There's a reason why Dave Query, the brains behind the Boulder-based Big Red F Restaurant Group, generates so much respect: The restaurateur, who owns West End Tavern, Zolo Grill, Lola, Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace, Bitter Bar and three Jax Fish locations is, quite simply, one of the best restaurant operators in the state, and his mind races with clever, creative ideas to continually promote Boulder's culinary climate.
His latest endeavor?
Big Red F placed a full-page advert in Saveur magazine's January/February issue offering an all-expenses-paid culinary sojourn for two to Boulder, which Query calls the "foodiest and happiest town in America." The weekend includes three nights at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa and four days feeding your gullet and drinking yourself into a delirious stupor.
"We had an opportunity to create a singular experience that would reinforce why Boulder's been named the foodiest, happiest and smartest town in America and put Boulder in the national spotlight," says Iva Townsend, director of sales and marketing for Big Red F. "We love where we live, we love the culinary scene in our little hamlet, we love the things that make Boulder unique, so why wouldn't we want to share that with a lucky Saveur reader?"
What's on the agenda for the winner? Dinner in the fields of Isabelle Farm with Zolo Grill chef Brett Smith; a brewery tour with Adam Avery of Avery Brewing Company; a cocktail class with master mix-fit Mark Stoddard, along with food pairings, courtesy of Salvatore Prola, chef of the Bitter Bar; a cycling jaunt with Tour de France stage winner Andy Hampsten; a picnic in the park with Chris Blackwood, exec chef of the West End Tavern and Master Sommelier Richard Betts; a tour of Boulder Distillery, which houses 303 Vodka; a stage alongside Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, kitchen magician at Frasca Food & Wine; lunch and a chat session with Kimbal Musk of the Kitchen; and fly-fishing on Boulder Creek.
"Dave made calls, sent e-mails and met for lunch with all of the Boulder heavy hitters that are on board for the sojourn, and then we identified the experiences and culinary hot spots that would be on a must-do list for a culinary tour in Boulder, as well as activities that we thought made Boulder's culinary scene unique," explains Townsend, adding that no one Query approached turned him down. "Everyone Dave contacted gave us the thumbs up when they heard about the sweepstakes."
More than 1,000 entries have been submitted since Query announced the contest at the end of the December. In order to win -- the submissions will eventually be whittled down to ten -- you've got to answer a series of questions, including what you'd choose as your last meal, your favorite chef and all-time favorite restaurant and, in fifty words or less, your favorite food memory. The winner, who will be chosen on Facebook based on their "favorite food memory" prose, will spend July 27-29 in Boulder, one of the best months of the year to explore the town's farmers' market, outdoor landscape and restaurants.
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"The entire package is priceless," says Townsend. "There are so many experiences that you can't buy, or even arrange, without Dave's partnerships."
To enter, go to bigredf.com/contest/.