Sunday night atCampo de Fiori
(300 Fillmore Street), a group of local restaurateurs and spirit-pushers hosted a kick-off party for Harvest Week, sponsored by DINR (the Denver Independent Network of Restaurants) and offering a taste of what to expect at this year's event, which runs September 12-18.
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As David Zahradnik, DINR president and general manager of Steuben's, puts it, "DINR is excited to embark on a project that will raise awareness about eating locally and directly support local producers."
Encore, Jonesy's EatBar, Mezcal/Tambien, Opus, Parallel Seventeen, Steuben's/Vesta, TAG, Avenue Grill, Beatrice & Woodsley, Campo de Fiori, Dixons, Duo and Elway's in Cherry Creek all contributed appetizers created with ingredients from local providers to the preview feast. While I didn't get to try them all, the few that I did get to were terrific, particularly Avenue Grill's Haystack Mountain goat cheese on handmade cumin crackers with Palisade peach chutney and toasted almonds, and Steuben's/Vesta's Infinite Monkey Riesling Pork Belly with porcini mascarpone and peach gastrique.
The cocktails were provided by Leopold Brothers, Oskar Blues Brewery and Sutcliffe Vineyards.
During Harvest Week, two dozen restaurants will all feature menus that include food and/or beverages from Colorado. For a taste of what those state-centric creations might be like, see the Harvest Week preview menus on the next page. For more information, go to www.eatdenver.com.