Saturday, March 23, 2019

Lucky Dumpling preview — Brother Luck's new spot set to open

Posted By on Sat, Mar 23, 2019 at 9:14 AM

Lucky Dumpling officially opens for service on Tuesday, March 26 at 11 a.m.

Ahead of that, chef Brother Luck, also of Four by Brother Luck, hosted a media/friends/family sneak peek we attended.
Legendary martial artist Bruce Lee's image greets guests approaching from the building's north side, a small taste of what's to come inside in terms of attitude and inspiration. As the first guests to see the new spot sampled a few items and cocktails, the 1985 film The Last Dragon played on a TV over the bar — another clear nod to some of the Asian culture that inspires Lucky Dumpling.

The space otherwise holds a bit of a dim-lit urban vibe, different but not too far a cry from chef Luck's previous venture in the same space, Brother Luck Street Eats. Steaming baskets play as decor above a spice rack on a focal wall of the open kitchen, here, and corrugated metal accents lend an industrial feel, as well.
We were able to sample a few cocktails, including one called Liquid Swords, a tequila and grapefruit drink that departs from becoming a Paloma with ginger and strong Lychee Liqueur elements.

The staff also plated a sample banh mi featuring some deliciously marinated pork, a beef stir fry with notable anise notes, and a few dumplings that included a tangy hot and sour beef. All nice teasers for what's to come.

The concept, as told to the Indy a few months back, centers around dim sum service, small bites to share with friends. Five style of dumplings will come in orders of six each for $9, and other small plates like bao buns and shishito peppers range from $7 to $10. Entrées will span $12 for a hamachi (amberjack) poke bowl thru a midrange price point for items like grill octopus ($16) and hoisin beef short ribs ($20) to a menu-topping $55 for a half pound of orange foie gras served with crackers and plum jam. (Save room for mochi donuts for dessert...)

We didn't get to sample them at the preview, but among many other items, we're interested to return for Luck's Not So German Egg Roll, a dish with a little history
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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Lost Friend Brewing eyes opening, and Slow Downz Texas Creole debuts chuck wagon

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 3:27 PM

  • Courtesy Ryan Hannigan
Lost Friend Brewing Company plans to finally open its doors on Saturday, April 6, at 2458 Montebello Square Drive, following almost an entire year of unforeseen delays.

“We’re taking a lot of time to really make sure the beer is right,” says co-owner and brewer Andy France. “The quality wasn’t there just yet and now we’re really in the groove.”

Expect a “good mix” of beers that consists of eight flagships and experimental offerings with a strong focus on lagers and IPAs. France hopes his guests embrace their “coffee shop-esque” vibe. He says they’re “trying to go for a really homey feel where you want to stay, work, read a book or play a board game.”

An entire wall features built-in shelves that “will be jam- packed with books,” next to oversized couches, large tables ideal for big groups to gather around and a 20-foot horseshoe- shaped bar.

“We put a lot of work into the aesthetic things, but focusing on high quality beers, that’ll really be what makes us stand out,” says France.
  • Courtesy Lauren Reece, Axe & the Oak Distillery
Meanwhile, Mark Soto, owner of Slow Downz Texas Creole, is stepping out at local food truck rallies to debut his “new age chuck wagon” complete with a Southern-sized smoker and a fusion menu that captures the flavors of southeast Texas. Barbecue, Cajun and Tex-Mex food options include a Yee-Haw Po-Boy, NOLA Loaded Potato, Bayou City Frito Pie and Cajun Elotes.

Soto, who was born in Austin, and grew up in Houston, Texas, says he plans to grow his food truck into a “French meets Frontier” cast-iron concept that’s inspired by his culinary education and cooking in kitchens in Cape Cod, the Caribbean and Montana.

“I wanted to open Slow Downz to give back to the community [culturally] and get food here that I grew up with,” says Soto. “My idea is about sharing that culture with everybody.”

The synergistic setup can be found on Wednesday’s at Brayla’s Wedding & Events (2165 Academy Place), Saturdays at the Square (in the Widefield Square Shopping Center) and, soon, on Thursdays at FH Beerworks downtown (521 S. Tejon St.).
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Friday, March 15, 2019

Save the Bees and Pair Up with AnnaPurna Mead

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2019 at 1:10 PM

  • AnnaPurna Mead
Mead, often referred to as honey wine, is one of the oldest known fermented alcoholic beverages with ancient roots that span a multitude of cultural affiliations and across numerous continents. Yet in the past six years we've noticed this diverse product popping up in large, bi-coastal cities as a funky new ingredient in craft cocktails as well as carving out a niche in the gluten-free market, competing with conventional wines and appearing in different presentations with both still and sparkling varietals.

Rocky Mountain Food Report, which partners with the Independent, checked in with multiple local bars and restaurants welcoming the mead movement and currently carrying the locally based, AnnaPurna Mead.

We spoke to Patrick Dobbins, owner of AnnaPurna Mead, along with a few prominent culinary influencers to find out more about their attachments to the versatile vino-beer fusion, why it has a place in the land of libations and to discover more about it’s pairing potential.

“Using honey as our base we have real options to layer flavors on top of that,” says Dobbins. “Because of it’s high acid content and shelf stability we can move away from apple and pear-centric flavors, like in ciders.”

“At this juncture we’re using a one profile honey that’s custom blended but we can branch out,” says Dobbins. - ANNAPURNA MEAD
  • AnnaPurna Mead
  • “At this juncture we’re using a one profile honey that’s custom blended but we can branch out,” says Dobbins.

503W takes that concept and expounds upon it, utilizing AnnaPurna Mead to concoct low ABV cocktails that blends their creative approach with the brightness of AnnaPurna’s Sauvage Mead Blanc, a wild white mead with tropical undertones, which reads similar to the grassy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc it’s inspired by.

“I think it’s inevitable that mead would make it’s way into the craft world because it’s a nice liaison between ciders and cocktails,” says Emillio Ortiz, co-owner of 503W. “The honey acts as a gateway because it can be added as a sweetener, as opposed to using simple syrup or a heavy Demerara sugar.”

Pictured, front to back: Ashes to Ashes & Pineapple Cobbler cocktails at 503W, featuring Sauvage Mead Blanc. - ROCKY MOUNTAIN FOOD REPORT
  • Rocky Mountain Food Report
  • Pictured, front to back: Ashes to Ashes & Pineapple Cobbler cocktails at 503W, featuring Sauvage Mead Blanc.

Honey also serves as a natural carbonating agent in AnnaPurna’s sparkling mead which makes it an attractive substitute for champagne in mixology.

“I like the effervescence of it,” says Ortiz. “Any kind of fizz [drinks] you would add bubbles too, a gin fizz for example, I think you can use their mead in a similar fashion.”

AP is a perfect compliment to the Asian fusion cuisine served at 503W with suggested pairings from Ortiz that include accompanying the fruit and nut salad, the Thai noodle bowl or spicy poke.

“With every drink you’re going to get a palate cleanse,” says Dobbins. - ROCKY MOUNTAIN FOOD REPORT
  • Rocky Mountain Food Report
  • “With every drink you’re going to get a palate cleanse,” says Dobbins.

Just around the corner at Colorado Craft Tejon Street Social, known for their commitment to local sourcing, AnnaPurna was able to fill the void when they “were looking for something a little different,” says Mario Vasquez, co-owner and executive chef at Colorado Craft.

“Mead is really fun and interesting and it is similar to the wine and beer process,” says Vasquez. “It’s light, has lots of fruity notes and the honey really does shine. It’s all local as well so I felt it played with what we’re doing food wise.”

Vasquez recommends trying AnnaPurna products with their burrata dish, where the balsamic coupled with the mead harnesses a equivocal sweet to tart ratio. We also see a solid placement for AP alongside the savory pork bolognaise creating a balance that he says “cuts through that rich cream sauce.”

Pour some "honey" on me. - ANNAPURNA MEAD
  • AnnaPurna Mead
  • Pour some "honey" on me.

The wine-like elements of AnnaPurna’s mead carries across varying styles of food, seamlessly arriving on the menu at Bonny and Read Fresh Steak and Seafood, where “it’s becoming an employee favorite,” says Josh Kelly, corporate executive chef for Joe Campana’s restaurants.

“It’s kind of untapped, continues Kelly. “I think a lot of people are interested in it because of dietary restrictions and trends and for us it really works.”

AnnaPurna provides “mild, refreshing drinks that go well with the buttery flavors of the seafood,” says Kelly, and suggests the Sauvage Mead Blanc with their most popular dish, the Alaskan halibut with crispy red potatoes and grilled asparagus that subtly swims in a silky lemon beurre blanc.

“Normally I would recommend a nice white wine but now, I would recommend this,” says Kelly confidently.”

Standing out amongst the crowd at The Ute & Yeti.
  • Standing out amongst the crowd at The Ute & Yeti.

AnnaPurna is not just imitating traditional wine and beer offerings and produces thoughtful flavors in the form of Cherry Bee Dazzled with notes of vibrant cherries and floral hibiscus that Kelly predicts will be a “fun summer drinking flavor that I think we’ll see everywhere at picnics and parties.” For the Love of Ginger, which offers digestive benefits as well as it leans into sweet pineapple and zesty ginger that favors the feel of kombucha, and really pops with Bonny & Read’s coconut shrimp with red cabbage and pineapple pico in a blood orange sticky sauce. Even more adventurous seasonals like the pumpkin chipotle pave the way for a versatile combinations that includes, carrot and turmeric, as well as orange and basil, slated to debut this year.

“Using the honey as the back bone allows us to be really innovative in our profiles and makes them very food friendly,” says Dobbins. That gives us a wider palate to play from and to co-ferment with a bunch of really interesting flavors.”
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Friday, March 8, 2019

Lee Spirits Company debuts Winston Lee Whiskey

Posted By on Fri, Mar 8, 2019 at 2:56 PM

Look for the new Winston Lee whiskey to join Brooklyn's on Boulder's usual lineup of gin drinks. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Look for the new Winston Lee whiskey to join Brooklyn's on Boulder's usual lineup of gin drinks.
Lee Spirits Company announces the launch of their newest product, a North American blended whiskey, dubbed Winston Lee, with free entry to a lengthy happy hour from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at Brooklyn’s on Boulder. Patrons can expect a specialty whiskey focused menu with bottles of Mr. Lee available to purchase, as well as a 20-percent discount on their pre-existing lineup of gins and liqueurs.

“This is a proud day for our team as we enter into a new spirit-based marketplace,” said Nick Lee, co-founder of Lee Spirits Co. “We have created a very delicious blended whiskey and we enjoyed the process of creating another transparent pre-prohibition style spirit. Winston Lee represents how this category was classically created close to 100 years ago and is how whiskey is often made across our nation today by many whiskey distillers.”
  • Lee Spirits Co.

Winston Lee consists of five-year-old old Kentucky straight whiskey, rye, corn and registers at 94 proof. Lee Spirits continues to distribute throughout Colorado with expansion plans to incorporate additional states in 2019, beyond their current footprint that already includes Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Ian Lee, co-founder of Lee Spirits Co. adds that “as our company expands into new regions and develops new products we will continue to maintain our brand’s standard of creating high quality pre-prohibition style offerings and that is what we have done with our new North American blended whiskey,” says Ian Lee, co-founder of Lee Spirits Co. “We are excited to expand our portfolio while offering whiskey lovers and the bartending marketplace a fantastic tasting and high-quality blended whiskey, that is nearly unmatched in terms of price point, making it also a robust option for any backbar.”

— Dionne Roberts is the editor of Rocky Mountain Food Report, and a regular Indy contributor.
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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A Grazing Life pops up with Local Relic/Immerse Cuisine beer dinner

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2019 at 3:34 PM

  • A Grazing Life
On Tuesday, March 19, A Grazing Life hosts their first pop-up dinner of the season at The Carter Payne with Local Relic and chef Brent Beavers of Immerse Cuisine. It includes five never before brewed beers to pair with seven courses, live music from ​Roma Ransom and WireWood Station (voted “Best Acoustic Band in Colorado” at the Rocky Mountain Music Festival), plus, the incorporation of local artist demonstrations.

Rocky Mountain Food Report caught up with Mike Preisler, founder of A Grazing Life, to discuss why they’re incorporating the pop-up elements this season, what differentiates their approach from a pretentious “white tablecloth, tiny fork dining experience,” and where guests can find their farm dinners this summer.

“These are truly events, not just a meal,” says Preisler. “The centerpiece is still a ridiculous farm-to-table dinner from the best chefs in the area, but we also give everyone an education on sustainable agriculture, bring out live music  — dancing is mandatory — mix in local cocktails and just have a full on party.”

Line 'em up. Knock 'em down. - A GRAZING LIFE
  • A Grazing Life
  • Line 'em up. Knock 'em down.

The mission statement of AGL is still very much intact with the sentiment “to create authentic and unforgettable [nights] where our guests can reconnect to all the area’s local treasures, including their farms, ranches, chefs, restaurants, breweries and distilleries.”

For the first two seasons in 2017 and 2018, A Grazing Life held their farm focused dinners in partnership with Corner Post Meats on their picturesque Black Forest ranch, but 2019 ushers in new locations with eight dates from July 13, through September 28, at Frost Farm in Fountain, Colorado, as well as additional evenings and venues to be announced in Denver.

“We are so excited to be partnering with Frost Farm and Livestock Company,” says Preisler. “They are such great people, doing great things. We can’t wait to introduce our guests to their new rancher.”

"Home, home on the range." - A GRAZING LIFE
  • A Grazing Life
  • "Home, home on the range."

The concept of A Grazing Life speaks to us in a profound way and we can be sure that when we’re in attendance it always yields a unique connection that takes us back to the roots of our food. The back-to-basic backdrops of what is now a different, yet mindfully worthy rural setting, coupled with a rotation of notable, and always hyper-local, culinary influences from our craft food and beverage industries ensures a memorable and enlightening night, every time we spend it on the farm, or elsewhere.

Preisler confirms that AGL is “busy putting together this summer’s schedule of the best chefs, restaurants, breweries, wineries, musicians and anyone else we can get out there.”

Tickets for the Beer Dinner at Carter Payne are $125 and available to purchase here.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and seats are limited.

Taste all the things. - A GRAZING LIFE
  • A Grazing Life
  • Taste all the things.

*Disclaimer: Rocky Mountain Food Report is a media partner/coordinator for A Grazing Life. Dionne Roberts is the editor of RMFR, and a regular contributor to the Indy.
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