Monthly Archives: September, 2010

What I Ate In New York

September 29th, 2010 Posted by Culinary Connectors, restaurants No Comment yet

Oh dear. My skinny jeans don’t fit anymore. This is the problem with being a foodie, going to New York and blogging about it. I looked at my phone the other day and not only do I have more pictures of food than I do of my kids –  I’ve eaten all of those dishes. Dear Lord, please have mercy on my waistline.

Here is my food confession – the list, the pictures and the reasons I am eating nothing but lean meat and vegetables for the rest of the year.

Night one:

After a long day of travel I went with Becky and Joel to one of my most favorite restaurants in the city, Barbuto, where Chef Jonathon Waxman works his magic. We sat near the sidewalk and watched the New York fashionistas parade by as we enjoyed the heirloom tomato salad, sweet breads, roast chicken and panna cotta.

Day two:

After running through the city trying to source chocolate, bread and vegetables for a cocktail party Joel and I catered, I had a ham and cheese breakfast sandwich at Amy’s Breads in Chelsea Market. Later, after cooking for 6 hours I had the lamb burger with fries, a mushroom salad and the buttermilk pie at the Breslin. The Breslin is located in the Ace Hotel and is April Bloomfield’s hipster gastropub.

Day three:

After spending the morning at the Star Chefs International Chefs Congress listening to Dan Barber, Thomas Keller and David Kinch speak about food, craftsmanship and artistry, Becky and I jumped into a cab and hit up Avoce in the Time Warner building. We enjoyed grilled calamari, ravioli and the cappelacci pasta. Cheers to Missy Robbins – F&W’s Best new Chef for 2010. Eat here and see why she was recognized.

After shopping for a sparkly dress, a New York must have this season, we took a taxi to the Village to try the gnudi and the burger at the Spotted Pig. This is another restaurant from April Bloomfield. It’s cozy and delicious.

On our way to meet Jorge del la Torre, the Dean of the Culinary School at Denver’s Johnson and Wales University, for cocktails,  we ambled into Magnolia bakery so that Becky could try their red velvet cupcake.

Thus began our insane evening on Lower East Side. We started with cocktails at Please Don’t Tell – a secret speakeasy, enter through a phone booth kind of place.  We ate deep fried hot dogs and tots. This was followed by curry wurst from Wexler’s, a lobster roll from Luke’s, the porchetta plate from Porchetta and more cocktails at Death & Company and Mayahuel.

Ice cubes are a big thing here – check this one out!

Day Four:

At lunch before the cocktail party for 800 people at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, I shared an olive oil poached tuna sub and a lamb meatloaf sub at Sub 7 next to the Ace Hotel.

Here I am working the red carpet at the cocktail party:

After standing on my feet for hours and hours, Joel and I devoured croquettes, bruschetta, cauliflower gratin, hanger steak, bass, passion fruit ice cream and an apple crepe at Bar Breton.

Day Five:

Yes, I am still eating! Are you surprised? Today over lunch with the Dishing Duo (Elizabeth and Becky) at Seasonal, I had an arugula salad, lobster with poached egg, scallops, schnitzel, spatzle, ox tail, apple streudel, sacher torte and plum kuchen. I am part Austrian – so please cut me a little slack.

Dinner that evening was a celebration of the Denver Five. Matt Selby, Troy Guard, Brian Laird, Tyler Wiard and Jamey Fader served dishes that impressed even the most honed New York palettes. Tyler’s lamb dish was heaven on a plate.

Day 6

Yes, still eating and a bit hung over. I went back to the Breslin for another  lamb burger and the Caesar salad. There is something about being served by a hot, Aussie bartender wearing the Breslin’s one of kind t-shirts. They sell them for $40 a piece. I’m not kidding.

After a long nap I went with friends to Falai on the lower East side. This regional Italian restaurant, under the helm of Chef Iacopo Falai, uses a mix of beautiful seasonal ingredients and a touch of molecular gastronomy to tempt your taste buds. I had the heirloom tomato salad and goat cheese ravioli – with a shot of tomato water.

After dinner we ambled down the street to WD-50 where Chef Wylie Dufresne creates his insanely good menus using molecular gastronomy to the hilt. We did a dessert tasting which included Chef Alex Stupak’s  blueberry cheesecake, licorice custard, and lemon grass mousse. Check out his transparent pear tuille – pure genius.

Day 7

How could I be in New York and not hit Eataly, Mario Batali’s super-sized artisanal Italian marketplace? Here, with fellow food lovers, I ate salumi, crudo, pizza and the most amazing pasta served with butter and a little pepper. Oh my!

That night it was back to the Spotted Pig for the gnudi, THE burger, deviled eggs, pig ear salad, pickles and the rabbit. You have to try the gnudi and the burger at the Pig. You can’t go wrong.

Day 8

The last day in New York I hit up Keste pizza in the Village, Momofuku Ssam Bar for the steamed pork buns and Artichoke pizza for the margaherita and a beer served in a paper bag.

I finished the day off with a Chicago dog in the O’Hare airport.

In my defense, please keep in mind that these dishes were shared and many were not finished; however, I still can’t get into my skinny jeans.

Cheers!

What I Learned in New York

September 26th, 2010 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

It’s all about making more things in house, science, small plates, locavores, social media, doing our own public relations, mixology, middle eastern cuisine, do it yourself, sustainability, foraging, comfort food, offal and sous vide.

That’s what the experts are saying. Guess what? I think Colorado already knows those things. For the first time ever, I believe that we are poised to become one of the next great food cities. The talent, the passion and craftsmanship of the chefs in our state will make it happen.

From the great dinner at the Beard House made by the Denver Five, to our brilliant mixologists, like Sean Kenyon and Bryan Dayton, to the influx of chefs from all over the country like Lon Symensma and Ryan Gorby, to chefs who are growing their own produce and making cheese (yeah, Alex Seidel and Ryan Hardy), to the chefs who wake up every morning and swear to do better than the day before, like Kelly Whitaker, like Wade Kirwan, like Jeff Osaka, like Matt Selby, like James Rugile, like Jonathon Watsky, like Travis Vaughn – Colorado is on the cusp of something big.

Let us take this opportunity to continue to support our locally, owned restaurants and chefs. Cheers!

The Denver Five – It’s Where to Eat This Weekend

September 24th, 2010 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

Who are the Denver Five? Five is a collaboration between five of Denver’s most influential chefs: Troy Guard, Matt Selby, Brian Laird, Jamey Fader and Tyler Wiard. Having just enjoyed dinner made by the Denver Five at the James Beard House in New York City, I highly recommend eating at any of their restaurants this weekend. TAG, Vesta Dipping Grill, Barolo, Lola or Elways Cherry Creek – you can’t go wrong.

Our Denver Five did a great job of representing Colorado’s culinary talent and of elevating Denver to its rightful place as one of the up and coming food cities in the US.

The evening started as we entered the famous Beard House. Guests walk through the kitchen to reach the charming courtyard where champagne flowed and trays of appetizers were passed. Later we were seated for dinner and then the fun really started. Courses and wine came effortlessly from the kitchen downstairs.

Troy Guard from TAG started the evening off with his crispy skin Alamosa striped bass with heirloom carrots, avocado, zucchini blossom, and jalapeno ponzu gelee.

Matt Selby and Brandon Biederman from Vesta Dipping Grill served a Stranahan’s whiskey foie gras and pork sausage, home fries, preserved cherry mustard, brussels sprout kraut and peach jus.

Next, Brian Laird from Barolo Grill entranced us with his Alto Adige Haystack Mountain goat cheese spinach pasta, with marjoram butter and heirloom tomatoes. At my table this was considered one of the best dishes of the night.

Jamey Fader from Lola kept the momentum of the evening going with his halibut veracruz, heirloom tomato confit, pickled fennel and jalapeno and sweet corn bocadillo.

And finally Tyler Wiard from Elways in Cherry Creek sent us heaven on a plate – thyme grilled Colorado lamb loin, Olathe corn succotash, smoked corn braised lamb fritters and charred local onion lamb jus.

We finished with a beautiful plate of pastries and then applauded the chefs for their efforts. The Denver Five did an amazing job of propelling our city into it’s rightful pace in the national spotlight. Congratulations, chefs!

Kelly Whitaker – Simple But Super Refined

September 21st, 2010 Posted by Boulder, Chefs, Culinary Connectors, restaurants No Comment yet

Chef Kelly Whitaker is excited about pizza, sous vide, his HAACP plan, the new entrees on his menu and coffee. Coffee? Yes, coffee. Kelly has a new coffee system and when I ask for mine iced he makes it for me himself.  As I am waiting for my coffee his daughter toddles over (she is 3) carrying a shallot. Yes, a shallot. Not a doll, not a stuffed animal but a shallot. Like father, like daughter.

“We’re getting geeked out on coffee. I just had Richard Betts and Bryan Dayton (a master sommelier and mixologist, respectively) come by for a coffee tasting,” says Kelly.  One of my friends from L.A. introduced us to the hario system –  a way of brewing coffee very similar to the French press. Kelly is ordering the equipment and coffee so that not only can you enjoy it at Basta, but you can make it at home as well.

Prior to moving to Boulder, Kelly cooked in Naples, Italy and at Hatfield’s and Providence in Los Angeles. Basta, which means “enough” in Italian embodies his culinary philosophy  –  simple, properly prepared food and a good bottle of wine are all you need for a satisfying meal. “I think that so many chefs in Colorado have influence or experience from the French Laundry. I bring experience from an entirely different genre of chefs. I just took Alan Henkin, my beverage director to L.A. with me so that he could see where I started. We went to Providence and were blown away by the loyalty, the dedication to the food and the quietness and intensity of the kitchen. I am modeling Basta after Providence.”

Kelly also recently traveled to New York City where he studied with Bruno Goussault to learn more about sous vide cooking. This cooking technique, wildly popular in New York, is being used in Colorado kitchens as well –but under the radar. Clostridium botulinum bacteria can grow in food in the absence of oxygen and produce the deadly botulinum toxin, so sous-vide cooking must be performed under carefully controlled conditions to avoid botulism poisoning. Unless you have a HAACP plan in place, using Sous Vide is a health department violation.

Kelly is the first chef in Boulder to write a HAACP plan and submit it for approval. There is no stove in the Pizzeria Basta kitchen and when Kelly decided to add entrees to his dinner menu he needed a way to do them well and finish them in the wood fired oven.  His logical choice? Sous vide.

Kelly is still working on his sous vide plan. His first plan was rejected, but he is resubmitting. “I had originally submitted over a 100 ingredients, now I have changed it to just five.” The health department will soon be visiting his kitchen to see exactly how the food is handled.

On his location: Pizzeria Basta is located in the Peloton complex. While not the most prominent location – like on Pearl Street – Basta is making it work for them. “Everyone says that our location is killing us, but I disagree. In just a while the Peloton will be up to 800 in population.” If Pizzeria Basta were steps away from my apartment you can be sure that I would be there 24/7 or at least ordering takeout a few times a week.

Most tedious job ever: At Providence we were using shoshito peppers. Some are very, very hot and some are not. To be sure that no guest got a spicy pepper, I had to slit each pepper and try a seed in each one. It took a long time.

What is the most manly cooking method: Wood fired oven.  It’s hot and there’s fire involved.

What is your guilty pleasure: The poutine at Euclid Hall. But really, the hotdogs outside of Costco with grain mustard and sourkraut.

What chefs do you admire the most: Travis Vaughn at Frasca. He is Frasca. Jonathon Watsky from Frasca and I know many of the same people. We’re cooked with the same people. I really like him. Dakota Soifer from Aion is doing great stuff.

Favorite Cookbook: Larousse Gastronomique, Paul Bertolli’s Cooking by Hand, Grand Livre de Cuisine and the Alinea cookbook for reference. I use cook books for inspiration, not for the recipes.

At this point in the interview Kelly jumps up and says, “ You have to taste my ice cream. We created all the recipes ourselves.” He feds me stone smoked porter, spearmint (made with mint from his own garden) and wood fired vanilla.  When making the wood fired vanilla he actually throws a burning log into the vanilla base and lets it steep for 12 hours. Then the base is strained through a chinois to get the wood bits out. It tastes amazing.  “I want the wood fire to touch all of our food,” he says.

You can go anywhere in the world. Where are you eating: Alinea in Chicago and Eleven Madison in New York City. I think there are amazing things going in the states.

Favorite kitchen tool: My global spatula and my microplane.

Worst kitchen disaster: I made five hotel pans of tirimisu using salt instead of sugar. I realized it at the end when I tasted it. Always taste everything!

Advice for culinary students: Always work in a kitchen before you go to culinary school. Make sure it is something you like.

Advice for home cooks: Simple is better. When you are entertaining keep it simple and fresh.

What trend in food do you like right now: I’m not a fan of long-winded, verbose menus.  I don’t need to know every single farm that provided the produce on one dish.  I don’t need to put “Basta” basil on my menu. I shouldn’t have to explain that I made spearmint ice cream because I had lots of it in my garden and it needed to be used. Farm to table should be a way of life, not a trend. Food tastes better when it’s closer to home.

Last words: Right now I feel as though I am finding my place in the Boulder community. I love Boulder. I love the community. I feel Basta is being accepted into the restaurant scene –  that we are finding our niche.

“It’s my goal as a chef to do simple food, yet super-refined. I want to invoke people’s memories and connect them with their past.”

Beatrice & Woodsley – It’s Where to Eat This Weekend

September 17th, 2010 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

One of the most whimsical spots in Denver is the dining room at Beatrice & Woodsley. Here you can literally sit among Aspen trunks as you sip drinks from a well thought out cocktail menu. I remember trying some unique and delicious cocktails at B&W well before the mixology trend took Denver by storm.

Founders Kevin Delk, and John Skogstad, who also own Mario’s Double Daughter’s Salotto downtown wanted a restaurant where diners could eat in a room that captured “the wilderness of the city and the solitude of the forest”.  When you see the inside of B&W you’ll know they nailed it.

Nestled between funky boutique shops on South Broadway B&W can be a bit difficult to find. Look for the heart hanging above the front door; as it is well worth the hunt.  Crawfish Beignets, Risotto Champenoise, Pimento Cheese Cheese Cake, Corn Fed Scallops…….Executive Chef Pete List’s menu is just as whimsical as the dining room.

Try B&W for brunch and then browse the neighborhood shops, or check out their tea service each afternoon. You can also visit Beatrice and Woodsley this Saturday on the Culinary Connectors Denver Top Restaurant Tour.

Beatrice & Woodsley – 38 South Broadway, Denver. 303 – 777-3505

Brunch – Saturday and Sunday 10 – 2. Tea Service – Saturday and Sunday 2 – 4. Daily Cocktail Hour 5 – 6. Dinner – Sunday thru Wednesday 5 – 10, Thursday thru Saturday 5 – 11.

Food Trucks!

September 15th, 2010 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, Food Cart No Comment yet

The food truck trend is taking Denver by storm.  While popular in other cities like Portland and New York City food trucks have just recently popped up in Denver and Boulder. It’s a much less expensive endeavor than opening a restaurant. Carts either have a standard spot or drive around town using social media like Twitter and Facebook to announce their menu and location.

When you think about street food you might think about hotdogs or pretzels but cooks at the carts are doing very upscale and affordable food. David Bravdica at Brava pizza uses locally sourced ingredients for his pies. Elliot and Mike at Gastro Cart are doing things like pancetta sliders, with hickory smoked aioli and cider vinegar gastrique. Jim at Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs does Yak Black Ale Cherry dogs and chicken and apple brats.

A great way to check out some of the trucks is to join Culinary Connectors for their first Food Truck Tour this Friday. From 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. stroll around downtown Denver and enjoy tastings at Gastro Cart, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, the Porker Cart and Brava Pizza. In true Culinary Connectors tradition the tour will end at Brava Pizza so that guests can not only enjoy David’s fabulous pies, but also have a drink for Happy Hour on Lannie’s patio.

Cheers!

Pearl Street Grill – The Perfect Place to Watch the Game

September 13th, 2010 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

It’s that time of the year again, or, as one of my Facebook friends so eloquently put it, – it’s the end of girlfriend season. In other words, it’s officially football season. I will argue about the girlfriend thing because I am a girl and I love football, but I digress.

Last Friday on a Culinary Connectors Pearl Street walking tour I found myself with 9 other foodies happily ensconced in a booth at the Pearl Street Grill. In honor of the Great American Beer Festival the good folks at Pearl Street served us pitchers and cans of several Colorado-made beers such as Rail Yard Ale and Mile High Pale Ale.  Rail Yard, which is newly available in cans, is malty ale and is Wynkoop Brewing’s (the owner of Pearl Street Grill) most popular beer. Mile High Pale Ale is a very hoppy beer that is only available in kegs. We feasted on hummus and artichoke pesto, black bean quesadillas and these crazy good Mexican egg rolls – crisp egg rolls filled with Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, rice and jalapeños served with pork green chili and sweet chili sauce. I’ve been thinking about the cold beer and those spicy eggs rolls all weekend. I can’t wait to go back and have them again.

That brings me to my next point. The Pearl Street Grill is the perfect place to watch football or really any sport. Go early for happy hour and stay late to drown your sorrows if your fantasy player doesn’t score you enough points or if your favorite team loses. They have two happy hours, one from 3:00 – 6:00, and a late night one from 10:00 to midnight. Drinks are a dollar off and they offer a bunch of fun snacks for just $5.

This hip and casual spot has been in existence since 1983. The wood bar is said to be from the St. Louis Worlds Fair in 1904 and the stained glass is from an old church in St. Louis. Whether that is true or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the Pearl Street Grill is a laid back venue for drinking and eating with friends. In case you don’t like beer, they have a fun wine list as well. Their menu features classic bar sandwiches, wings and burgers but you can also find a spice rubbed pork tenderloin, barley risotto and a vegetable curry.

The Pearl Street Grill – 1477 S. Pearl Street, Denver. 303-778-6475

Salt Bistro – It’s Where to Eat This Weekend

September 10th, 2010 Posted by Boulder, Culinary Connectors, restaurants No Comment yet

The philosophy at Salt Bistro is simple  – the best food travels the shortest distance to the table, menus should change with the seasons and locally sourced ingredients, combined with European technique and innovative thinking make for a truly remarkable experience. It’s all true – I’ve had several remarkable experiences at Salt and I highly recommend eating there this weekend.

Salt Bistro is the home of the infamous chocolate salted caramel tart, housemade ketchup and fettucini with beautiful local produce. In fact, I think Salt has one of the best dessert menus in the state. Additionally sommelier Evan, has just started a great new cocktail program. He will guide you through an “arts and crafts” session that will help you learn about the various types of cocktails and how to pair flavors with different liquors.

In celebration of their first year in business Salt is offering through the Harvest Moon (September 23) three course for $31. Even better, a portion of the proceeds from a three course dinner will benefit the School Food Project.

Salt is open for brunch, lunch and dinner and they hold social hour from 3 – 6 each day featuring fun snacks that range between $2 – $5. Salt is participating on the Culinary Connectors Boulder Top Restaurant Tour this weekend along with Pizzeria Basta and Cafe Aion.

Salt Bistro -1047 Pearl Street, Boulder. 303-444-SALT. Sunday – Wednesday 11 – 10. Thursday – Saturday 11 – 11. Social Hour daily 3 – 6.

Paul Reilly from Encore – I Can Taste Things Really Well in my Imagination

September 7th, 2010 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

Paul Reilly, Executive Chef at Encore restaurant in Denver got his start cooking in Boulder and later in Telluride. “After awhile I found that I was more passionate about cooking than I was about English Literature, which was my degree. My chef persuaded me to go to culinary school. Since I am from New York I decided to “go home” and attend the French Culinary Institute. It was a pivotal decision to go to school. It helped me learn refinement. While I was in school I worked at some amazing restaurants in the city, Michael’s, Danal and Le Bernardin. I learned patience, organization and a greater knowledge of cuisine. Eric Ripert never raised his voice at his chefs when I was there. Everything he said was at a conversational level.”

Do you work on the line or do you expedite? I work on the line most nights. I expedite on Fridays and Saturdays. When I’m on the line I work sauté or grill and I always want to be the best cook in the kitchen. Being on the line helps me get into the menu. It helps me refine all the dishes as well as helping with leadership in the kitchen. It’s great to be part of a crew.

What is the manliest cooking method? Pastry. It takes the most finesse. I currently do all the desserts at Encore.

Most tedious job ever: Making rabbit sausage for a wine dinner. I had to break down 15 – 16 rabbits. It took a long time because they have so many small bones. In the end, everyone loved it.

What is your guilty pleasure? Hot dogs with mustard. Even Oscar Meyer. No ketchup, though. I hate it.

Best Hot Dog Ever: The overdone ones at Katz’s Deli in NYC for $2.

Farm to Table? Yes

Do you write your menu? I do. I also allow my chefs to have their input. If there is a technique or an ingredient that they want to try, I listen. We change the menu 3-4 times a year at Encore. The menu is an amalgamation of ideas. My staff helps me complete my thoughts.

When you conceptualize a dish what do you think of? Seasonality and plating. I can taste things really well in my imagination. I also think about what stations will have to execute the dish. If the sauté station is already doing 8 dishes and grill only has three, then you have to rethink things.

If you could put anything on your menu? Skate wing. It’s such an East Coast thing. Try explaining skate wing to diners in Denver. It’s hard. I don’t think it would sell.

If you could eat anywhere in the world? Greece. I’m eating grilled branzino, lamb, olives and sautéed greens.

Molecular Gastronomy? No, but before I say that I think I need to learn more about it. I want to try sous vide for sure. But, I think that I would rather eat a real piece of pizza versus a cube or ball that tastes like pizza. Fois gras powder is cool, but I really just want some fois gras.

Favorite chefs in Denver: Andrea Frizzi at Il Posto. I love how he looks at his walk in to see what is going to be on the menu for the day.

Alex Seidel from Fruition. His flavors are so clean. He maximizes flavor on a plate like no other chef can.

Tyler Wiard. He is the best at making modern American cuisine using old school techniques.

Aaron Whitcomb. Not only is he a “freaking” amazing guy, his food is super good.

What is your favorite thing to make? Pasta. Pasta can always be seasonal. It absorbs flavors and techniques of each season. It is the ultimate comfort food.

Favorite cookbooks:
1. James Peterson Fish & Shellfish. This is the bible for what comes out of the sea. Being in landlocked Colorado is much different than being on the East Coast. There everyone has heard of every fish. Here –  not so much. It’s very educational.
2. James Beard American Cookery. This cookbook contains everything from egg salad to how to braise a squirrel.
3. Mario’s Molto Italiano. I use this at home all the time.

Favorite kitchen tool? Spoons.

How do you cope with being married and being a chef? My wife is awesome. She supports me and encourages me even though this is very hard. I work at least 70 hours a week. We are expecting our first child in December.

How do you wind down after service? A shot of whiskey and a beer.

Advice for kids wanting to be chefs? Pick a chef or a restaurant that you admire. Go and work there for a while before you commit to Culinary School.

Advice for home cooks? Use more salt. Read the recipe. Read it again. Have all the ingredients ready before you start cooking.

What would you like to see more of in Denver?  Better public transportation. Better farmers markets. Farmers markets are not outdoor carnivals. I want to see something like the Union Square Farmers Market in NYC.

What do you think about the food truck trend in Denver? It’s a bit overblown. Where is the ice cream truck? At Encore, we have talked about doing a truck but by the time we get around to making it happen we might need a hovercraft to keep up with the times.

Favorite pastry chef? Keegan Gerhardt. His seasonal menus and his plating make him stand above the rest.

Most overrated ingredient? Avocado.

Last words? Denver diners have been great at supporting independently owned restaurants. There are a handful of chefs in Denver doing craft food with local ingredients and it has been great to see the public support what they are doing.

The biggest challenge Denver faces in the dining scene?  Getting front of the house service up to par with what the chefs are doing. Denver is going to have to step it up a bit.

The Highlands – It’s Where to Eat This Weekend

September 3rd, 2010 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

It’s been a dream of mine to live in the Highlands for many years. Recently my dream came true. From my new duplex I can walk to Shazz, Parisi, Café Brazil, my local supermarket and more importantly the wine store.

I thought I knew everything about my new neighborhood, but apparently I was wrong. I went on Culinary Connectors Highlands walking tour last weekend and discovered restaurants I didn’t know about. Gasp!

Our first stop was Happy Cakes, a cupcake shop that Martha Stewart picked as having the best cupcakes in Denver. Each Friday they have Happy Hour cupcakes like Jack and Coke, Margarita and Cosmo. Cupcake flavors change on a day to day basis but they have some, their Red Velvet for example, that are always on the menu. The next stop on the walking tour was Trattoria Stella. In his tiny kitchen Chef Nick will sometimes do as many as 250 covers a night. The pasta is housemade and the patio is one of the most charming spots on 32nd Avenue.  Next door is BANG! This family run restaurant has been in business in the Highlands since 1996. We ate grilled pork chops with Olathe sweet corn and swooned over the flavors. A must try is the homemade gingerbread dessert that has been on the menu since the beginning. We ended our tour at Highlands Cork and Coffee. Here you can sip sangria, wine or coffee if you are feeling abstentious, use their free wifi to get some work done and munch on Panini sandwiches in case you get hungry.

Recreate the walking tour I did last weekend and get out of the house to try these four charming spots. As a side note, Culinary Connectors offers walking tours in the Highlands every other weekend.

Happy Cakes

Trattoria Stella

BANG!

Highlands Cork and Coffee