This Blog an Award Finalist

CAL-Award-logoThe Colorado Authors’ League has long given its annual CAL Awards for books, poetry, essays and magazine features, and this year, a blog award has been added. I am pleased as punch that this blog is a finalist for first-ever blogging award. The CAL Award winners will be announced on May 7. I have added the award winner logo out of hope not hubris — but actually, because it is the only logo available online. There is none for finalists.

Casa Sanchez Says ‘Hola’ at Copper

Family-owned Mexican restaurant debuts steps from the slopes

P1020073A big paper sign reading GRAND OPENING shouts from the front window of Casa Sanchez, a few steps from the busy plaza at Copper Mountain’s Center Village. This family-run eatery serves enormous portions of food in the manner of Guadalajara. The family name is acutally Diaz and not Sanchez, but regardless, everyone is accommodating and eager to please. From the scattering of diners who discovered it this weekend, they seem to be right on target. Spring is a tough time to open a resort restaurant, but I’m hoping summer guests find the place too.

A basket of crisp chips with a smooth red salsa (not readily visible on this image)
A basket of crisp chips with a smooth red salsa (not readily visible on this image) and an interesting spicy “salsa” made with cabbage and other ingrednients.
Wall decor runs along themes -- this one sombreros and framed images of Mexican rodeo.
Wall decor runs along themes — this one sombreros and framed images of Mexican rodeo.

 

Enormous quesadilla, its center stuffed with cheese and chicken, beef or other filling. Not much around the edges, however. It is served on a heap of shredded iceberg lettuce and topped with guacanole and sour cream.
Enormous quesadilla, its center stuffed with cheese and chicken, beef or other filling. Not much around the edges, however. It is served on a heap of shredded iceberg lettuce and topped with guacanole and sour cream.
Sasa Sanchez prepares its flan in a large baking pans and cuts it into rectangles.
Casa Sanchez prepares its flan in a large baking pans  and cuts it into rectangles, and serves it with whipped cream (or was it Cool-Whip?) and a cherry.

Casa Sanchez, 189 Ten Mile Cir., Copper Mountain, 970- 968-2081.

Cold Crush Coming to Five Points

Art- and music-oriented restaurant, bar and lounge from California restaurateur

ColdCrush-logoBrian Mathenge, co-owner of Killer Shrimp Restaurant and Bar in Marina Del Rey, California, is Californicating Denver, culinarily and musically speaking, when Cold Crush opens in Five Points/Ballpark Neighborhood  a couple of weeks from now. The name has nothing to do with wine-making but was inspired by the Bronx-born late-’70s hip hop group, Cold Crush Brothers. Mathenge  has been coming to Denver for years to visit family and became a fan of Denver’s art community. He now splits his time between Colorado and southern California. He foresees Cold Crush as a haven for artists, poets, musicians and their fans to meet, mingle and eat great food.

One of the art-focused gimmicks is that a huge mural on the side of Cold Crush’s building will be changed on a regular basis by local artists reflecting Mathenge’s support for the community. Cold Crush plans to feature local music with a club-worthy sound system, full-time DJ, and regular guest musicians and DJs. Cold Crush plans to help promote everyone from spoken-word poets to local to national music acts looking for a small, intimate venue in the Denver area.  Cold Crush will be serving such healthful and homemade food as fresh sandwiches, panini, soups, salads and entrées “from lunch until late” and is installing full juice bar. Sounds to me like a nutritionally correct gastropub.

Cold Crush Restaurant, Bar and Lounge is being installed at 2700 Larimer Street in Denver. The website is still bare. The phone number (307-256-5089) is a Wyoming area code. The Facebook page is gaining some traction (persumably from locals far more tuned in to the local music scene than I. Urbanspoon doesn’t list it yet, and the only images I found were a couple of exteriors in Lori Midson’s report in Westword‘s “Cafe Society” blog.

Note: The previously announced April 19 opening has been delayed. No new date has been announced.

Via Toscana’s Excellent Happy Hour Cuisine

Chef-made fare, fine ambiance & moderate prices in Louisville

P1020002Via Toscana is located in a standard suburban strip mall on Louisville’s busy McCaslin Boulevard, but other than the storefront, there’s nothing sandard about it. Enter through the heavy doors, and find  what was once a casual place mainly popular with the lunch crowd from nearby office buildings that is now an atmospheric Italian restaurant with reasonable prices and excellent food. At happy hour, Via Toscana is a real bargain for excellent Italian dishes rather than regular old pub fare that prevails elsewhere early in the evening. Happy hour is served in the bar — meaning at the bar, at high-top tables and cozy booths.

Low lights, lots of wood, white tablecloths and such other trappings of a serious restaurant were admirably created on what seems to have been a budget with economical plywood and off-the-shelf moldings, all stained an attractive walnut. A lot of exotic wood was spared with no sacrifice of appearance. This is a moderately priced restaurant with very good food. Little wonder, for chef Eric Johnson, captain of the kitchen, spent eight years at the Flagstaff House, ending his stint there as chef de cuisine — and there’s no better Colorado culinary credential than the Flagstaff House.

Lightly dressed Casear salald, ample for one and shareable by two.
Lightly dressed Casear salald, ample for one and shareable by two.
Rich and creamy risotto topped with a trio of grilled shrimp.
Rich and creamy risotto topped with a trio of grilled shrimp.
Hoouse-made gnocchi with marinara, fresh mozzarella and a bit of pesto.
House-made gnocchi with marinara, fresh mozzarella and a bit of pesto.
A scoop of deeply flavored gelato, whatever the flavor, is a perfrect cap to a happy hour selection or a full dinner.
A simple scoop of deeply flavored gelato, whatever the flavor, is a perfect end to a happy hour selection or a full dinner.

Price check: At happy hour, small plates are $1-$5. Happy hour gelato is $1 per scoop.

Via Toscana on Urbanspoon

In Aspen, Local Girl Makes Pastry

Pastry chef Aleece Gallagher joins the swank Jerome

Aleece Gallagher's Seven-Layer Cake.
Aleece Gallagher’s Seven-Layer Cake.

Aleece Gallagher grew up in Basalt, the next town up the Roaring Fork Valley from Aspen. Her mother and grandmother baked, and so did young Aleece. As an elementary school pupil, she loved to create “baking recipes” She is  the new executive pasty chef at the legendary Hotel Jerome.in Aspen. Between grade school and the Jerome, she attended pastry school in Seattle, served as executive pastry chef of a premier West Coast catering company and specialized in wedding cakes for five years, and also owned a bistro/lounge with her husband. Upon returning to Colorado, she opened the Midland Bakery Co. in her old home town. She now helms the pastry division at the newly renovated and recently reopened Hotel Jerome, which now is calling itself the Hotel Jerome, An Auberge Resort.

“I appreciate Jerome’s emphasis on desserts as an extension of the overall experience,” she said in an interview. Gallagher’s baking philosophy is centered on the idea that the “best desserts are simple things done really well.” Similar to the hotel’s renovated look, Gallagher’s creations preserve the authenticity and wholesomeness of treasured classics while and look as wonderful a the taste.

At Prospect, the hotel’s new upscale bistro, and in the Living Room, the new lobby lounge , Gallagher’s specialties include her 7-Layer Chocolate Cake (four layers of chocolate cake separated by two layers of chocolate custard and one layer of salted caramel topped with crushed house-made toffee and chocolate cigarettes); Coconut Cream Pie with pineapple rum sauce, a local favorite from her bakery and Chocolate Marquis( thick square of chocolate mousse with a fan of hazelnut brittle and house-made marshmallow and topped with chocolate hazelnut ice cream). At the casual J Bar, guests can order hot chocolate with toasted raspberry marshmallow or other sweet treats.

I am going to Aspen in a couple of weeks, including a scheduled reception at the Jerome. I hope to taste some of Gallagher’s creations. In fact, there’ a slice of that cake, waiting to be baked, with my name on it. If I’m right and I can ample her baked goods, I’ll report.

Enter to Win: Organic Pizza Makings Delivered

Cross-posted with Mile High On the Cheap THIS DRAWING IS NOW OVER.

EnterToWin Azure Standard is re-asserting itself in the metro Denver market with a large selection of high-quality organic food products sourced from around the country with particular emphasis on the West Coast. No membership is required. Customers place their orders online, with delivery initially once a month in this area. Click here for details on how their system works.

To introduce MHOTC readers to their products, Azure Standard offers the winner of this random drawing a selection DIY pizza-making products (value $32): Gluten Free Mama’s pizza crust mix (enough for one large thick-crust pizza or two small ones), 1 jar of Eden Organic Pizza-Pasta Sauce, 2 small cans of Natural Value sliced black olives, and 1 pound of Organic Pastures Truly Raw cheddar cheese. Also, for the winner’s ongoing pizza-making, one pizza roller and one 3½-inch pizza wheel.

To enter: leave a comment telling MHOTC your favorite pizza topping. Deadline is Tuesday, March 26 at 5 p.m. and the winner will be contacted by email. In case you are wondering, I tried the products, making two thin pizza crusts, one using just the ingredients supplied. For the other,I used fresh mozzarella and added slivered sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. I am not gifted with working with yeast dough, so he pizza won no beauty contest (hence o photo), but it was tasty enough — given that the ingredient compromises necessary to gluten-free foods sometimes affects the flavor.

I was impressed by the product range offfered by Azure Standard (and yes, I know it’s an unusual and non-intuitive name). Click here to order their catalog, which features organic packaged foods, and also fresh produce and dairy products.

Food on Four Wheels in Boulder This Summer

Six Boulder city parks to host food trucks — at last

Comida photo.
Comida photo.

On Friday, I drove over to the Sherpani warehouse sale on Central Avenue in East Boulder’s office park area. With bargains on the seat beside me, I had to stop across the street where the bright pink Comida food truck was parked. I proceded to spend $2.50 of my savings on a grilled taco — a seasoned, grilled chilcken breast folded into a corn tortilla, cheesed, grilled, topped with a squiggle of crema and served with enough lime to squeeze. Delicious.

Made me think about food trucks and how I wish Boulder were more hopsitable to them — Farmers’ Market food court and food truck Friday evenings in Gunbarrel last summer notwithstanding. I’m thinking of something like Civic Center Eats, the twice-weekly food truck gatherings at Denver’s Civic Center Park.

Now comes word that food trucks are permitted/encouraged/invited to park “periodically” in six Boulder parks between June 2 and August 25, a trial period. Proposed locations are beside the Municipal Building,Tom Watson Park, Foothills Community Park, North Boulder Park, Harlow Platte Park and East Boulder Community Park, with between two and six trrucks to be permitted in each location. I can hardly wait.

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.