Larry Olmsted’s been writing a wonderful series of stories for USA TODAY called Great American Bites, where he showcases the best, most interesting regional foods and restaurants America has to offer (much like we do here at LAF!). As 2015 comes to a close, Mr. Olmsted takes a look at the best of the best: ten eateries receiving his highest, OMG!, rating. Continue reading
Brooklyn, NY coal-oven pizza specialist Grimaldi’s has been expanding like mad across the U.S. This year’s new openings in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina bring the total number of Grimaldi’s to 39. And the expansion hasn’t slowed: they’ve just announced their first Tennessee store, in the Memphis suburb of Germantown in the Saddle Creek center. If there isn’t yet a Grimaldi’s in your vicinity rest assured there probably will be before too long.
Firefighters responded to an alarm Sunday evening at the always-open, since 1952, truck stop restaurant legend (for their immense iced cinnamon rolls) Johnson’s Corner of Loveland, Colorado. The kitchen fire was small and easily extinguished but, unfortunately, it also set off the restaurant’s chemical fire suppression system. They had to close the place down until it could be thoroughly cleaned, and inspected by the health department. Johnson’s Corner managed to reopen Monday at 12:30 p.m. While they were closed, employees were stationed in front of the restaurant turning customers away and giving out free cinnamon rolls!
G.W. Swink held the first Watermelon Day in Rocky Ford, CO in 1878. He had a particularly bountiful crop of watermelons that year, so he thought he would share the melons with his neighbors. Lately, 50,000 pounds of free watermelons are given away on Watermelon Day, at the famed Watermelon Pile. The Watermelon Pile will be preceded by the Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest. That morning, there’ll also be a watermelon carving contest. Continue reading
The 68th Grand Lake Buffalo BBQ, held since 1947, this year takes place Saturday and Sunday, July 18th and 19th. On Saturday, the day begins at 7 a.m. with the Rotary pancake breakfast in the park, to be followed by a 5K run. Then, from noon until it runs out, farm-raised buffalo with all the fixin’s will be served at the lakefront. There’ll be entertainment, too: lots of music, beer and spirits, and plenty of activities for kids. Continue reading
One of Chicago’s big deep-dish pizza specialists, Giordano’s, is planning to enter the Denver, Colorado market with a company-owned restaurant by summer of next year. A location has not yet been chosen but downtown is a likely landing spot. That first Denver restaurant will be followed by additional franchised stores. How’d they choose Denver? They judge suitability by the volume of mail-ordered frozen pizzas that get sent there! Read more here.
The dates? Friday through Sunday, June 17th through the 19th, 2016. It’s the 119th (119th!) Annual Strawberry Days in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Pie Day is Friday at 9 am at the First United Methodist Church. The food booths open at noon Friday in Sayre Park. There will also be a beer garden. The food highlight of Strawberry Days has to be the free strawberries and ice cream handed out on Saturday after the 10 a.m. parade, in Sayre Park (named Strawberry Park for the weekend). Fresh, local strawberries will be available for purchase all weekend. And don’t skip the Rotary Pancake Breakfast Sunday morning. Continue reading
Let’s set the scene: imagine it’s 1948, and you live on a farm where you raise chickens. Your mother-in-law will be here for dinner tonight, and she is fond of eating the chicken neck. So you go out to your coop and grab a fat bird, and when you swing your axe you’re sure to leave lots of neck for your mom. Off comes the head, followed by tonight’s dinner behaving as if nothing significant has just occurred. That’s what actually happened to the Olsen family of Fruita, Colorado. Lloyd Olsen was moved by the chicken’s determination, named him Mike, and continued to raise and feed him (he grew from 2 1/2 pounds to 8 pounds) for the next 18 months! Continue reading
Denver’s Buckhorn Exchange is more than a restaurant. It’s a piece of history from the American West, founded in 1893. Bill Dutton, GM of the restaurant, says, “As great as our steak is, you can have steak as good or better in many other cities.” His point is not to denigrate his restaurant’s steaks, but to point out that you really should order Buckhorn’s exotic meats. Larry Olmsted, in his story about the Buckhorn for USA Today, agrees. He loves the place but it’s for the entire, mounted-animal-head, Buffalo-Bill-Cody-ate-here package that he is won over: “[W]ith exceptions like the prime rib and Rocky Mountain oysters, nothing was stunning (except the crazy good hot Dutch apple pie).” We’d agree, except to say we did not fall in love with the fried testicles. Every visitor to Denver should go to the Buckhorn at least once.
We’re always on the lookout for cinnamon rolls, and The Duffeyroll Cafe in Denver makes a particularly good one. Duffeyrolls have only a passing resemblance to goop-filled and icing-laden modern mega-rolls. A Duffeyroll cinnamon roll is light-textured, almost like a croissant. It’s a little crisp on the outside, and veined with just enough, but not too much, cinnamon and sugar. Continue reading
The iconic, independently operated Colorado truck stop known as Johnson’s Corner has been sold to the largest truck stop chain in the country, TravelCenters of America. The sale went through at the end of September. Original owner Joe Johnson started the truck stop in the 1950s. The stop became famous for its cinnamon roll, which was baked at home by an employee. In the ’60s, the Corner began baking the cinnamon rolls in a formal bakery. Today, 15,000 cinnamon are sold each month across the Front Range. Continue reading
Butter, sugar, almonds, milk chocolate, salt. Can’t get much simpler than the ingredient list for Enstrom’s milk chocolate almond toffee. Those are the same ingredients that went into the batches of toffee that Chet Enstrom made decades ago for those lucky enough to be on his gift list. In 1960, he and his wife started a business around that toffee recipe in Grand Junction, Colorado. Today, the business is run by Chet’s daughter and grandchildren, and the toffee has become a legend. Continue reading