Food and Drink

Friday, July 6, 2018

Piglatin Food Truck reopens with downtown lunch service

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 6:11 PM

Piglatin Food Truck will serve lunch downtown starting July 9th. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Piglatin Food Truck will serve lunch downtown starting July 9th.
UPDATE: Andres Velez regrets to inform the Indy that a water heater in the truck has failed. Though he has ordered a replacement, it will not arrive until Monday, July 9 at the soonest. He predicts that the truck will start lunch service on July 10 or 11 — Tuesday or Wednesday. He'll post more information on the truck's Facebook page when more information exists — click here for more info.

———————ORIGINAL POST 10:12 A.M. FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2018———————

Business has been booming for Andres and Tricia Velez. Their brick-and-mortar restaurant, Piglatin Cocina, has been praised by critics and packed with customers since its opening in late January, spreading their killer eats to northern Springs. But, as of the Cocina's opening, plans were to keep the food truck that started it all in the garage for a while to get the restaurant up to speed.

But as of Monday, July 9, "a while" is over. Andres and crew will be open for regular lunch service at their former downtown digs next to 112 E. Boulder St. in their freshly rebranded truck. In addition to the classic truck menu, they've added chimichurri shrimp tacos from the brick-and-mortar menu. This news comes following trial runs over the weekend of June 30th. For hours and full schedule information, check out their website here.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Gather Food Studio offers hands-on cooking classes in Old Colorado City

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 12:47 PM

  • Matthew Schniper
Fans of now-defunct culinary retail spot/teaching kitchen Cook's Marketplace should get excited: Cortney Smith has opened a new space for hands-on cooking classes. It's called Gather Food Studio, it's in Old Colorado City, and it's a partnership between her and former Wobbly Olive chef David Cook.

Smith has over a decade of experience in the food biz. She worked in merchandizing and recipe development for Springs-based cookware retailer CHEFS Catalog, starting in 2007. The company was purchased by Target Corporation in 2013 and ultimately shut down in 2015. Cook's Marketplace was a spiritual successor, a cookware retail space set in the former CHEFS Catalog warehouse which added on-site, hands-on cooking classes. That's how she met Cook — he began teaching classes there in 2016.

“We started thinking about [opening Gather] when we knew we were closing Cook’s Marketplace," says Smith. "The cooking classes were so successful, it was just the retail part that wasn’t working.”

After minimal renovation, their new space opened for business on Tuesday, June 26. Formerly a tattoo parlor, Gather now hosts a warm, intimate teaching kitchen, perfect for small-group, hands-on classes. Currently, the couple's class offerings range from basics to themed classes, as well as field trips to area farmers markets and other foodie events. Smith will regularly teach allergen-sensitive cooking classes, and the couple also offers one-on-one classes.

“We focus more on building community and getting people actually cooking in their own kitchen instead of demonstration-style classes where they might not go home and cook,” says Smith.

Recently, Indy editor Matthew Schniper attended a preview event at Gather — check out a slideshow of his photos below.
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Friday, June 15, 2018

Cerberus Brewing & Indy team up again for Independent's Day IPA

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Staff from the Colorado Springs Independent joined Cerberus Brewing Co.'s brewers Josh Adamski and Taylor Donner in their facility Friday, June 15, to brew the 2nd annual Independent's Day IPA.

Some proceeds from the beer's sale (as well as a limited number of special-release t-shirts) will go toward Bike Colorado Springs and the Trails and Open Space Coalition (on whose board Indy publisher Carrie Simison sits).
  • Matthew Schniper
The beer releases June 29 at 4 p.m. in Cerberus' taproom, to be followed by a July 5 tapping at Brewer's Republic.

It's brewed predominantly with crisp Maris Otter malt, as well as Cara Malt, both from England, though a symbolic amount of American Carapils malt is also thrown in. Cerberus chose London Ale III yeast for the IPA as well, described as citrus-forward and fruity by Adamski. To bitter the brew, seven different hops were chosen, including Cascade hops, which Adamski says he's only used at Cerberus for this beer.

"It's going old school," he says. "It's not a hazy beer, not a hop bomb," despite the wide array of hops utilized; it'll weigh in at 75 IBUs. He adds that not a lot of U.S. breweries brew primarily British malted beers anymore.

Last year's Independent's Day IPA sold out in just under two weeks, so don't snooze if you want to get a pint.

"Collaborations are fun," Adamski says. "It doesn't feel like a work day when you guys are here having a good time."
  • Matthew Schniper
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Left Hand Brewing Company releases seasonal beer to promote Bike MS

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Left Hand's Wheels Gose Round is available as of June 9 and will be on liquor store shelves soon. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Left Hand's Wheels Gose Round is available as of June 9 and will be on liquor store shelves soon.
Many of us at the Indy love beer — it is, in fact, my stated policy to review any booze that shows up in my mailbox — but this one's particularly nice. Left Hand Brewing Company of Longmont, Colorado is taking part in Bike MS, a charity event that helps fund the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

"Since 2008 we’ve raised over $3 MILLION for the National MS Society (NMSS) through our Bike MS team, Team Left Hand Brewing," says Left Hand sales rep Linda Price, via e-mail. "We want to help the National MS Society fund research, advocate for change, and help people with MS and their families lead powerful lives. We believe in the work they do and that is why we are a part of it."

To that end, they've released Wheel Gose Round, a lemon-raspberry gose, to promote the brewery's fundraising efforts. It's a bright ruddy-pink brew with light pink foam. The nose bears a little salt and a lot of sour fruit, especially the raspberry. That said, it sips only mildly sour, with a hint of saltiness and a non-overwhelming fruit presence, more lemon than raspberry. At 4.4 percent ABV, it goes down easy and summer-friendly. A coworker suggests adding tequila for a margarita-like drink, as they've done with other goses, but we don't have any kicking around the office and must pass, sadly.

Price says that, due to various legal restrictions on fundraising, no proceeds from cans of Wheel Gose Round will benefit NMSS. However, they are hosting a tap takeover at Pub Dog on Tuesday, June 12, and a dollar from every Left Hand pint sold there will go to NMSS. Click here for more on that. Beyond that, cans of Wheels Gose Round have been released and will soon appear on local liquor store shelves.
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Friday, June 8, 2018

Remembering Anthony Bourdain and his classic 2000 Indy interview

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 12:59 PM

On Friday, June 8, the culinary world and its admirers woke to the loss of one of the industry's most notable figures. Anthony Bourdain, 61, was found unresponsive in his hotel room, CNN confirmed Friday, the cause of death was reported to be suicide. Bourdain was in France working on an episode of his television series Parts Unknown at the time.

Well before his cable network fame, Bourdain steadily built a loyal fanbase of industry professionals and foodies "in the know" with his brash, unfiltered and often explicit takes on the restaurant industry and lives of those working in it. My first introduction to Bourdain came courtesy of my older brother, Thomas, a chef, when he gifted me Bourdain's New York Times best-selling book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.
I was in high school at the time, anxiously contemplating what it was I was going to do with the rest of my life, and following in my brother's footsteps was high on my list of possibilities, as it is for any little bro. When he gave me the book, a paperback all creased and worn with an illegible personal note scribbled inside the front cover from owners past, Thomas told me "read this if you want to know [what being a chef] is like. This is as real as it gets."

In short, Kitchen Confidential changed my life. Bourdain talked me out of pursuing a life as a professional chef while gifting me insight into my mysterious older brother's life I wouldn't have had otherwise — the trials and tribulations, and the seedy and scandalous sides of fine dining and kitchen culture. Most importantly, though, I learned that being a cook doesn't come down to the kitchen you're in or the school you went to, it's about a passion for food. I carry that thought with me to this day, practicing age-old family recipes and experimenting with new ones in my garden level home kitchen.

Bourdain's passion led him to international fame, publishing multiple books, Emmy award-wining television series, and a graphic novel titled Get Jiro, illustrated by local artist Langdon Foss. (The Indy spoke with Bourdain again in 2012 about the graphic novel.)
But I will never forget pre-cable Bourdain, full of "fucks" and evoking the smell of cigarette smoke and images of stained kitchen towels with his unfiltered style. So when I put his name through the Indy archive and found this 2000 interview, I couldn't help but to smile and hear that familiar voice reading back to me.

Here's John Broening's short conversation with Bourdain, titled "Pistol-whipping Mother Teresa," in full:

For a chef who, by his own account, snorted coke through uncooked penne, threatened a sluggish line cook with disfigurement, and who encourages the gadget-savvy amateur to "make Emeril your bitch," Anthony Bourdain is disappointingly sane and even-handed in conversation.

Given the opportunity to slag any number of big names in the food world, he says judicious and evenhanded things. But about Emeril Lagasse, television's best-loved cooking personality, he admits: "I get a rash every time I look at him. ... People want me to say bad things about him ... it's kind of like kicking Barney in the privates or pistol-whipping Mother Teresa."

When asked if there is any precedent for his book within the industry, he scoffs.

"I hope not!" he laughs. "Not that I'm comparing myself to Orwell, but I hope to give the reader the same sense of recognition and a few sad laughs that you get from reading Down and Out in Paris and London," he says, referring to Orwell's classic account of his stint as a dishwasher in a Paris restaurant.

About his own place among the big names, Bourdain is modest. "At this point in my career, I know I'm not going to be on culinary Olympus or breaking any new culinary trends ... the satisfaction in my job comes from running a busy kitchen and doing it quickly, cleanly and profitably for my masters ... and from what I call the Lee Marvin Syndrome. ... I see myself as the pirate leader of a band of people who, outside the kitchen, are uncontrollable, potentially dangerous and dysfunctional. It's extremely satisfying to get them to show up on time, perform at a high level and take pleasure in their work."

Bourdain mentions with pride that he recently recruited a cook out of a Texas prison.

A famous survey put the average life expectancy of a chef at 55. Given that Bourdain is well over 40, does he contemplate the end of his career?

"They say you never see young pigeons or old chefs. ... I'll tell you what I won't be doing: I won't be giving up smoking (he has a three-pack-a-day habit) and I won't be leaving cooking. I'm going to beat the odds."
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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Marlee Rae's Killer Eats breaks down its slider-centric menu

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 10:33 AM

Earlier this week, while we talked about how their food truck came to be, Marlee Rae's Killer Food owners Tiffany and Chris Countryman invited us out to check out their menu, gratis. So to be clear, this is a preview, not a review.
Chris, whose kitchen experience goes back to when he was 15, designs everything on the menu, and aside from the buns, everything's made in house. That means they can get a coarser grind on those 80/20 brisket/short rib/sirloin patties that appear on four of their five sliders — the intent is a patty with a more steak-like chew. He also makes their veg option black bean patties, which we didn't sample, using quick-cooking oats instead of bread crumbs for a binding option that adds a little more texture. Their sliders come with bagged chips or a house-made side — we came on street corn mac & cheese day.

The truck's sauces are homemade as well. Tiffany noted that their beer cheese is made from beer from whatever brewery they're at (or, if they're not at a brewery, usually Rocky Mountain Brewery's Brunette). But they also make their own ketchup, using fresh grape tomatoes instead of more typical canned tomatoes. It has a little texture, and the grape tomatoes' freshness reads besides. Further, the sweet whiskey glaze for their whiskey barrel slider is made with Jameson, and Chris hopes to bottle and sell it somewhere down the line.

For more on what we sampled, check out the slideshow below. You can find Marlee Rae's schedule here.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Smørbrød holds press preview, opens in Lincoln Center

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2018 at 3:53 PM

Scandinavian/Nordic restaurant Smørbrød is now open in the Lincoln Center. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Scandinavian/Nordic restaurant Smørbrød is now open in the Lincoln Center.
TAPAteria/Pizzeria Rustica owner Jay Gust's new Nordic digs, Smørbrød, will soon open in the Lincoln Center. On June 6 and 7, they'll have reservation-only seating, before a general opening on Friday, June 8.

Recently, Gust and his team invited a few Indy staffers to take part in a press preview dinner, sampling a selection of his offerings. We were thoroughly pleased with what was on display, from the smørbrøda to the desserts to house aquavit infusions and more. We'll of course do a full, formal review later.

Our only regret: We lacked the foresight to photograph our favorite dish of the evening, a rich and fantastic seafood stew flavored with curry. During the dinner, Gust noted that friends and industry members polished off every drop they'd made for a family-and-friends preview night some days before — yes, in the dead of summer.

Check out the rest of our photos and notes on what we sampled below, in advance of the opening. Skål!
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Monday, June 4, 2018

Krabby's Seafood Joint opens off Star Ranch Road

Posted By on Mon, Jun 4, 2018 at 4:54 PM

Krabby's Seafood Joint opened around a month ago, specializing in Cajun seafood boils, but also serving Po Boys, lobster rolls and the like.
Happily make a mess with a Cajun seafood boil. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Happily make a mess with a Cajun seafood boil.
The format for the boil: pick your seafood item (like head-on shrimp, snow crab, lobster), then one of three sauces (unless you just want it steamed), then a spiciness level, and lastly, add ons like potato, corn and sausage. Everything arrives double-plastic bagged, with a side metal bucket for shells and scraps. Wear a plastic bib and gloves if you wish. 
Location Details Krabby's Seafood Joint
669 Star Ranch Road
Cheyenne Mountain
Colorado Springs, CO

Look for a full liquor license, including house cocktails and local craft beers, and starters like  seafood chowders or pork belly french fries. And keep an eye out for our full review soon.
Co-owner Lucky Xayavong (left) and shift lead David Valdez, below Krabby's daily seafood menu. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Co-owner Lucky Xayavong (left) and shift lead David Valdez, below Krabby's daily seafood menu.
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Friday, June 1, 2018

Little Piazza Food Truck serves Italian eats against all odds

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 9:23 AM

Bill Matney's lasagna sandwich is a top seller. - COURTESY LITTLE PIAZZA FOOD TRUCK
  • Courtesy Little Piazza Food Truck
  • Bill Matney's lasagna sandwich is a top seller.
After a soft opening on Tuesday, May 15, Bill Matney's Little Piazza Food Truck is open for business (see Facebook page for locations). Well, it's Matney and wife Tammy's truck, he's quick to note, but he's the chief operator, as she runs her own business. He's been a chef for almost 30 years now. Locals may remember him from Piazza’s Italian Restaurant of Carefree Circle and Oro Blanco Drive, which shut down some 15 or 20 years ago. Others, from his tenure at the Margarita at Pine Creek, or from the now-defunct Bunz Bakery & Burger Bar. But it's the neighborhood focus of Piazza's Italian that he's trying to channel in this new truck.

To open, he's overcome no small measure of diversity. He bought the truck in late 2017 and was set to open in January. But while on his way to pick up groceries for his soft opening, his car was t-boned, and he was severely injured. Five months later, he was given medical clearance to get back to work, and he wasted no time in reopening the truck.

“It’s incredible, especially when I was only given a five percent chance of surviving to begin with," he says.

The vast majority of his menu is made from scratch, fresh as possible, with only his bread and sausages as exceptions. He sources bread from locals Delicias Bakery, and his sausage comes from Palmer Lake-based Sara Sausage. So far, the best-seller on the menu is his lasagna sandwich. It's a day-old piece of lasagna, set between garlic focaccia and pressed panini-style into something like a grilled cheese sandwich (or a melt, for the hair-splitters). He serves it with raspberry preserves. 
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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Springs bartenders launch new U.S. Bartenders' Guild chapter

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 10:00 AM

The Colorado Springs Bartenders Guild Council. From left, Jarod Boyer, Secretary, Dylan Currier, Treasurer, Maggie O'Leary, Vice President, Emillio Ortiz, President. - TYLER GRIMES
  • Tyler Grimes
  • The Colorado Springs Bartenders Guild Council. From left, Jarod Boyer, Secretary, Dylan Currier, Treasurer, Maggie O'Leary, Vice President, Emillio Ortiz, President.
After a year of visioning, months of gathering signatures and individual organizing efforts, the Springs is ready to welcome a new chapter of the US Bartenders' Guild (USBG), a national organization advancing the bartending profession.

The push behind the Colorado Springs Bartenders' Guild (CSBG) began last year after Carlos Garcia, tasting room manager for Lee Spirits Company and Brooklyn’s on Boulder, attended a USBG regional conference. Garcia then approached Dylan Currier of Sakura Speakeasy about forming a Colorado Springs chapter. In November, they began collecting signatures with the help of Broadmoor sommelier Jarod Boyer, Emillio Ortiz of 503w, and Maggie O’Leary of Stir Coffee & Cocktails and Axe and the Oak Distillery.

“The thing that I love about the Bartenders' Guild is it’s taking that spirit that’s in the coffee community here, that’s in the cocktail community here, that’s in the beer community here, and it’s kind of fanning the flame of that, saying, ‘let’s make this efficient,'” says Boyer. “Let’s take that spirit that exists in Colorado Springs and let’s really do something with it. Let’s really promote the nature of this city together.”

The USBG requires 40 members to become a pending chapter — CSBG now has 80-plus members, making it the seventh-largest chapter in the Southwest region, the largest region in the USBG. Still, Currier says they are aiming for 100 members by the end of the year. Letters of incorporation pending, CSBG will become the second Colorado chapter of the United States Bartenders' Guild, Denver-based Colorado Bartenders' Guild being the other.

The goal is to create training, networking and career advancement opportunities for local bartenders and hospitality professionals. Ortiz, CSBG council president, says the group wants to partner with the local community to host bartending competitions, seminars, trainings and educational tastings.

To celebrate, CSBG is hosting a launch party on Sunday, June 3, at the Ivywild School, which will include food, international drink sampling and prizes, with a members-only after party to follow. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and free for members. All proceeds go to supporting CSBG and UpaDowna. Click here for more info.
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Friday, May 25, 2018

Barnwood at Great Wolf Lodge announces new menu

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 1:42 PM

When we visited Barnwood, a locavore dining option at resort chain Great Wolf Lodge, we were largely impressed by the quality of the food — check out our review here. So when we were invited back to check out a new menu as part of a small press event, we accepted the offer. And while we don't have prices for the new offerings, we can say that the new menu certainly has some promising tastes. If the pictures below pique your interest and appetite, you can find the new menu starting in June.
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Monday, May 21, 2018

Black Bear Distillery releases Brazilian-style white rum

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 6:10 PM

  • Courtesy Black Bear Distillery
Green Mountain Falls-based Black Bear Distillery has reopened its doors for the summer season, and as part of that, owner Victor Matthews has released a new spirit. It’s a white rum, but it isn’t made like most — Matthews calls it a Brazilian-style rum.

“The difference between it being Brazilian and any other white rum is that we’re using pure cane sap juice to make this,” he says. By technical definition, it’s not a rum at all, but a cachaça, the signature spirit of Brazil, similar to rum but distinct. And Matthews agrees, but there’s a catch.

“The goal would be to have it be a cachaça, but you can’t use that word,” he says. “It has to come from Brazil.” Much like Champagne and Cognac, it has to be made in the right part of the world, as well as from the right stuff, thanks to a 2012 agreement between Brazil and the US.

The white rum will be released on Saturday, June 9, as part of a carnival party at the distillery, featuring rum and cachaça cocktail specialties using the spirit — and yes, that means caipirinhas galore. Check out Black Bear Distillery's Facebook page for more details.
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Friday, May 4, 2018

World Beer Cup awards Bristol, Cogstone, Cerberus Brewing Companies

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2018 at 3:56 PM

Cerberus Brewing Company brewer/co-owner Joshua Adamski, left, and Cerberus assistant brewer Taylor Donner, second from left, accept their award. - COURTESY CERBERUS BREWING COMPANY
  • Courtesy Cerberus Brewing Company
  • Cerberus Brewing Company brewer/co-owner Joshua Adamski, left, and Cerberus assistant brewer Taylor Donner, second from left, accept their award.
We got in touch with Bristol Brewing Company founder/brewer Mike Bristol, who had this to say about his brewery's turnout:

“We’re always excited to win [World Beer Cup awards]. We’ve won some in the past… and it’s always an honor to be recognized by peers and beer judges. Our business is all about our fans… If I had a choice, I’d have the fans love the beer, but we get both!”

— ORIGINAL POST 3:56 P.M. FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2018 —

The World Beer Cup is over, and Colorado has come away with a sizable share of awards — including three for Springs breweries. Bristol Brewing Company's Beehive honey wheat took home a silver medal in the American-style wheat beer with yeast category. Cerberus Brewing Company's NBD Kölsch took home a bronze medal in the German-style Kölsch category. And Cogstone Brewing Company's beet cream ale took home a bronze in the field beer category.

“It means a lot," says Cogstone brewer/co-owner Robert Hemphill. "That beer was special for me, and I worked really hard to get it that way.”

Cerberus assistant brewer Taylor Donner says he's "super stoked that our hard work paid off. NBD is easily one of my go-to beers at the brewery, and it's rad to see that it can do so well on an international level."

Congratulations to all of the breweries who won. Click here for a full list of this year's winners.
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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Maté Factor's Twelve Tribes community called out by Vice

Posted By on Thu, May 3, 2018 at 10:44 AM

Many Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs locals, as well as tourists to the areas, know The Maté Factor as a cool, Ewok Village-lookin' spot to grab a bite and drink pre- or post-Incline hike. It's also a favorite spot for non-sabbath lingering and socializing into the late night hours, as they're open 24-6.

But for every new person who discovers a love for the fine flavored house yerba maté drinks and snacks, there's another person who questions what "We serve the Fruit of the Spirit" means, and what the religious pamphlets on site are all about.

The Indy has fielded so many questions over the years — or been privy to comments spoken about the place — that we sat down with some Twelve Tribes community members (a decade ago, ahem) to unpack the term they eschew at every turn: cult.

But the public, and journalists, apparently aren't interested in calling them anything different.
On April 30, Vice posted a story titled "The Idyllic Restaurant Chain Owned by a Homophobic, Racist, Child-Beating Cult."

To be clear, the story is set around San Diego area restaurants operated by the Twelve Tribes, and doesn't mention the Maté Factor. But the inflammatory piece obviously levels some charges, based partly on writings found on the community's own website.

Holding no punches or snark, the Vice writer concludes with: "I guess if you want a nice veggie burger and are looking to financially support homophobia, segregation, the hitting of children, and the subjugation of women, then I would highly recommend this place."

We reached out to the Manitou Springs Twelve Tribes community to see if they wish to comment on the article.

A Maté Factor manager I spoke with, who's been with the community in many spots across the country since 2006, and did not wish to be named here, says, "We're an open book. Come see us, we've been here 18 years. We'd love to answer any questions."

If you wish to sanitize your sipping, just grab a bag of maté and skip the religious pamphlets at the Maté Factor. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • If you wish to sanitize your sipping, just grab a bag of maté and skip the religious pamphlets at the Maté Factor.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Wild Goose Catering, Black Forest Chew-Chew Gastrotruck lauded at food truck cook-off

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2018 at 1:33 PM

  • Griffin Swartzell
Sunday, April 29 marked the beginning of Small Business Week, sponsored by the Colorado Small Business Development Center and, consequently, the third annual food truck cook-off at the Norris Penrose Event Center. 16 food trucks showed up to feed the sold-out event, substantially larger than previous years, and to pick their favorites.

By vote, attendees chose Black Forest Chew-Chew Gastrotruck's Korean bulgogi tacos as their favorite bite, with Filipino Food Truck's lumpia Shanghai and Lucy I'm Home's Cubano with plantain chips rounding out the top three.

In addition to a people's choice, the SBDC asked six members of the Springs' culinary community to judge the trucks' offerings over two rounds. On hand were Tyler Peoples, chef/catering manager for Springs Rescue Mission and Mission Catering; Brent Beavers, executive chef at AspenPointe Cafe and Immerse Cuisine; Greg Champagne, executive chef at the Double Tree by Hilton; David Patterson, executive chef at The Broadmoor; Mark Musial, chef de cuisine at The Broadmoor's Ristorante de Lago; and Indy food, arts and culture reporter Griffin Swartzell (yours truly).

With a mere six point spread between first and third places, the judges chose Wild Goose Catering & BBQ's mammoth "just a burger" sliders as their favorite, with NaO's Foodbus's curried chicken salad taking second, one point ahead of third-place Lucy I'm Home's Cubano with plantain chips.

Check out the Small Business Week event schedule here for more events. Click below for a slideshow of the plates that landed in the judges' top six spots.

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