Category Archives: Food

‘Meeting’ Mimi Sheraton

Legendary restaurant critic and her book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die

100FoodsBefreYouDie-coverSome long-ago, long-running bylines from The New York Times stick in my mind: John Noble Wilford on science, Ada Louise Huxtable on architecture and Mimi Sheraton on food.  A Facebook post by my friend Grace Lichtenstein, herself a Times alumna, caught my eye because it featured one of these illustrious names: “Mimi Sheraton’s 1,000 Favorite Foods.”

I hadn’t thought about Mimi Sheraton in a very long time, and as so often happens in such cases, my reaction was: “I didn’t know that she was still alive.” Well she is (she’s 90) , she has a recent book out and was the subject of a terrific profile that Grace about her for New York City Woman.

Sheraton’s book is called 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover’s Life List. She doesn’t believe that everyone must lie everything, but she advocates trying — and so do I, usually.

Meeting the Meat at Blackbelly

Full butcher shop and charcuterie maker now joins Boulder restaurant.

001First there was the Blackbelly food truck. And a catering operation, plus a bar and restaurant. Soon a secluded patio on the south side of the building. Then a second, larger and more open patio on the north side. And now, a large shop focusing on meat, meat and more meat joins the rest. Before this. the chefs and the butchers were competing for space. Now, there are two kitchens, the original and the new one on the meat side, where breakfast and lunch are prepared.

Nate Singer, born and raised in Cody, WY, runs the butcher operation. His family’s  steakhouse across from the rodeo grounds and his father’s passion for hunting were the “classroom” where he first learned butchery skills, overlaid with official courses resulting in various certifications. He  heads the full-fledged butcher shop that sells meat that has been broken down from whole animals and cut on site. The crew also makes all manner or sausages and cures meat. Getting US Department of Agriculture approval for such an operation is no mean feat, and what they produced is spectacular.  Media had the opportunity to taste some of the specialties.

Blackbelly Butcher's chalkboard menu
Blackbelly Butcher’s chalkboard explains the sourcing of the meats —  lamb and pork from Boulder County purveyors (including Blackbelly Farms) and beef from Wyoming.
Even in veggie-centric Boulder, Blackbelly's meat cases is a thing of beauty.
Even in veggie-centric Boulder, Blackbelly’s meat cases is a thing of beauty.
A selection of charcuterie put out for sampling, including such uncommonly good common items as prosciutto and such unusual ones as nduja, a fermented salami from southern Italy.
A selection of charcuterie put out for sampling, including such uncommonly good common items as prosciutto and such unusual ones as nduja, a fermented salami from southern Italy.
Meat cutters at work.
Meat cutters at work.
A temperature- and humidity-controlled room for aging and curing.
A temperature- and humidity-controlled room for aging and curing.
House-made bison brats on house-made pretzel rolls house-pickled slightly sour cabbage.
House-made bison brats on house-made pretzel rolls house-pickled slightly sour cabbage.
The humble corn dog isn't quite so humble when it comes from Blackbelly Market.
The humble corn dog isn’t quite so humble when it comes from Blackbelly Market.
Chocolate salami anyone? Not kidding. The pastry chef on the restaurant side makes up these treats.
Chocolate salami anyone? Not kidding. The pastry chef on the restaurant side makes up these treats.
And here's an Aperol spritzer toast to owner/chef Hosea Rosenberg.
And here’s an Aperol spritzer toast to owner/chef Hosea Rosenberg.

1606 Conestoga Street (Blackbelly is just north of Araphoe Avenue), Boulder; Butcher Shop and Market [breakfast & lunch], 720-479-8296.

Blackbelly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Denver Winefest Moving to DIA Westin

New location for 12th annual festival.

DenverIntlWineFest206-logoThe Denver International Wine Festival has moved around metro Denver locations from the University of Denver to the Omni Interlocken, but this year, it will be at yet another venue, the recently opened Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport. The 12th Annual Denver International Wine Festival is a three-day wine and food festival showcasing the largest selection of international and domestic wines of any Grand Tasting in the Rocky Mountain region. Mark your calendar now.

  • Wednesday, November 2. Grand Vintners Dinner, a multi-course winemaker’s dinner. Featured winery TBA.
  • Thursday November 3. Pairsine Chefs Fine Food and Wine Pairing Competition, with 10 celebrated chefs (TBA) will each have been assigned two of the gold-medal-winning wines from the 2016 Denver International Wine Competition. They must create a food pairing for each wine, giving attendees a chance to same 20 food and wine pairings. It’s my favorite part of the festival. A new VIP ticket allows one-hour early access, a raw seafood bar, premium cocktails and a meet-and-greet with the chefs.
  • Friday November 4. The Grand Tasting of International Wines and Food from 4 to 9 p.m. (VIP) or 6 to 9 p.m.  (general admission). This is the region’s largest wine tasting event for consumers, media and trade, with more than 80 wineries and distilleries, plus delectable food and wine tastings, food products, wine accessories, a silent auction and fine art.

Cost: $95 to $175 depending on event and ticket type. Other details to come.

 

 

In Praise of Michael Pollan

PBS special on food and the food biz worth watching.

PBS-logoMichael Pollan is one smart man — and he writes well too.  His keen observations about American health, diet fads and the  dreadful food industry ring very true. I like fine dining, exquisite baking and the occasional chip-and-dip snack, but by and large, I believe in eating well and responsibly both for the health of myself and my family and for the environment. I buy organic and local whenever I can, and I am a from-scratch cook.  I avoid chains, especially fast fooderies.

When I read or watch Pollan, I’m part of the choir that he is preaching to, and yet I learned something each time. I read his eloquent In Defense of Food some years ago and watched the PBS version last night. If you missed it, pour yourself a glass of wine (red) or whip up a wholesome smoothie and watch:

http://www.pbs.org/video/2365635287/

 

Sockeye Salmon Specials in 2 Area Restaurants

Kelly Whitaker’s Basta and Cart-Driver celebrate Sockeye Week.

BristolBayFishermanChefs Collaborative, a group of influential chefs dedicated to promoting sustainable, natural food sources. The group has declared this to be  Sockeye Restaurant Week through November 15. Restaurants and other businesses across the country are featuring wild sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, Alaska, on their menus. No, sockeye isn’t fresh in November, but it was flash-frozen and is just about as good.

Bristol Bay is the world’s largest sockeye fishery. Today, it is celebrated by no less that President Barack Obama, a supporter of Bristol Bay’s pristine nature, who took action to protect the ecosystem and the fishing community. His actions assure that it will remain a sustainable and productive fishery. Until then, there was a long and ugly threat from the proposed development of the Pebble Mine, a porphyry, copper, gold, and molybdenum operation that would have put Bristol Bay and its population of all five types of salmon at risk if the mine were developed and its waste containment were to fail. Think of the Gold King mine mess near Silverton last August and the far worse situation in Brazil right now, where two burst mining dams have already cost 28 lives, safe drinking water and numerous small villages. Imagine that crap spilling into Bristol Bay. Fortunately, the mine project didn’t come to pass, and now, let’s think about delicious salmon again.

Chefs Collaborative member Kelly Whitaker is hosting two sockeye specials at Cart-Driver (Denver) and Basta (Boulder). Cart-Driver is replacing its popular tuna mousse with sockeye mousse, and Basta is they are extending Sockeye Restaurant Week into First Bite Boulder with a sockeye special.

Don’t-Miss Food & Wine Events

Denver, Broomfield & Boulder host three very different events.

Denver Harvest Week, October 5-9

Harvest-Week-logoGrowHaus, a multi-pronged attack on north Denver’s food desert,  an educational enterprise and a supplier of sustainable foods, again hosts Harvest Week. Each night, a group chefs from independent restaurants come together to create pop-up parties (four dinners, one brunch at the GrowHaus, the city’s ultimate urban garden. Every day includes a full bar, copious amounts of food, and endless amounts of fun. All the festivities of the week go to support EatDenver and the Growhaus. Click here for details and tickets.

Flatirons Food Film Festival, October 19-24

FlatironsFoodFilmFest-logoSix days of films (six features plus shorts), special events, talks, a sushi walk and more taking place in several Boulder venues. The Films page contains descriptions and trailers for all of feature-length films, plus information about short films and events. The new Tickets page contains information about individual films and events, plus different types of passes. The big name is James Beard Award-winning chef Andy Ricker of the Pok Pok restaurant empire in Portland, Oregon, who appears Friday, October 23. He is supporting of “Farang,” a documentary chronicling his search for authentic flavor. He has appeared on Anthony Bourdain’s television series, No Reservations and Parts Unknown, and introduces the film and participates in a Q&A session after the screening.

Denver International Wine Festival, October 28-30

Pairsine-logo3The Denver International Wine Festival drops anchor at the Omni Interlocken in Broomfield with a packed schedule of tastings and seminars. Highlights are the Grand Vinters Dinner at the Omni’s Meritrage Restaurant on Wednesday, the Pairsine wine-pairing competition where top regional chefs prepare dishes to pair with gold medal award-winning wines from an earlier wine competition and the Grand Tasting on Friday. This year’s honorary host is Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible. Click here to purchase tickets.

Jafflz: The Jackerwocky of Sandwiches

Retro South African pocket sandwiches with global fillings.

Jafflz-logoJafflz, created by Chef Meryl van der Merwe in Park City but with South African roots,  are pocket sandwiches with globally inspired flavors and a product name that could have been devised by Lewis Carroll.

The pocket is made two slices of bread (white, wheat, whatever) with a sweet or savory filling, placed in a “jaffle iron” and toasted. The crusts are cut off, creating  a pre-filled pocket. The iron embosses concentric circles on the top of the sandwich.

I don’t usually post about products that have no Colorado connection, but Jafflz come from Park City (and I have a fondness for ski towns). It is available at the seasonal Park Silly Sunday Market.  Currently, the only year-round location is at Park City’s Silver King Coffee/Jafflz EXPRESS at  1409 Kearns Boulevard,  435-333-5233; local delivery available. The menu  for this “convenient cuisine” that that additionally includes soupz, saladz and drinkz. Chef Meryl has ambitions for wider availability. In that case, I hope to try it even if I don’t soon get to Park City.