Best Eats for Your Denver Road Trip
If you're hungry on your next trip to Denver, check out these eateries.
June 19, 2013
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
BY AMIEE WHITE BEAZLEY
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.
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.
BY AMIEE WHITE BEAZLEY
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.
BY AMIEE BEAZLEY
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.
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.
Weekend Recommender: May 24-27
Memorial Day celebrations: skiing, live music, and film!
May 23, 2013
Memorial Weekend: Ski Ajax!
Saturday-Monday May 25-27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Just when you thought ski season was over the Aspen Skiing Company has decided to open Ajax Mountain for Memorial Day weekend. The top of the mountain has plenty of snow for fun in the sun, with 90 acres open to ski and ride, and the Silver Queen Gondola will operate from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., while the Ajax Express Chair will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Take a break for lunch at the Sundeck restaurant or Ajax Tavern. Aspen Mountain, 970-923-1227
Wheeler Film Society Screening
Friday, May 24, 7:30 p.m. & Saturday, May 25, 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The acclaimed film “No” will be screened at the historic Wheeler Opera House, a story on Chilean military director Augusto Pinochet. Featuring actor Gael Garcia Bernal, this tense drama retells an important political dilemma. Wheeler Opera House, 320 E. Hyman Ave., 970-920-5770
On Stage: Sons Of Fathers at Belly Up
Monday, May 27, 9 p.m.
This Memorial Day show will surely have town abuzz. Hailing from Texas, Sons of Fathers is known for its strong live act, and front men David Beck and Paul Cauthen have been tapped as emerging artists to watch. Expect a genre-bending mix of Americana folk, country, and rock. 450 S. Galena St., 970-544-9800
BY ERIN LENTZ
Front Range Restaurant Picks
Four essential Boulder and Denver dining destinations.
May 20, 2013
Denver's The Green Russell
Now that the off-season has arrived and many Aspen restaurants are taking well-deserved off season breaks, there’s no better time for exploring some of the standout dining options on the Front Range. Denver and Boulder have become an emerging destination for varied cuisine with continued homeruns by a handful of proven professionals, and young, experimental chefs. Taking the family on a Front Range culinary adventure may just be the oft-needed cure for those off-season blues.
Set in a historic building, the patio of Osteria Marco is abuzz during spring and summer. I’ve eaten here several times—with and without kids—and have yet to be disappointed. The setting is only second to the menu: Delightful Italian classics, burrata with grilled Italian bread, bistecca with grilled asparagus, and the best rabbit dish I have ever had, served over a parmesan carrot brood broth. Best seat in the house: On the patio or in the window seats overlooking Larimer Square. 1453 Larimer, Denver
Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen
With a rousing bar scene and exceptionally crafted fare, Euclid Hall serves causal, elevated pub food, such as fresh, hand-cranked sausage, poutine, and beef marrow bones. Led by celebrated chef Jennifer Jasinski (also of nearby Rioja and Bistro Vendome), Euclid pedals fresh ingredients with innovative preparations, an incredible cocktail and beer menu, and its daily special is always worth a try. Great portions, laid back atmosphere. 1317 14th Street at Larimer
The Kitchen (Upstairs)
The Kitchen has fast become a Front Range dining juggernaut. With two fine dining locations—one in Boulder, which includes “Upstairs” (the lounge) and “Next Door” (the pub), and another location in Denver at 1530 16th Street (the entrance is on Wazee Street)—this was my favorite dining experience on a recent Denver and Boulder trip. Everything on the menu is new, fresh, and exciting, served on small share plates. They, too, feature an amazing wine, beer, and cocktail menu, which isn’t all that surprising, but the servers’ culinary knowledge makes you want to pull up a bar stool and start conversing. The Upstairs locale in Boulder has an inviting community space and an exciting, unpretentious vibe. With my two kids in tow, I sat at the community table and met several locals who gave us great recommendations and enticed my children to try an array of pickled vegetables, flat bread with la quercia prosciutto and burrata (who can resist more cheese!), and freshly made tomato soup, among other bites. I could have spent the entire night nibbling, toasting, and talking away. With large windows that overlook the bustle of Pearl Street it was the perfect dose of city life. 1039 Pearl St., Boulder
The Green Russell
On the hunt for a custom cocktail? This underground joint—another of Frank Bonanno’s empiric locations—is about as cool as they come. When I walked in jazz was being played, while vested and mustacioed attendants scrambled behind the bar as they traded freshly squeezed juices. Classic cocktail glasses lined the bar. It’s underground, it’s experimental, and while it could use a little more creativity in the spirit selection itself (it’s no Justice Snow’s in terms of originality) the ambiance is anything but boring. 1422 Larimer, Denver