Festivalgoers have the opportunity to learn many culinary secrets, enjoy gourmet dishes, and savor offerings from some of the state’s favorite food establishments at the 28th annual A Taste of Colorado. The four-day, free admission, food, music, and entertainment Festival will take place Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2 through Sept. 5, in Downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park. (See photos from last year’s event!)
The Culinary Showcase, presented by 630 KHOW and hosted by Pat Miller, “The Gabby Gourmet,” will be 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. Inspired by classic European cuisine, Markus Georg of Chinook Tavern will prepare rote grütze and crème Anglaise Friday at 1:15 p.m. Jon Schlegel and Spencer Lomax of Snooze will prepare their Snooze continental, a breakfast dish of house-made granola, yogurt, and an agave nectar drizzle, at 2:30 p.m. Hosea Rosenberg, Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 5 Winner, will craft his smoked rainbow trout salad with cucumber, horseradish, and endive at 3:30 p.m.
You might also want to check out Morton’s The Steakhouse – Denver’s million dollar hamburger and grilled pound cake with sour cherry and pecan ice cream at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, made by Bob Wiltshire. Troy Guard of TAG Restaurant and TAG|Raw Bar prepares Colorado lamb “sausage” sliders, caramelized shallots, and goat cheese aioli at noon.
The stage may get a bit messy Sunday at 11:15 a.m. with Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs Hot Dog Eating Contest. At 1:15pm there will also be an exciting Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Eating Contest.
Keegan Gerhard of D Bar Desserts and The Food Network will craft his faux foster banana imposter, sweet Olathe popcorn, panna cotta, and peanut cocoa nib streusel at 3:30 p.m.
Mary Nguyen of Vietnamese-French bistro Parallel Seventeen will make sizzling Saigon crepes at 2:30 p.m. Learn extra indulgent ways to satisfy your sweet tooth with a demonstration by Leslie Ann Viets of Elway’s Downtown, who will craft sticky toffee pudding and coffee ice cream at 4:30 p.m. Jean Claude Cavalera of Randolph’s Restaurant will prepare French flavors in his steak au poivre and ratatouille at 5:30 p.m.
The Culinary Showcase kicks off Monday with a Wine Seminar by Ben Weinberg, author of “Wine on the Road,” and Rich Mauro, author of “People’s Palate.” To accompany the Seminar, Vic Papazian of Primo Specialty Foods will make mango cheese quesadillas, and Craig Lieberman of 34 Degrees will provide the ingredients.
Elway’s Cherry Creek’s Tyler Wiard will craft a veritable feast at 2:30 p.m., including braised short rib sliders and house-made quick pickles, black truffle Grant Family Farms egg salad BLT sandwiches, brownie lollis, and Southern-style slaw. Lee Clayton Roper, author of “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen,” will make several of her simple yet gourmet recipes, including camembert sauté and Cajun shrimp linguine, at 4:30 p.m.
The Fine Dining Area,sponsored by Sub-Zero and Wolf, 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, BBQ lamb ribs, and a shrimp & prime rib sandwich combo. Perk up with Organo Gold Coffee, offering hot and iced coffee, mochas, and lattes. Delivering a modern interpretation of Vietnamese cuisine, Parallel Seventeen will serve watermelon gazpacho, pulled pork char siu bun, five piece duck confit, and Vietnamese chocolate mousse.
Randolph’s Restaurant will feature Crenshaw melon and cucumber gazpacho, Randolph’s signature slider, jumbo lump crab cakes with caper remoulade, and surf and turf – contemporary American cuisine with a Rocky Mountain flair. Enjoy a brownie pop, slider with Southern-style slaw, petite sirloin with red wine jus, and boulder chips from The Ritz-Carlton Denver & Elway’s Downtown. Street Kitchen Asian Bistro, offering Asian street food translated for Coloradoans, will serve chilled and seasoned edamame, pork siu mai, beef massaman curry with coconut rice, and sago gula melaka.
Many new restaurants have joined the Festival this year, including Aloy Thai Cuisine, serving veggie or pork egg rolls, chicken or veggie pad thai, chicken or veggie green curry, and fresh coconut. Check out exotic offerings from the outdoors with Barbed Wire Reef, including alligator, rattlesnake, elk, buffalo, venison, and wild boar bratwursts; elk and buffalo burgers; and chipotle BBQ pulled wild boar. With tastes reminiscent of a local neighborhood bistro, Fleur Bistro will feature chicken breast or balsamic portabella sandwiches, penne alfredo, and pistachio cookies. Fresh from its mobile kitchen, Island Noodles will serve wok-fired soba noodles with vegetables or teriyaki chicken and Hawaiian citrus salads. Indulge in a hearty meal from Mike’s Meat Market, including all-beef sticks, applewood smoked bacon and peanut butter sandwiches, and jalapeno cheddar bratwursts with sauerkraut. Known for its breakfast menu, Route 6 Café branches out with its “What a Wing” glazed wings and Mediterranean herb wings with slaw. Try one – or maybe a few – of the Swedish treats from Sweet Seven Cookies, including chocolate, Farmer’s (almond), raspberry, oatmeal blueberry, ginger, Finnish stick, and Chessman.
Returning to the Festival is the popular Gigi’s Cupcakes, serving its Birthday Surprise, Chocolate Midnight Magic, White Midnight Magic, and Miss Princess cupcakes. Choose from the eclectic menu at Grand Lux Café, featuring buffalo chicken bites, Cajun shrimp and chicken jambalaya, mini key lime pies, and New Orleans beignets. Those seeking savory tastes should plan to stop byLa Fondue, offering marinated garlic sirloin, a gulf shrimp and sirloin combo, 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 chili. Ground beef and vegetarian Indian tacos, Medicine Wheel nachos, and frybread in a choice of powdered sugar or 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.**
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