The Home Ranch’s Growing Organic Farm

Dude ranch with a difference grows its own.

Clyde Nelson in the greenhouse.

Clyde Nelson in the greenhouse.

The Home Ranch, located in the Upper Elk River Valley north of Steamboat Springs, is known for luxury, style and cuisine that meet the international standards of hospitality for Relais & Chateaux membership.

General manager and executive chef Clyde Nelson, has been performing culinary magic there for some 20 years, and for the last three he, his kitchen staff, master gardener Adele Carlson and her crew have created an organic farm to produce local, sustainable, high-quality vegetables and soon livestock to create gourmet cuisine for guests, enhancing the The Home Ranch’s position as a high-end Colorado culinary destination.

As the Ranch’s website explains, “the only way to eat here is to stay here; which is why some of our guests come just to indulge in the food. In spite of all the wonderful activities and adventures we offer our guests, the meals and conversation served in Clyde’s communal dining room are the heart and soul of the Home Ranch experience.”

Having grown up tending a big garden and selling home-grown produce at a roadside stand, Nelson learned to love fresh ingredients and nurtured a passion for quality that carried over into his career. Clyde’s Farm, long a dream, is now a reality.

Nelson wanted “to give our guests the experience of eating and dining with the freshest ingredients they’ve ever had.” Also, his objective was “to show guests how a high-country organic farm in Colorado can thrive with hands-on care and attention to detail shown by our and the chefs.”

Each morning, Carlson offers a tour of the farm, walking guests through the greenhouse, garden, orchard, chicken coups and potager, explaining the crops and why it’s so important for The Home Ranch to get back to the immediate farm-to-fork philosophy. Clyde’s Farm currently has 24 vegetable crops, 20 herb varieties, 54 chickens and six pigs. Next year, they plan to add lambs, goats and turkeys, continuing to increase flora and fauna over time.

Clyde’s Farm grew out of founders Steve and Ann Stranahan’s vision to support and sustain a local ranching and farming community with “an ongoing commitment to the stewardship of the land” and the goal for the next generation of the Stranahans to “nourish and foster the growth of ideas and sustainable businesses in the Clark valley, and to remain true to its founder’s vision.”

The Home Ranch offers a Harvest Week program called Wineries, Artisans and Chefs program from August 31 to September 7. The Home Ranch is at 54880 County Road 129, Clark, Colorado 80428; 970-329-4797.

Crying Over Spilled Wine

Napa wineries hard hit by 6.3 California quake.

BrokenWineBottleNews reports of yesterday’s earthquake in California include millions, maybe billions in building damage, and 170 injured. To wine lovers, nothing matters quite as  much as the damage to some of the 500 or so wineries in the Napa region. There are a whole lot of unhappy fellas in the whole Napa Valley these days. The San Francisco Chronicle posted a preliminary report. It includes lots of images of broken buildings, broken pavement and broken wine bottles. Not visible are the broken hearts.

Seasons 52 Opens in Lone Tree

Seasons52-logo

 

Seasons 52, a San Diego-based chain, describes itself as “a celebration of what’s good now. Seasonally inspired ingredients at their peak of freshness. Rustic cooking techniques that bring out natural flavors and are inherently lighter—with nothing on the menu more than 475 calories. And an ever-changing selection of global wines. All in a casually sophisticated setting.” Most locations are in the sunbelt, plus a few on the East Coast and elsewhere, with the brand new Lone Tree grill and wine bar being the first in this region. I couldn’t be at the media preview, but here are some appealing images of items from the menu:

Duck Lettuce Wraps

Duck Lettuce Wraps with red chili glaze, Asian pear and ginger-lime vinaigrette.

Grilled Sea Scallops

Grilled Sea Scallops with butternut squash risotto, broccolini and lemon butter.

Roasted Harvest Squashes, truly seasonal with the season being autumn.

Roasted Harvest Squashes, truly seasonal with the season being autumn.

Spinach and Caramelized Pear Salad.

Spinach and Caramelized Pear Salad.

Mini Indulgences turns out to be a fleet of small sweet treats.

Mini Indulgences turns out to be a fleet of small sweet treats.

I know that the emphasis is on seasonal, but I have no sense that local and/or organic play a part in the concept. I do like the fact that Seasons 52 offers 52 wines by the glass, selected by master sommelier George Miliotes of Darden Restaurants, whose brands (Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House) include various levels and price points on the American dining scene.

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

Los Cabos Hosts Big Food Fest

Sabor a Cabo coming to southern tip of Baja California.

SaborACabo-logoOne way to deliciously fill part of the gap between the Thanksgiving and Christmas-New Year’s holidays is at the ninth annual  Sabor a Cabo (Flavors of Cabo) food and wine festival in Los Cabos from November 30 through December 6. For the first time it includes a weeklong series of ticketed events highlighting the renowned regional cuisine of Baja California Sur and the wines of Mexico’s celebrated Baja wine region. And did I mention that high-season lodging rates are not yet in effect then?

These schedule features Country Side Taste, November 30; Sunset Gourmet Gala prepared by Michelin Star Chefs and served aboard a luxurious yacht, December 2;  Oktobeer Fest showcasing artisanal beer, local cuisine and music,December 3; Wine & Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo (my favorite town in Los Cabos), December 4, and a Star Chef Dine-Around, December 5.  The main event on December 6 from 5 to 11 p.m. in the Sculpture Garden in Puerto Los Cabos features 50 participating restaurants putting out what organizers call the “best-of-the-best” of international cuisine and wine beneath the stars.

Confirmed are such world-renowned chefs as Federico Zanellato, chef and partner of Copenhagen’s NOMA Restaurant (ranked No. 1 in the world), and Richard Sandoval, whose 35+ restaurants world-wide include Zengo, Tamayo and two La Sandias in the Denver area and Venga Venga in Snownass. Also, Dieter Koshina, owner of Portugal’s Vilajoya Restaurant (ranked No. 22 in the world); Roberto Alcocer, chef/owner of Malva Restaurant in Ensenada, Mexico; Najat Kaanache, chef/owner of Souk Restaurant, Dallas and former chef of Spain’s sadly shuttered El Bulli Restaurant; Thierry Blouet, chef/owner of Restaurant de Los Artistas, Puerto Vallarta, and Eduardo Osuna, founder of non-profit organization Chef to the Rescue in Mexico.

Festival tickets, which are available online, are $100 for general admission tickets prior to September 30 and $125 thereafter. Special lounge area access tickets are $150, and seats at VIP tables are $1,000 per person.  All the money raised during the Saturday, December 6 gala are to l be donated to the Fire Department, the Red Cross and Children’s Foundation of Los Cabos.

Cross-posted to www.travel-babel.com.

 

Flatirons Film Festival Schedule Set

Front Range showcase for food films, food talk, food & beer.

FoodFilmFestival-logoSave the dates — October 15 to 19 — for two evenings of run-up food/drink events (one at BRU, one a craft beer kick-off party) for the Flatirons Film Festival and three (October 17-19) for the festival itself, which is in Boulder. The new tagline: Feast On Reel Food. The schedule includes not just food films but also panels, talks, demos and discussions on food and food-related topics.  Information on pricing to come. Click here to contact the organizers with questions or to volunteer.

 

Reminder: Denver Restaurant Week Coming

First-ever summer version of DRW August 23 to 29.

DenverRestaurantWeek-logoEach of the first nine Denver Restaurant Weeks ran for 17 days in mid-winter. They were tough on restaurants and dicey for diners, who often didn’t care to chance treacherous roads. The 10th annual DRW is divided into two weeks, one in winter and one coming up in a couple of days, August 23 and continue through the 29th. No excuses, folks. No excuses. Also, summer includes the option outdoor dining and variety of fresh, local produce that is now in season.

Menus are list on the DRW site by cuisine and neighborhood, which reaches beyond Denver’s city limits. Some are already at capacity, of course, but others have availability. These include some that are participating for the first time:

  • Ambli Gourmet Eatery
  • Argyll Whisky Beer
  • Happy Sumo at the Orchard Town Center
  • Isushi
  • La Cour Bistro and Art Bar
  • Lower48 Kitchen
  • Luca d’Italia
  • Morton’s The Steakhouse
  • P17
  • range
  • Root25 Taphouse & Kitchen
  • The Nickel
  • Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill
  •  Viewhouse, Centennial

Also new this year is the “The Pursuit of Perfection in the Kitchen” sweepstakes, presented by Lexus, which awards two lucky winners a private cooking lesson with top Denver chefs, Andrea Frizzi of Il Posto or Elise Wiggins from Panzano. FoMoInfo on entering the contest, which runs through the end of Denver restaurant Week, go to Facebook.com/VisitDenver.

Dining at Always-Awesome Arugula

North Boulder restaurant tops for fresh wholesome Italian fare & good service.

001If Arugula Bar e Ristorante were within walking distance of home, I’m sure I’d stroll over more often, at least for happy hour. Since it isn’t, it becomes more of a “special” occasion dining choice, yesterday’s occasion being a long-overdue dinner with a friend. We were seated at a booth in the back corner, where we’ve sat before and liked the spacious comfort and quiet even on a Saturday evening. Our waiter was knowledgeable and easily attentive but not aggressively so. We liked that as we pored over the wine list, contemplated the menus for dinner dinner and dessert, and lingered over conversation. Ever since he opened the restaurant, owner/chef Alec Schuler has been fanatical about natural ingredients, local sourcing and meticulous preparation. (I don’t know why WordPress insists on adding a line through the restaurant name on this post. I’m annoyed and apologetic.)

Robust slices of excellent crusty bread with young olive oil to dip it in.

Robust slices of excellent crusty bread with young olive oil to dip it in.

Shaved Fennel Salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon over orange segments, Grana Padano cheese arugula and pine nuts.

Shaved Fennel Salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon over orange segments, Grana Padano cheese arugula and pine nuts. Sorry it’s a little fuzzy.

Arugula House Salad with a firm slice of ricotta salata, small radish slices and tiny sugar snap peas in their pods. Again, olive oil and lemon dress the salad.

Arugula House Salad with a firm slice of ricotta salata, small radish slices and tiny sugar snap peas in their pods. Again, olive oil and lemon dress the salad.

Arugula makes its crab cakes with finely chopped shrimp rather than breadcrumbs as a binder, so this appetizer duo of cakes was rich enough to be a main course. Saffron garlic aioli and a small salad of butter lettuce and cucumber provided contrasting colors and textures.

Arugula makes its crab cakes with finely chopped shrimp and carrots rather than breadcrumbs as a binder, so this appetizer duo of cakes was rich enough to be a main course. Saffron garlic aioli and a small salad of butter lettuce and cucumber provided contrasting colors and textures.

House-made gnocchi with long-cooked beef shank didn't photograph all the well, but it was rich and flavorful.

House-made gnocchi with long-cooked beef shank didn’t photograph all the well, but it was rich and flavorful.

Tiramisu with fresh berries and a squiggle of dark chocolate is portioned to share.

Tiramisu with fresh strawberries and a squiggle of dark chocolate is portioned to share.

Price check: At dinner, salads, $6-$11; antipasti, $4-$13 plus $24 for a platter; secondi (main course), $19-$32; pasta, gnocchi and risotto, $17-$32; contori (sides), $7-$7; desserts, $6-$10. Note: Arugula is one of the Boulder restaurants participating in upcoming Denver Restaurant Week, the first-ever summer edition (August 23-29). Click here for the extremely flexible menu with three courses for $30.

Arugula Bar & Ristorante on Urbanspoon