Sunday night at Campo 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.
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.
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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.