[Photo Gallery: Adam Larkey]
Over the weekend Eater Denver was on scene at the first annual Beaver Creek Food & Wine Weekend, a showcase of fine food and wine at Beaver Creek resort. There was all kinds of fun to be had, including a pig head butcher throwdown, mountain top dinners by way of snow cats and plenty of alcohol to alleviate post-skiing/snowboarding dehydration. Local hosts included Christian Apetz of 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill, David Gutowski of Grouse Mountain Grill, Daniel Joly of Mirabelle Restaurant, Jay McCarthy of GROUP970, David Walford of Splendido and Kirk Weems of Allie's Cabin. Here now, some light hangover observations from the weekend:
1) Country chef Tim Love of The Lonesome Dove and Love Shack in Texas served up his signature Dirty Love Burgers at the Aprés-Ski Burgers and Beers event, piled high with curried pickles, heirloom tomatoes, wild boar bacon, a sunny-side-up quail egg and finished with his "love sauce."
2) Chef Tim Love's wife Emilie discussed how the couple met, explaining that Colorado is a significant place in their lives. Why, you ask? It's a classic tale of chef meets server. Tim was the chef at Uptown Bistro in Frisco (now closed) and Emilie was a server at Blue River Bistro in Breckenridge.
3) New Orleans chef John Besh of Besh Restaurant Group was looking fresh as always, almost untouched by kitchen heat during his fundraiser dinner at Allie's Cabin. Actress Susan Sarandon was a special guest, promoting the ping-ping social club SpiN. She spoke briefly, enjoyed dinner and wasn't seen the rest of the weekend. She apparently had some ping-pong to play.
4) Top Chef season four winner Stephanie Izard of Chicago's Girl & The Goat cooked each night and participated in the "Lunch and Learn" with 8100 chef Christian Apetz. They showed the audience how to make Trowter, a trout chowder, and a pig face bahn mi. Pig face is a staple at Izard's restaurant in Chicago. Similar to headcheese, Izard uses the whole face of the pig make a terrine. And the eyes? "I was on a trip during my birthday and they [the cooks] cryovaced eyeballs and sent them over as a gift." That's love.
5) Izard's butcher Norbert Moniz was feeling super confident about his pig face butchering skills, so he challenged 8100 sous chef JuJu Salazar to a throwdown (See video below). Izard insisted that Moniz should perform the skill with a blindfold, certain he wouldn't lose a finger. The good news: He didn't cut himself. The bad news: He lost to the underdog.
6) Izard explained why she named her restaurant Girl & The Goat, referencing a painting in her Chicago restaurant. "When we first announced it someone tweeted me and said, 'Oh, so you're naming it after a porn?
7) Chef Richard Sandoval told Eater a little more about the renovations at Zengo and Tamayo, including the planned tequila library for Tamayo. Sandoval says there will be tequila lockers where guests can keep their personal bottle of tequila on reserve.
8) Eater caught up with Frasca Food and Wine chef Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson during the Grand Tasting. Of all 20 tables, where up to four people were cooking at each one, MacKinnon-Patterson was the only chef manning a solo showcase. All he needed was a couple of fryers.
9) Don't assume all the food was fancy at the Grand Tasting. The term comfort food accurately describes this tasting gala. David Gutowski of Grouse Mountain Grill showcased "Pork & Beans" with ranch dressing, John Besh made jalapeño cheese grits with shrimp gravy and Stephanie Izard made goat chili.
The Pig Defacing Showdown [Video: Adam Larkey]
Disclosure: Eater's cost of lodging and attending the festival was covered by the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa.