Category Archives: Media

Denver Rises on Top Food Cities List

Mile High City on Zagat’s list of country’s  best cities for food.

Zagat-logoThe Zagat name has been synonymous with restaurant reviews and recommendations since Tim and Nina Zagat launched it in New York in 1982 as a compilation of diner reviews. It’s now an on-line empire with correspondents in what in considers to be worthy food cities. Zagat’s newly released list of “The 26 Hottest Food Cities of 2016.”

The write-up includes the links that Zagat typically inserts into all its posts, and the image accompanying the write-up is of Denver’s hot new Central Market in RiNo.

No. 3: Denver, CO

The best city for singles. For millennials. For entrepreneurs. For outdoorspeople. Over the past few years, Denver has ranked at or near the top of virtually every U.S. index there is; it was only a matter of time before outsiders “discovered” its dynamic dining scene too. This year alone, Nobu Matsuhisa, Gregory Gourdet, Deborah Schneider and Hugh Acheson staked claims here; Jeffrey Wall of Atlanta’s Kimball House is on his way, and so is the team behind New York’s Death & Co.

Meanwhile, there’s no stopping our homegrown talent. Beard award-winners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (Frasca) will be opening Tavernetta soon; fellow recipient Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja et al.) is expanding her mini empire with Ultreia. Rising stars like Hop Alley’s Tommy Lee, The Way Back’s Chad Michael George, Joshua Pollack of Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen and Bar Dough’s Mac MacKissock have swiftly garnered national acclaim. The spotlight that was already trained on our impressive field of food halls (The Source, Avanti F&B, Union Station) just intensified with the opening of The Central Market; Stanley Marketplace will be even bigger. And though Denver’s long been at the craft-brewing forefront, it’s poised to break whole new ground (theoretically, at least) with the legalization of cannabis use in restaurants and bars. Innovationwise, this is the wonderfully Wild West all over again.

Ruth Tobias

Brainy New Magazine for Home Cooks

Christopher Kimball, PBS alum, launches super-smart publication.

milkstmag-coverToday’s mail brought a plastic-wrapped copy of the inaugural issue of Milk Street Magazine, the erstwhile host of “America’s Test Kitchen” on PBS and founder of the esteemed Cooks Illustrated. ATK was a brainy cooking program about classic American fare — no gimmicks — hosted by Christopher Kimball. With his bow tie and his professorial demeanor, he gave credibility to the scholarly and analytical way that dishes were presented. The magazine is cleanly designed with legible type and excellent food photos.  And it is scholarly in its food history and cultural references.

I’m not up on the issues that resulted in Kimball’s departure from PBS, but Boston Magazine’sChristopher Kimball: Bow Ties, Recipes & Law Suits” provides some background and other tidbits.  I’m enjoying cruising through the stories and the recipes, but I’m thinking it might just be too detailed for me. I’ve toned down my kitchen ambitions. But if I decide to subscribe, six issues a year are $19.95 right now. Click here to subscribe for yourself or as a gift for the brainy cook in your life.

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.”

Boulder Chef to Appear on Chopped

Flagstaff House’s chef de cuisine Royster to be on Food Network.

chopped-logoI guess I’m going to have to watch “Chopped” this Tuesday, because another gifted Boulder chef will be on television, and the only time I watch reality TV is when a local is competing. This time it’s Flagstaff House Chef de Cuisine Chris Royster, named on the Zagat 30 Under 30 list,  His appearance on the Food Network’s “Chopped” is to be aired on Tuesday November 22 at 10 p.m. EST/8 p.m. MST.

chrisroysterChef Chris grew up in Hyde Park, NY, and I wonder whether the breeze wafting from the Culinary Institute of America infected him with a passion for food. If not that, it was more likely in the genes. His mother had a cake decorating business, and his father and grandfather were avid hunters. Whole animal butchery is a thing now, but once upon a time, it was country folk and hunters who utilized the whole animal, so he learned those skills from his immediate forebears.

Chef Chris has worked in restaurants since he was a teenager, first — along with his brother, Adam — at a local modern American restaurant called The Twist,  rising from washing dishes to being co-chef at the age of 17. Seventeen! He then attended the CIA, where an externship  at the Flagstaff House initially brought him to Colorado.  Prior to his return to this iconic Boulder restaurant, he cooked  in Coloradoat the Red Rocks Amphitheater and various restaurants in the Three Leaf Concepts group and since 2001, back at the Flagstaff House, first as Sous Chef, then as Chef de Cuisine.

I’ll be watching and rooting for Royster. How about you?

Fourth Flatirons Food Film Festival

Celluloid celebration of all things food plus great speakers.

flatironsfoodfilmfest-squareThe fourth annual Flatirons Food Film Festival is coming right up (Thursday, October 20 through Sunday, October 24), but since I’m flying off to China on the 16th, I will miss it all this year —  both literally and figuratively.

In addition to films, local and visiting speakers and samples, Saturday is geared to young foodies with kid-friendly food films and pettable goats from a local dairy. Tickets to individual events and the economical and convenient, and  all-film passes are available through eventBrite.

Festival schedule

Thursday, Oct. 20
DOUGH screening, 7:30 p.m., Boulder Public Library
Speaker: Josh Pollack of Rosenberg’s Bagels, just reopened after a devastating fire

Friday, Oct. 21
Chefs Night at eTown Hall: A Celebration of Munchies Films,
6 to 7:30 p.m., VIP party
7:30 p.m., short films screening
Speakers: Chef Theo Adley, Hosea Rosenberg, chef and co-owner of Blackbelly market, Bryan Dayton of OAK at fourteenth, Chad Pettrone of Northeast Seafood Products
Munchies After Party. Dakota Soifer of Cafe Aion, Theo Adley, and Michael DeBoer of the French Twist food truck are cooking dishes that were created by some of the chefs in a film about a pop-up in honor of the Mission Chinese cookbook (Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese, Andy Ricker of the Pok Pok restaurants, and Jessica Koslow of Sqirl).

Saturday, Oct. 22 (all film screenings at the Boulder Public Library)
Children’s Tour of the Boulder Farmers Market. 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Food Films for Children, screening with presentations from Tim Brod of Highland Honey Bees, Dan Hayward of Savory Spice Shop – Boulder and Taber Ward and her Mountain Flower Goat Dairy goats, 10:45 a.m.

FEAR NO FRUIT screening, 1:30pm
Speaker: Hass Hassan, co-founder of the original Alfalfa’s Market
SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE screening, 4 p.m. (followed by a wine sampling at 6 p.m. for SOMM and CITY OF GOLD ticket holders)
Speaker: Bobby Stuckey of Frasca Food and Wine. He is a master sommelier and therefore has gone through the arduous process.
CITY OF GOLD screening, 7:15p.m.
Speakers: Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Gold of the Los Angeles Times, Amanda Faison of 5280 Magazine
After party, 10 p.m., Bramble and Hare restaurant

Sunday, Oct.23  (both screenings at International Film Series, Muenzinger Auditorium, CU-Boulder campus; free shuttle available from downtown)
JUST EAT IT screening, 12 p.m.
Speaker: Philip Taylor of Mad Agriculture
THEATER OF LIFE screening, 2 p.m.
Speaker: Peter Svatek, director

Monday, October 24
Taste the Wild: Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Dinner, 6 p.m., Basta (co-sponsored by Chefs Collaborative and the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association)
Salmon dish chefs: Josh Pollack, Kelly Whitaker of Basta, Kyle Mendenhall of Arcana

Aspen Magazine’s Picks for 5 Best Local Bakeries

Fab five in Colorado’s toniest mountain town.

AspenMagazine-coverWhen we were Aspen recently, we went to two of my must-go eateries in this fabulous mountain top. Of course, they are bakeries: the venerable Main Street Bakery in town and the beyond-wonderful Franck Thirion French Pastry & Cafe in the Aspen Airport Business Center. Aspen Magazine likes ’em too, including those two on its list of “Top Five Favorite Local Bakeries.” Another is Paradise Bakery in the heart of downtown, which I often but not always visit.

Here’s the magazine’s list; click on this link to read more about each, including locations and phone numbers:

1. Paradise Bakery
2. Main Street Bakery
3.  Louis Swiss
4. Franck Thirion
5. Annette’s Mountain Bake Shop

Food Network Mag Loves Peppercorn

Boulder cookware & more store one of nation’s 10 best.

This is actually the 30th anniversary logo, but the store is now closer to 40 years old.
This is actually the 30th anniversary logo, but the store is now closer to 40 years old.

Colorado chefs and restaurants – especially in metro Denver and occasionally Boulder — find their way onto national “best” and “top” lists, mainly because the food sites have stringers in the Mile High City. The Food Network magazine, which I’ve occasionally contributed to, just compiled a list of specialty stores that carry cookware, bakeware, kitchen, small appliances. gadgets and more. One that sells more — much more — is Boulder’s divine Peppercorn. I’ve often said that I’d like my whole life to look like Peppercorn. I’m afraid that it doesn’t.

Peppercorn, Boulder
Cookbooks and chocolate and cookware, oh my! Peppercorn, located on Boulder’s historic downtown pedestrian mall, gets the culinary shopping experience right. What better way to fuel a cook’s imagination than to offer creative bites alongside kitchen utensils? Though it carries a great selection of cookware, barware, bed and bath basics, cutlery and appliances, this shop is also known for its esoteric collection of specialty foods. Rocky Mountain Poo (chocolate-covered sunflower seeds), anyone? Bring a sense of humor, your appetite and your biggest tote bag.