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NPR gives national nod to Denver’s restaurant scene

December 17, 2014

One of the nicest nods to Denver’s bustling restaurant scene came from Tuesday’s piece by National Public Radio. The reporter sought the answer to the popular question “What makes Denver so tasty?” when it comes to the dining business, which has doubled in sales over the past 10 years.

He interviewed Food Network star chef Keegan Gerhard, who rolled the proverbial dice on Denver when he opted to open D Bar, the tiny 17th Street eatery with the longest lines. Gerhard and his pastry chef wife, Lisa Bailey, quickly outgrew the original D Bar space and last month opened a spot three times larger in Uptown. The couple shunned the bright lights and big cities in favor of building a business where they wanted to live.

NPR interviewed other top chefs including Jennifer Jasinski, who with business partner Beth Gruitch, owns Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall, and most recently Stoic & Genuine in the redeveloped Union Station. Jasinski upped Denver’s restaurant cred by winning a James Beard Award and competing on “Top Chef Masters”.

Here’s what NPR said, “When you think of the restaurant scene, Denver probably doesn’t come to mind. But that’s just the latest change for a city whose population has ballooned in the last couple of years, thanks in part to a nearby oil and gas boom. Top chefs are beginning to take notice.”

John Imbergamo, perhaps the most trusted man in Denver’s restaurant business, was interviewed for the story on background. Here’s what NPR didn’t discuss, Imbergamo said. “The fast casual segment was ignored but Denver is a hotbed of innovation in that segment of the industry. Chipotle, Qdoba, Tokyo Joes, Noodles, Garbanzos, Pizzeria Locale. Smashburger, the list goes on.  Many of these with elevated quick food are consumer stepping stones to fine dining.”

To read or listen to the rest of the report, go to www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/12/16/371126181/top-chefs-discover-denvers-fast-growing-restaurant-scene?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social.

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All the single ladies, all the single ladies, look no further than Denver for dudes

December 15, 2014

Denver is ranked No. 8 in the list of The 15 Top Cities for Single Women, according to DatingAdvice.com, and there’s no mention of our marijuana legislation for attracting single guys.

Rather, the website took into account “…population data of major U.S. cities, including the total numbers, the percentage of men, the percentage of women, the amount of single men, the amount of single women, the unemployment rate, the amount of people who have college degrees and more.

“In these 15 cities, it’s practically raining men. While we can’t guarantee they’re all angels, these are great places to start your search for a good man or two.”

Denver, at No. 8, scores with 112,038 single men, the web survey says.

“Denver has comparable cultural and food scenes to those in other big cities, but they (sic) add their (sic) own twist with abundant nature, chill vibes and lots of eligible dudes. You’ll find this city is full of adventures right in your own backyard!

“The ease and low cost of living make Mile High City one of the top places to call home and find love.”

For the rest of the rankings, go to www.datingadvice.com/for-women/the-15-top-cities-for-single-women.

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How does your garden grow? City approves home sales of bumper crops

July 21, 2014

The City of Denver could become one big farmer’s market after the City Council recently approved a law that allows Denver residents to sell from their homes fresh produce they have grown themselves and cottage foods such as jams and honey they have made in their home kitchens.

“Denver has always been known as a city that appreciates ‘farm-to-table’ and using fresh produce and locally sourced foods, but this new law creates a whole new level of urban farming that will allow the city to become one big farmer’s market,” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver.

Under the new law, which takes effect today (Friday), Denver residents will have to purchase a permit, but then will be able to sell from their home raw and uncut fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs that were grown by the seller either on site or in a community garden.

They will also be able to sell whole eggs produced by chickens or ducks kept by the seller at home, or “cottage foods,” which are low-risk, unrefrigerated food products made on-site such as spices, teas, honey, jams and certain baked goods. People can sell from inside or outside their home from 8 a.m. to dusk and can sell up to $5,000 of goods a year.

“Denver has become a leader in urban farming,” Scharf said, noting that two years ago the Colorado Convention Center opened the Blue Bear Farm on the grounds of the Convention Center and is now growing 5,000 pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables and spices used in the convention center’s kitchens.  “Many city restaurants have already put in their own gardens and farms, and now they will be able to buy vegetables, eggs, jams, and fruits grown right in the neighborhood.”

For more information, including how to secure a permit, a list of permissible cottage foods and tips for your home garden, visit www.denvergov.org/homebusiness. The sale of marijuana or marijuana-infused products is not allowed.

Additional resources are also available at the Colorado State University Denver Extension Office, which provides resources on soil testing as well as classes on urban farming, cottage foods and food safety. Visit www.denverext.colostate.edu for more information.

For more activities in Denver go to www.visitdenver.com.


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Free downtown outdoor concert series starts Wednesday

July 21, 2014

Arts Brookfield will launch its free outdoor concert series, Summer on the Plaza, from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday (July 23) with the Garrett Sayers Trio performing at the 1801 California plaza. The series features rising stars of Denver’s music scene along with happy hour specials at Guard and Grace, adjacent to the plaza.

The following musicians are scheduled to perform.
* July 23 – Garrett Sayers Trio
* July 30 – Ark Life with Patrick Dethlefs
* Aug. 6 – SHEL
* Aug. 13 – Megan Burtt

Arts Brookfield presents cultural experiences to hundreds of thousands of people for free each year at Brookfield Office Properties, which include 1801 California and Republic Plaza in downtown Denver.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our free arts programming in the Denver community with Brookfield’s recent transformation of 1801 California,” said Debra Simon, vice president and artistic director of Arts Brookfield. “In addition to Arts Brookfield’s ongoing (exhibits) inside the building, we look forward to offering an opportunity for people to enjoy live music by local musicians in a beautiful outdoor, urban and lively setting.”

For more information on the concert series, visit the website (www.artsbrookfield.com/denver or follow Arts Brookfield on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@ArtsBrookfield), YouTube, Pinterest, or Vine. Follow the hashtag #ArtsBrookfield for photos and tweets about Summer on the Plaza.

(Photo courtesy of MeganBurtt.com)

(Photo courtesy of MeganBurtt.com)

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First Colorado Chop Shop eatery open on East Colfax

July 21, 2014

Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery, a refined casual American grill with a global influence, opened Thursday in Denver’s East Colfax neighborhood at 4990 E. Colfax. The fast-casual concept combines quick service for a casual market that strives to serve the freshest ingredients, highest standards and inventive techniques.

Customers can enjoy a quick healthy and local lunch or dinner to go, and also a comfortable space for patrons to linger for a tap beer or pour of keg wine.

Owner and executive chef Clint Wangsnes (former top toque at Zengo) brings a diverse blend of his coastal trainings in Florida, California, Oregon and Hawaii, combined with Asian and Mexican influences from nearly a decade with famed chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval.

“Chop Shop has been a true labor of love and the result of an idea I had three years ago after my daughter, Luella was born,” Wangsnes said. “The addition of my son helped propel the need for seriously good protein and sides of a high-end steakhouse, but in a relaxed and price-appropriate manner.”

The Chop Shop menu is seasonally crafted and prepared by chefs with a focus on clean and healthy eating, with an expansive kids menu. The steakhouse concept heavily influences the menu selections, but not the price. Chop Shop also has a certified sous-vide program. 

The meals focus around a protein served as a side, and sides as the centerpieces such as a 48-hour slow-cooked short rib with grilled baby carrots and whipped potatoes in a three-peppercorn hoisin demi glace. Additionally, there is a selection of craft beer, wine and a seasonal cocktail as well as all natural cane sodas.

Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery is open daily from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Online ordering and take out is available.

For more information, visit: www.coloradochopshop.com, Facebook: Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery or Twitter: @CoChopShop or call 720-550-7665.

(Photo courtesy of Chop Shop Facebook page)

(Photo courtesy of Chop Shop Facebook page)

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Patio perfection? Check out Thrillist’s top spots

July 16, 2014

Thrillist.com, the snarky online “in the know” food blog, compiled a list of the “Best Patios in 11 Denver ‘Hoods.”

And as long as you can time “happy hour,” lunch or dinner to avoid Denver’s daily deluge, you’ll find these snappy spots for al fresco drinking and dining.

The Thrillist top 11 are:

* Downtown – Tamayo, 1400 Larimer St.

* LoDo – ViewHouse, 2015 Market St.

* Uptown – Ace, 501 E. 17th Ave.

* SoBo (South Broadway) – Illegal Pete’s, 270 S. Broadway.

* Glendale – Hi Jax, 650 S. Colorado Blvd.

* Wash Park – Agave Tacos, 2217 Mississippi Ave.

* Wash Park West – Vert Kitchen, 704 S. Pearl St.

* RiNo – Matchbox, 2625 Larimer St.

* Platt Park – Fourteen Seventy-Two, 1472 S. Pearl St.

* Highland – Linger, 2030 W. 30th Ave.

* Lower Highland – Denver BeerCo., 1695 Platte St.

Read more about each one at www.thrillist.com/eat/denver/best-outdoor-bars-and-restaurants-by-neighborhood-in-denver.

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Buffalo Bill Days stampedes into town July 23-27

July 9, 2014

Buffalo Bill Days, Golden’s largest summer event July 23 through 27, turns 60 this year, but you know what they say? Sixty is the new 40.

This free annual salute to the West’s best showman is packed with authentic western entertainment, live music, kids’ activities, food trucks, beer garden, muttin bustin’ and the Best of the West parade.

The festival’s namesake, Buffalo Bill Cody, spent time in Golden, Denver and Central City with his famous Wild West Show in which genuine cowboys and cowgirls demonstrated their skills. Buffalo Bill is buried on nearby Lookout Mountain, where he has long enjoyed the remarkable view from the top.

Beginning with an easy trail ride up to Buffalo Bill’s Grave in the 1940s, Buffalo Bill Days has turned into a multi-day celebration. Events include:

  • Best of the West Parade - A highlight of the festival, the Best of the West Parade starts at 10 a.m. on July 26. Attendees will see trotting horses, colorful Old West characters and fanfare, collectible cars, real cowboys, Native American dancers and more. Saddle on up to Washington Avenue in historic downtown Golden.
  • Cody’s Wild West - In the spirit of the original traveling show that brought the Wild West to the world, this year’s Cody’s Wild West reflects a rugged American spirit and originality. Western performers make up this 90-minute show on the west end of the Lions Park Ball Fields on 10th Street at 12:30 p.m. July 26. 
  • Live Music - The entertainment starts at 5 p.m. July 25 with live music from headliners such as Chris Daniels and the Kings and continues all weekend in Parfet Park in downtown Golden. Brad Lee Schroeder is the featured band on Saturday night along with other local bands. The Long Run “Colorado’s Tribute to the Eagles” closes out from 2 to 5 p.m. July 27.
  • Mutton Bustin’ - If you haven’t seen mutton bustin’ before, make sure that you don’t miss this raucous show and Buffalo Bill Days tradition. At 11 a.m. July 27, children, ages 5 to 7 years, strap on helmets and vests and hang on to a sprinting sheep for as long as possible in Lions Park.
  • Car Shows -  Automobiles in the classic and orphaned car shows beginning at 10 a.m. July 27 on the Clear Creek Bridge to 14th on Washington Avenue.

While in town, visitors can also enjoy a pancake breakfast, bull riding, little spike train rides and more.

For more information visit www.buffalobilldays.com or contact the Buffalo Bill Days Committee at 303-279-3342.

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Park Hill parade celebrates the Fourth

July 2, 2014

There’s nothing more independent than a small-town 4th of July parade. When we lived in the Dam West in Aurora, the annual neighborhood parade, penny dive, softball game and DJ blasting tunes on the greenbelt was a never-miss event in our family.

Add the plucky pioneer spirit of the Mile High City and the deeply rooted community pride of the Park Hill neighborhood to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for a laid-back, family friendly Independence Day celebration. The Park Hill 4th of July Parade is celebrating its fifth year with its biggest blast ever —nearly 60 registered groups and more than 700 participants on the roster. Last year, more than 2,500 people turned out to enjoy the festivities, making it the largest Independence Day parade in metro Denver.

Like the neighborhood that spawned it, the parade celebrates diversity. And so, in addition to the Boy Scout troops, preschool class floats and classic cars, visitors will also be treated to the Mile High City’s flare for the unexpected. Where else might you find a fleet of gleaming low-rider automobiles, cruising alongside a vegan community outreach group? An award-winning high school marching band, trailed by a phalanx of Tae Kwon Do black belts? A gaggle of costumed princesses followed by the 501st Legion of Star Wars re-enactors? Only in Park Hill.

This year’s parade again will be presided over by Mayor Michael B. Hancock and attended by a number of additional elected officials, neighborhood groups and other grass-roots organizations. Representatives from Denver’s first responder community will add to the event’s patriotic vibe, while High Country Brass, the Maple Lake High School Marching Band, One World Singers and others will keep the crowd dancing. And of course, Clementine — Park Hill’s cupcake truck — will be on hand to serve sweets to the sweet.

The fifth annual Park Hill 4th of July Parade runs from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on July 4. The parade will march through the historic Park Hill neighborhood along 23rd Avenue from Dexter Street to Krameria Street, where it will culminate in a street fair on the 2200 block of Kearney offering up sweet treats from Cake Crumbs Bakery, savory snacks from Oblio’s Pizza, live music food trucks and more.

Parade visitors are encouraged to set up blankets, chairs, umbrellas and coolers anywhere along the route. Details at www.parkhillparade.org.

(Park Hill Fourth of July 2013 photos)

(Park Hill Fourth of July 2013 photos)PH Parade-Marching Band PH Parade-patriotic girls


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Top Taco competition was un buen fiesta!

June 30, 2014

Viva tacos!

The first Top Taco Denver competition, presented by US Foods, turned out tasty tacos from more than 20 restaurants to a festive 2,200 folks eager for a fiesta last week at Sculpture Park in downtown Denver.

Not only did attendees vote for their favorite tacos in traditional and creative categories, but they also has a voice in awarding the best margarita.

A panel of judges including Amanda Faison of 5280 magazine;Ruth Tobias of “Zagat”; food blogger Lori Midson; Eater Denver’s Andra Zeppelin and radio talk-show hosts Elizabeth Woessner and Michael Long chose the best traditional and best creative taco. Bartenders Ryan Layman of Steuben’s and Allie Geppert of Star Bar were among the judges for the best margarita.

The winnahs?

Judges ranked the top three tacos. In the traditional category: First place to Comida for its pork carnitas taco, second place to Pinche Tacos for its carnitas taco and third to Billy’s Inn for its fish taco.
In the creative category: First place went to Machete for its cricket taco on a house made hibiscus tortilla, second to Los Chingones for its mini lengua taco and third place to the Squeaky Bean for its steak and shrimp taco.

The popular vote for tacos in the traditional category: First place to Pinche Tacos, second to Billy’s Inn; and third to Highland Tap and Burger. In the creative category, Moontower Tacos took first place, second went to Comida and third to Zengo.

In the best Margarita battle, judges awarded first place to La Biblioteca, second to Comida, and third to Adelitas. The popular vote went to La Biblioteca in first place, second to Machete, and third Adelitas.

(Penny Parker photos)

(Penny Parker photos)Top tacos2

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