| VailDaily.com

What does Denver park goose taste like? Denverites ask after culling and cooking

In recent weeks, local and federal officials captured and slaughtered 1,662 Canada geese hanging out at four Denver parks. The goal was to shrink the goose population and then use the meat to feed the hungry. Government officials probably thought their plan was a win-win. Some others? Not so much.

Nutritionist and chef Robert Russel, with ...
RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post Nutritionist and chef Robert Russel cooks goose meat at Metro Caring in Denver on July 19, 2019. The goose meat comes from the euthanized Denver park geese and is served free to the public.
What does Denver park goose taste like? Denverites ask after culling and cooking

Sure, we could debate this controversial program some more — and I’m pretty positive we’ll continue to do so — but among all the questions that #GooseGate has inspired, one stands out.

What does Denver park goose taste like?

The answer, I learned, is like ground beef crossed with dark-meat turkey. It’s not at all gamey or fatty or reminiscent of whatever geese eat in Denver parks. It was good. And in its ground form, I would have sworn it was regular old hamburger with a nice, firm crumble.

I tried the goose at Metro Caring, an anti-hunger organization that received the slaughtered, ground goose meat to distribute to its patrons. The non-profit operates a no-cost supermarket at its headquarters on 18th Avenue and Downing Street, where 100 families a day come in for groceries like fresh produce, meat and eggs. As of this past Monday, USDA-processed and inspected ground park goose was just another butcher-wrapped protein that patrons could grab from the market’s meat counter.

Read more via The Denver Post.

Chic décor and unique dining at Leonora

Be prepared for a unique dining experience from the moment you enter Leonora. The ceiling-high column of 1,000 wine bottles in the center of the restaurant, the circular cushy booths and the chic décor is simply a milieu for the exceptional fare you will savor — which, from beginning to end, will surprise and delight.

Executive Chef Tyson Peterson has created delicious, innovative and mouthwatering tapas to be shared amongst a group of friends or eaten solo. And the food menu is bolstered by Peterson’s ability to fuse a plethora of elements from his experience with French, Spanish and Japanese techniques, to name a few — all fresh, and in Chef’s word, “simple.”

“We want to show color and liveliness,” Peterson says. “The old saying is true, ‘You don’t just eat with you mouth, you eat with your eyes as well.’ We want our customers to be excited when they see their food delivered to the table — making it more fun for everyone at the table to talk about it. The place is very lively, people always have fun and we want to have fun with the menu as well.”

This is one restaurant where you can’t order just one plate or two — or even three: each one enticing, drawing you in. Call it unforgettable mixing and matching.

For starters, try the yuzu kosho “peel n’ eat” Key West pink shrimp, doused with a fermented paste made from chili peppers, yuzu peel and salt. It will awaken your taste buds with its curious tang, and makes an excellent foil for its counterpart, the Old Bay “peel n’ eat” Key West pink shrimp: all robust and bursting with flavor.

Then, watermelon, heirloom tomato and feta cheese, splashed with balsamic dressing, can serve as an intermezzo, before you move on to the next course — perhaps edamame hummus with strawberry and sunflower seeds.  This incredibly creative dish, served with pita bread, is a wonderful surprise and melt-in-your-mouth light and delightful.

Other must-try dishes include mussels a la chalaca, a traditional marine dish of the Peruvian coast. Simply steamed mussels are covered with a vegetable medley and pico de gallo. Served in mussel shells, this dish will surprise.  And there’s no more colorful option than the outrageously delicious coconut lobster ceviche with mango and watermelon radishes.

If you want to venture out of the ocean, look no further than Chef Tyson’s Fried Chicken — clearly one of Vail’s best-kept secrets. Seasoned with barrel-aged fresno hot sauce and served with the chef’s layered poblano bacon biscuit and whiskey barrel-aged honey butter, this dish is to-die-for. (And it’s the restaurant’s “go-to” Sunday night $9 special.)

Chef Peterson keeps things fresh by starting with the best products he can find. He has seafood shipped in almost daily: lobsters, mussels and scallops from Maine, shrimp from Key West, and fresh fish overnighted from Hawaii. His produce is grown in Colorado with micro-greens from Knapp Ranch and Palisade farmers who, each Monday, send him a list of available produce for the week.Leonora is one of those places where you can sit for hours and not even notice the time pass you by. It is also one of those places to which you will want to return — again and again and again. 

Hooked brings ocean flavor to the mountains

Hooked is a delicious reminder that fresh ocean flavor really can be found in the Colorado mountains. This seafood and fish house in Beaver Creek receives the best-of-the-best sushi-grade fish from Japan, Hawaii, California, New Zealand, Spain and beyond.

Guests can order appetizers like Oysters, Ceviche De Hoy or Dynamite Tacos, and for the turf lovers, Korean BBQ 7x Short Ribs. Entrée offerings of Shrimp Scampi and Fish N’ Chips are available too, but don’t miss the signature dining experience at Hooked: whole fish preparation. Pick a fish for your table, like a New Zealand Tai, and the chefs will prepare it in a variety of raw and cooked renditions.

Start with the chef’s variation of your raw fish, like a sashimi preparation, ceviche or sushi roll. Choose between a variety of cooked techniques for your table fish as well, like pan seared or steamed, flame broiled or flash fried. Purists will like it served simply with extra virgin olive oil, charred lemon and sea salt. Most fish are served on the bone, so you can pull off the tender pieces yourself. Alongside a glass of sake or Chablis, let each unique preparation please your palate in a new way.

Order “Omakase” to simply say in Japanese: ”I’ll leave it up to the chef.”

Thank local owner and chef, Riley Romanin, for the special experience he has created at Hooked. He’s teamed up with General Manager and resident Fish Monger Joel Campbell, along with Chef Brandon Woodhall, to make every meal at Hooked delicious, fun and fresh.

“We’re really just hitting it on all points here,” Woodhall shares, “with every preparation, from the whole fish to hot appetizer preparations and large plates. It’s really exciting for all of us as a team to come together and collaborate with the Omakase ideas because there’s so much happening already here, it’s just natural for it to keep evolving.”

Seafood lovers can of course enjoy ocean specialties of oysters, king crab legs or a steamed lobster. Check the chalkboards to see what in-season specials are in house for the evening.

And for dessert, make it mochi … red velvet or triple chocolate; lychee or pistachio. Or if you’re still feeling thirsty, the Shisho Whiskey Sour made with Sensei Japanese Whiskey has an apple simple syrup and light dash of lemon that makes for a truly sweet ending. 

Cheesy fun with Fondue at Home

It’s always fun to get cheesy. Don’t ya think? And with lots of friends present to share the experience it’s even more exciting. You laugh a lot, drink a lot and share some great stories. Certainly, one of the easiest ways of bringing people together is to have a delicious, mouthwatering fondue party, as it will do just that: make for a joyous evening — in any season.

Fondue, a warm cheese dish, originated in Switzerland — and more specifically in the Canton of Neuchâtel, where it was “discovered” by a famed French attorney and famed gastronome, Brillat-Savarin. The dish dates back to the 18th century when both cheese and wine were important industries in Switzerland. The simple-to-prepare meal utilized ingredients that were found in most average homes.

Like Brillat-Savarin, Fondue at Home prepares the meal with the unique flair of the Swiss, utilizing elegant ingredients to satisfy the most discriminating. And, they bring it all it all to your home — from the food and fondue spears to the pots and the burners.

“We prepare the entire party in our commercial kitchen,” says Derek George, owner of Fondue at Home. “Everything is prepared ahead of time. Then the chef arrives, sets out a whole fondue party, gets the party going and, then, leaves. When the party is over, everything goes back in a kit, a container we’ve provided, and we come back and pick it up the next morning. If a client wants a catered fondue party, we offer that as well. The chef will stick around, facilitate the party and clean everything up.”

George began Fondue at Home in 2014 and has an array of repeat clients including locals, as well as visitors. “It all began when I was just thinking about this valley,” says George, “and how so many people arrive here and stay in a large home with their entire family. Sometimes they just want to hang out and not have to deal with ‘weather,’ as we locals call it. They don’t want to deal with the snow. I thought how cool it would be to bring an entire fondue party to someone’s home.” And so Fondue at Home began.

It’s always fun to get cheesy. Don’t ya think? And with lots of friends present to share the experience it’s even more exciting. You laugh a lot, drink a lot and share some great stories. Certainly, one of the easiest ways of bringing people together is to have a delicious, mouthwatering fondue party, as it will do just that: make for a joyous evening — in any season.

Fondue, a warm cheese dish, originated in Switzerland — and more specifically in the Canton of Neuchâtel, where it was “discovered” by a famed French attorney and famed gastronome, Brillat-Savarin. The dish dates back to the 18th century when both cheese and wine were important industries in Switzerland. The simple-to-prepare meal utilized ingredients that were found in most average homes.

Like Brillat-Savarin, Fondue at Home prepares the meal with the unique flair of the Swiss, utilizing elegant ingredients to satisfy the most discriminating. And, they bring it all it all to your home — from the food and fondue spears to the pots and the burners.

“We prepare the entire party in our commercial kitchen,” says Derek George, owner of Fondue at Home. “Everything is prepared ahead of time. Then the chef arrives, sets out a whole fondue party, gets the party going and, then, leaves. When the party is over, everything goes back in a kit, a container we’ve provided, and we come back and pick it up the next morning. If a client wants a catered fondue party, we offer that as well. The chef will stick around, facilitate the party and clean everything up.”

George began Fondue at Home in 2014 and has an array of repeat clients including locals, as well as visitors. “It all began when I was just thinking about this valley,” says George, “and how so many people arrive here and stay in a large home with their entire family. Sometimes they just want to hang out and not have to deal with ‘weather,’ as we locals call it. They don’t want to deal with the snow. I thought how cool it would be to bring an entire fondue party to someone’s home.” And so Fondue at Home began.

For its traditional Swiss fondue, Fondue at Home offers a special blend of Gruyère and Emmentaler Swiss cheeses, melted into dry white wine and spiced with nutmeg and Kirschwasser cherry brandy. It’s served with chunks of French baguette, cubed imported French ham, broccoli, apples, cocktail onions and cornichon gherkin pickles. The steak fondue chinoise includes prime Black Angus steak and mushrooms heated in beef bone broth and served with original dipping sauces. Lobster tail, shrimp and salad and even gluten-free bread can be included. And, of course, the meal is not complete without a chocolate fondue dessert, served with organic fruit.“I look at a fondue party as an ‘experience,’” says George. “It’s not just dining. It’s a way to create memories with your friends and family. The whole nature of fondue is communal where people can share stories over a fondue pot. I think that’s one of the things that draws people to it. It’s more than just cheeseburgers and fries or a pizza dinner. Kids like to eat that way, too, and it gets them involved. It’s family oriented, a memory-making experience. That’s really what I love about fondue.” 

For its traditional Swiss fondue, Fondue at Home offers a special blend of Gruyère and Emmentaler Swiss cheeses, melted into dry white wine and spiced with nutmeg and Kirschwasser cherry brandy. It’s served with chunks of French baguette, cubed imported French ham, broccoli, apples, cocktail onions and cornichon gherkin pickles. The steak fondue chinoise includes prime Black Angus steak and mushrooms heated in beef bone broth and served with original dipping sauces. Lobster tail, shrimp and salad and even gluten-free bread can be included. And, of course, the meal is not complete without a chocolate fondue dessert, served with organic fruit. “I look at a fondue party as an ‘experience,’” says George. “It’s not just dining. It’s a way to create memories with your friends and family. The whole nature of fondue is communal where people can share stories over a fondue pot. I think that’s one of the things that draws people to it. It’s more than just cheeseburgers and fries or a pizza dinner. Kids like to eat that way, too, and it gets them involved. It’s family oriented, a memory-making experience. That’s really what I love about fondue.” 

Centerpiece salad takes center stage

Forget the bouquet of flowers, this centerpiece salad has enough beauty to fill the table with color and wow your guests with its striking appearance.

“Food really can be art, such as is the case with this centerpiece salad,” said Ally Stephens, chef-owner of Season to Taste. “Taking the time to beautifully plate the food you’re serving can take a dish to the next level.”

At your next dinner party, serve this Instagram-worthy dish and be prepared to have your guests delay dinner to snap a few photos of the centerpiece salad. Serve as a side or add some protein like cooked eggs, chicken, shrimp or crab legs to make it more of a meal.

Stephens said she doesn’t have a set recipe for this, but bases the ingredients on what is appealing to her eye at the markets and farms and chooses what looks the freshest in a variety of colors and textures.

“For this particular salad, I chopped some fresh spinach to create a base on the bottom of the salad and then added the following greens and veggies: purple kale, grilled romaine hearts, endive, sugar snap peas, spiralized golden and red beets, rainbow carrots, multi-colored radishes and grilled baguettes,” Stephens said.

“Grilling romaine hearts unexpectedly elevates and transforms your romaine into a beautiful, slightly smoky, charred delicious treat. It may even get non-salad eaters to eat some greens,” Stephens said.

Serve the salad with different homemade dressings to account for a medley of flavor profiles and dietary restrictions. Learn how to make the salad and homemade dressing in today’s video.

Pesto Buttermilk Dressing

Ingredients

1/8 cup basil pesto

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 shallot, chopped

1/4 cup buttermilk

Juice of one lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or use an immersion blender and blend until well combined. Pour over chopped vegetables and toss until it’s evenly distributed.

Lauren’s Kitchen offers a unique approach to feeding Edwards’ health-conscious

Lauren’s Kitchen offers a totally unique approach to feeding the Vail Valley’s hungry and health-conscious clientele, and that’s just the way Chef Lauren McElroy likes it.

“I enjoy coming to work,” says McElroy, who starts each morning at the Edwards Riverwalk restaurant by putting together the day’s offerings from scratch. The meals are designed for grab-n-go but customers can also choose to dine in the welcoming bistro setting.

Lauren’s Kitchen only uses fresh seasonal ingredients, which means the menu of entrées, sides, salads, and soups changes daily. Comfort food with a healthy twist, McElroy’s love of Italian, Mexican and Southwestern flavor profiles culminate in dishes like chicken parmesan, a vegan Buddha Bowl, her signature pecan crusted chicken and green chili mac n cheese. There are also daily gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free options.

“My approach is that if I wouldn’t eat it, I won’t serve it,” says McElroy, who found her passion for cooking in her grandmothers’ kitchens as a kid in Texas. Armed with a culinary degree, she launched her local catering business, New American Foods, in 2013 and still offers customizable menus and food for special gatherings to her Lauren’s Kitchen clientele.Lauren’s Kitchen only opened in November 2018, but it’s already amassed a dedicated following. “Once people get the grab-n-go concept, they keep coming back for more,” the vivacious chef says with a grin, before jumping up to guide a customer through the day’s menu. 

For 25 years, Marko’s Pizza has been keeping Edwards in pizza, pasta and good times

Established in 1994, Marko’s Pizza has been keeping Edwards — and beyond — in pizza, pasta and good times for the past 25 years. The cozy, lively space is perfect for a casual dinner with friends and family.

One of Marko’s trademark specialties is the first item you’ll encounter on the menu: house garlic knots. Made from Marko’s signature dough and kissed with garlic, they are a mouthwatering treat — and the perfect tidbit to satiate your appetite just until the main course.

Their “old school pasta” is a build-your-own adventure. You can combine your choice of pasta (from spaghetti to fettucini, ziti to tri-colored spiral pasta) with marinara, meat sauce, alfredo or the classic “fatt butt” sauce. If you’re trying to keep things easy, though, check out the Marko’s-style baked pasta dishes — that’s where you’ll find old favorites like chicken parmesan, lasagna and ravioli.

But, the star of the Marko’s Pizza menu is, naturally, their pizza. Hand tossed, garnished with fresh toppings, beautifully oven-blistered and bubbling with cheesy glory, their pizzas are something to behold. Try any number of their house specialty pizzas, like the Supreme, the Popeye Pie or their delicious Greek pizza — a spectacle of olives, artichokes and spinach piled high and generously peppered with olive oil, feta and mozzarella cheeses.

Or, build a custom pizza crafted to fit your palate like a savory slipper. Choose your sauce, choose your toppings and bueno appetito. 

Maya’s menu reads like a love letter to Mexico

If you want a little panache with your pico de gallo, then just enter the world of Chef Richard Sandoval. Considered to be the “Father of Modern Mexican Cuisine,” Sandoval’s creations are a highlight of Maya Restaurant at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa. In fact, The Michelin Guide said of the restaurant, “Maya’s menu reads like a love letter to Mexico.”

Sandoval’s philosophy was to create an “interactive” dining experience.  “Before, people had an appetizer, entrée and dessert and dinner was over,” he told USA Today. “I like to take people on a journey that’s more ambitious. I recommend two to three plates per person and sharing an entrée.

“Now the experience becomes an interactive tasting. You’re passing the plates around, talking about the ingredients and the tastes.”

And so it is at Maya. The food is spectacular across the board. It’s rooted in tradition and, it must be said, intriguing. Nothing tastes as you might expect: It’s better than that.

And it begins with an assortment of more than 100 tequila drinks, inspired by local tequileirias in Mexico. They are refreshingly laced with an assortment of flavors that keep you guessing. One favorite is the Perfect Patrón Skinny Margarita, with Patrón silver, pineapple citronge lime and agave nectar. Another — the Canela Anejo, with Roca Patrón añejo tequila, blood orange and cinnamon. Both drinks make the perfect beginning to an exciting evening of flavors.

And that evening should begin with Maya’s Classic Guacamole. However, adding raw tuna to this dish will leave you wanting more — even after you, perhaps, ordered the Adobo Crusted Shrimp and Calmari with citrus cabbage slaw, as well. It’s a toss up between these two starters. Totally different tastes — both wonderful.

“Chef Sandoval created a standard of how the plates should look,” says Executive Chef Angel Munoz who works closely with Chef Veronica Morales. “From there we can play with ingredients and method of cooking and that’s what engages us. Like adding tuna to the guacamole.”

Morales and Munoz have a very warm working relationship. “This is how we work,” says Munoz, with a laugh. “I’ll say, ‘We need to use this ingredient.’ And she’ll say, ‘Okay, we can do this and this.’ She puts techniques in practice and I’m the one who says ‘We have to use this, I want this.’ Veronica gives soul to our menu”.

And that “soul” shows up in every dish. Take the tacos and enchiladas, for instance. Like everything on the menu, they’re authentic, freshly made and outrageously delicious. Favorites include the Adobo Brisket Tacos and the Tex Mex Chicken Enchiladas; however, the Blue Crab and Shrimp Enchiladas, with salsa verde and spinach, is a must. The array of flavors will leave you quiet, intent upon eating every last bite.

Feel free to wander beyond the tacos and enchiladas, though, to the menu’s appealing Chef’s Table choices. Carne Asada, with fire-grilled vegetables, is served within a fanned circle of black been purée and Coriander Tuna, is seared rare. It’s really hard to choose only one.

An evening at Maya is incredibly delicious and always intriguing. What’s more, you’ll leave wanting more.

Chef Munoz says that this summer’s FAC (Friday Afternoon Club) will be filled with an array of new dishes that he and Chef Morales are busily creating.

Always-fun vibe at Remedy Bar in Vail

With its floor-to-ceiling windows and an always-fun vibe, The Remedy Bar is the place to warm up during the lunch hour or linger on to watch alpenglow bathe the hills. At this hip lounge and dining area within the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, you can snack, drink and dine to the sounds of live music five nights a week or unwind while watching the sun slowly set beyond the well-appointed patio. And all who gather here love choosing from a playful menu that embraces the theme of food and drink as remedies for whatever the day may hold.

The Remedy Bar is well known for its innovative beverage program, which makes it a not-to-miss destination for fresh food and drink pairings. “We create all of our own juices and shrubs in house for a refreshing taste in our fruit-based drinks,” says Bar Manager Aaron Ritrovato. A shrub in this context is a fruit-based cocktail ingredient that creates a pleasantly balanced taste rather than a sugary or syrupy sweetness. Try out this smooth-sipping addition in the colorful V, a vodka cocktail that includes the housemade blueberry and rosemary shrub, St-Germain, citrus, and the bubbly goodness of Veuve.

While the V is just one example of The Remedy Bar’s creative originals, new takes on classic cocktails are also done well here. Some unorthodox muddling and shaking — along with a Remedy select bourbon — makes the Remedy Old Fashioned an easy-drinking version that pales others in comparison.

Whether you’re snacking or dining at The Remedy Bar, options range from a colossal kalbi beef rib to the tortilla soup, complete with avocado, cotija cheese and crispy tortilla. Settle in with a gourmet pizza or something to share, such as the Pretzel Charcuterie, which includes il porcellino salumi, house-made pickles, Bavarian pretzel and house mustards. The signature Remedy Burger is also a hit, with 7x Ranch wagyu beef, grilled red onions, lettuce, tomato, pickle, cure-all sauce, cheddar cheese and fries.

Sports enthusiasts, especially, will appreciate The Remedy Bar lounge’s wall-sized television and multiple screens, which can show up to 10 games simultaneously for the ultimate sports-viewing experience.The fun continues into the weekend with a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar that features an extraordinary mix of ingredients and toppings. With a full schedule of other activities and entertainment planned for the winter season, you can count on the atmosphere at The Remedy Bar to be fresh, interesting, and — above all — fun. 

Eke out every sip of sunshine at Sauce on the Creek

Summer is fleeting and the opportunities for al fresco dining are limited: Eke out every sip of sunshine at Sauce on the Creek in Avon. A truly family-friendly establishment, Sauce on the Creek has an expansive patio with spectacular views of Beaver Creek mountain that welcomes active children and can arrange tables to fit your 22-person family. And the food? Family style: Hearty enough to satiate your bottomless-pit nephew and diverse enough to accommodate your allergic-to-everything aunt.

Featuring “New England Style Italian” food, the menu is diverse with a wide variety of appetizers (the Brussels sprouts are perhaps the most popular); soups and salads; from-scratch pizza that is also available on gluten-free crust; hearty pasta (with gluten-free and veggie options, too) and elegant entrées. However, it’s not enough to just look at the menu — you have to hear the specials.

“The thing that sets up apart from the other restaurants in the valley is that our chef, Mike Irwin, is creating great specials nightly that are constantly changing,” explains General Manager Ross Cohen. “We always have some kind of meat special, some kind of fish special every evening; sometimes we have a salad special. That’s really what sets us apart.”

These daily specials allow Chef Irwin to be creative with his cuisine, focusing on certain in-season ingredients or utilizing styles and flavors that might depart from Sauce’s roots. It’s a thrill simply to see what he’s created on that particular day.

Though Sauce on the Creek certainly has an affinity for its various edible sauces, there’s another sauce that is front and center at the eye-catching and beguiling bar.

Sauce is known for its extensive wine list and its owners’ affinity for whiskey: It’s home to one of the most expansive whiskey selections in the valley. Though guests are encouraged to whet their whistle on any day of the week, the advent of Whiskey Wednesdays will bring a new level of cheer to hump day. Every Wednesday, everything whiskey is discounted 25%, which gives patrons the opportunity to sample some of the pricier options — like the normally $100 pour of Pappy Van Winkle.

But Sauce has another attractive option for sampling: half pours. At .75 ounces, half pours are perfect for creating your own whiskey flight.

“The whole point of the half pours is to give people the opportunity to try something they might not normally try at a more affordable rate,” Cohen says. Combining half pours and Whiskey Wednesdays sounds like a reason to celebrate mid-week.

For those living for the weekend, Sauce is hosting three special “Saucy Sundays” focusing on brunch, bourbon and beats. On June 23, July 4 and Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., a DJ will be spinning tunes, a special brunch menu will make its debut and the patio will be the place to soak up the sun and have fun with the family.

So grab friends, family or that coworker you’ve been meaning to connect with and head to Sauce on the Creek. The patio is waiting — and so is the whiskey.