3:03 pm - Monday August 24, 8437

A Taste of Colorado: Chef Demonstrations, Gourmet Specialties, and Regional Cuisine

Taste buds will be tempted and satisfied with the full range of culinary opportunities at the 29th annual A Taste of Colorado.  The four-day, free admission, food, music, and entertainment Festival will take place Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31 through Sept. 3, in Downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park.
The Albert Bartlett Culinary Showcase, presented by 630 KHOW and hosted by Pat Miller, “The Gabby Gourmet,” is located in the Fine Dining Area and features local and nationally renowned chefs offering tips and techniques that Festivalgoers can take home to their own kitchen.  Daniel Schneider of Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage will prepare green eggs and ham with sweet potato fries Friday at noon.  Micah Olson of The Broker Restaurant will craft eggplant Napoleon at 1:15 p.m.  Elway’s Cherry Creek’s Tyler Wiard will make his Colorado lamb, heirloom tomato ragout, and Olathe corn polenta at 2:30 p.m.  Check out a signature dish from Mary Nguyen ofStreet Kitchen Asian Bistro at 3:30 p.m. – pot stickers with spicy dipping sauce.  Wy Livingston and Chef Lee Reitz of Wystone’s World Teas will feature braised Colorado lamb shoulder with creamed Olathe corn at 4:30 p.m.

Kelly Andis of Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage kicks off Saturday at 11:15 a.m. with their primal hot cereal.  Green papaya salad will be the dish prepared by Mary Nguyen of Vietnamese-French bistro Parallel Seventeen at noon.  James Campbell Caruso of La Boca Sante Fe will craft a recipe from his new book, “Espana: Exploring the Flavors of Spain,” at 2:30 p.m.  Keegan Gerhard of D Bar Desserts and The Food Network will make French macaroons at 4:30 p.m.  Join Robert Bogart of Elway’s Downtown at 5:30 p.m. as he features corn and poblano quinoa risotto with Elway’s braised short ribs.

The stage may get a bit messy Sunday at 11 a.m. with Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs Hot Dog Eating Contest, followed by a Fried Chicken Contest at 11:30 a.m., featuring ten area restaurants and local celebrity judges.  Jean Claude Cavalera of Randolph’s Restaurant will craft the Julia Child-classic, beef bourguignon, at 1 p.m.  Check outMatt Selby of Ace, Steuben’s, and Vesta Dipping Grill at 2:30 p.m. as he prepares Tom Kha Gai, a traditional Thai chicken coconut soup.  Andrew Fairlie for Albert Barlett,Michelin Star Chef, will make gnocchi at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.  Fairlie’s eponymous restaurant is Scotland’s only two Michelin Star-rated dining establishment.  Star ofBravo’s “Around the World in 80 Plates,” Jenna Johansen will make baked kale, charred corn bruschetta with garden herb salsa verde, and peach quinoa salad at 4:30 p.m.

The Culinary Showcase kicks off Monday with a demo at 11:15 a.m. of “Make It Paleo” with tropical fruit gazpacho by Fallon Rhodes of Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage.  Learn how to prepare cheese-stuffed rellenos at noon by Jose Gallegos and Kelly Trezis of Que Bueno! Mexican Grille.  Lee Clayton Roper, author of “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen,” will make a simple yet gourmet recipe of baked shrimp with tomato, feta cheese, and capers at 2:30 p.m.  Olav Peterson from his seasonally-focused restaurant, Bittersweet, will craft salmon smørrebrød at 4:30 p.m.

The following is a lineup of demonstrations on the Albert Bartlett Culinary Showcase presented by 630 KHOW:

FRIDAY, Aug. 31
12:00 p.m. — Daniel Schneider – Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
1:15 p.m. — Micah Olson – The Broker Restaurant
2:30 p.m. — Tyler Wiard – Elway’s Cherry Creek
3:30 p.m. — Mary Nguyen – Street Kitchen Asian Bistro
4:30 p.m. — Wy Livingston and Chef Lee Reitz – Wystone’s World Teas
5:30 p.m. — Daniel Asher – Root Down and Linger, Albert Bartlett Ambassador
6:30 p.m. — Ready, Set, Cook!  Chefs compete and cook like crazy!

SATURDAY, Sept. 1
11:15 a.m. — Kelly Andis – Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
12:00 p.m. — Mary Nguyen – Parallel Seventeen
1:15 p.m. — Ice Cream Eating Contest
2:30 p.m. — James Campbell Caruso – La Boca Santa Fe
3:30 p.m. — Daniel Asher – Root Down and Linger, Albert Bartlett Ambassador
4:30 p.m. — Keegan Gerhard – D Bar Desserts and The Food Network
5:30 p.m. — Robert Bogart – Elway’s Downtown
6:30 p.m. — Ready, Set, Cook!  Chefs compete and cook like crazy!

SUNDAY, Sept. 2
11:00 a.m. — Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs Hot Dog Eating Contest
11:30 a.m. — Fried Chicken Contest, featuring 10 area restaurants and celebrity judges
12:30 p.m. — Ice Cream Eating Contest
1:00 p.m. — Jean Claude Cavalera – Randolph’s Restaurant
2:30 p.m. — Matt Selby – Ace, Steuben’s, Vesta Dipping Grill
3:30 p.m. — Andrew Fairlie, Michelin Star Chef – Albert Bartlett Ambassador
4:30 p.m. — Jenna Johansen – Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates
5:30 p.m. — Andrew Fairlie, Michelin Star Chef – Albert Bartlett Ambassador
6:30 p.m. — Ready, Set, Cook!  Chefs compete and cook like crazy!

MONDAY, Sept. 3
11:15 a.m. — Fallon Rhodes – Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
12:00 p.m. — Jose Gallegos and Kelly Trezis – Que Bueno! Mexican Grille
1:15 p.m. — Ice Cream Eating Contest
2:30 p.m. — Lee Clayton Roper – “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen”
3:30 p.m. — Daniel Asher – Root Down and Linger, Albert Bartlett Ambassador
4:30 p.m. — Olav Peterson – Bittersweet

The Fine Dining Area will feature some of Denver’s most accomplished chefs and noted restaurants offering gourmet specialties in the park.  Downtown staple, The Broker Restaurant, will be featuring shrimp cocktail, prime rib sandwiches, lamb ribs, and eggplant Napoleon.  Delivering a modern interpretation of Vietnamese cuisine,Parallel Seventeen will serve Asian pork ribs, lemongrass beef lettuce wraps, vegetable spring rolls, and almond toffee popcorn.  Que Bueno! Mexican Grille, offering “north of the border” favorites with a modern twist, will showcase its chili-infused honey grilled pork chop, chili-spiced black bean and Huitlachocte tamale, and churros. Randolph’s Restaurant will feature contemporary American cuisine with a Rocky Mountain flair, including crepes with Colorado-smoked salmon, Randolph’s signature slider, surf and turf (a crepe and slider), and cheesecake bites.  Street Kitchen Asian Bistro, offering Asian street food translated for Coloradoans, will serve grilled Asian chicken with coconut rice, coconut shrimp, pork eggrolls, and mango or lychee shaved ice.  Enjoy fresh fruit cobbler, a fire burger slider, and sweet potato fries fromTimberline Steaks & Grille.

Many new restaurants have joined the Festival this year, including Amore Gelato, serving limone (lemon), fragola (strawberry), lampone (raspberry), and cioccolato (chocolate) sorbetto.  Check out offerings from Damascus Grill, including the baked lamb plate, baked lamb sandwich, hommos with pita, and spinach pie.  Chili cheese fries, tacos, smothered burritos, and chilindrinas will be featured from Gramma Dor’s Mexican Food.  In the mood for seafood?  Try Joe’s Crab Shack’s crab dip with chips; great balls of fire (jalapeno, shrimp, and crab balls); spicy boiled crawfish; peel and eat shrimp; or the BBQ snow crab.  Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza, the only certified authentic Neapolitan restaurant by the Verace Pizza Napoletana in Colorado, will serve margherita pizza, margherita pizza with spicy salami, truffle pizza with mushrooms, meatballs with San Marzano sauce, and Italian tiramisu.

Returning to the Festival is the popular GiGi’s Cupcakes, serving its Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Midnight Magic, Summer Fun, and Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes.  Those seeking savory tastes should plan to stop by La Fondue, offering marinated garlic sirloin, gulf shrimp, cheese fondue, and chocolate fondue.  Festival favorite Rosa Linda’s Mexican Café dishes up green chili; cactus; burritos and tacos in a choice of chicken, shredded beef, or cactus; cheese enchiladas; and bean and cheese burritos with green chili.  Ground beef and vegetarian Indian tacos, Medicine Wheel nachos, and frybread with powdered sugar and cinnamon are on the menu at Tocabe.

Classic Festival favorites, including berrie kabobs, turkey drumsticks, shaved ice, corn on the cob, and funnel cakes will also be served throughout the event.

The following is a complete list of Colorado’s favorite food establishments that will offer a wide variety of their specialties, from small portions to full meals:

Alpine Sausage Company
Amore Gelato
Barbed Wire Reef
Bayou Bob’s
Breyers Ice Cream
The Broker Restaurant
Caribbean Cuisine
Caveman Cafeteria
Cherry Creek Concessions
CiCi’s Pizza
Cold Front Ice Cream Sales and Distribution
Colorado Buffalo Grill
Colorado Corn Company
The Continental Room & Lounge
Crepe Crazy
Damascus Grill
Divine Donuts
Doc Popcorn
Empanada Express
Falafel King
Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que
GiGi’s Cupcakes
The Goods Smoke & Grill
Graham’s Texapino Favorites
Gramma Dor’s Mexican Food
Grammy’s Goodies
Hard Rock Cafe
Hot Wok Café
India’s Restaurant
Island Noodles
Island Oasis Smoothies
Jamba Juice
Joe’s Crab Shack
La Fondue
Little India Restaurant
Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza
Marlowe’s
Monster Grill
Mustard’s Last Stand
Nut Sensations
Old Tyme Concessions
The Original Berrie Kabobs
Parallel Seventeen
Perkins Restaurant & Bakery
Pete’s Greek Town Café
Pink Tank
Que Bueno! Mexican Grille
Randolph’s Restaurant
Rocky Mountain Nut Roasters
Roro’s Concessions
Rosa Linda’s Mexican Café
Saltgrass Steakhouse
Snow Business
Snowie Colorado
Southwest Kettle Corn
Street Kitchen Asian Bistro
Styria Catering
Sushi By Night
Sweet Lorraine’s Catering
Timberline Steaks & Grille
Tocabe

In addition to an exceptional variety of food, the Main Stage and four other entertainment stages located throughout the Festival will serve up a continuous menu of music, including the KBCO World Class Rock Stage presented by Date Night Denver, KYGO Country Stage, and the TUMS Freshers Heritage Stage presented by Westword.

Festivalgoers can shop in more than 280 Marketplace booths for original arts and crafts, home and gift items, furniture, jewelry, imports, and more.  Fine Art in the Park will display original works in a variety of mediums created by artists from around the country.  Shoppers also can explore the Home & Lifestyles area, which features a variety of exhibitors displaying products and services such as window installation, kitchen remodeling, cookware, basement refinishing, and salons and spas.

There will be plenty of music, magic, clowns, and puppets on the Comfort Dental KidzStage presented by MIX 100, and the KidZone features play equipment and hands-on craft activities.  Kids and adults also can enjoy carnival rides and games Saturday through Monday.

In the Festival of Mountain and Plain area, families can learn about the state’s pioneer past, nature, and the environment.  Featured artisans will demonstrate Navajo weaving and culture, spinning, rug braiding, lace crocheting, felting, and quilting, along with the popular blacksmith demonstration.  At the Raptor Education Foundation (REF) exhibit, children can learn about birds, their environment, and their interactions with humans.

Sponsors of this year’s Festival are:  9NEWS, Aggreko, LLC, Air National Guard “Rise To The Challenge” Tour, Albert Bartlett, All Copy Products, American Medical Response, Aspen Pure, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, BIC, Blue Moon, Coast 2 Coast Communications, Colorado Lottery, Colorado Native, Comfort Dental, Coors Banquet, Courtyard by Marriott Denver Downtown, D’AGAVE, Date Night Denver, The Denver Post, Downslope Distilling, Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc., Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que, Ford Experience Tour, FRESHIES, Goat Vodka, Grand Lodge on Peak 7, Hill’s® Science Diet® Ideal Balance™, International Delight Iced Coffee, Jelly Belly, LBA Realty, Levinson Eye Clinic, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, PEPSI, Residence Inn Denver City Center, Roundhouse Spirits, State Farm®, Sturgeon Electric, TownePlace Suites Denver Downtown, TUMS Freshers, Verizon Wireless, Xcel Energy, and XingTea.

Festival hours are Friday, Aug. 31, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 2, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Monday, Sept. 3, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Festival of Mountain and Plain … A Taste of Colorado is a community celebration that is produced by and benefits Downtown Denver Events, Inc., the Downtown Denver Partnership family’s community events nonprofit organization.  The Festival is an opportunity for people throughout the region to come together to experience and appreciate our diverse cultural traditions, and to learn more about our state’s Western heritage.  The Festival highlights visual and performing arts in addition to featuring educational programs and culinary demonstrations.

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