Sunday, November 21, 2010

Denver International Airport Has Bold Development Plans For The Future

Proposed train terminal

Denver International Airport Has Bold Development Plans For The Future
By Christopher J. Davies

The Denver International Airport, or DIA as locals call it, is just 15 years young. It's a super-sized airport comprising of 34,000 acres or 53 square, which makes it larger than Disney World in Orlando (25,000 acres).

Getting to DIA from downtown Denver takes a little time as its terminal is actually 24 miles away from Larimer Square. Once you enter DIA, the drive to the terminal is similar to entering Disney World in Orlando, sans the monorail. As you get closer to the terminal you see its enchanted white roof which depicts snow-capped mountains.

Having all of the space is a good thing. As in 15 short years, DIA has grown to be the world's tenth busiest airport and the fifth busiest airport in the United States. In 2009, 50 million passengers were transported through DIA making it one of the busiest hubs in the aviation world.

As a frequent world traveler, I made the decision to move to Denver eight years ago primarily based on DIA's convenient parking, modern terminal and excellent flight routes. DIA is centrally located in the middle of the country allowing me to get to New York in three hours or San Francisco in two. For European flights I love Lufthansa's daily direct flights from Denver to Frankfurt, which make for quick connections to most European cities.

Signature rail bridge on Pena Blvd

Recently airport management and the city of Denver unveiled bold new expansion plans for adding a South Terminal complex which will included a 500 room terminal hotel and rail way station with connection to Downtown Denver. DIA has contracted world-famous, visionary engineer and Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava, a modern-day Frank Lloyd Wright of transportation design, to create a world-class addition to the existing terminal.

While airport management has been under recent criticism for their artistic tastefulness after placing a blue mustang sculpture on the road leading to the airport terminal, the decision to hire Mr.Calatrava will make an enormous artistic impact on DIA's reputation worldwide.

During the unveiling, Airport Director Kim Day explained, "Today is an historic moment for Denver International Airport. Mr. Santiago Calatrava is one of the world's premier designers of rail stations and airports. His recent work includes the Olympic Sports Complex in Athens."

While the unveiling was pitched as conceptual designs with an emphasis on conservative fiscal, Ms. Day assured the attendees that the estimated Phase One expansion cost of $650 million for the new terminal, rail station, 500 room terminal hotel with convention center, offices and signature rail bridge will be paid for by the airport's cash flows.

Mayor John Hickenlooper also spoke, "We have a world-class airport. 6,500 plus jobs will be created by RTD and this construction. No tax money or general fund money will be used".

Hickenlooper introduced Mr.Calatrava who shared his vision by sitting down at a drawing table and painting "live" for everyone to see while his drawing was projected on a large screen causing jaws to drop as this modern-day Picasso painted long strokes across canvas illustrating how the new architecture fit into the backdrop of the current airport terminal and the mountains to the west of DIA. At the end, all of his paintings were gathered by his assistant, so that they could preserved perhaps in a museum or exhibit some day.

A futuristic animated movie was also shown which gave viewers a front side ride into the airport, passing under the new signature rail bridge as an RTD train transported passengers overhead from Downtown Denver. The modern rail station resembles a classic open air European Rail Station and the plaza and terminal hotel will rival modern airport terminals such as the new terminal in Munich, Germany.

Mr.Calatrava is as big as they get in Architecture as well as the art world. In 2006 he had a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called "Sculpture Into Architecture". Philippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum, stated: "It is a rare delight to present the work of such an accomplished architect and artist. This exhibition takes an intimate look at Santiago Calatrava's inventive practices, and uncovers the connections between the private artist and the public architect as he meditates over forms, themes, and construction."

Before leaving the presentation, Mr. Calatrava commented, "I am inspired by the city, the people, the landscape and the existing airport. I have tried to do an addition that complements and connects with the existing architecture".

The construction won't begin until December 2011 and is scheduled to be completed by 2013. The hotel architecture was designed by Gensler, a global design firm with an office in Denver. M.A Moretenson Construction, who recently completed construction of 1800 Larimer St, in Denver—the First LEED-CS Platinum Pre-Certified High Rise West of the Mississippi--will
be the construction manager/general contractor.

On August 26, 2010, RTD broke ground on the $1 billion East Corridor commuter rail line, the largest single rail project in the voter-approved FasTracks program. The groundbreaking ceremony was held at Denver International Airport (DIA) on the south lawn of the Jeppesen Terminal, the future site of the DIA rail station.

The rail station will be completed in 2016.

The future of Denver International Airport is bright and destined to open increased routes to Asia and Europe. I commend airport management, Mayor John Hickenlooper and RTD for having the vision to take DIA to such a outstanding level.

Note: All images supplied by The Denver International Airport


Denver International Airport

View the animated movie and learn about construction progress:


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Taste of Elegance 2010 dishes by The Fort

Geoffrey Groditski

Geoffrey Groditski, Executive Chef, The Fort
Shares his Dishes From the Taste of Elegance! 
Story and photos by Christopher J. Davies

The 2010 Denver International Wine Festival Taste of Elegance Chefs Food and Wine Competition took place ion Thursday November 4, 2010. The event celebrates the gold medal wines from the Denver International Wine Competition.

Twelve Master Colorado Chefs were assigned two gold medal wine each and had just 7 days to create custom paired dishes for 450 guests.

The dishes were tasted by a prestigious panel of judges: 
* Hosea  Rosenberg, Top Chef Season 5 Winner
* Kelly Liken, Chef/Owner Restaurant Kelly Liken-Vail, CO
* Claire  Walter, Food Critic & Author of "Culinary  Colorado"
* Wes Marshall, Wine Writer and Author of "What's a Wine lover To Do?"
* Tom Spilman District President, KeyBank

This year I was excited that one of my favorite restaurants, The Fort had agreed to let their chef participate! Better yet, Chef Geoffrey Groditski received an honorable mention from the judges. Top Chef Season 5 Winner Hosea Rosenberg, was surprised by the dishes and claimed that this was his first time ever tasting Buffalo Tongue! A delicious dished that paired well with Borghese Vineyards 2009 Sauvignon Blanc- North Fork Long Island!

Darcy and I visited Chef Geoffrey recently at The Fort and took photos of him and his wonderful dishes.

He was kind enough to share his recipe's from the Taste of Elegance!

Paired with Zerba Cellars 2007 GSM Blend Mourverde- Columbia Valley, WA

Beef cheek #2                           
Cleaned of excess fat and connective tissue
Carrots 2 ea (Peeled and roughly chopped)
Shallots 6 ea (Peeled and chopped)
Garlic cloves 20ea (Crushed)
Ruby Port  2 Bottles
Rich veal stock 1 qt
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients except salt and 1 bottle of port in roasting pan and cover.  Place in 400 F oven for 2 ½ to 3 hrs.
Remove from oven. Strain liquid from cheeks and vegetables and reserve.  Dice all meat and vegetables and place in pot on stove.  Add cooking liquid and remaining bottle of port and cook over low heat for 2 -3 hrs until liquid has reduced by at least half and the consistency is that of a ragout.  Salt to taste.

Goat cheese grits

Stone Ground Grits #2
2-3 oz olive oil
1.5 cup yellow onion medium diced
4 T minced garlic
2 cups chardonnay
1.5 qt chicken stock
.5 qt heavy whipping cream
#2 goat cheese chevre

In rondo, sweat onions and garlic till translucent. Add wine and reduce by half.  Add chicken stock, cream and grits. Stirring frequently, cook for 30 to 45 min over med heat till liquids are absorbed and grits and tender.  Turn off heat and stir in cheese until fully incorporated.

Paired with Borghese Vineyard 2009 Sauvignon Blanc-North Fork, Long Island

3-4 pounds buffalo tongue
1 bay leaf
1 T peppercorns
1 yellow onion coarsely chopped
1 carrot coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk coarsely chopped
Water to cover

In large pot bring water and all ingredients except tongue to a boil.  Add tongue and simmer 2 ½ to 3 hours.  Remove from water and let cool for 10-15 min.  Peel skin off of tongue and than place tongue in cooler to chill.  When completely cooled slice tongue in ½ inch pieces across grain.  Heat pieces in non stick skillet or under broiler for 1 min until hot.  Place on crostini and garnish with aoli and chile infused honey.

1 baguette sliced in ½ inch pieces
Olive oil ½ cup
Assorted herbs and garlic ¼ cup

Put oil in pot on low heat and add herbs and garlic. Simmer 5-10 min.  Remove from heat and strain.  Brush pieces of baguette with oil and bake at 400 F for 3-5 min until golden brown.

Horseradish Vanilla Aoli

1 egg yolk
Juice from 1 lemon
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t vanilla extract
1 T prepared horseradish
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine 1st 5 ingredients in food processor or blender and blend thoroughly. Slowly add oil to emulsify.  Add s&p to taste.

Chile Honey

1 Cup clover honey
1 T ancho chile powder
2 oz chicken broth

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.



The Fort
19192 Hwy 8
Morrison, CO 80465

Tel. 303-697-1963

Wine producers:

Castello di Borghese
Vineyard & Winery
17150 County Rte 48
(Mailing: P.O. Box 957)
Cutchogue, New York 11935
Tel. (631) 734-5111

Toll Free: (800)-734-5158

Zerba Cellars
810 Highway 99W
Dundee, OR 97115
Tel.(503) 537-WINE

Tasting Room
85530 Highway 11
Milton-Freewater, Oregon 97862

Story and photos © 2010 by Christopher J.Davies, all rights reserved.

Christopher Davies Photography

Denver International Wine Festival

Denver International Wine Competition

Chef Hosea Rosenberg website:

Chef Kelly Liken website:

Claire Walter blog:

Wes Marshall Blog: