Monday, August 16, 2010

Harvest Week Starts Soon, Win a Pack of DINR Cards and Enjoy!

When I bought my pack of DINR (Denver Independent Network of Restaurants) cards last year I had grand plans to eat at most of these EatDenver restaurants by about this time of the year. If you have followed my exploits in 2010 you will know that I have managed to make it to only a few of these fine establishments so far. Well it turns out that my general laziness and poor planning have once again paid off. I am glad that I now have a healthy stock of coupon-cards left, because coming up soon—August 21-27 to be exact--is the third annual EatDenver Harvest Week. During this week many of these EatDenver restaurants will feature courses made with locally sourced ingredients in order to celebrate the bounty of what Colorado growers and ranchers have to offer.

I am also pleased to be able to offer to a contest (see end of post), where the winner will walk away with a pack of 52 DINR cards to call his or her own, and can enjoy Harvest Week-- and the rest of the year-- with $10 off every $25 you spend at select DINR restaurants. That's a $520 value! 

But before I get to the contest rules, let me entice you further by sharing with you and sample of what's in store. This past Sunday Harvest Week threw a kick-off party at Balistreri Vineyards in (way) North Denver for a sneak-peak at some of the courses being featured. Balistreri Vineyards is an oasis of good things-- wine, trees, grass, shade, patio seating-- tucked in the middle of the industrial wastelands where Denver, Commerce City and Thornton meet. Sitting on the patio, under the shade of a tall evergreen, the irony and fun of eating the freshest food Colorado can offer in an area of town known mostly for factories and warehouses, was not lost on me.

But on to the food, which ranged from good to go-back-for-four-or-five-servings good. In order of how I might like to eat it, I start with a (Smith Farms Rocky Ford) cold cantaloupe soup with goat feta (Ugly Goat Dairy), Greek yogurt and lemon balm from Verde Farms. This refreshing sip was brought to me by Chef Reilly of Encore.

Next I would probably go for the cold Olathe Sweet Corn soup with Haystack Mountain goat cheese. Equally as refreshing as the previous soup, and also well-executed by Goose Sorenson and the staff at Solera.

Chef Asher of Root Down put out this delicious bite of Bruschetta with Colorado peaches, goat cheese, Leopold's peach whiskey and balsamic reduction.

Matt Selby was representing Vesta and Steuben's. He and his team made a wonderful, home-spun variant of the melon-and-prosciutto classic using Bresaola from Il Mondo Vechio and of course a sweet slice of Colorado cantaloupe.

Jonesy's EatBar was there as well, and Chef Doyle was plating a olive oil poached slice of Alamosa Striped Bass over arugula and a sweet corn, fennel and onion relish. Over the top was a Colorado peach-and-whiskey jam. This was one of my favorites.

1515 was doing a sous vide Colorado lamb on a skewer with a Colorado corn fritter. For your dipping pleasure were molecular-gastronomy inspired powders of hazelnut and mint as well as a bit of BBQ sauce.

Another of my favorites was the duo of homemade sausages by Chef Bolton and the crew at Second Home: buffalo brats and mustard sauerkraut, lamb merguez and harissa. I haven't eaten enough bratwurst this summer. Chef Bolton made me realize how stupid that is. I went back so much that I must have had a guilty look on my face, because they told me not to worry, they had plenty.

Both Chef Horton from Black Pearl and Chef Sinden from The Lobby served cheese plates accompanied by Colorado fruit. The Black Pearl cheeses were topped with harissa and a Colorado peach jam; The Lobby's was a fried goat cheese cake with a berry tart and balsamic reduction. Mmmm.... fried goat cheese cake.

Last but not least were the carrot cake beignets from Table 6. In fact, quite the opposite. Not only did I have this as one of my first dishes, but enjoyed many more throughout the evening-- sort of like a heavy, creamy, rich and filling palate cleanser. Though I'm not sure what local ingredients were used besides the blood, sweat and tears of Chef Parker's kitchen staff-- he wasn't there to ask--I didn't care much because they were so damn good.

Now aren't you ready to make your reservations for Harvest Week? Each of these restaurants plus many more will feature multiple courses using locally sourced and often recently harvested Colorado goods.

What would make it even better would be if you could win this pack of DINR deck cards that I have in front of me. I want you to tell me about the most memorable experience you've had in a Colorado restaurant and why. How was it unique? Was it the food? The drink? Did you try something new? Did you meet the chef? Or did you trip and fall into a server ruining everyone's night?

Whatever you got, comment here or send me an email at denveronaspit at gmail dot com. Remember this is $520 worth of food were talking about. Make it good. Winner will be picked on Thursday so you can start digging in this weekend.

Do it now! Harvest week is just days away!

These are the places I haven't written about before. Find them on Urbanspoon and eat there next week. For the full list, go visit EatDenver.

Second Home
Second Home Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon
The Lobby
The Lobby American Grille on Urbanspoon
Encore on Colfax on Urbanspoon
Solera on Urbanspoon
Root Down
Root Down on Urbanspoon
1515 Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Black Pearl
Black Pearl on Urbanspoon


  1. It was my 40th b-day Sunday, so I opted out of going to I wish I'd swung by. Carrot cake beignets would've made my night!

    Most memorable: walking in to Beatrice & Woodsley on the 2nd day it was open, with no knowledge of what I was about to experience. Not unlike walking into a matinee in 1992, taking a chance on a film I'd never heard of—which turned out to be Reservoir Dogs. Except, of course, enchanting rather than horrifying. The decor truly is magical—and the food is great.

  2. In Grand Junction, we got a recommendation to go eat at a cattlemen's livestock auction; in addition to the auction hall, they had a restaurant serving some of the freshest meat I've ever had! But what took the gold was the soup served as an appetizer; it was their secret (although we tried really hard to get it out of them!) but had jalapeno and bacon base.. so delicious~

  3. One of my most memorable was the first time I went to Osteria Marco. At the time, we didn't get to go out much due to our small children. We'd just finished a stressful time in our lives (had to go to LA for our son's surgery) and REALLY needed a night out. It was our first "date night" in a long time. It was a cold night, and OM was super cozy. They had their fire going. We had great cocktails and just got a bunch of small plates--my favorite. It was the first time I ever had their burrata--that's memorable right there! The service was particularly friendly and exceptional that night and it was one of the best, most relaxed, and fun meals I've ever had. Part of the great night was the timing and a lot of it was the great food, cocktails, service, and cozy atmosphere.

  4. My most memorable dining experience was a restaurant my husband and I visited in Florence called Leo's. We let the server order for us and we ended up with the best meal we have ever had. We had shaved zucchini salad and Bistecca alla Fiorentina that were fantastic.



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