Monthly Archives: March, 2013

Where to Eat This Weekend: Aspen – Ute City

March 29th, 2013 Posted by Aspen, Chefs, restaurants, Where To Eat This Weekend No Comment yet

Take a Journey with

Locally Sourced & Globally Inspired Cuisine


Located within the famous restaurant row in Aspen, the restaurant Ute City serves up European flavors in a sophisticated, and yet fun setting.  With floor to ceiling windows that look up at Aspen mountain, Ute City serves as an upscale Colorado ski town hangout.  For lunch, dinner, or apres ski or hike, locals and tourists alike gather in Ute City’s swanky and slightly rustic dining room.

The Dining Room

The Dining Room

The chef behind Ute City’s gastronomic magic, Chef Peter Coyne, is noted for being an early advocate of farm to table, emphasizing regional cuisine in many of his signature dishes.  Intertwining the best of both worlds, Chef Coyne marries Colorado cuisine with exotic flavors from many of the rich food cultures of Europe.  Thus, a meal at Ute City offers the diner a sampling of the best flavors of the Old and the New World, often using local products to create European flavors.

In the end, the cuisine at Ute City presents the diner with a multicultural experience with the opportunity to taste a different culture’s cuisine at every meal.  Beginning with Greece for lunch, you can bite into a gyro-inspired panini, made with a slow-roasted leg of lamb, sprinkled with a healthy helping of mint, a generous dollop of cucumber sauce, all of which is tucked away into a warm pita.  Follow this up with a dinner of forest mushroom gnocchi topped with basil and a luxurious truffle sauce, inspired by the rustic countryside of Italy.

For dessert, you can come back home to indulge in that all American Lee’s Carrot Cake piled with a thick, mile-high cream cheese frosting dotted by those delicious little morsels of cinnamon sugared pecans.  After this happy and somewhat fairytale ending to your gastronomic journey in tasting various flavors of the world, you will surely have an increased appreciation for the locally sourced, globally inspired cuisine of Ute City in Aspen.

Ute City is located at 308 E. Hopkins Avenue; Tel: 970-925-2900; Open Lunch & Dinner 11:30 a.m. to close.

Culinary Connectors LIVE! Jonathan Sawyer & LeeAnn Kaufman

March 27th, 2013 Posted by Aspen, Chefs, Culinary Connectors LIVE!, Radio Show No Comment yet

ght-logoJonathan Sawyer from The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, OH and LeeAnn Kaufman, Sommelier at FOOD & WINE’S Chef’s Club at the St. Regis in Aspen join Culinary Connectors LIVE! host Becky Creighton. At the Chef’s Club, FOOD & WINE brings the pages of the magazine alive creating a unique and diverse menu. Every 6 months, a four new chefs from the magazine’s list of “Best New Chefs” consult and curate new menu items. Jonathan, who is currently moonlighting at the Chef’s Club discuss his menu and restaurants in Ohio. LeeAnn provides insights on what it is like to work with an ever changing chef line up and how she pairs wines with each unique dish created!

Where to Drink This Week: Denver – The Corner Office

March 26th, 2013 Posted by Beer, Cocktails, Denver, Martinis, restaurants, Where To Drink This Week, Wine No Comment yet

The Ultimate Office Dining Experience in Denver


One of the dining rooms at The Corner Office

If you have ever fantasized of turning your office into a lounge bar, where all of your coworkers can mingle over cocktails and wine during what is normally just a coffee break, then you understand the vision behind one of Denver’s trendiest new drinking wells, appropriately named The Corner Office.  As you and your coworkers pass through the doors of The Corner Office, you will be much obliged to loosen that tie or maybe untuck that shirt so that you may unleash the ropes, or worse chains, that have ensnared you down to your office chair for the last 8 hours.

With no ropes (or chains!) attached, you can snuggle up to the bar at The Corner Office and choose the drink that will mark the transition from the work office to The Corner Office.  The choice includes vino by the vasso (wine by the glass), canned and draft beers, many of which are local, “seasonal” martinis, and sexy, avant-garde cocktails.  They are all served up by a good looking, rather debonair bartender of whom looks strikingly similar to your office’s attractive mail carrier-or perhaps you are just still in the office haze.

Silenced by the resemblance, you agree to the “slinger’s choice,” a.k.a. “the bartender’s pick.”  Before you can think further, you become captivated by the sly moves of the bartender as he concocts the seasonal martini known as “the riddling fig,” made from an infusion of fig flavored vodka, benedictine, angostura bitters, and a touch of honey and lemon to balance it all out.

The Riddling Fig from The Corner Office

The Riddling Fig from The Corner Office

After you finish riddling, the bartender asks if you are ready for “breakfast & tiffany” composed of bacon bourbon, orange, angostura, and soda, complete with a drizzle of maple syrup.  Following a pause of hesitation, you decide ‘what the heck, I am at the office!.’  Replete with positive feelings rooted in rebellion, you take this experience one step further and order some of TCO’s “street food” in the form of a Baja fish taco piled high with guacamole.

For the best office experience in Denver, The Corner Office is your place.  No pen or paper is needed.

The Corner Office is located at 1401 Curtis Street Denver CO 80202; Tel: 303-825-6500; Hours: 7 am-10pm (11pm on Friday & Saturday).


Where to Eat This Weekend: Denver – Lala’s Wine Bar & Pizzeria

March 22nd, 2013 Posted by Denver, restaurants, Where To Eat This Weekend No Comment yet

Lala’s Serves up Italian Food at its Best

with Homemade, Colorado-Produced Ingredients

Lala's thin-crust pizza

Lala’s thin-crust pizza

In today’s gastronomic world, homemade may simply refer to a food that was baked in house, negating the fact that all of the ingredients and preparation took place elsewhere, possibly even at a factory of some sorts.  However, the original denotation of homemade that incites connotations of purity and comfort that make homemade food so alluring to all of us still remains in a handful of cafes and restaurants such as Lala’s Wine Par & Pizzeria.

Lala’s Wine Bar & Pizzeria makes all of its pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, gelato, and even limoncello in house, meaning from start to finish using the highest quality local products whenever possible.  When you dine at Lala’s you are tasting food produced by Lala’s themselves, in addition to the small Colorado farms and food producers that Lala’s sources from.

Homemade and local ingredients serve as the foundation for the construction of Italian dishes that will make your taste buds marvel at the richness of the flavors in every dish that comes out of Lala’s kitchen.  Executive Chef Samir Mohammad has put his own twist on Italian classics, bringing to light the diversity that actually exists in Italian cuisine and introducing diners to Italian food that expands beyond spaghetti and meatballs.

That being said, at Lala’s, you can feast on the classic thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizza, made with the world famous San Marazona tomatoes that are key in producing the rich, savory, and ever-so-sweet tomato sauce that makes it onto every pizza at Lala’s.  Beyond pizza, Lala’s serves up authentic Italian dishes such as the chicken cacciatore or the agnolotti, a Northern Italian dish composed of homemade pasta stuffed with roasted squash, fresh herbs, and ricotta, topped with corn coulis.

For brunch, lunch, or dinner, Lala’s wine bar & pizzeria offers you an authentic taste of the diverse cuisine of Italian food, using the homemade ingredients that are produced in house with all that Colorado-grown and Colorado-milked has to offer.

Lala’s Wine Bar & Pizzeria is located at 410 East 7th Avenue Denver 80203; Tel: 303-861-9463.


Where to Drink: Denver – Epernay Lounge

March 19th, 2013 Posted by Champagne, Cocktails, Denver, restaurants, Where To Drink This Week, Wine No Comment yet
Epernay Lounge at Night Courtesy of 303 Magazine

Epernay Lounge at Night
Courtesy of 303 Magazine

Denver’s Newest Hot Spot for the Golden Bubbly

At Epernay Lounge in Denver, it does not have to be New Year’s Eve or any other special occasion to drink champagne. Named after the largest champagne producing region in France, Epernay Lounge offers the most extensive champagne menu in Denver. From vintage to non-vintage, to rose champagne, Epernay has the ideal champagne for every occasion. While the list includes many champagnes from Epernay, France as one might expect, there are also many champagnes from other regions of France as well as from the U.S.. From the most well-known Moet & Chandon, to the lesser known Iron Horse Vintage Brut Classic from California, Epernay Lounge offers you the experience to indulge in champagne on any given day, no matter the occasion.

For those who are not as fond of the golden bubbly, Epernay offers a Sake menu that challenges the champagne menu in depth and length. Every style of sake popular in Japanese culture is offered including sweet and mild “nigori” sake, the bold and classic “aj,” the clean and pure “kire,” and the fruity and floral “kaore” among others.

Beyond champagne and sake, Epernay also serves specialty cocktails that reflect its groovy, inventive character. The “Breakfast of Champions” was made for those who wish to dance on Epernay’s dance floor through the night and into the morning. This cocktail features a citrus-inspired medley of seville marmalade, amaretto, orange, cream, prosecco, grand mariner, and a splash of orange-flavored cointreau as the finishing touch. Of course, for those avid wine lovers, such as myself, Epernay will have your eyes sparkling with desire when you get a glance at their enticing wine menu.

With drinks that will appeal to every palate and circumstance, it is no wonder that Epernay’s Lounge in Denver is the hottest new spot for drinking in Denver. If you cannot find a spot at the bar, you will surely find a spot and possibly even a new friend on their dance floor.

Epernay Lounge is located at 1080 14th St. Denver CO 80202, Tel: 303-573-5000. Dinner & Drinks are offered Tues-Sun beginning at 4 pm.


Where to Eat This Weekend: Aspen – Jimmy’s

March 15th, 2013 Posted by Aspen, Chefs, restaurants, Where To Eat This Weekend No Comment yet

Jimmy's - Aspen, Outside view

Jimmy’s Magic Tastes of Comfort, Quality,

& An Unexpected Zest

As the days begin to warm, and frost gives way to green grass, the Latin music at Jimmy’s bar and restaurant heats up to accommodate the energetic vibe of the springtime. Set at the base of Aspen mountain, offering an exhilarating view, Jimmy’s is the kind of neighborhood spot that offers both comfort and that upbeat, vivacious ambience that sets the stage for an enjoyable afternoon and/or evening you will surely remember.

Beyond Jimmy’s appealing atmosphere, Jimmy’s food alone makes it a favorite among locals and tourists alike. On the first page of their menu, Jimmy’s proudly declares its food philosophy that caters to local suppliers who provide the highest quality food money can buy. Their bourbon is non-GMO, the beef is always grass-fed, raised without antibiotics or hormones, and all of their ingredients are free of high-fructose corn syrup, including their ketchup, in case you were wondering. Their seafood is always wild-caught, causing you to temporarily forget that you are dining in a land-locked state.

Of course, Jimmy’s menu reminds any diner that there is plenty to satisfy your appetite that is Colorado grown. Featured menu items such as the elk and steak chili and the rocky mountain trout will make you forget all about that seafood. For some extra comfort, try some of Jimmy’s signature meatloaf or their mac n’ cheese, prepared with a surprising twist you will have to discover for yourself. Next, don’t forget to grab at the cookie jar, meant to be shared by the whole table, and served with a glass of milk, just like mom used to have.

Jimmy’s comfortable atmosphere enlivened with an underlying energetic vibe extends into its kitchen where a jar of chocolate chip cookies is made with the same attention to detail as the porterhouse steak, both tasting of comfort, quality, and the unexpected zest that is mixed into every dish at Jimmy’s. With a touch of zest, and maybe a little Lain Jazz, Jimmy’s continues to serve up a bit of magic that will thrill and entice you into returning again and again.

Where to Drink This Week: Denver – The Lobby

March 12th, 2013 Posted by Beer, Chefs, Cocktails, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants, Where To Drink This Week No Comment yet

Hooked on The Lobby’s “Beermosa”


Nestled in the Paris hotel building in what was once the lobby of the historic hotel, is a local, family owned American Grille that takes you back in time with its elegant, original brick work, and hardwood floors that form its Victorian structure.   As a Colorado family owned grille that sources locally whenever possible, The Lobby offers its customers a local, Denver based experience that extends beyond its Victorian bricked walls to offer a taste of the fruits of the farm land, breweries, and distilleries of this beautiful state.  In the springtime and throughout the summer, those in the know gather in the back courtyard set amidst a European-style garden to enjoy a “Beermosa” while they soak up the Colorado sunshine.

Even if you are beer purist, preferring your beer in its classic form full of bitter hop and sweet malt, you might just get hooked on the Lobby’s prized “Beermosa.”  Made with Dry Dock’s Apricot Ale and sweet and tart pineapple juice, the “Beermosa” is the treat to be indulged upon while taking in that Colorado spring sunshine.  Afterwards, you might move on to try more of Dry Dock’s brews that are featured all March long as well as at this month’s beer dinner that includes four brews and a signature cocktail, served alongside Chef Nate Gravina’s four course menu featured here.

For those who seek satisfaction beyond the brew, The Lobby serves a long list of hand-crafted cocktails that will refresh as well as any brew.  The “Elderfashion” made with Brokers Gin, St. Germaine, fresh muddle orange, and bubbly, Italian Prosecco served on the rocks would make any beer purist jealous.  For a more warm and tangy experience, the “Ginger Basil Blast” offers an enticing medley of flavors that will appeal to those who enjoy a bit of spice added to their afternoon or evening.

Whether you seek to be enticed, refreshed, nourished, or are just simply seeking to indulge, The Lobby offers a drink to satisfy your every need and circumstance.  Drinking at The Lobby offers one of the most affordable and most authentic tastes of Colorado.

Where to Eat: Vail – Cochon 555

March 8th, 2013 Posted by Aspen, Chefs, Denver, restaurants, Where To Eat This Weekend No Comment yet

One Nation, United By Pork

Pork Diagram

Salted pork, a staple in the Colonial American diet, has always brought Americans to the table.  Indeed, the alluring smell of bacon can awaken anyone’s appetite, leading to a slightly moistened mouth and lip, and a hunger pain that is hard to ignore.

In early America, fatty pigs were prized for their fatty meat that absorbed salt better than the leaner little piggies.  However, later on Americans developed a fear of fat that lead to the production of pigs with leaner meat, taking away from the full flavor of pork that is rooted in the delectable, fine flavor of fat, itself.

In the fight for fat and flavor, a gathering of people are coming together for the fifth year to call attention to the deliciousness of full-fat heritage pork breeds, introducing them to the public in hope of increasing awareness of how the protection and promotion of these heritage breeds is critical for the gastronomic health of this nation.  The event is also endorsing such important practices as sustainable farming, particularly in the context of family farmers and wineries.  The event will showcase wines that are produced sustainably by family wineries.

This special event will arrive to Colorado this Sunday, March 10th at the Four Seasons Resort in Vail.  The event will be centered upon a culinary competition and tasting event that will include 5 local chefs, 5 heritage pigs, and 5 family wineries, hence the “555” component in the name “Cochon 555.”  The chefs will compete to prepare a menu created entirely from heritage breed pigs for 400 pork connoisseurs and 20 pork-loving judges.  The winning chef will be deemed the Prince or Princess of Pork, a title all of the top-chefs are willing to battle for.

The five participating local, Colorado top chefs include Lon Symensma, Alex Seidel, Kelly Liken, Jason Harrison, and Hosea Rosenberg.  Lou Symensma is the chef and owner of “ChoLon,” the Asian inspired restaurant located in Denver’s historic LoDo district.  Chef Alex Seidel was named the Best New Chef by Food & Wine Magazine in 2010, and is also the chef of Denver’s “Fruition,” a farm to table restaurant.  One of the country’s most promising female chefs, as well as a star on Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Chef Kelly Liken is the chef of the restaurant named simply, “Kelly Liken,” an award-winning restaurant located in Vail.  Jason Harrison of the “Four Seasons Restaurant” in Vail is world renowned, belonging to the Chaine des Rotisseurs, the world’s oldest international gastronomic society that was founded in Paris in 1248.  Finally, last but not least, Hosea Rosenberg was the Bravo TV’s Top Chef winner of Season 5, and is also the chef behind “Blackbelly Catering” in Boulder, Colorado.

For a day of nose-to-tail cooking, education on breed diversity, and a window into family farming, Cochon 555 offers an education by way of your senses, particularly your sense of taste.  After all, real sustainability is found in food that is produced responsibly and that just simply tastes better.  Just as it has been done before in our nation’s history, the taste of full-fat pork might just unite us all yet again under this great nation we call America, bringing us together at the table with bibs around our necks, and forks and knives in hand.

For more information on Cochon 555, check out their website or watch this introductory video here.

Where to Drink This Week: Denver – Tom’s Urban 24

March 5th, 2013 Posted by Beer, Cocktails, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants, Where To Drink This Week, Wine No Comment yet

A Groovy Diner to Wine, Dine, & Sip Upon The Cocktail of Your Fantasy

Tom's Urban 24 Inside Shot

Your 24 hour diner is not typically the place to sip upon a perfectly crafted, fine cocktail, but then again, Tom’s Urban 24 is not your typical diner.  Originating from the fruits of the imagination of Tom Ryan, the same man who dreamed up the McGriddle, Stuffed Crust Pizza, and Smashburger among others, Toms Urban 24 is Tom’s vision of the ultimate 1970s groovy downtown diner come to life.

Their cocktails are as groove-inspired as the diner’s decor, featuring beer cocktails such as the “Witty Fizz” made with Hoegaarden, gin, lemon juice, and St. Germain, not quite as dramatic as the featured cocktail of the month named appropriately the “Urban Bloody,” a hand-crafted medley of Sobieski Vodka and charred tomato juice with a touch of horseradish, tabasco, and celery seed that give it that much desired kick.  If you are groovy without alcohol, then try their “Utah Mule” made with ginger beer, lime juice, and Orgeat syrup.

All of the ingredients used in their cocktails are locally sourced from Colorado whenever possible, adding a freshness that can only be found at the local level.  They extend their Colorado proud spirit to their beers, offering draft, bottled, and canned beers from your favorite Colorado brewers.

Since drinking and snacking go hand in hand, Tom’s Urban 24 offers little nibbles such as truffle parmesan popcorn sprinkled with rosemary and a healthy dose of sea salt, as well as a mini mac n’ cheese pot served with green chili carnitas, so delicious it might just deserve a gastronomic applause.

Perfectly crafted cocktails made with fresh and local Colorado ingredients paired with novel nibbles makes Tom’s Urban 24 the grooviest place to go in downtown Denver to wine, dine, and sip upon the cocktail of your fantasy.

Check out more about Tom’s Urban Bar:

Tom’s Urban 24 is located at 1460 Larimer St. Denver CO; Tel: 720-214-0516.

Culinary Connectors LIVE! Corey Miller, Katie Reynolds, & TUACA Drinks & Ink 2013

March 4th, 2013 Posted by Chefs, Cocktails, Denver, Radio Show, restaurants No Comment yet

tuacaTUACA Drinks & Ink Master of Ceremonies Corey Miller and the Denver competition winner Katie Reynolds, of Rome’s Saloon, joins Culinary Connectors Host LIVE! Becky Creighton. TUACA Drinks & Ink Tour is a celebration of delicious cocktails and tattoo artistry. Corey talks about how he because involved with TUACA and the custom design  he created TUACA’s Perfect Chill label. Katie’s delicious cocktail won the Denver leg of the TUACA Drinks & Inks Tour. Together, Corey and Katie, talk why tattoos and the culinary industry go together. Additionally Becky gives away four gift certificates to Denver Restaurant Week!