Great expectations – at Daniel’s Bistro | VailDaily.com
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Great expectations – at Daniel’s Bistro

Maia Chavez and Mike Larkin

In a valley with an ridiculously high great-chefs-to-diners ratio it’s difficult to stand out in the culinary crowd. But Anthony Mazza is ready to be a rock star.At 25 Anthony has taken the reins of the prestigious and enviable Daniel’s Bistro, the space formerly occupied by The Bristol in Arrowhead.Daniel’s bistro is the newest offering from another of the valley’s über-chefs Daniel Joly, who runs Mirabelle. Fours years working under Joly at Mirabelle earned Mazza his own kitchen.”Yeah, it’s my first big gig,” Mazza says. “But I’m a helluva cook, and that’s what I pride myself in being.”Based on attitude alone, Mazza has the earmarks of a dyed-in-the-wool chef. He wields his weight like a pro in the kitchen, not the easiest thing for a 25 year old to pull off. But Mazza has the goods to back up his convictions. Raised first-generation Italian in Pittsburgh, Mazza grew up in a family that revolved around the kitchen. In high school, he washed dishes in a local Italian eatery, and graduated to slinging pizzas. The rigorous schooling of Le Cordon Bleu took him to the next level. Mazza found Mirabelle through a friend of a friend, moved to Colorado.Since its opening two months ago, Mazza has been having fun with the Bistro’s loose interpretation of Euro-American food. “Basically you have your five or six cuts of meat that each chef likes to work with – that he’s accustomed to working with, and knows how to cook to a medium without even touching it,” Mazza says. “And then you look at which fish are running at that time. I try to work closely with the purveyors – what’s coming in next week, what’s good right now, what’ s going to be good in a month. I make myself like Cliff Notes on my desk calendar. So I know in two weeks that Ono is running again, or dragon tongue peas are going to be in from Palisade this week. It comes together. You see a plan, and then you come out of the office and go upstairs and you put things together and you change things – it just creates itself.”Well, maybe growing up in a cooking family and attending Cordon Bleu helps with the “menu creating itself.” Tempura shrimp cocktail next to bruschetta appetizer, 16 ounce bone in New York with a salt roasted baked potato alongside a Kurobuta pork shank, Mazza is able to jump cooking borders shifting from Asian flare to good old American meat and potatoes, stopping in at several other regional cuisine along the way.But today he is excited about Tapas.”Tonight’s tapas night, we’re offering five different tapas, so you can come in, drink a martini and order small courses. And I really think that that’s where we should be heading as far as eating goes,” Mazza says. “It’s nice to be able to go to the bar and hang out and not have to take up the time to sit politely at your table and wait for the courses to come out. It’s quicker and it’s smaller.”Food for short attention spans. Actually, Mazza points out, it’s food for people who want to have a bunch of different flavors rather than be locked into a single dish. It’s the culinary equivalent of eating off the entire painters’ palate.”You can have two tapas and order an entree. It’s just a free type of way to eat food, and not regimented at all. I think that’s what Bistro is about – I think that’s what we’re trying to be about.”Again Mazza has found a way to experiment and play with food in tapas. Traditionally tapas are small, savory Spanish dishes, served as a snack or with other tapas as a meal, which is a wide open definition that can be interpreted in pretty much any way a creative young chef can dream up.And that’s the kind of creative, enterprising attitude that has attracted so many talented cooks to this valley.If you have any restaurant news contact Maia Chavez at (970) 376-1811 or maiachavez@aol.com

Unfortunately for everyone Edwards’ Alpinista Pizzeria called it quits at the end of last season and closed their doors for good. Their space in the Riverwalk however is currently getting renovated for a brand new Flying Burrito Company location.While just the mere thought of bowling is enough in itself to get the blood pumping, there’s another reason to hit the lanes in Eagle. Back Bowls is getting good reviews on their food, more than just bowling fare. Wraps, salads, burgers and nachos are just a few of the offerings.And expect Stricklands ice cream to be opening their doors in Edwards in the near future. The demand for strickland’s ice cream is outpacing the production of stricklands ice cream makers, but they expect their machines to show up pretty soon. A Starbucks and three ice cream shops in edwards, does that make Edwards cosmopolitan?


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