Monthly Archives: September 2013

Homemade Extracts Are Special to Have on Hand and Give as Gifts

I recently made my first batch of homemade vanilla extract.
I say made, but actually, it’s still in the works – taking 60 days for the vanilla beans to steep in the vodka!
But, it’s worth it, to have a jar on hand for holiday baking, and a couple extra jars to give as gifts.
There are so many great flavors of extract to play around with – vanilla, orange, lemon, lime, cinnamon – to name a handful.
Some people like to use brandy, and some vodka, but you need to choose your booze.
Then, it’s a simple process – you’re infusing the booze – or better said, [extract]ing the flavor from the product you put into it.
It goes without saying both the liquor and product should be the highest quality you can get.
For my vanilla extract, I found a seller of Madagascar vanilla beans on Amazon – I got 16 beans for just $16. – which is an incredible price.
I used one bean for each 1/2 pint jar, scraping the seeds out and adding them in, then putting the whole bean in.
Because I had so many, I also made vanilla sugar, with still plenty of beans leftover.
I stored them in an airtight glass bottle, and they’ll keep that way indefinitely.
For the citrus extracts, peel your citrus, assuring you don’t have any pith [the white part; bitter].
Depending on the size of jar you’re filling, place 2-6 long pieces of peel submerged fully in the alcohol.
Seal, and place in a cool, dark spot in your kitchen/pantry.
Some say it takes anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks for an extract to be ready, so this is your call.
You can take from the jar for recipes, I’d say anywhere past the 2 week point [obviously, the longer it infuses, the better and more intense the flavor], and you can just top it off with more liquor, then cover.
For cinnamon extract, I suggest also 2-6 sticks depending on size of jar.
One 750mL bottle of vodka yielded 3 half-pint jars, plus a bit leftover for a Bloody Mary.
These make such wonderful gifts for the cooks and bakers in your life – something practical, while special, they can use throughout the year.
With so many fun jars and labels available, you can really create a beautiful presentation too.
In this day and age of such technological dominance in our lives, nothing can replace the warmth of the homemade.

The Four Seasons – and Edge Restaurant & Bar – Manages the Fine Line Between Splendor and Approachability

I’m a big fan of valet.
It’s gracious and convenient, and that’s the way I like to begin my evenings out.
The Edge Restaurant & Bar at the Four Seasons understands the importance of making it hassle-free for locals to do business with them, and offers complimentary valet for those dining in the restaurant [50% off for bar guests].
This is one of the factors that makes it easier to choose them, among the myriad options available when dining downtown.
But, the valet is only the beginning.
The lobby is sophisticated, with the focal point, a round pedestal table, with custom flower arrangements made by Denver’s beloved Perfect Petal.
It’s lively and not hush-hush, like many luxury hotel lobbies can be.
And when you round the corner to the bar, the liveliness intensifies.
With plenty of seating areas, both inside and on their patio, it’s a comfortable space to have a cocktail or three.
You walk through the bar to get to the restaurant, and both are casually elegant [as is the hotel itself] – just my style – and the style of environment I most enjoy being in.
I’ve eaten at Edge numerous times for both lunch and dinner, and each time, my meal has been prepared well and plated playfully [French fries in a mini fryer basket = adorable].
They call themselves a Modern American Steakhouse and you need only visit their website to see how strong of a commitment they have to meat.
One of the photos on the main page is of 4 of their chefs each spearing a huge hunk of meat with a huge knife.
Edge’s Executive Chef, Simon Purvis, is a man, it strongly appeals to men, and is therefore filled with men.
This is good news for women.
If I were a single woman in Denver, this is where I would be spending a lot of time.
Talk about a target-rich environment.
On this visit, I, along with a small group of others, was the guest of Dana Lauren Berry, the Director of PR for the Four Seasons Denver.
She’s a class act, so it was no surprise she intended for her guests to have a very good time.
We sampled two new Fall cocktails: Dem Apples : Belvedere Citrus, Canton, Lemon Juice, Apple Cider + Cranberry Fields Forever : Beefeater Gin, Leopold Bros. Cranberry, Lemon-Lime, Fever Tree Ginger Beer.
The Dem Apples was my favorite – not too sweet, and not too tart – and it put me in the mood of Fall, which was the whole point.
The kitchen also sent out two of their new Fall appetizers: Blistered Shishito Peppers with soy, sweet chili, sesame + Elk Sausage & Pepper Grilled Pizetta with provolone, tomato, red onion.
Delivered to the table by Simon himself, it was a treat to hear him introduce each dish and his pride in them [not arrogance – a key distinction] was evident.
It didn’t hurt to enjoy his British accent as well, and I asked where in England he was from.
He said Portsmouth and there’s been enough European football on in my home to know this is a big team town.
I asked if he was a fan [already knowing full well he was; it’s a [fan]atical obligation when born a Brit] – he said he was – and it was fun to find an authentic point of connection and conversation.
I feel strongly about party favors.
It’s rare you’ll come to my home and leave without one.
I just can’t help myself.
And thankfully, Edge couldn’t either, because we were each sent home with a container of their signature spice rub, which we were told is equally great on vegetables as it is on meats.
To me, the Four Seasons is the most exciting luxury hotel in Denver.
This genre can so easily be staid, or worse, pretentious.
I cannot abide by either, and thankfully don’t have to when visiting them.
They beautifully manage the fine line between splendor and approachability.

Lasagna with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Recipe by Christine Vazquez

Béchamel – 4T butter, 4T flour, 4 c. milk
Can of pumpkin puree [not pumpkin pie filling]*, 15 oz.
Cottage cheese**, 16 oz.
Lasagna sheets
Whole nutmeg, grated, 1/2t
Sage, 1T
Cumin, 1t

Make your béchamel: melt butter on medium heat [careful – butter can brown quickly if heat too high], then add – one by one – the tablespoons of flour, stirring in each until butter absorbs it before adding the next.
Then, add milk – and bring to rolling boil [you won’t know how thick the béchamel is until this stage, because it’s when flour thickens sauce fully].
Grate 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg into the béchamel.
A classic pairing, and one it needs because it is bland, by nature.
Stir in a can of pumpkin puree, and see how thick your sauce is at that point.
You can always add more milk to get it to a spoonable consistency, but the general guideline is it should coat a spoon, meaning, you dip the spoon in, then swipe the back of it with your finger, and the line will stay.
Add a teaspoon of cumin and tablespoon of sage, then salt and pepper to taste.
*I feel like a big problem with pumpkin is adding too many spices that make the flavor too overpowering.
Most recipes I see call for pumpkin pie spice, and the spices in it are strong: cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves and nutmeg.
While usually called for in sweet pumpkin recipes – even some savory ones call for ginger, cloves, and/or nutmeg.
I think it’s this that turns a lot of people off, and it’s a shame, because on its own, with salt and pepper, pumpkin is delicious.
**I prefer cottage cheese to ricotta in my lasagna and stuffed shells.
My Italian friends are coming unglued at this, as they read it, but it’s true.
Unless it’s Fruition Farms ricotta, which is a whole other thing, but which I don’t have on hand often enough.
I find it adds more moisture, is less grainy, and it’s just my preference.
I always add an egg to enrich it, plus salt, pepper, and usually a pinch of Herbes de Provence, which I feel belongs in almost everything I cook.
In your pan, put a layer of sauce first, then lasagna, then cottage cheese mixture and repeat until you have as many layers as you want and your pan will allow.
One of the joys of lasagna is all the melted, gooey cheese, but I leave it off of this, since pumpkin is the star here.
But, by all means, add shredded mozzarella and/or grated parmesan in the layers and/or on top.
I believe in complete freedom and democracy when it comes to cooking.

350* 45m covered, plus 15m uncovered

Neapolitan Style Pizza + A Gorgeous Interior + Great Staff = Pizzeria Locale in Denver

I told you I have generous friends.
One of those friends received a couple of free pizza cards to the new Pizzeria Locale in Denver – and I consider this a true sign of love – and invited me to come along with her.
With all the press about its anticipated opening, and its actual opening, the majority of opinion was it was much, much different from the original Boulder location – and in a few opinions, less exciting.
Having now experienced it for myself, I disagree.
Emotionally, it feels the same.
Aesthetically, it feels the same.
Flavorally, it feels the same.
The interior – its hexagon tiled floor [striking and special with white tiles and black grout], subway tiled walls, lovely light fixtures, and the identical chairs as the original – is the same level of fantastic as in Boulder.
Every good interior designer will tell you to have a stunning focal point in a room, but in this room, there are actually two: the massive wood fired oven and the prosciutto slicer.
Both are things of true beauty.
There’s no seated service, but I never quite understood this in the first place [both instance and location].
I don’t think of that when I want pizza, so in many ways, the Denver location – to my mind – is more natural for what they’re doing.
You walk through a Chipotle-esque line and order your pie, watching the pizza magicians pile your fresh toppings on, place your delightful dough on a pizza peel and then slide it immediately into the oven.
I ordered the Mais [which I pronounced as Mays, but is actually pronounced Ma-ees, and the fun-loving staff helped clarify].
Anytime you want to put corn on anything, I’m in.
You want to add crème fraiche?
Sign me up.
Ham, mozzarella and garlic?
They have the Italian classics: margherita, marinara, campagnola, bianca and maiale, plus 4 other American classics: cheese, pepperoni, veggie and supreme.
You can also build your own with a red, white or arugula base, choosing from no less than 26 toppings, including interesting ones like tuna, zucchini and broccolini.
They also have a few salads, pork meatballs and prosciutto di parma to order on the side.
And the highlight of the entire visit – one which is so fabulous, it was mentioned in the New York Times [!] – the butterscotch budino.
I don’t love the location.
It’s in a hectic strip [more accurately, an L] at the corner of Broadway and 6th, with too little parking and too much frustration.
But, this a destination kind of place, and people – including the two of us that day – will be willing to brave it, to get their hands on some of the best pizza in one of the coolest interiors in town.

Pizzeria Locale
550 Broadway

Chef Kevin Taylor + Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher Put on Quite a Show, to Celebrate the Show, SOMM.

I have generous friends.
What can I say?
I was invited to attend a special food and wine event preceding the showing of the highly anticipated film, SOMM.
Held at the recently unveiled Hospitality Learning Center [HLC] on the Denver Metro campus, it was a special evening, indeed.
A few of us got the privilege of being toured around the Center personally by Metro’s President, Stephen Jordan.
He told us how this is one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in the country on a college campus.
The Center includes a Sensory Wine Lab, which is one of only five in the world [not just the country – the world].
There are four kitchens – one devoted to just pastries.
There’s a wine cellar stocked with over 3000 bottles.
And something that really got my attention as an art lover – all artwork in the HLC and adjacent hotel – was created by faculty, students and alumni of the college.
With a serious art program and over 1000 art majors, naturally they want to showcase the creative talent of their own immediate community.
The room we dined in was designed in Iron Chef style, with cameras pointing to the main prep counter, TV’s and a stadium-like viewing area.
It’s cool.
When we walked in, we were handed a glass of rose, and later, once we sat down, a glass of chardonnay.
Both were good, and in the expected procession of a sophisticated dinner like this one.
Tickets were $225. each, and much of that went to benefit the school.
Passed appetizers included a lump crab salad in red pepper gelee, watermelon squares with ahi tuna, prosciutto and smoked balsamic, as well as foie gras mousse in crunchy brioche, rolled like a pig in a blanket, but the best pig in a blanket you’ve ever had.
The first seated course was a White Asparagus Panna Cotta with Thai basil and hazelnut crumbs.
This was my favorite of the night.
Fresh, mild asparagus flavor in the panna cotta, and inch-long pieces of white asparagus – a luxury – sprinkled around.
Hazelnuts are always welcome on my plate, for their rich flavor, and the crunchy bite added a nice texture to the soft custard.
The main dish featured Colorado lamb – which our state is known for – and it made sense they wanted to highlight it at this dinner.
It was tender and sweet and lovely.
Jay paired this with a stunning Bordeaux – which spent 18 months in French oak barrels – and one of the best red wines I’ve ever had.
The dessert course was a White Chocolate Carrot Cake with drops of geranium curd – as though carrot cake alone isn’t delicious enough – yes, please, go ahead and add white chocolate.
6, 1/2 inch layers of cake and 6 of frosting, this was a gorgeous presentation and happy departure from the standard milk chocolate dessert [though I do love my milk chocolate].
The cake was paired with a Muscat from Spain, which was perfect.
Someone at the table found it too sweet, and I thought they were crazy, but did my duty and drank theirs too.
Anytime you have the opportunity to have food prepared for you by Kevin Taylor, and have a Master Sommelier* select your wines, it’s a true privilege.
We had a wonderful, warm group of people at our table, and I was reminded once again, how the table is a true place of connection and community.
Another privilege I’m grateful for.

*There are only 134 Master Sommeliers in North America, which is why a film like SOMM is so fascinating – to get a peek into that highly demanding process. You can read the full list of them – and the cities they’re in – at

A Sense of Joyful Admiration for the Man [Chef Jon Emanuel] and the Mission [Project Angel Heart]

It’s heartening to meet someone who restores your faith in humanity.
I had that privilege last weekend, when I visited Project Angel Heart with a group from Slow Food, to prepare and preserve food for them.
That someone is Chef Jon Emanuel, the Executive Chef.
Project Angel Heart feeds those with life-threatening illnesses in both Denver metro and Colorado Springs.
Food is the most practical of ways to help human beings, and this is probably why the nonprofit receives so much support.
People can easily understand what they do and why it is crucial work.
So much so, that 90% of their donations are private.
So much so, that those donations helped PAH pay off their current building within years of obtaining it.
So much so, that all of the equipment inside is state of the art, allowing them to do their job with more ease and efficiency.
That job, is to prepare 900 meals each day, with the goal within the next decade to increase that number to an ambitious 3000.
With a kitchen staff, and 30-40 kitchen volunteers each day, plus administration, programming, client services, development, distribution and volunteer resources people on staff, it truly does take a village.
In addition to all of the operating expenses such an immense undertaking has, they spend $8000. on food every week.
I got the chance to talk with Chef Jon briefly about another Slow Food event I attended – a fundraiser for their annual trip to Terra Madre in Italy – where he was one of the chefs having helped prepare the multi-course meal we all enjoyed that evening.
He’d been invited to participate by chef colleagues Bob Blair from Fuel, and Jeff Osaka from Twelve.
He explained how extraordinary a thing this was, having been included, since something like that would never happen in NYC or LA – meaning restaurant chefs wouldn’t think to include a nonprofit chef in their collective efforts.
You could tell it meant a lot to him to be a full-fledged member of the community of chefs in Denver, and it gave me an additional layer of pride about our city – that inclusivity.
He’s a kind man, and an endearing one.
But, he has a strong, disciplined core that is evident.
The place was spotless when we arrived, with work spaces uncluttered and ready to facilitate productivity.
If he saw anyone being idle, he found them a job to do.
He allowed us full use of his massive commercial sized kitchen, and all of the equipment in it, while expecting swift clean up and things put back in their proper places.
This is how it has to be when you have the volume of responsibility for the care and feeding of hundreds and hundreds of people on a daily basis.
I left there with a sense of joyful admiration for the man and the mission.
Chef Jon is also the founder and “organ-izer” [his term] of the Denver Adventurous Eater’s Club, which as you may know, hosted the ultimate adventurous eater himself, Andrew Zimmern, on his most recent visit to Denver.
Additionally, he has a personal blog called Don’t Tell Chef, which you can read and revel in here:

There’s a Real Max Behind Cafe Max, and You Will Love Him and the Cafe Equally.

I experience a lot of places, and some I love more than others, naturally.
When I fall in true love, it makes me anxious to share with you the especially wonderful places [EWP for short].
Café Max is an EWP.
A lot of the visits I make are not even intentional in the sense of planning to write about them and this is true of this visit.
I was there to meet friends, and I was early.
Max greeted me with such genuine warmth, and didn’t stop there – he pulled up a chair and we launched into a conversation about the East Coast and quickly found common ground; both he and my husband are Latin boys from NYC [he from the Bronx, my husband from Queens].
We also discussed Denver drivers [of which we’re each one, but maintain an East Coast sensibility about, i.e. – yellow doesn’t mean stop, and a better sense of urgency is helpful to keep the traffic flowing smoothly], his vision for the café, his time living in New Mexico, travels and more.
He didn’t know I write a food blog.
The talk was impromptu – and as natural as it gets – and that’s what made it so wonderful.
He, along with his partner Yuki – a Nobu alum, no less – opened Café Max early this year, after having spent 5 years researching cafes and coffee shops in and around Denver.
It reminds me of an old favorite spot in NYC, which sadly, is no longer there – Takashimaya – an outpost of a Japanese department store, originally opened in Kyoto in 1831.
This is possibly the highest compliment I can pay to a space.
Takashimaya [and now Café Max] had a style and grace I always craved.
Cool and warm.
Chic and approachable.
After moving to Colorado, it was a must-visit on every trip back to New York, and I’d make the slightly begrudged trek to Fifth Avenue, preferring to spend my time in the more interesting and artful neighborhoods of the West Village, Chelsea and SoHo.
Café Max is all of these things – cool, warm, chic, approachable, interesting, artful – and Max himself brings it to full life.
I started with a Belgian beer, mixed with orange juice, on Max’s recommendation.
It was the perfect refreshment on a 90* [!] September afternoon.
I then had a meal of Grateful Bread baguette slices, a generous wedge of Brie and fig jam.
A lovely plate and a satisfying one, too.
Dessert began with a matcha green tea latte in a traditional Japanese pottery teacup, sitting on a rounded square wood plate; the presentation was simultaneously elegant and earthy.
An olive oil and rosemary cake slice, and their shortbread cookies – both made in-house – were just the right amount of sweet.
As sophistication does, they make refined choices in their food and drink offerings.
Like not sweetening their whipped cream siding the cake, because there’s enough sweetness on the plate already.
Like making their café con leche in the traditional manner [read: no condensed milk].
Like offering a highly curated selection of beer and wine, chosen with the help of Colorado beverage guru, Travis Plakke.
This is not a coffee house.
This is a true café in the European style.
There are pastries, coffee and tea, yes.
And they are all of the highest quality.
But, Café Max is so, so much more than this.
Grab a friend or five, and pay them a visit.
You’ll feel like you’re in Europe, or NYC.
And be sure to pay particular attention to the huge piece of art hanging above the counter, made by a local Boulder artist.
It’s done entirely in chalk.
It’s incredible and worth a visit alone just to see it in person.

Café Max
2412 E. Colfax

Say uncle.

I haven’t eaten all the ramen on offer in Denver.
And I don’t need to.
It’s like love at first sight.
There are other fish in the sea, but you don’t feel the need to know about them, because you love your fish so much.
That’s how I feel about the ramen at uncle.
I always get the veggie, without sprouts.
In an oversized bowl – it has noodles, sweet corn, oyster mushrooms, green onions, miso and soft egg – all in a beautiful broth.
It’s abundant and special and satisfying.
I also have never had – nor do I think most of us have – Korean Street Corn.
This delight is fresh Olathe corn, cooked in kimchi butter.
Kimchi. Butter.
It’s then sprinkled with diced green onions and topped with a lovely layer of cojita cheese.
This is the kind of dish you go home craving, and continue to crave, until you can get yourself back to the place that showed you just what magic can be made with corn.
I want another plate of it right now.
So much has already been written about uncle, including a review by 5280, containing serious questions about the service.
Here’s my take on that:
This is a casual place and has almost the feel of an expanded street stand.
It’s urban and chill.
I don’t expect a lot in terms of service from a street stand.
I walk up, I order, I want reasonable kindness, and I want you to hand me my order, so I can go off to enjoy the eating of the delicious food.
Here, while it is sit-down, I’m not expecting the level of service I would at say, ChoLon, or The Kitchen.
On my visits, servers have been cool, and accommodating.
We do have a service epidemic in the area, of overly casual service.
There’s something about the casual Colorado lifestyle that can ooze into our restaurants, making the dining experience feel subpar compared to dining in other cities.
It’s a frustration I personally experience often, and have had to learn to balance expectations in terms of both the region, and the type of place I’m eating at.
Still, the points made in the 5280 review are great ones, and definitely things that need to be looked at, and it seems as though they’re making a real effort to do that, judging by the interviews and responses we’ve heard out of uncle since the review was printed.
That makes me respect and appreciate them even more; that level of earnestness and humility.
And accountability.
If you’ve not yet been, go.
If you’ve not been in a while, go back.
Either way, submit to the food love.
Say uncle.

At Trillium, Not All My Questions Were Answered, But the Most Important One Was.

I had my questions about Scandinavian food.
Many of us do.
Though I’ve not yet been to this region [Iceland and Holland are the farthest north I’ve gotten] – it’s never been considered a food mecca, until Noma in Copenhagen single-handedly made people take serious notice of what is possible from this part of the world.
I was surprised when Trillium opened in Ballpark in late 2011.
I thought it was a bold move by Chef/Owner Ryan Leinonen, whose family hails from Finland.
It made the Top 25 in 5280’s annual pick of Denver’s best in 2012; ranked number 16.
This is no small thing in a restaurant’s first full year.
It’s always fun and interesting to read their list, but even more so in the past couple of years, when the Denver restaurant world has blossomed with talent.
But, but.
The food has been plain each time I’ve visited Trillium.
These are not words I want to have to use to describe any food, and especially not that of a place I also long to experience as a gem.
Lemon and dill pickled shrimp was good, but not great.
The flavors were fresh, and that helped this dish a lot.
Still, I’ve had shrimp similar to this many times, at many places, so there wasn’t anything especially exciting about it.
Aquavit-cured salmon with a loose, tiny dice egg salad was good, but not great.
The naturally gray, fatty part of the salmon was hard and chewy and unpleasant.
The egg salad was dull.
On one visit, the pork terrine – the only thing on the menu that sounded good to my dinner date – was so disconcerting, we had to go across the street to Marco’s to get him a pizza.
Undercooked bacon enclosing dry, dry pork, sided with two rounds of dry, dry brown bread.
Each time I’ve dined there, there’s been a largely older crowd.
I like to dine among all ages, but understandably, there’s a more subdued energy in this case, and lacks the vibrancy of atmosphere I crave when eating out downtown.
I don’t want it loud and rowdy, but I don’t want to hear a pin drop either.
The bartender was gracious and accommodating.
The drink list is impressive, with a wonderful array of cocktails, including a stellar one called the Ballpark Ballet: Banks 5 Island Rum, Canton, prosecco and the real kicker, kir egg foam [!].
The GM, Michael Ivey, personally delivered our plates to us on a recent visit.
I found this the ultimate in lack of pretension, the absence of which always charms me.
Ryan seems like a great guy.
And an earnest one.
I like him, and I root for him.
Still, still.
We’re awaiting 5280’s 2013 list, but there are serious concerns in my mind about it ranking at all this year.
They are coming up on their 2-year anniversary, so any food kinks should have long been worked out by now.
Also, there is just too much impressive competition in our city.
Not all of my questions were answered, but many were.
The most important one being – when I want to dine downtown, will Trillium be a restaurant of choice?
For me, the answer, I’m truly sad to say, is no.

2134 Larimer Street

Just When You Think Boulder Doesn’t Need Another Brewery, Along Comes BRU. Thank Goodness.

When I approach a space, I’m immediately energized or de-energized.
I’m sensitive, and especially so to the presence or absence of good energy and beauty.
BRU in Boulder, is in an old strip mall, which itself isn’t that energetic or beautiful, but once you walk inside their space, the thrills begin.
All of the furniture was handmade by the owner, and there’s a specialness and style that shows it.
Wood is the main material in the space, and there’s also the bright aluminum of the beer tanks, seen through a long glass wall.
A sliding barn door marks the entry to the brewing room, and I liked the juxtaposition of the rustic and modern materials.
On a side wall, they’ve hung oversized letters, that mimic Scrabble ones, spelling out BEER.
On the main wall, BRU is spelled out repeatedly; my favorite iteration: the string art, where string has been looped around nails making each letter.
It’s clever.
It’s cool.
It’s playful.
On each of the tables, are painted Ball jars in which succulents have been planted.
Silverware is true, vintage silverware – an unexpected choice at a brewery – and one I loved.
I was there for a media event, and we were given 3 tasters of beer by founder and Beer Chef, as he likes to be called, Ian Clark – the 3 beers he first began brewing in his home basement – and the ones which are now his flagship brews.
I liked each of them – even the IPA, which I’m not usually a fan of –
-BEEZEL BELGIAN GOLDEN STRONG ALE with honey and bitter orange peel. 9.3% ABV. My favorite of the three.
-OBITUS BROWN ALE with dates and caramelized sugar. 7.6% ABV and a close, close second to the Beezel.
-CITRUM IPA with fresh lemon zest and juniper. 7.2% ABV.
I drink enough craft beer to know when I’m tasting distinctiveness, and these three are definitely distinct.
And impressive, for a small brewer.
They have a few red wines, a white, a rose and a sparkling, so wine lovers aren’t left out of the mix here.
Ian is not only a Beer Chef, but a Chef Chef as well, having spent 14 years in kitchens, including Big Red F staples: Centro and Jax Fish House.
While Executive Chef at Centro, his brunch program was even featured on Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats.
We sampled some bites from the kitchen: The Bahn Mi, wood roasted meatballs, market sausage (types change frequently], and The Daily pizza, with wood roasted vegetables, arugula and grana padano on sourdough crust.
After sampling, a colleague and I ordered the Colorado Carrot Connection salad to share, and also the Buttermilk Fried Chicken.
The carrot plate was one of the most exciting I’ve had all year.
A carrot flan [a. carrot. flan!], sided with what I consider to be the best of all the lettuces – butter [though the menu says field greens; this was a happy surprise] – with jalapeno honey mustard vinaigrette.
The fried chicken was as it should be – crunchy outside, juicy inside – though I would have liked to see it [or rather, taste it] more seasoned.
Their menu is well rounded, and has a lot of stirring options on offer, also including whole Colorado trout and wood roasted Berkshire pork.
This is a place for beer and food lovers equally.
Something not all breweries can say, which is what makes it special.

5290 Arapahoe