‘Lifestyle Winemaking’ in Colorado’s North Fork Valley

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The view from the Jack Rabbit Hill wineryColorado is a very unique winemaking state.  Despite possessing several microclimates allowing myriad grape varietals to be successfully cultivated, our burgeoning wine success has been discovered by a shy minority.  Wine aficionados and cutting edge foodies seem to be those ‘in the know’ embracing the quality of the wine for its award-winning merit; not merely due to the novelty of it being Colorado local.  Our production is meager compared to more well-known wine regions though the quality will stand shoulder to shoulder against some of the best.   Is all the wine great?  No.  There is variability winery to winery however after tasting almost 100 wines a few weekends back while at a Drink Local Wine conference and tour of Colorado’s wine country, … {continue reading}

The Blind Cafe: Experiential Dining meets Performance Art in the Pitch Black

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Almost 100 diners share this intimately spaced dining experience in groups of 12 per table.  The Blind Café utilizes various venues to facilitate the optimum dark experience the café concept is built upon. When I was contacted by the Blind Café to come experience their concept and write about it I immediately said yes.  It is a ‘pop up’, or temporary restaurant where the diners spend 2 hours in the dark serviced by actual blind wait staff.  The café circulates between a handful of edgy towns providing 2 nights of 2 seatings per night before moving on.  I was excited, loving anything off the beaten path and unusual, however the first thought on my mind the day after accepting was whether I’d feel claustrophobic?  I’m NOT claustrophobic but clearly the unknown of the event was beginning to … {continue reading}

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

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Our Farmer’s Market has now been open for a few weeks and the parade of fresh things has begun again.  Something I’ve appreciated about eating as a locavore is the specific period of time a given produce item is available.  I realize it seems that it might be more convenient to have things available indefinitely but you can liken it to a favorite holiday; if it was around all year, the spikes of appreciation of what comes with it would be missing. Beautiful organic spring rhubarb from Grant Family Farms, Wellington CO   Over the winter I grouped newly discovered vintage recipes into mental categories by fruit or vegetable, waiting for the right timing to give them a whirl.  With the onset of rhubarb I’ve dipped into the wooden recipe box that produced Dark Honey … {continue reading}

Homemade Pineapple-Infused Rum

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                                                                     Normally I would not be bitten by the ‘Summer Cocktail Bug’ until mid June when the weather warms and everything begins to ease into the lazy smolder of the summer season.  It is only mid April I realize however summer seems upon us in Boulder.  We’ve broken temperature records by hitting almost 90 degrees in the past week.  Trees are in full leaf as we’d expect by the end of June and my cocktail fever has started to spike. Making Homemade Pineapple-Infused Rum popped to mind and in less than an hour I was prowling the liquor store for Colorado distilled rums, not an area of my expertise.  Whenever embarking on a new infusion I try to take the opportunity to familiarize myself with another one of Colorado’s 22 … {continue reading}

Great New Asian ‘Eats’ at Denver Zoo’s ‘Kamala Café’ and the new Toyota Elephant Passage Exhibit Opening

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Let’s be frank.  When one thinks of a zoo, the food is subordinate to all the other images that pop to mind.   It usually even falls behind reflections of parking.  I think it’s a stereotyped given that the food resides in the ‘Carnival’ family of cuisine, offering a substantial dip into the saturated fat pond with lots of sugary options to chase it.   Despite all of this my curiosity got the best of me as the state-of-the-art new exhibit Toyota Elephant Passage readies for opening at the Denver Zoo after a several years of  planning and construction.  With such an upscale, attention-grabbing exhibit I was sure there must be a food story in there somewhere.  What I would discover was humbling and left me departing a visit in awe to say the least.Last week I ventured to the zoo to meet the … {continue reading}

A New Era in Dining for the Historic Stanley Hotel, Estes Park CO

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For those unfamiliar with the picturesque hamlet that is Estes Park, it is the guardian town to Rocky Mountain National park, snuggled into the first pitching peaks of the majestic mountain range.  A mere 50 minutes from Boulder, when ending  the easy winding drive one is greeted by a ‘the-hills-are-alive’ vista of a sprawling lake and the white, red-roofed Stanley Hotel poised elegantly on the mountainside.  It sits as a timeless sentinel; a nod to a bygone era of stately lodging with an East Coast essence while continuing to reinvent itself to mesh with current day expectations.The Stanley has a colorful past having been started by F. O. Stanley, famous steam engine inventor when moving to Colorado for health reasons.  Not finding suitable lodging he built the hotel estate in 1909.  … {continue reading}