Monthly Archives: April, 2012

Where To Drink This Week: Denver – The Corner Office

April 30th, 2012 Posted by Culinary Connectors, Denver, Where To Drink This Week No Comment yet

Tasty, Global Comfort Food

Let’s be honest…We ALL like to drink away the workday blues from time to time.  If you’re like me, you find yourself at the same watering hole time after time.  After pondering for a moment, the idea of trying something new, we revert to our old faithful barstool where we know the bartender and the drink specials. This new weekly column, entitled “Where to Drink This Week” is a helpful hitch in dragging you out of the old routine and on to new places and clever cocktails.  Hey, you might even meet some new people…

The Corner Office, located in the Curtis Hotel at 14th and Curtis, is bound to make your old habits die hard.  A 1970’s mod décor invites the chic of Denver to enjoy not one, but two, daily happy hours.  Choose to snuggle up in a booth or plant yourself at the sleek wooden bar in a rather comfortable, high-backed bar stool and enjoy a diversified happy hour menu in an up-beat atmosphere.

The food and drink menu at TCO won’t leave you hanging either.  The restaurant offers a rather lengthy food menu, with two categories.  Ordering from the “Street Food” portion of the menu won’t break the bank.  Choose from Lemon Edamame, Baja Fish Taco, Pork Belly Sliders and more for under five dollars, or, if you’re a bit hungrier, you will find Ramen and a selection of meat and cheese boards under the “Share-ables” section.  The food at TCO never disappoints and with the majority of the menu under the five dollar marker, you can work dinner into your happy hour budget.

Many happy hours around the city offer simple happy hour drink deal for those who like to drink cheaply.  Specials such as, $3 drafts or $4 wells, are in abundance.  Other happy hours feature a dollar or two off the venues’ $10 specialty cocktails.  $8 drinks are not really my idea of a happy hour “deal.”  TCO gives guests the best of both worlds with a $5 limited specialty drink menu spot-lighting a yummy Makers Mark concoction and a “Drink Slinger’s Choice,” among others.  Still too spendy?  Beers all ring in at under $3 with a decent selection of Colorado brews and $2 PBR drafts.

If you’re looking for a hip, new spot for your afternoon, or late night, indulgences, swing by The Corner office for Happy Hour from 3-6pm or 9pm to close ANY night of the week. – Hillary Bonner

The Corner Office is located at 1401 Curtis Street • Denver, CO 80202 • Phone: 303.825.6500

 

Where To Eat This Weekend: (Denver) Pajama Baking Company

April 29th, 2012 Posted by Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants, Where To Eat This Weekend No Comment yet

The never-ending question for all of Denver on Saturday and Sunday mornings is, “Where should we go for brunch?”  There are plenty of amazing venues for this community gathering of a meal where one will find great quality of food, but at the more popular of places, the fail-safes, if you will; there WILL be a line of sometimes close to two hours for a table during peak hours.  There will also be a strong dent in your wallet upon completion of such a satisfying meal. Who wants to spend most of their precious Saturday morning in line?

Another of these high quality breakfast nooks are on the rise; this time without the line or the inflated ticket price.  One can avoid these weekend morning pressures by visiting Pajama Baking Company in the Old South Pearl Neighborhood and revel in delicious coffee and lattes, pulled pork burritos, freshly baked scones and muffins and house made green chili…All for less than five dollars.  If your day begs to get started, expect a relatively short turnaround on your order.  If you feel the need to relax with a good book, sit back in the open air dining area with a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant.

When lunchtime rolls around expect the smells of fresh baked bread to tantalize your senses.  At PBC, they bake all of their yeasty confections in house and top the warm, crispy concoction with some amazing combinations.  Try the thinly sliced roast beef with white cheddar and creamy horseradish or the house-made meatball sub for a heartier lunch.  But don’t stop there.  The dinner menu offers a wide selection of specialty pizzas, also made from scratch in house with a take-and-bake option, and fresh salads for the health nut in all of us.

Got a sweet tooth?  Keeping with their “house-made” structure that spans from early morning creations to the “get the bread til it’s gone” lunch and dinner menus, PBC also makes their ice cream on site.  Using all-natural ingredients, PBC creates a multitude of flavors such as Cinnamon Caramel Swirl, Macadamia Nut Brittle, Butter Pecan, and Blueberry Cheesecake.  They also offer an array of sorbets to choose from including the favorite Strawberry Balsamic and Citrus Basil.

Morning, noon or night, PBC is bound to satisfy a daily craving.  Stop by for breakfast on Saturday to get your weekend started right or for some ice cream on your Sunday Funday to ease back into the reality of the work week. -Hillary Bonner

Where To Eat This Weekend (Denver): Salumeria Cinque Soldi

April 19th, 2012 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

By Hillary Bonner

If your ever-indulgent, East Coast taste buds have been searching for that perfect deli…The one you find with a line around the corner, tucked away on a dingy street corner in Little Italy, your search may be over. Gennaro DeSantis, co-owner of renowned meat supplier, Il Mondo Vecchio, brought the Old World to Denver last month by way of a small deli storefront on Old South Pearl. DeSantis offers the best of quality in naturally cured meats, cheeses and delectable delicatessens at Salumeria Cinque Soldi.

Mondo Vecchio cured meats

To say that there is a limited offering due to the small space of 600-square feet at the deli would be to lead you astray. The salumeria, Italian for delicatessen, offers an array of hearty Italian sandwiches, soups and salads, sausages courtesy of Continental Sausages, a full line of the locally cherished Il Mondo Vecchio products, take home meals, dried pastas, fresh breads and much more. Currently, the space is strictly for foodies in need of indulgence, but a liquor license is in the works and, soon, bottles of Italian red wine and Campari will accompany the splendidly simple creations from the deli counter.

The salumeria’s menu features not your average sandwiches, with a selection of chef created Panini’s and grinders and a build your own section for the creative, or picky, genius, in all of us or you could ask Ta or Cat Daddy to create something just for you. The pastas are made from scratch and are available for both dine in and take out. I recommend ordering from a selection of the chef’s sandwiches and enjoying a shot of Lavazza Espresso or a San Pellegrino while you wait.

Catch a pig or goat roast to round out your true Italian experience or see if you can catch Mark DeNittis there and you’ll be sure get some “wicked”  good food.

Cinque Soldi is located at 1284 South Pearl Street in Denver. 303-996-6400

Mmmm (Craft) Beer

April 16th, 2012 Posted by Aspen, Culinary Connectors, Denver No Comment yet

By Becky Creighton

A flight of beer from Aspen Brewing Company.

Raise your hand if you want a beer. (Who is sitting at their desk with their hand raised? I know I am.) 

As an unseasonably warm spring is upon us with a very hot summer that is sure to follow, the go to beverage is typically a frosty, cold beer. Not just any kind of beer. Sure, we can get Coor’s in about any establishment here but for those in Colorado, that is not good enough.  Not only do we want a cold beer, we want a plethora of choices and in Colorado we have 136 craft breweries from which to choose.

Matter of fact, the front range is the largest craft brewing market in the United States with 74 breweries. Wow! And let’s not forget our brothers and sisters to the west in Durango and Aspen. Durango tops city breweries per capita with four breweries, that’s one brewery per 3,480 people and small town Aspen has Aspen Brewing Company and we haven’t even mentioned Boulder.   That is a lot of beer in this Centennial state.

And where does one go to taste these small batch beers? The brewery is the obvious choice, but, that could take a long time, visiting 136 breweries and if each one has four beers that’s 544 beers! Ok then, my fellow Ohio State alumni would have a hard time putting that down, even if it did come in a five gallon bucket. So, the next logical choice?

A tap room of course and there are many in Denver.  Start with the Star Bar showing off 14 handles, across the street Ignite! has 12 beers on tap (and about another 30 in cans or bottles), the famed Falling Rock, 75+ beers and the newest tap room in town Lucky Pie Pizza boasts 20. With so many great breweries around, Wynkoop, Breckenridge, Denver Beer Company, Great Divide, etc. there certainly isn’t a lack of fermented barley and hops to consume, the big question is what.  If you’re like me, it depends on your mood. Today, I think I’ll enjoy an IPA, now, I just have to figure out from which craft brewer.

Want to get your fill of craft beer, check out Colorado Craft Beer radio or American Craft Beer radio. (And starting May 2nd, Culinary Connectors will offer Craft Beer Tours on Wednesday’s.)

What are some of your favorite tap rooms?

(Data courtesy of http://coloradobeer.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/CBG-Fact-Sheet-04-07-12.pdf)

Where To Eat This Weekend: (Denver) Pig & Block

April 13th, 2012 Posted by Culinary Connectors, Denver No Comment yet

by Hillary Bonner

On this upcoming rainy weekend, you may be asking yourself what your game plan is.  After so many BEAUTIFULLY sunny Denver days, a gloomy Friday may be just what you need to motivate yourself to go home after work and treat yourself to a nice home cooked meal and a big glass of wine.  Do yourself a favor.  Skip the crowds at Safeway, King Sooper’s, Whole Foods, etc., and stop by the Pig & Block for a real slice, or slices, of heaven.

Denver’s one true Charcuterie opened on the 3300 block of Tejon in the Highlands neighborhood this fall and, ever since, brothers and co-owners Jeff and Marc Bauman have been whittling away at the rights to the butcher business in this up and coming neighborhood.  With unique offerings such as pate, terrine, crepinettes and rillettes, the family-owned store front is bound to win the heart of the meat loving foodie in all of us. For those who are less daring, the shop also offers an array of bacon, steaks and other pork and beef delectables.  For the vegetarians…Well, if you have a meat-loving significant other, Pig & Block may help you win an argument or “cure” the silent treatment.

Ahem, speaking of curing, Jeff and Marc passionately conjure and cure most of the meats in their shop.  Any of the mouth-watering meat products that they don’t bring to your table themselves, they obtain from local sources.   That’s right, all natural and straight forward:  They cure, you point, they cut.  Simply delicious.

Check them out on our Savor the Flavor tours and during their Club Wino dinners.

3326 Tejon Street Denver, CO 303-455-6328

Where To Eat This Weekend: (Denver) Second Home Kitchen + Bar

April 6th, 2012 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

By Becky Creighton

When I think Easter I think lamb and of course chocolate bunnies, the latter always results in my children biting the ears off first as they work their way down to the tail to fuel their sugar enhanced day – one of the few days where it is “acceptable” to have chocolate, and as much as you want, for breakfast.  But, we’re not talking about chocolate, if we were, we’d be talking about Piece, Love and Chocolate or Happy Cakes.  No, today we’re talking about lamb and on this Easter weekend where can you go get a spring menu? Well, not many places because the fact is we live in Colorado (mild winter and all) and our spring produce hasn’t really hit yet.

You can still get a delicious (and large) lamb shank at Second Home Kitchen + Bar in Cherry Creek.  The Colorado lamb shank is braised and is served with goat cheese smashed potatoes and Dale’s Pale Ale braised greens.  Now we’re talking! Lamb, goat cheese and beer, I’m not sure the flavor combination could get any better.  Try the hummus or any of their pizzas because they are both tasty.  And, even on an early April day, you could probably sit on their expansive patio given the weather this weekend is supposed to be stellar.

Executive chef Jeff Bolton always puts together a great menu both seasonally and a few mainstays.  He draws on his culinary education from the famed Culinary Institute of America as well as his stints around the country.  At Second Home Kitchen + Bar he has forged many relationships with local farmers, producers and dairies to bring a Colorado focused and local menu to his guests.

This restaurant is housed in the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek but don’t let the stigma of hotel restaurants sway you away from this inventive restaurant, your stomach and taste buds will be glad you stopped in for the great menu.

You can catch Second Home Kitchen + Bar on a Top Restaurant Tour. They are located at 150 Clayton Street Denver, CO 80206 303-253-3000.