Kelly Liken’s New Edwards Eatery

HarvestKellyLikenChef Kelly Liken’s heart-of-Vail restaurant was one of the resort town’s most acclaimed.  The James Beard Award nominee, TV culinary competitor and personable chef Kelly Liken closed her eponymous restaurant a year ago. Her new venture, Harvest by Kelly Liken, is about to open at the Sonnenalp Club in Edwards.

The buzz is that if will be a neighborhood place with a “community-centric” vibe. The menu is to be seasonal and “approachable” — though for many people any restaurant in the Vail/Beaver Creek orbit is by definition high-end and high-style. Oz Architecure calls it “elevated farmhouse” with indoor/outdoor seating. I rest my case regarding the place on the price and style spectrum. Beyond that, Liken is a gifted chef, and the food will be very, very good.

Signature dishes include Smoked Rocky Mountain Trout with frisée, crisp potatoes, Kalamata olives, haricots verts;  leg  of lamb with slow cooked saag, chickpea mash, sautéed spinach, pickled Fresno chile and carrot salad; and a summery dish of heirloom tomatoes & watermelon with fresh mint, pickled red onions, arugula and feta. She plans to serve Colorado seasonal fare, with plus beer, cocktails and an affordable wine program,  with by-the- glass options on tap.

It is located in the Sonnenalp Club at  1265 Berry Creek Rd., Edwards; 970-477-5353. At roughly the same time, Vintage is taking over the old space at 2 Vail Rd.

AirBnB of Food Unveiled

Singapore start-up books visitors into private homes for meals.

Dining-clipartWe recently returned from Copenhagen, where we stayed in my fourth and my husband’s third AirBnB accommodation. Every experience– from Prague to Sydney — has been wonderful and economical, so I was intrigued by a post on Eater.com headlined “New Startup Wants to Be the Airbnb of Dinner Parties.” Here’s the gist of the post:

Exploring a different culture via its native cuisine is often tops on a travelers’ to-do list, but it isn’t always easy to distinguish “authentic” from “tourist trap.” One new startup, BonAppetour, is aiming to bridge that gap by offering travelers a good meal — and good company — in the home of a perfect stranger.

Here’s how it works: Users can search the app to connect with “home restaurants” — AKA residential dining rooms — throughout the world, then confirm dates, specify dietary preferences or allergies, and make a payment. The app can also be used by hosts, who can create menus and, if approved, monetize their (hopefully decent) cooking skills. Guests are required to pay a 15 percent service fee on top of the price of the dining experience, which is set by the host.

Vulcan Post reports that the Singapore-based app recently received a $500,000 infusion of capital, which will be used to expand its “presence into the top culinary hubs around the world, including Rome, Paris, and Barcelona, where they already have a thriving community.” BonAppetour currently features dozens of cities platform, from Buenos Aires and Bangkok to Shanghai and Stockholm (and even Houston, Las Vegas, and Seattle).

slew of other companies are working to brand themselves as “the Airbnb of food,” but none have had much success just yet. One issue facing similar apps is that not only do they need home cooks willing to participating, but they need enough diners to attend each meal to make it financially feasible. Some legal experts have also expressed concerns that serving (and charging for) meals prepared in a home falls into a legal gray area, one that could eventually be problematic for companies like BonAppetour.

Coney Island Hot Dogs Reborn — Again

Bailey landmark slated to reopon — with improvements.

ConeyIslandHotDogsI’m in Copenhagen right now, light-years away, it seems, from US 285 through Colorado from the Front Range to mid-state and beyond. Still, I was elated to read that the Coney Island hot dog in Bailey is reopening — upscaling its food, eventually adding a microbrewery and (hopefully) improving its service as well. Here’s the full report from Eater Denver, which got the news from Dining Out.

Coney Island Boardwalk Hot Dog Stand, a familiar site to many mountain goers, is set to reopen under the guidance of John Wallace and his family in June, according to Dining Out. An Aurora native, Wallace aims to eventually operate the spot as a German-style microbrewery – but promises to pair the beer well with the dogs.

Wallace intends to return in mid-June after dedicating some time to repairing the building. Currently, Wallace utilizing Kickstarter to raise funds for the effort.

At the new and improved Coney Island stand, Wallace will serve a variety of gourmet hot dogs, brats, and frankfurters supplied from Continental Sausage in Colorado. The future menu will be stacked with original creations like the Durango Dog, an elk jalapeño dog made with cheddar and topped with poblano-corn-caramelized onion relish and chipotle sour cream, along with Coney Island-style classics. The restaurant will offer condiments sourced from local vendors including Elevation ketchup and Rocky Mountain Soda.

Coney Island Boardwalk Hotdog Stand is located at 10 Old Stage Coach Road in Bailey, Colorado.

Akranes Goes Gourmet with Galito

Commendable restaurant in West Iceland town.

P1090685Reykjavik has a number of very good restaurants, but the rest of Iceland? Not so much. Therefore, Galito Restaurant came as a pleasant surprise. The attractive restaurant features pared down contemporary décor (I love the slate gray walls) and an eclectic menu. The menu includes Indian-accented dishes, seafood, an array of pizzas and some the most Americans not ever order, including minke whale sushi and grilled horse tenderloin.

Decent bread (crisp crust, pedestrian inside) with excellent Icelandic butter and a condiment slightly reminiscent of romesco.
Decent bread (crisp crust, pedestrian inside) with excellent Icelandic butter and a condiment slightly reminiscent of romesco.
Excellent seafood food with aa trio of ultra-fresh mussels, a couple of shrimp, a scallop and a chunk fish in a soup that ws lightly foamed on top.
Excellent seafood food with aa trio of ultra-fresh mussels, a couple of shrimp, a scallop and a chunk fish in a soup that ws lightly foamed on top.
A big moist burger with ramekin of Béarnaise sauce and a heap of skin-on fries.
A big moist burger with ramekin of Béarnaise sauce and a heap of skin-on fries.
Espresso drinks are just about universal now. Galito does a pretty cappuccino.
Espresso drinks are just about universal now. Galito does a pretty cappuccino.

Galito is at Stillholt 16-18, Akranes, Iceland; 430 6767.

Topflight Brunch at Under the Sun

Chef-driven menu elevates comfort food & pub fare.

001The Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries has grown from a single microbrewery in downtown Boulder to a tight trio of locations that includes the popular Southern Sun in South Boulder’s Table Mesa Shopping Center and Denver’s Vine Street Pub. The South Boulder location is a two-fer, with the original pub (and large sunny patio) on the upper level and the newer and cleverly named Under the Sun below.

013I’ve been to Mountain Sun any number of times and to Southern Sun’s upstairs brewpub for after-hike or after-ski refreshment and downstairs for happy hour. I didn’t even realize that Under the Sun served brunch, but 3½ years after it opened, Southern Sun has hired a real, classically trained executive chef, Nick Swanson. His credentials are sterling — Boulder’s Bácaro Venetian Taverna and PastaVino (both now gone), a stage at Michelin-starred Relais Villa D’Amelia in Italy’s Piemonte region. Then New York’s French Culinary Institute, graduating with honors. A resume sprinkled with glamour names in the food world: Chefs Fabbio Bocchi and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, cooking for big-name celebs (Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, Calvin Klein.

But enough dropped names. What counts here and now is his position as executive chef of Under the Sun, where he has moved toward seasonality and reasonable price points while putting out creative cheffy takes on classics. I’m not wild about most “comfort food,” but Samson’s spin has me rethinking my preconceptions, and a sampling of the new brunch dishes convinced me that he’s one of the best in town.

The Captain's French Toast, a bizarre-sounding but actually yummy dish made of Captain Crunch-coated challah bread with Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries.
The Captain’s French Toast, a bizarre-sounding but actually yummy dish made of Captain Crunch-coated challah bread with Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries.

Continue reading Topflight Brunch at Under the Sun

Sampling Samples’ Small Plates

A cool time at downtown Longmont eatery.

006Samples World Bistro has been on my radar screen since I learned about its international cuisine. More importantly, I was impressed when I read a piece in the local paper about its self-imposed mandate of employing people with physical or developmental disabilities in “real” jobs — not in isolated sheltered situations.  I admired that, but I also really like its Main Street location, since I far prefer real downtowns to new developments.

With all that, it still took what I now realize was too long to finally get there. After all, food and beer aficionados Mark and Carmen Sample opened it a couple of years ago.  A Longmont friend suggesting meeting there for hapy hour on Friday. On the roof. For drinks and small plates and live music. On a mellow spring evening. Everything went according to plan — except the mellow part. It was chilly and windy. We didn’t last as long as we’d anticipated. But the food was good, the music listenable  (and not too loud) and the company terrific. We shared some plates but ordered others individually.

My husband ordered the Carolina BBQ Beef slider with shredded short ribs and white cheddar. Our friend's lamb slider had goat cheese and green harissa, These two meat sliders essentially look alike -- each sitting alone on an unadorned white plate. Both were pronounced to be very tasty, so presentation isn't everything.
My husband ordered the Carolina BBQ Beef slider with shredded short ribs and white cheddar. Our friend’s lamb slider had goat cheese and green harissa, These two meat sliders essentially look alike — each sitting alone on an unadorned white plate. Both were pronounced to be very tasty, so presentation isn’t everything.
Devils on Horseback is a delicious pair of dates stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in bacon and served with a bit of truffle honey.
Devils on Horseback is a delicious pair of dates stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in bacon and served with a bit of truffle honey.
Bacon and goat cheese flatbread comes with asparagus, caramelized onions and that tantalizing truffle honey.
Bacon and goat cheese flatbread comes with asparagus, caramelized onions and that tantalizing truffle honey. It comes cut into slides for convenient sharing.
Is one fried rice ball still called arancini or is it a single arancino? I don't know, but I do know that the crisp-fried exterior surrounding lush interior with tender rice, a bit of chili and cheese,
Is a single fried rice ball still called arancini or is it a single arancino? I don’t know, but I do know that the crisp-fried exterior surrounded a smooth interior of tender rice, a bit of chili and cheddar cheese atop a cool herb-flecked sauce., plus scallions.
The baba ghanoush with a smooth, subtle version of this Middle Eastern eggplant dish. It came with (not enough) flatbread, celery sticks, cucumber slices and carrot sticks. We asked for more, but nothing materialized before we had to leave. We were not charged for the add-ons that we did not receive.
The baba ghanoush with a smooth, subtle version of this Middle Eastern eggplant dish. It came with (not enough) flatbread, celery sticks, cucumber slices and carrot sticks. We asked for more, but nothing materialized before we had to leave. We were not charged for the add-ons that we did not receive.

Price check: At happy hour, small plates, $2-$6. Also, $2 off draft beers and wines by the glass.

370 Main Street, Longmont; 303-327-9318.

Samples World Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chef Tyler Wiard’s SPAM Tacos

Sample tacos al pastor with laughline meat or make them at home.

SPAMSPAM, the pork-in-a-can product not the E-mail annoyance, is a favorite in Hawaii and the subject of Mainland laughlines. But people stop laughing when they taste dishes prepared by name chefs using SPAM. The SPAMERICAN Tour visits 16 cities across the countries where chefs demonstrate that point with interesting recipes.

SPAM is also an iconic Army ingredient, and there-in lies the backstory of the SPAMERICAN Tour. It is partnering with Operation Gratitude, a volunteer based organization that sends care packages and letters to U.S. Service Members deployed overseas, veterans, wounded soldiers and their families, plus new recruits and first responders here at home. The tour is bringing Operation Gratitude’s letter-writing campaign into 16 communities, supporting its “March to a 2nd Million” goal with a $50,000 donation by pledging $1 for every letter written in-market and online at SPAM.com. I know it’s a little complicated.

But each stop is simplicity itself with free samples of Operation SPAM Gravy with Biscuits  and SPAM fries, plus creations of local chef partners. It comes to Denver’s Sustainability Park, where Tyler Wiard, the energetic culinary director of Elway’s restaurant and a recent “cheftestant” on Bravo’s Top Chef, prepares al pastor tacos. He uses crispy SPAM rather than the traditional pork butt. Taste them for FREE on Saturday, May 14 from 2 to 6 p.m. at The Big Wonderful, a sustainability fair at the park (2600 Lawrence St.).  Continue reading Chef Tyler Wiard’s SPAM Tacos

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.