Jay Fox's Dining Guide

How good are Denver's best women chefs?

The 7th Annual WomenCook! Dining for a Difference
Work Options for Women

COME ONE, COME ALL, to a tasting of the finest food your tum-tums will ever get an opportunity to receive. If you haven’t been before, you’d best hope it’s not too late to buy a seat, or better yet a table.

On Monday evening, May 2, 2011, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Temple Emanuel (51 Grape Street, Denver), the most bestest, most wonderful, most enchanting female chefs will prepare a dish or maybe two, to demonstrate their skills at the same time raising lotsa money so that the Work Options for Women (WOW) program can continue helping low-income women gain the skills and confidence necessary to move out of the cycle of poverty and into a life of long-term independence and self-sufficiency. WOW operates a culinary training program coupled with a job placement program so that these women can find meaningful employment in the food service industry.

Gloria Neal, CBS4 News reporter/ commentator, will be the emcee. She hosted this event last year and was terrific. If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear her, you’re missing out. She’s personable, warm, witty and very entertaining. I can’t think of anyone better to emcee an event in Denver. Along with Gloria and me, 500 of Denver’s hungriest will fill the auditorium.

Check-in starts at 6 p.m., with time to look at the silent auction items. Dinner will start promptly at 6:15 p.m. Concurrent with the dinner there will be a silent auction, featuring a variety of food-related goods and services. The money raised will go directly toward training students, finding housing, and assisting with other life necessities.

If you go, you’ll meet the best women chefs in town and you’ll get to taste their best offerings. I’m sorry to report that there will be no sangies, but this year there will be a bugger. You will not have to listen to a lengthy program. Yeah, there’s a program, but you can eat until you drop — as long as you don’t dilly-dally, but you will be out the door by 8:30 p.m., guaranteed.

Let’s get right to the goodie list. As of press time, these are the chefs and their menus:

Black Pearl — Kate Horton
1529 S. Pearl Street, Denver, 303-777-0500; www.blackpearldenver.com
Open for lunch Monday thru Saturday and dinner every nite.
Mediterranean fare with a flair. Chef Horton will prepare assorted cheeses and seasonal garnishes.

Café Options (WOW) — Craig Dixon
(he’s a guy)
1650 Curtis Street, Denver, 303-573-0733; www.cafeoptions.com
Open Monday thru Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Serves American fare for breakfast and lunch. Everything is made from scratch including house-roasted meats and hand-crafted sangies. Full service coffee bar. Chef Dixon will serve Colorado lamb bugger with goat cheese, hummus (ugh!) and cucumber. He will also serve asparagus quiche with gruyere. Hold dat hummus. Y’all know that hummus is a cross between hominy and pummus… LOL. Sure tickles me. OK, you spell it pumice, but it don’t sound as good.

DBar Desserts — Lisa Bailey
1475 East 17th Avenue, Denver, 303-861-4710; www.dbardesserts.com
Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday thru Thursday and ‘til midnite on Friday and Saturday.
They serve lite meals and plated desserts, whatever that is. Chef Bailey will offer Gianduja panino (sweet chocolate with hazelnut or almond paste) with sautéed bananas and rum-roasted banana sorbet. I’m saddened that she is not bringing the best chocolate chip cookie in THE WORLD, which she sells at her store. Watch for DBar’s opening on Mondays starting May 16th.

Duo & Olivea — Yasmin Lozada-Hissom
Restaurant Duo – 2413 West 32nd Avenue, Denver, 3033-477-4141 www.duodenver.com
Olivea – 719 East 17th Avenue, Denver, 303-861-5050; www.olivearestaurant.com
Duo & Olivea serve weekend brunch and dinner nitely; they share the same executive staff. Duo serves contemporary America fare and Olivea serves Mediterranean and French fare. Chef Hissom will prepare tropical Maracuya (passion fruit) cake. Congratulations from all of us to Chef Hissom for her “Outstanding Pastry Chef” nomination for the James Beard Foundation awards in 2011. This is her third nomination.

Elway’s Cherry Creek — Aniedra Nicols
2500 East 1st Avenue, Denver, 303-399-5353; www.elways.com
Serving lunch and dinner seven days. Co-owned by former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, this is the see and be seen of Cherry Creek serving steaks and other fine fare. The bugger is yummy. Chef Nichols will prepare grilled prime New York strip steak, parmesan polenta cracker, arugula pesto and sundried tomato. Yo, mama!

Gateaux (French Bakery)
— Kathleen Kenny Davia

1160 Speer Blvd, Denver, 303-376-0070; www.gateauxpastries.com
Hours are Tuesday thru Friday 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday. Both Chef Davia and Chef Brad High are formerly of the Brown Palace Hotel. You don’t come with better credentials that that. Chef Davia will serve lemon/lime curd tarts; red velvet cake pops; and assorted tea cookies.

Hyatt — Sandra Adams
1750 Welton Street, Denver, 303-295-1234; www.granddenver.hyatt.com
This four-star hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily in its inviting restaurant, 1876.
Chef Adams will prepare whoopee pies: chocolate hazelnut with streusel, strawberry rhubarb, and tart cherry. Darn, I don’t know which I’ll have. Guess I’ll just to have all of ‘em.

Jax Fish House — Sheila Lucero
1539 17th Street, Denver, 303-292-5767; www.jaxfishhousedenver.com
Dinner is served nightly, serving fresh seafood at its very finest. Best calamari in town.
Chef Lucero will prepare halibut gravlax, arugula pesto, with pickled spring vegetables.

Johnson & Wales University — Chef instructors
7150 Montview Blvd, Denver, 303-256-9311
This nationally accredited university specializing in culinary arts is a welcome addition to the event. Chef instructors will prepare goat cheese polenta and forest mushroom ragu topped with citrus-scented asparagus.

Panzano — Elise Wiggins
1717 Champa Street, Denver, 303-296-3525; www.panzano-denver.com
Since the restaurant serves the Hotel Monaco, it’s open for most meals daily. Check their website for specific times and days. They serve contemporary northern Italian cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. Sunday brunch is extra special here. Chef Wiggins will serve chicken & apple sausage piadina (a thin Italian flatbread that comes from the bestest of the best region of Italy: Rimini.) In case you don’t know, Rimini is where they hold the international exposition on pastries, confections, ice cream and gelato every January. If anyone wants to sponsor me, I’ll make the effort to go next January.

Parallel 17 — Mary Nguyen
1600 East 17th Avenue, Denver, 303-399-0988; www.parallel17.com
Open for lunch Monday thru Friday 11:30 am to 3 pm and dinner nitely. Serving traditional and modern Vietnamese fare with a French influence. Chef Nguyen will prepare Coriander (aka cilantro)-rubbed tuna Carpaccio as well as lemongrass beef vermicelli noodle salad.

Rioja & Bistro Vendome & Euclid Hall — Jennifer Jasinski
Rioja – 1431 Larimer Street, Denver, 303-825-2588; www.riojadenver.com
Bistro Vendome – 1420 Larimer Street, Denver, 303-825-3232; www.bistrovendome.com
Euclid Hall – 1317 14th Street, Denver, 303-595-4255; www.euclidhall.com
Rioja serves lunch Wednesday thru Friday, dinner daily and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
Bistro Vendome serves dinner daily and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Euclid Hall Bar and Kitchen serves lunch and dinner Monday thru Friday and dinner nightly. Rioja serves Mediterranean cuisine and Bistro Vendome serves French cuisine. Euclid Hall (the newest of the three) serves wondrous sausages and other fine fare. Chef Jasinski will once again prepare her phenomenal spring pea risotto with shiitake and dill salad. She will also prepare mandarin blossom vodka macerated Tasman king salmon on fennel cream cheese ravioli with orange gastrique and mint. Oh, my. I don’t know how I’ll survive the nite.

The Squeaky Bean — Cricket Burns
3301 Tejon Street, 303-284-0053; www.thesqueakybean.net
Open for brunch Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Dinner served nightly except Sunday from 5:30 p.m. This new addition to the WOW event is a small European café which serves garden fresh green beans that squeak on your plate. Ain’t that cool? They also serve other locally-grown grub in a variety of small plates and entrees. Howsabout brussels with mussels? I’ll go for the Muscovy duck or the Kobe beef short ribs. Chef Burns will prepare green garlic panna cotta with spring vegetable fricassee.

WOW Café — Stephanie Mitro
1200 Federal Blvd, Denver, 720-944-1920; www.workoptions.org
WOW (Work Options for Women) operates the programs that you are supporting on May 2. They also operate the WOW Café for employees of the building. They serve a limited breakfast and lunch. It is not open to the public, but they do welcome folks to come and see the students in action. Chef Mitro will prepare sake-cured salmon hand rolls with daikon salad as well as a chilled potato leek soup. Daikon is a type of radish native to Japan.

Whew! That was several hundred mouthsful, so if I gotta typo in there somewhere, sorry in advance. Too many fancy food words that I don’t have a clue what they are so how would I know how to spell them? And if I don’t know how to spell a word, how can I look it up in the dictionary? Them dictionary writers never thought about that, did they? I need a DUMB book (Disorganized Unorganized Misguided Book). I’m sure there’s something like that on the web.

The cost of a ticket is $125 per person. For more information, call 720-944-1166 or visit WOW on line at www.workoptions.org. Check out the list of employer partners and patronize those employers. Please.

Cya.

Jay Fox has survived the tax season and has resumed writing his culinary columns for The Colorado Statesman. Welcome back, Jay!