Category Archives: Food

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:


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.

Rock-A-Belly Hunger Awareness Fundraiser

Program helps feed families on weekends.

I just watched a rerun of the devastatingly funny John Oliver’s segment on food waste in America on “Last Week Tonight.”

The notification of Food for Thought’s upcoming fundraiser just became all the more timely and poignant. The anti-hunger program provides students of participating Denver schools with “PowerSacks” filled with enough food to help feed a family of four for the weekend. Over 90% of the students enrolled qualify for free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs, but often come to school hungry on Monday mornings due to a lack of adequate nutritious food over the weekend.

Rock-A-Belly Festival (November 7, 5 to 9 p.m.) is a local hunger awareness event and fundraiser for Food For Thought Denver featuring food tastings, craft beer, and live music. Featuring food tastings from 10 of Denver’s finest restaurants and 10 craft breweries, such as Snooze, Steubens, Jax, and Work & Class, as well as  Tivoli Brewing Co., Backcountry Brewery, and others, with live music from Los Straitjackets and the Hillbilly Hellcats. 9News anchor Kyle Clark is the event’s MC. Tickets are $50. Click here to purchase.

It takes place at the Tivoli Turnhalle, 900 Auraria Parkway, Denver.

A Taste of Colorado by the Numbers

Revelers consumed thousands of pounds of food at Labor Day fest in Denver.

This is the 2013 logo; I can't fine a 2015 version.
This is the 2013 logo; I can’t fine a 2015 version.

I’m in New York, stopping over from Paris to Denver, and I was nowhere near the Mile High City when the annual end-of-summer city tradition, A Taste of Colorado, took place at Civic Center Park. But the organizers have released some numbers of the amount of food consumed at this popular event, which — despite its name — is not all about eating. Ostensibly celebrating Western heritage, it has all the aspects of a summer state or country fare — in the heart of Denver.

Continue reading A Taste of Colorado by the Numbers

Boulder Farmers’ Market Voted No. 1 in the Nation

Local market tops USA Today list.

FarmersMarket-logoThe Boulder Farmers Market, our wonderful seasonal marketplace for locally grown produce, locally produced food products and local artisans, tops USA Today’s 10Best Farmers Markets list  or 2015. Twenty contenders were selected by a panel of food and travel experts — Bernadine Prince, president of the Farmers Market Coalition; food writer Eric Grossman; travel writer Megy Karydes; M. Linda Lee, former editor for Michelin Travel Publications, Akila McConnell travel and food blogger, The Road Forks; Larry Olmsted, USA Today food writer, and food writer Kim Sunee. The panel’s selections were presented to the public for four weeksof daily votes.

Boulder Farmers Market is the brainchild of a group of local farmers, who came together with their vision of a local market in 1987 at the Boulder Courthouse. What started with a few tables of produce loaded off the backs of pickup trucks has evolved into a robust destination market on 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue more than 100 vendors who set up for the longest market season in Colorado. There’s also an outdoor food court with wine beer and sangria available too at the Wednesday night market that runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. from early May through early October, and the original Saturday market runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. from early April through late November. During the peak summer season, the Boulder Farmers Market attracts over 5,000 customers per day.  My husband and I are often two of them.