Fall Has Arrived at Local Kitchens -- Including Mine

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Danielle Lirette
Fall has arrived at the kitchen of To the Wind Bistro.
This year, just as I've done for as long as my kids can remember, I joined a local farm share. Flush with produce for nearly five months, I made zucchini bread, seared green beans, melon aguas frescas, panzanella, turnip puree and fennel-and-orange salads, cooking my way from early summer to fall with whatever the farmer felt like growing. But this week the bag of dirt-covered produce -- the last of the season -- looked different. Instead of tomatoes there were onions, instead of melons there were potatoes and carrots. Despite this streak of warm weather, fall is really here.

See also: A Closer Look at To the Wind Bistro

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BaRed Becomes Bar Red, Updates Menu to Classic Italian

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Bar Red
Cliff and Zachary Young opened a bar,restaurant and live music venue around the corner from CY Steak -- Cliff Young's other venture -- last year under the name BaRed. The intention was for the name to be pronounced "Bar Red," but to avoid confusion, the Youngs have updated the name so that it's now Bar Red on all signage, social media and printed menus. That menu has also been updated to focus on classic Italian dishes to highlight chef de cuisine Adrian Chidester's training and Zach Young's North Denver Italian roots.

See also: BaRed: The naked truth about a bar's name change

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Sidewinder for Sale, Yazoo Raises the Roof: A Second Helping of Cafe Society, October 13-17

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The Sidewinder bar.
The Sidewinder is for sale, as reported on Backbeat this week. The hundred-year-old building in Globeville has been home to numerous saloons, including one incarnation that served some of the town's best green chile; for the past two years, it's also hosted great live music acts in a room that had been a union gathering place. And another spot is about to get into the live music business: After months of untangling red tap, Yazoo Barbecue downtown finally got a cabaret license, which it will celebrate with a party on the Yazoo rooftop deck tomorrow night.

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Cornstarch Takes a Turn in the Spotlight at Argyll, the Noshery

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Danielle Lirette
Cornstarch is the secret to the waffles at The Noshery.
Food is every bit as trendy as the clothes we wear. In the '80s, sundried tomatoes were fashionable. These days, menus are accented with guanciale, kombucha and pickled everything, from onions to chard stems. One ingredient that's stayed away from the spotlight? Cornstarch. But that could change.

See also: Behind the Scenes at the Noshery

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Fast-Casual Pizza Chains Vie for a Slice of the Denver Market

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Modmarket isn't expanding for now, but a new crust is rising.
Restaurateurs around Denver are really hoping you'll get on board with their fast-casual pizza concepts; time and money are being spent perfecting dough recipes, building health-conscious angles, and firing up custom ovens to blister crusts in the amount of time it takes you to swipe a debit card. Businesses are welcoming comparisons to other successful fast-casual operations -- after all, if consumers have made the lowly burrito the king of the quick lunch, success seems more likely for newer chains if they mimic Chipotle's service model and goals. Pizzeria Locale, Modmarket and Project Pizza are all competing for a slice of the pie market and are learning as they go.

See also: Frasca Team Opens Second Fast-Casual Pizzeria Locale

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Good Things Come in Small Packages at Rincon Argentino -- Which Is Getting Bigger

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Danielle Lirette
Empanadas at Rincon Argentino.
Empanadas may be small pockets of dough, but they've turned into big business for Christian Saber, the native of Buenos Aires who opened an empanada shop in Boulder nearly two years ago. When construction is completed by the end of the month, Rincon Argentino will have taken over an adjacent space, doubling the number of seats and giving people a more comfortable place to wait for to-go orders.

See also: Good Things Come in Small Packages at Rincon Argentino

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Seasons Change, Menus Change...and So Do Chefs at Restaurants I've Reviewed

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Danielle Lirette
Gozo helped Broadway become even hotter as a restaurant neighborhood.
With fall's cooler weather, menus are changing around town. But there are other changes at local restaurants, too, including chefs moving on. Here's a look at recent chef switches at a trio of restaurants I've reviewed -- including Gozo, one of the most promising new spots this year.

See also:
Review of Gozo, a Real Hot Spot -- in More Ways Than One

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The Sky's the Limit for Wayne Conwell of Sushi Sasa, Glaze by Sasa

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Danielle Lirette
Wayne Conwell at Glaze by Sasa -- just one of his new ventures.
Fans of Sushi Sasa may have wondered why it took chef-owner Wayne Conwell nine years to expand. But Glaze by Sasa, which I review this week, isn't Conwell's first foray outside of Sasa. It's simply the most visible one.

A year ago, Conwell teamed up with Epicurean Group to expand the catering options in suites at Broncos games. In addition, Conwell's crew designs and prepares the Japanese menu for first-class customers on United Airlines' daily flight from DIA to Tokyo. "When you fly, you're generally expecting to pay a lot of money and get food that's not very good," says Conwell. "Now that's changing."

See also:
Review of Glaze by Sasa -- a Sweet Combination

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DinnerLab's Pop-Up Experiment Comes to Denver

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Matt Twing
Chef Danny Espinoza walked right off a flight from New York and was shuffled to a cramped kitchen in Arvada to cook for a hundred strangers. It was his first time on the line in Colorado. "I always wanted to come here," the vivacious Chicagoan chef says of Denver. "They're like, 'Hey, you're launching in Denver.' Fuck yeah."

Espinoza is christening a new experiment: a new branch of nation-wide pop-up dinner company DinnerLab. Already running dozens of dinners per week in abandoned office building, distilleries and other unconventional places, the company hopes to make a splash in Denver with its unique business model: one part Silicon Valley industriousness and one part kitchen ingenuity. Locals got their first taste of the new concept on September 26 at Infinite Monkey Theorem in RiNo.

See also: Dinner Lab, a pop-up restaurant concept, expands to Denver


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Why These Three Restaurateurs Went Into the Food Industry

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Danielle Lirette
Erin Markham was raised at Saucy Noodle Ristorante.
People who want an easy life don't go into the food industry. Hours are long, you're on your feet all day, and margins are tight. So why does anyone do it?

Some, like Erin Markham, owner of Saucy Noodle Ristorante -- which I review this week -- literally grew up in the restaurant. "I was raised here," she says, "so it was certainly in the back of my head to be in the restaurant business." And while she worked in other restaurants and studied restaurant management as she got older, "I wasn't thinking I was going to take over the family business." But when her grandfather, Sam Badis, asked her to get involved on a more official basis in the early '90s, she couldn't resist.

See also: At Fifty, Saucy Noodle Ristorante Is Like an Old Friend

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