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Looking for a scare? Check out local top haunts

October 29, 2014

Do you dare to be scared?

Since Halloween is merely two days away, I thought I’d share with you some Front Range (allegedly) haunted spots that want you to get in touch with your inner ghost.

Food & Wine magazine included the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park in its list of of America’s Haunted Restaurants and Hotels. Here’s what the writer said:

“A stay at this hotel near Rocky Mountain National Park inspired Stephen King to write ‘The Shining.’ Resident paranormal investigator Callea Sherrill first encountered the hotel’s otherworldly inhabitants in Room 407, where she was staying one night with two friends. ‘I heard footsteps come down the hallway,’Sherrill recalls. ‘They stopped outside the door. I waited for a knock, but nobody knocked. Just then I felt someone sit down next to me on the bed—I even saw the mattress dip.’ The next morning her friend Terry, whom Sherrill had thought was asleep, asked, ‘Who sat down on the bed with us last night?’ Sherrill, who now leads the hotel’s ghost hunts from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., believes it could have been the ghost of one of the nannies who used to be employed on the fourth floor. There have been many reports of the nannies still hard at work, tucking in hotel guests as if they were children and making beds – occasionally while guests are still in them. www.stanleyhotel.com.

Elizabeth Woessner, a Jill of all trades in Denver’s culinary scene, picked her top seven spooky spots for her on-line column for Dining Out magazine. She wrote:

“In Chinese tradition, hungry ghosts are the spirits of ancestors who return to the home of their living family annually with monstrous appetites. Known as gaki to Japanese Buddhists, hungry ghosts are struggling specters of the zombie kind.

“This Halloween, we’ve dreamt up a new definition for the hungry ghost—a phantom that lingers at a restaurant, spooking out customers and staff alike. We sat around the proverbial campfire with folks from the Denver area’s most haunted restaurants to unearth their spookiest tales. Not surprisingly, many of these restaurants are located in hotels, and we also included a historic house that occasionally hosts culinary events. So turn out the lights, bust out the Ouija board, and listen in.”

Here are Woessner’s picks:

1. The Buckhorn Exchange

2. Linger

3. Salt

4. Hotel Teatro

5. The Stanley Hotel

6. The Oxford Hotel

7. The Molly Brown House Museum

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Lucky Strike invites y’all to get lucky during Bowlloween

October 29, 2014

Lucky Strike, the nationally acclaimed bowling and entertainment brand in the Denver Pavilions, will throw an epic Halloween costume bash so sinister that it could wake the dead.

Bowlloween 2014, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, invites guests 21 and older to don a scary costume, possess a new identity and embrace the cornucopia of fun at Lucky Strike’s unique venue – offering a perfect storm of bowling, food and music.  Bowlloween will feature a live DJ, dancing, drink specials and more.  Guest can also enter an Instagram contest, awarding a $500 cash prize for the best costume that hashtags #BOWLLOWEEN @MADENIGHTLIFE. For tickets and more information, visit www.bowlloween.com.

 

 

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Finally! Sarto’s opens with Laird at the kitchen helm

October 29, 2014

After a seemingly endless wait, Sarto’s Italian Eatery opened Tuesday in the Jefferson Park district of Denver, anchoring the southwest corner on the historic square at 2900 W. 25th Ave. The sister spot, Sarto’s Pantry, will open next month.

Led by entrepreneur Taylor Swallow, his wife Kajsa, and award-winning Executive Chef Brian Laird, Sarto’s offers metropolitan Italian “tailored” cuisine in a food-and-drink-forward social environment. “We’re so fortunate to have Brian on board because of his experience and track record, and we know his food is going to be spectacular,” Taylor said. “The incredible thing about Brian is that when he is cooking, what he is creating isn’t about him; it’s about engaging the guest and the experience they want to have. That is rare to find.”

At Sarto’s, Chef Laird is bringing a piece of today’s metropolitan Italy to Denver.  “The beauty of the food scene in Italy is that you have this incredible blend of the old and the new, the centuries old recipes, classic and simple, blended with modern, global influences. It’s amazing,” Laird said. The menu is ingredient-driven and will change seasonally.

Named for the Italian word “tailor,” Sarto’s is focused on providing an experience that is fit to their individual guests, from dish “alterations” to tailored protein portions. In addition to the exceptional cuisine that Chef Laird is known for, there is great buzz about Sarto’s cicchetti bar, a chef’s table style bar where guests can chat with the chef and sample authentic Italian small bites of every configuration. “You can’t beat having that kind of personal interaction with someone’s dining experience, creating for them and hopefully introducing them to something new,” Laird said.

The owners designed the turn-of-the-century space to be clean, simple and comfortably sophisticated. “We wanted to work with the great bones of the building to create a simple backdrop for Sarto’s that was warm and inviting,” Swallow said. Working with Matt Lawton of Sexton Lawton Architecture, Tom Sprung of Sprung Construction, Kirsten Brundage of The Interior and Lacroux Streeb Lighting Design, the space has been transformed into something unexpected and classically handsome.

Open Tuesday through Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m, Sarto’s is 4,000 square feet and can accommodate 60 guests in the dining room and another 30 guests between the bar and cicchetti bar. Sliding walls allow part of the dining room to be closed off for meetings, private tastings or parties of up to 24 guests. Another 30 al fresco seats are available for Denver’s warm weather months.

Sharing the space’s north side storefront is Sarto’s Pantry, a gourmet market and deli where guests can purchase many of the ingredients used by Laird, including pre-packaged handmade pastas, or enjoy a casual dining experience. Pantry guests choose from panini, pizza, soup, salads, or meat and cheese boards to take home or enjoy onsite with a glass of wine. Sarto’s Pantry will open on November 3 and will be open 11 to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

“I think my favorite part of Sarto’s is that guests can enjoy a different experience every time they com” Swallow said. Whether it is an afternoon to enjoy light bites at the cicchetti bar, a great multi-course dinner experience, a cooking class or a casual outing to Sarto’s Pantry, every visit and experience will be different.”

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‘Home Hunter’ series changes air time and host

October 29, 2014

“The Home Hunter” television show, which showcases builders, new communities and a variety of home-related services, has a new host and a new time slot. The half-hour show is now co-hosted by local interior designer Linnore Gonzales and airs at 9:30 a.m. Sundays on KWGN Channel 2.

“The Home Hunter” launched in Denver in January, after running for more than three decades in the Phoenix market. The metro-area’s strong residential growth prompted The Home Hunter’s creator, Diane Hunter, to bring her long-running real estate talk show to Denver.

The Denver version of “The Home Hunter” began airing in January and has featured new communities stretching from Castle Rock to Erie. The show has also highlighted local mortgage bankers, paint companies and other specialty products.

Gonzales, whose firm, Décor and You, is a chief sponsor of “The Home Hunter”, joined the show in September. She co-hosts with Tiffany Hunter, (Diane Hunter’s daughter), who also produces and hosts the Phoenix version of “The Home Hunter.”

“I look forward to continuing ‘The Home Hunter’ tradition in Denver and providing potential home buyers with a one-stop shop where they can view new housing options and a range of essential home products and services,” Gonzales said.

The Home Hunter is filmed at the Denver Media Center. For more information, visit www.homehuntertv.com/denver.

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Travel + Leisure magazine dings DIA

October 29, 2014

Ack! Denver International Airport received scary news this week when it landed on Travel + Leisure magazine’s list of America’s Best and Worst Airports for Flight Delays.DIA landed at the No. 3 spot. Here are the stats:

“Flights Delayed: 27.9%

“A 4.6 percent surge in delays moved DIA from fifth place on last year’s naughty list to third this year. Leave by lunchtime to avoid a Rocky Mountain meltdown: starting at 2 p.m., nearly a third of flights depart later than planned, a figure that only gets worse as the day wears on.

“Best Time Window: Before 9 a.m.

“Worst Time Window: 8–10 p.m.”

For the whole story, go to www.travelandleisure.com/articles/best-and-worst-airports-for-delays/2.

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Wine time times seven during TAG wine dinner

October 29, 2014

TAG restaurant, the signature spot owned by celebrated chef Troy Guard at 1441 Larimer St., invites you to raise a glass to Italy during a five-course dinner paired with seven wines from Mondo Vino, beginning at 7 p.m. Nov. 6. Cost is $89 per person.

Italian stallion winemaker Sergio Germano will orchestrate the evening beginning with Ettore Germano, Langhe Chardonnay 2013 during the reception.

Here’s the rest of the menu:

First course: Kampachi crudo, pumpkin seeds, candied fennel, burnt orange vinaigrette, evoo wine, Ettore German sparkling Nebbiolo Rose.

Second course: Braised octopus terrine, fingerling potato chips, olives, grilled lemon vinaigrette with Ettore Germano Riesleing ‘Herzu’ 2012.

Third course: Roasted Meditteranean sea bass, chestnut ravioli, Brussel sprout cream with Ettore Geramno Barbera Vigna Dela Madre 2010.

Fourth course: 48-hour leg of lamb, kim chee risotto, roasted tomato, garlic chip with Ettore Germano Barolo Lazzanito Riserva 2006 versus Ettore Germano Ceretta Barolo 2008.

Fifth course: Hazelnut and pear honey cake, creme fraiche, ice cream, ginger tea sabayon with Marolo Camomillo Grappa.

For reservations, go to www.tag-restaurant.com.

 

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Laugh line: Today’s eavesdropping

October 29, 2014

Eavesdropping on two women at the invite-only dinner at The Nickel: “Do you have kids?”

“No, I have a 12-year-old husband.”

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Please support our advertisers

October 29, 2014

We love our advertisers; they are what keeps this column running. Please support our wonderful advertisers who keep this column running. Want to advertise your business here? Contact Trisha at trilind@hotmail.com or call her at 720-985-6947. And be sure to click on each ad to read more.

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Denver on track to hit record convention year

October 27, 2014

Denver is on its way to posting its best convention year ever with increased convention attendance and record numbers for hotels, according to statistics released last week by Visit Denver, The Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Denver has already hosted 319,445 convention delegates in the first three-quarters of 2014, a two percent increase over the 312,536 delegates who attended conventions here in the same time period last year. With a strong fourth quarter of meetings coming up, Visit Denver is estimating that 2014 should finish with a minimum of 422,000 delegates, significantly up over the previous best year of 2013, in which Denver had 385,292 delegates, and better than 2008, when the Democratic National Convention helped attract 378,863 delegates.

“We have a number of factors coming together to make this our best year ever,” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver. “First, we have an extremely strong convention calendar of meetings. We always knew 2014 would be a good convention year with large groups like SIA SnowSports, American Academy of Dermatology and Risk Insurance Management Society. Not only did we have a large number of meetings booked for Denver in 2014, but the conventions we had are all in industries that are seeing increases in convention attendance.

“We book conventions anywhere from five to 12 years out, so our sales team targets segments of the meetings industry that we feel are likely to see huge growth in attendance in the future, such as medical, bioscience, energy and technology/engineering related,” Scharf said.

He added that, consistent with other top tier cities, the business travel market has come back to Denver in 2014, which creates strong demand, primarily from Tuesday to Thursday. Denver is also experiencing a strong tourism year with shows like the record-setting Chihuly glass exhibition at Denver Botanic Gardens.

“Denver does best when all three mixes are performing well – the convention market, leisure travelers and the business traveler,” Scharf said. He added that two unscheduled Broncos playoff games in early 2014 leading to the Super Bowl, and having the National Education Association group in town with 12,000 delegates over the traditionally slow Fourth of July Weekend, have also added to the year-over-year growth.

Scharf noted that other indicators of just how strong this year is for tourism are the growth in occupancy and average room rate. For the first three quarters of the year, Denver’s hotel room occupancy climbed to 78.2 percent versus 73 percent for the same time period last year, while average daily rate reached $124.44 for 2014, up from $115.40 in 2013.

This performance has made Denver one of the national leaders for RevPAR growth, according to Smith Travel Research, a group that studies hotel occupancies in the top 25 cities of the country. RevPAR (revenue per available room) is a performance metric in the hotel industry that uses total guestroom revenue and the room count.

Denver’s increases in occupancy and revenue came in spite of new hotel inventory coming into the market such as the 221-room Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center and the 119-room Crawford Hotel this year, and the 302-room Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites that opened last year.

“Usually, when you add rooms to a city, you will see an overall drop in occupancy and average room rate unless you also increase demand,” Scharf said. “However, this year, the demand is so significant, that we have been able to absorb more than 600 new hotel rooms and still see an increase in occupancy and rate.”

Denver lodger’s tax collection for the first three-quarters of 2014 was also up, climbing 14 percent.

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