Frasca & Redzikowski are Beard Finalists

Colorado contending for Outstanding Restaurant & Best Chef Southwest .

Narrowing down the annual list of James Beard Award winners is a length process: nominations, semi-finalists and finalists all announced with deliberate timing by the James Beard Foundation. Two Colorado contenders have made it to the finalist round: Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine in the Outstanding Restaurant category and Steve Redzikowski of Boulder’s Oak on Fourteenth and both Acorn and Brider in Denver as Best Chef, Southwest. As I have written before, being nominated is an honor. Being a finalist is greater honor. And winning a Beard Award is, well, over the moon.

Jasinski on Best Women Chefs List

Gayot.com picks the country’s top 10, including one in Denver.

I have mixed feelings whenever I see a list of the “best women something.” Unless it’s a sport that requires brute strength, I wish women were given equal opportunities and judged equally. But since they aren’t (yet), we have the token woman in a list of men and also “the best women.” The latest in the culinary realm being Guyot’s selection of the “Best Female Chefs in the U.S.” When I saw the title, I figured that she was a shoe-in.

Chef Jennifer Jasinski Photo by Clayton Vurciaga, courtesy Gayot.com

Here’s what self-described “guide to the good life” wrote about her:

Chef Jennifer Jasinski climbed the culinary ladder at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant empire before settling down in Denver, where she and business partner Beth Gruitch have had a string of hits.

At Rioja, she adds her own big, bright flavors to the culinary traditions of the Mediterranean. Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen puts an upscale spin on the American gastropub, while Stoic & Genuine is a sanctuary of pristine seafood. Bistro Vendôme remains a favorite for French comfort food.

Green Gazpacho for St. Patrick’s Day

Cold soup that’s simple to make and pretty (green) to serve.

Just Spices, a new California company that makes organic spice blends, has shared its simple recipe for Cucumber Gazpacho that comes out shamrock green. Note that the soup is shamrock green, not Kelly green.

The brand is only available by on-line order, and since there’s no time to order for a March 17 delivery, make it in summer, which is peak gazpacho season anyway. Or freelance making your own from your spice rack. The company says its vegetable broth blend “includes fresh herbs like lovage leaves, chopped parsley, crispy onions, exotic nutmeg, soft celery seeds, crushed sea salt, and wild garlic. For extra flavor we threw in a blend of some tasty tomatoes and ripe carrots. Lastly, the Tellicherry pepper and brown cane sugar contrast each other nicely, balancing a sharp taste with some cool sweetness.”

Cucumber Gazpacho

2 cucumbers
1 avocado, peeled
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons Just Spices Vegetable Broth Seasoning

Preparation

Cut vegetables into small pieces. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth.  Garnish with thin cucumber slices or chopped chile.

Serves 2.

The recipe did not mention this, but I would suggest tasting a small bit of the cucumber peel before committing two whole cucumbers to the soup, as peels are sometimes bitter. If so, remove the entire peel, of course. Also, seedless English cucumbers would be suitable.

Statewide Barrel Tastings of Colorado Wines

More than 30 wineries across Colorado are participating in Wine Around Colorado, a statewide barrel tasting event, for two weekends this spring (April 22-23 and May 6-7).  Tickets to each weekend are $25 and include barrel tastings at any participating wineries. Simply register for the weekend of your choice or both — though only the most dedicated oenophile with the most tireless designated driver could come close to managing.

Click here to register. A wristband, and an event map with each winery’s tasting room hours and location are emailed prior to the event. The wristband accesses the wineries offering tasting experiences. Participants may are welcome to visit any and all participating wineries over the weekend. The wineries typically offer discounts on their products, small bites and more.

Breakfast Burrito Brackets

March Madness moves to the local food realm.

The Denver Post has taken the end-of-season basketball bracket fervor into the realm of the Tex-Mex favorite, the burrito and developed brackets using 32 breakfast burritos in the metro Denver area, including food trucks, holes-in-the-wall and modest local chains. “Building the Best Breakfast Burrito” explains the rules and shows the initial seedings. There’s also a printable version of the bracket so readers can play with their friends. Good luck!

 

 

NOMA Popping Up in Tulum

Fabled Copenhagen restaurant’s next temp location in Mexico.

René Redzepi, the wildly creative owner/chef of NOMA in Copenhagen, set the culinary world on its collective ear when the restaurant began collecting Michelin stars and was named the Best Restaurant In The World by San Pellegrino. It wasn’t fancy French cuisine. It wasn’t classically Italian. Or nouvelle anything. It was original. Redzepi became the first star chef to make exquisite dishes from foraged food — no small feat in Scandinavia.

La Zebra at the edge of the jungle where NOMA will set up shop; for just seven weeks.

Following successful pop-ups in Tokyo and Sydney, the next temporary NOMA is soon coming to Tulum on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. This tropical area provides very different ingredients and a way longer growing season, but there is no doubt that Redzepi’s team can meet the challenge.  From April 12 through May 28 , NOMA Mexico takes up residency outdoors under the canopy of the jungle, close to La Zebra, a Colibri boutique hotel  in Tulum on what is promotionally called the Mexican Riviera.

The NOMA Mexico pop-up reunites René Redzepi with Rosio Sanchéz to develop a new and original menu using only local and indigenous Mexican ingredients. Sanchez is a first-generation Mexican-American from Chicago, a former NOMA  head pastry chef and now owner of the taqueria Hija de Sanchez in a Copenhagen market hall.  Sanchez and the NOMA team have reportedly begun to develop their vision for the Mexico residency. A group of international chefs has been traveling across the country in search of inspiration, flavors and preparations from Mexico City to Ensenada, from Chiapas to Puebla, from Oaxaca to Guadalajara and throughout the Yucatán Peninsula for inspiration.

Like all things NOMA, the experience does not come cheap. It is $600 per person person (plus 16% local tax and 9% service charge) for a multi-course tasting menu, beverage pairing including a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, water and tea/coffee. Click here if you have the urge and the budget for what promises to be an extraordinary experience, but don’t be surprised if reservations are impossible to obtain.

Click here for La Zebra’s hotel and dining package (if available) that includes “access to purchase two tickets” for the NOMA Mexico pop-up restaurant, a minimum of a two-night accommodation for two and daily à la carte breakfast. Options previously announced: Deluxe Package, $1,550 per person for three nights’ accommodations for 2 in a seaview suite; Premium Package, $1,850 for same but in a beachfront, ground-level suite with plunge pool, or Penthouse Package, $2,500, same but in a beachfront penthouse with “private ocean view” and plunge pool. Not within waddling distance after the feast but alternatives if La Zebra has no rooms on a particular night are three other Colibri hotels nearby (Mi Amor, El Pez and Mezzanine).

A Look at Stanley Marketplace — at Last

Former aviation equipment factory now hub for food, shopping and community.

Being a fan of markets and of adaptive reuse of old buildings, I have cheered the development of the Stanley Marketplace from the other side of metro Denver since I first read about it. Yesterday, a friend visiting from New York, my husband and I went to take a look.  It is located near the Aurora-Denver line and near the old Stapleton Airport, an area mushrooming from open space into a dense new urban development of housing, shops, offices and parks.

The cavernous building, once the home of Stanley Aviation, is being remade into a cutting-edge, multi-use building that hyper-industrial in design. It works. Businesses are moving in gradually (Cheluna Brewing and the fourth location of Comida being among the first and Mister B’s Wine and Spirits opening today, being the newest ), and with each opening and each special event, the attraction grows. Even on a weekday morning, there was activity, It was not just construction crews. Parents and little kids were playing in a tumbling space for tiny tots, gym rats were umping heavy iron in a weight training studio) and people needing their hair or faces done were visiting a hair salon, aesthetician or barber. .

We popped in and out of boutiques with wonderful fashions and accessories and peered into construction sites, and I even went upstairs to the shell that will become the newest location of The Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery. Here are some current eating/drinking opportunities, with more soon to follow.

Miette et Chocolat features French-inspired pastries with an added ‘je ne sais quoi’ that elevates them to ‘haute patisserie.’
You would not expect a French pastry chef to be named Gonzo Jimenez, but that’s the name of one of the partners of Miettte et Chocolat. “Gonzo” is short for Gonzalo. He is from Argentina, baked his way around the Hyatt hotel empire then at Boulder’s St. Julien Hotel, met Illinois-bred David Lewis (Las Vegas, cruise ships) at a culinary competition. They hit it off and decided to open their own chocolate shop. Lewis was piloting a handcart out in the aisel when I grabbed this short of Jimenez.

Continue reading A Look at Stanley Marketplace — at Last

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.