Even though First Lady Michelle Obama has made valiant efforts to bring to public and media attention on fresh and healthy food, such issues as food deserts, wide-spread hunger, food waste and the awful power of the agri-chemical industry still plague the country. The next administration is unlikely to build on the Mrs. Obama’s legacy. The White House organic garden might even be plowed under.
One effort to bring food issues to public and political attention is the Plate of the Union Food Truck Tour, which started over this past summer to calli for action on food and farms. In Cleveland for the Republican National Convention and Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, organizers of the Plate of the Union say the food truck drew crowds, underscoring that legions of Americans care about healthy, fair, sustainable and affordable food. At each convention, organizers say that they were “joined by delegates, members of Congress, media and everyday people who agree: we need presidential leadership to fix our food system.”
The post-convention road trip included stops in Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and North Carolina. This ambitious road trip did not appear to include Colorado. The truck staff gathered petition signatures and say that they heard from concerned farmers, food business owners, teachers, parents, workers and more. Aa New York Times article, “When Will Food Issues Be on Politicians’ Plates?”, featured the Plate of the Union. It reminded readers that food is not a red or blue issue, and it raises how food intersects with so many critical national issues this election season: immigration, labor, health, trade and more.
I doubt that upcoming debates will spend much, if any time, on food issues, but it won’t be for the of the Plate of the Union’s efforts.
South suburban ViewHouse hosts feast of in-state products.
If I posted news of every wine-pairing dinner and fundraising feast in Colorado, I’d write about nothing else and (I probably wouldn’t have much time to sleep either), but fresh from the Governor’s Cup wine event, I have things grown, raised and in Colorado on my mind. August is Colorado Proud Month, highlighted by a Colorado Proud dinner party on August 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Centennial ViewHouse’s fabulous open-air dining room.
Executive chef Jose Guerrero has crafted a ‘Colorado Proud’ four-course dinner made with local meats and produce, craft cocktails and wine, plus live acoustic music (which I hope won’t be so loud that guests won’t be able to talk about the food made from agricultural products that are grown, raised or processed in Colorado.
First Course. Braised Tender Belly Pork Belly with Pueblo Peppers, CO Popcorn Grits, Grilled Tricolor Corn, Pork Belly Jus and Micro Bulls Blood.
Second Course. Mixed Beet Confit served with Baby Arugula, Colorado Nut Brittle, Colorado Honey-Goat Emulsion and Micro Chives.
Third Course. Peppercorn Glazed Colorado Striped Bass and Lamb Chop with Disanti Bean Succotash, Roasted Fingerlings, Tender Belly Lardons, Lamb Jus and Micro Lolo Roassa.
Fourth Course. Dessert Trio with Cantaloupe Mouse, Peach Tart and Honey Dew Sorbet in a Sugar Cookie Sandwich.
*The menu above came from the organizer. I am not familiar with some of the products, so if you have questions or an issue, I’m afraid I can’t help you.
Purveyors from around the state include Denver’s Tender Belly, Parker’s Mountain Man Nut & Fruit, Longmont’s Haystack Goat Cheese and Rocky Mountain Eggs. Spirit and wine pairings come from Loveland’s Spring 44 and Denver’s Infinite Monkey Theorem.
Tickets for the dinner and beverage pairings are $55 per person (plus tax or gratuity), and guests must be 21 or older to attend. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the restaurant at 303-848-3366. It is located at 7101 South Clinton Street, Centennial.
Natural foods grocers now carrying this Colorado product.
Back in 2011, I wrote a feature on millet for edibleFront Range, a magazine that appears to be on permanent hiatus. I had a hard time finding millet for human consumption, either in restaurants or in products other than as one of the ingredients in multi-grain breads and other baked goods.
If I were writing that now, I would highlight RollinGreens’ packaged Millet Tots. This version of tater tots, made with an ancient seed, are small, crispy bites that are organic, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO and soy-free. The product is now available in the frozen food sections of Whole Foods Rocky Mountain Region, Natural Grocers, Lucky’s Market, Alfalfa’s Market and independents throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.
Millet Tots debuted in May 2015, but a recent E-mail from Lindsey Cunningham, who runs it with her chef-husband, Ryan, is the first time I was aware of them. RollinGreens started out as a Boulder mobile food truck and catering service (hence the name). Its packaged product line features a variety of frozen handheld bites that are organic, nutritious and innovative. Pop frozen Millet Tots into the oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until crispy and thoroughly heated. The first type is made with sea salt, and two new flavors are set to launch in September 2016.
Legendary restaurant critic and her book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die
Some 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.
Full butcher shop and charcuterie maker now joins Boulder restaurant.
First 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.
1606 Conestoga Street (Blackbelly is just north of Araphoe Avenue), Boulder; Butcher Shop and Market [breakfast & lunch], 720-479-8296.
The 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.
PBS special on food and the food biz worth watching.
Michael 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:
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.