1 0 Tag Archives: John Hickenlooper

POTUS punch honors presidential visit

As a tribute to President Barack Obama‘s surprise visit to the Wazee Supper Club on Tuesday night, the folks behind the bar have created, and are now offering, a special Presidential Punch.

Comprised of vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, mint and champagne, it’s a not-too-political punch for hot summer days at $6 a pop.

Also, at Wazee the President had pepperoni and sausage pizza and a Prost Pilsner beer with his dinner companion Gov. John Hickenlooper. Hick’s former restaurant company owns the venerable Wazee at 15th and Wazee streets.


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Dimonds sparkle at Metro State’s ‘Setting the Table’

Stonebridge Companies president and CEO Navin Dimond and his wife, Rita, were feted last week (and with good reason) during Setting the Table, a table-setting competition and celebration of the couple’s record $1.5 million contribution to the newly named Rita and Navin Dimond Hotel Management Program at Metro State University of Denver.

MSU Denver president Stephen Jordan said that the Navins’ gift, “Will inspire our hospitality program on its way to pre-eminence. (The financial gift) creates a fellows program within our hospitality program.

The event, attended by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, pitted table-mates against neighboring table teams in setting the most precise and creative table for 10.

With as much humility as I can muster, our table, called The Savoy, took home first place. It didn’t hurt that my “plus one” was Judie Seidel-Davidson, who has spent her storied career in the hospitality industry.

The event took place in the ballroom of the Stonebridge-owned Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel, a spectacular transformation of the nearly 150-year-old Colorado National Bank building at 918 17th St.. Do yourself a favor and take a stroll through the stunning lobby.

 Stonebridge Companies CEO Navin Dimond, Metro State president Dr. Stephen M. Jordan and Rita Dimond. Below, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper  also posed for the fete. (Metro State University of Denver photos)

Stonebridge Companies CEO Navin Dimond, Metro State President Dr. Stephen M. Jordan and Rita Dimond. Below right, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper also posed for the fete. (Metro State University of Denver photos)SettingTable_0395_140520cc


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There’s beer here in Denver, too, this weekend

All the talk may be about the 4/20 marijuana events this weekend, but there’s plenty of stuff to do for beer lovers, too.

Thanks to Westword for the head’s-up to beer-drinking events around the Denver area, including:

Friday, April 18: At Novo Coffee on Glenarm Street from 5 to 10 p.m. get the first taste of Kurt’s Mile High Malt, a German-style lager from the Wynkoop Brewing Company that was made with Ethiopian Anyetsu coffee from Novo. The beer is based on a family recipe late author Kurt Vonnegut gave to Wynkoop co-founder John Hickenlooper in the 1990s.

Saturday, April 19: John Turk‘s Colorado Craft Beer Show, broadcasting on AM 760, will celebrate its third anniversary today with a special show from noon to 2 p.m. at Lone Tree Brewing. … Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs will host its annual Saison Farmhouse Rendezvous t noon. Tickets are $45 … BeerAdvocate’s Todd and Candice Alstrom will host their monthly get-together today at Avery Brewing in Boulder from 1 to 5 p.m. … The first BrüFrou beer and food pairing event will take place 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Lowry.

Read more at www.blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2014/04/new_beers_from_wynkoop_station_26_and_copper_kettle.php.


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Jimmy Fallon takes a ‘pot’ shot at Colorado’s new legalized marijuana law

February 28, 2014

Spanking new “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon took a “pot” shot at our own Gov. John Hickenlooper Tuesday night by making jest of Colorado’s legal retail marijuana law.

“Colorado expects to make $100 million from taxing legalized marijuana,” the comedian said. “Governor John Hickenlooper (big audience laugh at the name) says he will use a lot of that money to build new schools.

Suggested names? “U. Holden Academy, Hot Pocket Prep and St. Mary Jane’s.”

New 'Tonight Show' host Jimmy Fallon took a shot at Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. (NBC photo)

New ‘Tonight Show’ host Jimmy Fallon took a shot at Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. (NBC photo)

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Don’t think this column wouldn’t include a Super Bowl item

February 3, 2014

Even though our own Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Washington state guv Jay Inslee refused to make a Super Bowl wager, Denver’s Punch Bowl Social founder Robert Thompson and Washington’s Garage Billiards owner Alex Rosenast have pledged to donate $1,000 to their winning team’s charity of choice.

“I volunteer to send Alex a case of Orange Crush soda, win or lose,” Thompson said.

“Win or lose, I’m trying to get a dinner set up for Robert and (Seahawks cornerback) Richard Sherman,” Rosenast said.

After Sunday’s 43-8 Broncos loss to the Seagawks, a charity will be selected by the winner and the $1,000 donation will follow.

orange crush

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Blue Ribbon reception brings restaurants and hotels together with legislators

January 10, 2014

Restaurants and hotels in Denver make our economic world go ’round. Consider that together both sectors will generate more than $13 billion in sales this year, which generates more than $850 million in state and local taxes.

Also, restaurants and hotels employ roughly 286,000 employees in 11,500 establishments. A big deal.

So it makes total sense that the Colorado Restaurant Association and the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association throw a joint event annually on the first day of the Colorado Legislature to wine and dine lawmakers that could affect the hospitality business.

I have attended this event for more years than I care to reveal, and I would say that the hearty party Wednesday on the 38th floor of the adjoining tower at the Grand Hyatt Hotel attracted more festive folks than I’ve ever seen.

We wined and dined from tasty treats from restaurants including: Angelo’s Taverna, Baca at Inverness Hotel & Resort, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Lala’s Wine Bar & Pizzeria, Mangia Bevi Café, Metropolitan State University Denver, Outback Steakhouse, Penrose Room at the Broadmoor, Ted’s Montana Grill, Texas Roadhouse,  The Airplane Restaurant, The Fort and The Fresh Fish Company.

Pete Meersman, the slowly retiring CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association introduced Sonia Riggs, the new “chief cheese” who is taking over Meersman’s impressive reign. About restaurants, he said, “Restaurants and hotels are the cornerstone of Colorado’s economy.”

Christine O’Donnell, president of the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association, more pointedly addressed the legislators attending the event. “It takes only a slight change in the laws to turn a profitable hotel or restaurant into an unprofitable business,” she said. “We ask you to keep that in mind during this year’s legislative session.”

And former Wynkoop Brewing Co. founder Gov. John Hickenlooper stopped by to speak and be among his “peeps,” as he would say. He referenced deceased The Fort founder Sam Arnold.

“I think about the people who aren’t here,” Hickenlooper said. “Sam Arnold really put Colorado on the map.”


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LoDo celebrates Salzman’s 95th birthday on my birthday!

December 2, 2013

Downtown Denver benefactor Manny Salzman has reached his 95th birthday and some people in the ‘hood are throwing a party for him.

Manny’s Bridge, the bridge down Wynkoop Street named for him, is the home of an interactive public light art installation by artist Virginia Folkestad.

The installation is being renovated and re-lit in conjunction with Salzman’s birthday and when complete will be on display nightly year-round.

Manny and Joanne Salzman pioneered LoDo when they moved there in 1980. They worked with the city of Denver to obtain a grant to preserve the historic railroad bridges over Cherry Creek in the mid-1990s converting them to save pedestrian paths.

In 2006, then Mayor John Hickenlooper dedicated the bridge to Manny, and a plaque describes that effort. The Salzmans were also instrumental in the designation of LoDo as a historic area and the formation of the St. Charles Neighborhood Group.

At 95, Manny still pedals his bike daily across the Platte and up the hill into the Highland neighborhood.

Manny Salzman

Manny Salzman on the bridge named for him in Lower Downtown. (Diane Huntress photo)


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‘American Mustang’ gallops into the Starz Denver Film Festival

October 28, 2013

The historic mistreatment of wild horses is examined in the film “American Mustang,” which chronicles an emotionally charged journey through a tenuous landscape dotted by ranchers, wild horse advocates, government agencies and the American people.

The film screens at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at the SIE FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax, as part of the 36th annual Starz Denver Film Festival. The movie-lovers madness opens Nov. 6 with an 8 p.m. screening of “Labor Day” and runs through Nov. 17.

In her filmmaking debut, “American Mustang” producer Ellie Phipps Price, vintner and animal welfare advocate, brings her passion for protecting wild horses to the big screen.

“American Mustang” is a feature film, shot in eight Western states with wild horses filmed for the first time in 3D. Threaded into the narrative is the story of a girl, a cowboy and an American icon – the wild horse. The film encourages protection of America’s wild horses while being aware of the reality of limited grazing and resources on the open range.

The film is narrated by actress and activist Daryl Hannah. Throughout a 30-year film career, Hannah has starred in more than 40 feature films, and has created numerous iconic roles in successful, critically acclaimed and enduring movies.

Collaborators on ”American Mustang” include director Monty Miranda who worked closely with writer and co-producer Henry Ansbacher and executive producer Phipps Price. Phipps Price and Ansbacher co-wrote and developed the characters based on extensive interviews that create a rich palate of voices for the film. The interviews are with people who are on the front lines of the battle over preservation and management of wild horses – a contentious issue that incites strong emotions from every side.

Phipps Price spent her early years in Colorado, studied film at University of California, Berkeley and currently resides in Sonoma, Calif., where she produces Dunstan Wines from the Durell Vineyard. She adopted her first mustang, Dunstan, from the Bureau of Land Management holding facility at Cañon City in 2009.

Recently, Phipps Price established a 2,000-acre wildlife preserve for wild horses in northern California. “I am thrilled to be coming home to Colorado for the launch of ‘American Mustang’ – a film about these amazing and beautiful animals that have captured my heart,” she said.

Director and former Denver dweller Miranda attended the University of Colorado to study film and journalism and currently lives in Los Angeles. His career includes credits for the memorable TV commercials for John Hickenlooper’s mayoral campaign. Miranda’s feature-film directorial debut, “Skills Like This,” won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

Colorado-based Ansbacher of Just Media focuses on film projects that have a history of bringing change, social justice and raising awareness about environmental issues. Ansbacher’s film “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short.

More information on the movie at: www.americanmustangthemovie.com.

For screening times and to purchase tickets, go to: http://www.denverfilm.org/festival/film/detail.aspx?id=25922&FID=77.

To learn more about the 36th annual Starz Film Festival and the featured movies, go to http://www.denverfilm.org/festival/index.aspx.

Cowboy Luke pets one of the horses in the fil, 'American Mustang.'

Cowboy Luke pets one of the horses in the film, ‘American Mustang.’ The film, which has many Colorado ties, will screen Nov. 7 at the 36th annual Starz Denver Film Festival. (American Mustang|Just Media photo)


Top spots

I told you on last week that Lakewood was included in the Top 100 Best Places to Live on liveability.com’s inaugural ranking, but that was only part of Colorado’s prized participation. Culinary Colorado’s Claire Walter (thanks, Claire!) pointed out that there’s more to the story.

While Lakewood ranked No. 88 (besting Scottsdale at No. 89), Aurora scored No. 49, and Boulder came in at an impressive No. 2. Topping the lauded list was Palo Alto, Calif., which I’m proud to say is my hometown (think Stanford University, John Elway, Eddie McCaffrey, Andrew Luck, etc.).

“The list was created in partnership with the Martin Prosperity Institute, the world’s leading think tank on the role of location, place and city-regions in global economic prosperity. The list was produced after studying U.S. cities and factors that make them the best places to live, work and play,” according to the Livability.com website.

Factors included in the Top 100 ranking included good schools, hospitals, amenities, affordability and the local economy. Read more at http://livability.com/top-100-best-places-to-live#/palo-alto/ca.

Viva los muertos!

Denver Botanic Gardens continues its annual celebration of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican day of remembrance and honor for the departed, with expanded programming this year.

In Mexico, streets near cemeteries are filled with parades, colorful decorations, flowers, candy, skeletons and skulls. It is believed the spirits of the dead visit their families Oct. 31 through Nov. 2. Families make altars with a photo of the deceased, along with offerings of food, candles, incense and yellow marigolds. 

The Gardens will observe the tradition with an all-ages celebration of Latino music, food, art and history on Friday. All events take place at the York Street location. For tickets and more information, go to: http://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/d%C3%ADa-de-los-muertos.

Celebrate Dia del Los Muertps at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Denver Botanic Gardens on Friday, Nov. 1. (Photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)


Shanahan shares steaks

The Washington Redskins lost to the Broncos Sunday, but head coach Mike Shanahan’s team will eat like winners on the plane home.

Shanahan told 104.3-FM The Fan on Friday his team will nosh on Shanahan’s Steakhouse fare on the plane ride home after Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos. Shanahan also noted he wouldn’t have time to visit his signature steakhouse in south Denver.

And speaking of the Broncos…

Ace Eat Serve at 501 E. 17th Ave. will be the place to catch all the Denver Broncos football action this season where the games will be shown on one of two projection screens.

Happy hour specials for the entire game (menu at www.acedenver.com/menus/happyhour).  And, tap into your own competitive spirit with free Ping-Pong as long as the Broncos are playing.

Tables can be reserved in advance, and for the entire length of the game. Get your reservations now for the next game (Broncos vs. Chargers on Nov. 10 since Sunday is a bye week) at 303-800-7705.  Free Ping-Pong and extended happy hour specials will be available during all Broncos home and away games for the rest of the 2013 - 2014 season.

The seen

The “dolphin trainer” actor in the Colorado Lottery commercial (created by local ad shop Cactus) shopping Thursday at Whole Foods Market on Hampden. He wasn’t spotted in the fresh fish section.

Eavesdropping on a group of golfers at the Eagle’s Nest restaurant at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club: “I wonder if Shanahan took the team to Shanahan’s (Steakhouse) last night?”

“Well, he sure didn’t take them to Elway’s!”

Did you hear that I have a new column, “Mile High Life,” in Colorado Community Media’s 17 weekly newspapers circling Denver? Be sure to like my Facebook page! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My email: penny@blacktie-llc.com. Want to advertise your business here? Contact Trisha at trilind@hotmail.com.

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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver re-earns AAA Five-Diamond ranking

October 23, 2013

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver has achieved what no other Denver hotel has earned, and it did it four years in a row.

Hotel general manager Steven Janicek announced Tuesday that the ritzy hotel has been awarded the coveted AAA Five-Diamond designation for 2013, the only Denver hotel in history to be awarded this rating.

The property located at 1881 Curtis St. downtown is among fewer than one-half percent of the 30,000 properties approved by AAA’s professional inspectors to be of Five-Diamond caliber. The Ritz-Carlton Denver boasts the largest guest rooms in the city starting at 540 square feet, Elway’s Downtown steak house, an urban oasis at The Ritz-Carlton Spa and the intimate Ritz-Carlton Club Level.

“I am extremely proud of our hotel’s achievement which could not happen without the genuine, personalized care our ladies and gentlemen provide to our guests every single day,” Janicek said. ”By enlivening The Ritz-Carlton service philosophy at every interaction, maintaining this coveted rating was possible.”

The AAA Diamond rating process is considered to be North America’s premier hotel rating program. Only .3 percent of all hotels AAA inspects meet industry standards to achieve Five Diamonds. The association annually evaluates more than 54 million lodging establishments and restaurants, and rates them on a scale of one to five Diamonds.

“Five Diamonds for four years from AAA adds up to some very nice numbers for Denver and a great honor for the city’s hospitality industry,” said Visit Denver spokesmodel Rich Grant.

The Ritz first earned the distinguished distinction four years ago under the helm of then-GM Andrew Rogers, who transferred with the hotel chain to China.

(Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver photos)

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver offers great views of downtown and Elway’s Downtown (below) provides premier dining options at the hotel at 1881 Curtis St. THe hotel earned its fourth consecutive AAA Five-Diamond rating. (Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver photos)Ritz_Denver_Elways


Hot hotels

Colorado hotels nearly swept Conde Nast Traveler’s 26th annual Readers’ Choice Poll this year. With the exception of two picks in Utah, Colorado’s homes away from home took the rest of the top 10 spots.

Nearly 80,000 readers participated in the 26th annual Readers’ Choice survey, which ranks the world’s best cities, islands, cruise lines, airlines, hotels and resorts and is featured in the November issue of the magazine.

Here are the rankings:

  • 1. Beaumont Hotel & Spa, Ouray
  • 2. Oxford Hotel, Denver
  • 3. Hotel Teatro, Denver
  • 4. St. Julien Hotel & Spa, Boulder
  • 5. Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City
  • 6. Four Seasons Hotel Denver
  • 7. Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, Denver
  • 8. Ritz-Carlton, Denver
  • 9. Hotel Monaco Denver
  • 10. Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City

See the whole story at http://www.cntraveler.com/readers-choice-awards/united-states/best-hotels-west.

Boulder’s Best Western wins best

The Best Western Plus Boulder Inn received the Champion Best Western Rewards Award and the Best Western Green Award at Best Western International’s Convention held recently in San Antonio, Texas.  The awards were presented in front of more than 4,000 industry peers.

The Champion Best Western Rewards Award is bestowed upon those member properties that demonstrate extraordinary support of Best Western Rewards, Best Western’s guest loyalty program. The Best Western Green Award is given to properties that demonstrate a commitment to sustaining resources and reducing their carbon footprint. Hotels must also meet design and customer care standards, as well as other membership requirements, to qualify.

The Best Western Plus Boulder Inn is one of only five hotels out of more than 2,400 properties in the U.S. and Canada to receive both of these awards.

“The Best Western Champion Awards recognize those Best Western hotels that demonstrate the highest levels of service, design and commitment to our loyalty program,” said Julie Montmaneix, Chairman of Best Western International’s board of directors. “The staff of the Best Western Plus Boulder Inn has a strong commitment to growing and strengthening our loyalty program, a critical guest engagement tool. And their dedication to environmentally-friendly practices is truly admirable. We’re proud of their success.”

Located directly across from the University of Colorado, the newly remodeled Best Western Plus Boulder Inn features 98 rooms, conference facilities, a large outdoor pool and complimentary bicycles. More information: http://www.hotels.com/ho176607/best-western-plus-boulder-inn-boulder-united-states/?gclid=COrR88ykq7oCFclDMgodLlMAYQ.

Best Western Plus Boulder Inn was named the top Best Western in the U.S. (Best Western photo)

Best Western Plus Boulder Inn won two awards during a recent convention of the hotel chain in San Antonio, Texas. (Best Western photo)


Clothing connection at ConneXions

The collection of ConneXions stores in the Southwest Plaza Mall at 8501 W. Bowles Ave. in Littleton, is holding a clothing swap party from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Time to dig out those fall fashions from the back of your closet and swap them for some new pieces. ConneXions will accept clothing, accessories, shoes and jewelry to swap with other thrifty fashionistas.

Each participant should bring five to 10 items to swap, and will receive a ticket for each item they add to the pile. Then, the stores will let you swap till you drop. All items (from any season) should be clean and in good condition.

Drop off your fashions all day on Thursday or between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday. All remaining clothing and accessories will be donated to Dress for Success Denver whose mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Flood relief funds 

AEG Live Rocky Mountains and Live Nation are bringing Colorado’s music community coming together for “Colorado Rising” a night of music to benefit flood relief through www.LiveUnitedColorado.org.  Presented by 97.3 KBCO and CBS4 Denver, the benefit concert takes place beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday at 1stBank Center, 11450 Broomfield Lane, Broomfield, featuring Dave Matthews, The Fray, Big Head Todd and The Monsters, members of The Lumineers, DeVotchKa, Nathaniel Rateliff and more.

“Coloradans unite during crisis – so does the music community,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said. ”We are thrilled so many musicians are coming together for this flood relief benefit concert. This is a great way to highlight recovery efforts and raise money at the same time. We are grateful AEG Live, Live Nation and other community partners are stepping up to help Colorado communities impacted by the historic flooding.”

“The fans, musicians and members of Colorado’s music community are always willing to help those in need.  My staff and I are humbled to be a part of this event helping those affected by the floods” said Chuck Morris, President and CEO of AEG Live Rocky Mountains.

All proceeds from the concert will go directly to the United Ways of Colorado Flood Recovery Fund, which  will distribute funds to the United Ways in communities across Colorado affected by the recent flooding. Each community will build collaborations to identify their needs and funds will be used to support their long-term recovery.

Tickets at www.TicketHorse.com, or order at 866-461-6556. TicketHorse also has kiosks located at all Colorado Dick’s Sporting Goods Stores (credit cards only). Reserved tickets are $65-$125 plus applicable service charges.  All ages are welcome.

With the recent floods impacting communities across Colorado, the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck launched a firm-wide fundraiser to support the victims of the recent disaster with both financial contributions and in-kind goods.

The firm matched employee contributions with more than $15,000 going to the American Red Cross and the Foothills Flood Relief Fund. The in-kind items were donated to the Community Food Share, ensuring that people in Boulder and Broomfield counties have food, and House of Neighborly Service is providing assistance to individuals and families in need in southern Larimer County.

“As a member of this community, there was no question that we were going to help support flood relief efforts,” said Kristin Stork, director of community relations for Brownstein. “Financial and in-kind contributions came in from not only those attorneys and staff in the Denver office, but from our offices across the country.”

Brownstein also plans on organizing a Karma Project (the firm’s employee volunteer program) in 2014 to further assist in rebuilding efforts.

Eavesdropping on a woman to a man: “You drink tequila? What do you drink with your tequila?”


Did you hear that I have a new column, “Mile High Life,” in Colorado Community Media’s 17 weekly newspapers circling Denver? Be sure to like my Facebook page! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My email: penny@blacktie-llc.com. Want to advertise your business here? Contact Trisha at trilind@hotmail.com.

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