Monday, December 12, 2011

Charlie Palmer's Wazee Wood Fire Pizza Does It Big!

District Meats chef Jeff Russell with Charlie Palmer                                                                                     

Celebrity Chef Charlie Palmer has been in the news lately.

Less than a month ago he opened his delicious new concept District Meats in Denver's Lodo District. That restaurant is getting rave reviews from Denver foodies. It recently opened up lunch service and Chef Palmer seems poised to be testing the waters for opening other District Meats locations in the future, after plugging the new restaurant and menu on NBC's Today show last week!

Today Show Video link:

Just today, Chef Palmer officially opened Wazee Wood Fire Pizza adjacent District Meats dining room in Denver. He's offering New York style pizza in traditional as well as original gourmet style creations. I was proud to pick up one of his first large pies today after a business lunch at DM.

I ordered a Large "Mulberry Street" Pizza $22, which was the largest, large pizza, I have ever encountered at 20 inches in diameter!
Large Mulberry Street Measured 20"

The Mulberry Street is the ultimate meat lovers pizza, with Sopressata, Prosciutto, Pancetta and Parmesan. This combination is destined to be a Denver favorite. The pizza crust was done just like my favorite pizzeria in New York does it! This pie is also offered in small (which is the size of a typical Large) for $18.

Other Wazee Creations that appealed to my eye as well as stomach:

•The Aristocrat
Duck Confit, Arugula, Local Goat Cheese, Lemon Zest $16/$20

•The Western New Yorker

Grilled Chicken, Blue Cheese & Hot Sauce $14/$18

Buffalo Mozzarella, San Marzano Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, EVOO $13/$17

Wazee also offers Traditional Pies and White Pies with Artisnal Cheeses, by the pie or by the slice. There's a wide range of toppings to choose from. The space is café size with limited seating. When I picked up my pie, I noticed quite a few business people picking up slices to take back to the office.

Other items on the menu include Salads $6/$9, A Veal & Ricotta Grinder $9, Assorted Salumi Plate $10 and Trio of Artisnal Cheeses $10.

Hours: 11:00am to close, Monday thru Saturday.

District Meats & Wazee Wood Fire Pizza
1625 Wazee Street
Denver, CO 80202

Monday - Friday 11:30am to 2:30pm

Monday - Thursday 4:00pm to 12:00am
Friday - Saturday 4:00pm to 1:00am
Sunday - closed

Tel: 303.623.1630
Fax: 303.825.0560

Check out my story about District Meats in Examiner.Com:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Spam & Champagne!

Spam and Champagne!
Not your typical pairing but it works!

A funny thing happened during our recent road trip to Minnesota...we discovered the Spam Museum!

Yes, just like there's a website for just about everything, there's a museum for Spam!

Hormel Industries, the makers of Spam have a wonderful museum in Austin, Minnesota just off Interstate 90. Admission is free.

New Spam Flavors
You get to watch a great movie that covers the history of this world-famous mystery meat in a can. The museum is well worth the stop. Plus you can get to purchase new Spam logo items and new Spam flavors (including Hot & Spicy and Pepper) that are not yet available in the stores.

We brought samples of The Hot & Spicy Spam, which is seasoned with Tabasco sauce. I am not a fan of Spam, but this was delicious in a grilled cheese sandwich.


-Open Can, remove Spam with fork
-Slice into 6 even portions
-Brown in skillet at medium heat with pat of butter, then remove
-Place pat of butter in pan. Grill piece of bread with American Cheese slices & spam. Add 2 piece of bread on top, flip over when first side is browned.
-After 2nd side browned, remove and plate and slice in half

Ideal Wine Pairing:
Champagne or Sparkling Wine, or Riesling

Visit the Spam Museum. They are open 10-5 Monday Thru Saturdays, 12 to 5pm on Sundays.

Spam Museum
1937 Spam Blvd
Austin, MN 55912
Tel. 507 437-5100

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Top Grilling Tips From The Deen Brothers

New Book: Get Fired Up

Paula Deen's Sons Jamie and Bobby are a grilling dynamic duo. They just released a wonderful new cookbook, "Get Fired Up,” that features 125 mouthwatering, easy-to-follow recipes for creating tasty dishes that the home cook can master without hours of preparation. Southern favorites include Glazed Barbecue Shrimp, Grilled Crab Cake Sammies, and Fire-Roasted Clams and Mussels. The photography in this book is mouthwatering. 224 pages, hardcover $25.

The Deen's Top BBQ Tips Worth Following:

Jamie Deen

Q: What are the three rules of grilling?

1. Flip once. 
2. Less seasoning is more. 
3. Pay attention to the heat.

Q:  What are three common grilling mistakes?

1. Pressing the meat. 
2. Cutting too soon once it comes off the grill.
3. Over cooking.

Bobby Deen

Q: What are the three rules of grilling?

1. Allow the meat to come to room temperature before grilling. Throwing an ice cold piece of meat on the grill is never a good idea.
2. Don't poke or cut it while you're cooking it. That releases the juices that give the meat all its flavor.

3. Most importantly: Don't burn it.

Q: What are three common grilling mistakes?

B: I think the answers to the previous question speak to the most common mistakes, but there are still more. First; don't over-season the meat.  A good cut has plenty of flavor on its own. A little salt and pepper is all you need. Also, always allow the meat to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the grill. That allows the juices to get flowing through it again. Juices=flavor.

The Deen Brothers Website:

Check out my full candid interview with The Deen Brothers on

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Denver Magazine Did A Lot Of Good For Denver

Cover of First Issue: Denver Magazine

Denver Magazine (2008 to 2011)

Magazine's are like restaurants. To start one you must have a great idea,  a lot of passion and capital. I know this first hand, having worked for deep pocketed Petersen Publishing in Manhattan (Motor Trend, Guns & Ammo, Photographic, to name a few) as well as co-founding and publishing my own magazine Wine Country International®.

Just like restaurants, only 2 out of 8 magazines survive beyond 2 years.

I was deeply saddened to learn that Denver Magazine had shuttered it's publication yesterday. I know it's founder & Publisher, Michael Ledwitz pretty well. He is a bright guy with tons of passion and energy. During the past year, he managed to fine tune the publication into a high quality magazine that I looked forward to reading every month. Circulation was reported to be at 50,000 copies per month which is pretty formidable in today's publishing world.

It was announced yesterday, that Long established Denver publication 5280, had wisely purchased Denver Magazine's assets. They have already directed the URL to their website. This will help them capture national advertising when agency interns search magazines that are named after major US cities. People outside of Colorado do not understand what 5280 means.

In closing, I feel that while Denver Magazine did not succeed as a business, it did a lot for the city and culture of the Mile High City. From it's stylish photo shoots to it's intimate celebrity interviews, Denver Magazine raised the bar on magazine editorial in Colorado, proving that Denver is not just a city of Cowboy's and Cowgirls!

I have not spoken with Michael Ledwitz since learning about his magazine's closure. I am confident that after the initial numbness wears off, that he and his staff will move on to greener pastures.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Capital Grille Vintage Wine & Food Experience

Capital Grille, Denver

For those who read my blog, it is no secret that I am a big fan of the Capital Grille restaurants. I first experienced Capital Grille's Tyson Corner restaurant, when I was a national sales manager with a generous expense account. It was love at first bite!

Lately, I have been impressed with Capital Grille's over the top wine programs. The latest edition to their cellar is a second annual release of their Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2007 created by Thomas Peffer, a world-class winemaker from Atalon Vineyards in Napa Valley. Mr. Peffer created the wine with guidance from The Capital Grille’s George Miliotes, one of only 170 Master Sommeliers in the world. The grapes used were from specially selected vineyards in Napa Valley whose high elevation and unique microclimate result in the perfect conditions for creamy, boldly textured flavors. Blended solely for The Capital Grille, fewer than 1,000 cases of this unique wine will be produced. The company will donate $25 from the sale of each limited bottle to Share Our Strength® and its mission to end childhood hunger in America. Cost: $75, which based on the quality is an exceptional price.

For more info on this project see my article in Examiner.Com:

2007 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Review:
Capital Grille Artist Series
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $75, ****
Dark Ruby Color, rich scents of black currant, red berries, black raspberries & pipe tobacco. Elegant taste, soft tannins and long finish. Pair with beef, lamb or chocolate.

Dish on Our Dinner:
Capital Grille, Denver
Located in the touristy Larimer Square region of LODO (Lower Downtown), This Capital Grille is a popular Denver hotspot. The chefs are true artisans and the service staff operates like a Swiss Clock! Manager Charlie Stauter oversees the room like an orchestra conductor breezing through the aisles with a watchful eye. When he managed to stop by our table, I told him I was dreaming about celebrating my birthday at the restaurant. He personally made our reservation!

Our server Vanessa was super personable and showed a great knowledge of the menu and wine cellar. She immediately cracked open a bottle of the Artisan Series Cabernet and decanted it so it could open up for later. We started off with cocktails and fresh raw oysters on the half shell. This was later complimented by Kim Crawford Sauvignon, a signature Sauv from Marlborough that has got more citrus than a lemon grove. This paired well with our rich Lobster Bisque.

Our old friend and Capital Grille wine professional, Jamil Tealer gave us a little history on the Artisan Cab, commenting that this vintage is far superior in his opinion to the first edition.

Darcy and I decided to split entrees. She ordered the Bone-In Kona Coffee Rubbed Dry Aged Sirloin with Scallion Butter $43. A flavor enhanced meat that was delicious with the Artisan Series Cabernet. Chef James Storm visited us at the table to explain the ingredients of the rub; Cocoa Powder, Decaf Coffee, Mustard Seed, Parmesan and Caramelized Scallions. Darcy likes her steak "black n'blue" and chef supplied exactly what she ordered.

I ordered a 3lb lobster stuffed with crab meat. The crab meat was fried in Panko butter. The lobster was mouthwatering and really seat. I almost did not need to dip it in butter.

Side Offerings are not to be missed! We ordered our favorite's; Fresh Creamed Spinach and Au Gratin Potatoes.

We were so full, that we had to pass on a traditional dessert, ordering glasses of 30 year-old tawny port, an elegant dessert in a glass.

The best thing about leaving a Capital Grille, is the way they package your leftovers! Everything is packaged perfectly and placed into a nice shopping bag with a signed thank you card from the chef. The devil is in the details and Capital Grille has the details down perfectly.

I highly recommend that you visit your local Capital Grille soon. The Limited Edition Artist Series Wine is going to sell out soon! Plus, the food and service are unmatched!


Sunday, March 6, 2011


Chef Justin Miller explains cooking & sourcing Sweet Bread


By Christopher J. Davies

I have a secret. You know how everyone says they are going on a diet after New Years Eve? We'll mine gets official delayed until after the Broadmoor's Salute To Escoffier Event in late January, or early February.

This event has been classified by some as a food orgy. It is really a homage to the master of French Cuisine and French Wine. Their 9th Annual event was held February 4 to 6, 2011. It was a sold-out event full of foodies, wine and food writers and trade folk.
John Blazon MS with Chef Bertrand Bouquin
Lobster Carpaccio

The event was different than past years, the Friday night welcome reception was somewhat trimmed down, not surprising as most guests do not arrive until Saturday. But the Wine Luncheon at The Mobil 5 Star Penrose Room, featuring luxury boutique wines from Stonestreet Wines, a Kendal-Jackson brand, set the bar for detectible wine pairings and what the evening had in store for the guests. Master Sommelier John Blazon, a former Disney Food & Beverage Director guided us through the Stonestreet wines with grace and humor!


Amuse Bouche
Stonestreet Estate Grown, Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley
Main Lobster Carpaccio With Horseradish Caviar Cream
Stonestreet Red Point Vineyard, Chardonnay, Alexander Valley 2006
Veal Tenderloin And Sweet Bread With Tangerine
Stonestreet, Christopher's Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2006
Stonestreet, Fifth Ridge, Estate Red Blend, Alexander Valley 2006

Wild Flower Honey Panacotta
Journalist friends with Lindsey Bradish, The Broadmoor's F&B Marketing & PR Manager

During the weekend, we also had the pleasure of dining at Summit, the Broadmoor's spectacular American Brasserie, that was designed by internationally-renowned restaurant architect Adam D. Tihany. When you enter Summit you see their expansive bar and custom designed wine turret. Summit features the creative cuisine of French Born Chef Bertrand Bouquin. We fell in love with many of dishes, including the Mac and Cheese Appetizers, which rivals Thomas Keller's (includes Lobster), but the standout was Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Coconut Crust $19, Dried Apricot and Fennel Chutney, Oloroso Reduction. A wonderfully sweet and meaty dish with velvet texture!

We also tried Wine Director Tim Baldwin's suggested pairing: Sherry
Gonzalez Byass, Matusalem, Oloroso Dulce Viejo, VORS (30 years old) Jerez, Spain 13.00. This was a spot on pairing, and to be frank, the first RED Sherry that I have ever tried. I will be resuming my Sherry studies soon! Delicious! Check out Summit:

Saturday's line-up included a cooking demonstration and " Art of The Cocktail" mixology seminar. But the big event was the evening "A Salute To Escoffier" Grand Buffet which for the first time was held in The Broadmoor's International Center. When guests arrived we were treated to a cocktail reception in the lobby which included a full-blown Sushi Station by A-1 Sushi, a multi-store, Japanese run company. When the doors to the ballroom opened it was surprising to enter an elegantly decorated, massive hall with mood lighting and wall to wall cold and hot buffet stations.

The featured wines were sponsored by Republic National Distributors and their Trinity Fine Wines and Grand Vin divisions. While most of the wines were French, I did find some Italian, Chilean and American wines.

The evening concluded with a silent and live auction, that contained large format wine bottles, verticals, a custom chef dinner at your home for eight guests and several trips and excursions. All proceeds were split by the Education Foundation for The Colorado Restaurant Association and The Broadmoor's Culinary Apprenticeship and Scholarship Fund.

This event is a favorite for us and sets the clock for our new year diet!
Check out the 2012 10th Annual Salute To Escoffier Weekend which should be scheduled for the first weekend in February 2012.
Veal and Sweat Bread Duo


Veal and Sweetbread Duo
Curry Spaetzle and Green Asparagus

Yield: 6 servings

1 each        Veal Tenderloin
1 pound       Veal Sweetbread
4 each        Tangerine
1 bunch       Green asparagus

Blanched the asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 8 minutes or until tender, set aside.

Juice the tangerines and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil.  Season the veal loin and the sweetbread with salt and pepper. Cook the veal loin for about 8 minutes on each side or until desired temperature. Remove the veal loin and set aside. In the same pan, cook the sweetbread for the same amount of time.  Add the tangerine juice to the pan and reduce it so it glazes the sweetbread. Set aside.

Curry Spaetzle
2 cup                All purpose flour
4 each               Whole eggs
2 tablespoons        Whole milk
1 teaspoon           Curry powder
To taste             Salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs and milk in to the flour with a whisk making sure there are no lumps. Add the curry powder, salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large pot, bring some salted water to a boil and push the curry dough threw a perforated pan. When the spaetzle comes back to the surface of the water they are cooked. Cool them in ice water, strain and set aside.

In a large sautéed pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil with a tablespoon of butter. Add the spaetzle and sauté until they start to caramelize, season with salt and pepper.