Shangri-La Is Now Maci Cafe

Categories: The Dish

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Since Massimo Ruffinazzi, who was born and raised in Italy and then was a chef/partner at Il Fornaio, took over the Shangri-La coffee house in LoHi three years ago, he's given neighbors plenty of reasons to hang out there. Great coffee, for starters, as well as homemade breads, salumi plates and salad. And now he's truly making the place his own.

See also: 100 Favorite Dishes -- Truffo Panino From Shangi-La

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Fire Closes Denver Diner...for Now

Categories: The Dish

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The Denver Diner has been open 24/7 for over two decades in its current location on Colfax-- but last night, the place was dark. Early Sunday morning, a fire broke out in the restaurant, damaging the kitchen and the roof and sending two firefighters to the hospital with minor injuries.

See also:
Best 24/7 Restaurant 2014 -- Breakfast King

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The Dish on Blair Taylor, CRA Foodservice Hall of Fame Award Winner

Categories: The Dish

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Blair Taylor's Barolo Grill.
At Barolo Grill, the Italian restaurant that Blair Taylor opened two decades ago at 3030 East Sixth Avenue, there's only one thing on the menu from twenty years ago: the duck. "I'm not allowed to change it," Taylor says. But he can, and does, think about changing everything else. "You have to keep on moving forward, keeping the passion front and center," he says. "Exploring, educating, translating." And to help with the education, he closes the restaurant and takes the entire staff to Italy every summer.

See also:
The Dish on Blair Taylor, CRA Food Service Hall of Fame Award Winner


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The Dish on Jensen Cummings, CRA's Philanthropist Award Winner

Categories: The Dish

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Jensen Cummings, chef and founder of Heroes Like Us.
As chef at the now-defunct Row 14, Jensen Cummings was used to being asked to participate in charity events; out of 150 requests, he did 31 events in 2013. And even as he made plans to open his own spot, the Slotted Spoon Meatball Eatery, at 2730 South Colorado Boulevard, he was thinking there had to be a better way for restaurants to work with nonprofits. So when Slotted Spoon opened in February 2013, it did so with a Heroes Against Hunger essay contest with a local school; the three fifth-graders who wrote the winning essays were honored at the restaurant's opening festivities. A few months later, Cummings hosted a block party benefiting three nonprofits with Jeff Osaka, Matt Selby, Tyler Wiard, Brandon Foster and Daniel Asher (all chefs renowned for their charitable efforts), where kids could show off produce they'd grown. And that wasn't the only thing growing that summer: Cummings had just learned that he and his wife, an events manager, were having a son, and that news and the success of the party provided the catalyst to turn Heroes Against Hunger into Heroes Like Us, a full-fledged nonprofit that could focus on helping restaurants work better with nonprofits -- and vice versa. "Independently owned restaurants, which take the biggest burden in these nonprofit events, are essentially nonprofits themselves," Cummings points out.

See also: The Dish on Paul and Aileen Reilly, CRA's Best Newcomers Award-Winners

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The Dish on Alex Seidel, the CRA's Outstanding Professional Award Winner

Categories: The Dish

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Alex Seidel at Fruition Farms.
"We set out to do a small, simple restaurant, not to blaze any trails," Alex Seidel, chef-owner of Fruition, told Westword two years after he opened that award-winning restaurant."The positive reaction has been fantastic, but we never expected this kind of attention. I'm just a simple chef who cooks food."

A simple chef who continues to collect accolades from around the country and who won the Outstanding Professional Award from the Colorado Restaurant Association this spring. And now he's a simple chef who's about to open a much bigger restaurant: the 5,000-square-foot Mercantile Dining & Provision in Union Station, whose kitchen alone is bigger than all of Fruition.

See also: The Dish on Paul and Aileen Reilly, the CRA's Exceptional Newcomer Award-Winners

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The Dish on Paul and Aileen Reilly, CRA's Exceptional Newcomer Award Winners

Categories: The Dish

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Aileen and Paul Reilly.
After cooking around town, including at the late, lamented Encore, Paul Reilly and his sister, Aileen, finally got to open a place of their own last year. And what a place it is! Beast + Bottle, at 719 East 17th Avenue, is the restaurant "we conjured in our heads since we were kids," Paul explains. It's a seasonally inspired farm-to-fork operation, a nose-to-tail restaurant -- and while you might think Beast + Bottle has come a little late to that party, rather than seeming passé, the restaurant feels expansive, quirky and worldly, as the menu travels from Colorado to Maine to Italy to North Africa in the span of twenty dishes. Given the crowds that come here, on many nights Beast + Bottle is the party. While Aileen handles the front of the house (a lovely patio and narrow but cozy dining room), Paul works wonders in the kitchen.

See also: From farm-to-fork, nose-to-tail, Beast + Bottle is full of delightful surprises

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Dishes of DISH: Ceviche from Adelita's Cocina y Cantina

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Adelita's Cocina y Cantina
On Sunday, September 7, 2014, Westword will host its twentieth annual celebration of the Denver dining scene, DISH, in Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, where many of the favorite restaurants of Cafe Society writers and readers will be serving delectable dishes. Like Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, for example, which is eschewing the taco template for something a little fancier.

See also: Dishes of DISH: Gourmet oysters from Angelo's Taverna

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DISH: Get Your Tickets Now, and Belly Up to Our Bloody Mary Bar!

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Get ready for the kickoff of the fall food season! On Sunday, September 7, DISH will return to Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. This is Westword's twentieth annual celebration of the Denver drinking and dining scene, and it promises to be quite a party.

There are two very good reasons to get your tickets now: Prices will go up on Friday, August 22; this is your last chance to grab a general admission ticket for $35. And that ticket now includes not just free spirits and drink samples, but a Bloody Mary bar.

See also: Photos of 2013 DISH at Sculpture Park


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In Season: Three Colorado Peach Dishes in Denver

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Juliet Wittman
Nothing better than a fresh peach from a market stall.
The best way to eat a Colorado peach is straight off the tree or from a roadside stand, still warm from the sun. Just dust off the skin, take a bite and let the juice run down your chin as you savor the sweetness. After that, the pros can have a go at capturing that flavor in their own culinary creations. Restaurants around town are bringing in peaches by the crate for salads, cobblers and crisps; here are a few samples of some great peach plates from Lower48 Kitchen, Spruce in the Hotel Boulderado and Flagstaff House -- plus a recipe for Flagstaff House's baked peaches in brioche.

See also: The top ten doughnuts in Denver

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Acorn Gets Accolades From Frank Bruni, Bon Appetit

Categories: The Dish

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Danielle Lirette
Acorn is having a good week. Yesterday, the restaurant that bartender Bryan Dayton and chef Steve Redzikowski opened less than a year ago in the Source was named one of the fifty nominees in Bon Appetit's America's Best New Restaurantscontest. And Acorn just got a big kiss from Frank Bruni, former New York Times restaurant critic.

See also:
Oak's owners branch out at the Source

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