Asides

Feasting at Farmer Girl

Lyons restaurant’s eclectic, pleasing cuisine.

015Last September, my husband and I stopped at a  small restaurant called LOCAL in Lyons en route home from Rocky Mountain National Park. As I wrote here, it was pleasant and the food was good. But for some reason — perhaps because there seemed to have been four or five people owning and/or running it. We all know the admonition about “too many cooks.”

The space is now named Farmer Girl, and one gifted person is in charge. Tim Payne, who ran Terroir on Longmont’s Main Street, is the chef at Farmer Girl, which calls itself a “community bistro.”  The decorative touches are fewer, as are the communal tables. But it has the same congenial vibe. Its motto is “local, sustainable food with soul.” Coming up later this month is the first dinner at the Lyons Farmette, a local artisanal farm. The good news for restaurant, farm and the Lyons Arts and Humanities Commission, for which it is a fundraiser,  is that it is sold out.

Long-time friends from New Jersey were coming to Estes Park for a wedding, we agreed to meet in the middle for dinner, and that meant Lyons and Farmer Girl. The simple menu lists seven each of small and large plates, plus a nice wine selection and other beverages and a couple of desserts. These change with availability of ingredients.

Farmer Girl Salad composed of Aspen Moon Farm greens, shaved baby turnips, carrots, sunflower seeds, and Parmesan with strawberry-herb vinaigrette.
Farmer Girl Salad composed of Aspen Moon Farm greens, shaved baby turnips, carrots, sunflower seeds, and Parmesan with strawberry-herb vinaigrette.
Mushroom Tartine features grilled mushrooms a fried egg laid by a local chicken, Aspen Moon Farm greens, ricotta and grilled bread,
Mushroom Tartine features grilled mushrooms a fried egg laid by a local chicken, Aspen Moon Farm greens, ricotta and grilled bread.
Dark meat in a pool of dark sauce with a dark green vegetable doesn't make for the best image, but the taste of the lamb Bolognese made with local meat, local greens and house-made pappardelle and Parmesan is rich and fabulous.
Dark meat in a pool of dark sauce with a dark green vegetable doesn’t make for the best image, but the taste of braised flat-iron beef  with potatoes, greens and milk stout demi-glace s rich and fabulous.

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Jasinski Cooking at Food Expo

Denver chef selected to showcase American food at world food fair.

ExpoMilano-logoMy husband and I are winding down a week in the Dolomites in northeastern Italy, and when we were planning this trip, I made some efforts to plug a visit to Expo Milano 2015 into our itinerary. The theme is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. This embraces technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity and how they relate to food and diet.” Right up my interest alley.

I couldn’t fit it into an itinerary that includes the resort town of San Martino di Castrozza deep in the mountains, Paris and New York, but Denver chef Jennifer Jasinski  is there. Now. She and her Rioja crew are cooking at the James Beard American Restaurant at Seven Stars Galleria  this weekend. They left for Italy on Monday, August 31 to prepare for the meal.

Other US chefs featured in the September lineup are Ming Tsai, Norman Van Aken and Hugh Acheson, with Tom Collichio, David Kinch, Andrew Carmellini among those scheduled for October, final month of the fair.

“I was blown away and honored to be invited by the US. State Department and the James Beard Foundation to join this incredible lineup of chefs at Expo Milano,” said Jasinski when the invitation was announced. “Expo Milano has been described as the first world’s fair that’s all about food and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Jasinski is serving 70 guests each night at the Milan dinners. She is showcasing contemporary American-accented cuisine for the diverse Expo crowd. These dishes, many including local Italian ingredients, sound awesome:

  • Passed appetizers
  • Crispy bacon cannoli “BLT” with rocket, heirloom tomato, avocado
  • Grilled Virginia ham wrapped peaches, Pedro Jimenez gastrique
  • Apple crisps with tuna tartare, apple, fennel anise vinaigrette
  • Local oysters with citrus-chile granite
  • Fresh cornbread served with cultured butter and Hawaiian sea salt
  • Savory ricotta tart, marinated heirloom tomatoes, pine nut crust, pickled shallots, pine nut pistou, herb salad
  • Alaska turbot, white corn grits, green tomato gazpacho, fresh baby corn, preserved lemons, radishes, watercress
  • Piedmontese beef filet, smoked sweet corn risotto, squash alla Montava, romano beans, sauce bordelaise, bone marrow butter
  • Strawberry rose Bavarian, pistachio-cashew phyllo, Pernod honey, candied rose petals

Buon appetito to the lucky diners