Vesta | 20 Years Later

Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth, is the inspiration for this Denver dining destination that first lit its hearth over 20 years ago. Owner Josh Wolkon shares his story with us, “Vesta opened in 1997 in Denver’s LoDo. I was 25 years old and driven by pure ambition to open my dream restaurant. Surrounded by young, energetic, passionate, and fun people, we created a destination restaurant before LoDo itself became a destination. The term ‘Vesta Vibe’ was later coined and became known for combining positive energy, genuine hospitality, philanthropy and fun.” Through deliciously cooked food in an inviting environment where friends and family can gather and connect by the warmth of the fire, Vesta continues living up to its name and its “vibe”.

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The latest menu was created by Colorado-raised Executive Chef, Nicholas Kayser, whose culinary talents enhance the Vesta menu with creative interpretations and beautiful plating. Nicholas’ culinary talents and experience have come from his time working with top chefs all over the world, in restaurants from Hong Kong to New York to Las Vegas. He eventually longed to be closer to his friends and family back here in Denver and moved back and started at Vesta a couple years ago.

Ahi Tuna Tonnato

Ahi Tuna Tonnato

The menu offers seasonal, creative American dishes, plus barrel-aged cocktails, craft beers and an award-winning wine list. To start, you can try “The Full Monty” of Vesta’s own house cured meats and artisan cheeses served with house made breads and mustards, along with pickles and truffle honey. We went a lighter route with the Ahi Tuna Tonnato, a lovely sashimi grade tuna carpaccio drizzled with olive vinaigrette, aioli, and topped with focaccia. This appetizer was incredible; it was not fishy, had an easy to eat texture, and a unique combination of Italian flavors from the focaccia and aioli paired with light, fresh tuna.

We also sampled the XO Smoked Pork Ribs garnished with a fresh cilantro salad. This too was very delicious, with great flavor of a sweet heat hoisin sauce around succulent rib meat with a slightly crisp outside. For the entrée we enjoyed the Pan Roasted Branzino, which is a mild, white fish and comes with crispy roasted red potatoes which we loved, celery salad, sorrel, and winter radishes. This is a modern take on an Israeli dish and incorporates Middle Eastern spices and ingredients which was creative, but not spicy.

Pan Roasted Branzino

Pan Roasted Branzino

To cap off our dinner we were treated to sweet potato beignets. These delightful little dumplings of sweet potato and dough are rolled in cinnamon sugar and sit atop toasted marshmallow, cranberry compote, and caramelized milk. It was a sweet treat for sure, but not too intense or heavy. They have some other tantalizing treats we’d like to try next time like the Sticky Toffee Pudding with medjool date cake and their Tiramisu with chocolate honeycomb.

In addition to the great food, the restaurant has a beautiful interior with noticeable themes of warmth, sensuality and dreams reflected in the handcrafted industrial design. Curved booths, open flames from the exposed grill, and draped fabric light fixtures soften the industrial design and bring a sensuality and warmth to the space that complements the “Vesta Vibe”. Another cool component to Wolkon’s restaurants is their certification as Green Businesses through the EPA and Certifiably Green Denver. Further, since opening Vesta in 1997, charitable giving to nonprofit organizations, particularly youth-focused organizations, has been one of the restaurant group’s top priorities.

http://www.vestadenver.com/        Words by Tiffany Candelaria          Photos by Samantha Bliss

sweet potato beignets

sweet potato beignets

A Tropical Escape in Denver's Cap Hill

When you think of the Caribbean do you  picture white sand beaches, tropical colors and flavors, fruity drinks, and island music? Well you'll find all this (minus the beach) at the new Calypso Caribbean restaurant, bar and café Bang Up to the Elephant in their cool, new space in Capitol Hill.

The fully immersive restaurant comes from Denver restaurateur Kevin Delk, the creative mastermind behind Two-Fisted Mario's, Mario's Double Daughters and the Aspen tree filled Beatrice & Woodsley. In similar fashion, Bang Up to the Elephant is full of imaginative touches, creative interior design, and lots of Caribbean colors. From the painted floor to the blue-hued light and everything in between, this new restaurant offers much more than just a meal.

The large space had been abandoned for nearly 27 years prior, and before that was The Mercury Café. The team had a lot of work ahead of them, but the empty canvas allowed for creativity and a total transformation. Between the ambiance, the unique food, and the tropical drinks (and plants), you really feel transported to a tropical destination. Another cool component is the sunny front “patio” café, enclosed with colorful mosaic stained glass walls, big doors that can fully open on a nice day and a park fountain.

We began with a few cocktails from Cocktail Conservator Dylan Holcomb, our favorite being the Nose Ender because it’s served in a coconut and festively garnished. Its spirit is tequila and house-made cream of coconut. If this doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been transported, the food and ambiance surely will. The Devil’s Claw and Newgate Knockers where our other favorite cocktails and were also beautifully garnished. Devil’s Claw contains Mekong, a Thai spirit, lemon juice, Chinese Five Spice, and curry syrup. Despite all the exotic spices, the drink was well rounded and refreshing, it did bring out the spice in the food however. The Newgate Knockers drink was a bit creamy and sweet, with lemon juice, tamarind, gin and Orgeat.

The menu is led by Executive Chef Travis Messervey, of Beatrice & Woodsley, and features a wide range of "Calypso cuisine". Delk gave us a brief history of the Islands, explaining how many different countries explored and colonized the Caribbean at various times, thus bringing their foods and customs to the Islands and its native people. Diners here will find African, Indian, European and Chinese dishes and influences on the menu. For example, the Jerk Chicken is slow-cooked over pimento wood from the All Spice Tree, traditionally used to smoke jerk meats, and covered in a savory, spicy rub. It had wonderfully deep flavors, wasn’t too spicy, and sits atop rice and black-eyed peas. It comes with a side of astringent papaya-red cabbage slaw and is garnished with tasty smoked, sweet pineapple slices.

Their Bake & Pepper Shrimp sandwich was also a standout and is one of four versions you can order of this popular Trinidadian dish. It had breaded shrimp between two pieces of fried flatbread with tomatoes, red cabbage slaw, and a green herb spread. It was satisfying, fresh and crispy. We also tried the Kale & Plantains salad that was coated in hot pepper vinaigrette which really packed a punch. The plantains and jicama help cool you, but beware. The Bowl-O-Chow Mein wasn’t spicy except for the jalapenos on top and was loaded with healthy veggies, a bit too soaked in teriyaki sauce however. To finish us off we had a scoop of fried ice cream with chocolate rum sauce and mango chunks. Delk admitted fried ice cream is not really Caribbean, he just has a soft spot for it and thinks his diners will too. It was delicious, tasting like a sundae atop a warm old-fashioned doughnut. Their menu is extensive and offers many more delicious dishes than we were able to try, so we'll be back.

Bang Up to the Elephant provides a great year-round escape, whether it be from the weather, the daily grind, or the typical meal. They have happy hour daily from 3-6:30pm and will also be launching live music brunches on Saturday and Sunday’s 9-3pm soon!

Words by Tiffany Candelaria @TCdoesFnB       Photos by Samantha Bliss  @redfollowsherbliss http://banguptotheelephant.restaurant/

Breckenridge Brewery Tour & Dinner

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Saturday night we got to go behind the scenes of the Breckenridge Brewery facilities at their Farmhouse in Littleton, CO and were treated to a special private beer dinner in their Barrel Room! Since being acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev December of 2015, the facilities and beer production has greatly expanded and contributed to their cool new Farmhouse "campus" as they call it.

We got a great tour from Katie who literally walked us through each step in the brewing, aging and bottling process. Yes, some of their beers are aged, including their newest Brewery Lane Series release, the Imperial Vanilla Porter. This limited series beer is aged in Rum barrels, which we later dined among, and brewed with Madagascar vanilla beans.

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At the end of the tour we each got a full pour of the Irish Stout and headed down to the Barrel Room where they had set up tables for us lucky 30 to sit and dine. The first course was a Roasted Beet Flatbread paired with an amazing Barrel Aged Imperial Cherry Stout. Next we had an Agave Wheat Shrimp Ceviche served on an avocado with an Oak Aged Saison which was light but flavorful, just like the Ceviche.

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The entree was a big bowl of Duck Confit atop Risotto and Brussels Sprouts with a dry hopped orange glaze. This dish was so delicious and had a wonderful caramelized taste with an orange undertone from the glaze. It was paired with their seasonal holiday beer, the Holidale wich paired the holiday flavors of cinnamon and spice perfectly with the warming dish tinged with orange flavors. The beer itself is more of an Amber Ale with savory spices reminiscent of winter.

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For the fourth course we finished with an Imperial Vanilla Porter Orange Ganache Tart with a vanilla whip. This was a dense chocolate tart with a strong orange zest flavor and delicate whip and nitrogen shattered blood oranges sprinkled on top! They did the shattering in front of us which was fun to watch and added a unique taste and dining experience. This was paired with the Imperial Vanilla Porter of course which was dark and thicker like the Irish Stout. 

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We were so impressed with this special Barrel Aged Beer Dinner by Executive Chef Nate Gravina and GM Joe Porter, and encourage you to look out for the next time the brewery hosts one of these. And after such an excellent dinner you should definitely make it a point to get some food with your beer the next time you're there. Cheers~

Full photo gallery below.  https://www.breckbrew.com/beers

Words by Tiffany Candelaria             Photos by Josh Stephens

Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco And Music Festival Powered By Gringo Bandito Hits The Road This Spring

The annual Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival Powered by Gringo Bandito has announced multiple West Coast stops with April/May dates including performances by The Offspring, Pennywise and more. Popular hot sauce brand Gringo Bandito was founded by The Offspring frontman Dexter Holland and will heating things up at each stop. 

Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce is excited to be the official sponsor of the upcoming Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival Powered by Gringo Bandito, which kicks off on April 7 at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point , CA . The popular annual festival will hitting multiple cities for the first time, traveling up the West Coast with stops in Dana Point, Sacramento, Denver, Albuquerque, Tucson, Auburn and Portland. With a powerhouse artist lineup announced for the 5th year [it’s actually the festival’s 5th year], celebrated Punk Rock icons The Offspring will again headline and be joined by rock favorites including Pennywise and on select dates Against Me!, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, Lit, Street Dogs, The Vandals, Unwritten Law and Los Kung Fu Monkeys. Gringo Bandito invites guests to sample their hot sauce at their tent and witness a headline set by founder Dexter Holland’s multi-platinum group The Offspring.

Last year’s Sabroso was co-sponsored by Gringo Bandito and included a massive taco eating contest  featuring Takeru Kobayashi.  With a sold out crowd of over 8,500 people, this festival was destined to be so much more than a one day event. For 2018, Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival Powered by Gringo Bandito give s  6 cities outside of Southern California a full serving  of  punk rock, over 100 craft beer samples, Lucha Libre style wrestling, top chef created tacos and of course more Gringo Bandito hot sauce than their mouths can handle. Sabroso is presented by highly respected craft beer festival producer Brew Ha Ha productions and top festival producer Synergy Global Entertainment (SGE).

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Ophelia’s Will Tantalize All Your Senses


Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is a multilevel "gastro-brothel" that surrounds its guests in luxurious furnishing, flattering mood lighting, and blatantly sexy décor, aka it’s a great place for a date. In addition to dining, there’s a stage and lounge in the lower level, also viewable from the upper restaurant level that wraps around it. The name of the place is an intriguing mouthful… and you’ll find the food is as well.

Ophelia’s opened a couple years ago and is part of Chef Justin Cucci’s collection of top-rated restaurants around Denver. Located in the old Airedale building on 20th Street and Larimer, it was formerly a peep-show parlor and clearly inspired the restaurant’s décor. The menu is a tantalizing assortment of American dishes featuring globally inspired ingredients paired in intriguing ways. In addition to its vegetable forward dishes, 75% of the ingredients are organically sourced and the menu has gluten-free and vegan icons to help those with dietary restrictions.

We were delighted to dine at Ophelia’s this Tuesday and were treated to an amazing assortment of dishes that showcased the variety of foods, flavors, and ingenuity the team brings to the tables each night. We began with cocktails of course, the Never Enough gin cocktail and the Hard Eight Rye cocktail, which were both great – one sweet and citrusy the later earthy and zesty.

To start, we selected the Smoked Scallops, 600 Degree Squash and the Crispy Pork Belly. This was already more food than we could finish knowing entrees where ahead, but we are so glad we ordered it all anyway because these three dishes were outstanding. The scallops were petite, soft and smoky, served with lavash crackers, microgreens, and a chive crème fraise and hot sauce, all meant to pile onto the crackers. The creamy crème spread was a perfect balance for the smoky scallops and seed-laden lavash. We also loved the 600 Degree Squash, a collection of caramelized yellow and green zucchini with sweet, creamy goat feta and a sundried tomato sauce. The Crispy Pork Belly was especially outstanding because it was not full of fat like so often happens when we’ve ordered pork belly. It truly was crispy and candied on the outside, and soft and supple on the inside, bursting with so much savory and sweet flavor. Best pork belly we can recall!  

Next, the kitchen surprised us with their Brothel Burger and BBQ Chicken Flatbread. The burger was super succulent Elk, we didn’t even realize this while we ate it, topped with Korean BBQ, Miso candied bacon, Ponzu onions, and pickled vegetables all between a pretzel pun. We loved it. The BBQ Chicken Flatbread was accompanied by bacon, Pepper Jack, mozzarella, charred onion, bell pepper and jicama-radicchio slaw, which was an excellent addition to an overall wonderfully composed sweet, smoky, tangy pizza. All of their flatbreads and burger buns are also available gluten free.

We then made room for two of their Dinner entrees, the Steelhead Trout with Pozole and Chicken & Waffles, which were like yin and yang as far as flavors, textures, ingredients and nutrition. Pozole is a traditional Mexican stew composed of hominy, green chilies, and spices. Their pozole is topped traditionally with fresh radishes, cilantro, tomatillo salsa, and chunks of avocado, but is only mildly spicy. The trout was wonderful, not too fishy, seasoned with black pepper, and a great, local alternative to salmon. An added bonus, all of the warming spices, herbs, root vegetables and omega-3 fish make this an excellent winter dish and flu-fighter!

On the other end of the spectrum, the Chicken & Waffles were decadent, sweet and crunchy. It comes with two pieces of herb and potato laden waffle between three pieces of crispy, fried chicken topped with bacon bits, a flavorful cinnamon apple butter and chili honey – my goodness! On the side, there’s a bit of healthy greenery for you with apple slices and dried cranberries.

Throughout all of this wonderful feasting, live musicians took turns on the stage below for open mic night. Wednesday’s and Sunday’s Ophelia’s has jazz bands, and the rest of the week generally has live music events as well. Ophelia’s is much more than just a delicious restaurant; it’s a happening hangout with plenty of pleasing offerings. The bar and lounge areas provide really nice drinking spots, and the wrap around restaurant is an awesome medley of fabulous food and dynamic entertainment below. We absolutely suggest you go!

https://www.opheliasdenver.com/

Words by Tiffany Candelaria @tcdoesfnb     Photos by Samantha Bliss @redfollowsherbliss

Chicken & Waffles

Denver Celebrates MLK Day

The annual parade was held during the early morning freezing temperatures as crowds of thousands lined the streets of Colfax (en route to Civic Center Park) earlier today to celebrate Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The 32nd annual parade is commemorated in The Mile High City every January with what has grown to be one of the largest MLK Day celebrations in the United States -- even larger than that of Washington, D.C

Crowds braved the elements during this mornings march. (Photo Credit: Aly McClaran

Students from MSU marched along to celebrate MLK Day in Denver. (Photo Credit: Aly McClaran)

The morning was filled with drumlins from local Denver students. (Photo Credit: Aly McClaran)

The Raw Deal at Vital Root

Vegetarians aren’t messing around these days. Owner of Edible Beats, Justin Cucci, opened up vegetarian restaurant Vital Root on Tennyson Street a year and a half ago and it has been a hit ever since.  Whether you’re on the run or able to stay awhile, there’s an open seat inside or on their two patios and heaping flavors waiting for you in this fast-casual dining concept.

Using only the freshest organic ingredients in each dish, you are sure to leave feeling revitalized and satisfied, and ninety-nine percent of the menu can be prepared vegan and/or gluten free upon request. Not a vegan or gluten intolerant? Try ‘em out anyway - your body will thank you later.

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Vital Root also places a huge focus on sustainability from the front of the house to the back. Supporting over 55 growers, farmers and food artisans, 50% of the ingredients are sourced within Colorado. Edible Beats’ homegrown produce comprises 40% of the produce used in all dishes across the six restaurants. It also supports local wind and solar projects through national clean energy provider, Arcadia Power, to help reduce America’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels.

We were cordially invited to their monthly Raw Pop Up Dinner held on the first Monday of every month. Why raw vegan cuisine? Vital Root’s chef says, “Raw food has not been heated over 118 degrees, leaving all natural enzyme and nutrient activity of the ingredients completely in-tact and maximizing bio-availability. The raw diet encourages harmony with nature, a nonviolent lifestyle, boundless energy, a healthy relationship to food-as-fuel, and is a remarkable way to experience the beautiful ingredients.”

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Upon being greeted at the door, the hostess kindly led us to our seats where we anxiously awaited diving into the raw experience.

The first course presented before our eyes and our salivating palates was the Giardiniera, served on a spoon and ready to be devoured. Simple yet refreshing, the dish was comprised of eggplant relish, basil tomato and daikon thread. It set the tone for the rest of the meal and left our taste buds wanting more…which is exactly what we got.

The second course came in an array of multi-color roots. It was almost too pretty to eat, but that didn’t stop us. Served in a beautiful radicchio leaf, the Radicchio Beet Hummus executed on presentation and texture by utilizing the ingredient in two ways. We were given a variety of organic vegetables including carrots, bell peppers and cucumbers to enjoy with the hummus. To add a hint of sweetness to the dish, dates were also included.

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The third course was the one I was most intrigued by, and that was the Squash Lasagna. I asked myself, “How are they going to serve warm cooked lasagna that resembled lasagna without the power of a hot oven?” Let’s just say, I was absolutely blown away. First off, the presentation was beautiful. Secondly, cutting into it felt just like eating momma’s homemade lasagna. It was dense yet light, and didn’t come with the typical sluggish aftermath, even after eating the entire plate. What made this dish even more unique was the vegan spin on the cheese. From ‘rawmesan’ and macadamia ‘ricotta’ to walnut pesto and a winter salad—it had me more than convinced.

And for the final course: the Blood Orange Granita, a Sicily-inspired shaved ice bursting with flavor. The dessert melted in my mouth like cotton candy, and refreshed my palate at the same time with the addition of the fresh basil.

If you’re sitting there living vicariously through my words, stop. You can reserve your spot for the next raw dinner through the Vital Roots website. What makes this experience even more thrilling is that the menu is a total surprise! You won’t know what’s coming to your table until it’s presented before you. Get your palate ready and imagination going for the eccentric yet inviting meal at next month’s raw dinner.

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If raw food isn’t your cup of tea, no worries. Vital Root offers a wide array of options and is open Tuesday-Thursday from 10am-9pm and Friday-Sunday from 9am-9pm. Additionally, Happy Hour is Tuesday-Sunday from 3pm-6pm with specials including $1 off beer, $5 wine and cocktails, $2 Banh MI or Avocado Tacos, and $3 Korean BBQ Veggie Wings.

Don’t wait any longer—see what these vegetarians are raving about! http://www.vitalrootdenver.com/

Written and Photographed by Samantha Bliss-Red Follows Her Bliss Photography

Justin Great Season 2 Fashion Launch

Justin Great, a Denver-based luxury streetwear designer, will launch his Season 2 collection with a party and pop-up shop on January 19th at Urban Mix.

The event will start at 7 p.m. RSVP online at www.justingreat.com or on the Justin Great Facebook page for a gift upon arrival and entry into a giveaway for a piece from the Season 2 collection. View Season 1 collection at www.justingreat.com.

The event will premier Great’s newest “seasonless” designs, intended to be wearable from winter through summer. This will be the first event Great has hosted in Denver, and will debut the new line among a celebration of fashion, music, food, and art.

Denver-based CRL CRRLL will DJ the event, which will also offer free admission and parking, food and drinks, giveaways, a runway fashion show presentation, a dance performance by the CreNatives, a photo booth, and an opportunity to mingle, shop, and dance with Denver’s street culture elite.

“I’m really excited to finally share my brand with the city of Denver! I trust the sophisticated and modern streetwear aesthetic we offer will connect with the people,” said Justin Great, the founder and designer of the eponymous company, on his label’s signature style.

Justin Great is recognized as a growing name in luxury streetwear, known for its attention to detail. Based in Denver with a following in New York and Los Angeles, the brand is all USA made. Deconstructing and hand-sewn details are added by Great himself in his studio, ensuring no two pieces are exactly the same. Season 2 debuts the latest in the label’s signature clean aesthetic, complemented with limited edition pieces inspired by formal tailoring lines and classic prints redefined for the ready-to-wear world.

Justin Great’s Season 2 line will be available for purchase at the event, and will be available online exclusively at www.justingreat.com. 

Justin Great is a relentless entrepreneur who has a passion for progressive culture and all forms of creative expression. His driven nature has compelled him to create and be involved in various ventures including, but not limited to, the worlds of fashion, creative content/media, design, music, and blogging. His background in fashion stems from the inception of his fashion and style blog “The Upper Echelon,” which he founded in college as a means of sharing fashion and style expertise. Since the blog’s inception in 2009, Justin has had the opportunity to showcase and collaborate with multiple brands and publications. As the blog grew to prominence and gained attention, many followers began requesting Justin to create his own fashion collection, which later birthed the Justin Great fashion brand and its subsidiary, Plumage by Justin Great.

Justin is the true embodiment of the Renaissance man concept. His creative content and design company - Luxpiration - allows him and his team the outlet to create via media (photography, videography, graphic design), web/product design, audio, branding, and marketing. Justin Great’s music production background has afforded him the opportunity to produce beats of several different genres for various music artists and also film/television (Great Beats).

In addition to the arts, Justin has a passion for technology and has created products in the tech space, including co-founding the start-up Friendect – a mobile application that is revolutionizing the way people meet up with their friends in the real world.

For Justin, his various ventures are a means of creative expression and influence and his goal is to fuel and inspire individuals to enjoy, appreciate, and partake in high quality lifestyle, culture, and product.

Justin Great is a firm believer that through creativity, action, and dedication we can influence and change the world.

Among other accolades, Justin has been featured in magazines and publications such as GQ, Fortune, and The New York Times. Justin was also named one of the top 50 style bloggers in 2014. 

Delicious Desserts at the Tag Restaurants

Kabocha cake (Mister Tuna) - Amaretto squash purée, kabocha (squash) cake, buttered walnut ice cream, candied walnuts, and warm caramelized maple.

Kabocha cake (Mister Tuna) - Amaretto squash purée, kabocha (squash) cake, buttered walnut ice cream, candied walnuts, and warm caramelized maple.

It’s the time of year where we can over dress, over shop, over party and over eat. Yes, we at Ultra5280 Lifestyle love to do all of these things, all of the time, but during the holidays we let ourselves get carried away. Last night for example, we indulged in a variety of delicious desserts created by Denver native Joy Williams, newly appointed Executive Pastry Chef of TAG Restaurant Group.

Joy studied Baking and Pastry Arts at Johnson and Wales University and most recently led the pastry team at Bonanno Concept restaurants before joining TAG Restaurant Group. We met Joy at Guard and Grace, a contemporary American steakhouse in downtown Denver, to sample a few of the desserts on the menus at Guard and Grace, Mister Tuna and just-opened FNG.

Guard and Grace

Guard and Grace

The Banana Cream Pie at FNG was a hit all around ­­– the main component, the creamy filling, is made with fresh bananas here, which we learned is usually not the case with banana cream pies. A browned graham cracker crust complements it, along with the huge dollop of whipped cream topped by bananas and caramel made for a sweet, comforting indulgence. Reminiscent of what you might have on a special occasion at Grandma’s house and worth ordering dessert after dinner.

Banana cream pie (FNG) - fresh banana custard, graham cracker crust, whipped cream, fresh banana slices and salted caramel.

Banana cream pie (FNG) - fresh banana custard, graham cracker crust, whipped cream, fresh banana slices and salted caramel.

Our second favorite was the Kabocha Cake, which was unlike anything we’d ever had, and included a bunch of fall favorite flavors. While there were many elements, they all worked together beautifully and provided savory, sweet, crunchy, moist, warm and cool components, with a creamy buttered walnut ice cream on top! It was such a unique treat and perfect for anyone who waits all year for those fall/winter flavors.

Coconut 'creme brûlée' (Guard&Grace) - toasted coconut custard, vanilla roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, house made passion fruit sorbet topped with caramel glass brûlée'.

Coconut 'creme brûlée' (Guard&Grace) - toasted coconut custard, vanilla roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, house made passion fruit sorbet topped with caramel glass brûlée'.

The Coconut 'Creme Brûlée' is on the other end of the flavor spectrum from the Kabocha cake, full of tropical, fruity flavors. It is not your traditional creme brûlée', tasting mainly of coconut, encircled by roasted pineapple chunks, and the brûlée' sugar hovers above like a tipped hat! Very delicious, but different from a traditional crème brûlée'.

Last but not least, the Cardamom Torte was much more subtle and simple in flavor combinations compared to the top two. The pomegranate sorbet on the side packs a tasty, tart flavor punch, but overshadows the elegant cardamom spice cake and apple accompaniment. This tote would be perfect with a coffee or tea or for those who don’t like a super sweet dessert.

Cardamom Torte (Guard&Grace) - cardamom cake, whipped mascarpone, ginger beer compressed apples, caramelized honey (alchemy, Boulder) and pomegranate sorbet.

Cardamom Torte (Guard&Grace) - cardamom cake, whipped mascarpone, ginger beer compressed apples, caramelized honey (alchemy, Boulder) and pomegranate sorbet.

“We’re very excited to have Joy on board,” says Chef Troy Guard. “She has such a thoughtful way of doing things. Every flavor has a place; every ingredient has a purpose, and there’s a creativity there that makes her work so special.” We encourage you to set aside some time this busy season to see the holiday lights around town and to try the tasty treats Chef Joy Williams is cooking up in the TAG Restaurant kitchens!

Words by Tiffany Candelaria          Photos by Samantha Bliss

Devil's Myrtle Hill Cookery & Bakery | A Long-Standing Staple in Wash Park

Whether you’re a Denver local or a visitor passing through, Washington Park is a main attraction. From the parks radiating with life to the old historical landmarks telling their own story, you can’t help but to immerse yourself in all that it offers.

Within the vicinity, you’ll also come across an array of charming places down Gaylord street—delectable restaurant choices, unique boutique shops, and magical night lights that tie it all together. The history of this street is exquisite, especially the Myrtle Hill Trolley stop which once used to run through the little town. Passing by, there’s a little gem that can’t be missed: Devil’s Myrtle Hill Cookery and Bakery.

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What once started off as a bakery in 1999 has now expanded into a full Cookery with the Bakery now it’s own cafe three doors down. The expansion occurred in January and has been a welcome addition to the Wash Park Neighborhood.

The feel of the bakery is unlike any other, and that’s because owner Angela Pilloud embarked on a cross-country adventure to find pieces that complemented her cookery. One might compare it to a vintage café in Paris, with the 100-year old wood floors all the way up to the tin ceiling tiles, to the wallpaper from the 1930’s. Even with all the vintage design catching your eye, your taste buds are still salivating over the best part of the place: the pastries and coffee.

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Made with local ingredients, the pastries are displayed in antique showcases as they come out fresh from the oven. Don’t worry, the options are endless and guaranteed to satisfy even the sweetest tooth. To wash it all down, grab a coffee, hot tea, or kombucha on tap.

If you’re in a hurry, get your goodies packed up to go. Have some time to kill? Find a spot on the beautiful seating options throughout the bakery including the darling tables next to the French doors that open up to Gaylord street.

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For a delicious breakfast or lunch, make your way three doors down to the Myrtle Hill Cookery. Charmed by the 40’s era, the restaurant features an old piano, cheese graters on the wall, an antique kitchen and church pews for seats.

It truly feels like breakfast at grandma’s; and yes, the food is just as good as grandma’s, too. The freshness and seasonality of the menu is as innovative as it gets. No matter how traditional or eccentric your palate is, you’ll be sure to find a favorite (or two) on the menu.

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A spin on a classic, the Chicken and Waffles are topped with sausage gravy and Vermont made syrup. And, we could never forget their pancakes—the fluffiest stack of all time. A bit more on the adventurous side, mouths water when tasting the Quinoa Cakes and Eggs, Eggs and Ratatouille and the Short Rib Hash. Flip to the other side of the menu and you can also find some great lunch options like Butternut Gnocchi and a sweet yet savory Baby Glazed Carrot salad. I have tried almost everything on this menu and have yet to be disappointed.

The man behind these tasty creations grew up in the South Bend of Indiana and chased his dreams all the way to Denver, Chef Joel Urbany. I had the pleasure to sit down with him while trying his refined menu and I was blown away. His humble yet passionate attitude goes hand in hand with this charming place.

By his level of expertise, you’d never guess he is only in his 20s. How passionate is Chef Joel? Well, he starts his journey down at a local farm picking fresh produce to suit each of his seasonal dishes. His passion easily transfers to the plate—carefully crafting each dish before it leaves the kitchen.

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One of my favorite things I heard about Chef Joel from fellow employees is regarding his leadership. He’s as patient as he is kind, and encourages accurate techniques and continued learning in the kitchen. With a great team behind him, he never falls short in reiterating how thankful he is to have them and that shows every day as the cookery is packed to the brim with new and returning customers.

From back of the house to front of the house, Devil’s Myrtle Hill Cookery and Bakery is something special. They put genuine love into everything they do and that’s what keeps people coming back after 18 years, and what led to the newest expansion.

Butternut Gnocchi

Butternut Gnocchi

If it’s coffee and a pastry that you’re craving, swing by the bakery for a pick me up. Or, if American-style breakfast comfort food is on your agenda, then the cookery is the place to indulge. Denver is lucky to have this place, and I look forward to coming back for the years to come.

Written and photographed by Samantha Bliss

Colorado Takes Spotlight in this Season's "Top Chef"

Colorado is preparing to take center stage as a top culinary destination in the upcoming Season 15 of Bravo’s “Top Chef" airing tonight. Throughout Season 15, the Emmy and James Beard award-winning series will feature Colorado settings, ingredients and food personalities, as cheftestants from across the nation battle it out in a variety of picturesque Colorado locations for the coveted title of “Top Chef.” Two of the cheftestants are from Colorado -- Denver-based Carrie Baird, executive chef of Bar Dough, and Colorado Springs’ Brother Luck, owner of Four by Brother Luck in Colorado Springs. The Season Premier airs tonight, Dec. 7 (check your local listings), on Bravo.

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The first episode will kick off with a food festival on Larimer Square, we're guessing it's Slow Food Nations that we covered back in July. Denver show highlights will include Chef Alex Seidel’s Fruition Farms and Mercantile dining & provision and Sage Restaurant Group’s Chef Gregory Gourdet (“Top Chef” Season 12 Finalist) and his Departure Restaurant + Lounge. Denver stops will also include Rhein Haus, Elitch Gardens, Mile High Station, the Colorado State Capitol building and tailgating with the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium. The competitors also head to Estes Park for a Quickfire Challenge at The Stanley Hotel, Boulder, Telluride, and concludes with a two-part finale at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen with challenges at T Lazy 7 Ranch and the top of Aspen Mountain.

The Top Chef judges on Larimer Square

The Top Chef judges on Larimer Square

Get ready for even more people to flock to our beautifully diverse state after watching this "Top Chef" season, as many will be watching because it is the top food show on cable! Soon, everyone will know Colorado is home to 35,000 farms and ranches, 100 farmers markets, more than 300 licensed breweries, 130 wineries and more than 70 craft distilleries. Three-quarters of Colorado’s restaurants are independently owned, and the state is gaining a reputation as a sustainability-focused and unpretentious food destination where chefs have the freedom to explore, create and try new things.

For episode recaps, chef interviews and more info on "Top Chef" in Colorado as the season progresses, visit http://www.colorado.com/top-chef-comes-colorado. More information can also be found at Bravotv.com/top-chef & a preview at https://youtu.be/6VNiYsEMO1s

Holiday Flea: Where Mile High Makers & Easy Goin Vibes Reign Supreme

For someone who tends to shy away from anything that draws a massive crowd, I found myself absolutely smitten with the Friday night party for Denver's Holiday Flea. Taking over Broadway's legendary Sports Castle building for the weekend, the Flea hosted floor upon floor of Denver creative entrepreneurs & their finely crafted wares, six boozey bars serving up holiday cheer, & fitting tunes that kept that party goin. 

Holiday revelers shopping threads from Shinesty (Photo Cred: Meesh Deyden)

Holiday revelers shopping threads from Shinesty (Photo Cred: Meesh Deyden)

Featuring about 190 makers from in and around the Mile High, the Flea brought local fare from new hustlers like Very Cool Club, with their typography-focused tongue-in-cheek clothing line, to more established brands like B. Fresh and 14er Posters. One could trek Sports Castle from top to bottom and find everything needed for the holiday season-- Keenan's Killer K-Sauce to douse on every underflavored appetizer you encounter at your slew of holiday parties; witty and colorful thank you cards from Mountains vs Plains & Parcel Paper Co. you belatedly send friends and relatives for all those fruit cakes, tamales, and socks; slick new leather wares you'll inevitably show off to everyone from Colored Red; and of course, winter-ready gear that screams Colorado from Mountain Standard

Rollin deep

Rollin deep

Happiest Photo Bombers 2017

14er Posters talkin shop

14er Posters talkin shop

Not only was I impressed with the sheer talent & business acumen this shopping extravaganza showcased, but I was positively barreling over in laughter with how silly and happy most attendees appeared. Every time I went to take a candid crowd shot, I was delightfully bombarded with profesh photo-bombers or pose-ready models just waitin for me to press the shutter. Thank you all for making my job easy, and my night that much lovelier. 

So, if you didn't make it this time around, check out our photo gallery below and see all the fun we had without you. JK, we love you, and you were probably doing something cool, too. Besides, there's always next year, babes. 

Marcella's Ristorante | Italian Favorites & Our New Favorite Happy Hour

Outside & Inside

Outside & Inside

Italian cafe and restaurant, Marcella’s Ristorante, Pizzeria and Wine Bar, recently opened on Central St. in LoHi. Just by the looks of the beautiful façade and the extremely inviting, comfortable yet upscale interior, we knew this place would be a worthy addition in the distinguished Highlands restaurant scene.

Marcella’s was named after a house manager and chef at a villa in Tuscany, Italy, that founder Cameron Mitchell visited with his family. Cameron is an Ohio-based restaurateur who also runs two Marcella’s in Ohio as well as Ocean Prime on Larimer Square. Their Executive Chef Jacob Glowacki worked at several Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and also relocated to the Denver venue to head up Marcella’s here.

Braised Veal Meatball

Braised Veal Meatball

The menu features dishes such as a braised veal meatball with tomato sauce, wood-fired pizzas, pastas, chicken entrees, and Italian desserts. Their drink menu is just as expansive with a selection of 50 Italian wines served by the bottle, half bottle or glass, sangria, draft beers, and over a handful of interesting, Italian-geared cocktails with house-made liquors and syrups. What we were most impressed by was that such an upscale, lovely place offered such an incredible Happy Hour every Monday through Friday from 4 to 6pm! All the drinks are half off, meaning all the beer is only $3 and fancy cocktails $5.50! For Happy Hour food, the entire menu is half off minus the entrees, so salads, cured meats, cheeses, antipasti, appetizers, and even pizzas (gluten-free available) are half priced!

From Left: Milan Manhattan, Grapefruit Basil Fizz, Italian Rye

From Left: Milan Manhattan, Grapefruit Basil Fizz, Italian Rye

We sampled so many of these Happy Hour dishes that by the end it was clear Marcella’s definitely has one of the best bang-for-your-buck and largest Happy Hour selections in Denver. Our favorites were Grappa Cured Salmon, Braised Veal Meatball (they are known for this one), Melted Pecorino with crostini, apple and truffle honey, their Sweet Sausage with roasted peppers and cheese, and of course the Pizzas. We sampled the Crispy Potato Pizza which was a flavor overload in a good way, and the lighter, more mild Pesto Shrimp.

Crispy Potato Pizza top, Pesto Shrimp bottom

Crispy Potato Pizza top, Pesto Shrimp bottom

After all of this Happy Hour goodness we really didn’t need anymore food, especially as we already had full to-go boxes, but we forged ahead and tried their Gnocchi Bolognese and Spaghetti alla Carbonara. The Carbonara is made of only a few basic ingredients but was overly saturated with oil or butter, the Gnocchi was great however, hearty, flavorful and melted in our mouths. Other entrées we didn’t try but want to include a daily risotto, chicken marsala, linguine & clams, and the Chianti braised beef short rib.

Tiramisu and Chocolate Almond Cake

Tiramisu and Chocolate Almond Cake

For dessert we were treated to a traditional Tiramisu, a moist Chocolate Almond Cake, and their flaky Cherry Crustada that has a hint of almond and vanilla gelato on top. All three were delicious and met different flavor palettes, but the Cherry Crustada was our favorite.

We recommend you make your way to Marcella's  someday soon to fully indulge in all their Happy Hour has to offer - it's worth skipping out of work early for or fighting that 5 o' clock traffic! https://marcellasrestaurant.com/locations-menus/marcellas-denver/

Words by Tiffany Candelaria      Photos by Samantha Bliss

The Story On The New Breckenridge Brewery Artist Series Snowboard

For those of you living under a rock, every year the snowboard and ski season arrives in Denver with the traditional Opening Day Party put on by our good friends at Breckenridge Brewery and every year they pick an artist to design the snowboard for that year. Never Summer Industries in conjunction with Breck Brew giveaway a bunch of these boards all across town at bars and liquor stores. We were fortunate enough to chat with the designers of this years board and how the partnership and inspiration came to be. Check out our interview with Hari &Deepti below.

U5280: How long have you been doing this type of art?

H&D: We started experimenting with paper cut in 2010, so we have been practicing this art form for about 7 years now. 

U5280: Where did the idea for the medium come from and what influences are they associated with?

H&D: Our idea for this medium came by chance. We had signed up to participate for a charity event and had to donate a piece of of our art and we did not realize that the deadline was the next day so we got hold of whatever we had at our disposal - some paper & watercolors and came up with a colored diorama. Later Hari being a graphic designer wanted to work with minimal color and decided to work with white paper and Deepti had this idea of adding lights to it. We tried it out and the result was beyond words. Subconsciously we do derive from the art that surrounds us especially growing up in India. India has a rich culture of hand made arts and one of them is Tholpaavakoothu which is a form of shadow puppetry similar to Wayang Kulit from Bali. We interweaved these influences with our love for nature, and the wilderness in Colorado along with our passion for story telling. We feel our life in Colorado, being around the mountains has had a big effect on our work. We continue to get inspired by the places we travel and try to tell a story of exploration, living among magnificent giants and the nature. 

U5280: It seems that the origin for using paper as a primary medium comes from areas of Japan and China and even Mexico and other latin countries, why is it more popular in those regions than say here in the United States?

H&D: We are not sure if we can throw more light on this. But we do feel in Japan, it is culturally been a very important part of their life. Right from the washi paper screens to the temple lamps,  paper is always the main element and there is a respect to the process and the medium. Similarly other cultures have been working with paper for a long time, and there is definitely an increased interest in paper. Especially in this day and age when information is easily accessible, it is really easy for people to connect with artists and art forms. We get a lot of inquiries from teachers & students regarding our artform and we are really happy to see students interact and interpret this artform in their way and to suit their narratives.

We feel in this fast paced digital word paper is tactile and if forces you to be patient. It is relatively accessible and cost effective in terms of raw material. So maybe thats why there is a lot more interest in paper arts.

U5280: How did the Breck Brew project come to fruition?

H&D: Ryan Workman from Breckenridge had seen our work and had written to us few years back that he would like us to be a part of the Breck Brew project. So in late 2016 we heard back from him saying he was still interested and we jumped on this opportunity. It was a great way giving back to the community and Colorado which has been an integral part of our art journey. The project was an amazing experience, we had a great team at Breck, who gave us a free range in what we wanted to create and the outcome is the result of that collaboration.

U5280: You have been commisioned from everything like bookcovers to window installations and now a snowboard. What is the craziest idea you have ever been approached to work on?

H&D: We think the craziest project we have done is remotely designing an installation for Pure Leaf which was displayed in multiple cities. We got our friends at Wigwam Creative to collaborate with us and we digitally designed the artwork in India which was then laser cut in the Denver and then assembled via facetime/live camera. The final assembly took place in Connecticut and then the artwork travelled multiple cities within six months. 

U5280: Living in Denver the idea from the Breck Brew project has a lot of nods to our amazing landscape, seeing as how your work translates into stories how would you describe (in a story) the idea for the snowboard.

H&D: Colorado has a huge impact on our work and we wanted to capture the spirit of Colorado and the mountain life. This artwork captures a snapshot of when you are hiking /snowboarding and you take a moment to look at the majestic mountains overlooking the lakes with pristine reflections and star filled skies, and this was just an attempt to capture that feeling which every person in Colorado can relate to.

Denver's First-Ever Sneaker Bar | Sneekeazy

Calling all cocktail enthusiasts and sneakerheads, Denver’s first cocktail lounge paired with specialty sneaker store, Sneekeazy, is now open. Located above Element Kitchen & Cocktail in an expansive second floor loft, the Sneekeazy offers a combined boutique and bar experience where you can sip on expertly crafted cocktails, shop the world’s most coveted shoes and enjoy a unique take on Denver’s downtown nightlife scene.

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Sneekeazy showcases Jordans, Yeezys and rare footwear and in addition will utilize its network of collectors to track down one-of-a-kind pieces for the public. The store also boasts a “SneakerSom” who serves as the resident sneaker expert and will offer cobbler services and specialized custom footwear. Once you’re done shopping, continue to a saloon-style lounge offering specialty cocktails, small bites, and live music and DJs every night. The cocktails are complimented with a lofty lounge atmosphere, complete with free-to-play pool tables, shuffleboard and classic arcade games! Enjoy the lounge areas and cozy up with comfortable living room furniture to retreat for a little privacy and intimate conversation. The small bites menu was created by celebrity Chef John Tesar and is available until 1 a.m., satisfying late-night cravings and featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients. Each dish is priced at $10.

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“We’re really excited to bring a fresh and exciting concept with another late-night option to Denver’s nightlife scene,” says Element Hospitality’s Jon Spadafora. “The speakeasy is much larger than typical hidden bars and boasts several different lounges. We’re also featuring Colorado beer and spirits, as well as a rooftop deck offering views of both the state capitol and downtown skyline.”

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Catering towards the late-night crowd, Sneekeazy will be open Wednesday - Saturday from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m., with DJs starting every night at 8 p.m. The space also features art from local Denver creatives that will rotate through on a regular basis. Upcoming happenings include custom designed sneaker giveaways by local tattoo artists, acoustic nights on with local musicians, and more.  

Dio Mio x UNCLE A Match Made In Heaven

What could possibly be the perfect meal for a blustery cold and chilly evening in Denver? It just so happens Mother Nature decided to bless us with the coldest day of the year to coincide with the amazing Dio Mio and UNCLE Ramen Pop Up Shop. Two amazing local restaurants cranking out an amazing menu for a perfect chilly day. With lines extending down the block, patrons braved the elements to enjoy the various kinds of ramen and other specially curated dishes for the evening. With three different types of ramen and buns (menu below) foodies had their choosing of some tasty dishes that didn't last long. A unique collaboration, we look forward to more events like this in the future. Check out the photos by staff photographer Samantha Bliss.

Chef Spencer White hard at work behind the scenes. (Photo Credit: Samantha Bliss)

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Family Jones Spirit House | Unique Drinks & Surprising Eats

The Family Jones Spirit House, a distillery and tasting room featuring crafted spirits and food, opened this Saturday, Nov. 11 in LoHi next door to Root Down. The location is fitting, as one of the “family members” is Justin Cucci, chef and owner of Root Down, among other notable Denver restaurants. The rest of the “Jones Family” includes pioneering distiller Rob Masters and entrepreneurs Jack Pottle, Denielle Nadeau and Paul Tamburello, and bar manager Nick Touch creating what could be the ultimate blended family. “One of the perks of being an adult is choosing your family,” said Pottle. “Another perk is choosing your home away from home, and now we have that place: The Family Jones Spirit House.” The new venue emphasizes the relationship between distiller, chef, bartender and guest, with a focus on hospitality.

Designed and built by Tres Birds Workshop, the space was really cool, pairing industrial elements with rich wood details. The high ceiling showcases the second-floor loft where a beautiful 17-ft. copper still distills their special spirits - everything from vodka to gin, whiskey and rum. The still is a beautiful, shining focal point above the crescent concrete bar below. Guests enter the space through a large, square, wooden door made from reclaimed, on-site materials. Inside, they are met with juniper-lined concrete walls (a nod to the key flavor component in gin), low-slung seating, deep blue booths and soft lighting.

“We are making things that push the boundaries of a traditional cocktail bar; we are putting our own spin on it,” explains Masters. “This is a distiller’s dream – to create all sorts of crazy things in small batches. It’s a test kitchen: If it doesn’t work, we can try something new.” Cucci agrees and says his collaboration on The Family Jones was a no-brainer, “Getting to work with Chef Tim Dotson and Bartender Nick Touch, as well as entrepreneurs like Paul and Jack has been incredible; we are all committed to excellence. What we have come up with is a surprise, and we are excited to share it with Denver.”

Their experimentation and surprise elements extend to both the food and cocktail offerings. The menu offers 12-15 small plates, as well as a variety of cocktails made exclusively with The Family Jones spirits, which we sampled during their preview party. Both menus are designed to be clean, vibrant, accessible and had a wide range of flavor profiles and unique ingredient pairings like their classic martini that uses a house-made crème de violet and crème de cacao to add a unique twist. Their Rock-n-Rye blends Stop Gap Rye whiskey with a selection from the more than 100 botanicals and spices made in their distillation lab upstairs! Highlights from Executive Chef Tim Dotson’s menu include three-cheese fondue, served in an heirloom pumpkin with vegetable skewers, and a spin on pork and beans with house-made sausage, heirloom beans, sour cherries, pistachio, collard greens and a chorizo vinaigrette. A tableside bar-cart tasting service rounds out the eclectic, one of a kind experience at The Family Jones.

The Family Jones Spirit House is open from 4-10 p.m. Tuesday—Thursday; 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday; 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Saturday; and 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. www.TheFamilyJones.co

Words by Tiffany Candelaria          Photos by Samantha Bliss

Bremen’s Wine & Tap Brings Delicious, Seasonal Dining to LoHi

The Ultra5280 crew had the opportunity to dine at the new LoHi restaurant Bremen’s Wine & Tap in anticipation of their new Fall/Winter menu that debuted Monday, October 23. We were very impressed with the variety of dishes, the quality of food and flavors, and the overall presentation, complete with drink pairings. While savoring, we got to know new Executive Chef Isabel Ranney, Bremen’s eco-friendly practices, and learned the restaurant is entirely woman-owned!  Bremen’s Wine & Tap features handcrafted, seasonal, American cuisine, craft cocktails, local beers, and an extensive wine list.

“The inspiration behind the menu is based on the seasonality of the produce and of the herbs and spices that are beneficial to our bodies at this time of year,” said Chef Isabel. “Also, I cook food that I like to eat. The fall menu includes soul-warming dishes that are perfect for the cool weather. The new items are a play on comfort foods that people crave when the weather is cold, but they are refined.”  The new menu includes dishes like their Seasonal Butcher Board, Kale and Beet Salad, Farro Bowl, Lamb Shank, Duck Breast, Prime Rib Sandwich. Especially fun for the season are their Pumpkin Coconut Chai Martini and the Earl Grey Old Fashion.

Maple Duck Breast

Prior to becoming executive chef, Chef Isabel was the sous chef at Bremen’s and previously at the Magnolia Hotel. She has held a number of positions across Colorado and in Washington since starting in the restaurant industry when she was 15-years-old. Aside from her spectacular, seasonal dishes, we love her commitment to the environment, ensuring good practices in both the front and back of the house. She has spearheaded the restaurant’s composting program, aims to use ingredients in three different ways, and always looks for ways to improve their carbon footprint. Chef Isabel is a certified herbalist and uses this knowledge to incorporate ingredients that are beneficial to our health and energy per the season, “The lamb shank uses elderberries and rosehips which are packed with antioxidants and are antiviral, so they help people’s immune systems without them even realizing because of how delicious it tastes.” She also focuses on growing relationships with farmers and vendors to bring the best ingredients into the restaurant and its guests. What a woman, and what a chef!

Butcher Board

Both Chef Isabel and owner Dina Castillo have have really taken the time to make this experience as environmentally friendly and local as possible. Chef Isabel serves her Butcher Board on a rustic wood board from Colorado beetle-killed trees, and picks fresh produce and herbs for a farm called Rebel Farms located right here in Denver. They have a strong passion for supporting local businesses, so at Bremen’s you will see local beers and wines featured from right here in Denver, Colorado. While digging into the dishes we also learned the name Bremen’s was created from a favored children’s book that was written about the city of Bremen, Germany.

Whether you’re in the neighborhood, live on the other side of town, or are just visiting Denver, Bremen’s is a must visit within the thriving culinary scene here in Denver. With their wide variety of dishes and selection of wines and local beers on tap, there is something for everyone. Bremen’s is open for dinner Monday - Saturday, happy hour daily from 4 to 6 p.m. with lady’s wine night on Wednesdays, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. Read on for a detailed description of the dishes we devoured and photographed.  http://www.bremenswinetap.com/

Asparagus Tartare

Asparagus Pear Tartare: This dish is a play off traditional tartare, featuring raw asparagus finely diced, mixed with red onion, scallions, avocados, pears, pear-herb vinaigrette, and surrounded by heirloom grape tomatoes, tangerine oil and topped with crispy asparagus ribbons. Served with house made lavash rubbed with jalapeno agave syrup.

Butcher Board: Chef’s choice (changes bi weekly) of charcuterie and cheese, house made grain mustard and pickled vegetables. We tasted Prosciutto di Parma – aged 18 months, High West Whiskey Salami, Ossau-Iraty (French sheep’s milk cheese, dates back to one of the first cheese ever made), and the aged English Cheddar. Also served on this beautiful beetle kill board from Colorado, are house-pickled, seasonal vegetables. Boards come with toasted sourdough bread from local bakery, Hinman’s, “34 Degrees” crackers and salted almond crackers.

Maple Leaf Duck Breast: House made potato gnocchi that are seared to create a crispy outer glaze. The gnocchi get tossed with a wild mushroom and leek mixture deglazed with white wine and finished with butter and fried sage.

Sea Scallops with Risotto

Fresh Catch of the Day: Three pan-seared sea scallops served atop a bacon and corn risotto, topped with a red wine vinegar reduction and fried mint. (This was divine!)

Isabel’s Seasonal Crumble: Tequila-soaked pears topped with Bremen’s secret pecan crumble, served with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.

Words by Tiffany Candelaria        Photos by Samantha Bliss