2018 Denver Dining Passbook on Pre-Sale Now

The 2017-18 Denver Dining Passbook, known for two-for-one entrée deals and other benefits, is on pre-sale now, making the savings even sweeter starting now and valid though August 15, 2018. Hurry, because the special is on only until August 31. Even though we live Boulder, I ordered one, because it only takes a couple of dinners out to break even — and then, it’s pure savings.

The Passbook features some 90 restaurants, including 30 new ones like Mizu Izakaya, Departure, Candela Latin Kitchen and the soon-to-open FNG Restaurant.  Buy now for $39 including shipping (way down from the regular cost of $99 plus shipping) for a year’s worth of dining deals. Click here an enter promo code PBPRESALE2017.

Participating Restaurants

10 Barrel Brewing Co., 1515 Restaurant, 801 Chop House, Adelitas Cocina Y Cantina, Adrift Tiki Bar, Aloy Thai, Atticus, The Avenue Grill, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, Bar Dough, The Berkshire, Biju’s Little Curry Shop, Billy’s Inn, Blackbird Public House, Blue Island Oyster Bar, Blueprint Bar, Brider, Brodo Italian Scratch Kitchen, Broken Rice, bubu, BurgerFi, Butcher’s Bistro, Candela, The Cherry Tomato, CHUBurger, Corner Office, Crafty Fox, Denver Deep Dish, Departure, DiFranco’s, Dos Santos, El Jefe, Element Kitchen, Esters, FNG, Fish N Beer, Gaetano’s, Go Fish, Grind Kitchen + Watering Hole, Hashtag, Highland Tap & Burger, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Humboldt Farm Fish Wine, Ignite Kitchen + Cocktails, Ink! Coffee, Jack’s Uptown Grille, Jax Fish House Glendale, Jett Asian Kitchen & Sushi Bar, Kachina, La Sandia, Leña, Lime, Little India 6th Avenue, Little India LoDo, Lo Stella Ristorante, The Lobby, LoHi Steakbar, Lola Mexican Fish House, Los Chingones, Low Country Kitchen, Lucky Pie, Marco’s Coal Fired Pizzeria, Marg’s Taco Bistro, Max’s Wine Dive, Mizu Izakaya, Modern Market, North County, Olive & Finch, Onefold, Park Burger, The Pig & The Sprout, PokeCity, Prohibition, range, Recess Beer Garden, Revelry Kitchen, The Rosedale, Scratch Burrito, Shells & Sauce, Ship Tavern, STK, Sushi Hai, Sushi Ronin, Tacos Tequila Whiskey, TAG Burger Bar, Tamayo, Tap & Burger at Sloan’s Lake, There…, Tupelo Honey, Uno Mas Taqueria, Urban Farmer, White Pie, The Wooden Table

Bayless-Inspired Tortilla Soup

Modified recipe from Mexican food guru.

The inspiration.

When we had dinner guests recently, I prepared a chicken recipe using wonderful, moist breasts from Wisdom Farm purchased at the Boulder County Farmers’ Market. They are enormous and fortunately divide easily into a large and a smaller piece. I used the large pieces and put the smaller ones aside. I cut those into chunks the next evening and made this tortilla soup, modified significantly from Bayless’s Mexican Everyday cookbook.

Tortilla Soup

For Soup:
1 large dried chilhuacle negro chile, stemmed and seeded
15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 quart chicken stock
Salt to taste
1 lb. boneless chicken, cut into chunks

For Garnish:
1 ripe avocado, cubed
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
broken tortilla chips
lime wedges

Quickly toast the chile an inch or so over an open flame. (If you have an electric range, Bayless suggests toasting in a dry pan over medium heat. pressing it flat, flipping it and pressing again.)

Break the chile into pieces and put them, along with the tomatoes, into a blender and puree until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden. Scoop onion and garlic out with a slotted spoon and add to blender. set aside.

Return pan to medium-high heat, add the tomato mixture and cook until it is thickened (about 6 minutes). Add the stock and the chicken. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes. Add salt to taste.


Ladle into bowls and serve with avocado, cheese and chips. Squeeze lime onto each portion.  Serves 4 to 6.

Unlikely Spot for Fine Pizza

Audrey Jane’s puts out terrific pies.

The east side of Boulder’s Community Plaza Shopping Center is an unlikely place for a pizzeria. It’s not the side with the Broadway and the parking lot. Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage is run by Audrey Sherman (San Francisco, New York, Italy and culinary school in her past). BTW, there’s no garage in sight in case you are wondering.

We went there on a warm summer evening, hankering for a pizza. The store had a typical pared-down, brightly lit pizzeria look. The patio was the more appealing option for us. We shared and half-and-half pizza, a satisfying East Coast-style pie. There’s no adult beverage license, but my desire for a tannic Italian red was satisfied when we went around to the Boulder Wine Merchant on the Community Plaza’s other side for a couple of bottles, and they happened to be holding a tasting of Italian wines. The pizza and wine were therefore sequential rather than consecutive.

Half veggie, half Spicy Pig on a thin crust with an undulating puffy edge that show a bit of char– just as it should be..

Price check: $14 for a 14-inch cheese pie to $26 for a 20-inch New York pie.

2675 Thirteenth Street, Boulder:  303-442-2032.

Fabulous Franks in Colorado

Biker Jim’s cited, but Tenderbelly is best at home.

In a feature called “America’s Best Hot Dogs,Food & Wine tagged Biker Jim’s — the usual suspect in Colorado for interesting sausages of all sorts. Of this Denver institution that started as a cart on the 16th Street Mall and now has two restaurants (including Coors Field) and five carts, the magazine noted:

Jim Pittenger emphasizes sourcing ingredients as close to home as possible, then veers as far as he can imagine from the ballpark frank: elk and jalapeño cheddar; wild boar; rattlesnake. The franks are spilt, grilled till charred and loaded with Coca-Cola–soaked grilled onions and a drizzle of cream cheese.

For the rest, most seem to have been selected for the amount of stuff piled onto the franks — perhaps to disguise the taste. Not necessary (or desirable) with Denver-born Tenderbelly pork frankfurters, which are so good that they ought to be minimally adorned.

I don’t eat very much meat, but when I do, I want it to be really, REALLY good. Tenderbelly meats qualify.
These franks are so good that all you need to do is grill them and serve them on a lightly toasted bun with a bit of relish or mustard. Corn goes well for this summer treat.
No matter how good the base, my husband likes to gild the frankfurter, so to speak, by spreading some horseradish mayo on the bun and topping the hot dog with relish and mustard. With a combo like that ,he could go commercial too.

It’s available online via the company’s website.

Julia Child’s Editor Passes Away

Judith Jones who edited Child and other cookbook authors passes at 93.

Judith Jones, then an editor at Alfred A. Knopf, Julia Child’s publisher.

Without Judith Jones, who died a few days ago at age of 93, we might never know Julia Child — one of the country’s most influential cookbook authors. Ms. Jones had lived in Paris and knew a great deal about French cuisine and technique, when, as The New York Times wrote, in her obituary…

…a shopworn 800-page manuscript by three unknown women with no literary credentials landed on her desk at the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house in New York. The book, too long and with the uninspired title French Recipes for American Cooks, had been rejected by several other publishers.

Ms. Jones, who knew a great deal about French cooking from her years in Paris, began reading the manuscript and was so enthralled, she could not put it down. She took it home and tried some of the recipes, which proved to be magnificent. It was a lucid, approachable cookbook that took the mystery out of coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon and hundreds of dishes long thought to be too daunting for the American cook.

Her excellent radar for important books was also on during her Paris years, when she discovered The Diary of Anne Frank, and caused it to be published in English.

Click  here and here for Times reports and reminisces about her.

Kudos for Denver’s Señor Bear

Pan-Latin food and dynamite drinks earn LoHi eatery honors.

Whenever Zagat lists the best restaurants in select cities, Denver is always one of them. Here’s the shout-out in the site’s “Hottest Restaurants in 15 American Cities” post about Señor Bear, the site’s choice for the Mile High City. The “powerhouse team” referred to is headlined by Max McKissock, Blake Edmunds and Juan Padro and Katie O’Shea Padro. For McKissock, it’s a bit like old home week, since he was the chef at The Squeaky Bean, when it occupied the LoHi space.

Denver: Señor Bear
Built by the powerhouse team behind Bar Dough, this bright, breezy, instant destination in LoHi showcases the flavors of Latin America — from Peru to Puerto Rico — in both food and drink.

Must-order: Start with a pisco cocktail and any of the elegantly executed dishes comprising the mariscos section of the menu, including mofongo with shrimp and crab (pictured).

Insider tip: If you’re noise-sensitive, ask to sit on the patio — the small dining room can get extra-festive.

3307 Tejon St.; 720-572-5997

Brown Palace’s 125th Anniversary Feast

Denver’s legendary grand hotel’s suitably grand 7-course dinner.

Colorado Day (August 1) commemorated the 141st anniversary of our state’s entry into the Union. Just 16 years later, on August 12, 1892, the doors open to Denver’s splendid Brown Palace — a suitable hostelry for the booming Queen City of the Plains.

The hotel is celebrating its 125th with a weekend-plus of events (August 11-13). For well-heeled gourmands, the seven-course Degustation Menu in the posh Palace Arms restaurant has no peers.  Timothy Ralphs is The Brown’s new executive chef. The alumnus of Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale has cooked his way around the world, including a 2014 appearance at New York’s James Beard House. He came to The Brown from a private club in Palo Alto, California, and his first major event was this anniversary dinner about two months after his arrival here.

The elegant place setting for the 125th anniversary dinner. Perfect, isn’t it!

Here is the mouth-watering menu:

  • FOIE GRAS TORCHON Colorado peaches, burnt miso, basil
  • LOBSTER MELON SALAD caviar, chili, flowering herbs
  • NATIVE STRIPED BASS creamed corn pudding, roe, local summer squash in bloom
  • MARINATED LAMB grilled cucumber, curried yogurt, green almond tapenade, freekeh
  • COLORADO WAGYU BEEF carrots cooked in carrot pesto, charred beets
  • RIVER RUNS BLUE CHEESE whipped honey, shiro plum, casatiello
  • NEAPOLITAN ICE CREAM TERRINE huckleberry, vanilla, dark chocolate, cake

And here is one of the gorgeous dishes:

Lobster and Salad, presented in a caviar tin because — yes — it is kissed with caviar.

At $150 plus taxes, gratuities and wine or other beverages, there’s no question that the dinner is pricy. But nothing like this is likely to come along for the next quarter of a century. Click here to reserve for this memorable meal.

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.