Category Archives: Restaurant & multiple restaurants

Two Denver Eateries on “Best New” List

Bon Appétit picks 50 in the country.

There seems to be no end to the “best of” and “top” lists. When a national publication or organization does the listing, I’m pleased when Colorado gets a nod.

The latest is Bon Appétit’s selection of the nation’s 50 best new restaurants. The magazine must have a thing for food halls, because it selected Annette in the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora (restaurants and so much more) and the entire Central Market in RiNo. Click here for my post on Annette, and here for my post about the then-anticipated opening of the Central Market in RiNo.

Buy Tix Now For Denver Burger Battle

Burgers, brews and more sing the song of summer.

The eighth annual Denver Burger Battle on Thursday, August 3   features  craft beer, boozy milkshakes, bite-sized desserts and 16 of the best burgers in Colorado. It takes place on the Tivoli Quad Park in Denver. VIP entry begins at 5:30 p.m. and general admission at 6:30. Prices are $69.99 and $124.99 respectively. This event tends to sell out. Click on the website link to purchase tickets.

2017 Competitors

Stoic & Genuine (‘2016 judges’ champ)

Cherry Cricket (2016 people’s champ)
TAG Burger Bar
Parkburger 
Highland Tap & Burger
Crave Real Burgers
Uber eats 
American Grind 
Stanley Beer Hall 
Pig & Sprout 
Concourse 
Prohibition
Departure 
Marczyk Fine Foods
My Brother’s Bar 
Bully Ranch 

Annette at Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace

Engaging, inventive restaurant in repurposed factory.

The Annette referenced by the name of Caroline Glover’s restaurant called  Annette Scratch-to-Table is her grandmother, The gastronomic pedigree includes New York’s Spotted Pig gastropub under star chef April Bloomfield and Denver’s Acorn, where she was sous-chef. Acorn is located in The Source, a repurposed foundry in RiNo. so it’s no stretch that she felt comfortable committing to Stanley Marketplace, a repurposed aviation equipment factory next to the old Stapleton Airport.

Glover calls her cuisine “scratch to  table” with an emphasis on small plates and shareable dishes. That was just right when we were taking my bother-in-law and sister-in-law to Denver International Airport and wanted something to do and someplace to eat en route. Stanley Marketplace fit the bill — an aviation theme, interesting shops, many places to eat and a short run to DIA.

We decided that Annette looked interesting for a late afternoon/early evening stop. The restaurant is attractive and welcoming, but we opted for a patio table. Salads and sandwiches both for adventurous eaters (beef tongue, octopus sandwich) and for those who aren’t (grilled cheese, potato soup — but each with a twist). The wine list is small, but as with the food, there’s something for all tastes.

Price check: At dinner, snacks, $3-$4; “plates,” $7 (fries) to $30 (whole roasted fish).

Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street, Suite 108,  Aurora;
720-710-9975. Astonishingly, Zomato has not yet found Annette.

Top BBQ in Colorado

Smokin’  Dave’s and GQ Championship BBQ on national list.

Adrian Miller, Denver-based lapsed lawyer, author of the James Beard Award-winning Soul Food: The Surprising Story of American Cuisine and The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our Fed Our First Families from the Washingtons to the Obamas, is also a certified barbecue judge. He just posted news that two Colorado restaurants (four locations total) have been named on the list of “Best of the Best Barbecue Restaurants in America” by National Barbecue News. Just 29 restaurants nationwide made the list.

In winter, when it’s not crowded, we have sometimes managed to score a table at Smokin’ Dave’s in Estes Park but usually end up stopping in Lyons on the way home. The meats, the chicken, the sauces, the even the sides (especially the sweet potato fries, slaw and the beans) are great. The funky automotive décor is run too. I don’t post every time we stop there, but occasional do, particularly the Lyons location après la deluge of 2013. We’ve never been to GQ Championship BBQ in Westminster, but it’s now on our to-try list.

Interestingly, neither of these restaurants appear on his Soul Food Scholar blog’s selection of his own favorite spots in the state and elsewhere. However, Durango-born Serious Texas Bar-B-Q (two in Durango and one each in Fort Collins and Loveland) meets his standards.

Happy Hour on Blackbelly’s Back Patio

Need I mention that this restaurant, bar and artisanal butchery (plus a farm) is the brainchild of Hosea Rosenberg, Boulder’s celeb chef for winning “Top Chef,” season 5? I thought not.

Since the last time we visited Blackbelly in warm weather, the south patio has been improved with roll-down plastic curtains in case of inclement weather (and maybe even heaters so it is usable in the spring or fall). My husband and I were the first there for happy hour, so we had a long table all to ourselves.

Long rustic tables onm the secluded south patio.

 

We were almost finished when the next people — three guys — came in. I like everything about this walled-in patio except for the occasional truck or motorcycle noise from Arapahoe Avenue. Nothing to be done about that.

Great bread and flavorful butter with salt on the side.
Excellent early-summer salad with fresh greens, radishes, cucumbers and carrots.
From the regular menu, towering burger with a mess of hot fries.

Price check. At happy hour, oysters, $2 each (I neglected to take pictures); bites, $3; daily charcuterie, $5; also wine and beer specials.

2606 Conestoga Street, Boulder; 303-247-1000.

Blackbelly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Upcoming Food Fests in Denver

Two alliterative competitions to find the best tacos and burgers.

Attendees at the massive Top Taco coming on Thursday, June 22 may sample unlimited taco tastes from and signature tequila cocktails  from 45 popular Denver restaurants. They can also vote for favorite in Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Vegetarian Taco and Top Cocktail categories. Add live music, creative tequila lounge areas, and Top Taco is a hard to beat summer event.  Hours are 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. with early entry for the two most expensive tickets. General admission is $69, 1st Tasting is $90 and a VIP ticket is $125. Click here to purchase.

Last minute tickets available:
$10 OFF USE DISCOUNT CODE “LASTCHANCETACO” WHEN BUYING TICKETS AT TOPTACODENVER.COM FOR $10 OFF. OFFER GOOD THROUGH MIDNIGHT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 2017.

Four local burger-meisters compete in the annual Denver Burger Battle on Thursday, August 3. They have to impress a picky and knowledgeable panel of judges — all chefs and restaurateurs — with their creativity and skills. Each chef prepares four types of burgers. Contestant restaurants are The Cherry Cricket, Stoic & Genuine,  and Park Burger. Heavy-hitter judges are Josh Wolken (Steuben’s, Ace, Vesta), Elise Wiggins (Cattivella), Bryan Dayton (Oak on Fourteenth, Acorn, Brider) and Bradford Heap (Salt, Colterra, Wild Standard), and attendees get to vote on the People’s Choice too.

General admission ($69.95) gets unlimited burger tastes from all competitors, open bar with craft beer, wine and samples of premium spirits and desserts from Little Man, Glazed & Confused, Happy Bakeshop & Sweet Action. VIP admission ($124.99) buys all that plus early admission to the event at 5:30 p.m. and reduced lines, exclusive VIP area with covered lounges, extra seating and private bars and specialty VIP cocktails (High Noon Vodka, Rebel Yell hiskey, Cane Rum, Fireball, Exotico Tequila, Buffalo Trace Bourbon or Tuaca), plus  unlimited desserts from Little Man, Glazed & Confused, Happy Bakeshop, & Sweet Action. The event is rain or shine, 21+ only and takes place at Tivoli Quad Park, Denver.

Himalayan Fare in North Boulder

Mandala Infusion serves Tibetan and related dishes.

My husband and I recently visited the Himalayan region (Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan). Let’s just say we were there for the culture and the mountains, not for the cuisine. Most of out meals were in hotels and tourist-oriented restaurants — mostly family-style and mostly blanded out for perceived American tastes.

This innocent-looking pilaf, in a little restaurant in Lhasa, was booby-trapped with small chicken bones.

I suppose it was just as well. On one free night in Lhasa, we went across the street from our hotel to a cute local restaurant whose exterior had a curiously Alpine roofline. The inside was cozy. The food was simple, and with no momos on the menu, I ordered the simplest of dishes, rice with chicken. The cooked chicken, bones and all, was hacked into tiny pieces — unpleasant.

Still, feeling a longing for things Himalayan, we went to Mandala Infusion, a sparkling restaurant on North Broadway that had previously been the ABC Café and a Thai restaurant — even concurrently with the café operating in the morning and the restaurant for dinner. Now, a large prayer wheel is stationed at the entrance.

The dinner/small plate menu does offer momos, no yak (but yak cheese), as well some dishes (notably Golden Beet and Quinoa Salad and Cabbage Kimchi) that that don’t seem Tibetan, but what do I know?

Traditional low-sitting sanngha tables remained unoccupied during our visit.
Golden Beet and Quinoa Salad on greens with tomato, cabbage and more. (Sorry, I didn’t write down all the ingredients.)
Momos available with lamb or veggies.
Tingbuns, which are sliders available filled with pork belly (shown here) or tofu.

Price check: At dinner, small plates, $6-$12; larger plates, $15-$19; sides, $3-$5.

4479 North Broadway, Boulder; 720-370-5800.
Mandala Infusion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato