Colorado Chocolate Festival
The Colorado Chocolate Festival will take place at the Denver Merchandise Mart this weekend. The Friday Night Gala on May 8, 7:00-10:00 p.m., is $12; the rest of the fest on Saturday, May 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. costs $7 for adults, $3 for kids 5-12 are $3, and under 5 free. There will be more than 150 vendors — many offering free samples — of chocolate candy, chocolate cakes, chocolate cookies, truffles, fudge, brownies, toffees, coffees and much more, plus kids’ activities and entertainment.
Sun Valley Celebrates Food & Wine
The Sun Valley Food & Wine Festival, June 12-14, features culinary demonstrations by top local chefs (and the Sun Valley-Ketchum area has a lot of top chefs), wine seminars and vintner dinners with paired wines to match various cuisines. A full weekend badge is $229; day pass $150. Call 866-305-9798.
Telluride Wine Festival
The The 28th annual Telluride Wine Festival, June 25-28, one of Colorado’s most enduring, again offers the opportunity to meet winemakers, celebrity chefs and sommeliers for an excellent educational and epicurean experience. Highlights include winemaker luncheons; the Grand Tasting – An Outdoor Escapade in Town Park, culinary demonstrations and seminars, with the Sunday Gourmet Brunch in Town Park as the lively finale. Click here for tickets, which range $50 for the Sunday champagne brunch to $800 for the all-festival event, plus $28 for the Citizen Cope in Concert, a non-food performance. For more information, call 970-729-2279.
If you hustle to sign up, an option for Telluride is Colorado Wine Country Tours’ weekend trip to select Western Slope wineries and the Telluride Wine Festival. The three-day, two-night tour (Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28, 2009) is $549 per person, double occupancy; $100 additional for single occupancy. The package includes roundtrip transportation on a luxury motorcoach with complimentary snacks and bottled water, an expert sommelier guide accompanying the trip, two nights at The Peaks Resort in Telluride, ticket to the festival and special seating at the CitizenCope concert, one full breakfast at The Peaks, wine tastings in at least three wineries, two catered lunches at Western Slope wineries and a stop at a Palisade fruit stand with time for purchases. Hurry up on this one, because the tour company wants all trips paid in full by May 8. Call 303-777-9463 (WINE).
Restaurant Special in Sedona in June
The new Dine in Sedona Restaurant Fest, from Monday, June 15 through Tuesday, June 30, features prix fixe, three-course dinners in three price categories: modest $19.95, classic $29.95 and elegant $39.95 for appetizer, entree and dessert. Contact the Sedona Chamber of Commerce for details (hopefully including a list of participating restaurants and their menus); 800-288-7336 or 928-282-7722. Immediately preceding the Restaurant Fest is the 14th annual Sedona Taste, on June 14 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Arizona. The cost is $60. Calls 928-282-0122.
Wine and Food Fest in Crested Butte…
The second annual Crested Butte Land Trust Wine & Food Festival, July 23-26, features wine seminars, tastings (including a Grand Tasting, $65 in advance, $80 at the door), chefs’ dinners and guided mountain bike rides with a choice of beginner/intermediate and intermediate/advanced trails following professional local guides, including an invited winemaker and featuring a picnic prepared by a local chef. To purchase tickets, go to the festival’s website, find the event and click on “Add to Cart” for any that interest you. Click here for special lodging packages.
…and One in Steamboat
The sixth annual Steamboat Wine Festival, July 30-August 2, showcases hundreds of domestic and international wines, food and wine seminars, and cooking demonstrations. Among the chefs are headlining the culinary portion of the weekend is the much-in-demand Hosea Rosenberg of Boulder’s Jax Fish House, winner of Bravo network’s 2009 “Top Chef: New York,” Hosea takes center stage in the Viking Outdoor Kitchen on Saturday during the Toast of Tyler Wiard, of Elway’s Cherry Creek in Denver. The event is expanding beyond wine and food with Wine enthusiasts and gourmands with an appetite for fly-fishing and mountain biking adventure four new activity fly-fishing and biking packages: Tight Lines with Wines; Off the Hook; Single-track, Single-vineyard; and Bike and Brunch. Tickets range from $35 for an individual seminar to $495 for a full festival pass. Buy tickets online by clicking here or register here to win two free tickets to Saturday’s Grand Tasting. For more information, call 877-328-2783 .
Cook & Bike in Spain With a Beard Winner
Rob Evans, owner/chef of Hugo’s in Portland, Maine, and winner of the James Beard Foundation’s 2009 Best Chef Northeast Award, will be the guest chef on Bike Rider Tours’ upcoming Cocina Caliente in Andalucia, a week of cycling and cook in Spain, October 18-15. Click here for details of the tour, and check the website for new chefs on the 2009 roster for 2009, or call 800-473-7040.
Denver Restaurant News
Pizza Republica, with a planned opening for May 8, will feature Neapolitan pizza made with house-made pizza dough, marinara, mozzarella and dolce, plus 20 wines by the glass and more than 100 by the bottle, a great beer list and assorted spirits. 375 Landmark Plaza, Greenwood Village; 720-489-2030…The southern suburbs (Greenwood Village and Parker) have enjoyed
Otto’s American Grill’s friendly, casual pub atmosphere and food, and a third opened downtown at 2200 Market Street earlier this week….The Brits are bonkers about “gastro-pubs,” and now Denver has two as well: joining Jonesy’s EatBar is Argyll that opened recently at 2700 East Third Avenue in Cherry Creek North. A dozen brews on tap, many more by the bottle, mostly Mediterranean and California wines, and a menu featuring foods available in northern England and Scotland: oysters, mussels, langoustines, Scottish salmon, lamb, beef and often game — hopefully prepared more “gastro–ish” than in the auld country. Argylle is open until midnight on weeknights and 2:00 a.m. on weekends, a welcome schedule for night-crawling Denverites. The phone number is 720-382-1117…Keith Arnold and Stephanie Bonin, owners of Duo, and John Broening and Yasmin Lozada–Hissom, chef and pastry chef, respectively, were slated to open Olivea at 719 East 17th Avenue (the previous Aix space) earlier this week. Phone number is 303-861-5050.
Back Home at the Range for Three Top Denver Chefs
Troy Guard (formerly of Nine75, Ocean and other restaurants run by the defunct Sullivan Restaurant Group) expects to open the doors to TAG Restaurant at 1441 Larimer Street on Monday, May 18. It’s been a long road from the idea to the opening. Phone 303-996-9985…..I was happy to read in Westword that the great space in the Icehouse in LoDo that housed several star-crossed restaurants (Brasserie Rouge where John Broening once cooked and Via where the talented James Mazzio was a consultant) will reopen as The Icehouse Tavern — with Mazzio cooking again. Mazzio was a 1999 Food & Wine Best New Chef. Think back to his tenure at Boulder’s 15 Degrees and Triana, both long gone, and you’ll know why his return to a Denver area kitchen is exciting. The Icehouse is at 1800 Wynkoop Street….Similarly, Sean Kelly (Aubergine, Clair de Lune, Somethin‘ Else and then a stint as a corporate chef) will open LoHi Steakbar at 3200 Tejon Street in northwest Denver sometime in June….Though not removed from the restaurant game (au contraire), another name chef, Kevin Taylor, is also opening a steakhouse next fall in the new aLoft Hotel in Westminster. With five year-round restaurants, one seasonal restaurant (in Central City, coincidentally named Rouge) and two catering operations, Taylor isn’t at the stoves much these days. When I asked him, “Why a steakhouse,” the laconic chef said, “It’s a sure bet.”
..And a Breck Favorite is Closing Its Doors
Keith Mahoney is one of 10 talented culinary professionals who started a side business two years ago called Creative Culinary Consulting (CCC), which advises restaurateurs on both front- and back-of-the-house operations. He is now moving on to concentrate on the consulting business and closing Café Alpine on May 17, after 13 years in Breckenridge. Mahoney and is still are pulling out all stops for the farewell dinners, served nightly, plus brunch on Mother’s Day. Café Alpine is at 106 East Adams Street, Breckenridge; 970-453-8218.
The Seasoned Chef at Sweet 16
The Seasoned Chef Cooking School celebrates its 16th birthday by offering a 10 percent for discount classes from May through August. Just register by May 31. And, everyone taking a class this month goes home with a a free board/bowl scraper as a “party favor.” The school is at 999 Jasmine Street, Denver; 303-377-3222.