Monthly Archives: March, 2011


March 25th, 2011 Posted by Denver, restaurants 1 comment

One of my favorite memories growing up is one of the many Sundays I went to lunch with my dad at Gaetano’s.  My family had been friends with Chauncey and the Smaldones for decades.  We walked in, always to find Louie, Vito and Chauncey playing an after-church game of cards, complete with cocktails and cigars.  Bellying up to their table to hear the wild stories of the neighborhood and our Italian family ties, I reminded them I was starting high school in the fall.  Louie was always the more talkative and humorous of these lifelong friends, reminding me with a stern face and strong hand on my shoulder, “You come talk to me if any boys don’t treat you right.”  Vito and Chauncey nodded in agreement.  After I agreed to let them know of any trouble, I made my way to the jukebox to play Frankie and Dino, my typical routine, sat back down to settle in to my manicotti and more tales from these three wise men.

It’s just one if the many stories, albeit one of the milder ones, and a few of the many characters that have graced Gaetano’s.  While you can’t find Chauncey sitting coolly at the end of the bar in his usual seat anymore, you can still feel Gaetano’s history the moment you walk in the bulletproof door. The menu is simplified Italian at its best: Bresaola, perfectly baked pizza, wonderful garlicky house-made sauces, and al dente pasta with the best “gravy” in town.  Gaetano’s is Wynkoop-owned which means the happy hour is extraordinary: $3 cocktails, $1 off Wynkoop drafts and edibles under $3.  If you are really looking for a throwback to the gangster days, join them on April 8th and 22nd to be serenaded by Frank Sinatra impersonator Derek Evilsizor.  Gaetano’s will always continue to be one of Denver’s classic hangouts; the Smaldones wouldn’t have had it any other way.


3760 Tejon Street

Denver, CO 80211


Where to Eat this Weekend: Pajama Baking Company

March 18th, 2011 Posted by Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

The ovens at Pajama Baking Company are always blazing, cranking out the best bread in Denver. All the breads are hand made, non-uniform, and simply perfect.   Their classic French bread is as close as you can get to the streets of Paris in Colorado, nice crunch on the outside, soft and airy inside. This bread is served by many of the local South Pearl Street restaurants.  The Pajama Baking Company also makes a rustic Ciabatta and the Jalapeño Cheddar is a top seller, often gone by day’s end.  Besides perfecting bread, Pajama Baking has mastered ice cream.  They have classic flavors and unique flavors, each using only the most premium ingredients.  Pajama Baking Company prides itself on being a modern day neighborhood market. Often, regulars will pop in if they have forgotten an ingredient for the night’s dinner and Pajama Baking will usually have it.  They also have savory sandwiches served on the delicious breads, house-made soups and pastries.  As the weather warms up, take a stroll down South Pearl Street, stop by Pajama Baking Company and try any of the delicious delights. You are sure to become a regular too.

1595 South Pearl Street

Denver, CO 80210

(303) 733-3622

Bee Buzz

March 16th, 2011 Posted by Culinary Connectors, Uncategorized No Comment yet

With spring finally here, many of us are starting to make plans for our gardens.  While we are dreaming of sipping iced tea among colorful blossoms under blue skies, why not consider planting a bee-friendly garden?  There has been a lot of talk lately about the buzzing honeybee. Our fuzzy striped friends are dying at an alarming rate: approximately 30-40% of their hives are lost each year. The importance lies in the fact that bees pollinate one third of the fruit and vegetables we eat.  Scientists have not pinpointed this worldwide disaster, although it’s widely believed to be caused by insecticides. In addition to signing the many online petitions, we can also plant our gardens without using pesticides, or plant purple and blue flowers, bees’ favorite colors. For the truly adventurous, urban beekeeping has become a trend. Of course, our supporting local honey makers, like Kenter Farms, is always a delicious way to help support bees and their beekeeping friends. In helping honeybees we can assure that most chefs’ favorite season (and ours) will arrive full of abundant spring fruits and vegetables.  That’s pretty sweet.

Tee & Cakes: Where to Eat this Weekend

March 11th, 2011 Posted by Boulder, restaurants No Comment yet

My original blog was going to cover Oak at Fourteenth and their first quarterly pig roast paired with local beers. Sadly, Oak suffered a fire early on Wednesday.  Luckily there were no serious injuries, only the emotional chaos of getting this brand new and fabulous restaurant back and running.  We are wishing them the best in this process and anxious to be back in the dinning room enjoying fried pickles and a “Beat Down” cocktail.

Two doors down from Oak is a small, delightful, funky bakery with an extensive cupcake flavor list. Tee & Cakes has everything from Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes, as seen on the Food Network, to Strawberry Milkshake.  The cupcakes are beautifully decorated without being fussy and the flavor list changes daily. In addition to cupcakes, they have delicious savory biscuits, bars, pastries and doughnuts (on Fridays and Saturdays).  Early risers will be rewarded with any treat fresh from the oven; they open at 7:30am. They proudly serve Novo Coffee as a compliment to any baked goody. Of course there is the “Tee” in Tee & Cakes. They have a fun and hip collection of T-shirts, onesies and other miscellaneous wearables designed by a co-owner at Side B Apparel in Boulder. Due to the fire Tee & Cakes had to shut down for a few days.  They are back open now ready to fill your bellies with sweets and make sure you look good while doing it.

Tee & Cakes

1932 14th Street

Boulder, Colorado 80302

Phone: 720-406-7548

Cochon 555 Comes to Denver

March 9th, 2011 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Denver is one of only ten stops on the third annual US tour of Cochon 555.  The event is a friendly competition featuring five heritage bred pigs, five wine makers and, of course, five local chefs. The mission of Cocohon 555 is to raise awareness of family farms and to encourage breed diversity.  It is the only heritage breed pig culinary competition in the country.  This year’s chosen Colorado chefs include Alex Seidel of Fruition, Kelly Liken of Kelly Liken Restaurant, Frank Bonnano of Bones and Mizuna, 
Lachlan Mackinnon of Frasca,
 and Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja and Eulclid Hall. The chefs will be judged by a local panel of twenty.  The winner will be crowned “Prince or Princess of Porc” and will win a trip to the Food & Wood Festival in Aspen to participate in the Grand Cochon event.  The founder of Cochon 555, Brady Lowe, has a contagious passion for supporting sustainable food systems and is hoping the rest of the country will catch heritage hog hay-fever. The event is open to the public, $125 per ticket, and will include wine, a tasting of each chefs creation,  as well as other unconventional hog fare.

Cochon 555

Ritz-Carlton Denver, April 3rd

VIP – 3:30pm

General- 5:00pm

Chili Verde: Where to Eat this Weekend

March 4th, 2011 Posted by Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

Chili Verde sits on a cozy corner on Tejon Street. Owners Hanzel and Eder Yáñez-Motare are brothers from Puebla, Mexico.  Their parents have passed down many of the recipes on the menu.  Chili Verde strives to change the way Mexican food is served, introducing foods that are both sweet and savory and that are not seen on most Mexican menus. A favorite are the Chili Rellenos stuffed with beef, raisins, and fruit, and topped with pomegranate.  More famous are the Poblano Crepes, moist shredded chicken wrapped in a fluffy crepe, topped with a light cream sauce and green peppers. It is a unique item that Westword has awarded Best Crepes and that has received many other honorable mentions.  The Tapache Marg made with fermented pineapple and Patron is a fun change from the typical margarita. Beat the Restaurant Week crowds, reservations, and pretension. Hanzel and Eder are sure to treat you like family when you arrive.

Chili Verde

3700 Tejon Street

Denver Co 80211

Phone: (303) 477-1377

Colorado’s Food Culture Gaining Altitude

March 2nd, 2011 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

When I left Denver for the East Coast almost seven years ago there were only a handful of noteworthy nationally recognized restaurants in Colorado.  Since returning to my home state, I am pleasantly surprised to find that the food scene is moving faster than an avalanche.  Many would say Fruition’s Alex Seidel has brought most of the attention to Denver.  Since Alex’s accolades, many chefs have followed, even migrated to our state to be a part of the restaurant gold rush.  Cholon’s Lon Symensma moved here from New York after running one of the highest grossing and most highly acclaimed restaurants in the city, Buddakan.  He made his choice because he felt that Denver is becoming the food Mecca of the West.  It seems the world is starting to agree.  Panzano, Colt & Gray, Mizuna, Rioja, Restaurant Kevin Taylor and the Palace Arms are all recipients of the AAA Four Diamond awards.  The James Beard nominations were recently announced: Colorado boasts six chefs out of twenty for Best Chef Southwest, including outstanding Pastry Chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom of Denver’s Duo and Olivea, Ryan Hardy of Aspen’s Montagna, Jennifer Jasinski of Denver’s Rioja, and Alex Seidel of Fruition, to name a few.  Max Mackissock of the Squeaky Bean was recently nominated Best New Chef: Peoples Choice by Food & Wine Magazine…and the avalanche keeps rolling.  I am happy to be caught in the current!