Monday, March 13, 2017

Cochon555 Rolls into Denver this Sunday!

Cochon555 is all about amazing pork and delicious beverages. This national series is returning to Denver on Sunday. This year’s event has transformed into their popular Heritage BBQ format.

I attended the 2016 event at the Ritz Carlton. Denver top chef Troy Guard (TAG, Guard and Grace, Mister Tuna, etc.) was the winner. The VIP ticket proved to be a great value as you get to meet the chefs and begin tasting an hour before the venue starts accepting General Admission ticket holders. There were tons of great dishes and beverages galore. Many of Colorado’s top chefs and sommeliers were in attendance.

2017 Cochon555 

There will be 5 chefs, 5 winemakers and assorted spirits and cocktails. Including Boulder based, Hosea Rosenberg, now owner of Blackbelly, made Colorado foodies proud when he won Bravo’s Top Chef, Season 5 in March 2009. After winning, his life change in many ways. He has cooked with celebrity chefs on TV and at events around the world. For the last few year’s, he has been at the helm of his highly acclaimed restaurant Blackbelly in Boulder.

Cochon555's Heritage BBQ celebrates global food cultures and family farming through a whole-hog cook-off between 5 Denver chefs. Tickets also include access to the Punch Kings (a bourbon punch mix-off) and the Somm Smackdown (wine/pig matching) championships + free-flow artisanal wines, handcrafted cocktails & pop-up food experiences including a ramen bar and pork-inspired desserts.


The 5 Competing Chefs:

Tickets are now on sale but are destined to be a sell out! Order online!

For more info visit

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Turtle Soup…The Almost Forgotten Delicacy!

The Food And Wine Chain
Turtle Soup…The Almost Forgotten Delicacy!
By Christopher J. Davies

Over a century ago, Turtle Soup was earmarked in many a home cook’s favorite cookbook. It is said this was U.S. President Howard Taft’s favorite food. So seriously did he take this dish that he even selected a special chef for the White House who was a master at cooking a good Turtle Soup.

Today a small group of restaurants across the country have Turtle Soup on their regular menus. The largest concentration of restaurants with Turtle Soup on their menus is found in America’s foodiest city, New Orleans! Of the dozen or so restaurants in NOLA making Turtle Soup, Commander’s Place is ground zero for this delicacy.

Their creole version is thick and stew-like. It is usually topped off at your table with a drop of sherry. No, it does not taste like chicken, but more like a veal stew.

At the helm of Commander’s Palace is Executive Chef Tory McPhail, a young and highly talented Culinarian. Chef McPhail is credited with restoring Commander’s to the culinary magnitude bestowed upon the restaurant when renowned Chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse were running the kitchen. We had the pleasure of meeting Chef Tory and enjoying his cuisine last year. One of my favorites was the Turtle Soup. Commander’s Wine Guy Dan Davis even offered up a wine pairing for the soup!

I asked Chef Tory if he would be kind enough to share his recipe.
(See adjacent page).

The recipe serves 12 people. Left over soup freezes very well.
Word of caution — use only snapping turtles or farm-raised turtles.
Sea Turtles may not be used, as they are poisonous to humans, and illegal to catch!

After researching the cost of turtle meat, Commander’s Palace’s Turtle Soup is a real bargain at $8.50 a bowl!

Snapping Turtle Meat, Bone-In (2LB)
Wooley: Cost-$48 plus shipping

Turtle Meat, Bone-In (2LB)
Cajun Grocer: Cost-$50.40

The First Course
Turtle Soup Recipe
By Tory McPhail
Executive Chef, Commander’s Palace, New Orleans

Turtle Soup

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 1/2 pounds turtle meat (see Note), cut in medium dice (beef, or a combination of lean beef and veal stew meat may be substituted)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 medium onions, in medium dice
6 stalks celery, in medium dice
1 large head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
3 bell peppers, any color, in medium dice
1 tablespoon ground dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground dried oregano
4 bay leaves
2 quarts Veal Stock
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 bottle (750 ml) dry sherry
1 tablespoon hot sauce or to taste
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 large lemons, juiced
3 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
10 ounces fresh spinach, washed thoroughly, stems removed, coarsely chopped
6 medium eggs, hard-boiled and chopped into large pieces

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large soup pot over medium to high heat.  Brown the meat in the hot butter, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until liquid is almost evaporated. Add the onions, celery, garlic and peppers, stirring constantly, then add the thyme, oregano, and bay leaves, and sauté for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables have caramelized. Add the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, periodically skimming away any fat that comes to the top.

While the stock is simmering, make a roux in a separate pot: Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a small saucepan and add the flour a little at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to burn the roux. After all the flour has been added, cook for about 3 minutes until the roux smells nutty, is pale in color, and has the consistency of wet sand. Set aside until the soup is ready.

Using a whisk, vigorously stir the roux into the soup a little at a time to prevent lumping. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Stir to prevent sticking on the bottom.

Add the sherry, bring to a boil, add the hot sauce and the Worcestershire, and simmer, skimming any fat or foam that comes to the top. Add the lemon juice and tomatoes, and return to a simmer. Add the spinach and the chopped egg, bring to a simmer, and adjust salt and pepper as needed. This soup freezes well.

Note: We use alligator snapping turtles, a farm-raised, fresh-water species available all year. It's illegal to use sea-raised turtle, so farm-raised is fine. Turtle meat usually comes in 2 1/2-pound portions, so this recipe is written to use that quantity.  It freezes well and can be ordered by mail.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

2015 Denver International Wine Festival Discount Ticket Deal Blotter

The 2015 Denver International Wine Festival happens next week! 
The 11th edition will take place from Wednesday October 28 to Friday October 30, 2015…just in time for Hallowine! 

Wine Country Network has vowed to eliminate conducting promotions with deal sites like Groupon, Travelzoo and Amazon.Com. Instead they offer generous promotional incentives to serious folks who join the Denver International Wine Festival Newsletter list:

They also publish monthly incentives on the DIWF Facebook page:

DIWF Deal Blotter:
If you have been holding off and waiting for a deal, there are a couple of promotions that might entice you!

Pairsine Chefs Fine Food and Wine-October 29, 2015- Westword75
This event is like Iron Chefs meets really amazing wine. 11 top chefs will create 22 gourmet pairings. There will be more than 40 Gold Medal wines from the 2015 Denver International Wine Competition.

There is a new deal promotion with Westord.
Purchase 1 ticket for Pairsine: $100
Receive a General Admission Ticket For The Grand Tasting on 10/30- Value $75

So that’s two days at the Denver International Wine Festival for $100 bucks!

How to Order:

Click this link, which has the discount code pre-set.
Order the Two-day DIWF GA Package ($175 reg) for $100

Grand Tasting General Admission Ticket- Pay only $45
Enjoy 3 hours of wine tasting with limited food sampling.
Regular price: $75
Facebook special $30 discount
Pay $45

Visit the festival website for schedule, list of exhibitors and restaurants!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Burgundy Heavyweights Roll Into Denver on October 6, 2015 With A Rare Dinner at Mercantile

The 5th Annual Boulder Burgundy Festival officially happens October 22-25, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. But Brett Zimmerman, festival founder and Master Sommelier, welcomes two Burgundy heavyweights at a bucket-list level Burgundy wine dinner at Mercantile Dining and Provision (Union Square), Denver on Tuesday October 6th. This dinner is clearly the Denver first-taste of The Boulder Burgundy Festival.
Chef/Owner Alex Seidel has created a mouth-watering 5-course menu suitable for heads of state!

I am pinching myself with disbelief that I am one of the lucky 16 that will be enjoying this feast! Check out the menu below, which is being published for the first time on this blog. Check back next week for a review and photos of the dinner.

Brett Zimmerman, Master Sommelier

Wilson Daniels Presents

Domaine Leflaive and Olivier Bernstein Burgundy Wine Dinner
Thursday October 6, 2015
1701 Wynkoop Street, Suite 155, Denver, CO
6:30 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Start
Cuisine by Chef/Proprietor Alex Seidel

Presented by Jack Daniels of Wilson Daniels, Brett Zimmerman, Master Sommelier and owner of Boulder Wine Merchant, Brice de Morandiere, General Manager of Domaine Leflaive and Olivier Bernstein of Maison Olivier Bernstein

2002 Gosset Celebris

1st Course
Burgundian Escargot & Clams
Celert Root, Preserved Meyer Lemon, Green Apple

2013 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Le Clavoillon"
2013 Domaine Leflaive Meursault 1er Cru "Suos le Dos d'Åne"

2nd Course
Butter Poached Lobster
Coconut Panna Cotta, Roasted Beets, Toasted Almond, Pineapple

2013 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
"Les Pucelles"
2009 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru

3rd Course
Lightly Smoked Squab Breast
Anson Mills Grits, Duck Fat Roasted Turnip, Blueberry Mustard Seed Demi

2013 Olivier Bernstein Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru "Les Lavrottes"
2013 Olivier Bernstein Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "Les Cazetieres"

4th Course
Grilled Creekstone Strip Loin
Bone Marrow Agnolotti, Confit Sweetbreads, Black Truffle Vinaigrette

2013 Olivier Bernstein Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru
2013 Olivier Bernstein Chambertin Grand Cru

5th Course
Hudson Valley Foie Gras
Sheepskyr Sorbet, Preserved Mission Fig, Honey, Farro, & Amaranth Cereal

2007 Royal Tokaji Essencia

Fare: $400 ++

 Useful Websites 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Holiday gift Idea for Wine Lovers! Virtual Cheat-Sheet For Ordering Wines At A Restaurant!

Buy the Right Wine Every Time: The No-Fuss, No-Vintage Wine Guide
Author: Tom Stevenson
Publisher: Sterling Epicure
Rating: Exceptional! Must buy for winos!
Format: Soft (flex) cover,320 pages
ISBN: 1-4027-6341-7
US Price: $14.95

Tom Stevenson is the quintessential wine book author with more than 30 years under his belt writing wine books. His latest book is a virtual cheat-sheet for wine novices looking to glide through any restaurants wine list. It helps you pick the most popular, reliable bottles based on varietal and price range. As a bonus you will benefit from the authors many useful wine tips. Grab this book and you will buy the right wine, every time!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Holiday Gift Idea! Step up your Latin Cuisine with Richard Sandoval's New Cookbook!


Richard Sandoval’s New Latin Flavors
Hot Dishes, Cool Drinks
Authors: By Richard Sandoval
Rating: Exceptional! Must buy for foodies!
Imprint: Stewart, Tabori & Chang
ISBN: 1-61769-124-0
EAN: 9781617691249
Format: Hardcover, 224 pages

Price: $29.95

Richard Sandoval is a member of a distinct group of chefs that will be recognized as making their mark on global cuisine during this century. Emeril Legasse is known as the king of Cajun and Creole Cuisine, José Andrés is the king of Spanish Cuisine, but Sandoval is the king of Contemporary Latin Cuisine.

Today Sandoval has over 30 restaurants worldwide. His most famous concept Zengo, fuses an original blend of Asian and Latin Cuisine, with locations in New York, Washington DC, Santa Monica, Denver and Dubai.

This new book is well designed and laid out with step by step tips and tricks that will help you create flavor packed meals at home. The Latin Pantry section provides the list of ingredients that lay the foundation for creating Contemporary Latin Cuisine.

This book is illustrated beautifully with mouth-watering food photography. There are many easy to follow recipes for Tapas, Ceviche’s, Seafood, Poultry, Meats
Vegetables and Desserts. Section #11, The Latin Bar, is chuck full with information for setting up your bar with basic ingredients and tools for mastering the art of mixology! Buy this book! It will help you step-up your flavor filled enjoyment of great food and cocktails!