Nightly World Cup Specials in the Golden Triangle

Gallo Di Nero’s month of soccer championship specials include a bargain cocktail.

Gallo DGalloDiNero-logoi Nero last fall took over the Golden Triangle space previously occupied by Fired Up, and its  executive chef Darren Pusateri immediately proceeded to win best overall dish honors at the 2013 Chef N Brew Festival. This Italian restaurant is offering food and drink specials for the duration of the soccer World Cup — or as the rest of the world calls it, the football World Cup. With Denver teams currently on seasonal sabbatical or in the doldrums (sports fans, you know what I mean), the televised soccer tourney might as well capture your attention.  Sorry that WordPress won’t accept the entire logo here.

For the duration — which is June 12 to July 13, which is about as long as the Stanley Cup championship season, Gallo Di Nero is offering daily food specials plus a special craft cocktail appropriately called the “Corner Kick.” Made with Amaro Averna, an Italian liqueur, freshly squeezed lemon juice and ginger ale, this cocktail special is priced at just $4.

I was never at Fired Up and I haven’t been to Gallo Di Nero, but I’m told it has two large-screen TVs and ample seating in the front bar area and throughout the restaurant. Why the name? It comes from an Italian legend. As the website explains:

Legend has it, that during the 13th century, in an effort to cease the constant fighting, Florence and Siena decided to draw a border between them utilizing an ingenious plan. At the crow of the cock, they would each send their fastest knight toward each other. Where they met was to be the demarcation of the two republics. The citizens of Siena raised a beautiful white rooster for this occasion, which grew big and fat. Meanwhile, the Florentines chose a black rooster and never fed him. On the fateful day, the black rooster, famished, crowed before sunrise. The knights met at Fonterutoli, only twelve kilometers from Siena as the Florentine knight had set out much earlier. This is why much of the Chianti region was under control of the Florentine Republic.

And there you have it. These days, the football-mad denizens of both cities will be paying rapt attention to the games too. Gallo de Nero is at 1135 Bannock Street, Denver; 303- 825-1995. ( has not yet discovered this restaurant.)

Riesling Festival Coming to Traverse City

Lake-side community to celebrate wine with “City of Riesling” festival.

CityOfRiesling-logoCalifornia vineyards have been growing Riesling grapes for half a century or so, and a number of Colorado wineries have had considerable success with this grape too. But I just learned that Traverse City, Mich., is particularly known for its Rieslings too. I’ve just been there once, in winter, when the area’s orchards and vineyards were dormant.

Turns out that back in 1974, one Ed O’Keefe looked out over Grand Traverse Bay from a high ridge on the Old Mission Peninsula and saw what no one had seen there before: the perfect terrain for growing Riesling grapes. Nearly 40 wineries are there now on Old Mission and the neighboring Leelanau Peninsula that produce a range of cool-climate wines (Rieslings and also Chardonnays, Pinots, Cabernets, Gewürztraminers and other varietals) that happen to be my favorites. O’Keefe’s Chateau Grand Traverse still dominates that ridge above the bay and is still devoted largely to Riesling, the grape that started it all.

The Riesling grape and the Traverse City area are made for each other. The region now boasts some 40 vineyard growing cool-climate grapes.
The Riesling grape and the Traverse City area are made for each other. The region now boasts some 40 vineyard growing cool-climate grapes.

This summer, Traverse City winemakers and restaurateurs celebrate the 40th anniversary of O’Keefe’s epiphany with a three-day event (July 26-28) called City of Riesling.  The festival is the brainchild of O’Keefe, wine writer Stuart Pigott and sommelier Amanda Danielson, owner of  two top-rated Traverse City restaurants – Trattoria Stella and The Franklin. Pigott’s newest book, Best White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Story, is being introduced during the event, just a few days ago, his article on Riesling pairings appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Continue reading Riesling Festival Coming to Traverse City

Park City’s Summer Food & Wine Scene

Utah resort town’s eateries and  feast on Main Street.

ParkCity-logoThe only silly thing about Park City, Utah’s summer farmers’ market and more is the name. Occupying a good part of the old mining town-turned-resort town,  Park Silly Sunday Market (PSSM) is  dedicated to supporting non-profits, green initiatives, artists, performers, small businesses and naturally farmers. It features a changing group of vendors and events for adults an kids. Park Silly takes place every Sunday mid-June through September on Park City’s Historic Main Street. I believe the hours are 10. a.m. to 5 p.m. An outdoor event in Colorado with those hours would risk afternoon rains, but perhaps Utah’s mountain weather patterns are different.

The summer-long Park Silly Market is a farmers' market and so much more.
The summer-long Park Silly Market is a farmers’ market and so much more.

The most distinctive food event is Savor the Summit’s Grande Table on June 21 at 6 p.m. Giving new meaning to the phrase “street food”, one long dinner table along Main Street accommodates more than 1,500 diners to enjoy fabulous food, outdoor dining, live music and summer in the mountains. Guests make reservations with specific restaurants, each of which offers its own menu with or without beverages included. Click here for participating restaurants and links to reservations.

Tables set and the eager crowd in place for Savor the Summit, Park City's mega-dinner on Main Street.
Tables set and the eager crowd in place for Savor the Summit, Park City’s mega-dinner on Main Street.

Park City is a short drive from Salt Lake City and, for those coming from Colorado or elsewhere, a very few miles off Interstate 80.



Grand Cochon Wraps Up in Aspen

Logo from 2011, the last time Denver was a stop on the Cochon 555 tour.
Logo from 2011, the last time Denver was a stop on the Cochon 555 tour.

Heritage pigs butchered, cooked, celebrated at Food & Wine.

Grand Cochon, the epic finale to the 10-city touring culinary competition during which top chefs across the country prepared heritage pigs, crowns its King or Queen of Porc at the Hotel Jerome during the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen on June 22. The ten winning chefs of the regional competitions, including Denver’s Jennifer Jasinski, take on 10 pigs for a nose-to-tail culinary showdown.

They will tackle more than 1,200 pounds of heritage pork raised by American family farms and serve them to 20 celebrated judges and 500 pork-loving epicureans. The winner of this season’s tournament receives a 4-day wine experience to Rioja, Spain’s most prominent wine region. Since the first of Jasinski’s family of restaurants is called Rioja, there would a fine balance if she were to win. Tickets for general admission are $150, and VIP tickets for early admission are $200. Click here for tickets.

Past, Present & Future Foods at Colorado History Museum

Global foods across the ages explored in visiting exhibition.

001The History Colorado Center generally devotes itself to what has occurred within the Centennial State’s rectangular borders, but “Food: Our Global Kitchen” from May 31 through September 1 is an exhibition that is global in nature and transcends millennia. This is the museum’s first major traveling exhibition, created by New York’s prestigious American Museum of Natural History.

I know a reasonable amount about food and food history, yet this exhibition, which is geared for children and adults, relates much of what I already know and fills in some blanks I didn’t realize were there. Food origins, cultures, sustainability, the opposing challenges of hunger/starvation on the one hand and obesity on the other, food and dining in the past, the impact of agribusiness on food production today and the future of food production to feed a growing population on the planet. These include heritage foods that, if brought back, can help alleviate world hunger. Interactive features include a clever flat screen where visitors look down on videoed cooking demonstrations and sniff stations that emit aromas of particular foods. Some highlights:

Diorama of a well-organized Aztec market in what s now Mexico City. Many of our common foods are native to the Americas.
Diorama of a well-organized Aztec market in what s now Mexico City. Many of our common foods are native to the Americas.
The rich and the royals always are well and dined in luxury.
The rich and the royals always ate well and dined in luxury.
Flat-screen table provides cooking demonstrations. Want to see how to poach an egg?
Flat-screen table provides cooking demonstrations. Want to see how to poach an egg?
Part of Whole Foods' kitchen display included a chopstick dexterity test.
Part of Whole Foods’ Taste Kitchen display included a chopstick dexterity test, because many of the world’s people use implements other than fork, spoon and knife. Most people can easily pick up packing peanuts. Beans provide more of a challenge.

Entry to the exhibition is normally $5 in addition to museum admission ($12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for ages 6 to 12); get $2 off with a receipt from any Colorado Whole Foods Market.  1200 Broadway, Denver, 303-HISTORY (303-447-8679).

The museum’s calendar is filled with special events including family days, off-premise tours and speakers during this exhibition. These include a June 3 presentation by Denver’s self-described soul food scholar Adrian Miller, a 2014 James Beard Award winner, speaking about his book Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time. From mac and cheese to chicken and waffles, Miller explains how foods got on the soul food plate and their meaning in African American culture. You’ll leave ready to cook up one of his recipes or visit one of his favorite soul food joints in the metro area. ($10, non-members and $8.50, members).

Sweet Action on Ice Cream List

Denver ice creamery one of 21 on national list.

SweetAction-logoHere I go again, drilling down on a national site’s food list to see whether any in Colorado spot made the cut. named “The 21 Best Ice Cream Shops in America,” and I’m happy to report that Sweet Action Ice Cream, a South Broadway ice cream purveyor, is there. I’ve never tried it, but my local selection would probably be another “Sweet.” Sweet Cow,  born in Louisville, now also has stores in Denver’s Highland ‘hood and also in Boulder. So here’s their choice — and again, I’m relieved — even grateful — whenever anyplace in Colorado makes a list. Here’s the ‘graph about Sweet Action.

Sweet Action Ice Cream (Denver, CO)
What you’re ordering: Pocky and Red Bean if you’re feeling interesting, Milk Chocolate if you’re feeling boring
Our man in Denver tried every single one of the flavors at Sweet Action, and, although he didn’t care much for vegan Maple Walnut or Vanilla Rose, he can vouch for nearly every other flavor as being worth at least several samples. But as sexy as Salted Malt Butterscotch and Cinnamon Roll sound, the champion of the taste was a simple milk chocolate described as “a scoop of goodness in a world full of freezer-burned crap”.

Au Revoir Au Grand Bistro

Downtown French restaurant calls it quits.

LeGrandBistro-logoIf you want some great oysters, good French food and  a pleasing Gallic ambiance, you might want to hurry to Le Grand Bistro and Oyster Bar right now, tomorrow or Sunday. The nearly three-year-old restaurant is closing after service on Sunday May 25. The sizable restaurant is just down the street from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts was a few blocks from downtown Denver’s concentration of restaurants on Larimer Square, close to but not within the line of sight of the Colorado Convention Center and facing additional competition from the upcoming opening of Union Station with  its cluster of restaurants.

Restaurateur Robert Thompson owns Le Grand Bistro, but his other enterprises, the fun-and-games Punch Bowl Social and the reincarnated and the oddly named Argyll Whisky Beer, resonate more with the Denver dining public. Even chef John Broening, who worked with Thompson at the short-lived Brasserie Rouge and built up Le Grand’s  and beverage director Ryan Conklin couldn’t elevate Le Grand Bistro to profitability.

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.