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Weekend Recommender: June 27-30

Aspen Ideas Festival, Theatre Aspen’s Les Miserables, and more.

June 26, 2013


Theatre Aspen will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a rendition of Les Misérables.

Aspen Music Festival: Icarus at the Edge of Time
Thursday, June 27, 7:30 p.m.
A special event of the AMFS eight-week season, this multimedia show, presented in conjunction with the Aspen Institute, originally debuted in Manhattan in 2010. Based on the book by Brian Greene, with music by Philip Glass, this incredible performance will feature Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor. Held at the Benedict Music Tent, 845 Meadows Rd., 970-925-9042

Theatre Aspen: Les Miserables
Thursday, June 27-Saturday, June 29, 7:30 p.m. 
Join theatre Aspen for its 30th anniversary season. This Aspen institution offers amazing Broadway talents and promises a fun and entertaining night for family and friends. Now staged in the new Hurst Theatre, on tap this weekend is renowned musical Les Misérables. Directed by Mark Martino, the production features music by Alain Boubil and Claude-Michel Schöneberg. 470 Rio Grande Place; 970-925-5313

Aspen Ideas Festival
Thursday June 27-Tuesday, July 2
One of the many highlights of an Aspen summer, this heady event draws global leaders, media tycoons, CEOs, scientists, and politicos to the mountains. Now in its ninth year and presented by the acclaimed Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, three inspiring program tracks span four topics each. More than 300 speakers include U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan; Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih; Twitter CEO Dick Costolo; Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA); National Rifle Association of America President David A. Keene; Goldman Sachs CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein; and Cellist and the Aspen Institute’s 2013 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence Yo-Yo Ma, among others. Aspen Meadows Resort, 845 Meadows Rd., 970-544-7960

JAS Café Presents: Jon Cleary
Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29, 7 and 9:30 p.m.
The Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) June Festival continues! Staged at the JAS Cafe at The Little Nell, Jon Cleary, an Irish native and New Orleans transplant, brings the succulent sounds of the Crescent City to the mountains. A pianist and vocalist, Cleary deftly navigates soul, funk, jazz, and rock. 675 E. Durant Ave., 866-JAS-TIXX


Fold Brings Sustainable Fare to Carbondale

A West Coast chef opens a new community kitchen.

June 20, 2013

Exactly the type of restaurant, attitude, and skills that I’ve been craving for in the Roaring Fork Valley, Fold Community Kitchen, located on Delores Way, off Satank Road in Carbondale (near Ajax Bike and Sport) is the passionate project of young local Noela Figueroa, a highly skilled chef who recently moved to the area from the West Coast (by way of Portland, Seattle, and Santa Barbara). She has brought a sustainable sensibility, a huge commitment to local farms, and a hip approach that resonates throughout the restaurant’s menu, décor, and ambiance.

I’ve stopped into Fold a couple of times at breakfast and lunch. The coffee and baked goods, such as the handmade pineapple pithiviers and buttermilk biscuits, were delicious, and the lunch of Monte Cristo on homemade brioche served with spiced apple butter and hearty kale salad with fennel was outstanding. 

During a recent visit I had the chance to speak with Figueroa, who with superstar sous chef Caroline Glover (formerly of the Spotted Pig in New York and a grad of the Culinary Institute of America), are now offering breakfast, lunch, and Sunday brunch. Dinner service begins this month. It’s just the kind of small, intimate, dedicated culinary experience for which local diners, like me, have been clamoring.

“The Roaring Fork Valley has a lot of opportunity for people interested in food,” says Figueroa. “We have visitors from all over the world, transplants from larger cities, and natives who have grown up with cosmopolitan influences. In addition, there’s an emphasis on comforting, healthy food, and sometimes the intersection of those two points of view gets confused. Taste is still subjective, and people like what they like—that doesn't mean they can't be turned on to something new, there just needs to be a reason for them to do so.”

Fold satisfies a niche for American food with hearty ingredients and innovative preparations.

“I’d like to try and fill that desire for comfort, with an additional twist that makes you think twice, and eat a little more,” she adds, an ambitious endeavor for the small staff in a small space.

“Caroline and I are doing this because we truly love food,” she says.

Beginning this summer, dinners will also be served at Fold. The opening dinner featured radish salad with dandelion greens and a chive dressing; arugula agnolotti with an apple-date chutney, Idiazabal cheese and walnut sauce; Rocky Mountain trout on a celery root puree with grapefruit chutney and a fennel slaw. For the final course a gluten-free chocolate cake with an almond milk sorbet and a salty sweet brittle.

Furthermore, Figueroa adds, “Eventually, I'd like to offer cooking classes for children and adults,specialty wine dinners with some friends, and the project that I am most excited about: a prepared foods program based around Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares with local farms.” 1909 Dolores Way, Carbondale, 970-963-1163



Best Eats for Your Denver Road Trip

If you're hungry on your next trip to Denver, check out these eateries.

June 19, 2013

Burgers and grass-fed brisket are on tap at The Grind in Glenwood Springs
Unbelievable burgers and grass-fed brisket are on tap at The Grind in Glenwood Springs 

The drive from the mountains to Denver on a summer day is, in itself, spectacular. And even if you are dreading yet another jaunt to the Front Range, it’s a great chance to discover dining locales that may have yet to make it onto your GPS.

Glenwood Springs (Exit 116): The Grind
I time my exit from the valley so that we can gorge on one of the best burgers in the state. Now in its new and expanded location, stop in for its signature beef grind, a custom blend of locally raised, grass-fed cuts of brisket, short rib and chuck, ground on the premises. If not a meat-eater, the best (hands down) black bean veggie burger in the Rockies is the Mayan, a housemade black bean Grind, with chipotle mayo, pumpkin seed salsa, lettuce, tortilla chips, and roasted Anaheim chilis. The Grind is a burger joint for the food obsessed, worth a trip in any season.
Order This: The Daily Grind, a changing chef-inspired creation, ground from beef, chicken, lamb, tuna, pork, buffalo, or veggies. 970-230-9258

Edwards (Exit 163): Eat! Drink!
Worthy of a date night, this stop features a menu of gourmet paninis and small plates to share. Eat! Drink! serves 30 wines by the glass (all under $10). For an impromptu picnic, assemble a cheese basket from more than 200 artisan selections.
Order This: Peppadew peppers stuffed with Valdeón blue cheese, wrapped in prosciutto, then finished in a panini press and topped with honey and Marcona almonds. 970-926-1393

Frisco (Exit 201): Alpine Market & Deli
For those dedicated to local, organic products, or have specific dietary needs (vegan, gluten-free) don’t miss the Alpine Market & Deli, an organic food store, raw juice bar, and all-natural meats deli. While sometimes the wait can be long, it’s worth it, and the selection keeps me returning to this fine eatery.
Order This: Brant’s Super Protein Bar made with chocolate, peanut butter, sesame, sunflower seeds, and coconut. Add a warm Harvest Spice juice of apples, carrots, ginger, and a hint of lemon. 970-668-5535

Idaho Springs (Exit 241): Smokin’ Yards BBQ
Recommended to me by former Pullman Chef John Little, Smokin’ Yards has attained a cult-like following among frequent I-70 travelers. Using oak to evenly flavor its meat, Smokin’ Yards is an unexpected gem in Idaho Springs.
Order This: Moist brisket sandwich served with chipotle mashed sweet potatoes, spicy coleslaw, and fried dill pickles. 303-567-9273

I-70 East Honorable Mentions:

The Pullman: This restaurant is such a no-brainer I almost didn’t feel like I needed to mention it. For both adults and kids, it’s a homerun and less than two minutes off I-70. I usually go with the daily special, and the kids’ menu is the best deal in the valley – lunch, dessert, and a drink for $8. 330 7th St., 970-230-9234

Larkburger: Yes it’s a chain. But it’s a local chain and they make a great burger. Often oozing with grease, I don’t recommend eating these in the car. Shakes and fries worth the caloric splurge. Located in Edwards. 

Heading West to Grand Junction on I-70:

Red Brick Barbecue: First recommended to me by Lisa Houston, publisher of Edible Aspen and a Texas native who knows her barbecue. She doesn’t fool around when it comes to BBQ, and either does Red Brick, located in Silt. Take note of hours. They are closed between lunch and dinner hours and they mean it. 970-876-1119

Bin 707 Foodbar: The most exciting restaurant to come out of Grand Junction since 1997 (when I started keeping track!). Owners are excited and devoted to a seasonal, farm-driven menu and friendly service. A must in GJ. 970-243-4543



3 Beers for Breakfast: Waking Up with Goose Island

Goose Island throws a decadent, beer-centric breakfast for the Food & Wine Classic.

June 14, 2013

There are many events at the Food & Wine Classic outside of the tents, but none more thoughtfully prepared than this morning’s first Goose Island beer breakfast led by the brand’s educator and “beer chick” extraordinaire Christina Perozzi.

It was 7:30 a.m. when we started drinking beer atop the beautiful Limelight Lodge rooftop courtyard. But the selections served by the Chicago craft brewer—perhaps best known for its smooth and subtle Matilda, a Belgian-style pale ale—were incredibly drinkable and dare I say, desirable to consume so soon after sunrise.

Three beers were featured this morning: Sofie Paradisi, a Belgian-style farmhouse ale with bright citrus notes and a tart finish; Pepe Nero, a mahogany Belgium farmhouse ale with a black pepper finish; and the outstanding Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, a stout featuring rich, roasted flavors that is aged in bourbon barrels from Heaven Hill Distillery. (The latter received a perfect 100 rating by Beer Advocate and is currently rated sixth on a list of top 100 American beers.)

Each beer was delightfully paired with the dishes by Limelight Lodge’s chef de cuisine Joe Gonyo, including a nicely balanced elk hash with poached eggs and just a touch of hollandaise to add creaminess, and a beer batter waffle made with Goose Island Summertime Ale, caramel ice cream, and candied bacon sprinkles. Mix in a perfect view of Independence Pass over the white tents in Wagner Park and the morning was close to perfect, indeed.

By Amiee White Beazley


The Ultimate Father’s Day at Grand Cochon

Five pigs, five chefs, five winemakers, one "king of porc." Dad will love it.

June 13, 2013

If you haven’t already heard, the 31st Anniversary of the Food & Wine Classic is this weekend. But should you be shut out of the tents or preferred not to shell out the money for the full weekend pass, hope is not lost for regional foodies.

This Father’s Day, bring your favorite bacon-lovin’ father, dad, son, boyfriend, et al, to the ultimate pork competition in the country—the Grand Cochon in Aspen. Held Sunday, June 16, at 3 p.m., this finale event, which takes place at the gorgeous Hotel Jerome (330 E. Main St.) , is the culmination of a 10-city regional competition where savvy chefs take a whole heritage-breed hog and create a pork-centric menu. Think Food & Wine Classic Grand Tasting – reserve wines, top chefs, artisan cocktails, regional beers, butcher demos—but smaller, cheaper (tickets start at $125) and all focused on pork, including pig-infused desserts. Is it not every man’s dream?

While the event is known for its party atmosphere and truly virtuosic dishes, the story behind Cochon is even more inspiring. According to Brady Lowe, founder of regional Cochon555, and the finale event in Aspen, Grand Cochon, the focus of this competition is to promote heritage pigs and breed diversity in local and national communities. It’s the only heritage breed pig culinary competition in the country.

“The main thing is,” he says, “it’s for a good cause. It speaks to local food and inspires to keep eating in the right direction.”

Each competing chef sources his or her own adolescent whole pig or a mature split hog, which provides a great opportunity for attendees to try pork from around the country and learn the nuances of how they were raised, what they were fed and they taste. Many of the chefs also bring the regional pig farmers along for the Grand Cochon ride.

“The success of Cochon 555 and Grand Cochon is attributed to one thing—flavor,” says Lowe. “(When the competition began), we set out on a mission to create a national conversation around heritage pigs and responsible agriculture, and today we celebrate with the greatest culinary event in the country – the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. It’s an honor to be there, and an honor to feed the foodies, the influencers, educators, and celebrated icons of our national food community.”

At the end of the night the judge’s panel of food expert and culinary stars, along with the audience, choose a winner. So who shall be crowned this year’s “King or Queen of Porc”? Only time, and many, many pork dishes, will tell. 

Tickets for Grand Cochon are $150 per person for general admission and are available online. VIP tickets for $200 include early access to the floor. Attendees do not need a Food &Wine Classic in Aspen pass to attend Grand Cochon. This event is open to the public consumers with a Grand Cochon ticket.



Last Call for 'Food & Wine' Classic Tickets

Tickets for three anticipated “A La Carte” events are still on the table.

June 12, 2013

No pass to the sold out Food & Wine Classic in Aspen (June 14-16) this year? No worries! There are some great events beyond the Grand Tastings and seminars, and tickets are still available for purchase by the general public. Our top picks:

Reserve Wine Tastings: These feature rare wines, expert winemakers, and sommeliers from around the world. Moderated and hosted by Food & Wine magazine's Wine Editor, Ray Isle, and wine experts Richard Betts and Antonio Galloni, the Reserve Tastings at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen offer attendees the ultimate wine tasting experience. Ticket prices range from $225-275. 

Last Bite Dessert Bash: Hosted by Food & Wine's own Gail Simmons, judge of Bravo’s Top Chef, and featuring Johnny Iuzzini, this oh-so-sweet soiree is a celebration of decadence, featuring a never-ending spread of desserts, including buttercream-frosted cakes, pastries, meringues, parfaits, petit fours, tarts, and galettes. Tickets $125. Held Friday, June 14, 10 p.m. at the Hotel Jerome, 330 E. Main St.  

5K Charity Run: Run with celebrity chefs and wine experts through the city streets and parks of Aspen, while raising money for Wholesome Wave at the Celebrity Chef 5K Charity Run. Not only will an impressive cast of characters run through town, but it's amazing to witness that many people who drink for a living, such as Bobby Stuckey and Richard Betts, are also hardcore athletes. Held at 7 a.m. on Friday, June 14, at the Rio Grande Park. 

All “A La Carte” Food & Wine Classic events can be purchased separately from the weekend passes that are officially sold out by calling 1-877-900-WINE. 



Weekend Recommender: June 7-9

Snowmass Mammoth Fest, Grateful Dead tribute band at Belly Up, and the Aspen Eco Fest.

June 06, 2013

See acts like Mofro and AWOLNATION at Snowmass Mammoth Fest this weekend

Snowmass Mammoth Fest
Friday, June 7, 4 p.m. and Saturday, June 8, noon
Snowmass officially kicks off its summer with one of the best music fests in the West, which just so happens to feature a national chili competition and beer grand tasting, too. Held at the gorgeous Town Park, music acts include Lord Huron, JJ Grey and Mofro, Return to the Dark Side of the Moon, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, The Joy Formidable, AWOLNATION, and more. Once the fest ends in Town Park check out the Late Night Village Vibe (11 p.m.) at Snowmass Base Village, held at both Venga Venga and Base Camp Bar & Grill. More than 25 microbrews will be on tap for the beer grand tasting, while two International Chili Society sanctioned cook-offs will be staged, too. Cheers! Visit snowmassmammothfest.com/tickets for ticket and pass info

Aspen Eco Fest
Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8
Held at the historic Wheeler Opera House, this fourth annual event draws more than 100 vendors and touts all things green, whether recycled, remade, organic, or energy-efficient. Focused on environmental education, this unique event is free and open to the public. 320 E. Hyman Ave., 970-920-5770

Aspen Art Museum: Free Family Workshop
Saturday, June 8, 3:30-5 p.m.
Aspen’s acclaimed contemporary art museum holds free family gatherings on select Saturdays, featuring hands-on art projects for children and adults of all ages. While there, check out the current exhibitions: Thea Djordjadze and Rob Pruitt: An American Folk Artist, both on display through July 14. 590 N. Mill St., 970-925-8050

Belly Up: Shakedown Street Performs Europe ‘72
Saturday, June 8, 9 p.m.
Fans of the Grateful Dead will be transported back in time during this special tribute concert from acclaimed band Shakedown Street. The performance will resurrect the Grateful Dead’s most impressionable musical era. 450 S. Galena St., 970-544-9800


Chef Mark Fischer Opens Town

Carbondale's culinary scene heats up with Chef Mark Fischer's latest restaurant.

June 01, 2013

The pea agnolotti dish at the recently-opened Town restaurant.

After months of anticipation and speculation, Town, Chef Mark Fischer’s most ambitious restaurant to date, is finally open in Carbondale. To say it’s met the expectations of those waiting for its arrival is an understatement. Located in the space that once housed Ella and Hestia on Main Street, Fischer’s latest incarnation is bold, dynamic, experimental, and ever changing. As a fan of his former flagship restaurant, Six89, and his current Glenwood outpost, The Pullman, Town won’t disappoint. We expect foodies will drive from near and far to experience this epicurean adventure.

Since opening for dinner on May 1, the restaurant, which employs Chef de Cuisine Bryce Orblom, has been bustling. The packed house is tempting diners with revolving and interesting dishes and ingredients. Crispy pig’s ears and fried cheese curds are popular starters for the curious. The English peas, served edamame style, tossed in oil, sea salt, and sesame seeds, are sweet and satisfying, and just as addictive as its soy brethren.

Reading the witty menu—a Fischer trademark—is fun in and of itself. Nowhere else will you find chilaquiles for brunch next to Hamachi crudo with barrel-aged fish sauce and crispy shallots, or a sunchoke, artichoke, and sunflower salad next to rabbit tacos with pickled onions (all of which are highly recommended). At dinner, an artisan bread course is prepared by Fiona Smollen, a baker formerly at the shuttered Grana bread who crafts fresh baked daily goods.

When Fischer announced his first and defining restaurant, Six89, was closing last summer, collective hearts in the Aspen valley skipped a beat.  What could he do to top it? Fischer never seemed concerned, and never questioned if a town like Carbondale would be able to handle whatever edge he decided to jump off next. But the new place had to be uniquely Carbondale, with all its quirks and casual sophistication. And there’s an innovative cocktail list to boot.

Town is a reflection of what is happening in this small outpost of local food, experimental living, and thoughtful execution. Where else in the valley—or the state for that matter—will you hear a farmer saying to the chef, “I’ve got a goat that I’ll bring in for you.”

Town is open for breakfast in its new bakery/coffee/entry space beginning at 7 a.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. on Saturday. Lunch is served daily beginning at 11 a.m., with dinner nightly at 5 p.m. Sunday brunch at 10 a.m. Dine al fresco on a fabulous, large patio. 

By Amiee White Beazley


Weekend Recommender: May 31-June 2

Film screening at Wheeler, the sounds of summer at Belly Up, and more!

May 30, 2013

The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies hosts a family-friendly gardening event this weekend.

At the Wheeler: “Girl Rising” 
Friday, May 31, 7:30 p.m.
Academy Award nominated director Richard Robbins brings us Girl Rising, a powerful documentary about how education can change the life of a girl. With an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, and Cate Blanchett, this film is evocative and authentic, a heady, and important film to kick-off the weekend. Wheeler Opera House, 320 E. Hyman Ave., 970-920-5770

ACES: Garden Hunting
Friday, May 31, 9-10 a.m.
Little tykes can learn just how a garden grows at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. Held at the gorgeous Hallam Lake, little garden plots will be prepped, so bring mini spades and dig in during this family fun event. ACES, 100 Puppy Smith St., 970-925-5756

On Stage: 40 Oz of Freedom at Belly Up
Saturday, June 1, 10 p.m.
The best Sublime tribute band takes to the Belly Up stage for a locals’ favorite show. Sounding eerily similar to the real deal, fusing ska and punk, this band pays homage to former Sublime frontman Bradley Nowell. 450 S. Galena St., 970-544-9800


Aspen Ideas Festival Unveils 2013 Schedule

The Aspen Institute announces a stellar lineup for the 2013 Ideas Festival.

May 28, 2013

The 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival features an intriguing lineup of world class speakers.

An Aspen summer begs for outdoor adventure and family fun, yet it’s also that precious time when world leaders, activists, musicians, politicos, artists, and scientists descend on our little mountain town for one of the most acclaimed “think tanks” on the globe. The anticipated lineup for the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival has just been announced, and, as to be expected, it’s sure to be a feast for the senses and synapses.

From June 26 to July 2, The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic magazine stage the ninth annual Aspen Ideas Festival at the Aspen Meadows Resort campus. The staggering list of headliners and presenters is a who’s who of today’s true change makers and trend setters; speakers include U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, the Aspen Institute’s 2013 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence Yo-Yo Ma,
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, The SING Campaign founder, singer, and activist Annie Lennox, former secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department Henry Paulson, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, and many more. Nearly 300 insightful thinkers will participate, presenting to a crowd of nearly 4,000 attendees over the weeklong affair.

Given its intense scope and range of topics, the festival is broken up into several program tracks. Three span the festival in its entirety (June 26 to July 2): America: One Nation, Divisible; The Critical Middle East, and The Economic Puzzle. From June 26 to 29, attendees can choose between four diverse program tracks, including Citizen Artists, Space and the Cosmos, The Energy Revolution, and the Reinvention of Television. Lastly, from June 29 to July 2, featured program tracks are Flying Cars? The Future of Transportation, How We Learn, Innovation by Design, and You and Your Health. Check out the festival's website for complete details on program tracks. 

Only in Aspen will there be such an influx of powerful minds and innovative ideas. New to this year’s festival is a preview of sorts. Held June 24 to 25, the 21st Century National Service Summit is a celebration of the Franklin Project’s vision of civilian national service, and findings from the event, featuring General Stanley McChrystal (ret.) and more, will be announced on opening day of the Aspen Ideas Festival.

If you can’t be in Aspen during Ideas Fest or are unable to attend, the extensive online coverage ensures you can follow it without skipping a beat. Beginning June 26, The Atlantic will feature ongoing coverage via articles, video, and photography, while The Aspen Institute will post video and audio clips on its website, the Aspen Institute’s YouTube channel, iTunesU, and on the Aspen Institute’s video channel. Follow all the action on Twitter at @aspenideas with hashtag #AspenIdeas. Finally, Festival discussions can be followed year-round on the Aspen Ideas Festival blog

Fuel for the mind and inspiration for change, this event offers those “only in Aspen” moments that connect us not just to the town of Aspen, but also to the rapidly changing global community. For detailed info on confirmed speakers, program tracks, and pass holder information, visit www.aspenideas.org

By Erin Lentz

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