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Denver Union Station ready for its close up

If you work, live or play in LoDo, you’ve dealt with the noise and flying cranes squawking around the Denver Union Station redevelopment near 17th and Wynkoop.

Now, it’s time to celebrate the newest jewel in Denver’s development crown. The official Denver Union Station Grand Opening Celebration will be feted with a street festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Presented by FirstBank, this free community celebration will feature food trucks, vendors, family activities and live music. Rachel and the Kings will take the stage at 10:45 a.m., followed by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers at 12:30 p.m. and The Railbenders at 2 p.m.

The official Denver Union Station opening ceremony will be held at noon by the Union Station Alliance partners.

The public is invited to tour the $54 million revitalization of Denver Union Station, which is now home to The Crawford Hotel and a custom-crafted group of 13 Colorado restaurants and retailers.

To help manage the large crowds that are expected, tickets will be issued for building access between noon and 8 p.m., based on demand. Free tickets will be available at the street festival until 3 p.m. Time stamped tickets are available at www.altitudetickets.com/mobile/event/denver-union-station-grand-opening-celebration/2148 for a$1 processing free, which also guarantees your chosen time of entry.

Event sponsors include FirstBank, Schomp Automotive, AOR Inc., Coors Brewing Co., Republic National Distributing Co., Pepsi, CBS4, DaVita, University of Colorado Health, University of Colorado at Denver, SunShare and Uber.

For more information, visit http://unionstationindenver.com/grandopening/.

(Ellen Jaskol photos )

(Ellen Jaskol photos )Denver Union Station, July 9, 2014.  Photo by Ellen Jaskol Crawford Loft bathroom small EDJ_6266 Denver Union Station brunch, July 12, 2014.  Photo by Ellen Jaskol Denver Union Station Great Hall Ellen Jaskol DUS night exterior

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Chihuly adds new pieces to Botanic Gardens exhibit

New and additional works of art have been added to the Chihuly glass art exhibition on display through Nov. 30 at The Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.

Several more groupings of garden glass have been added to the installation in the O’Fallon Perennial Walk. Also, more Cattails and newly created Floats were added to the Saffron Tower installation in the Ellipse Garden.

Following artist Dale Chihuly’s visit to the Gardens for the exhibition opening, the artist – as he likes to do – decided to make a few modifications to make the exhibition even better.

Hours for viewing the Chihuly exhibition are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (last entry at 8 p.m.) through Sept. 28. Hours Sept. 29 through Nov. 30 are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

For advance tickets, go to www.botanicgardens.org.

 Dale Chihuly, "Saffron Tower", 2008 with "Cattails" and "Niijima Floats", 2014. Denver Botanic Gardens

Dale Chihuly, “Saffron Tower”, 2008 with “Cattails” and “Niijima Floats”, 2014. Denver Botanic Gardens

 

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Kenyon beats the big boys in international bartending contest

Sean Kenyon bartender extraordinaire at Williams & Graham was named American Bartender of the Year at the Spirited Awards Saturday in the Sheraton Hotel New Orleans.

Kenyon was among four finalists along with Jeff Bell (PDT, New York), Marcovaldo Dionysos (Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco), and Bobby Heugel (Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston). The Spirited Awards are held each year during Tales of the Cocktail, the world’s premier cocktail festival, bringing together the international spirits community for five days of what’s now, what’s new and what’s next in bartending.

“I am still stunned by the whole thing,” Kenyon told Eater Denver. “I didn’t think I was going to win. Someone from a secondary market doesn’t have as much of a chance to win as much as people from the coasts and with the guys from New York and San Francisco in the running, I just didn’t expect to win.”

According to Eater Denver, Robert Simonson, author and journalist for the “New York Times” tweeted this after Kenyon’s win:

“Jul 19 #spiritedawards win for @SeanKenyon likely to be biggest thing yet to happen to Denver cocktail scene, attention-wise. #totc”

Kenyon told Eater Denver what he said in his acceptance speech. What did Kenyon say in his acceptance speech? “I thanked my wife - I couldn’t do anything I do without her. I thanked my family at Williams & Graham - I love them. I thanked Steve Olson and Andy Seymour, two of my mentors. And I thanked my father; he never sat me down to tell me what to do, but I learned everything I know about bartending and hospitality from him. I prepared nothing for my speech because I am superstitious, but I ended with a call to young bartenders everywhere: Honor yourself, honor your peers, and honor your craft.”

 

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Local bartenders shake things up at TheBigWonderful

Local libation authorities will be serving up their inventive cocktails at TheBigWonderful, Denver’s first food incubator market, at 5 p.m. today and from 11 a.m. to dusk on Saturday at Sustainability Park, 26th and Lawrence.

Stuart Jensen, a local talent behind the bar at Green Russell and recent award winner of ShakeStir’s Denver Flash Cocktail Competition, has brought on board a team of stellar bartenders including Sean Kenyon—recent winner of “Best American Bartender” at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans as well as Christina Andrews, Chad Michael George and Sam Johnson, all of Williams & Graham;  Brian Smith, formerly of the Squeaky Bean;  and Nick Lowe, formerly of Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, DC.

They will be featuring a variety of locally sourced and freshly made cocktails each week.  Jensen and Josh Sampson, the founder of TheBigWonderful, met while Jensen was bartending at Green Russell and Sampson was sipping a cocktail at the bar. They struck up a conversation about Denver’s ever-growing food scene and what it was missing compared to other great food cities around the country. From this conversation, was born the concept of TheBigWonderful and a homegrown partnership.

“Josh and I hit it off right away because we both knew that Denver needed more events like this,” Jensen said. “After coming up with the idea of TheBigWonderful, he came back and told me about what he had in store, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.”

In addition to concocting a menu of rotating cocktails each week, Jensen will also be working to secure local beverage vendors for the market. Thus far, confirmed participants include the Breckenridge Distillery, Peach Street Distillers, Great Divide Brewery and Oskar Blues Brewery.

For more information, go to www.thebigwonderful.com.

 

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Downward Dog anyone? Free yoga class at Red Rocks Saturday

Denver-based yoga company, Core Power Yoga, will partner with Denver Arts & Venues to kick off the 2014 Yoga on the Rocks series this Saturday.

Summer adventurers and yogis alike are invited to experience Red Rocks Amphitheatre from a new perspective – the Downward-Facing Dog.

Hours for the event: 6 a.m. doors open; first 500 people to arrive get a free yoga mat; 7 a.m. yoga class; 8 a.m. free snacks from Whole Foods Market in the Upper Plaza.

More Yoga on the Rocks events are scheduled for Aug. 2, 9 and 16 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre is located at 18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison.

Season passes for all four sessions are still available for $38 and individual sessions are $12 per person, per class. Tickets are only available online at www.corepoweryoga.com/yogaontherocks and each session is limited to 1,600 people.

A donation of $1 per admission will benefit the Whole Planet Foundation, a nonprofit that works to alleviate poverty by supporting more than 500,000 women entrepreneurs in 59 countries worldwide.

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Laugh line: Today’s eavesdropping

Eavesdropping on a mom talking about her young daughter assisting her infant brother to stand on his toes: “I said, ‘Ella why are you holding him?’ She says I’m not. I’m helping him. He wanted to dance.”

 

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Summer Denver Restaurant Week menus go live today

Denver foodies, start your appetites. The menus for the first Summer Denver Restaurant Week will be listed live at noon today at www.DenverRestaurantWeek.com.

For the first time, Denver Restaurant Week will offer a summer version on Aug. 23 through 29 with more than 200 Denver restaurants offering multi-course dinners for the fixed price of $30 (tax and tip not included).

“At the request of the participating restaurants, Denver Restaurant Week was expanded this year to offer a summer version, which will feature outdoor dining, fresh locally sourced produce and seasonal menu items,” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver, organizer of the event.

Menus are listed on the website by cuisine and by neighborhood. Diners can also see which restaurants offer vegetarian options. “Planning is an important part of restaurant week,” Scharf said. “Certainly, some restaurants will fill up early at prime dining times, but there are many off-peak dining times that remain available, and of course, we encourage diners to experiment and try new restaurants.” The list of restaurants and menus will be frequently updated, so diners should check the website often.

Many of the participating restaurants offer expanded outdoor seating, which will make it even easier to get reservations this year. Still, Scharf encouraged diners to get on the website and make reservations early.

“And please honor your reservations,” he said. “One of the most frustrating things about the event is when people make a reservation, and don’t show up, denying other diners that time slot. Don’t be a no-show! Please notify the restaurant if your plans change so they can fill that table.”

Throughout this year’s event, diners will also be encouraged to enter to win “The Pursuit of Perfection in the Kitchen” sweepstakes, presented by Lexus, which will award two lucky winners private cooking lessons with top Denver chefs, Andrea Frizzi of Il Posto or Elise Wiggins from Panzano. Information on entering the contest can be found at Facebook.com/VisitDenver. The contest will run through the end of Denver Restaurant Week.

Denver Restaurant Week, presented by Lexus, sponsors include: Lexus, Alamos Winery, Edna Valley Vineyard, Mirassou Winery, Louis M. Martini Winery, William Hill Estate Winery, US Foods, Frontier Airlines, Johnsons & Wales University, Uber, The Denver Post, 5280 Magazine, Westword, Comcast, Open Table, the Colorado Restaurant Association and the Downtown Denver Partnership Business Improvement District.

 

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TAG takes a bite out of best burgers list

TAG Burger Bar, 1222 Madison St., owned by prolific chef Troy Guard (TAG, Bubu, Guard and Grace, Los Chingones) was named among the 33 best burgers across the country, according to the second annual Thrillist.com list.

According to Thrillist, “Many of the burgers on this list (we have seven holdovers we couldn’t possibly change, and 26 new entries) embody a commitment to almost austere excellence, sacrificing the show-tricks of crazy meat toppings in favor of nailing the genuine article.”

Here’s what Thrillist wrote about TAG Burger Bar’s TAG American Slam burger:

“The man behind a slew of successful Denver-area restaurants opened up his burger-focused shop a few years ago, and it has been a Mile High favorite, while also dominating in area burger contests, ever since. While there are over-the-top builds common to new-school burger shops, like the Godzilla (crispy tempura flakes, smoked kewpi), at its core, Burger Bar excels because of (its) patty: a blend of chuck, short rib, and brisket specially ground for them. It can be deliciously topped with everything from Colorado-born ingredients like Pueblo green chiles to honey-infused local goat cheese. But even though it’s in Colorado, you can’t top the burger with weed. I mean, you could, but you’d have to put it on there yourself.”

Check out the rest of the list at www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/the-33-best-burgers-in-the-country-holeman-and-finch-au-cheval-husk-and-more.

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