First look: Ginza Sushi & Grill opens near the University of Denver

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All photos by Lori Midson.
In Tokyo, Ginza is a famous shopping, entertainment and dining district. Across from the University of Denver, it's a full-service sushi restaurant at the new One Observatory Park, a multi-story shopping and residential building. The restaurant made its debut last weekend, and is now open daily for lunch and dinner; it features a full sushi menu as well as teriyaki and noodle dishes. Here's a taste of what you'll find at Denver's Ginza Sushi & Grill.

See also: Best Sushi Bar 2014 -- Land of Sushi

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Stephen McCary, chef of Mizuna, on his weekend warrior and the missing dishwasher

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Lori Midson

Stephen McCary
Mizuna
225 East Seventh Avenue
303-832-4778
mizunadenver.com

This is part two of my interview with Steve McCary, exec chef of Mizuna; part one of our chat ran yesterday.

Most memorable meal you've ever had:
A few years ago, Frank Bonanno and Jacqueline, his wife, took some of the chefs to Guy Savoy in Las Vegas. It was my first time dining in a three-star Michelin restaurant, and the whole experience, from the placing of the silverware to the amount of knowledge our server had about the way the food was prepared, was amazing. It was several hours of incredible food and wine. Just perfect.

See also: Stephen McCary, chef of Mizuna: "I'd love it if the words 'molecular gastronomy' would die"


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Stephen McCary, chef of Mizuna: "I'd love it if the words 'molecular gastronomy' would die"

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Lori Midson

Stephen McCary
Mizuna
225 East Seventh Avenue
303-832-4778
mizunadenver.com

This is part one of my interview with Steve McCary, exec chef of Mizuna; tune in tomorrow for part two of our chat.

It's mid-afternoon on a Tuesday, and Mizuna's kitchen is already buzzing in preparation for dinner service. On the line, executive chef Stephen McCary, a six-year veteran of the venerable restaurant -- still one of Denver's most coveted reservations -- is fielding questions posed by his staff, responding to their inquiries in a soft Southern drawl that reflects his Alabama upbringing, which involved blueberries and peas, squashes and melons, corn and tomatoes, all of which were grown in the two-acre garden on his grandparents' homestead.

See also: Frank Bonanno's ten favorite things at the ten Bonanno Concept eateries


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Avanti Food & Beverage, a collective culinary emporium, opening in LoHi

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Courtesy Meridian 105 Architecture

Late last year, Brad Arguello, one of the founders of Über Sausage, a hot dog joint with locations on East Colfax and in LoHi, parted ways with his partners over what he calls "creative differences." But that break-up turned out to be the beginning of a new relationship for Arguello, who, along with business partners Patrick O'Neill (owner of Choppers Custom Salads and founder of The Club, in Vail), and Rob Hahn, co-founder and head of GRT, a LoHi real estate investment and development group that's backing the project, are gracing the Mile High City with Avanti Food & Beverage, a caboodle of eight shipping containers, all of which are designed to give cooks, chefs and restaurateurs the opportunity to test their dream concepts in a marketplace setting, sans the prohibitive costs -- and uneasy risks -- associated with opening a brick-and-mortar.

See also: TheBigWonderful, a culinary, no-waste food market with fifty vendors, will launch in July


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Ace and Osage Café crowned the kings of wings at Sunday's Wings and Whiskey throwdown

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All photos by Lori Midson
Hundreds of whiskey and chicken-wing aficionados swarmed the quarters at Ace Eat Serve on Sunday afternoon to partake in the restaurant's first Wings and Whiskey jubilee. A coop of chefs, including Tyler Wiard (Elway's Cherry Creek), Troy Guard (TAG), Jamey Fader (culinary director of Big Red F/Post Brewing/Good Bird Chicken), Mimi Banish (Osage Café), Matt Selby (Central Bistro & Bar), AJ Ouellette (Fire On The Mountain), Brandon Foster (Vesta Dipping Grill), Cliff Blauvelt (Steuben's) and Chris Medved and Brandon Biederman (Ace), were pitted against each another in a spirited competition to be crowned the overlord of fowl. Two winners emerged: Ace and Osage Cafe, both of whom waltzed away with trophies. The bash also featured a chicken wing-eating contest (and lots of squawking, sauce-smearing and face paint), whiskey cocktails, beers from Great Divide and live music. The proceeds from the event benefited the Denver Housing Authority's Youth Culinary Academy. Here's a recap of the festivities, and don't miss our full slide show of all the shenanigans.

See also: Wings and Whiskey at Ace

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Announcing the winners of our Wings & Whiskey contest: BigAl, Ncseely and Skinney85

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Who will be crowned the wing king at Ace's Wings & Whiskey showdown?

UPDATE:
We have three winners of our Wings & Whiskey contest, in which we asked Cafe Society readers to answer this question: How many tiger wings did Ace serve between Sunday, June 15 and Sunday, June 22? Congratulations to BigAl, who came the closest with a guess of 1475. Congratulations, too, to NCSeely, who guessed 1460 and Skinney85, who guessed 1450. All three of you came the closest (without going over) to the actual number, which is 1500. We'll be in touch with info about how you can get your tickets.

Original post: VIP tickets to Sunday's Wings & Whiskey battle at Ace, Josh and Jen Wolkon's ping-pong emporium in Uptown, sold out weeks ago, but there are still general admission tickets available to the event, the proceeds of which benefit the Denver Housing Authority's Youth Culinary Academy. And you can win two of those GA tickets right here.

See also: Best First-Date Restaurant Denver 2014 - Ace


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Jordan Wallace, chef of Pizzeria Locale, on his Vitamix episode, David Chang and victory

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Lori Midson

Jordan Wallace
Pizzeria Locale
550 Broadway
720-508-8828
pizzerialocale.com

This is part two of my interview with Jordan Wallace, chef of Pizzeria Locale; part one of our chat ran yesterday.

Most memorable meal you've ever had:
A dinner at Quince in San Francisco before the restaurant relocated to its current home. It was my first trip to San Francisco, and I think we had about sixteen courses, ten of which were pasta, and the meal lasted about five hours. It was way too much food, but I forced down every bite because it was all so delicious. I was eating with Sarah, my now-fiancée, and Yoann Lardeux, who was sous-chef of Frasca at the time, and his wife. Michael Tusk -- the chef and owner -- brought out every course himself, and we drank different small pours of wine with almost every one of them. To top it all off, I spent the entire next day in the kitchen making everything I had eaten the night before.

See also: Jordan Wallace, chef of Pizzeria Locale, on the "atrocious" calzone


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Scenes and highlights from the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

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All photos by Lori Midson.

From chef Marcus Samuelsson's impressive finish in a 5K charity race to Jose Andres stuttering in the microphone when a reporter asked about his first "foodgasm," this past weekend's Food & Wine Classic in Aspen was a bonanza of celebrity chefs, grape masters, spirit kingpins and beer authorities, boozy hazes, culinary sensations and memorable shenanigans (one chef, whose name shall remain anonymous, even ditched his underwear). The annual four-day feast, which sold out months ago, paraded a star-studded lineup of familiar names, including Andrew Zimmern, Dean Fearing, Ming Tsai, Bobby Flay, Danny Meyer, Jacques and Claudine Pépin, Michael Symon and Hugh Acheson, not to mention Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs of the year. Behold some of the peak moments in the picture show on the following pages.

See also: Aspen Food & Wine: Chef Marcus Samuelsson flies right with yard bird chicken


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lydianew204 is the winner of our Top Taco contest

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UPDATE:
We have a winner of our Top Taco contest, in which we asked Cafe Society readers to answer this question: How many Stella's pork carnitas tacos did Comida Cantina at the Source sell during the month of May? Congratulations to lydianew204, who came the closest with a guess of 3,200; the actual number is 4,201.

Original post: On Thursday, June 26, 24 local restaurants will battle it out for taco supremacy in the inaugural Top Taco Denver showdown, a benefit for the Colorado Restaurant Association's Education Foundation ProStart scholarship program. The event, which unfolds in Sculpture Park, located just behind the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, begins at 6:30 p.m. for general admission ticket holders. The soiree continues through 9:30 p.m., and we're giving away two VIP tickets -- more on that perk on the next page -- to one Cafe Society reader and a guest.

See also: Exclusive: Biker Jim opening a second brick-and-mortar in Highlands Ranch

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Jordan Wallace, chef of Pizzeria Locale, on the "atrocious" calzone

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Lori Midson

Jordan Wallace
Pizzeria Locale
550 Broadway
720-508-8828
pizzerialocale.com

This is part one of my interview with Jordan Wallace, chef of Pizzeria Locale; part two of our chat will run tomorrow.

There are two breeds of chef: those who know from day one that cooking is in the cards, and those who have to shuffle the deck a few times before realizing that they could be an ace in the kitchen. Jordan Wallace, executive chef and head pizzaiolo at Pizzeria Locale, falls into the latter category.

See also: Pizzeria Locale will open its second Denver location in Highland later this year

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