Monday, January 28, 2013

No monkey business: Eat at the zoo

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Back in 2010, we introduced you to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's then-new Grizzly Grill.

The impression we got from our tasting was that this was certainly much more than a glorified snack bar, bearing some nice gourmet treats for zoo-goers.

Some time passed, and then last March, award-winning executive chef Beau Green took a promotion, leaving our zoo in the capable hands of former Nosh chef Nathan Dirnberger.

Leading us for the purposes of this blog to last night, when Dirnberger hosted the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Culinary Federation for its (late) holiday party inside the incredibly scenic Lodge at Moose Lake.

Chef Dirnberger sent me a comped invite to document the evening. He was also receiving the ACF President's Award "for dedicated service above and beyond" in 2012 during a short presentation ceremony.

And though I'm fully aware that the general public doesn't have access to this type of gathering, I figured there'd be value in at least showing you what the capable zoo staff can pull off in terms of a fine dining meal. (Be it for your next special occasion banquet or snack during a zoo tour.)

Here's a handful of photos that illustrate the overall excellent food and atmosphere:

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Nathan Dirngerber ACF

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Nathan Dirngerber ACF

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Nathan Dirngerber ACF
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Endive and Fennel Salad with Cranberry Vin, Crystallized Ginger, Candied Almonds, and Rooftop Garden Rosemary.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Nathan Dirngerber ACF
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Airline Chicken Breast served with Green Apple Chutney Duchess Sweet Potatoes, and Charred Onion Petals.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Nathan Dirngerber ACF
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Frangipane Custard with Poached Pear Compote (later to be) topped with a Gingerbread Touille cookie.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Nathan Dirngerber ACF
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A panorama of the city's skyline commands attention outside big bay doors.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Nathan Dirngerber ACF
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Chef Nathan Dirnberger receives the ACF President's Award "for dedicated service above and beyond" in 2012.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Nathan Dirngerber ACF
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Just outside the zoo's Lodge at Moose Lake, the moon rises over the city.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Nathan Dirngerber ACF

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