Summer of Rose

As a red wine drinker, I used to only love reds, all the time but as my palate matured, I realized that I needed to start re-educating my palate to other wines. I realized that I adore Rose, especially from the same grape varietals I normally drink as reds, such as a Rose of Pinot Noir, of Cabernet Sauvignon, of Tempranillo, and of Sangiovese.

Recently, I received a wonderful bottle of Rose from Willamette Valley, it was like biting into a watermelon that was soaked in strawberry and nectarine juice and had a crispness to it that made you want to drink more and more of it. This is a dangerous thing, especially by the pool. It is made by Real Nice Winemakers called Shallow Seas. It is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling sourced from some of the best vineyards in Willamette Valley.

This is my kind of “Rose all day” kind of poolside sipper!

IMG_2690

It most recently received 90 points from Wine Enthusiast but honestly, I am more of one to try the wine and decide whether I like it or not and I do really love this rose. It is crisp and super drinkable. At $18, you really can’t go wrong but hurry as it is almost sold out!

IMG_2748

Another very enjoyable Rose came from Lodi, called d’Art and it is a Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon, which we paired with some great steaks poolside. It was a great pairing and one I plan to do again.  To me, on the nose, it had this strawberry, watermelon, grapefruit and rose scent. On the palate, it had medium acidity with a lasting finish that had bright fruited yet some herbaceousness, that was quite enjoyable. I also love that their wine label art differs from wine to wine. At $22, this balanced wine is sure end of summer BBQ hit!

Lodi has a great number of varietals that they use to make a variety of wines, if you have a chance, this is an incredible area to visit and while famous for their Zinfandel, grow over 125 varieties and this diversity is reflected in our rosés. They have rosés made from Carignan, Grenache and Garnacha, Barbera, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. Learn more at Lodi Wine.

Make sure to get these before they sell out for the season! Cheers!

Don’t miss the Slow Food Nations Festival Coming to Denver on July 13-15, 2018

As a foodie, I love food events that showcase not only food but the history behind it. In this case, you get a chance to learn not only about the history but the future of the food you eat every day. On July 13-15, Slow Food USA will be holding their annual Slow Food Nations Festival in downtown Denver. This event will include free and paid events so there is really something for everyone, even kids.

For families, there is the free Taste Marketplace and Eat street and the Zero Waste Family Meal which features chefs collaborating on a delicious family meal created from the festival’s food scraps. This is likely going to be a meal to remember!

For those interested in workshops, there are some great ones like Slow Wine 101 and The Magical Mix of Cheese, Beer and Charcuterie for around $50 a workshop.  Who doesn’t love a little bit of alcohol while learning something incredible about the food and drink they consume every day? Not every workshop showcases alcohol, there are a number of other workshops focusing on honey, grain, and olive oil as well.

For the foodie/wine lover in me, Raj Patel is coming and I am super excited to hear this free talk with Gail Myers and Tom Philpott during “The Impact of Capitalism on Food.”

The best part of this is that is all located in downtown Denver at Larimer Square. Make sure to pick up some tickets soon as they will most likely sell out. I better go get my Colorado Fare dinner tickets now!

About Slow Food Nations: 

Slow Food Nations is a festival of flavor, culture and exploration. From the Taste Marketplace and Eat Street, to workshops and family fun, we’re taking over Larimer Square in downtown Denver. Kick it off with an opening party featuring the best of Colorado, and connect with farmers and artisans, chefs and food lovers over the weekend.

The festival is free and open to the public, with select ticketed workshops, talks and tastings. July 13-15, 2018. 

Click here for more information on their schedule.

A Foodie’s Journey through Denver in a Day

Union Station Denver

Stop 1: Breakfast

No trip to Denver is complete without a few food stops, and if you are a foodie like me, I would recommend starting with a hearty breakfast at Snooze AM.

If you haven’t heard of Snooze, then it’s time for you to try it. Snooze is my go-to breakfast place early in the morning. As the adage goes, “the early bird gets the worm;” in this case, if you arrive early to Snooze, you’ll beat the lines and get in fast. So literally, don’t snooze…or you’ll wait a good hour or so for your breakfast.

Snooze was started in Denver in 2006 and has now expanded to California, Arizona, and Texas. I personally love to start with their Straight Up or Spicy Bloody Marys or their fresh-from-the-tap Mimosas. Then I love to dive into one of two items, either their 3-Egg Omelets or their delectable Cinnamon Roll Pancake, the latter of which I always order on the side anyways and split it with those at the table. That is, of course, if I feel like sharing!  You honestly can’t go wrong with any item on their menu.

Visit them at the Denver Union Station starting at 6:30 a.m. at 1701 Wynkoop Street, Suite 150, Denver, CO 80202. They are tucked inside the really cool and renovated Union Station.

Stop 2: Walk it off

Once you’ve filled your belly, it’s time to burn off some of those cholesterol-laden calories. I recommend enjoying the sights with a light walking tour with Denver Free Walking Tours.  They start at 10 a.m. and meet at the Veteran’s Memorial off Lincoln Street, and they end at Coors Field.  It is about a two-hour walk and covers about two miles. Thus it isn’t too much of a hike but it’s enough to get you going.  If you are pushing around a stroller, it isn’t too hard to manage either. These tours run May 1st through October 31st, seven days a week; then from November 1st to April 30th, they run only on Saturdays and Sundays.

Denver Civic Center

These tour guides work off their tips, so do tip them generously! The tour covers the State Capitol, the Civic Center, the Denver Art Museum, the U.S. Mint, Larimer Square, and 16th Street Mall, and finishes at the famous Coors Field.  These are all the really essential places to visit while in town.  This is indeed a great way to experience downtown without having to think too much about it.

Stop 3: Food Truck time!

Perhaps I shouldn’t have recommended a big breakfast, but given that you’ve now already walked some of it off, you can indulge once again.  Do this at the Civic Center Eats, which is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from May 2nd to October 5th. It is Denver Metro’s largest gathering of gourmet food trucks and carts (23-25 food trucks to be exact).  You can taste everything from local burgers to Cajun to Indian food and all the while enjoying live music and the beautiful setting of the Civic Center Park.

Stop 4: Nap or Drink…your choice

Yes, I said, take a nap. If you are lucky enough to be staying downtown or nearby, head back for a nap and enjoy a food-induced nap.  Why?  Because tonight you will be eating at one of the top James Beard award-winning restaurants, Rioja, and you’ll need room for this wonderful cuisine. However, before you do take a nap, make sure you’ve already booked your dinner reservations at Rioja.

If you are not able to nap, enjoy a beer back at Union Station’s Terminal Bar, which has a great line-up of Colorado beers, or enjoy a coffee across the way at Pigtrain Coffee Company, where you can experience phenomenal lattes.

Another great stop is a place where you can see all of Denver from a rooftop while enjoying a beer.  Go to Tap Fourteen, on the rooftop of Hayter’s & Co, half a block from Coors Field, where you can choose from a rotating list of 70 top Colorado beers on draft! You can try out their great beer offerings from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday- Friday or start early on Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. with brunch.  Tap Fourteen has many other activities and events; check out their homepage.

Stop 5: Award-Winning Dinner

Finally, the famous and historic Larimer Street located in Lower Downtown Denver (known locally as LODO) is where you will find a number of great restaurants besides my personal favorite mentioned earlier, Rioja. Perhaps this particular restaurant is a place I recommend because I am partial to (and have lived and worked in) the wine region in Northern Spain called La Rioja.  However, Rioja (the restaurant) is actually a place where James Beard Award Winning Executive Chef Jennifer Jasinski and Tim Kuklinski bring together local and Mediterranean ingredients to create sophisticated plates. While the food is not typical of my favorite wine region in Spain, Rioja’s many food and wine offerings stand out on their own and create their own little piece of heaven.

Rioja Meal

At Rioja, I recommend trying their egg-yolk ravioli, which is deliciously divine and cooked to perfection. With a buttery dish like this, I would recommend pairing this with a wine with enough acidity to cut through the starch, butter, and yolks. A chardonnay or a pinot blanc would pair well with this plate, given the acidity and body typical these wines.

If you plan to go to Rioja, I would recommend booking via OpenTable in advance as this place is well sought after. They open at 5 p.m. for dinner and are located at 1431 Larimer Street, Denver, CO.

I hope you have enjoyed this day as much as I have!