Archive for August, 2018

Denver & Colorado 2018

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Recently, we had the opportunity to return to Colorado for a visit and meetings throughout the state, including in Denver, one of our favorite cities.   Next to the campus at the University of Denver, approximately 9 miles outside of Downtown Denver we lunched at Spanky’s Roadhouse, a staple of the University Park neighborhood.  They have cleaned up and upgraded the restaurant here, but it continues to have damn tasty burgers and super thick milkshakes.  We decided on a 1/2 pound grass fed burger topped with Bacon Jam, Brie Cheese, more Bacon on a Gluten-free Bun along with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries.  Tasty!

 

Later in the afternoon we had a meeting with an associate in the city who suggested we head over to Tap & Burger at Sloan’s Lake, which is a fast developing and growing development in the Upper Highlands area of the city.  Meeting over Aperol Spritz’s, this spot was a great people watching location on a Friday afternoon.

 

First stop on the Friday night tour was over to Super Mega Bien at 25th & Larimer, in the Ramble Hotel.  The cuisine is Latin American Dim Sum, which is served in an extremely fun and vibrant environment, and is the sister restaurant to Work & Class right across the street.  We had the chance to sample their Portguese Smoked Halibut Dip (a take on a baccalo dish) and Pork Chorizo Sausage with Escabeche, pairing those with a Botanical Gin & Tonic, made for a wonderful start.   Later in the evening, we headed to Blackbird Public House at Washington Park (Wash Park), which is more of a local tavern but is upscale in the decor and cuisine.  Sharing items in the center of the table we chose their Devil’s on Horseback, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Smoked Wings, paired with a Willamette Valley Pinot Gris.

 

Heading to the Mountains, we had the pleasure of staying at the Westin Riverfront & Spa, Beaver Creek, a true 4 Star Hotel located in Avon, at the base of Beaver Creek.  We’re a big fan of Westin hotels in the Starwood (now Marriott) portfolio and this one was right in line with the others.  They have a tremendously amazing gym, one of the best hotel fitness center’s we’ve experienced, a wonderful outdoor pool with swimming lanes & a fun section, along with 3 Jacuzzis.  The King Suite which is standard, was spacious and comfortable, definitely a solid room for 2 or 4 people.   We then had the opportunity to play a little bit at Beaver Creek Mountain, indulging in the great scenery and natural beauty of the town.  It was definitely buzzing with tourists, so we made our way to the Beaver Creek Chophouse for a lite lunch of a Fresh Pulled Chicken Cobb Salad, Sweet Potato Fries and some Rose; perfect for the gorgeous mountain afternoon.

 

Prior to leaving the mountains, we stopped in Vail, at Vail Village for a quick visit to Loaded Joe’s Coffee – right after covered bridge which is always busy and brews a fantastic, strong cup of coffee.  There was a Sunday Morning Farmer’s Market going on as well, so we indulged in Fresh Ahi Poke, Gluten Free with Sushi Rice, which was perfect to enjoy in the late morning sunshine and vibrant environment.

 

Right before departing 5,280, we stopped at Root Down at the airport for a pre-flight snack, which was perfect as they very much cater to those with food allergies and respect the significance of them.  We enjoyed a Farm to Table Cobb Salad with Pulled Chicken and Chipotle Green Goddess Dressing and a Roasted Beet Salad with Sunflower Seed Pesto & Basil Vinaigrette.   Colorado once again came through as a great place to do business, escape from the daily grind and full of amazing food, people and scenery.  Can’t wait to head back!

 

Oregon Travel & Food Adventures…

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

We had the opportunity to recently visit Oregon again, one of our favorite state’s in the Union, with delicious culinary destinations throughout and fantastic wineries, combined with the sheer natural beauty throughout of the landscape.

 

First stop was into Portland returning to an old standby, which is a true institution in the city, Higgins Restaurant.  Higgins’ was founded by Chef Greg Higgins, who is a James Beard Award Winning Chef and The Godfather of food in the city.  We have always enjoyed sitting in their Bar Room, which reminds one of an East Coast neighborhood bar, with its setup and feeling.  Lunch was an Open faced pastrami sandwich with Local Greens and Hazelnuts, paired with a glass of Pinot Gris from Pike Road Winery (Elk Cove’s second label).

 

After walking the local Farmer’s Market in Portland’s Park Blocks (which happens all Spring and Summer), we traveled down to the Willamette Valley and over to Wine Country.  Arriving there our first stop was in McMinnville to Woodward Wine Merchants, founded a few years back by Jeff Woodward.  They offer a great selection of not just valley wines, but those from around the world so we selected a Chenin Blanc from Domaine Ogereau, in the Loire Valley.  This was shared later in the evening at our friend’s home, where we were able to enjoy a stunningly beautiful evening outside.

 

Starting the next day in Newberg we headed over for a quick coffee, then making our way back down valley to McMinnville aka ‘Mac’ for a lunch over at Pura Vida.  This restaurant is a local favorite, offering a selection of Latin themed ingredients and dishes, while using local produce from the valley.  Here we were able to enjoy their Caesar Salad served with an Avocado Vinaigrette and Roasted Pepitas, then digging in to a Taco Selection (served on Homemade Tortillas) of Barbacoa, Camarones and Pork Belly.  Tasty and flavorful!

 

While still in ‘Mac’ we ventured over to their weekly Farmer’s Market, having a chance to walk the rows of fresh produce, flowers, crafts, etc.  Stops included Eola Crest Cattle for their Grass Fed Beef and Baird Family Orchards (for AMAZING fresh peaches), as well as a tasting with Townshend’s Distillery from Portland, who was offering their Amaro and Fernet.

 

Heading further into the valley, we ventured over to Elk Cove Vineyards, one of our favorite wineries in the entire valley.  Having a chance to walk the property while sipping on some of their fantastic Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, we were transported into the moment, thrilled of where we were and in awe of the beauty around us.

 

Dinner that evening was with friends and business associates, who shared with us the bounty of the valley with local greens and seared skirt steak, prior to having us walk their property which was ringed with Blackberry Vines.  These Himalayan Blackberries are actually an invasive species, but in the Summer then produce the most amazing and delicious berries.  We went into the thicket and started picking, taking care not to get stung by the bushes thorns.  Bringing them back into the kitchen, we blended them with Tillamook Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Whole Milk, to create the most refreshing and tasty milkshakes we’ve had in a long time!

 

Friday morning started at our favorite restaurant in the valley for Breakfast and Lunch, Community Plate which is owned by our great friend Scott Cunningham.  Scotty has endeared his restaurant to the community (pun intended) in many ways, including sourcing each and every one of their products from 100 miles or less of the restaurant.  This morning started with a Scramble of Sausage, Farmer’s Market Peppers & Cheddar, paired with Fresh Local Greens, Homemade Gluten Free Toast (for the win!) and a Freshly Brewed Cup of Stumptown Coffee.  Perfect for the day ahead!

 

Next stop was a visit to Anam Cara Cellars, run by Nick and Sheila Nicholas, who are good friends with an excellent talent for making tasty wines.  They’re located right off of Downtown Newberg, a perfect location at the confluence of two highways; a great place to pop in for a tasting.  We were able to enjoy their 2017 Rose of Pinot Noir and 2016 Unoaked Chardonnay, both from their Nicholas Vineyard.

 

Then on the Valley Tour was bouncing over the hills and through the woods to Libra Wines Vineyard, owned by Bill and Linda Hanson, who we’ve known personally and professionally for years.  Here we were able to walk the South and West Blocks that Bill had planted, and is farming according to Biodynamic methods.  The vines were looking to be in great shape with Veraison recently occurring, and harvest being planned for mid-September at this point.

 

Wrapping up, we had a recap session at The Horse Radish in Carlton over local Pinot Noir.  They’re really known for their sandwiches, but it’s really come up as a Dinner destination in recent years.

 

On Saturday, we were able to stop at a true staple in wine country, over in Dundee – Red Hills Market.  They were slammed, as always, but we still managed to secure a table and enjoy a Breakfast Bowl w/Local Eggs, Local Kale & Zucchini and Thick Cut Bacon, with a side of Seasonal Padron Peppers.  It’s definitely worth a visit as you find yourself driving through the wineries, for a filing breakfast, tasty lunch or just a glass of wine on the patio.

 

Heading back into Portland, we visited another favorite, Olympia Provisions; stopping in for their ‘Happy Hour’ Experience which is offered every day from 3pm to 5pm.  This is so much better than your neighborhood bar, as they make their own Charcuterie and are all about local.  This visit included a Chef’s Selection of 3 types of Charcuterie, Pacific Oysters with Mignonette paired with their Aperitivo Selection, done either on the rocks, with soda or Spritz-style.  We decided to enjoy the Cocchi Americano Blanco, Spritz style – perfectly refreshing!

 

And, with that, our PDX travels came to a close.  It was, yet again, another amazing trip back to the Beaver State, with so much more to enjoy and discover on our next visit!