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What's slower than the Slow Food movement? Replacing Jason Sheehan.

The Best of Denver, April 1, 2010

Best or Bust?

Every year, I wait for the Best of Denver, which I read cover to cover and then keep until the next year. And every year, I also wait for the letters the week after the Best of Denver, to see what people are going to complain about this time.

I read the letter from Three First Names Bergman last week, and I vehemently disagree. I love the cow! Keep the cow! Seeing how you use the mascot each year is one of the best things about the Best of Denver.

Stacey Frankel

Denver

Yes, Park Burger has the Best Fries! I don't know the spot that John Johnson was talking about in his letter last week, but I'm willing to bet that no Lone Tree restaurant has fries as good as those at Park Burger. In fact, I'm willing to bet that no Lone Tree restaurant has fries as good as those at McDonald's — the readers' choice.

Put up or shut up, Johnson.

Art Garcia

Aurora

We are the proud recipients of a Best Of award from back in 1994. We bear that honor publicly and proudly (we can't elaborate, as this letter will most likely affect our chances in the Best of Denver 2011). But we are a bit disgruntled with the way you presented this year's entries and the lack of special instructions in which to fulfill our submissions.... We honestly thought that our submission to you, already having the distinction of the 1994 Best Of award, would have been welcomed as "award" worthy in that particular category, especially with all the new advancements that we have made. But where's the category? It's not there this year. A door that didn't open. It's YOUR category; we merely focused our submissions based on that particular category. How about a vote for inconsistency? Our observation is this: Although the first 100 or so questions on the Readers' Poll are legitimate, The Best...It's Up to You category is smelling more like a stink hole created to suck unsuspecting readers in to participate in your silly survey.

The Best Of issue is a great concept, but it should be implemented with all of your readers' best interests in mind, not just Westword's. After all, you're asking US to give our time to participate; we think YOU should, too. You have the whole following year in which to exploit your interests, and us? We have a whole year to try to figure Westword's mandatory info needed in order to give our next year's submission credibility in a category already created by YOU and previously won by US. Please be specific about what's really "up to you" in the Readers' Poll.... Please address this issue publicly in an upcoming Westword for all us Best Of veterans and Best Of new-timers. I'm sure we're not the only Westword readers deceived by this. We'd all like to share in the same opportunity for recognition. Denver's our home...we're all in this together. Show us that more than just insiders can play, too.

Name withheld

Editor's note: There's more, lots more, to the letter from the Best of Denver 1994 winner, but the concerns basically boil down to two questions. First, if a category appears one year, why doesn't it repeat? Short answer: The Best of Denver would become very, very repetitive if we always featured the same categories; although we repeat some, we rotate out many more. And second, do we actually pay attention to the Best...It's Up to You category on the Readers' Poll? Yes, we do — at least a dozen of the awards we gave this year grew out of suggestions on the Readers' Poll — and many more of those suggestions may appear in next year's issue, after we do more research. The Best of Denver is not a popular election. If it were, we'd all be reading a lot more about McDonald's french fries.

"Last Call," Michael Paglia, April 8

The Vinyl Solution

Michael Paglia's closing comments that vinyl discs are obsolete and nothing more than trash hit a nerve. Albums certainly hit bottom for a while, but if you want evidence of the medium's resurgence, go to Twist & Shout and check out the racks of new vinyl. As an added bonus, one could spend as productive an afternoon viewing the cover artwork as making the rounds of Denver's finest museums and galleries.

Rupert Jenkins

Denver

The Cafe Reviews

Fed Up

For Christ's sake, will you guys find a decent, starving restaurant critic already? Enough of the Rockies-esque rotation.

  

I'm fed (no pun intended) up with flowery essays regarding "invite-only" tasting dinners, critiques of restaurants only catering to people who wipe their asses with Ben Franklin's face, and pseudo-authors already too full of themselves to give an objective review on where to get a decent meal.

Really? A whole column dedicated to cheese? If I wanted to read that crap, I'd subscribe to "GQ" — Gruyère Quarterly.

Hooray for the Best of Denver issue! Now I know where the other 99 percent of Colorado really eats.

Dave Shuck

Highlands Ranch

Just imagine your very favorite meal, a dish you have eaten and enjoyed every week for years. Then further imagine that one day that wonderful dish is taken away, and for weeks you are deprived of it and suffer without it and you think you may die of starvation. And now imagine suddenly, amazingly, thrillingly finding that, lo and behold, you can taste of that dish again. This is how I felt when I googled and found Jason Sheehan again, online, in all his glory, at www.seattleweekly.com. How we have missed his mystery and ironic humor after he so cruelly deserted his faithful followers here in Denver!

Hang on, Seattle: You're gonna have you some fun!

Bill Gardner

Denver

Editor's note: We knew it would be tough to fill Jason Sheehan's boots, but we didn't realize how tough. If you've got a hunger to do the job (which is full-time, by the way), send a resumé and a sample restaurant review that's at least a thousand words to cafereviewer@westword.com. And do it fast.

"To Market, to Market," Juliet Wittman, April 8

Room to Grow

Loved Juliet Wittman's piece on the Boulder Farmers' Market. It was almost as good as looking at the new seed company offerings. I can't wait to see what the rest of this growing season brings.

Rachel Thomas

Denver

Stop with this torture! I am about to give up here. Who cares about the Boulder Farmers' Market, especially as it so early in the season that nothing in the market is homegrown other than pre-made stuff?

Yvonne

www.westword.com

Great article on the Boulder Farmers' Market! Thank you for doing such a good job.

Teri Rippeto

Denver

"Take It Slow," Juliet Wittman, March 11

Life in the Slow Lane

I just finished reading Juliet Wittman's article on the Slow Food Boulder dinner at Arugula. We would like to thank Juliet for acknowledging her "prejudice" about Slow Food USA at the onset and, later, her gracious concession that "tasting food can be the strongest motivator for change." I can report, happily, that the Slow Food movement has not devolved into the supper-club mentality she hints at, but is stronger and more involved with substantive food issues (sustainability, food justice, biodiversity and food access) than ever before.

Our work in education about the provenance of food and local food systems (farmers' markets, CSAs, farm tours and, yes, producer/chef/consumer dinners) continues nationally. On the Front Range, Slow Food members are working with Denver Public Schools Food Services to develop new procurement methods for fresh local products in school lunches for over 40,000 children every day. The net result is both better food options and a food system that supports our local economies and agriculture. Further, over thirty school gardens on the Front Range are involved with Slow Food Denver's Seed to Table school garden program. Slow Food is also involved in developing an urban farming initiative to build farms on excess DPS land to grow for the schools, at the schools. This is the only initiative of its kind in the country.

We work in concert with numerous like-minded organizations (University of Colorado, Learning Landscapes, Cultiva, Colorado Proud, Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado Organic Producers Association, Denver Urban Gardens, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, DPS, Operation Front Line, Growe Foundation, Transition Colorado and others) educating about, and working toward, meaningful change in our food-supply systems. The knowledge that what we eat is raised in a system that is good, clean and fair (to the ground it is raised on, the people who work that ground, raise and distribute that food, buy the food and ultimately eat it) is as gratifying as the taste. This knowledge — those human components and that system — makes the food taste better, and that should be celebrated. This is a pleasure to which everyone has a right.

Matt Jones

Rocky Mountain Region, Slow Food USA


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