Category Archives: Meat

Masterpiece Deli Named Leading Sandwich Shop

Thrillist.com’s best in the country includes Denver staple.

Thrillist.com assembled a selection of “The 33 best Sandwich Shops in the Country,” and right there is Masterpiece Deli, of which the site’s senior editor Andy Kryza wrote:

Denver, Colorado

Justin Brunson, the chef behind Masterpiece Deli, also owns one of Denver’s most important restaurants (the acclaimed Old Major), and his culinary talents are equally showcased at this humble deli. One of the major feats of this Mile High shop is its versatility. The menu features a mouthwatering 12-hour-braised beef brisket smothered in a rich Taleggio fondue and served on a baguette. And damn it if Masterpiece’s bland-as-hell-sounding roasted vegetable sandwich isn’t one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat, too. The flavors of the fresh zucchini, wild mushrooms, and piquillo peppers mesh gloriously with the hummus, a zesty tomato tapenade, and aged provolone on a baguette. Though the Cubano — loaded with Black Forest ham and brined mojo pork and glued together with melted Swiss — might be enough to tempt even the president of PETA over to the dark side.

The original is in LoHi, where it was a pioneering good-food presence. There’s a second Masterpiece Deli in Uptown and a related eatery,  Masterpiece Kitchen, in Lowry.

Cochon 555 Tour Returning to Denver

Heritage pigs the spotlight of annual culinary tour.

Cochon555Cochon 555, which returns to Denver on March 19, features a roster of local chefs and sommeliers but stars heritage pigs. This cutting-edge culinary festival is nationally known for its signature nose-to-tail pig cooking competition with the expanded Heritage BBQ theme. The innovative flavors on offer include the Somm Smackdown, featuring wine/pork matching, and Punch Kings, where top barkeeps face off with cocktail punches. There will be 1,500-plus pounds of heritage breed pork plus a Heritage Rum Cart; Ramen Bar; Farmstead Cheeses; a Pop-Up Butcher Shop for Charity; Smoked Old Fashioneds, and fab artisanal wines.

The event is scheduled for 4 to 7:30 p.m. The chefs and somms are still to be announced, but the location has been firmed up as the Curtis Hotel. VIP tickets are $200 each and general admission is $125. Some of the proceeds go to charity. Click here to purchase — or just check out the great footage of past events to get an idea of the excitement.

Flagstaff House Chef Wins ‘Chopped’ Episode

Royster prevails in on Food Network show.

Addendum: The Denver Post ran an interesting piece on Royster after the competition, concluding with “Royster’s winning dessert will make its way onto the menu at Flagstaff House, and plans for a dinner featuring his ‘Chopped’ dinner are in the works.”

chopped-logoI recently posted an item about Chris Royster’s upcoming appearance on the Food Network’s “Chopped.” That episode, aired last night, and the Flagstaff House chef de cuisine came out the winner. The last two standing out of the initial field of four contenders turned out to be Colorado chefs. Royster’s runner-up was Brother Luck of namesake Brother Luck’s Street Eats in downtown Colorado Springs.

This episode was called “Beast Feast.” The  theme of this heavily formatted mano a mano a mano a mano was supposed to be “meat.” One of those “meats” was chicken, which I would classify as poultry. Oh well. Each contestant is presented with a four-ingredient box of items that must be used in creating a dish. These four have nothing  to do with each other (in fact, clash), and it is a testimony to their skills and creativity that they can produce anything edible or attractive in the required 30 minutes or less.

Immediately following this episode was a rerun of last week’s “Battle of the Butchers.” One of the contestants was from Denver’s Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe, but frankly, I couldn’t bear watching another of these contrived programs. Remember, I’m the one who ardently dislikes the unreal realm of “reality” television — even as I celebrate the victory or even the appearance of any Colorado contestant.

In case I still have your interest, here’s how this excessively formatted show goes: “After each round, a rotating round of culinary judges critique the dishes based on presentation, taste and creativity. The judges then decide which chef is “chopped,” and that chef is eliminated from the competition. By the Dessert round, only two chefs remain. When deciding the winner, the judges consider not only the dessert course, but the entire meal presented by each chef as a whole. The winner of the competition receives prize money, usually in the amount of $10,000.”

Five Top Colorado Steakhouses

Open Table’s “100 Best” list includes a handful in metro Denver.

OpenTable-logoOpen Table, the online restaurant reservation site, has unveiled its users’ choices for the 100 Best Steakhouses in America for 2016. Of those, five are in Colorado — all in Denver or the greater metro area. They are:

  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Greenwood Village
  • Elway’s Cherry Creek, Denver
  • Guard & Grace, Denver
  • Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Park Meadows, Lone Tree
  • Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Denver

I was alerted to this by a Del Frisco’s spokeswoman, who also noted that this upscale steakhouse chain has three interesting insiders’ features:

  • Secret menu items  that “only those with prior knowledge know to order the off-menu delights, many inspired by Del Frisco’s regulars and local celebrities.”
  • Non-traditional spirits  that vary by each location, offering “some of the rarest vintages and bottles available in the U.S.
  • The recently created recently created Somm Wars pitting “Leaders of Women in Wine” against each other, “with Del being “home to many top female sommeliers and a friendly three-city wine competition, which will become an annual event.” The three cities are Dallas, New York and Chicago.

National Bison Day: Buffalo Back on the Menu

Newly designated “National Mammal” makes for good eating.

natlbisondayNot long along, American bison, which most of us call “buffalo,” were near extinction. President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act on May 9,  making the well-recovered North American bison the official National Mammal of the United States. This is a great milestone for an animal that once faced extinction. November 5 has been designated by some organization as National Bison Day.

The bison has played a central role in America’s history and culture and helped shape the Great Plains and the lifestyle of Native Americans. Today, bison live in all 50 states and serves as a symbol of unity, resilience and healthy lifestyles and communities. These big, shaggy beasts are now also sufficiently abundant in the wild and on ranches that they have become an increasingly popular alternative to beef.

With his enormous Western ranches, Ted Turner can be credited  with much of the bison’s robust return. Not surprisingly, bison is on namesake Ted’s Montana Grill’s menus in the form of nachos, burgers, meatloaf,  pot roast and chili.

River and Woods has a terrific.ay specials for adults and kids. Order the bison burger with fabulous fries and a local 12-oz. draft beer for $10 ($8 during happy hour, 4 to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday). A kid’s version, including fries and a soft drink is $5. They can also grab a game or other activity to keep them occupied.

The Fort’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday Buffalo Prime Rib special includes bread and muffins and the restaurant’s multi-ingredient house salad. Price is $39 for an 8-ounce cut, $49 for 12 ounces and $59 for 16 ounces. Call 303-697-4771 for reservations.

Meanwhile, the University of Colorado – Boulder honors the buffalo/bison in its own way. The school’s mascot is a bison named Ralphie, the teams are nicknamed “The Buffs” and home games always start with four students running Ralphie around the football stadium. In truth, the real Ralphie (this current one being Ralphie V, donated by one of Ted Turner’s ranches) is a she, not a he. This has been going on for half a century, and the CU Heritage Center’s “Here Comes Ralphie” exhibit recognizes this tradition.

 

Denver Central Market Opening on Sunday

RiNo’s second market hall set to open officially.

foodmarketstandI’ve haunted food market halls forever — Boston’s long-gentrified Haymarket, the Essex Street Market in New York’s Lower East Side that has also been gentrified and no longer feels like a corner of Eastern Europe, the Fulton Fish Market when it was still in Lower Manhattan, Seattle’s Pike Place Market, the Los Angeles Farmers Market and so many more around the globe.

Ever since it opened, The Source in the RiNo Art District has been one of my favorite Denver destinations, and I am looking forward to the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, although it is diagonally across metro Denver from Boulder. I’ve also I’ve been keeping an eye on The Denver Central Market, since the project was started. Now, according to reports from first looks by other local food writers and bloggers, it’s gorgeous. It is ready to go with the official opening scheduled for Sunday, September 25.

The Denver Central Market early in its development.
The Denver Central Market early in its development — last April. The hoped-for spring 2016 opening was pushed back, but now, it’s happening.

Restaurateurs Jeff Osaka (the late lamented Twelve, Osaka Ramen, Sushi-Ramen) and Ken Wolf (Empire, Pizzeria da Lupo) undertook the ambitious project of turning the 1928 H.H, Tammen Building from a shell into gorgeous light-filled, 14.000-square-foot artisanal marketplace.

Continue reading Denver Central Market Opening on Sunday

Seafood Restaurant Wins Denver Burger Battle

Judges awarded top burger honors to Stoic & Genuine.

DenverBurgerBattle-logoI wasn’t at the sold-out Denver Burger Battle the other day, and I might not even write about it here except that I was tickled by the irony that Stoic & Genuine’s entry was selected as the best of the 15 entries selected by a panel of judges. Stoic & Genuine, one of the fine restaurants in Union Station, specializes in seafood, and the winning entry is offered on its lunch menu. The People’s Choice honors went to the Cherry Cricket, whose burgers are perennial favorites among carnivores.