The Most Exotic Cocktail Party in Town: The Do at the (Denver) Zoo


Picture this.  The perfect late heat of a sultry summer day circulated by playful trade winds.  A beautiful, happy group of party goers dressed festively to celebrate summer, carrying eye catching cocktails or small bites of precisely constructed food.  A verve in the air, an excitement for the evening and a sense that everyone belongs.  When glancing into the setting sun one might see the silhouette of a monkey traversing between trees or an elephant cooling itself with a dirt bath.  When I was on safari in Kenya and Tanzania I did enjoy similar vignettes but in this case one need travel no father then the Denver Zoo for the ‘Do at the Zoo’ event.  This year was my maiden voyage and almost instantaneously I questioned why on earth I had not attended before?  This event must be one of the … {continue reading}

Summer Solstice Farm Dinner and Green Goddess Salad


Despite my years of buying food from farms, having a CSA share and my adoration for the craft of small farming, I have never attended a Farm-to-Table dinner.  Until now. I met Mark Guttridge of Ollin Farms in Longmont Colorado last fall when picking juniper berries at his farm with distiller friend Rob Masters of Rob’s Mountain Gin.  Mark struck me as a sweet, thoughtful person with an earnest devotion to the craft of farming.  Ollin Farms is not a huge farm by any means but they have a lot going on between offering a CSA in the summer, summer camps, selling bedding plants, running a Farm Stand, participating in the local Farmer’s Markets, conducting Farm dinners and maintaining significant community involvement including piloting the Boulder County Fruit Project and speaking publically … {continue reading}

Chilled Strawberry Mousse and a Strawberry Spritzer


It’s hot in Colorado.  We normally don’t get regular days in the 90’s until August and we’ve experienced a handful already.  Farmers I know say we are in a drought which is not surprising after our sparse snowfall.  Anyone watching the national news will have seen a wildfire only moderately controlled after more than a week and having burned more structures than any fire in Colorado’s history. When it is this hot I quickly lose my interest to do much of anything outside.  We are so high in altitude and with more intense UV rays one can imagine hearing the faint sound of bacon sizzling whenever outside for more than a few minutes and you’d not dream of going without sunscreen.  I’m haunted by teenage memories of ‘laying out’ applying only baby oil mixed with iodine, on tin foil and often … {continue reading}

Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries and Almonds & Summer Picnic Lemonade Cocktail


During the summer my kids swim on a summer swim team.  I did also as a child and again in High School.  It’s a very fun summer sport with families setting up personal tents side by side to shield the beastly sun and catch up after the long chilly months of no contact.There is a lot of waiting at swim meets.  This past weekend my crew began a nostalgic chat about favorite childhood sandwiches of all things.  I’m not sure what happens exactly between childhood and adulthood but there seems to be an invisible door that once passed through specific dishes are left behind to reside in the distant memories only occasionally to be recalled.It’s 98 degrees as I write this. Not to drag YOU to a swim meet but I could not resist the look of this water and the mention of an Otter Pop!My all time … {continue reading}

Salsa Judging, an Award Winning Recipe and Summer Fun in Aspen/Snowmass

Award Winning Salsa Recipe |

Snowmass Colorado kicked off their summer season last weekend with the flavorful Chili Pepper and Brew Fest.   The festival runs a day and a half with attendees having the opportunity to taste varieties of chili (red, green and salsa) from a number of award-winning and new cooks, taste home-brewed beers, taste tequila and listen to a number of bands all picturesquely perched on the side of a mountain.  I was asked to be a judge both days for the Salsa category which was not only a twist-my-arm assignment  as I love all Southwestern cuisine, but a portal into the world of the International Chili Society, a far reaching organization I knew nothing about. For those not familiar with Snowmass, it is a sister mountain community to the famous Aspen a mere 20 minutes away.   The central dining … {continue reading}

Summer ‘Freestyle’ Margaritas from Bitter Bar’s Michael Cerretani


Three fresh summer margaritas: (left to right) Blackberry-Mint, Thyme-Cucumber and Strawberry-Blueberry.   Boulder is a very cool food town.  Named ‘America’s Foodiest Town’ in 2010 by Bon Appétit magazine, it fulfills this distinction in a variety of genres.  We certainly bear a commitment to quality farm-to-table food production and consumption.  One only needs to spend 10 minutes talking to anyone, farmer or patron, at our Farmer’s Market to be sure about that. Certainly our dining and bar scene have made their mark as well.  The draw of this area for chefs and mixologists alike is clear and we locals are pleased to be the benefactors of so many dedicated and enthused by their craft.     One such shining star is Michael Cerretani, Bar Manager for The Bitter Bar, a … {continue reading}