Denver Food + Wine 2019 Grand Tasting

Denver’s annual food and wine week just wrapped up and we were part of the fun at Saturday’s Grand Tasting event. This six-day culinary takeover is courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine and brings Denverites various opportunities to eat and drink, meet celebrity and local chefs, and enjoy exclusive experiences. The festivities begin each year on a Wednesday in mid-September with a curated “Dinner Under the Stars”, continue Thursday with the “Bartender’s Bash” cocktail competition and sampling, Friday you’ll find a fun happy hour at a top restaurant, and Saturday afternoon we recommend attending, “The Grand Tasting.”

With multiple covered tents full of food & booze, taking a moment in the sun to soak it all in.

With multiple covered tents full of food & booze, taking a moment in the sun to soak it all in.

The main event of DF+WF weekend is Saturday’s Grand Tasting where over 40 top restaurants showcase their best bites and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits provide over 700 wines and spirits to sample! Every type of wine is available to taste at the Grand Tasting, from high end reserves, rare wine regions, French Champagnes, to affordable favorites. DF+WF is the most comprehensive “wine tasting” in the state (aside from the prestigious annual Aspen Food + Wine Classic). For the true oenophiles, Denver Food and Wine created a Tasting App to help one navigate and take notes on all the fine wines. There are also QR Codes placed next to each wine for guests to learn more and take screenshots for later, and of course the educated Reps are there ready to tell you all about their products too.

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If that weren’t enough to keep you entertained and buzzed all day, the Grand Tasting also features over 200 different spirits ranging from straight samples, liqueurs, and cocktails. We saw the following brands showcase their products with full footprints complete with a branded bar, tables, and decor: Aperol, Atlos Tequila, Chloe Wine, Five Farms Irish Cream, Grey Goose Vodka, Jagermeister, and TX Whiskey.

The food is of course the complimentary component to the copious beverages and one will find bites for all palettes created by Denver’s best chefs. This year’s favorite bites included Avelina’s truffle anglonotti, Kachina’s Fry Bread Taco & guacamole shooters, Hank’s Texas Barbecue Brisket, and the bruschetta from the high school students enrolled in the Colorado ProStart Program. These kids get involved every year manning their bites booths or assisting the celebrity chefs at the Culinary Stage. The Colorado ProStart Program is a two-year foodservice and hospitality management, culinary arts, and business entrepreneurship curriculum offered to high school juniors and seniors in Colorado.

Hanks Texas Barbecue

Hanks Texas Barbecue

The Team at Kachina

The Team at Kachina

Another big draw to the Grand Tasting is the opportunity to watch and learn from the masters; celebrity chefs and master sommeliers and mixologists hold seminars throughout the day. This year’s Wolf Sub Zero/Specialty Appliance Culinary Stage favorite was Jet Tila, a Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine and Food Network star. Recently, Jet partnered with the Wynn Resorts to open Wazuzu, a groundbreaking take on Pan-Asian dining, at the Encore Casino and Resort on the Las Vegas Strip. Jet has also inspired and cultivated multiple concepts in partnership with the largest foodservice company in the world, Compass Group. Jet, along with his wife Ali, showed their captive audience how to make fried chicken and waffles complete with room temp butter, maple syrup and Sriracha!

Jet Tila with wife Ali and a few Colorado ProStart students

Jet Tila with wife Ali and a few Colorado ProStart students

Proceeds from the event always benefit various charities and this year’s recipients are Kroenke Sports Charities, Denver Post Community Foundation and Colorado Restaurant Foundation as chosen by Southern Glazer’s because, “… they are an integral part of our community and reflect our core values while supporting the people that live, work and enjoy our Colorado lifestyle.”

DF+WF events are so much fun and generally more enjoyable than the other food & booze events that have taken over Denver. Everything is top notch, from the food and drink offerings, to the Riedel wine glasses everyone gets, to the layout, the quality interactions with vendors and attendees, and minimal lines (even for the restrooms!)

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If you do it right, you’ll end up in bed early after the Grand Tasting. If you’re up for it, the final event is a Sunday Rise + Dine Brunch the next morning with bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s and tasty breakfast bites to wrap up the week.

https://denverfoodandwine.com/

Written by Tiffany Candelaria @TCdoesFnB & Photographed by Josh Stephens @freezerfilmfoto

Cochon555's Heritage Fire Culinary Experience

Heritage Fire is a live-fire, open-air culinary experience crafted by Cochon555 and visits 15 major cities across North America annually since 2009. The Cochon555 Tour executes a yearly host of authentic, hyper-local food events focused on raising awareness for heritage breed pigs through an innovative nose-to-tail pig cook-off.

Smoked Tomahawk Ribeye from Chef Will Nolan

Heritage Fire graced Colorado back in June during the acclaimed Aspen Food + Wine Classic and this past Sunday Denverites had their chance to indulge in this meat-based feast at Stem Cider’s Acreage Farms in Lafayette which is perched against a beautiful backdrop of Longs Peak. The whole event was wonderful with various creations and dishes highlighting the farm raised meats in a beautiful setting with limited tickets which meant quick lines and plenty of food and wine.

Heritage Fire always features an all-star cast of chefs and butchers who specialize in whole animal cookery and spend the afternoon grilling heritage-breed animals and serving them up to guests. Guests are able to see the chefs cooking and the animal in its entirety, so there is no doubt they are getting farm fresh food. The list of heritage and heirloom foods includes dry-aged beef, whole pigs, lamb, goat, squab, rabbit, duck, fish, chicken, artisan cheese and heirloom vegetables.

The meats are cookin’

The meats are cookin’

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Our favorite dishes were a Buffalo Empanada with Chimichurri from Chef Padillo at Social Fare in Cherry Creek. Shrimp & Grits and a smoked Tomahawk Ribeye by Chef Will Nolan. The charcuterie board by Cured Boulder, a gourmet grocery store & cafe with upscale decor offers hand-picked cheese, charcuterie, & wine. Speaking of wine, Blanchard Wines and Tenuta from Italy were pouring along with Stem Ciders, Wheatley Vodka, El Tosoro Tequila, and premium whiskeys and bourbons and LaCroix Sparkling Waters.

Charcuterie by Cured Boulder

Charcuterie by Cured Boulder

Whiskey & Bourbon tastings

Whiskey & Bourbon tastings

There was one booth dedicated to dessert, an unlikely restaurant to be at this meat-focused event. Uchi is Denver’s hottest sushi restaurant serving incredible Japanese delicacies from James Beard Award-winning chef Tyson Cole. Japanese tradition and culinary innovation fuse at this RiNo restaurant, read our full review here. Uchi’s head pastry chef prepared donut puffs filled with smoked vanilla cream and topped with bacon bits that were irresistible.

Creme filled donuts with bacon bits and raspberry puree from Uchi

Creme filled donuts with bacon bits and raspberry puree from Uchi

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The event’s ultimate aim is to provide education to consumers and provide guests with honest food from real farmers. Every event is a fundraiser for Cochon555's sister charity, Piggy Bank — a start-up farm in Missouri that serves as a kickstarter for new family farms and a safety net for those in the wake of a disaster.

For more information, visit www.cochon555.com or follow @cochon555 on Twitter and Instagram.

Article by Tiffany Candelaria @TCdoesFnB

Seawell Ballroom Teams Up with Phantom Circus for Two Show Run

Phantom Circus is back after a year plus hiatus of its full-length spectacles in the Mile High City, and the troupe will be taking over Seawell Ballroom in the Denver Performing Arts Complex for two all-ages shows on July 13th. Seawell Ballroom, who has signed on as presenting sponsor, will transform into a circus ring and will feature a variety of acts and performances from Colorado’s best aerialists, acrobats, hoopers, stilt walkers, and much more. Phantom premiered in 2016 at the Oriental Theater, and grew audiences over a span of five shows in the succeeding years, filling the theater by the third show and selling out in advance by the fifth.  Phantom set their sights on a larger, more centrally located venue to host their show. “We were bursting at the seams,” Phantom owner and director Natalie Brown explains. “Our acts needed more space, our aerial corps needed more rig points, and our fans needed more seats.”


Phantom Circus and Seawell Ballroom have enjoyed a collaborative working relationship over the past two years on a multitude of private and corporate events.  “We love Seawell; it’s our favorite venue and favorite crew to work with when we’re on the gig circuit,” says Brown. “We’re excited to design this project together.”

Brown has been on a mission to grow her circus since moving to Denver in 2013 and is excited to get back on stage for a public circus performance this summer. “Denver is a big girl city now, and I realized when I moved here that it needed a big girl circus company.” Focusing on diversity of performers, diversity in the style of acts and ensuring that all of her performers are treated well, Brown has made a name for herself across the country for creating a one of a kind experience for attendees and performers alike.

Brown was working in New Orleans as a journalist when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. Permanently displaced in Columbia, South Carolina, Brown started her first circus in a bar parking lot a block from the Confederate Flag on the Statehouse steps in 2007, and began advocating for performing arts legislation. After diligently working to build the arts community, she set her sights on Colorado and creating a new and improved circus experience. She completed Pro Track "circus school" aerial intensive training at Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance in Boulder in 2015, and started her dream company The Phantom Circus in 2016. Phantom has performed all over the state privately and publicly and has become a favorite among locals and event planners. Their most recent endeavor had Natalie and aerialists dancing off the roof and on the side of the new Hilton Garden Inn Union Station for their grand opening.

The Seawell ballroom show will feature their VIP ticket packages, which includes aerial bartending at intermission. VIP Ringmaster gets you premier seats, a goodie bag from sponsors and drink tickets to aerial bartending. The shows at will run 2 hours long and has a 2pm matinee for families and an 8pm evening showing. Tickets: $30-$35 (GA) $50- $100 (VIP) Kids: $12 www.phantomcircus.com




Sips N’ Cinema - A Tasteful Experience

Our friends at the Oriental Theater are cooking up some pretty awesome Summer events. Curated drinks and some cult movies, count us in.

Come experience a very special tasting and you favorite movies at Sips N’ Cinema. Working with some awesome liquor brands we have created a experience like you have never tasted before. Every month we will be showcasing one brand and pairing it with a movie. For just $20 a ticket you get access to taste each brand’s portfolio, a cocktail, and a movie showing. There are a very limited number of tickets to this event.

The Summer Series includes the following pairings.

- July 11: Fernet & Dr. Strangelove

- August 15: Ilegal Mezcal & Nacho Libre

- September 19: Barr Hill Gin & Honey I Shrunk The Kids

Breckenridge Brewery and Pop Culture Con Launch 2019 Pop Culture Con Beer: Bocks Machina

Breckenridge Brewery and Pop Culture Con (PCC) will officially launch the 2019 Pop Culture Con Beer, Bocks Machina, on May 25th at Monkey Barrel with music, games, cosplay, and the first collectible pint glass giveaway. The beer’s name was the winner of the annual “Name the Beer” contest which beat out hundreds of submissions during the online contest. “Bocks Machina” is a play on the adventure group Vox Machina from the widely popular web series “Critical Role.” The entire cast of the series will be appearing at Pop Culture Con (Critical Role is not affiliated with this promotion).

The 2019 PCC beer features Breckenridge Brewery’s Maibock recipe, which won a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival. The party is challenged with concocting a malty lager that casts a joyful spell on all whom taste it. Maibock  is a refreshing golden liquid which tastes of honey and grain and smells of sweet fruit.

For the eighth straight year, Breck will be releasing the beer along with limited edition PCC pint glasses. This year’s glass features artwork by local artist Nick Hughes.

After the launch party, Bocks Machina will stay on tap at Monkey Barrel through Pop Culture Con. Other pubs within walking distance to the Colorado Convention Center will serve the beer leading up to and during the event. Follow Breckenridge Brewery on Facebook and Twitter for information on other pint glass giveaway events during Pop Culture Con. This information will also be posted on breckbrew.com in the weeks prior to the PCC.

WHAT:  

For eight Breckenridge Brewery has brewed a special beer exclusively for Pop Culture Con (formally Denver Comic Con). The first 200 people to this FREE event will receive a limited collector’s seriesBock Machina” pint glass featuring custom design by Colorado artist Nick Hughes. The event will feature an LED Dance Floor, Cosplay contest and a DJ.

WHERE:

Monkey Barrel

4401 Tejon St.

Denver, CO

When:

Saturday,  May 25th

- Doors 7pm

-Cosplay Contest: Winners will get tickets to Pop Culture Con  

- LED Dance Floor

About “Bock Machina!”

Past winners of the "Name the Comic Con Beer" contest are Razznarock, The Fantastic Pour, The Caped Brewsader, Brews Wayne, Hulk's Mash, Snape-ricot, and I Am Brewt.

Denver Mini Derby Review

In our opinion, Denver’s best KY Derby party is the Denver Mini Derby. This event started a couple years ago by Eleven Creative, the same group who created the Mile High Beer Festival, Whiskey+Doughnuts, and RiNo Prom (to name a few). This year’s Mini Derby moved from its former location at Stanley Marketplace to the bigger Conservatory Green Park in Stapleton.

Proceeds from the ticket sales helped support their charity partners Next Step Horse Rescue and Minds Matter of Denver. The Mini Derby is names such because the event actually has a mini horse race: mini-sized race course with mini-sized horses! The horses are all rescue horses from Next Step Horse Rescue and guests could visit with them before and after the race and take photos with the little cuties.

 

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One of the best parts is all tickets included open bar access complete with Bulleit Frontier Whiskey mint juleps, Smirnoff vodka cocktails, Avery Brewing Company beer, wines, champagne, Red Bull and KeVita kombucha! I’d argue this open bar was better than at most events and kept everyone refreshed, energized and extra-cheery. 

 

Petting the ponies

Petting the ponies

And boy was there plenty to cheer for! The 145th annual Running of the Kentucky Derby was just one of the races at the Denver Mini Derby. The real reason people pick this Derby party over any other is to see the live mini horse race and Corgi race take place on the greens right in front of them! Guys and gals alike we’re so excited to see these races and exuberantly cheered the cute animals on. It was adorable. 

 

The Corgis line up

The Corgis line up

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Prizes were awarded for Best Dressed Woman, Best Dressed Man, Best Hat, and Cutest Couple which made for a beautiful event. Rollin Smoke BBQ and Infinitus Pie’s food trucks sold tasty eats and Groove ‘N Motion provided the live music before the race.  We had a fantastic time and we highly recommend you join in the fun next May!

Live music before the race!

Live music before the race!

Bottomless Bar Car Brunch at The Nickel

If you're looking for a booze infused brunch, The Nickel, inside Hotel Teatro, provides guests with three great bottomless beverage options. Even better, each is customizable and interchangeable, meaning guests can bounce from sophisticated mimosas to punchy Bloody Mary's to sweet cereal-infused White Russians!

Coco Puff’s infused White Russian

Coco Puff’s infused White Russian

Mimosa & Bombolone

Mimosa & Bombolone

Located within Denver’s historic Tramway Building, now Hotel Teatro, The Nickel pays homage to the space that was once used to collect fare from customers riding its resident streetcars: a nickel. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday's from 10am- 3pm and the Nickel is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Their full menu incorporates quality ingredients from local farmers, ranchers, distillers and craft producers, and is comprised of dishes that make guests feel the warmth of familiarity. The Nickel also has happy hour daily complete with cocktails, charcuterie, Colorado craft beer and wine from 3pm-5pm.

Biscuits & Gravy. Chicken & Waffles. Bloody Mary.

Biscuits & Gravy. Chicken & Waffles. Bloody Mary.

We thoroughly enjoyed all the bar car drinks and fixings and found many diners around us doing the same. For sustenance we ordered the Biscuits & (duck confit) Gravy which was good but not as decadent and delicious as we’re used to. Our other dish was Chicken & Waffles which had very lightly battered/fried chicken, with waffles that were nicely golden crisp on the outside and soft inside. We took our time enjoying the food, the ambience and the bottomless bar car. The restaurant was pretty busy with a diverse mix of diners; young and old, boozers and non-boozers, hotel guests and Denver locals.

The Barrel Bar

The Barrel Bar

Coda coffee & side of bacon.

Coda coffee & side of bacon.

At the end of the month Hotel Teatro, being one of Denver’s most pup-friendly hotels, will be hosting their third annual puppy brunch Sunday, April 28th! During this special brunch, puppies will be available to play with and adopt in the lobby in celebration of National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. To help raise money for Underdogs Animal Rescue, there is a $5 suggested donation to play with the pups and The Nickel will then treat you to a mimosa for donating! More info on the event here.

Dog In Lobby of Hotel Teatro

http://www.thenickeldenver.com

Words & Photos by Tiffany Candelaria

The Passport Program Supper Social Program: Smök, The Family Jones Spirit House and New Belgium

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BBQ, Booze and fun……Don’t threaten us with a good time!

Join us for The Passport Program Supper Social, a shared dining experience exclusively for Passport insiders. We're teaming up with our friends at Smōk for a night of tasty barbecue paired with a cocktail from The Family Jones Spirit House and beers from New Belgium Brewing, and you're invited! Tickets to this event are limited, so get them before they're gone!

Your $50 Ticket Includes:
→ Automatic Jones “Rock and Rye” cocktail from The Family Jones Spirit House
→ Three-course meal from Smōk
→ Two beers from New Belgium Brewery including the debut of their Smoked Banana Stout brewed downstairs in The Source Hotel

Menu:
First Course
Paired with a cocktail from The Family Jones Spirit House
→ Jalapeño Poppers -or- Deviled Eggs

Second Course
Paired with an Astral Traveler DIPA from New Belgium Brewing
→ Two Meats and Two Sides
Choose 2: brisket, pulled pork, pork belly, turkey, chicken, burnt ends, and sausage.
Choose 2: creamed corn, mac & cheese, coleslaw, pit beans, cornbread, and potato salad.

Dessert
Paired with a Smoked Banana Stout from New Belgium Brewing
→ Banana Pudding

Things To Remember:
→ All guests must be 21+ and are required to have a valid ID with proof of age.
→ We ask that you arrive at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start of your session.
→ You must have a Denver Passport Winter Edition and a ticket to attend.

DVSN WEST x Be A Good Person Celebrate Air Max Day With The Art Max Gallery

DVSN West was transformed into a sneaker heads paradise with amazing art celebrating the much heralded and iconic sneaker the Air Max. In conjunction with Be A Good Person the event helped raise money via a silent auction to help local schools in our community, local art by local artists featured Air Max themed exclusives for this event with one of a kind pieces. The event took place on what is known as Air Max Day  all over the world. It is celebrated every year on March 26th (1987) the day the Air Max 1 was released. Themed pieces featuring the Air Max 1, Air Max 90, Air Max 97 and more adorned the walls while patrons enjoyed complimentary cocktails courtesy of Deep Eddy Vodka and Waterloo Sparkling Water. Local DJ KDJ Above had to the music bumping all night long for what may become an annual tradition here in Denver. (Words and Images: Robert Castro)

Top Taco: A Culinary Extravaganza Like No Other

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Top Taco has quickly earned a spot as the "can't miss" tasting party of the summer. This culinary throwdown takes place on the evening of Thursday, June 27th, when more than 50 restaurants -- including Comida, Dos Santos, Margs, Los Chingones Tamayo, and Los Dos Potrillos -- compete head to head for the Top Taco title in the Creative Taco, Traditional, Vegetarian Taco and Signature Tequila Cocktail categories.

As a guest, you'll enjoy unlimited samples of all the tacos and margaritas, along with unique tequila samples, beer, wine and more. Be sure to dance away the evening to the live rhythm and beat of La Candela, Denver's hottest salsa band!


Ticket Types:

VIP: Early entry at 6pm plus a separate tasting area inside the festival with additional taco and tequila tastings, lounge and separate bathrooms.

First Taste: Early Entry at 6pm, plus tastings from our 50 restaurants

General Admission: 7pm entry and tastings from our 50 restaurants

SPECIAL DISCOUNT TICKETS

Restaurant list: Coming Soon

FAQ's:

• When: Thursday, June 27th • Entrance Times: 6:00pm VIP/First Taste, 7:00pm GA

• Where: Stanley Market Place Lawn

• Bring your ID. This event is 21+ only and you will not be able to enter without it.

• We highly suggest you take cab, Uber or Lyft. Paid parking info and directions at TopTacoDenver.com

• You will have an e-ticket furnished by EventBrite sent to your email. If you have multiple tickets, screenshot them and save them on your phone for faster entry. If you have purchased a Double Down ticket, you will receive your Chicken Fight ticket after separately.

• The festival is rain or shine. It is never a bad idea to bring a rain jacket or layers depending on the weather report. Colorado springs mean varied weather.

• We will have water stations in various locations, clearly marked, around the festival.

• No kids allowed. This is an over 21-year-old event. Please leave your children at home. We aren’t afraid they will drink, we just don’t want them in the vicinity of adults who are drinking.

• NO PETS! Pets are not permitted. Service and working animals are not considered pets and are exempt from this policy.

• No smoking. Smoking is not allowed.

DO NOT BRING:

• Weapons of any kind

• Illegal substances

• Squirt guns, misters, spray bottles, etc.

• Laser pens and similar focused-light devices

• Chairs

• Pets (service and working animals are not considered pets and are exempt from this policy)

• Bicycles, scooters, personal motorized vehicles need to be parked outside of festival grounds (bike parking will be available).

• Musical instruments

• Fake IDs (these will be confiscated and your wristband will be cut without refund)

• Outside food or drink

Discount Tickets Click Here

Redzikowski Brothers Battle on Food Network's "Beat Bobby Flay" January 17th


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Chef Steven Redzikowski of Boulder’s OAK at fourteenth and his brother Brian Redzikowski, Executive Chef of Kettner Exchange in San Diego are competing on the Food Network’s show Beat Bobby Flay Thursday, January 17. The two brothers will battle it out in the kitchen to determine who has the skills to compete against Chef Bobby Flay himself in this episode titled Oh Brother. The winner will be decided by Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy and Chopped's Alex Guarnaschelli and will air at 10pmEST/8pmMST Jan 17.

Steven Redzikowski’s (OAK) Thai Eggplant & Bok Choy & Chicharrones

Steven Redzikowski’s (OAK) Thai Eggplant & Bok Choy & Chicharrones

Before opening OAK with business partner Bryan Dayton, and then Acorn in Denver’s The Source, Chef Steven worked his way up in some very impressive restaurants around the US. For example, Le Cirque in New York, Little Nell in Aspen, and Boulder’s own Frasca Food and Wine. His appearance on the Food Network will add to his list of accolades, especially if he succeeds in Beating Bobby Flay!

To celebrate the brothers’ Food Network premier, OAK shut down dinner service to host a special Dim Sum party cooked by a number of accomplished local chefs from Denver and Boulder. OAK’s open kitchen allowed those who attended to smell, see, and hear the dishes being made well before the Dim Sum carts rolled up to their tables. Guests enjoyed a total of fifteen different dishes from the different chef’s along with wine, Japanese beer, sake, and the house cocktail OAK Tea Time. The food was delicious, adventurous and gave guests unique dishes they won’t find on the menu at any of the Colorado chefs’ restaurants. Below is the full menu, with those in bold being our favorites.

Pork Belly Bao Bun

Pork Belly Bao Bun

Steven Redzikowski (OAK) - Thai Eggplant & Bok Choy

Steven Redzikowski (OAK) - Crispy Wontons with pork and shrimp

Boneless Chicken Wings with bang bang sauce

Boneless Chicken Wings with bang bang sauce

Steven Redzikowski (OAK) - Crispy Chicharrones with Thai spice and trinity aioli

Brian Redzikowski (Kettner Exchange - San Diego, CA) - Pork Belly Bao Bun

Kyle Mendenhall (Arcana) - Sesame Bun

Adam Dulye (Brewer's Association) - Brisket Spring Rolls

Sarah Beckwith (OAK) - Shrimp Toast

Sarah Beckwith (OAK) - Seaweed & Cucumber Salad with sesame

Chase Devitt (BriDer) - Pork Sui Mai

Chase Devitt (BriDer) - Kung Pow Brussels Sprouts

William Cusack (OAK) - Penang Curry Sweet Potato

Paul Jaramillo (Acorn) - Boneless Chicken Wings with bang bang sauce

William Espercuieta (SMOK) - Hoisin-Glazed Pork Ribs

Kate Horton (OAK) - Coconut Sticky Rice & Mango

OAK Dining Room

OAK Dining Room

Words & Photos by Tiffany Candelaria @TCdoesFnB

Hoisin-Glazed Pork Ribs

Hoisin-Glazed Pork Ribs

It's The Most Wonderful Time For A Beer....Denver Beer Festivals Is Upon Us

Denver Beer Festivus Has Arrived.

It’s that time of the year once again. Time to don that ugly holiday sweater and head out to Denver Beer Festivus. Always in our top five events we cover every year. The Denver Festival is a celebration of all things….beer. With over 70 breweries set to take over the Sports Castle this year, add to that fun activities such as silent disco, lucha libra wrestlers, food trucks, and a pop-up coffee shop from Method Roasters paying homage to a Seinfeld cafe it’s sure to be an amazing time.

The event takes place this Saturday, December 15th at the Sports Castle located at 1000 Broadway from 3PM to 6PM. Special VIP packages include perks such as early entrance and an awesome Festivus Koozie. More ticket information can be found here.

Festivus With the Best of Us!


Cheesman Bark's Charlie Brown Holiday Portraits

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Good grief! The holidays are upon us and it’s only appropriate that we celebrate with portraits of our pups. Thursday December 6th, CheesmanBark will be photographing pups in honor of the beloved Charlie Brown character, Snoopy.

We will be creating a custom photo set that will include this iconic scene from Charlie Brown! A sad Christmas tree and a reproduction of Snoopy’s doghouse will bring the set, and your pups pic, to life!

As if you needed another reason to attend, 10% of all of the portrait sales will go to the MaxFund Animal Adoption Center! A wonderful organization who we are proud to align with once again.

CheesmanBark’s Charlie Brown Holiday Portraits:

Thursday Dec 6th 6-8pm @ Skylight

There will be 100 portrait spots for this event and it’s sure to sell out! As of right now, we will only be accepting online reservations.

Each portrait spot is $40 and will include just a few minutes in front of the lens. The purchase of $40 include one printable digital image. Additional images are $25

We’ve done over 40 of these events and typically photograph between 7 and 9 dogs every ten minutes! 1-3 minutes is enough for you to have 3-5 GREAT images to choose from.

IMPORTANT: We will only be photographing one dog per portrait spot, so if you have multiple dogs you must purchase multiple spots! No exceptions!

Things you can do to make sure your dog is a perfect poser:

Exercise them before they come

Arrive early 15-20 minutes early to let them sniff the area and get comfortable

Practice sit and stay in an environment of high stimulation

If your pet has reactivity concerns, let us know! We will gladly make accommodations to ensure your pet’s portrait experience is a successful one!

The Rise of VR Arcades in Colorado

It’s been a couple years since advanced virtual reality (VR) consoles entered the mainstream market and broke everyone’s idea of what VR can actually do. These latest developments in VR technology are lightweight, intuitive to operate, and adaptable to a number of applications and multi-sensory inputs – essentially pulling our science fiction-based conceptions of VR much closer to reality. However, when retail prices for modern VR systems proved to be too expensive for common households, the media hype surrounding VR took a slow turn.

Enter the VR arcade. Thanks to these futuristic establishments suddenly popping up in Denver and other cities in the state, you no longer need to spend hundreds of bucks to get your hands and eyes on the latest entertainment tech. But can Colorado’s currently available VR entertainment facilities actually live up to the hype? Is this new VR the experience that gamers and tech enthusiasts have been waiting for? The short answer to that is a resounding yes..

Head Games: the First Public VR Arcade in Denver

"This is somewhere anyone of any age or background could come and try out VR and any kind of experience they want to – have a different experience every time, explains Head Games co-founder Nathan Hostetler in an inverview with 9 News. But why take anyone’s word for it when you can just go there yourself. Located at W. Colfax Avenue, right in the heart of the state capital, this VR arcade opened just last year as the first public VR facility in the city. Today, they offer four separate HTC Vive headsets, each connected to a HyperX Cloud II headphone and assigned to its own open space – designed for free omni-directional movement of up to five feet. With over 40 games and experiences offered here, it’s the perfect place for first-timers to sample VR’s never-before-seen capabilities brought to life.

Veterans, Take Your Places at Kaboom VR

Meanwhile, near Windsor Lake is a VR arcade that has a total of 15 machines – comprised of not just VR headsets, but also the auxiliary controllers that expand the VR experience in this youthful place. But don’t let the chill vibe fool you. This is one of those arcades that make veteran gamers both excited and comfortable. It’s all thanks to the fact that Kaboom VR actually holds regular player tournaments to show off stuff like their racing cockpits, other sports controllers, and top-of-the-line PCs (for more “traditional” gaming). If you’re confident in your skills, you can work your way to the top rankings of games like Project Cars 2, Beat Saber, and Holoball, with the added chance of your name being features at Kaboom VR’s website.

Epic VR's Growing Epic Community

This one’s all the way down in Citadel Mall at Colorado Springs. Epic VR is proof positive that even sleepy mountain towns appreciate cutting edge entertainment technologies. The rather huge spaces available here allows Oculus and HTC Vive headset users to move freely, with facilities that also allow your guests to watch your virtual experience. Much like the founders of the other pioneering VR arcades operating in Colorado, Epic VR’s Joseph Johnson is all about sharing potentially groundbreaking experiences with the rest of the community. I saw an opportunity, and I’d like to give people an opportunity as well, to do things that they sometimes can’t afford. So we tried to make it affordable, where people could come in and play anytime.”

VR Literally Shows the Future of Real Estate

While these arcades started opening for business just last year, VR-enabled tools for enhancing business processes have actually been gestating in this state for quite some time now. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Colorado's red hot property market. The Denver Post provides an in-depth look at how real estate firms like Kentwood City Properties and NAVA Developments have already been using the same tech to attract early buyers of their yet-to-be-finished residential units. “We started our pre-sales very early with several years to go before move-ins,” explains NAVA’s director of marketing Sarah Stone. As potential luxury condo buyers walk through the completed, fully-furnished, and completely digital versions of their future homes, it’s easy to see how useful and influential practical VR tech can eventually become.

VR: An Emerging Central Player in Nearly Every Key Industry

As you can probably already imagine, different applications of VR have already been making similar leaps and bounds across other states and industries. Where do you think the equipment for the above-mentioned arcades were sourced from? In the east coast, it's doubtless that there’s serious money to be made via VR. In fact, online casino guide Gambling.com offers a comprehensive list of New Jersey-based virtual casinos already delving into VR-enabled game play. It is in fact not rare for regular players of live VR casinos to sometimes develop friendly, amiable relationships with the live dealers that they consistently encounter online, some of which have actually garnered their own small group of loyal fans. Meanwhile, in institutions like the University of California, VR has taken a central role in the practical training of both students and professionals in various medical fields and specializations. In fact, during the last couple years, VR developers and engineers have been collaborating with some of the most experienced doctors in the country with one goal in mind: to create the most efficient, medically-accurate, realistic, and intuitively-designed VR training modules for nearly every medical procedure that can be considered essential, extremely risky, or impossibly difficult.

Yes, you read that right: the same advanced entertainment system which rewards you for accurately swinging virtual sabers to a given beat could also be responsible for creating the most well-informed and well-trained generation of medical professionals in history.

Given these recent and major developments in VR, we’d likely have to feign surprise when concert organizers eventually offer VR passes for absent but dedicated fans. This bodes well for the unlucky folks who live in Colorado but somehow often miss the best nights at Red Rocks – like that one time when visionary trip-hop musician Bonobo shared the stage with Chet Faker. Of course, nothing beats actually being physically present at your favorite artists' performances. But with VR tech already undergoing heavy development in a number of significant American industries, who knows just how epic it will be to attend future gigs from the comfort of your own virtual reality.

Denver Holiday Markets

Denver Christkindl Market | Nov. 16 - Dec. 23 

This annual event brings authentic German and European holiday traditions to Denver’s downtown (1515 Arapahoe St.)! Guests can find delicious cuisine, festive German drinks, handmade jewelry, toys, clothing, gifts and much more. Live entertainment is featured inside the festival tent every evening, and dancing is encouraged! This market is planned and executed by the German American Chamber of Commerce – Colorado Chapter (GACC-CO).

Denver Christkindl Market

Denver Christkindl Market

Union Station Holiday Market by Denver Flea | Friday's-Sunday's Nov. 23-25, 30-Dec. 2, Dec. 7-9 & Dec. 14-16th, 2018

The Union Station Holiday Market by Denver Flea will include four weekends of shopping, festivities and winter fun - kicking off on Black Friday, Nov. 23 at the historic Denver Union Station! 100s of Colorado’s best makers and artisan brands will pack the Plaza of Union Station each weekend throughout the season along with music, eats, drinks, activities and more. We’ll be there opening day (Friday 23rd) so check our Instagram @ultra5280 to see this year’s market in action! Tickets are $5.

Denver Flea

Denver Flea

Stapleton Holiday BAZAAR | November 29, 2018

Shop, Sip, and Mingle with Colorado’s finest craft, fashion, and art makers for one night only at Stapleton Holiday BAZAAR inside The Shops at Northfield. This BAZAAR will feature over 40 craft vendors including Beer, Cider, Wine & Spirit tastings throughout the evening, along with festive music and more! 4-10 PM, GA Admission is free.

RiNo Holiday BAZAAR

RiNo Holiday BAZAAR

RiNo Holiday BAZAAR | December 7-9, 2018

Taking over Walnut Street at 28th St. from December 7 – December 9, the RiNo Holiday BAZAAR hosts over 100 hand-picked local craft, fashion, and food vendors, with local breweries, cideries and mead booths onsite pouring holiday-themed drinks and participating in the BAAZAR’s Shop & Sip program.

A combination of outdoor pop-up shops sprinkled with fashion trucks and cozy, heated tents, the RiNo Holiday BAZAAR will spark the festive spirit for all with warm drinks and fire pits, funky music, and a selection of Denver Metro’s best food trucks on hand and a full bar! RiNo BOOZ hall, located in the heart of the BAZAAR, will be open all weekend long serving an array of Colorado crafted spirits and has bottles available to purchase.

Admission to RiNo Holiday BAZAAR is free until 7 PM on Friday, and before 12 PM on Saturday and Sunday, with GA tickets available for $5 at the door. Or RSVP at denverbazaar.com for free admission all weekend! Drink sampling packages are also available, with a range of options to fit your Shop & Sip experience. Please click here for details and more information on all Shop & Sip packages.

Yes Please Makers Market | December 8 & 9, 2018
Keeping it real this holiday season with a free, maker-hosted, vendor-friendly market starring 100(ish) of our favorite makers. After being part of the local Denver market circuit, Yes Please founders Kiwi Schloffel (of Craft Boner) and Taylor Barkin (of Moore Collection) wanted to create something with the vendor experience in mind: accessible, affordable booth pricing, attention to locals-only goods, and a friendly, supportive community. Tickets are free, but an RSVP is required. The first 50 people to show up each day get awesome totes from Craft Boner. 

Yes Please Makers Market

Yes Please Makers Market

By Tiffany Candelaria

Westword Feast Hit the Spot

Last Sunday, September 30, Westword Magazine's annual foodie "Feast" event returned to downtown Denver’s McNichols Building for a few hours of food and booze-infused fun! Over 45 of Westword’s food writers and readers favorite restaurants were there sampling from their menu alongside local and national booze brands.

A VIP ticket offered perks such as early entrance, two private lounge areas (one indoors one outdoors) with an open bar, restrooms, goodie bags, and special food tasting from the Cherry Creek sushi spot Matsuhisa. All the perks were great, but for all those in GA things weren't bad at all! The lines stayed moderate all day, if one table had a long line, you could try back in 30 minutes and it'd be gone. People seemed to congregate together creating hype, and amazingly (as we see this happen all the time at foodie events) none of the restaurants ran out of food until the end! So VIP or not, everyone got the unlimited food and booze samples they were promised, even food samples to go from RxBar, Duke's Smoked Meats & Naked. Another plus, there were plenty of tables, water stations and restrooms for all.

Our favorite bites included the following: Roaming Buffalo BBQ had these (pictured above) tasty tamales with BBQ beef and pork inside. Sugar Fire Smoke House had not only pork belly, but also the most succulent béarnaise beef. Gypsy Q served their Brisket Banh Mi Sandwich and Kimchi Mac & Cheese. Frijoles Colorado served their Cuban Lechon Moro y Maduros (roasted pork with black beans, rice & sweet plantain). Jackdaw, an Irish restaurant we've never heard of showcased superb Corned Beef on homemade sweet soda bread. Milk & Cake and Little Man Ice Cream treated us to scrumptious cupcakes and ice cream.

Photos by Robert Castro Words by Tiffany Candelaria

OmFest Colorado Review

OmFest Colorado returned for its fifth year last Saturday to Founders Green bringing Denver a day full of free yoga, barre, meditation and mindfulness.

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This year's OmFest featured the local yoga and fitness community, musicians, food trucks, artisans, local breweries and wineries! Again they incorporated fun for the whole family with yoga for all ages and free kids activities. Every hour from 9am to 6:30pm there was a yoga or fitness class, with the day culminating in a live band taking participants and the local community into the lovely summer evening. 

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The day was sunny and warm, and many people filtered in and out of the festival thought the day. The final yoga flow took place as the sun set and a cool breeze cooled everyone off. What a wonderful day of practice and community in the grassy courtyard.

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Photos by Samantha Bliss