Category Archives: Media

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.

‘Meeting’ Mimi Sheraton

Legendary restaurant critic and her book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die

100FoodsBefreYouDie-coverSome long-ago, long-running bylines from The New York Times stick in my mind: John Noble Wilford on science, Ada Louise Huxtable on architecture and Mimi Sheraton on food.  A Facebook post by my friend Grace Lichtenstein, herself a Times alumna, caught my eye because it featured one of these illustrious names: “Mimi Sheraton’s 1,000 Favorite Foods.”

I hadn’t thought about Mimi Sheraton in a very long time, and as so often happens in such cases, my reaction was: “I didn’t know that she was still alive.” Well she is (she’s 90) , she has a recent book out and was the subject of a terrific profile that Grace about her for New York City Woman.

Sheraton’s book is called 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover’s Life List. She doesn’t believe that everyone must lie everything, but she advocates trying — and so do I, usually.

Midson Is Listmistress for New ‘Dining Out’ Feature

Veteran food journalist to laser in on Denver/Boulder food scene.

Lori Midson, the smart, irreverent and very knowledgeable observer of and reporter on the local food scene, has a new gig: compiling two lists a week of the best of very narrow-focus “bests” in the greater Denver/Boulder metro area for Dining Out’s online feed.

The project is called The List, and it includes not just restaurants but also anything else of interest to diners, cooks and those who just want keep up on all things food-related. It launches on July 5, and I can’t wait to read it. If you are also interested, click here and sign up using the box on the upper right-hand corner of the page. She has let it be known that she is open to reader suggestions, so if you have some, E-mail inthemix@diningout.com.

Tips on Photographing Food

Douglas Merriam shared his secrets of great food photography.

Douglas Merriam
Douglas Merriam

If you read glossy food magazines, you’ve probably seen Douglas Merriam’s work and drooled over the dishes he photographed. The Santa Fe-based food, travel and lifestyle photographer gave a presentation at the Society of American Travel Writers Western Chapter meeting on his secrets on how to take great food photographs. He shoots in situ, not in a studio. I’ve figured some of these trick out myself, but my trusty little Panasonic Lumix, which I operate on automatic, isn’t the equal of his SLRs. And I photograph food that I and any dining companions are about to eat, not between meal service times with dishes that the chef has specially prepared.

Doug Merriam shooting a plate of tall food. He has natural light angling in behind him. I had to shoot toward a window, which he would never have to do.
Doug Merriam shooting a plate of tall food. He has natural light angling in behind him. I had to shoot toward a window, which he would never have to do.

Some his advice is impossible for the likes of me. I can’t rearrange the furniture or stand on a chair to shoot down at dish, nor do I travel with white sheet, an iron, reflectors and even a spare plate in case the restaurant’s crockery is too busy.  With those disclaimers, I write that if this blog has better photographs in  the future, the credit goes largely to Doug Merriam.

Here are some of his tips that most of us can use:

  • Wear neutral-color clothing.
  • Use natural light. No flash!
  • Eliminate extraneous garnishes. Simple is best.
  • The eye is drawn to the brightest color, so the peel on the lemon wedge becomes the prominent element on the plate
  • Photographing food at a 45-degree angle most closely mimics the way diners see food.
  • Pizza and other flat foods can be photographed from directly above. Food with height should be photographed at an angle the shows  the height.
  • If a beverage is included in the frame, use a short glass instead of  stemmed wineglass,
  • However, the base of a stemmed glass, the rim of another plate, a piece of flatware or other element on the periphery can add compositional interest.

Photographing food via the “Merriam method” can improve ever so many food images.

Ski Tip Praised but Placed in Nowheresville

The Daily Meal just doesn’t get the middle of the country.

DailyMeal-logoOnce again, a New York-based dining authority may know lots about food but seems to know little about Colorado. It includes Keystone’s Ski Tip Lodge in a list of worthy if remote eateries. Worthy it is. But remote? Not really.

This historic building is now part of the vast Keystone Resort that includes six lodging pods that stretch for miles along US 6. Except arguably in mud season, the resort throbs with activities and can be crowded visitors. It is an hour give or take from Denver, the largest city in a 600-mile radius. Interstate 70, a prime east-west route across the country, is just 6 miles away — and those 6 miles are hardly through wilderness but increasingly developed.

Still The Daily Meal included Ski Tip in its restaurant roundup called “Get Lost: 20 Must-Visit U.S. Restaurants in the Middle of Nowhere,” writing:

When the snow isn’t falling and the tourists aren’t touring, Keystone, about 70 miles west of Denver, is a town of only 1,000 residents. However, the local Ski Tip Lodge —within an 1800’s stagecoach stop that was once the home of Keystone’s founding family — has a restaurant that makes a trip here worth the trouble. Executive chef Kevin McComb offers a four-course meal daily that constantly changes, with dishes like porcini mushroom and potato purée with truffle whipped cream, hoisin cured crispy pork belly, braised and glazed al natural beef short rib, and bourbon marinated Colorado lamb chop. The romantic dining experience is enjoyable and slow-paced, which is possible because the restaurant only offers two seating times per night.

The photo caption perfectly summarizes the site’s ignorance. It reads, “This Ski Tip Lodge meal can be yours! All you need to do is travel into the middle of a forest in the Rocky Mountains.” Not exactly.

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.