Food Network star, cookbook author and food-nerd extraordinaire Alton Brown was spotted yesterday attempting to have a quiet lunch at Stoic & Genuine, chef Jen Jasinski's posh new seafood haven in Union Station. There was no filming going on, other than the discreet (or not so discreet) attempts of fellow diners to capture iPhone footage of the host of Good Eats and MC of Iron Chef America. With all the rubbernecking and brazen assaults on Brown's privacy, we think he simply chose the wrong venue (not that the food wasn't up to par). Here are five other things he could have done in Denver, rather than eating at one the most hyped and media-infested eateries in the entire city.
5) Lunch at the Piper Inn Alton Brown took to the highways for two seasons of Feasting on Asphalt, touring small towns and roadhouses on a motorcycle. Although his trip took him off the beaten path in Colorado -- to Ted's Tacos in in tiny Mancos -- he may have felt at home on his visit to Denver at the biker-friendly Piper Inn, eating some of Denver's best wings -- or some old-school Chinese-American grub -- among people who probably don't know or care who he is. Although he rode a BMW in the TV series, bikers of all persuasions tend to find common ground when there are good stories to be told and the leather is well-worn.
4) Geeking out with Ian Kleinman's Inventing Room Across multiple seasons of Good Eats, Brown proved that he's as much of a science nerd as a cook. Using giant foam molecules and all manner of lab equipment to demonstrate the chemistry behind cooking, Brown's as much at home in a classroom setting as he is in the kitchen. Ian Kleinman has made a name for himself in Denver with inventive, science-based treats -- think exploding whipped cream or a flurry of edible snow -- that Brown would probably find fascinating. A trip to a local elementary school to wow kids with Kleinman's mobile food lab would be just the thing to get Brown away from mobs of aggressive smart-phone picture snappers.
3) Teaching class at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts While he may have to do this one unannounced to keep the fans in check, Brown is a natural teacher with an earnest approach -- peppered with just the right amount of dorky humor. Cook Street covers everything from the home-kitchen basics to advanced programs for professional chefs, so Brown could find the right audience for his blend of science-class experimentation (what happens when you drop a frozen turkey into hot oil?) and cooking technique improvement (how to get perfect caramelized onions every time).
Keep reading to see more great spots for Alton Brown to visit in Denver...
2) A visit to the Boulder County Farmers' Market Boulder is a little more accustomed to celebrities than Denver, so Brown could probably relax and enjoy a stroll through one of Colorado's finest farmers' markets, treating it like an episode of Iron Chef America by selecting a seasonal protein and finding fresh accompaniments to bring out the best in the star ingredient. If Colorado lamb seems a little tame for competitive cooking, there's plenty of other Colorado-based meats available -- like goat from Shadow Butte -- to go with the heirloom tomatoes and Western Slope peaches.
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1) Late-night dinner at JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant The MC for Iron Chef America is no stranger to unusual ingredients, so the wall of live-seafood tanks and menu options like pork intestines, duck tongue, razor clams and jellyfish might be just the ticket to a more intimate seafood experience, especially if he went closer to midnight, when the dinner crush is done and off-duty chefs from around town stop in for some of the best and most distinctive Cantonese fare in town. Kitchen crews have a way of treating each other as equals, setting aside celeb status in favor of sharing good food and shop talk. Brown wouldn't have to worry about being fawned over or interrupted for autographs -- he'd be just another cook in the house.