Category Archives: wine

Frasca One America’s Top Restaurants — Again

Boulder’s finest recognized by eater.com once more.

Eater-logoHere is eater.com’s list of the 38 best restaurants in the country (red highlight is mine):

Al Ameer, Dearborn, MI | ★ Alinea, Chicago | ★ Benu, San Francisco | ★ Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY | Cosme, New York | ★ Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME | ★ FIG, Charleston, SC | ★Franklin Barbecue, Austin | ★ Frasca Food & Wine, BoulderGarcia’s Mexican Restaurant, San Antonio | Herbsaint, New Orleans | Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, AL | Hugo’s, Houston | ★ Husk Nashville, Nashville | Kachka, Portland, OR | Liholiho Yacht Club, San Francisco | Milktooth, Indianapolis | Miller Union, Atlanta | ★ Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York | Parachute, Chicago | Petit Trois, Los Angeles | La Petite Grocery, New Orleans | Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix | Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh | ★ Prince’s Hot Chicken, Nashville | The Publican, Chicago | Raku, Las Vegas | ★ Roberta’s, Brooklyn | ★ Rose’s Luxury, Washington, DC | Saison, San Francisco | Sarma, Somerville, MA | Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis | Sqirl, Los Angeles | Szechuan Impression, Alhambra, CA | The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA | ★ Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore | ★ Zahav, Philadelphia | Zuni Cafe, San Francisco

Not surprisingly, Boulder’s stellar Frasca again makes the list. The restaurant continues to dazzle Bill Addison, the site’s restaurant critic. Click here for his 2014 review and ode to Frasca partner and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey.

Roger Beery & His Wines in the Wall Street Journal

jcagecellars-logoA few years ago, at a wine event in a LoDo loft, I met Colorado wine-lovers Roger and Donna Beery. We chatted pleasantly and exchanged cards.  I have periodically, but not recently, checked their Bacchus & Beery wine blog.  They now split their time between Austin and Healdsburg, CA, where they established J. Cage Cellars, a winery named after Roger’s great grandfather, a Texas bridge-builder. They refer to it as “their wine-stained dream” and in fact, that’s what they named their newsletter.

The Beerys and their grown children are building a reputation with their award-winning wines, including several golds in 2014, 2015 and 2016 at the Denver International Wine Festival competition.  The Wall Street Journal profiled them yesterday in a retirement piece called “At Last, Becoming a Winemaker.” Happy to share this recognition, and I hope to try their wines along the way.

Five Top Colorado Steakhouses

Open Table’s “100 Best” list includes a handful in metro Denver.

OpenTable-logoOpen Table, the online restaurant reservation site, has unveiled its users’ choices for the 100 Best Steakhouses in America for 2016. Of those, five are in Colorado — all in Denver or the greater metro area. They are:

  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Greenwood Village
  • Elway’s Cherry Creek, Denver
  • Guard & Grace, Denver
  • Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Park Meadows, Lone Tree
  • Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Denver

I was alerted to this by a Del Frisco’s spokeswoman, who also noted that this upscale steakhouse chain has three interesting insiders’ features:

  • Secret menu items  that “only those with prior knowledge know to order the off-menu delights, many inspired by Del Frisco’s regulars and local celebrities.”
  • Non-traditional spirits  that vary by each location, offering “some of the rarest vintages and bottles available in the U.S.
  • The recently created recently created Somm Wars pitting “Leaders of Women in Wine” against each other, “with Del being “home to many top female sommeliers and a friendly three-city wine competition, which will become an annual event.” The three cities are Dallas, New York and Chicago.

Winery: Crash, Not Crush

Wayward truck destroys Aspen Peak Winery.

aspenpeakwinery-logoEvery time I’ve come down the steep hill into Bailey on U.S. Highway 285, I’ve been astonished that no one has plowed into the that has been housing the Aspen Peak Cellars & Winery. Now someone has.

Terrifying runaway truck barreled into the Aspen Peak Cellar and Winery in Bailey.
Terrifying runaway truck barreled into the Aspen Peak Cellar and Winery in Bailey in the middle of the night.

Around midnight on Monday, the driver of a semi-trailer fell asleep or lost control or something and slammed into the winery , destroying the building and rendering the operation a “total loss,” according to authorities and the owners.

At this time of year, wineries typically think about the grape harvest and crush. Marcel and Julie Flukiger began making wine as a hobby before starting the Aspen Peak Winery, first in Conifer, where they operated restaurant and winery. After the restaurant’s event venue, a 140-year-old barn, burned, they moved the winery to this vulnerable property in Bailey. Let’s hope that if they relocate again, that the third time’s the charm and the next location doesn’t suffer some unforeseen disaster.

Denver Food & Wine Fest

Eat, drink and celebrate local chefs and winemakers.

denverfoodwinefest2016-logoThe Denver Food + Wine Festival is six days events celebrating the good life at the table. It takes place downtown on the Pepsi Center grounds, Metro State and he Curtis Hotel. Here’s the roundup. Click here for details and to buy tickets.

Tuesday, September 6. Culinary Cinema Night,  part of the ongoing Culinary Cinema Series, a partnership between the Colorado Restaurant Association and Denver Film Society, the Denver Food + Wine Festival will kick off with an evening comprised of great food, great drinks and a great movie. An exclusive screening of an engaging culinary film will be paired with wine, cocktails and bites from Denver’s notable chefs.

Wednesday, September 7. Dinner Under the Stars, which is new for 2016, celebrates the best of what Colorado’s culinary scene has to offer. Each course of the curated, five-course prix fixe meal is designed by a different acclaimed chef and served in a beautiful outdoor setting.

Continue reading Denver Food & Wine Fest

‘Gourmet on the Gore’ Fest on Labor Day

10th annual food and wine festival in Vail.

GourmetOnTheGore-logoA Taste of Colorado, the long-running Labor Day Weekend tradition of food, entertainment, carnival attractions and vendors galore, packs ’em in to Denver’s Civic Center Park. But an option in the mountains holds more epicurean appeal –.away from the Front Range’s late summer heat. The commonality, in addition to being in Colorado, is that entry to both events is free. You pay for what you eat.

The 10th annual Gourmet on Gore, a comparatively new classic culinary festival, takes place in the heart of Vail on Labor Day Weekend (September 2-5) and features gastronomic creations from some of Vail’s most renowned chefs, sips from world-class vintners, exceptional beers and events that highlight the natural beauty of Vail. In short, you won’t fine BBQ turkey legs or funnel cake.

In addition to the open-air tasting with wine, beer and spirits selections and  food from the Vail Valley’s top restaurants, Gourmet on Gore offers also offers a variety of additional pairing events and outdoor activities throughout the weekend. The Tasting Tour kicks things off on Friday, September 4, and Open-Air Tastings take place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5 and 6, from 11 a.m.  to  6 p.m. Brunch on Bridge Street closes the weekend on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Find a full schedule of events, lodging packages and other details or purchase Tasting Tour tickets online, FoMoInfo: 970.476.6797 x712.

Governor’s Cup Awarded to Top Wineries

Governor Hickenlooper presents “his” wine honors.

ColoradoWineGovCup-logoColorado’s robust wine industry celebrated its best wineries, cideries and meaderies (and I just made up those last two) at the Governor’s Cup do at the History Colorado Center. Governors do not always appear at this annual event, but Governor Hickenlooper was there, wineglass in hand, to announce winners of the wine competition for wines, ciders, meads and fruit wines produced in 2015.

In addition to a Hickenlooper handshake and a plaque, a dozen winning wines from grapes are part of the year’s Governor’s Cup Case, used for VIP occasions to promote the state’s wines and related beverages.  Colorado Wine Industry Development Boardnotes that there are currently 140 wineries in the state, The award event included small plates from some of the Front Range’s leading chefs. Here are some pix:

Chefs Samir Mohammed of the History Center's Café Rendezvous and function space and Daniel Asher of Boulder's soon-to-open River and Woods.
Chefs Samir Mohammed of the History Center’s Café Rendezvous and function space and Daniel Asher of Boulder’s soon-to-open River and Woods.
Getting ready to set out small plates wiith big flavors.
Getting ready to set out small plates with big flavors.
Menus at each tasting station were wine-forward with food secondary.
Menus at each tasting station were wine-forward with food secondary.
Summer beets, Morbier cheese and black garlic and mint vinaigrette from Mark Mark Reggiannini of Denver's Café Marmotte.
Summer beets, Morbier cheese and black garlic and mint vinaigrette from Mark Mark Reggiannini of Denver’s Café Marmotte.
“Not bad for a software engineer,” commented my husband, who once worked with Nancy James shown here with Governor John Hickenlooper. Nancy and her husband’s Whitewater Hill Vineyards captured three awards for its remarkable reds.