Category Archives: Event

Colorado Chefs Preview James Beard House Dinner

It seems that New York’s James Beard House can’t get enough of Colorado chefs and vice versa. Hosea Rosenberg, chef at the Jax Fish House in Boulder, and Sheila Lucero, chef at Jax Fish House in Denver, will be cooking at the James Beard House on Thursday, October 11. There’s a touch of irony to “Fish House Feast,” given that Colorado is nearly a thousand miles from the nearest ocean, while the Beard House is not more than two or three miles from the historic Fulton Fish Market in lower Manhattan. Obviously, the seafood featured in three of the five courses does not come from Colorado, but many of the other ingredients do.

Later note from Claire: As Anonymous correctly pointed out in comment #1, the Fulton Fish Market has moved to the Bronx. In the second comment, I replied that I actually do know that. I added that my choice of words was misleading. I stand corrected — or at least clarified. In any case, I should have written that the James Beard House is not far “from the former site of the historic Fulton Fish Market.”

The two chefs are doing a send-off dinner at Jax in Boulder on Tuesday, October 2. Think of it as a rehearsal dinner. The cost is $75 per person. Call the restaurant for reservations; 303-Here’s the menu:

  • Stacked Dungeness Crab with Avocado, Preserved Lemon and Vanilla
  • Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc 2006
  • Smoked Glacier Lake Rainbow Trout with Fennel Pollen, Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese and Grilled Plum Vinaigrette
  • J Brut Rosé NV
  • Seared Baja Scallop with Celery Root, Hazel Dell King Oyster Mushrooms, Cured Pork Belly and Madeira
  • Morgan Double L Chardonnay 2005
  • Roasted Rack of Colorado Lamb with Crawfish and Corn Polenta, Abbondanza Farm Root Vegetables and Toasted Garlic Jus
  • Longboard Vineyards Syrah 2004
  • Ela Family Farms Caramel Apples with Seven Flavors
  • J Pear Liqueur Toddy

The cost for the New York dinner is $125 for Beard House members and $155 for everyone else, which includes the following cocktails and hors d’ouevres that are not part of the Colorado dinner:

  • Ahi Tuna with Wakame, Wasabi Peas, Ginger and Chile
  • Kusshi Oysters with Sake–Cucumber Mignonette and White Cranberry Granité
  • Cider-Marinated Halibut Cheeks
  • Blue Prawn Dynamite
  • Jax Aviation (Beefeater Gin, Pama Pomegranate Liqueur and Lemon)
  • Rosemary Martinis (Ketel One Vodka, Rosemary Syrup, Sparkling Pear and Lemon)

Boulder Enhances Support of Local Foods & Farms

Boulder is stepping up its support of local, sustainable agriculture in a big way. At yesterday’s Boulder County Farmers Market, the new “Eat Local! Celebration” was launched to further encourage local diners and cooks to support area growers and community resources.

The meatiest part of the of the new 32-page Eat Local! Resource Guide is the list of natural and organic produce, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, honey and wines, as well as spring water. Restaurants and caterers that use Colorado foods are also listed, as are gardens and greenhouses for those who like to grow their own. And of course, 18 organizations that promote such culinary and environmental agendas as sustainability, reducing the carbon footprint, zero waste, relocalization (a new buzzword to me) and just plain good, fresh food on the table. The publication is free.

Yesterday, several participants in the Restaurant Fresh Connection promotion, including as The Kitchen, Organic Orbit and the Dushanbe Tea House, offered free samples of house specialties that use farmers’ market products.

My husband and I walked home loaded down with baby lettuce, heirloom and “regular” tomatoes, corn, apples, peaches, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, chicken, cheese, bread, crackers and probably some other stuff that I can’t remember. It was easy to prepare a delicious dinner when even the simplest preparation suffices for such succulent ingredients. It is the best time of year for food-lovers and community supporters. It is certainly the best time of year for enjoying these foods.

Renaissance of Local! (planned for September 28-30 in Lyons) will be a county-wide festival, conference and expo to promote local foods, energy, economic vitality, culture and more. There will be a juried art show, music, family activities and the Slow Food Feast featuring the best of Colorado produce, paired with biodynamic wines. Adult admission is $20 a day at the gate, $15 in advance or for cyclists who ride to the event, $35 for three days. Students with ID pay $10 a day. Under 12 are admitted free. The Slow Food Feast is an additional $25. And oh yes, parking is $5. Let’s hope it doesn’t snow.

Taste of Manitou

Yesterday evening, I had the honor of being the dinner speaker at the Taste of Manitou, a lovely fundraising dinner at The Cliff House at Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs. One of the perks of being a dinner speaking is actually enjoying the dinner — and this one was a fine sampling from five local restaurants. The event benefited the town’s Economic Development Commission, which has done a wonderful job of spearheading the sprucing up of the downtown, which has always been charming but had become a little tattered. Now, the sparkle matches the charm and the unsurpassed location at the foot of Pikes Peak.

Hors d’Oeuvres

I’m not sure whether fondue can accurately be called an hors d’oeuvre, but the selection offered by Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant served as an appetite-whetter before dinner.

Appetizer

The Blue Vervain prepared an appetizer of Colorado beets topped with a generous daub of goat cheese with honey-thyme cider sauce. It is from the restaurant’s regular dinner menu. The waitstaff poured Two Rivers riesling to accompany this course and the salad that followed.

Salad

This artfully composed salad featured local baby Romaine lettuce with Brussels sprouts, toasted pecan halves, chile-rubbed organic butternut squash, daikon, shredded fennel and huckleberry vinaigrette. Adams Mountain Cafe created this salad for the Taste of Manitou dinner, and even without being identified on the menu, locals immediately recognized its origins because Adams Mountain Cafe always includes its special bread and butter — this time, a roll on each plate.

Entree

The Cliff House Dining Room was responsible for the main course, the Colorado Buffalo and Bass Duet. It consisted of a charbroiled medallion of buffalo tenderloin with chipotle cream sauce and a broiled bass filet topped with prickly pear salsa. This unique spin on surf and turf was prepared for this dinner. On the side were a scoop of Duchesse potatoes (a kind of mashed) and a simply grilled tomato half. Cottonwood Cellars cabernet sauvignon was poured for this course.

Dessert

The Craftwood Inn made Palisade peaches poached in Colorado late harvest riesling with hibiscus glaze, perched on a pair of small vanilla bean crepes. The Spice of Life provided coffee.

Good food for a good cause.

Denver Area Food Fest & Restaurant News

Nearly 30 restaurants are expected at the third annual Denver Food & Wine Classic this Sunday, August 26 between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m., at the Pepsi Center grounds. I would be more excited about this event if there weren’t so many chains (including The Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Nik-N-Willy’s Pizza, PF Chang’s, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Ted’s Montana Grill). These include some of the better chains, but still…

The best part will be the Steel Chef competition, between 1:15 and 4:30 — which sounds as if each chef will cook separately rather than head-to-head. Slated to compete are Jennifer Jasinski, owner/chef of Rioja and Bistro Vendome, Denver; Ian Kleinman, chef de cuisine of O’s Steak & Seafood in the Westin Westminster; and Max Mackissock of Vita Restaurant, whose location I don’t know.

At the Wine Cafe, Trinchero Family Estates and distributor W.J. Deutsch & Sons will pour. Jim Beam and other high-test booze is also sponsoring. Event tickets are $50 and are available at several area wine and liquor stores.

Meanwhile, in addition to the yesterday’s a post about Alba Ristorante debuting in Boulder and a recent one about Wolfgang Puck’s Spago coming to Beaver Creek for the start of the ski season. Here are some other happenings on the local restaurant scene. I haven’t been to any of these yet, so consider this informational only:

  • Chez Thuy reopened after a remodel. 2655 28th Street, Boulder; 303-442-1700.
  • French 250 is the latest occupant of the space that long housed the much-loved Bistro Adde Brewster; 250 Steele Street, Denver; 303-331-0250,
  • Izakaya Den has opened in one of Denver’s delightful little neighborhood commercial centers; 1518 South Pearl Street, Denver; 303-777-0691.
  • Tambien Cantina has replaced Sketch, also in Cherry Creek North and also in the same building as French 250. 250 Steele Street, Denver; 303-333-17633.
  • Table Mesa is new in Denver’s southern suburbs; 7301 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton; 303- 962-8888.
  • Theorie is the new name for a downtown Denver restaurant that was originally (and briefly) called The Abbey; 1920 Market Street, Denver; the phone number might be 303-296-2255.

James Beard & Denver: Perfect Together

I recently posted news that two Colorado chefs — Sean Yontz, owner/chef of Chama, consulting partner/chef at Mezcal and the newly opened Tambien, and Chris Douglas, owner/chef of Tula Latin Bistro — will be cooking at New York’s James Beard House on August 22. Their theme will be Contemporary Latin Celebration. I’ve since learned that Matt Mine, executive chef at Denver’s recently opened Oceanaire Seafood Room will be joining Oceanaire chefs from six other locations to present the Ultimate Seafood Expereience at the Beard House on September 5.

If you’re in Colorado, you don’t have to fly to New York for Beard House-worthy food, because on September 28, Denver will join 19 other U.S. cities to host the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America, a national food festival celebrating the foundation’s 20th anniversary and the legacy of James Beard. Twenty cities, 20 years — catch that?

The talented chefs participating in the “Colorado Cooks for James Beard” dinner will be Frank Bonanno, chef/owner of Denver’s Mizuna and Luca d’Italia; Tim Love, James Beard Award nominee and chef/owner the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Love Shack and Duce in Fort Worth, TX; Yasmin LozadaHissom, pastry chef at Duo in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood; Thomas Salamunovich, chef/owner of Larkspur in and the soon to open Watermark in Edwards; Alex Seidel, chef/owner of Denver’s Fruition, and Elise Wiggins, executive chef at Panzano, also in Denver. If you’re wondering how Texan Tim Love muscled his way into a Denver dinner, there is a Colorado connection. He worked his way to the helm of Uptown Bistro in Frisco, CO, where he was honored several times with foth the Taste of Breckenridge Grand Award and the Taste of the Mountains Award. It will be good to have him back, cooking in Colorado. Bobby Stuckey, James Beard Award Winner, master sommelier and co-owner of Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine, will pair wines with each course.

This fabulous event on September 28 will take place at Panzano at the Hotel Monaco, with cocktails beginning at 6:00 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m. Tickets cost $125 per person, and can be purchased by calling 303-395-2677 or e-mail office@heedum.com. The James Beard Foundation will donate a portion of the proceeds from the dinner to Operation Frontline Colorado, a Share Our Strength program.

On Saturday the 29th, the Williams-Sonoma store in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center will host a free Frestival Day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with cooking demonstrations and cookbook signings by award-winning chefs, children’s educational activities and tastings of artisanal products. Tim Love will do one of the demonstration, but the time has not yet been set. If you want to see him perform his culinary magic, call 303-394-2226 closer to the date.

Chef News from C-States

Colorado

Two Denver area chefs are heading for New York to cook at the James Beard House on August 22. Sean Yontz opened Tamayo for Richard Sandoval’s restaurant group and is now the owner/chef of Chama, consulting partner/chef at Mezcal and the newly opened Tambien. Chris Douglas is owner/chef of Tula Latin Bistro. The two-chef team plans a five-course dinner paired with an extremely rare Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, a Mexican distilled spirit made from the maguey plant, blending the bold flavors of Mexico, Spain and Central America overlaid with a Colorado flair. The dinner costs $125 for Beard members, $155 for all others. BTW, the Beard House has a no-tipping policy. If you wish to reserve, call 212-627-2308. If you’re in New York, or are simply curious, you can preview the menu on-line. Yontz and Douglas follow closely on the heels of Steven Topple of Beano’s Cabin at Beaver Creek, who prepared a pinot noir dinner there on August 9.

California

One of the best events during the four-day Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival will be the annual Blazing Pans Mountain Chef Cook-Off at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, September 15 at the Village at Northstar. The cooking competition will pit current two-time champion Chris Banovich of Big Wave Burritos in the Village at Northstar against Jacques Cornelis, executive chef at the Resort at Squaw Creek at Squaw Valley. The Iron Chef format gives chefs one hour to create as many dishes as possible using a secret ingredient to be unveiled when the clock starts ticking. Passport tickets for Saturday festivities cost $45 and access a day-long program of food and wine events, including the Blazing Pans Mountain Chef Cook-Off, “Today’s American Barbeque” with chef Larks Kronmark, a Gourmet Marketplace, Big Kids’ Cooking Camp with chef Lara Ritchie and a cooking demonstration with executive chef Roy Siegel of the Ritz Carlton, San Francisco. For festival tickets (and lodging, if needed) call 888-229-2193 or go to the festival website.

Connecticut

If only I had known, I would have alerted you earlier to the Taste of Hartford. Twenty-seven restaurants in the capital of my home state have been offering $20.07 dinners since August 5 and will do so until August 11. I love these Taste of…. events, because they enable locals and visitors alike to get a good dinner deal at favorite restaurants and also try new ones. Chefs get exposure with a new clientele and restaurants build traffic during slow times, so it’s a win-win format.

Upcoming Colorado Food Fests

Colorado foodies, or foodies visiting Colorado, have several food and wine events to choose from in the next few weeks. For multi-day events, inquire about special lodging rates.

Coming right up on Sunday, August 12, is the first annual Boulder Food & Wine Festival, which I previously wrote about. Scheduled from noon to 5:00 p.m., it features local restaurants’ creations using Colorado products and also a tasting of wines from Colorado wineries.


The Crested Butte Wild Mushroom Festival, that promises “to put the fun back in fungus,” takes place August 16-19 with a variety of specialized forays, workshops, cooking demonstrations/luncheons, a treasure hunt foray for youngsters aged six to 13 and experts on mushroom stuff. Visitors can by a three-day festival pass ($119.50), one-day pass ($49.50) or admission to individual events ($35-$39.50).

Saturday, August 18, is the annual Lafayette Peach Festival. Admission is free to the fruit-oriented street festival that takes place along three blocks of South Public Road. Admittedly, this hasn’t been the best year for Colorado’s fabled stone fruits, but organizers expect Palisade’s Morton’s Orchards to bring in 30,000 pounds of fresh, organic freestone peaches. The festival anticipates serving 4,500 servings of peach cobbler and 500 peach pies prepared by Hanna’s Specialty Foods and 2,500 peach smoothies. Other attractions include antiques and craft sales and children’s activities.

In southwestern Colorado, the Mesa Verde Wine and Art Festival takes place August 24-26 with wine tastings ($20 on festival day, $15 in advance) and wine maker dinners ($75) at the Metate Room in Mesa Verde National Park’s Far View Lodge and Joey’s Restaurant in Dolores. Guy Drew Vineyards in Cortez hosts an open house with live music on Sunday the 26th from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and that day, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Dawg Days Chili Cookoff takes place at the Cortez Cultural Center. Something for everyone.

September 7-9 is the first Colorado Fest … Celebrating Colorado’s Food, Wine, Beer & Art in Gunnison and Crested Butte. The weekend begins on Friday evening in Gunnison with a free art gallery crawl, live music and a food and wine reception at the Gunnison Arts Center with David S. Carbonetti of Mountain Sommeliers and two Colorado winemakers ($11 in advance on-line, $15 at the door). The weekend in Gunnison, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte offers food and wine pairings, a wine tasting with Colorado foods under the cottonwood trees, a beer festival and chili cook-off and a farmers market. Local restaurants offer fixed-price dinner menus of Colorado-only products and guests can participate in hands-on pottery and cooking classes, music and more. Other ticket prices range from $7 for Breakfast with a Viking Chef (Saturday morning) to $65 for a wine-maker dinner at the Timberline Restaurant (Sunday evening). Go to the festival’s website or call 877-448-1399 for reservations or more information.
A Taste of Colorado, the annual Labor Day Weekend extravaganza of food and entertainment, takes over Denver’s Civic Center Park from August 31 to September 3. Admission is free. Visitors pay for carnival rides, food and beverages — and of course, whatever crafts and other items they purchase. Hours are Friday,11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The 16th annual Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade is an enduring and increasingly popular event that has grown up with the Colorado wine industry. The showcase for the Rocky Mountain Association of Vintners & Viticulturists is coming on September 13-16, with such activities as hands-on workshops of various sorts, wine and food pairings, dueling chef competitions, grape stomps, winery tours, winemaker competitions, a chocolate tasting, wine-maker dinners, a bicycle tour of the vineyards and more. The first-class VIP Pass is $140; individual event tickets range from $35 for a seminar on grape growing to $120 for a golf and wine package. Check the schedule or buy tickets online or for more information, call 970-464-0111 and 800-704-3667.

It is fitting that the epicurean summer that started with the 25th Annual Food & Wine Classic at Aspen wraps up with another prestigious festival at another luxurious mountain resort. The new Beaver Creek Wine and Spirits Festival, September 13-15, features visiting celebrity chefs and winners of the San Francisco International Wine Competition and San Francisco World Spirits Competition who will pair food, wine and spirits. Wine authority Anthony Dias-Blue, who also runs those San Francisco beverage competitions, and chefs Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys, Richard Sandoval of Modern Mexican Restaurants (including Tamayo and Zengo in Denver) and Joseph Manzare of Zuppa, plus selected Beaver Creek chefs. will be on hand. Unusual offers include “Walk and Wine,” an outdoor experience pairing a wildflower hike led by experienced guides followed by a three-course wine pairing luncheon ($75), and “Fly Fish/Eat Fish” combining fly fishing instruction and a three-course seafood luncheon ($200). Renowned comedian Craig Shoemaker will provide plenty of laughs during a live “Cocktails and Comedy” performance at the Vilar Center for the Arts ($35). Seminars ($45), a grand tasting ($60) and a fabulous dinner at Splendido at the Chateau ($75) round up the festival. Tickets can be ordered from 970-845-TIXS.