Food & Drink

Monday, August 29, 2016

Food Rescue fundraises in fashion

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 3:51 PM

In many ways, Colorado Springs Food Rescue's Harvest Celebration this past weekend at Venetucci Farm was reminiscent of Seeds Community Cafe's Sustainability Summit fundraiser in mid June. 

Sunlight poured into the farm's barn, Seeds once again dished healthy and delicious food and the day's dialogue centered around creating a healthy food system, in part by stopping our excessive food waste as a global society. 

CSFR executive director Zac Chapman says the event helped raise more than $6,000 for the nonprofit, which in part will go toward new school program initiatives. Watch this newly released promotional video to hear more about that and other CSFR efforts. 



And here's a batch of pics that highlight a lot of youthful enthusiasm and community care:
CSFR volunteer Landis Hackett manning the greeting table. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • CSFR volunteer Landis Hackett manning the greeting table.
CSFR executive director Zac Chapman discusses the history of local farms in the Springs. Arcadia Gardens now becomes part of modern history, just as Venetucci Farm has produce unable to be harvested due to water contamination. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • CSFR executive director Zac Chapman discusses the history of local farms in the Springs. Arcadia Gardens now becomes part of modern history, just as Venetucci Farm has produce unable to be harvested due to water contamination.
The Seeds Community Cafe crew, lending fine foods. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • The Seeds Community Cafe crew, lending fine foods.
Representatives for CSFR's community grocery programs and school programs  speak about the importance of health equality and the impact that CSFR has on low-income communities, among others. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • Representatives for CSFR's community grocery programs and school programs speak about the importance of health equality and the impact that CSFR has on low-income communities, among others.
If hosting a busy fundraiser, bring backup. And you can backup CSFR too with donations or volunteer time. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • If hosting a busy fundraiser, bring backup. And you can backup CSFR too with donations or volunteer time.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Garlic breadth

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 4:50 PM

Pikes Peak Urban Gardens has hosted its annual Garlic Fest fundraiser for many years now, but this year that's morphing into an all-day symposium with Galileo School of Math & Science. 

The new, expanded event will take place Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the registration deadline is this Wednesday, Aug. 31. 
Previous years' Garlic Fests included chef cook-offs, utilizing garlic as a key ingredient, of course. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Previous years' Garlic Fests included chef cook-offs, utilizing garlic as a key ingredient, of course.
Here's the schedule breakdown:
Morning Session: 10:00am - 11:30am : Cost: $10
Afternoon Session: 11:30am - 3:30pm: Cost $25 includes lunch
BOTH Sessions: 10:00am - 3:30pm: Cost: $35 includes lunch
Doors open at 9:00 am for the morning session, and 11:30 am for the afternoon session.
And much more info via a press release:
Pikes Peak Urban Gardens and Galileo School of Math & Science are happy to present the 2016 Garlic & Harvest Symposium at Galileo School, 1600 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO.

This symposium is an all-day, educational event celebrating this year's bountiful garden harvest and all things garlic. Attend the morning session, afternoon session or both! A wealth of information will be provided by knowledgeable and experienced garden and homestead enthusiasts.

All tickets must be purchased online prior to the event. Seating is very limited and early registration is strongly encouraged. Refunds are not available.

Vendors will be in attendance offering gardening and homesteading supplies, along with locally-grown garlic available for purchase. The Galileo Garden Project welcomes you to tour the garden, geodesic growing dome and the farm stand which will be offering fresh veggies for sale.

Chef Lyn from Seeds Community Cafe will recreate his famous garlic ice cream! This is a sweet treat for everyone in attendance, and should not to be missed! The purchase of an afternoon session ticket includes lunch, graciously provided by Whole Foods and Papa John's.

A great selection of Larry's gourmet garlic will be auctioned to the highest bidder at the conclusion of the morning session class so bring your checkbooks. Proceeds will benefit Pikes Peak Urban Gardens' 2017 programs.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Cook kills at the Goat Cheese Lady's farm

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 3:11 PM

A couple weeks ago, we advised you to "Get utterly excited for chef David Cook's farm dinner" at the Goat Cheese Lady's farm. 

While her campaign to raise funds to erect a creamery continues, we made our first trip south to Penrose to visit the goats and partake in the fundraising and festivities. You can make a trip too with two more dinners before this season's out, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 17 and Oct. 15. Find more info soon here

But first, take a photo tour through chef Cook's menu, which served to play with several of the Goat Cheese Lady's fine cheeses. The chef graciously volunteered his time and efforts to cater the event.

Cook, as I said when he first got to town in mid 2014, sets a high standard for excellence and stands among the top chefs in town for creativity, diversity (or eclectic range), flavor fusions, and, certainly, plate presentations. Lavish garnishes lead and pop with color (you don't want to know what he spent on the edible floral components alone), just as they do at the Wobbly Olive, where Cook still consults, and has a new menu rolling out on Sept. 1. 

Hay bales for seats and goats on the pasture for scenery. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Hay bales for seats and goats on the pasture for scenery.
A group of food producers who contributed to the evening's meal. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A group of food producers who contributed to the evening's meal.
The Goat Cheese Lady continues to offer $100 boxes, great for gift giving or stockpiling for the end of days. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The Goat Cheese Lady continues to offer $100 boxes, great for gift giving or stockpiling for the end of days.
The menu. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The menu.
Launching with a breakfast-inspired item. Honey wheat bread, spicy country sausage, egg, bacon with red eye gravy and Formaggio di Capra. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Launching with a breakfast-inspired item. Honey wheat bread, spicy country sausage, egg, bacon with red eye gravy and Formaggio di Capra.
Four-year-old-brine blue feta and fresh feta with pickled beef tongue, smoked beef liver and pork heart pâté, garnished with lingonberry syrup gastrique and a buzz button flower (which briefly numbs and stings the tongue, shifting flavor perception). - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Four-year-old-brine blue feta and fresh feta with pickled beef tongue, smoked beef liver and pork heart pâté, garnished with lingonberry syrup gastrique and a buzz button flower (which briefly numbs and stings the tongue, shifting flavor perception).
Prosciutto-wrapped rustic chicken terrine with pork green chile rattlesnake beans, goat ricotta and a duck fat pizzelle, garnished with chili threads and lemongrass infused Florence honey. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Prosciutto-wrapped rustic chicken terrine with pork green chile rattlesnake beans, goat ricotta and a duck fat pizzelle, garnished with chili threads and lemongrass infused Florence honey.
Blue Moon-braised pork spare rib with Cuban-style goat cheese, Indian mustard oil, ras el hanout maque choux and chili-almond dukkah. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Blue Moon-braised pork spare rib with Cuban-style goat cheese, Indian mustard oil, ras el hanout maque choux and chili-almond dukkah.
A goat milk panna cotta due of Madagascar vanilla with lemon vinegar, and matcha with Palisade peach aigre-doux. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A goat milk panna cotta due of Madagascar vanilla with lemon vinegar, and matcha with Palisade peach aigre-doux.
The sun sets, the guests feast. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The sun sets, the guests feast.
Chef Cook and the Goat Cheese Lady, Lindsey Aparicio. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Chef Cook and the Goat Cheese Lady, Lindsey Aparicio.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

'Follow Your Fruits & Veggies'

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 12:02 PM

Representatives from the state's Colorado Proud campaign will visit town next Wednesday, Aug. 24, from 3-7 p.m. as part of the Colorado Farm and Art Market at the Pioneer's Museum downtown. 
COURTESY COLORADO PROUD
  • Courtesy Colorado Proud
Colorado Springs will be among 19 statewide stops on CP's Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey: 
... a month-long, historical and interactive trek among Colorado’s agricultural landscape. A Colorado Proud booth will feature costumed “fruits and veggies;” educational information and produce facts; recipe cards featuring locally-grown ingredients; representatives of Colorado Proud; Colorado seed packets; and other agri-fun experiences. ...
More than ever, consumers want to make informed decisions about what they choose to eat and the impact those choices have on Colorado’s economy, environment and heritage. The Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey was created to educate Coloradans about how and where their food is grown; integrate agricultural communities; and celebrate farmers. The Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey provides an understanding of the path – or journey – fruits and vegetables travel, from Colorado farms and fields to our tables. With more than 36,000 farms encompassing nearly 32 million acres, agriculture is a vital part of Colorado – providing more than 173,000 jobs; contributing more than $40 billion to the state’s economy annually; and feeding the world with nearly $2 billion in exported products. 
See more ecological and financial stats about our state's agriculture system here:
Follow_Your_Fruits__Veggies_Journey_--_fact_sheet.docx.pdf
And see stats about El Paso County in particular here:
El_Paso_County.pdf
COURTESY COLORADO PROUD
  • Courtesy Colorado Proud

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cooking for a Cause: curry at the food bank

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 1:21 PM

As part of Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado's Cooking for a Cause series — which continues Sept. 8 (with Picnic Basket's Jenna Hines), Oct. 13 (with The Warehouse's James Africano), and Nov. 10 (with Jake and Telly's rep Jake Topakas) — personal chef Corey Wilson presented a fine four-course Indian meal ($40 per person; we were comped) last week in Care and Share's kitchen and warehouse area just off Powers Boulevard. 

From left to right: volunteers Olwen, Forrest and Michael Carsten, purveyor George Spencer from Il Castagno, chef (and captain) Corey Wilson, and Donna Ross and Stacey Poore from Care and Share. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • From left to right: volunteers Olwen, Forrest and Michael Carsten, purveyor George Spencer from Il Castagno, chef (and captain) Corey Wilson, and Donna Ross and Stacey Poore from Care and Share.

Wilson, who counts several years at the Blue Star among his experience, says he was partly inspired to showcase Indian food based off a visit to Vij's in Vancouver, which pretty much blew his mind. He walked guests through some history and cultural context of Indian cuisine — why do curry sauces arrive with so much extra sauce in the bowl, often requiring a request for more rice? — noting how it's the most diverse culinary style in the world based on how many ingredients (particularly spices) are utilized.

His on-the-whole beautifully executed plates reflected that diversity, with an abundance of color and flavor profiles, complemented by side sauces (which guests were encouraged to test with each course) to represent spicy, sour, sweet and creamy combos. Area purveyor George Spencer from Il Castagno provided some great wine pairings, following a cocktail greeting of Bayswater Gin and tonic. 

We'll go course-by-course with the photos below, but first I want to share some updates about current initiatives and efforts from Care and Share's chief development officer Stacy Poore: 
A dinner table set among rows and rows of food items destined for those struggling with hunger. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A dinner table set among rows and rows of food items destined for those struggling with hunger.

Construction of a clean room will begin soon to allow for bulk packing of certain items, which will be just one more way in which Care and Share serves the hungry. The pantry also just worked out a new alliance with Starbucks to collect its unsold ready-to-eat meals from 28 Colorado locations and distribute them to partnering agencies who serve the homeless community. Care and Share is among the first six food banks in the country to work with Starbucks. 

In late September, expect the long-anticipated launch of a new social enterprise program through Care and Share called GoalZero Recycling. "We have been perfecting our zero waste efforts for more than six years at Care and Share, and planning our social enterprise for the past three," says Poore. 

How it'll work: "We will be offering cardboard and shrink wrap recycling services to businesses, many with large amounts of these commodities, and there seem to be lots of them," she says. "These two materials are what we have been recycling/have in largest supply. Last year we raised about $16K recycling/selling our own cardboard, shrink wrap, and pallets."

To be clear: "We are not a single stream recycler, our city has plenty of those. We seek customers who have large amounts of the two commodities mentioned, and who want to make a difference by not only diverting these materials from land fill, but working with an organization who seeks to feed people through the gathering and sale of these precious commodities."

For food waste, for anyone wondering, Care and Share already partners with Eads, Colorado's A1 Organics and delivers its organic waste to them (for a fee). Explains Poore: "A1 turns the material into mulch, compost, etc. What is super amazing is that they can take our material in cans, boxes, etc. We don’t have to break it down. Their machines de-package it, spitting the packaging waste one way/turning it into a pulp, and then the organic material into all sorts of lovely sludge like substances that will make plants grow." 

That may be an unappetizing transition into talking about dinner, but try to clear your thoughts and appreciate the prettiness:

Condiments for play. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Condiments for play.

Yogurt marinated prawns in coconut cream curry with pistachio-apricot basmati. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Yogurt marinated prawns in coconut cream curry with pistachio-apricot basmati.
 
Vij's lamb meatballs with pappadam and stuffed potato. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Vij's lamb meatballs with pappadam and stuffed potato.
Dal with naan croutons. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Dal with naan croutons.
Lamb with spicy tomato onion gravy and cumin-fried potatoes. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Lamb with spicy tomato onion gravy and cumin-fried potatoes.
Making new friends in the community, joined for a common cause. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Making new friends in the community, joined for a common cause.
Apricot almond and cardamom mix with cream and cookie crumble. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Apricot almond and cardamom mix with cream and cookie crumble.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Special dinners abound — be at one

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 5:17 PM

The upcoming weeks are crammed with cool food and drink events, many with timely RSVPs. Here's a bullet point list so you can't say we didn't tell you: 

Venetucci Farm will hold two upcoming Starlight Dinners, on Monday, Aug. 15, and Monday, Sept. 19, the first featuring chef James Africano from The Warehouse and the second hosting chef Jay Gust from TAPAteria/Pizzeria Rustica. There's already a waitlist on the second meal, but you can still buy tickets for the first here. All the info is on this flyer:  Venetucci_Starlight_Dinner_Flyer_2.3.pdf
barreled_square.jpg

• The Margarita at PineCreek's annual Clam Jam takes place Sunday, Aug. 21 at 3:30 p.m. The house chefs will present nine different regional seafood dishes alongside live music and much more. Entry costs $60. Call 598-8667 for resos. 

Lee Spirits will release a new, very limited barrel-aged gin in Brooklyn's on Boulder at 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 25. Axe and the Oak barrels were used to make the product, which will cost $45 per bottle. The spirit makers describe it as "a creamy and citrusy spirit with a touch of vanilla smoke."

The Broadmoor will hold a special Maker's Mark Weekend from Aug. 26 to 28, hosting chairman emeritus Bill Samuels, Jr. from the legacy whiskey company. The whole affair includes a meet-and-greet reception, tastings and presentations with Samuels, and a whiskey dinner in La Taverne. Visit the above link for full details. 

• On Saturday, Aug. 27 at 6 p.m., the El Pueblo History Museum will host a four-course farm-to-table dinner with chef Ernie Duncan, with proceeds benefiting the museum's educational programming. From a release: "The evening will pay homage to the history of agriculture in Pueblo and support Colorado farms including Pueblo County farm and Larga Vista Ranch. Complementing each course, Shannon Speaks from Synergy Fine Wines has perfectly paired each meal with a glass of wine." Get more info and tickets, $65 non-members, here

• Also on Aug. 27 at 6 p.m., The Coffee Exchange will host a Cuban Night of dinner and dancing, $22 per person or $40 for a couple. Here's a look at the menu: 
image1.jpg
• From 4 to 6 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 28, Colorado Springs Food Rescue will hold its Harvest Celebration at Venetucci Farm, featuring live music, plus food and drink samples from CSFR's community partners. RSVP required and the event is free, though organizers will ask for a meaningful donation to become a part of their Friends of Colorado Springs Food Rescue campaign.
updated_time-_harvest_poster.jpg

• An early heads up on this one: Pizzeria Rustica will host CEO Edward Mottini Jacorossi and manager Alessandra Santinelli from Fattoria della Talosa in Montepulciano, Italy, on Tuesday, Sept. 20, for a five-course dinner. George Spencer from Il Castagno will present the wines. Tickets, $59, will benefit the Friends of Colorado Springs Jazz. Make reservations with Coaltrain at 475-9700. 

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Get utterly excited for chef David Cook's farm dinner

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 3:27 PM

Just a couple weeks ago, we mentioned former Indy blogger The Goat Cheese Lady's push to build her dream creamery: She's seeking to raise $13,000, in part by selling $100 boxes of farm-made goodies
A group of your food producers for a special meal. - RANDY POE
  • Randy Poe
  • A group of your food producers for a special meal.
Back in June, she hosted chef Kevin Campbell for a farm-to-table meal, and now, on Saturday, Aug. 20, she's inviting Wobbly Olive consulting chef David Cook (yeah, that's his real name ... joke never gets old) for another five-course meal featuring items from the farm (The Goat Cheese Lady Farm-raised pork and chicken, and Cripple Creek grass fed and finished beef) plus other area produce.  

A farm tour begins shortly at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 5:30. Seats are $100 and reservations are required. Dinners for the same price (guest chefs yet to be named) are also scheduled for Sept. 17 and Oct. 15.  

Here's a look at chef Cook's menu: 

gcl_farm_to_table_8.20.16_menu.jpg


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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Goat Patch Brewing launches at Lincoln

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2016 at 3:50 PM

The Ivywild School-esque Lincoln Center development at 2727 N. Cascade Ave. has come to life with the openings of the Lincoln St. Barbers, Building3 Coffee Roasters, CrossFit SoCo and Omtastic Yoga. ReVibe Pilates will soon join the party, as well as baker David McInnis’s yet-to-be-named venture. You may also recall that Local Relic brewing had signed on to be the beer presence, later pulling out.

A look at what's to come, around spring 2017. - COURTESY GOAT PATCH BREWING
  • Courtesy Goat Patch Brewing
  • A look at what's to come, around spring 2017.

Which left an opening for another beer entity, which has thus-far only put up a teaser image of a goat’s face on the doors of suites 117 and 123. Turns out that’s part of the logo for Goat Patch Brewing Co., which anticipates an early spring 2017 opening.

Though the goat’s the logo, the name actually refers to a style of beard, which GPB brewer Darren Baze has worn for years — banded into a long thin braid that reaches to his belt. Anyone who knows him from his five years at Bristol Brewing, three at Trinity or the past four at Colorado Mountain Brewery’s west location, knows that beard. And more importantly, his beer potential.
The teaser logo on the door of the future tasting room at the Lincoln Center. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The teaser logo on the door of the future tasting room at the Lincoln Center.

Baze — joined here by his wife Cate and co-owners Justin and Jen Grant — originally played around on Bristol’s experimental sour Skull and Bones series, and has recently headed up CMB’s seasonal selections on a 3.5-barrel system, occasionally brewing up north with Andy Bradley on his 10-barrel setup. GPB aims to launch bigger, with a 15-barrel outfit that’ll provide room to grow. Expect 12 brews, half flagships and half rotating, in the taproom (occupying the aforementioned suites, plus a patio).

A teaser of a couple labels to expect: Baze makes an American lager he's proud of, which will most appeal to the typical Bud drinker, he says, as a very approachable brew. He's also fond of the first recipe he ever wrote, a red ale. And he'll produced limited sours for that crowd. 

The brewing facility, not open to the public, will be located in suite 120 across the hall, in Lincoln’s old auditorium. Baze says he’ll likely add a canning line later, but do keg distribution fairly early on. GPB won’t offer any food as they’ll support their neighbors and food trucks. 
Justin and Jen Grant (left) and Darren and Cate Baze. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Justin and Jen Grant (left) and Darren and Cate Baze.

A little more info on the partners: Chicago native Cate Baze does home healthcare work with Justin Grant, an ex Army Ranger originally from Maine. Through that work, the couples became good friends a few years ago, and all four hope to be around the brewery in some capacity, though Jen Grant is a stay-at-home-mom with three children, so she's most limited on hours. Really, Darren will be the only day-to-day face as the full-time brewer, but expect to meet the others at some point in the tasting room. 

Here's a look at what the pre-renovated space looks like today:

This former auditorium will convert to a full-scale brewing operation over the next several months. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • This former auditorium will convert to a full-scale brewing operation over the next several months.

Much like what happened at Ivywild School, chalkboards will give way to menu boards and desks chairs will yield to bar stools. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Much like what happened at Ivywild School, chalkboards will give way to menu boards and desks chairs will yield to bar stools.

Justin Grant points out the three spaces which Goat Patch Brewing will occupy inside the larger school complex. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Justin Grant points out the three spaces which Goat Patch Brewing will occupy inside the larger school complex.

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Today is Taco Tuesday at Urban Steam

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2016 at 1:01 PM

A lot of places in town do Taco Tuesday specials, including spots like Jose Muldoon's, T-Byrds Tacos & Tequila, and McCabe's Tavern. 

Last month, Urban Steam Coffee Bar and Cafe joined the gluttonous club, kicking out weekly salsa and taco creations, $3 house margaritas, $6 top-shelf specialty margs, $2 tacos and $8 to $14 big-ass nacho platters.

We stopped in last week to sample (on our own dime) and chat with owner Kelly Bubach, who's underway with another expansion into a neighboring storefront. When it's completed, he'll have gone from an initial 800 square feet when he first opened in 2012 to around 2,800 total square feet. 

Though coffee remains a focal point for the business, the bar and eatery sides have grown significantly and continue to undergo seasonal shifts to introduce new items, including cocktails, burgers and salads. 

Bubach remains a meticulous menu planner, properly obsessing over ingredients, from sourcing to treatment and plate presentation. Even simple dishes find a way to shine a little brighter with that attention. 

Taco Tuesday proves no exception. Take a look at a few items on display:
The pork, beef, jerk chicken and vegan black bean tacos all arrive with house pickled onions and/or carrots and lively garnishes like chipotle-lime sour cream and pineapple habanero salsa. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The pork, beef, jerk chicken and vegan black bean tacos all arrive with house pickled onions and/or carrots and lively garnishes like chipotle-lime sour cream and pineapple habanero salsa.

Last week's excellent Margarita Excelsio featured Espolón Tequila, melon, agave, lime and a potent chili powdered rim. It's $6, but even the cheaper $3 house margaritas drink beautifully, not cloying, with fresh lime, triple sec and simple syrup — no nasty sweet and sour mix. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Last week's excellent Margarita Excelsio featured Espolón Tequila, melon, agave, lime and a potent chili powdered rim. It's $6, but even the cheaper $3 house margaritas drink beautifully, not cloying, with fresh lime, triple sec and simple syrup — no nasty sweet and sour mix.

The Muchos Nachos get a topping of carnitas, cheese, pickled veggies and a sour cream squirting. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The Muchos Nachos get a topping of carnitas, cheese, pickled veggies and a sour cream squirting.

Here's a look at last week's menu:
screen_shot_2016-08-09_at_11.20.23_am.png

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Building3 hosts grand opening week

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 3:59 PM

We recently noted the soft opening of Building3 Coffee Roasters, and as of Monday, it's officially game on with a grand opening week of events planned, including a cupping with a visiting El Salvadoran coffee producer. 

I stopped into the Lincoln Center last week and met owner/roaster Sean Buckles, and took a small tour of his roastery and sharp cafe space. Here's what I saw:
The front entryway faces west across the main parking lot. Another entryway comes from the Lincoln Center's interior hallway. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The front entryway faces west across the main parking lot. Another entryway comes from the Lincoln Center's interior hallway.

The north wall hosts the ordering counter, with all necessary gadgets and some light sandwich and pastry offerings. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The north wall hosts the ordering counter, with all necessary gadgets and some light sandwich and pastry offerings.
The south wall features a comfy study corner. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The south wall features a comfy study corner.
Along with a nitro cold brew tap, Building3 also offers a local kombucha tap from CoS'Bucha. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Along with a nitro cold brew tap, Building3 also offers a local kombucha tap from CoS'Bucha.
Nitro cold brew, settling, and tasting outstanding. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Nitro cold brew, settling, and tasting outstanding.
Building3's Long Cap Espresso label, formerly on display at Peak Place. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Building3's Long Cap Espresso label, formerly on display at Peak Place.
Baristas with experience: Heather Nall hails from SwitchBack, Taylor Ashley (middle)  from the Wild Goose, and Mark Verhaus from Peak Place. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Baristas with experience: Heather Nall hails from SwitchBack, Taylor Ashley (middle) from the Wild Goose, and Mark Verhaus from Peak Place.

Roaster Sean Buckles fires coffee across the hall from the cafe area, in a room with a large window looking in, so the public can see him toil. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Roaster Sean Buckles fires coffee across the hall from the cafe area, in a room with a large window looking in, so the public can see him toil.

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The Drive In-Tasty Freeze's last call for the summer

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 1:40 PM

Looks like summer. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Looks like summer.
We were going to hold this brief review for the print edition, but this Old North End mainstay closes for the season on Monday, August 29.

Name change aside, the menu has been pared down since we last reviewed the place in 2012. They don't even offer chili dogs anymore, ruining a perfectly good John Mellencamp joke. Oh well, life goes on.

The fast-food-flat grey burger patties haven't changed, though. A Mama Single combo ($6.29, plus 39 cents for cheese) comes with a fountain drink and small fries. Of note, the fries are good, pleasantly soft inside with a little tooth to the exterior, a little salty but not greasy. The burger itself comes on a nice enough sesame seed bun, piled with an excess of lettuce and a decent house-made Thousand Island dressing. Add buttery grilled onions for a decent fast-food indulgence.
 
Their raspberry shake ($3.25/medium) does surprisingly well — nothing particularly fresh or berry-rich, mind you, but better balanced than what you'll get at the drive-thru, and just thin enough for straw sipping.

Bottom line, if a quaint red-and-white patio on a sunny suburban street lined with idyllic homes sounds like a mandatory summer stop, The Drive In-Tasty Freeze is still open through the end of August and happy to serve. 
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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Downtown dive to reopen with new identity tonight

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 5:30 PM

Back in June, we said that Spike TV's Bar Rescue was coming to the Brickhouse Bar & Grill sometime this summer. Well, bar baron Jon Taffer has made his visits and done his work.

Thursday at 8 p.m., the Brickhouse Bar & Grill is holding its grand reopening. Thanks to Hollywood nondisclosure agreements, we don't know what it's going to be called until opening. As long as it's snapper than Corporate Bar & Grill, a previous Bar Rescue winner, it's unlikely owner John Nichols will mutiny.

If you don't mind being on camera, drop by, sign a release form and check it out.
The former Brickhouse Bar & Grill has a new name — but we won't know it until later. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The former Brickhouse Bar & Grill has a new name — but we won't know it until later.

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Inside La Cava's "wine cellar"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 5:29 PM

In this week's Side Dish, we meet the new La Cava Fine Mexican Cuisine, which just opened near Smiling Toad Brewery. 

I spoke with the kitchen at La Cava for Side Dish, but I failed to connect with the woman behind the venture, Patricia Castrejon, who was traveling last week. Her husband Miguel, who operates the attached Colorado Pain and Rehab Medical Center, reached me today though to clarify some points and elaborate on Patricia's effort to share something really special from her home state of Sonora, Mexico. 

Miguel says they have indeed been working on La Cava over the course of three years: The whole interior is lined with stone that required laborious and meticulously placement. The couple also traveled back and forth to Mexico to purchase furniture, and also bought a 100-year old bar in Dallas, to complete "a real, rustic hacienda feel," he says. 

Chimichanga de pollo con salsa quemada. - COURTESY LA CAVA
  • Courtesy La Cava
  • Chimichanga de pollo con salsa quemada.
That authenticity also translates into plates that surpass the Tex-Mex norm in town, he says. "This is a true Mexican hacienda experience," he insists, noting that Patricia has been teaching the cooks exactly how to prepare and present dishes that date back far in her family.  

Yes, the dishes might appear expensive, he says, but the intent is to "expose people to the kind of food we eat in Mexico," which means more lavish dishes than the average combo platter. 

Take the historic Chiles en Nogada, for example, a pork-, beef- and dried fruit-stuffed poblano with walnut sauce topped in pomegranate seeds. 

And as for the hidden location (not visible from Eighth Street), Miguel says that in a way, that's just like going to Mexico, where on the "tucked away streets is where you find the best foods." 

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Wobbly Olive proprietors announce new venture

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 4:09 PM

The Wobbly Olive's contribution to food culture on the east side of town has been significant since its opening in mid 2014. 

The food and drink offerings have continued to grow in sophistication and creative quality as owners Sean and Inez Fitzgerald have pushed themselves and their staff to grow. 

And they've contributed to building a serious cocktail scene in the city recently. 

Just today, they posted this by way of announcing a new project underway:
The exact address of the site will be 7702 Barnes Road. 

Sean, reached moments ago by phone, says the whole concept behind The Collective is that the east side still lacks the "community-forward line of thinking" that's abundant on the west side of town. "The community aspect is very important to us — the idea is a to be bar built around the neighborhood." 
A shell ready to be filled in with good food, spirits and people. - SEAN FITZGERALD
  • Sean Fitzgerald
  • A shell ready to be filled in with good food, spirits and people.
At the Wobbly Olive, he says, "we've been a great bridge between corporate food and more well known downtown destinations. We introduced people to new food and exotic flavors. But being surrounded by corporates, we aren't really a neighborhood place." 

That said, he wants The Collective to be even more casual, "like sophisticated bar food." That would be "everything you've had before, but we'll try to do it better."

And The Collective would dial down from the cutting-edge craft cocktail program to fun, simple drinks, often with four ingredients or less, he says. But he'd also aim to stock a huge selection of spirits so that any drink from the Wobbly could be made here, too. 

"This might sound lowbrow, but we want to make the best Jack and Coke you’ve ever had. Whether it's a beer, wine or that Jack and Coke, we'll do it with all the love in the world, even though it's not that complicated."  

Oh, and expect bike racks, he says, addressing one more element generally lacking on the east side. Now the only question for west siders: how to bike out there without getting run down by traffic. Anyone got an ideal route in mind?
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Building3 Coffee Roasters soft opens Friday

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 10:45 AM

Earlier this year, we spoke with two food-and-drink entities bound for openings in the new Lincoln School Development: Building3 Coffee Roasters and a yet-to-be-named bakery project

Actually, we spoke to a third, Local Relic brewery, who has since opted not to open in the space. (Though we'll have word soon on another brewery bound for it.)

Anyhow, Building3's owner/roaster Sean Buckles finally soft opened Friday — open until 4 p.m. if you want to be among the first to get a taste. 

A colleague dropped by and spoke highly of her experience. We'll host a formal review sometime in the coming weeks in our Dine & Dash column. Go before we do so you can be equipped to concur with our assessment or call us a bunch of no-nothing monkeys. Or something like that. 

I'm seeing one early, 5-star review on Building3's Facebook page from local chocolatier Jacquie Mosher of Radiantly Raw, which reads:
My husband just picked me up a cold brew that is fantastic! No cream or sugar needed - just the way I like it. We have been enjoying your coffee at Peak Place and Wild Goose for sometime now, and we are excited that you have your own spot. Good job and congratulations on your soft opening! 

Building3 boasts an elegant interior. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • Building3 boasts an elegant interior.

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