Category Archives: Media

Tomorrow, Chef Hosea is on ‘Today’

Boulder chef doing Super Bowl foods on TV.

TodayShow-logoI’ll be watching “The Today Show” tomorrow (that’s Friday, February 4) starting around 9:30 a.m. That’s because Boulder chef/restaurateur Hosea Rosenberg will be on a Super Bowl snacks cook-off against a still-unidentified Carolina cooker.

Rosenberg has said that he plans to prepare two Broncos-inspired dishes. He’ll do “Super Nachos” with blue corn tortillas, shredded cheese, smoked pork green chili, crisp Blackbelly bacon bits, and roasted tomato salsa. Also, “Broncos Sliders,” Bison patties topped with strips of green chile, Blackbelly bacon and melted smoked provolone on a bed of Fritos.

I’m putting my money on Hosea to win the cook-off, no matter whom Carolina comes up with. Not only do I know and like him, but after all, he won “Top Chef,” Season Five and is therefore accustomed to televised competition.  It gives him a chance to put the Blackbelly name in front of a national audience. He carefully parlayed his renown, his winnings and the gigs that followed into Blackbelly Market, Blackbelly Catering, and Blackbelly Farms, all in Boulder.

The Renaissance of ‘Nibbles”

John Lehndorff’s food column now in the Boulder Weekly.

BoulderWeekly-logo“Nibbles” has been part of my local food consciousness –I think since I moved to Colorado nearly 27½ years ago and if not that long, shortly thereafter. John Lehndorff wrote a column by that name for the Daily Camera for 15 years, then moved it to the late Rocky Mountain News when he reviewed restaurants for that paper, then took it first to Yellow Scene Magazine and then to the Aurora Sentinel. It has found a new home at the Boulder Weeklyand I for one am happy to read it again. Click here for the latest.

NY Times Reviewer Slams Per Se

Boulder’s Frasca an heir to what Thomas Keller’s restaurants once were.

NYTimes-logoLike many foodies — even a low-key one like me whose only snobbism is that I won’t go to big national chain restaurants — I always had a secret wish to dine at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Yountville, CA, or Per Se, his over-the-top restaurant in New York,

Pete Wells, the New York Times dining critic, has experienced the cuisine and service at Per Se on an expense account, of course, and still he found the restaurant lacking and demoted it from four to two stars.  His review is scathing and the comments enlightening because they reflect the thoughts both of people who have dined there and those who are appalled by the price and would never spend that much.

This review is obliquely germane to Colorado. Celeb chef Thomas Keller has often appeared at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, about which he says, “The Classic is in a class by itself. You can’t compare it to other culinary events. This is it. This is the superstar. This is the place to come.”

But beyond that, Frasca Food & Wine, the highly honored Friulian  restaurant that more than any other has put Boulder American culinary map has its roots in Keller’s world. Frasca is owned by chef Lachlan McKinnon-Patterson and Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey, who met while working at the French Laundry in its heyday as the country’s best, and then came to Colorado to open their own fine dining restaurant.

We go there now and again for special occasions.  The food has always been exceptional, and the service flawless — at least when Bobby Stuckey is in command of the dining room. We went there once for my birthday when he wasn’t in the room,  and I felt a bit of the surprise that Peter Wells did at Per Se.

Most of the tables at Frasca are set with elegant crisp white linens. The two flanking the kitchen door were bare, and instead of comfortable chairs, seating was on a curved banquette. We were seated at one and at the other was a VERY LOUD party of five. The man at the end of the banquette was dressed in a T-shirt and shorts. One of his butt cheeks hung over the end of the bench, so he stuck out his hairy leg to keep from sliding off. They spoke at a volume usually reserved for sports bars. Other than placing us or them in such proximity, none of this is Frasca’s fault — but it did nothing to enhance the enjoyment of the evening.

What did surprise me was that we did not receive the customary Tajut, a small glass of apéritif wine. Had the restaurant stopped presenting this to every diner? I don’t know, and I was too distracted by the obnoxious group to our left to ask. We’ll be back for another birthday or anniversary or other occasion, and when reserving, I’ll make sure to ask whether Bobby Stuckey is on the floor that evening.

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:

http://www.pbs.org/video/2365635287/

 

Guard & Grace Top Thrillist Steak List

Troy Guard’s steak place selected as Colorado’s best.

Thrillist-logoThrillist.com created a list of the best steakhouses in every state (plus the District of Columbia). For Colorado, the site picked Guard & Grace in Denver. The write-up:

Colorado takes steak seriously. Its biggest city, Denver, was once a “cow town” that hosted a huge Livestock Exchange. Today, Denver (not to mention Fort Collins and Colorado Springs) supports a ton of top-notch, upscale steakhouses like Elway’s and Shanahan’s, and other steak palaces not owned by Broncos affiliates.

Guard and Grace hits all the right modern steakhouse notes — a vibrant feel that doesn’t recall a funeral home, in-house charcuterie, and a raw bar with sashimi; plus barrel-aged Manhattans, an eclectic wine list, and side dishes like handmade truffled gnocchi and chipotle-lime smashed potatoes. Steak-wise, there are grass-fed filets (including a filet “flight” with 4oz prime, Angus, and grass-fed cuts), plus the traditional assortment of prime and Angus selections.

Meanwhile, only one Colorado restaurant, The Buckhorn Exchange, squeaked in at #48 on the recent Daily Meal selection of “America’s 50 Best Steakhouses.”

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.

5280 Mag’s List of 25 Best Restaurants

Some oldies but goodies and some new faves — and more honors for Frasca.

5280-cover-restaurants2015Come September 25, the always-anticipated October issue of 5280 Magazine will arrive. It’s the issue that features the monthly mag’s selection of the year’s 25 best restaurants in metro Denver. Andra Zeppelin of Denver Eater got the list first and noted that the newest entry is Boulder’s Blackbelly Market, launched last November, and Barolo Grill, which opened in 1992, is the most venerable. Here’s the list:

  1. 1. Acorn
    2. Frasca
    3. Mercantile
    4. ChoLon
    5. Populist
    6. Work & Class
    7. Beast + Bottle
    8. Sushi Den
    9. To The Wind
    10. Basta
    11. Oak
    12. Barolo Grill
    13. Mizuna
    14. Fruition
    15. Old Major
    16. Stoic & Genuine
    17 Guard & Grace
    18. Cart Driver
    19. Bistro Barbes
    20. The Plimoth
    21. Bittersweet
    22. Duo
    23. Rioja
    24. Blackbelly Market
    25. Uncle

Not only is Frasca Food & Wine Number 2 on 5280’s list, but it was included on Eater.com’s list of “12 Perfect Plates Across the U.S.” The Boulder restaurant was cited specifically for “spoon dumplings.”  Here’s what the national food site posted:

Frasca, Boulder

Spoiler: Frasca, whose gracious hospitality is matched by its earthy, clean-tasting northeastern Italian cuisine, will remain on the national Eater 38 in 2016. The summer dinner that cinched its place included zlkrofi, a variation on “spoon dumplings” from Slovenia filled with roasted chicken, prosciutto, and ricotta and garnished with fresh porcini mushrooms. 1738 Pearl St, Boulder, (303) 442-6966, frascafoodandwine.com