Colorado’s Top Food Trucks

The Daily Meal likes Basic Kneads Pizza.

DailyMeal-logoHere I go again with another mention from another list, but I do enjoy this stuff. The Daily Meal just listed its selection of “The 101 Best Food Trucks in America 2015.” The site didn’t mention who “the brothers” might be, but here’s the write-up about the Basic Kneads Pizza truck — Colorado’s only entry (but lots for Boston):

#89 Basic Kneads Pizza, Denver

We are suckers for a good pun and even more so for a good pizza. Basic Kneads operates four different units around Denver. The brothers eschew strict Neapolitan guidelines for D.O.C. pizza so that they can integrate local ingredients, experiment with toppings, and use the family dough recipe they’ve developed over the years: a mix of organic whole-wheat flour and refined Colorado flour (they also do a gluten-free crust). There are eight pies on the menu, starting from the basics (Margherita, pepperoni, fennel sausage) to more extreme pies like their sweet Thai chili chicken.


Lunching al Fresco at Mercantile

Casual lunch & fabulous companion at Union Station restaurant.

008I have an assignment to write a feature about Denver’s fabulous Union Station, and while I attended some of the opening festivities last July, have eaten in all of its restaurants and pass though every time I ride the bus to Denver and back home, I couldn’t very well write it without meeting with the extraordinary Dana Crawford, the visionary preservationist who spearheaded the preservation of the historic terminal and was instrumental in redeveloping it into the lively dining, shopping, socializing and transit hub it is now.


But this is a restaurant blog, so I’ll stop writing about my wonderful companion and note that the beautiful summer day called for eating outdoors. Mercantile Dining and Provisions’ patio was where Dana, Julie Dunn and I ate. The system is that you order inside, provide your cell phone number and are notified when the order is ready. Then, you go in to pick it up on brown paper-lined kitchen trays. Simple but a bit slow. Still, with lots to talk about and no office to get back to when lunch hour was over, we didn’t mind. Here’s what we ate:

Heirloom tomato salad with eggplant baba ganoush, roasted corn vinaigrette and ricotta from Fruition Farms, like Mercantile, owned by chef/restaurateur/farmer Ales Seidel.
Heirloom tomato salad with eggplant baba ganoush, roasted corn vinaigrette and ricotta from Fruition Farms, like Mercantile, owned by chef/restaurateur/farmer Alex Seidel.
Grilled cheese made with excellent cheese and excellent bread, with a side of pickled vegetables.
Grilled cheese made with excellent cheese and excellent bread, with a side of pickled vegetables.
Confit chicken salad, as requested on a baguette rather than a croissant. Delicious and hearty -- more than I could eat.
Confit chicken salad, as requested on a baguette rather than a croissant. Delicious and hearty — more than I could eat.

Price check: Sandwiches, $9-$11; soups and salads, $7-$12 (plus $21 for selection of cured meats, cheese and condiments); cheese, $3-$6 per ounce; pastries, $3-$6.

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Easy Ad Hoc Avocado Soup

Cold soup made in the blender.

AvocadoI had two ripe avocadoes that needed to be but hadn’t planned to write a recipe when I threw together what turned out to be a nice mellow summer soup, so I didn’t measure anything and I didn’t take a single picture of this smooth soup that turned out to be lovely sea-foam green. But here, roughly is what I made — easy, flexible, not fussy.

Cold Avocado Soup

I placed in the blender the flesh of two ripe avocadoes, 3 cups of frozen turkey stock, generous splash of dry sherry, juice of three limes, 2 cloves of peeled and chopped garlic, 1/2 seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper, a cup of half and half, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend on high speed until frozen stock has thawed and the soup is smooth. Makes two sizable portions.

You could use chicken or vegetable stock from the freezer, the refrigerator or a package. You could use heavy cream, sour cream or plain yogurt. Lemon juice instead of lime juice. Or modify it in any other way. The important thing is to use those avocadoes before they pass their peak.


Palisade Peach Fests on Both Sides of the Divide

Fort Collins Peach Fest Makes Three

FortCollinsPeachfest-logoWhen I posted news of the 2015 Palisade and Lafayette peach festivals (reposted below and coming up this weekend), I wasn’t aware of the Fort Collins Peach Festival on Saturday, August 22. It features peaches from Palisade (of course), plus a 5K run/walk, children’s activities, entertainment, peach pies, food and beverage sales, local business booths and peach-themed events all day long. Admission is free, and the $5 parking fee supports local causes. It takes place at CSU’s Hughes Stadium, 1800 South Overlook Trail.

Repost of Palisade and Lafayette celebrate Colorado’s fabulous fruit.

PeachPeaches grown in and around the Western Slope (make that far Western Slope) town of Palisade rank as some of the country’s best. Palisade itself celebrates them with a three-day festival that has been going on for nearly half a century. Front Rangers don’t have to travel quite so far, since Lafayette’s one-day festival is a big deal closer to home for greater metro Denver area residents.
Continue reading Palisade Peach Fests on Both Sides of the Divide

Denver’s Tender Belly Pork Cited for Fast Growth

Natural heritage pork is increasingly what’s for dinner.

Tenderbelly-logo Inc. magazine has announced that Denver-based Tender Belly, a nationally recognized purveyor of all natural heritage breed pork products, ranks No.  698 on the 34th annual Inc. 5000, a prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents what is said to be “the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs.”

Tender Belly was founded in 2010 by brothers Erik and Shannon Duffy with the mission to provide the highest quality of pork products on the market. The result is natural, delicious pork that foodies can eat with clear consciences. Tender Belly’s array of products including bacon, franks, ham, ribs, various cuts and whole hogs. The brand is carried by major national distributors and in specialty stores throughout Colorado,  Arizona and Texas.

Tender Belly is committed to environmentally responsible and fully traceable farming methods, as well as to animal well-being. As part of their focus on farm-to-table cuisine and local purveyors, they source from small family farms with generations of history that produce the finest quality pork.

All of the animals are fed a 100% vegetarian diet — with no rendered animal byproducts, antibiotics or hormones, and live with plenty of space to roam. This approach helps Tender Belly deliver a line-up of pork products to  distinguished restaurants across the country including those helmed by big-name chefs.  Click here for Colorado restaurants serving Tender Belly cuts of pork

Topple is New Top Toque at Vail Mountaintop Restaurant

Chef returns to a Vail Mountain high-elevation restaurant.

Steven Topple.
Steven Topple.

Steven Topple has been named executive chef of the Game Creek Club and Restaurant, a star in Vail Mountain’s galaxy of fine-dining establishments. He steps into the role in mid-September in preparation for the upcoming 2015-16 winter season. 

A native of Portsmouth, England, Topple graduated from the culinary school of Highbury College before coming to the United States in 1999. Since then, he has worked at such storied and prestigious restaurants as the Lake Placid Lodge in New York, the Wilcox Inn in South Carolina, Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco, the Lodge at Sea Island in Georgia and most recently the Shore Lodge in McCall, Idaho. He is no stranger to Vail Resorts, as he was previously the executive chef at Beano’s Cabin and also at the Sonnenalp Hotel. 

Located in the high-mountain precincts of Game Creek Bowl, it provides a members-only club experience by day and elegant fine-dining opportunity for the public by night. And no, you probably can’t afford the membership, but a special-occasion indulgence is possible for most of us.

In the evening, the Game Creek Restaurant serves up distinctive American cuisine, an award-winning wine list and superior service complimented by magnificent views and sunsets. During the summer season, the restaurant offers late-afternoon drinks and appetizers on the deck or a multi-course dinner menu every Thursday through Saturday. Sunday brunch is also served each week during summer operations. In winter, guests are whisked to the restaurant via snowcat for nightly dinner, Tuesdays through Saturdays. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling 970-754-4275.


New Upscale Eatery at Seven Falls

Colorado Springs attraction rehabbed-plus from 2013 flood.

1858-logo-The Seven Falls, a long popular tourist attraction in Colorado Springs, suffered grievous flood damage on September 12, 2013 — not the falls themselves, but the touristic infrastructure — access road damage, downed trees, mud build-up and such. The Broadmoor purchased the Falls site the following year and has spent a fortune to restore, repair and replace — the latter replacing an old snack bar with a fine restaurant  beautifully situated at the bottom of Cheyenne Canyon, a narrow box canyon of incredible beauty.

The Broadmoor opens the Restaurant 1858 tomorrow — one year, 11 months minus one day since the devastating flood. Housed in a new building that recalls the 19th century hotels and mansions in nearby Manitou Springs, it is a fine dining Broadmoor-level restaurant with indoor and patio seating. The name comes from the area’s Gold Rush days when an estimated 100,000 gold-seekers painted on the sides of their wagons between 1858 and 1861 with “Pikes Peak or Bust” painted on their wagons.

Restaurant 1858 at the Seven Falls. (Broadmoor photo)
Restaurant 1858 at base  the Seven Falls. (Broadmoor photo)

Broadmoor Restaurants’ executive sous-chef David Patterson and chef de cuisine Kathleen Symons oversee a menu that showcases traditional Rocky Mountain flavors and takes its cue from the heritage of the Old West, blending low-country style with early frontier cooking. The menus additional array of German, French, and Creole cuisines inspired by the immigrants who traveled west to seek their fortunes in the gold rush promise to make Restaurant 1858 something of a culinary melting pot. 

Restaurant 1858 offers a menu that changes seasonally and features many local Colorado growers and ranchers, including Broadmoor Farms, Bio Herbs and More, Arkansas Valley Organic Growers and others. All seafood featured on the menu is sustainable, as outlined by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, while Colorado-raised meat is served whenever possible.  

The interior décor features hand-hewn stone and reclaimed barn wood, large wooden beams, hardwood floors, custom lantern mining inspired light fixtures, Gold Rush art from the noteworthy Broadmoor Western Art collection and historic photographs of the area from yesteryear. I can’t wait to see it.

Restaurant 1858 serves lunch and dinner incorporating the same high-quality ingredients that guests expect at The Broadmoor. The menu includes Buttermilk Biscuits & Country Ham, Colorado Rocky Mountain Trout prepared 8 Ways and the 1858 Mixed Grill with Eagles Ranch Quail, Bison Roast and Venison Sausage. Immigrants to the region incorporates German, French and Creole cuisine to make Restaurant 1858 the culinary melting pot of Cheyenne Canyon. For reservations (recommended),  call 844-843-1858.


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.