Monday, May 20, 2019

Phantom Canyon's Game of Thrones finale banquet quite a feast, even if show disappoints

Posted By on Mon, May 20, 2019 at 11:00 AM

Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. hosted a Game of Thrones finale watch party and banquet on Sunday, May 19.

The brewery packed out its third floor for a feast that included a crispy and delicious suckling pig; rich, crab-cake-like cod cakes; piquant smoked rabbit and rattlesnake sausage; and tangy elk meatballs with blue cheese. Featured beers for the night included a dark and divine Take the Black Schwarzbier and a smart smoked Helles brew — both of which felt apropos given the final episode's thematics and plot points. (... a smoldering city, and "There's still a Night's Watch?")

Many fans were disappointed by how the show concluded, as more than one meme captures well. The crowd at Phantom Canyon grumbled through several scenes and plenty of cussing could be heard as the credits finally rolled. Still, everyone seemed to have a great time sharing their misery with company, over a fine feast.

If the wrap-up to one of the greatest TV shows ever produced is going to end up sucking, you may as well be sucking down some good beer over a plate of suckling pig. (Yes, that's about the best I can do here for a takeaway.)
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Monday, May 13, 2019

Phantom Canyon hosts Game of Thrones finale watch party, with banquet

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2019 at 5:14 PM

IMDB
  • IMDB
No this is not another blog unpacking the latest Game of Thrones episode, fat with spoilers.

But the reality for all devoted fans: There's only one episode to go, on Sunday, May 19, before the epic TV show comes to an end after eight seasons.

Phantom Canyon is in on the action, for their part, hosting a finale watch dinner that begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour and buffet. (Tickets, $50 including gratuity and two drinks, here, 21+ only.) Costumes are encouraged, and prizes will be awarded for the best.

Here's the fantasy/period appropriate menu:
Pistachio kielbasa stuffed suckling pig (The South)
Parsnip mash (The South)
Beef + bacon pie (The North)
Cod cakes (The North)
Chilled fruit soup shooters
Smoked rattlesnake + rabbit sausage with fiery mustard (Dorne)
Flatbread, Naan, Olives (Dorne)
Blue cheese stuffed elk meatballs (King's Landing)
Melon and tea eggs (Across the Narrow Sea)
Assorted petite desserts from across the different regions (Sansa's Lemon Cakes, etc)

Now, you're probably asking, "What, no burnt toast?" to honor the second-to-last episode on May 12. ... Oh crap ... does that count as a spoiler after all?
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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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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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Monday, February 4, 2019

Soil Cycle offers composting services for downtown Springs

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2019 at 9:52 AM

A map of Soil Cycle's current service area. - SOIL CYCLE
  • Soil Cycle
  • A map of Soil Cycle's current service area.
Downtown Colorado Springs just got a little greener.

Former Indy news reporter Nat Stein has founded a social enterprise called Soil Cycle, a subsidiary of Colorado Springs Food Rescue. Their stated mission is to “starve the landfill and feed ourselves” by offering zero-emission compost pickup around the downtown Springs area.

It works like this: Customers sign up for the service and receive a basic composting kit, including an outdoor bucket and a list of what can and can't be composted. Once a week, Soil Cycle employees bike to customers' homes to pick up the compost for transportation to local urban farms and gardens, where it's used to grow food.

Soil Cycle started as a pilot program in the Mid Shooks Run neighborhood, but it's since expanded to cover the whole downtown area.

“After we announced our expansion on January 7, 50 new households signed up within days," Stein says. "I think this is part of a broader cultural shift. People get, on a gut level, that extract-consume-discard is not a sustainable way to live."

SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
Currently, Soil Cycle charges on a fee-for-service basis — customers pick what they pay, starting at $6 a week.

"Taking a different approach is hardly austere — it’s actually convenient, collaborative and kid-friendly," Stein says. "You can’t really say the same about trash.”
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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hot pot: A guide to the one soup everyone needs in their life

hotpot2.jpg
Hot pot is a dish steeped in history, with cultural variations all over Asia and dating back to the Mongolian Empire. With that kind of footprint, it’s not fair to say there’s a single “traditional” hot pot recipe, according to Lilly Zhuo, owner of D-Station Restaurant in Colorado Springs.
Location Details D-Station Restaurant
13141 Bass Pro Drive
Pueblo
Colorado Springs, CO
488-8999
Asian
She should know; her restaurant has been dishing all-you-can-eat hot pot seven days a week since opening in Polaris Point in 2018, and she grew up learning how to prepare the dish from her mother in her family home.  Similar to fondue, hot pot is a communal dining experience. “It brings everyone together without keeping one person in the kitchen,” Zhuo says. At D-Station, each diner creates their own hot pot, but one large soup pot is perfect for entertaining guests at home.

A good, clean broth is key to preparing the perfect hot pot.
  • A good, clean broth is key to preparing the perfect hot pot.
A hot pot starts with a clean, delicious base soup (if you’re making from scratch, think fresh, filtered bone or vegetable broth). Adding a few more ingredients like vegetables, bones, herbs and spices to your base will define your hot pot broth. D-Station has four varieties made from one base soup made in-house. Their Hot & Spicy broth brings Thai and other chilies into play, while the pork broth’s rich flavor comes from a split pork bone and added onions. The “clear” and herbal broths are great choices for more timid pallets, calling for tomatoes and onions, or a mix of Chinese herbs, respectively. For no-meat eaters, vegan broths are nothing out of the ordinary either. (D-Station has vegan options available upon request).

The second step of any hot pot is fresh, raw ingredients. You name it and it’s probably hot pot appropriate. Meat eaters will want to start with thinly sliced proteins, shellfish, etc. that cook quickly and add flavor to your broth, or just skip straight to the veggies. The possibilities are endless — D-Station’s ingredient bar is a symbol of the range of flavors one can play with from fishballs, tofu and bean curd to leafy and root vegetables, mushrooms, noodles and more to make your hot pot one-of-a-kind. You can keep your hot pot simple, sticking to familiar flavors, but Zhuo recommends you try a little bit of everything you can. (Did we mention D-Station’s hot pot is all-you-can-eat?)

When preparing at home, your hot pot ingredients should be cut to bite-sized pieces to ensure quick cooking times, with meats sliced as thinly as possible, and heartier vegetables cut to chopstick-friendly bits. Take notes from D-Station — its quality is on full display with picturesque curls of sliced meats and gorgeous seafood, crisp veggies and freshly prepared meat and fishballs, tofu and more.
Prepare your hot pot ingredients to ensure quick cooking times.
  • Prepare your hot pot ingredients to ensure quick cooking times.
Now, you have the perfect broth and the freshest ingredients, there’s only one thing missing: Your dipping sauce.

The range of sauce options is limitless, and completely up to personal taste. D-Station makes it simple with quick recipes posted at the DIY sauce bar, including Zhuo’s signature (see recipe below). When hot potting at home, assemble enough fresh ingredients for your diners to create their own custom sauces, or prepare one or two of your favorites ahead of time.

Now we’re ready to hot pot! With your broth brought to a steady boil, add the larger, heartier items with longer cook times — like root vegetables, meat and fishballs, shellfish, etc. As you’re waiting for them to cook, dig into the remainder of your ingredients one by one, or layered to make the perfect bite. The size and type of ingredient will determine its cook time, but for newcomers, Zhuo says two minuets is a good rule-of-thumb. As your ingredients are cooked to perfection, pull each bite directly out of your broth, dip into your sauce and enjoy.

“It only gets better,” Zhuo says. The more ingredients you add to your broth, the more flavorful it becomes. “Don’t forget to drink the broth in-between bites!”

Whether you’re enjoying hot pot at home or at D-Station (open Mondays-Fridays, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 9:30 p.m.), your friends, family and appetite will thank you.

Lilly’s Special Dipping Sauce:

- Barbecue sauce
- Fresh cilantro
- Oyster sauce
- Garlic oil
- Bean curd paste
- Vinegar
- Sugar

Add ingredients into small bowl; mix to combine.

Brought to you by D-Station Restaurant.
img_2488.jpg
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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Roc and Ro Sushi On The Go gets the sushi rolling

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 7:48 AM

COURTESY ROC AND RO SUSHI ON THE GO
  • Courtesy Roc and Ro Sushi On The Go
Many foods come to mind as convenient food truck fare, but sushi isn’t one of them. That is, unless you’re former Jun Japanese Restaurant sushi chef Romeo Magat. He opened Roc and Ro Sushi On The Go in mid-2018.

“I had the idea about seven years ago,” he says. “It’s got everything a kitchen restaurant would have. It’s basically a kitchen on wheels.” Really, the biggest difference Magat notes is moving the food around when he doesn’t have access to a plug-in for his on-truck cooler.

Magat currently offers an assortment of sushi roll standards, including spicy tuna, Philadelphia and yummy rolls. Half of his menu arrives cold, while the other half, he serves deep-fried. And having made Roc and Ro his full-time gig in mid-January, he plans to expand his offerings and let his ambition grow.

“The latest special I put up on the menu is a lobster roll,” he says as an example. “I use grilled lobster claw meat. That’s a pretty popular one — people go for seconds on that one.”

Currently, he has three regular stops, which he lists on Facebook along with one-off events.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Iron Bird Pizza Kitchen to open under Piglatin Cocina chef's guidance

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 3:49 PM

Piglatin Cocina co-owner Andres Velez - ROBERT MITCHELL
  • Robert Mitchell
  • Piglatin Cocina co-owner Andres Velez
Iron Bird Brewing Co. has passed its kitchen off to Andres Velez and Aaron Ewton of Piglatin Cocina and Piglatin Food Truck notoriety, and they’ve rechristened it Iron Bird Pizza Kitchen.

“I have no idea [how it happened],” says Velez. “Aaron brought it up to me, and I said ‘Sure, let’s do it.’”

That was in December, and things have moved fast. Currently, Velez is waiting for his food vendor license to come through. He expects to open sometime in early- to mid-February, currently shooting for Friday the 8th.

Velez says the menu won’t change too much at first. He plans to simplify and change a few ingredients, but regulars will still be able to get most of their favorites. He will however bring back the spot’s meatball sub, instead packing it with lamb meatballs. He’ll also add between two and four new pizzas featuring flavors he’s honed at Piglatin.

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“We’re also going to have a pasta salad added to the menu,” he says. He and Ewton are also figuring out how to do takeout and delivery — Velez says they’ll likely pair with a delivery app.

Long-term, however, Velez says they will transition away from pizzas altogether, implementing a model that’s more in line with what he and his team do under the Piglatin name. That’ll include a name change and renovation, following a long and gradual transition over “many months.”

“I can’t give you a timeline because we don’t know that timeline,” says Velez. But whatever he does, it won’t change the brewing operations going on next door — they’re a separate business. For now, he and his team are figuring out a grand opening celebration, tentatively scheduled for Feb. 8, with details to be announced.
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Dragon Theatre Productions celebrates 10 years with a retrospective showcase

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Dragon Theatre 10th Anniversary Celebration, 2-6 p.m., Stargazers, 10 S. Parkside Drive, $10, stargazerstheatre.com. - MATT MEACHAM
  • Matt Meacham
  • Dragon Theatre 10th Anniversary Celebration, 2-6 p.m., Stargazers, 10 S. Parkside Drive, $10, stargazerstheatre.com.
When Dragon Theatre Productions puts on a show, the most magical part of it happens behind the scenes. For 10 years, this beloved local company has followed an all-inclusive model that guarantees a part for everyone who auditions, opening up roles for people with disabilities and people of all ages. In their 10th anniversary video, Dragon Theatre actress Beth Wood says: “Growing up, I wanted to be an actress; now I am living a dream.”
Support that dream and the dreams of everyone who has participated in Dragon Theatre’s annual summer plays, by attending a retrospective showcase and celebration Sunday. You’ll see a selection of scenes from some of the company’s favorite productions of the last 10 years, and you can join the staff, cast, crew and volunteers for a dance party right afterward.
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Rice cake pounding is the perfect way to release some pent-up aggression from 2018

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Mochitsuki Japanese New Year’s Rice Cake Pounding Event, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., CC’s Worner Campus Center, 902 N. Cascade Ave., free, japanamerica.org. - AARONTPHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Aarontphotography / Shutterstock.com
  • Mochitsuki Japanese New Year’s Rice Cake Pounding Event, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., CC’s Worner Campus Center, 902 N. Cascade Ave., free, japanamerica.org.
While our local Mochitsuki event has a long history of about 15 years, the tradition of pounding rice in celebration of the new year goes back thousands of years in Japan. Mochi, a soft, sweet rice cake, can be eaten on its own or used in various dishes, and it’s thought to bring good luck to the new year — kind of like the Western tradition of eating black-eyed peas. But the process of preparing mochi is way more fun than cranking a can opener. Saturday, try your hand at pounding rice into mochi with traditional implements: big, heavy wooden mallets. If you have any pent-up aggression from 2018 (and which of us doesn’t?) this could prove a good way to start the year on a number of levels. 
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Two new bars coming to downtown Springs

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 at 4:22 PM

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As mentioned in our review of Cork & Cask, local restaurateur Joseph Campana has more bar and restaurant concepts set to open in the downtown area in the near future. Coming soonest, Springs drinkers can look forward to Shame & Regret opening in the former 15C's alleway spot at 15 C East Bijou St.. Campana co-owns the spot, 51 to 49 percent, with Matt Baumgartner, who’s been the general manager at the Campana-owned Rabbit Hole for the last five years. Campana says he’s had his eyes on the spot for years now, and he and Baumgartner plan to overhaul the space in a big way. Perhaps the biggest change: it’ll no longer be a smoker-friendly venue.

“95% of people don’t smoke,” says Campana, “and a lot of people would come in here and [say] the place stinks like cigars... They just don’t want to deal with it.”

While some smokers will resent the change, the duo think they’ll do better business overall, citing their shared past at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company as evidence. Campana recalls that when the long-standing brewery prohibited smoking in their upstairs pool hall, business went up — by his estimations, as much as 80 percent — as people could now hang around and eat or enjoy a game without reeking of tobacco. Further, they’re ditching the “mysterious door in an alley” ethos for a storefront with actual windows and natural lighting.

“We want to open up the whole alleyway so people can see it,” Campana says.

They’re working with Katie Toth, an alumna of the Principal’s Office, the Rabbit Hole and Moxie, to build a cocktail program that will feature a mix of prohibition-era classics and modern craft options. Campana’s corporate chef, Josh Kelly, will design a small menu of smaller plates — Campana suggests we might see shrimp cocktail and beef tartare, as well as ‘40s and ‘50s-style bar bites. They hope to open the spot in mid-February.

Following that, Campana’s got a tiki bar and Hawaiian-style poké joint in the works. He and Supernova general manager Audriana Sutherland, again splitting that 51-49 ownership model, will open Kanaloa (333 N. Tejon St.) in the former Paloma Salon and Micro Spa later in 2019 — Campana’s hoping for a March or April opening, while Sutherland says she anticipates things taking until May or June.

Sutherland says Kanaloa started with the bar, a lighted jade green granite bar-top that caught her and Campana’s eyes. From there, Sutherland came up with the idea for a rum-centric menu of tiki drinks, typically brightly colored for a visual pop to match the planned vibe.

“At first we were looking to do more of a Japanese-style [menu],” Sutherland says, but after seeing pictures of traditional Hawaiian raw fish bowls, she fell in love. Sutherland will act as general manager and will plan the cocktail program, while Kelly will design the menu.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Grain school at UCCS will up your knowledge of our biggest food group

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2019 at 8:34 PM

UCCS GRAIN SCHOOL
  • UCCS Grain School
Is it just me, or are grains the least popular kid at the dinner table these days?

For years, diet gurus have been telling us that shunning grains will help us lose weight, that ancient people didn't eat grain, and that modern grains are Frankenfoods that our digestive systems simply can't handle.

Expect the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' Grain School, set for Jan. 18-20 to address all the hype and concerns around our biggest food group. Also on the plate: Discussion and/or hand-on workshops that explore diversity and women in the grain movement, how we preserve grain (and feed the world) in the midst of climate change, global perspectives, agricultural techniques, and ways to process and cook with grains. But the main focus of the course is learning the history of ancient grains; how to differentiate among  heirloom, perennial, hybrid, and genetically modified grains; exploring agricultural practices and their impacts; and understanding how grains play into diet and cultures. The School will also explore grains the old-fashioned way: By eating them in all sorts of yummy recipes. (Sprouted kamut and winter squash stew, anyone?)

UCCS explains the Grain School this way:

Established in 2012 in Arizona, Grain School has evolved into an interdisciplinary course at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), with the first Grain School held at UCCS in 2016. During this three-day seminar held annually, students can earn credit by taking courses in the history of land-race grains, crop breeding, nutritional and health issues, baking, fermentation and cooking, and small-scale production techniques. Representatives from the entire industry from growers, millers, farmers, brewers, distillers, maltsters, bakers, chefs, food service staff or personnel, college students, and gardeners, contribute as part of this great exchange of learning and teaching.

Beyond the big questions, there's lots of opportunities to learn things you can bring into your own kitchen: How to make pasta or tortillas or cook with African grains; guidance from restaurant and bakery owners and brewers; a thoughtful discussion of the gluten-free debate; or (for the incredibly ambitious) a class on how to grow, mill and bake with your own grains at home. 

The bad news is that the Grain School costs $500 if you take it as a non-credit course (it's also available as a for-credit course). The good news is there will be a public forum on Saturday, July 19.

 Check out the full schedule here: 
Check out some of the events on the next page.

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