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Culinary Corner Week of January 2-7

Happy New Year! Hope everyone is enjoying the Holiday Weekend and thinking about resolutions for 2023.

One change that is coming this week is that there will be a Social Club each Thursday in the Dad Clark Bar.

This will begin at 3:30 and go until 4:30 with drink specials, free Cocktail of the Day, free house-made beer and of course food.

This week we will be having Pork and Green Chili Stew with homemade tortillas, queso fresco, salsa, avocadoes, and lime. All are invited, and I know this will be fun.

We are returning to house-made dressings, so you will notice different taste and selection. Beginning Monday the dressings will be Caesar, Ranch, Red Wine Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Honey Mustard, Bleu Cheese, Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette (not available for takeout).

Come try the Gunga Din house brew at the bar.

This week we are debuting a new brew. This English Special Bitter is called Gunga Din, from the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling about a water carrier in British India. The poem describes how the Indian water carrier fearlessly braves the front lines to bring water to the troops despite being maligned and abused by the soldiers. It ends with the famous line "You're a better man than I, Gunga Din". I like that poem, and it's what came to mind while brewing.

English Bitter is known for its balance and the interplay between malt and hop bitterness. In the 19th Century, Pale Ales were sometimes referred to as "Bitters" in the United Kingdom. A Special Bitter was called that to differentiate from a Mild or Light bitter which was lighter in body and alcohol and a Heavy Bitter which was of course heavier in both. Pale Ales went on to become India Pale Ales that were much hoppier, but I like a good ESB. Classic English Ales such as these are not meant to be highly carbonated, and harken back to the days of "real" ales in England before American-style beers dominated the market with their easy drinking body and fizzy pours. Ours came out pretty well! I think it needs more head retention, but the carbonation is right and it is best chilled to about 45 degrees. Ask for it at the Bar.

As it is a new Quarter we have a new Always Available menu, but I didn't actually change very much. The Fall Salad is replaced by a Winter Salad with Figs and Apricots, the Salmon gets a new sauce made from Mustard and Malt, the sides have changed a bit as has the entrée salad.

The soup of the week is Winter Wild Rice soup. This has sweet potatoes, mushrooms, wild rice, coconut milk, fresh herbs and spices-- good for a cold winter in Colorado.

We have Caprese Salad to remind us of warmer days. As usual, this is fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes (or the best tomatoes we can get), fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar topped with sea salt.

Image courtesy of Belton Farms

The Cheese this week is a Port Wine Derby Cheese from Belton Farms in England. Derby cheese is similar to Cheddar, but milder, and in this case the curds are soaked in port wine before being pressed, giving it vibrant color and a deep berry-like flavor. We are serving this with Onion and Fresh Thyme Marmalade, and I heartily recommend this with Zinfandel.

At Dinner, we suggest the Pan-Seared Steelhead Trout with Cranberry Dijon, Roasted Asparagus and Sticky Rice. Steelhead Trout and Rainbow trout are the same fish biologically, but for culinary purposes they are very different. Once trout travel to the sea they become larger and have more fat-- like their close cousins in the salmon family. Steelhead falls somewhere between trout and salmon in texture, and it will be nice with this sauce. I recommend a California Chardonnay, a Gruner Veltliner would be even better. If you have a favorite wine that is not on the wine list, please let Lora know.

Please try the Grilled Ribeye Steak topped with a Maple Bourbon Butter, served with roasted roma tomatoes and hasselback potatoes. We use Certified Angus Beef for this cut. CAB (as it's known in the industry) has been around since the 1970's. The industry recognized that the USDA grading system left a lot to be desired. Most of the beef served in fine restaurants is graded USDA Choice, but that designation has such a broad spectrum of acceptable quality that it was (and is) pretty much useless. This brand began making it's own standards of quality that was above and beyond what was required and the industry responded by making it the most popular high end beef available. Since then many other brands have arisen with similar standards of quality but CAB remains the most chosen. I made CAB our standard here at Vi in 2012, and saw a dramatic increase in compliments and a decrease in steaks sent back to the kitchen. During the pandemic, we were forced to use other brands such as Gold Canyon and Sterling Silver which worked just as well. The sole supplier for CAB in Colorado is Lombardi Beef (with some exceptions from US Foods), but Lombardi was recently purchased by another company and I am waiting to see what happens before I commit fully to CAB again.

The Statler, Boston. image courtesy of Wikipedia

Also on offer is a Slow-Roasted Airline Chicken Breast this week, with marsala sauce, mashed cauliflower and sautéed artichokes. The Airline cut is a breast cut with the skin and the first joint of the wing attached. The name has several stories associated with it, my favorite is that it was first served in the 1960's as a first class meal on airlines. The same cut was used in the 1920's at the Statler Hotel in Boston and is sometimes called a Statler chicken breast. Both versions evolved from the classic chicken cut known as a Supreme Breast, but in that version the meat is removed from the wing and the bone is left exposed.

Our vegetarian option is Zucchini Stuffed with Black Beans and Corn, served with David's own Mole Sauce and topped with Cotija Cheese. Mole sauce dates back to the 17th century in Mexico, the name coming from the Nahuatl word for sauce molli. Moles are a complex sauce containing up to 30 ingredients with no one recipe being correct or traditional. One rule of thumb that has emerged over the years is that all moles contain some combination of fruit, nuts and chilis but beyond that it is the chef's creation. David doesn't like to share his recipe too much but I know it contains pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, Guajillo chilesand Mexican Cocoa.

Our Penne Pasta tossed with Smoked Chicken, Garlic, Spinach, Olives and a Creamy Parmesan Sauce with garlic bread is rich and hearty, I recommend a Chianti, or possibly a good Cabernet.

As we move into 2023, you will notice changes on the menus, in activities and just how we do things in general. We need to be flexible this year, between new construction, lingering COVID, higher prices and a challenging labor market. if you have comments or questions about anything that is going on feel free to call me at 720 348 7810, or email at Of course we still have the Culinary Corner most Mondays at 10 am in the bar, so please come join us and have a pastry.

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