriented classics fill the program. There’s also a kids’ farmers’ market walk. And yes, some feature actual food to eat and beverages to drink. Click here for a complete schedule and admission prices.
The 13th annual Denver Food + Wine Festival starts with Barbecue, a food film, at the Sie Film Center on September 5 and concludes on the 10th with the Rise + Dine brunch. The glamour event, of course, is Saturday’s Grand Tasting on the Pepsi Center grounds, featuring 700 international wines and some 40 Denver restaurants. Lead sponsors at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Colorado and the Colorado Restaurant Association. In between are The Shakedown (a bartender competition), a six-course dinner under the stars at Coohill’s Restaurant and the always informative Riedel Wine Glass seminar. Click here for the schedule and here to purchase tickets.
I don’t usually do follow-up picture posts, but I was so tickled that two Colorado chefs were invited to cook at a culinary festival in Barranquilla, Colombia, that I wrote a post. Diane Coohill sent me this picture from opening day of the festival. After this, she and Chef Tom are going on a trek to Everest base camp in Nepal. Classic Coloradans!
USA Today’s selections puts upcoming festival in the spotlight.
Just as a prelude to the upcoming Colorado Mountain Wine Festival (September 14-17) comes word that it was voted the best wine festival in the U.S. by USA Today’s 10Best website. That’s right: THE BEST in the whole country, even beating out New York and Chicago.
A panel of wine and travel experts nominated 20 of the best festivals celebrating wine, wine culture and wine tourism across the country’s top wine-making regions. The panel included Jill Barth, an internationally published wine writer and journalist; Jil Child, partner and co-owner of Wine Tours of the World; and Karen MacNeil, one of the foremost wine experts in the U.S. Readers pared the nominee list by half to come up with the 10 winners.
The Top 10
(In addition to being thrilled that a Colorado festival took the top spot, I’m happy that Charlottesville, Virginia, was voted #3 — good news for a city recently in the headlines for terrible reasons.)
Colorado Mountain Winefest – Palisade, Colo.
Vintage Ohio – Kirtland, Ohio
Virginia Wine Summit – Charlottesville, Va.
Finger Lakes Wine Festival – Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Chicago Gourmet – Chicago
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival – Honolulu
BottleRock Napa Valley – Napa, Calif.
Taste of Sonoma – Sonoma, Calif.
New York City Wine & Food Festival – New York
Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest – Rhinebeck, N.Y. Click here for a list of participating wineries and here for a schedule of events, which include wine country tours, tastings, pairings and the big “Festival in the Park” on the 16th. It is the state’s largest and oldest wine festival featuring more than 55 Colorado wineries, live music, a grape stomp, live demonstrations and seminars.
Today, August 19, is National Potato Day — right between National Fajita Day (yesterday) and World Humanitarian Day (tomorrow). Potato promoters offer up statistics and recipes galore, but for Coloradans, the real celebration is Saturday, September 9 when the annual Colorado Potato Festival takes place in the San Luis Valley.
Monte Vista in the southern part of the valley hosts the festival in Chapman Park (4 Chico Camino, Monte Vista), 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day is filled with mostly FREE fun activities and events like the Tater Trot 5K Race, music, crafts, guided tours, kids’ games, chef demos using freshly harvested Colorado potatoes, the infamous Mashed Potato Dunk Tank and more.
There’s a free four-hour bus tour of the valley’s potato farms and shipping centers and two one-hour train tours, also free courtesy of the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. Contact the Colorado Potato Assn. (719-852-3322) to reserve spots on the bus. but you can just show up for the train. It departs from Fullenwider Park, so there’s a free tractor-pulled shuttle between the two parks.
At 5 p.m., a concert by country star Brooke Eden takes place at the Ski Hi Park Arena, 2331 Sherman Ave., Monte Vista. Tickets are just 15. Purchase on-line before August 25 and be automatically entered into a drawing for four tickets to Coors Field for the Rockies versus the Diamondbacks and parking.
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.