A decade ago, Denver restaurant consultant Leigh Sullivan established Denver FIVE (which now appears to be FIVE Colorado) to showcase the culinary talent in the Mile High City. Now in its 10th season, the list has been expanded to include a beverage team. Also, the culinary team includes an alumnus from a past season.
Veteran chef joins luxurious Colorado high-country ranch and spa resort.
Back in September, the team at Devil’s Thumb Ranch was in shock when chef Evan Treadwell died suddenly in a boating accident. There’s a new executive chef now –Joshua Bettis, an 18-year veteran with other award-winning hotels, resorts and restaurants on his resume. At DTR near Tabernash, he is in now charge of all food and beverage operations, including the Ranch House Restaurant, Heck’s Tavern and Hallowed Grounds coffee shop, catering and banquet operations and sister restaurants, Volario’s Family Ristorante and Caffé Giocondo, both in nearby Winter Park. You might say that he has a full plate.
Bettis, a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, previously served as executive chef for The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Ky., and held executive sous-chef positions at the Montelucia Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, Ariz.; the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami and Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson . He was the opening executive chef for the French Bistro in Tucson, part of the Metro Restaurants Group and in Ireland, was chef de partie at Killarney Park Hoteland as executive sous-chef at Ballygarry House Hotel, both in County Kerry.
SFO-based PlumpJack Group debuts Pendulum in resort town.
Pendulum, a new upscale restaurant opened in the heart of Vail Village on January 18. Described as “one of the first new restaurant builds to open in Vail Village in eight years,” Pendulum serves what is called “innovative American cuisine accented with Latin influences.” The San Francisco-based PlumpJack Group opened Pendulum after the re-opening of local favorite White Bison.
Pendulum takes the space occupied for nearly half a century by the Ore House, a classic old steak and seafood place. Pendulum’s aesthetic is “modern lodge,” whose interior features rustic light wood walls, dark stone accents, hand-crafted iron, soft lighting and a striking custom-made chandelier. In addition to the dining room, Pendulum has an inviting bar and a standing-only patio.
Executive chef Jake Burkhardt, who also oversees the culinary program at White Bison, which PlumpJack recently reopened, developed a menu is focusing on the rotisserie and wood-fired oven. His dishes also draw technique and flavor inspiration from Argentina, Mexico and Spain. The dessert program is overseen by pastry chef Natalie Barsov, who also is responsible for the desserts at White Bison. The beverage program at Pendulum emphasizes fine wines, seasonal ingredients, well-balanced drinks and a carefully curated spirits collection including high-end scotches and cognacs.
Pendulum is located in the Gorsuch Building (yes, the same family as Neil) at 232 Bridge Street, Vail Village. Zomato.com has not yet discovered Pendulum.
Justin Brunson, the chef behind Masterpiece Deli, also owns one of Denver’s most important restaurants (the acclaimed Old Major), and his culinary talents are equally showcased at this humble deli. One of the major feats of this Mile High shop is its versatility. The menu features a mouthwatering 12-hour-braised beef brisket smothered in a rich Taleggio fondue and served on a baguette. And damn it if Masterpiece’s bland-as-hell-sounding roasted vegetable sandwich isn’t one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat, too. The flavors of the fresh zucchini, wild mushrooms, and piquillo peppers mesh gloriously with the hummus, a zesty tomato tapenade, and aged provolone on a baguette. Though the Cubano — loaded with Black Forest ham and brined mojo pork and glued together with melted Swiss — might be enough to tempt even the president of PETA over to the dark side.
The original is in LoHi, where it was a pioneering good-food presence. There’s a second Masterpiece Deli in Uptown and a related eatery, Masterpiece Kitchen, in Lowry.
Food & Wine magazine selected its choices for the best farm-to-table restaurant in every state, where hey surveyed food writers and bloggers. Even though they didn’t contact me, I’m happy to note that Boulder-born The Kitchen was the Colorado choice. I concur, because The Kitchen really pioneered the concept in this neck of the culinary woods.
Here’s what Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore wrote (but the fact-checking or proofreading was flawed. It’s Kimbal Musk, not Kimbal Husk):
Colorado: The Kitchen
“Over the past five years in Boulder and Denver, I’ve noticed a big shift towards a vibrant restaurant scene with a palpable verve around sustainability,” said . “Restaurants like Black Cat, Potager, and Fruition have really stepped up to the plate to deliver inspired seasonal cuisine.” Paving the farm-to-table way in Colorado is The Kitchen, which has establishments in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins and applies its strong eco-friendly philosophy—that includes everything from the locally sourced ingredients to wind power to composting—in each location. Founders Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Husk have also created a nonprofit that’s built over 200 Learning Gardens in schools in Colorado, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Memphis for 120,000 students to discover the benefits of growing and eating fresh healthy food.
Louisville landmark going dark after nearly a century.
When I moved to Boulder in 1988, “someone” told me about two terrific Italian restaurants in Louisville: Colacci’s and the Blue Parrot. It took me a while to get to them, but compared to the southern Italian restaurants of the Northeast, they were not at all terrific. In fact, to my palate, they were remarkably mediocre. Low-taste recipes and throw-back ambience, better for nostalgia than for actually eating there. The Colacci family was behind both.
Colacci’s closed some years ago, and now The Blue Parrot is planning on closing at the end of the month. Their spaghetti sauce is or was bottled, but I was never motivated to look for it. Too bad it couldn’t hang on for a couple of years to celebrate its 100th birthday. I say “RIP,” but since I couldn’t bring myself to try it a second time, I might be partially responsible for its demise.
Should you wish to pay it a farewell visit, it is at 640 Main Street, Louisville; 303 666-0677.
Italian Christmas Eve feast coming to Jax in Old Town.
Several years ago, a friend and I conspired to prepare the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional southern Italian Christmas Eve feast. Eight or so of us had a great time. The food was good, but nothing compared to what a good restaurant kitchen can put out.
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar in downtown Fort Collins is putting on special Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, featuring fresh seafood and other exquisite dishes prepared by Jax Chef Ricky Myers. This is the third year that Jax has put on the Festa dei Sette Pesci, but the first time I’ve been aware of it. In fact, Jax is reportedly the only restaurant in the area that is offering this unique meal on Christmas Eve.
Oysters on the half shell; grapa mignonette
Big Eye Tuna Crudo, pickled fennel and celery, orange segments,
The cost is $55 per person. There will also be an optional bottomless wine offering (red, white or both), and a discounted menu of wine by the bottle. Reservations are required; call 970-682-2275.
The restaurant is at 123 North College Avenue, Fort Collins.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.