Dorchester Social Eatery Gets Social on the Farm

[My Summer Vacation lasted 3 weeks before I had to get back in the game and tell you about this great event; will resume regularly scheduled programming with bi-weekly posts again in September]

Imagine walking past urban beehives, across Clear Creek, up a slight hill and onto a plateau of grass overlooking a pen of goats.
That’s just what we did last Sunday night when a group of 40 of us gathered for a Summer Farm Dinner hosted by Dorchester Social Eatery / Get Ink PR.*
A community collaboration along with Clear Creek Organics, Pressery and Seattle Fish Company, everyone pitched in to make the evening memorable.
Guests were greeted with a welcome cocktail using Pressery’s Kale / Pear juice, mixed with St. Germain and vodka.
If that can’t get someone in a celebratory mood, I don’t know what can.
Guests were led on a farm tour by Steve Cochenour of Clear Creek Organics, who leases 1 1/2 acres of land here, on the larger 15 acres known as Five Fridges Farm.
Amanda Weaver, a University of Colorado, Denver professor, owns Five Fridges now, which the previous owner had the foresight to put under conservancy.
She uses part of the land for an urban farming project her students participate in, and a building is currently under construction next to the farmhouse that will contain a small commercial kitchen and learning facility, for demos and classes.
When guests arrived to the plateau, they were offered a seat at the long community table, covered in white tablecloths, and set with glass plates and china intermixed, wine glasses and individual ice buckets to chill their BYOB roses, sparklings and whites.
Down the center were mason jars filled with bountiful blooms.
A special table was set up by the goat pen with treats – apples and carrots – that guests could hand-feed them with, which they did throughout the evening.
It kept the goats happy, and the guests happy, and no one wants an unhappy goat or guest.
Chef Michel Wahaltere spoiled us with a menu served family-style, that utilized produce from the very land near which we sat, including Swiss Chard, garlic scape, uncured garlic and kale.
We started with an incredible salad of beets, kale, toasted pistachios, orange segments and goat cheese.
Everyone surrounding me mmm’d at the freshness and vibrancy of it.
Next, we enjoyed a perfect penne with sautéed Swiss Chard, heirloom tomatoes and white beans, brought to the table in tagines that had just that week arrived from Morocco.
It was a gorgeous and luxurious presentation, and would have been so anywhere, but especially sitting in a field on a farm.
For the main course – also served family-style – we enjoyed Colorado lamb and Skuna Bay salmon.
The latter was generously provided by Seattle Fish Company – a local, heritage company that sources only the highest quality fish from across the world.
Both the lamb and salmon were cooked beautifully, and they too were a luxury.
Served with the mains, was a lovely chunky eggplant chutney to drape over or enjoy on the side.
For dessert, there was a charming table laden with cast iron pies from Denver’s own, The Long I Pie Company – a recent pick as Editor’s Choice for pie in 5280 Magazine’s Top of the Town issue.
An embarrassment of riches in terms of tastes – there was Honey Lavender Custard, Strawberry Lemon Meringue and Bourbon Pecan.
Speaking of the goats, there were a lot of goat selfies taken.
And why not?
How often do you get to have your picture taken with a goat?

*Disclaimer:
I freelance / consult with Get Ink PR, and helped coordinate this event.

Hunger of a Different Sort – Urban Campfire from the Crave Company

Today I’m going to write about a different kind of hungry.
The hunger for depth and breadth and meaning.
It is from this hunger that CRAVE and Urban Campfire was born.
Melody Biringer, a serial entrepreneur from Seattle, was hungry for deeper, more meaningful conversations in her life – both personally and professionally.
She started CRAVE 12 years ago, having spent over a decade being a cheerleader for entrepreneurs.
Bored of the traditional networking arenas, Melody created Urban Campfire.
It’s been hosted in a few cities so far, and the Studios at Overland Crossing, in south Denver, was where our city was host to its first Urban Campfire last week.
An open, loft-like space was the perfect external environment to open the possibilities of exploration of the internal environment.
This is what we were there to do, though they smartly lure you in with cocktails and cuteness.
Around the space were beautiful touches like glass jars with tealights, cheese platters, and colorful journals at each place setting.
Rounds of tables of 8 encircled an open space in the middle, mimicking a campfire set up.
Each of the speakers – who told their stories in a TED-like format for 10 minutes – took this ‘stage’ to speak.
After each set of speakers, we enjoyed dinner and a more intimate conversation at our tables – led by facilitators Melody had hand-picked and trained – on topics like what had been our greatest failure and what gets us excited about life [in campfire language – What is your Marshmallow?].
There were tears, there was laughter, there was revealing and revelation.
And thankfully, to add some levity, there were actual marshmallows.
Chocolate chip stuffed, no less.
The goal, as it is at any good campfire, is to gather around and share stories.
It lends perspective.
It clarifies.
It empowers.
Melody feels if you can see yourself in the other and they can see themselves in you, then a meaningful conversation has been started that can result in all kinds of possibilities for connection, liberation, and wholeness.
This process naturally results in reciprocal business too, but it’s a more humane manner than the stiff networking events we’ve all [sadly] experienced.
Connections are made that are truly authentic and powerful, with the opportunity for longevity and sustainability that aren’t typically present when you’ve shaken hands and made small talk over a runny drink in a staid ballroom.
Friendships are sparked as well.
Already, from just that one night, I met two women who I know will be lifelong friends.

CRAVE
http://www.thecravecompany.com

Special acknowledgment to:
Brit Stueven / Owner of Pollinize Media / For serving as the emcee + event planner for this particular lovely evening.

Denver’s Own Water For People + Demetrio Tequila Partner to Provide Reliable, Safe Water Systems

Denver-based Water For People and Demetrio Tequila have developed an important partnership from which a portion of profits from each purchase of Demetrio will go toward Water For People’s mission to bring safe drinking water to communities across the globe.
Water For People brings together local entrepreneurs, governments, and communities to establish innovative, collaborative solutions that allow people to build and maintain their own reliable, safe water systems.
Significant amounts of water are used throughout the process of making tequila. From the cleaning of agave, to the steam that hydrolyzes it, to the distillation.
Each 750ML bottle of Demetrio contains 27% water.
“Water is essential to tequila, and to life. We wanted to make a real impact in the lives of people around the world, so we chose to partner with an outstanding non-profit that does just that,” said Demetrio Managing Partner Marion Mariathasan. “This is our first exclusive giving partnership and we’re so excited to be working with Water For People.”
The Water For People team is equally excited about the partnership.
“Water For People is proud to partner with Demetrio to help bring safe drinking water to people in developing countries,” said Water For People CEO Ned Breslin. “The road to permanent water coverage is challenging, but the outcomes are easy to root for — more children are in school, more individuals are employed, and more families are healthy and thriving. We’re glad to see companies like Demetrio participate in our efforts.”

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About Demetrio Tequila

Demetrio Tequila is a three-time award-winning single-estate tequila made in Jalisco, Mexico. With a history of over 60 years, Demetrio is a premium quality, competitively priced tequila created to capture the taste buds of the most sophisticated tequila aficionado, as well as the casual consumer. Demetrio Tequila is committed to social responsibility efforts and making a positive impact on the world.
DemetrioTequila.com

Just Be Kitchen Brings Consciously Prepared, Farm Fresh Food at Fast Casual Prices to Denver

Just Be Kitchen is a gluten-free eatery, bringing farm-fresh food to the public at fast-casual prices, while celebrating individual well-being.
: No gluten
: Paleo friendly
: Healthy fats & oils
: Completely sugar-free

Conscious cooking to Just Be Kitchen means a completely gluten-free and largely grain-free kitchen, using nut or coconut flours, squash, pumpkin and other “safe” starches. Only healthy fats & oils like butter, coconut oil and avocados. No refined sugar – only natural sugars such as maple syrup, agave and natural fruits. Grass-fed meats with no hormones or antibiotics.

The visionary, Jennifer Peters, is taking a special approach to getting this off the ground – while building community, which she deeply values – by crowd funding the initial capital.
Denver is one of the best places to launch a concept like this and in this manner.
If it interests you, please consider supporting.
If you’re so inclined, please share with others in your circle you feel would be excited about it.

Just Be Kitchen participated in the recent BruFrou event here in Denver, and their meatballs were one of the biggest hits among the attendees.
Even press couldn’t get enough, and kept circling the table for more!

How do I contribute?
Visit the campaign page and view the video about the birth of Just BE Kitchen and its purpose, along with the list of perks you’ll receive for your contribution:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/477959/emal/4151625

More information about Just BE Kitchen:
Check them out at http://www.justbekitchen.com
and/or
“Like” their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/justbekitchen

Mango BBQ Sauce recipe from Chef Michel Wahaltere of Dorchester Social Eatery. Life Changing.

Chef Michel Wahaltere of the soon-to-open Dorchester Social Eatery in Denver, won the Restaurant Pairing Challenge at the University of Denver’s DU Vin Festival this month, with his Smoked Pork Tacos.
They were a hit with everyone from attendees to festival organizers.
This mango BBQ sauce was a big reason for their success.
This recipe yields a quart, so commit a bit of time to shop for ingredients and make it, and you’ll have enough to last you through at least a handful of summer barbecues.
If you’re really feeling ambitious, double it, and jar up some as hostess gifts.

MANGO BBQ
Chef Michel Wahaltere of Dorchester Social Eatery

½ c apple smoked bacon
1 c red onions
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
10 garlic cloves
3 c fresh mangoes, chopped
¼ c Triple sec
2 c white wine
1 c mango juice
1 c orange juice
1 c vegetable broth
3 c demi-glace (1 c beef gravy and 2 c beef broth would work)
2 c traditional BBQ sauce, store bought (basic, not flavored)
½ c Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

In a saucepan, sauté the apple smoked bacon and onions for 3 minutes.
Discard the grease, then add celery, carrots, garlic and fresh mangoes.
Deglaze with Triple sec and white wine.
Reduce by half, add the mango juice and orange juice, then reduce by half again.
Add vegetable broth, reduce by half once again, then add demi-glace and reduce for 10 minutes (about ¼).
Add BBQ sauce and bring to a boil, then let cook for 10 minutes on low.
Blend and strain the sauce until smooth, add the Dijon mustard and season to taste.
Makes one quart.

bRUNch Launches in Boulder [they’re in Denver too!]

I don’t run, but I do brunch.
If you both run and brunch, then this is for you.
Alex at bRUNch feels that a great run is best rewarded with an amazing meal.
Each Sunday this social group meets for a training run at a local restaurant.
They offer five-kilometer and ten-kilometer runs every week and both are open to runners and walkers of all levels.
The fun continues back at the restaurant with the ultimate brunching experience and post-run chatting.
The Boulder group launched a few weeks ago at the Dushanbe Teahouse.
Tickets are $25. when purchased in advance and $30. at the door.
Your $25. includes run, entree, two drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), tax and gratuity [i.e. a steal!].

Upcoming June schedule is:
June 1 – Beehive Restaurant
June 8 – Radda Trattoria
June 15 – Zolo Grill
June 22 – Chautauqua Dining Hall
June 29 – FATE Brewing Company

Event tickets can be purchased online at http://brunchrunning.com/run-club/boulder

Attention Boulder: The Boulder Passport Debuts this Summer!

“Boulder has a booming beverage scene and we want to help people find new, interesting and awesome spots to enjoy a beverage or two,” said Casey Berry, co-founder of the Passport Program. “This program will guide both residents and visitors to some of the leading craft beverage establishments along the Front Range.”

Those who purchase a Passport will receive a physical booklet allowing them to redeem drink specials between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.
Each Passport is valid for one 2-for-1 special at each place; upon redemption, the location will stamp the Passport.
40 venues are participating in the first release.
The Boulder Passport aims to help people find new, independent, local places to experience and enjoy.

Participating venues are some of my favorites like Basta, Oak at Fourteenth and Volta.

Other spots include:
Aji Latin American Restaurant / Asher Brewing Company / Pastavino / Protos Pizza / Boulder Creek Winery / Restaurant 4580 (Soon to be the North End @ 4580 – coming mid-June) / Boulder Distillery / Riffs Urban Fare / Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse / Roundhouse Spirits / BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats / Rueben’s / Centro Latin Kitchen and Refreshment Palace / SALT the Bistro / Chautauqua Dining Hall / Sanitas Brewing Company / corrected COFFEE / Settembre Cellars / FATE Brewing Company / Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place / Foolish Craig’s Café / T/aco / Illegal Pete’s / T-Zero Lounge at St Julien Hotel & Spa / J&L Distilling Company / The Cheese Course / Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar / The Corner Bar / Johnny’s Cigar Bar / Laughing Goat Coffeehouse / West End Tavern / Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant / West Flanders Brewing Co. / License No. 1 / Wild Woods Brewery / Mateo Restaurant / Zeal

The Boulder Passport is available for presale for $10 at boulderpassport.com now [equals no brainer].
Starting June 1, Passports will be $20 each.
Join the Boulder Passport for their official launch at Riffs Urban Fare on Sunday, May 25 from 3 – 6 p.m.

P.S. Want to explore along the entire Front Range?
This year the Passport Program will be expanding to Fort Collins as well.
Get your Front Range Passport Pack (Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins) during presale for $30.
After June 1, the pack increases to $40.

Here’s the piece I wrote on the Denver Passport last summer:
https://hungryinboulder.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/the-denver-passport-a-thing-of-joy-and-beauty-and-drinks-and-cheese

About The Passport Program
The Passport Program is a program promoting local restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and wineries in Boulder, Brooklyn, Denver and Fort Collins. Valid from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, The Passport is $20 and offers 2-for-1 discounts to more than 20 participating locations in each city. More information is available at ThePassportProgram.com.

Bonanno Dinner for DU Vin – Plus Frank’s Sicilian Calamari Recipe!

Frank Bonanno, of the Bonanno Group here in Denver, is a University of Denver alumnus.
As part of his giving back to his alma mater, he cooks each year for a special dinner to kick off the annual DU Vin Festival [this year was the Festival’s 5th], and all proceeds benefit the hospitality program that trains up and comers in the industry.

It’s a treat when Frank cooks; even as a restaurateur with 11 concepts in Denver, from 2 of the most high-end dining experiences you can have in this city [Luca d’Italia, Mizuna] to a noodle house and smokehouse [Bones, Russell’s], he works the line more often than one might think.
We gathered at the Joy Burns Center – which houses the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality – on May 15th for an evening of specialness.
We began on the patio, with Prosecco and passed appetizers from Mizuna, Luca d’Italia and Vesper Lounge.
Then on to a 5 course meal.

1st Course
Meat & Cheese Plate | Prosciutto, Coppa, Ricotta, Gnocchi Fritto
2nd Course
Sicilian Calamari | Capers, Crushed Calabrian Chili, Sultanas, House Marinara
3rd Course
Maccheroni Amatriciana | Guanciale, San Marzano Tomatoes, Parmesan
4th Course
Roasted Lamb Loin | Goat Cheese, Polenta, Garlic Swiss Chard
5th Course
Chocolate & Caramel Bundino

All wines for both this dinner [5, plus Prosecco], and the 130 different ones available to taste at the Grand Tasting that Saturday, were generously provided by Republic National in Denver.

Here’s the post I wrote on the Festival overall:
https://hungryinboulder.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/duvin-festival-at-university-of-denver-celebrates-wine-food-may-15-17

As a special bonus, here’s the recipe for Frank’s Sicilian Calamari
Sicilian Calamari with Caper Berries & Bread Crumbs
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 lb calamari
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp crushed red chili
3 Tbsp capers
½ cup white wine
8 ounces chopped San Marzano tomatoes
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ cup toasted bread crumbs
8 caper berries

Tools
Sharp knife; large sauté pan; large wooden spoon; 4 serving bowls.

Process
1. Slice calamari into ¼ inch rings.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in sauté pan over high flame. Add garlic and chili flake; cook 30 seconds. Add calamari, capers, and white wine; cook 30 seconds more. Add tomatoes and parsley; cook until boiling. Finish with butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Serve
Divide into 4 bowls. Top with a generous pinch of bread crumbs. Garnish with 2 caper berries and a drizzle of olive oil.

Other recipes from Luca d’Italia are available for iPad users by downloading the interactive cookbook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-luca-ditalia-cookbook/id546871572?mt=11

Recipe for Ramp Pesto. A Luxury and Delight.

The wonderful Blackberry Farm in Tennessee pickles ramps, and Williams Sonoma sells these jars of joy.
I picked up a few jars, not knowing how I’d use them, but they comforted me just being in my pantry.
Friends are coming to dinner soon – these are friends who love and appreciate great food – so I was inspired to make this ramp pesto for our dinner.
I’ll toss it with pasta, but it would be beautiful on toasts, or as a dip too.
The truth is, this is really a Pistou – which is a Provencal version of pesto, made without nuts.
I’m calling it a Pesto, because it’s a more familiar term for most people, and really, Tom-a-to, Tom-ah-to.

23.25 oz ramps [this doesn’t have to be precise; if you buy fresh, just estimate and if you buy the jars, it’s 3 jars]
1/4 c Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 c Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1 diced preserved lemon [be sure all pith and seeds are removed]
T dried parsley [if using fresh, 3T]
1/2 t lemon oil [can use juice; I just had lemon oil on hand from baking]
Salt + pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in food processor, then drizzle in olive oil until you get consistency you want

Luxurious.
Delightful.

Note: If you do use the picked ramps, rinse completely before adding to processor; save pickling juice for Bloody Marys!
Even with having rinsed them, when I tasted the final product it was still a bit too vinegary for my taste, so I added about a teaspoon of agave to balance it.
Just make to your taste.