Category Archives: Meat

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.

Chef Tyler Wiard’s SPAM Tacos

Sample tacos al pastor with laughline meat or make them at home.

SPAMSPAM, the pork-in-a-can product not the E-mail annoyance, is a favorite in Hawaii and the subject of Mainland laughlines. But people stop laughing when they taste dishes prepared by name chefs using SPAM. The SPAMERICAN Tour visits 16 cities across the countries where chefs demonstrate that point with interesting recipes.

SPAM is also an iconic Army ingredient, and there-in lies the backstory of the SPAMERICAN Tour. It is partnering with Operation Gratitude, a volunteer based organization that sends care packages and letters to U.S. Service Members deployed overseas, veterans, wounded soldiers and their families, plus new recruits and first responders here at home. The tour is bringing Operation Gratitude’s letter-writing campaign into 16 communities, supporting its “March to a 2nd Million” goal with a $50,000 donation by pledging $1 for every letter written in-market and online at SPAM.com. I know it’s a little complicated.

But each stop is simplicity itself with free samples of Operation SPAM Gravy with Biscuits  and SPAM fries, plus creations of local chef partners. It comes to Denver’s Sustainability Park, where Tyler Wiard, the energetic culinary director of Elway’s restaurant and a recent “cheftestant” on Bravo’s Top Chef, prepares al pastor tacos. He uses crispy SPAM rather than the traditional pork butt. Taste them for FREE on Saturday, May 14 from 2 to 6 p.m. at The Big Wonderful, a sustainability fair at the park (2600 Lawrence St.).  Continue reading Chef Tyler Wiard’s SPAM Tacos

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