Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Ate Everything at Taste of the Nation Denver 2010

Thirty-two restaurants participated in this year's Taste of the Nation event benefiting Operation Front Line Colorado and I tried them all--some more than once. It wasn't necessarily my intention, but with the bite-sized plates being served it didn't seem like it would be that bad. In the end, however, I was a groaning, sleepy mess leaning on the bar sipping on a cocktail with a chocolate-coated raw slice of jalapeño from Avenue Grill's enthusiastic mixologist.

Along with all this food were many Colorado breweries, distilleries, wineries and hundreds of guests. I was happy to see that Operation Front Line was able to pack them in at the beautiful though obscurely located Mile High Station. And while the crowded food-filled aisles did force me to pace myself as I made my way to each restaurant booth, I did as I mentioned, try them all. Here, in no particular order, are my top seven dishes of the night.


This horrible photo showcases a great peach gazpacho with a crab meat salad from Vesta Dipping Grill. It was one of the first dishes I tried, and among the several other gazpachos featured that night, this was the most unique, creative and refreshing. 


This ceviche/ tartar of tuna and sesame seeds from The Corner Office was delicious. Did you know the Corner Office has a Peruvian chef? 


This may have been my favorite dish of the night, but then again, I'm a sucker for moist, fatty duck. This bit of perfectly braised duck was served on a mini-pancake and topped with a cherry. Well done Avenue Grill



Lola did this Mexican-inspired dish up right: homemade gordita with tender pork carnitas, goat cheese, cilantro and a bit of cherry tomato. It was an appropriate and deliciously creative mini-version of a Mexican classic. 


Argyll came through with this shrimp mac-and-cheese served with homemade potato chips. This was my wife's favorite, and one of the largest servings to be found that night. 


I somehow lost a few photos and notes that evening. Imagine that, after 32 plates of food and countless beers and cocktails, I managed to screw things up. It likely isn't a coincidence that my missing photos are from the upstairs places, that I visited when I was already more than halfway through my Long Day's Evening's Journey Into the Night, or as Eugene O'Neill himself often was, three sheets to the wind. 

The two missing dishes that I want to mention were from Table 6 and Jonesy's EatBar, both of whom I have written about in this blog, which makes me feel less bad. Although noticeably without Chef Scott Parker, the Table 6 team was serving up thin slices of rabbit bologna. Let me write that again, so you can say it out loud without having to re-read: Rabbit Bologna. "Rabbit" is another of my favorite eating animals and "Bologna" is a classic piece of nostalgia from lunchtimes past. Together they create a new powerful yet endearing super-food that with a dab of fruit preserve cannot be beat. It was delicious. I wish I could at least show you just how much.

Jonesy's made a bread pudding with cherries served with an ice cream that I think they told me had chipotle. It was a white and silky ice cream that did indeed have a pleasant kick of spice at the end. It was perfect over the rich bread pudding that sopped up the melting ice cream flavor in a quite exquisite manner if I do say so myself.

It was an incredibly fun evening and it was all for a great cause. If you don't remember, Operation Front Line is a program with a mission to end hunger in Colorado by educating families about cooking with and shopping for nutritious foods on a limited budget. If you want to learn more, visit them here and see how you can help by generously donating your money or volunteering your time. See you next year!

These are just some of the 32 restaurants (here are the rest) that came out to support the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger. See their full profile and location on Urbanspoon and thank them with your business.

Vesta Dipping Grill
Vesta Dipping Grill on Urbanspoon
Avenue Grill
Avenue Grill on Urbanspoon
The Corner Office
The Corner Office Restaurant and Martini Bar on Urbanspoon
Lola
Lola on Urbanspoon
Argyll
Argyll on Urbanspoon
Table 6
Table 6 on Urbanspoon
Jonesy's EatBar
Jonesy's EatBar on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. I was out of state and didn't get to Taste of the Nation, but I know how you felt after sampling 32 restaurants' offerings. I have been honored to be a judge at the Taste of Elegance Food & Wine Festival several times, the new beer festival this year and also at the French-American Chamber of Commerce's Beaujolais & Beyond Festival. Being a judge adds the additional challenge of being as fresh and fair at the last taste as for the first.

    Claire @ www.culinary-colorado.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I did not know that The Corner Office has a Peruvian chef. Damn, why don't they let him do a few dishes from his homeland?

    ReplyDelete

Labels

11N (1) A Federal Case (1) A Taste of the Philippines (1) Acapulco Tacos (1) Ace Eat Serve (1) adobo (1) Adrian Miller (1) aguas frescas (2) Al Lado (1) Al's Beef (1) alambre (4) Ali Baba Grill (1) All-V's (1) arepas (4) Argentina (2) art (1) asada (2) Aurora (5) authentic (1) Award (1) bacon (1) bagel (1) Bailey (1) bakery (1) baklava (1) baleadas (2) Ban Thai (1) barbacoa (3) baseball (5) Basil Doc's (1) BBQ (2) beer (2) bibimbob (1) Biker Jim (1) birria (1) biscuit (2) Bistro Vendome (1) Bonnie Brae Tavern (1) books (1) Boulder (3) Boulder International Film Festival (1) Bourdain (1) breakfast (3) breakfast for dinner (1) breakfast tacos (1) brunch (2) Brussels sprouts (1) Buffalo wings (2) buffet (1) Bun Hanoi (1) burger (3) burrito (7) Bánh mì (2) cabeza (2) Cafe de Tacuba (1) Cafe La Habana (1) Cafe San Juan (1) camping (1) Canada (1) Carl Sandburg (1) carne en su jugo (2) carne seca (1) carnitas (2) Cava (1) cecina (1) ceviche (2) change (1) charal (1) chica morada (1) Chicago (9) Chicago Louie's (1) Chicago Style (1) chicarron (3) chicharron (2) chicken skin (1) chilaquiles (4) Chile (3) chiles en nogada (1) Chili Verde (1) chimbolo (1) Chinese (2) Chinese New Year (1) chorizo (4) chorrillana (1) Christmas (1) churros (2) cinco de mayo (2) CLOSED (6) coffee (3) Colorado Springs (1) Colt and Grey (1) Coney Island (1) contest (8) crab (1) crawfish (1) crispchon (1) Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria (1) Cuban sandwich (7) cupcakes (1) curry (1) Cypress Hill (1) Dancing Noodle (1) deep dish (1) deli (1) Deluxe (4) Denveater (7) Denver Biscuit Company (1) Denver County Fair (2) dessert (2) Dim Sum (1) diner (1) DINR (7) discada (1) dolmades (1) Domo (1) donuts (1) dreams (1) duck curry (1) dumplings (2) durian (1) EatDenver (2) El Boricua (1) El Camaron Loco (1) El Costeno (1) El Diablo (2) El Divino (1) El Fogon (1) el guero tortero (1) El Olvido (2) El Paisa (3) El Pariaso (1) El Rico Dicho (1) El Salvador (2) El Taco Rey (1) El Tamarindo (1) El Tizoncito (1) elote (1) Emapanda Express Grill (1) Empanada Express Grill (1) empanadas (8) enchiladas (1) enchiladas mineras (1) Encore (1) epicurious (1) Ernie's Bar (1) Euclid Hall (1) event (1) Evergreen (1) falafel (1) Fantasy Island (1) Filipino (7) film (6) fire (1) First Friday (1) fish tacos (2) flan (1) flyfishing (1) food truck (7) food cart (6) football (2) French (2) fried chicken (2) fried tacos (1) frijoles charros (1) Frijoles Colorado (1) Fritangas (1) frito pie (5) frybread (1) G6 (1) gallo pinto (1) garnachas (1) Gastro Cart (1) Gaudalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet (1) Globeville (1) Golden (1) good Mexican food (10) good signs (5) gorditas (1) Grandma's Korean BBQ (2) Greek (1) Greek Town (1) green chile (12) gyro (4) Halo-Halo (1) Harvest Week (1) Hi Rise (1) Honduran food (1) hot dog (5) huarache (4) Huerfano Cafe (1) Hush (1) Hutch and Spoon (1) Ian Kleinman (3) ice cream (1) Indian taco (1) itacates (1) Italian beef (5) Italian-American (2) Jabo's (1) Jack-n-Grill (1) James Mazzio (2) Japanese (1) Jax (1) Jiutepec (1) Jollibee (1) Jonsey's Eat Bar (1) kabob (1) Kaladi (1) Kavkaz Bakery (1) kids (2) King's Land (1) Korean BBQ (3) La Cascada (1) La Chapina (1) La Flor de Michoacan (1) La Loncheria Mexicana (1) La Mexicana Taqueria (1) lamb (2) Lao Wang Noodle House (1) Las Torgtugas (2) Las Tortas (1) Laughing Ladies (2) LDP (2) Le Trompeau (1) Leandro Cristobal (1) lechón (5) lengua (1) Leobardo's (1) LoHi (1) lonchera (7) longaniza (2) Los Angeles (1) Los Carboncitos (1) Los Farolitos (2) Los Gallitos (1) Los Pastes (1) Los Toritos (1) Lou Malnati's (1) lox (1) lumpia (2) lunch (2) machaca (1) Mama D's (1) Mama Tere (1) mango (1) Map (1) Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria (1) mariachi (1) Martin Rios (1) Masterpiece Deli (1) Maxwell Street (1) mayonnaise (1) Mexican Canoli (1) Mexican hot dog (1) Mexico City (8) Mexico City Restaurant and Lounge (1) michelada (2) Middle Eastern (6) Mile High Vienna Beef (1) molcajete (1) mole (8) Monte Vista (1) Motulenos (1) Mulli (1) Museo de las Americas (2) mushrooms (1) mussels (1) Navajo taco (1) New Mexican (3) New Siagon (1) Nicaragua (2) nitrogen (1) Nonna's (1) NOT CLOSED (1) old school (1) Ondo's (1) Operation Front Line (2) Orange Crunch (1) Oscar's (1) Osteria Marco (1) oysters (1) paleta (1) pan dulce (5) Panaderia Rosales (1) pancit (2) Parallel 17 (1) Park Burger (1) Paste (1) pastries (1) Pasty (1) Patricia Quintana (1) Patriotic Independence Gathering (1) pepper and egg (1) Peruvian (2) Philippines (3) pho (3) Pho 77 (1) Pho Duy II (1) Phoenician Kabob (2) Piccolo's (1) Pikka's (1) Pinche Tacos (2) Pinche Taqueria (1) pizza (9) Planet Barbecue (1) poblano (1) pollo a las brasas (2) Pomfreet (1) pork (3) poutine (2) pozole (1) pronunciation (1) Puebla (1) Puerto Rico (1) pupusa (5) quesillo (1) recipe (6) Recovery Room (1) Red Tango (1) rice and beans (3) Richard Sandoval (1) Riki Takaoka (1) Rise and Shine (1) roast pig (2) Rosca de Reyes (1) Route 40 (1) Russia (1) Sabor de Mexico (1) Salida (4) salty lemonade (1) Santa Fe (1) sausage (5) seafood (4) Seattle (1) shawarma (2) shrimp cocktail (1) Silla (1) Simpsons (1) smothered (7) sope (1) South American (1) southern colorado (8) Starz Denver Film Festival (3) Steven Raichlen (1) Stevo's (1) street food (9) strip malls (1) Studio F (2) stuffed (1) suadero (1) Sub sandwich (1) Sue of Siam (1) summer food truck boom (3) Sunburst Grill (1) sushi (1) sweets (2) Table 6 (3) taco al pastor list (2) taco arabe (1) taco truck (8) taco vampiro (1) Taco Veloz (2) TacoMex (1) tacos al pastor (34) tacos al vapor (4) Tacos Copacabana (1) tacos de canasta (1) tacos de trompa (1) tacos dorados (1) Tacos el Chorizo (1) Tacos El Gordo (2) Tacos El Sampa (1) Tacos Junior (2) Tacos Tijuana (1) Tacos y Salsas (2) Taiwanese (1) tamales (3) Tambien (3) tapas (2) Taqueria el Valle Aurora (1) Taqueria el Valle Denver (1) tarta (1) Taste of Chicago (1) Taste of the Nation (2) Teleras (1) Telluride (1) Tepotzlan (1) teriyaki (1) Thai (5) Thai Avenue (1) Thai Flavor (1) The Bagel Deli (1) The Berkshire (1) The Biscuit Bus (1) The Corner Office (1) The Inventing Room (1) The Pasty Republic (1) The Red Claw (1) Thornton (1) Ticorito (1) Tin Star Cafe Donut Haus (1) Tocabe (1) Toluca (1) Toluca Mexican Restaurant (3) tongue (1) torta (5) torta ahogada (2) torta Cubana (1) torta de tamal (1) Torta Grill (2) torta poblana (1) tortilla (1) Tortisimas (1) travel (14) Tres Pupusas (1) truffle fries (1) Turtux (1) Udi's (2) US Thai (1) Utah scones (1) Venezuelan (2) Victoria (1) Vietnamese (3) vietnamese sandwich (1) vigaron (1) Walsenburg (1) Westword Best Food Blog (1) whiskey (2) Willy's Buffalo Style Hot Wings (1) Xiao Long Bao (2) yuca (1) zombies (1) Zorbas (1)