Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hecks Tavern Happy Hour at Devils Thumb Ranch

Best Happy Hour I have ever had the pleasure to attend. $1.00 beers (even IPA) $3.00 glasses of wine and not a cheap pour.  Special $6.00 entees like clams and mussels in butter sauce, shrimp cocktail and even Calamari.  We stuffed ourselves (lovely CJ and I) the other night and the bill came to only  $27.00

What a bargain for the quantity and quality
BTW, The view outside during a summers eve is what Colorado is all about.

Bravo Devils Thumb, you're doing it right guys !!!!

This is one local who will come out to the ranch on a Monday night :-) and Tuesday and..........

Next review I will try the full restaurant

Hideaway Bistro in Winter Park

Hideaway Bistro is an appropriate name because this place is so word of mouth.It's hidden inside the Silverado main facility off of Kings Crossing. It's small quite , intimate and the food is European to die for. I love places like this that limit the menu but do it all right.

The quality of the steak and fish dishes are great but my favorite dish is the seafood mac and cheese.
This is the place where adults can sit over drinks without being rushed,have a great meal and leave feeling like they were in another country.

I had the steak on one visit and it was a great cut with full flavor. Believe it or not getting a good steak in Grand County is the hardest thing to find. funny considering all the cattle you see grazing around.

A great value for the quality but probably not a place you want to bring the kids.

PArking is free and underground which is great during the winter months.   They are open thursday thru Sunday and take reservation

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Deno's Bistro in Winter Park

This is probably one of the best restaurants in Winter Park and has stood the test of time. Friendly young staff and great fish,steaks and pasta. Great selection of reasonably priced wine and beers on tap/

Update 2012:GAwd, I love the food here especially the Pork shank.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

DeAntonios has Moved/update

As many of you know I am a transplanted New Yorker (as in Manhattan) and I know my pizza. Well deAntonios (frankie's to the locals) has moved to Winter Park and now has a liquor license for beer and wine.

They are now by the roastery coffee bistro in the middle of town by the skateboard park.

This is the best pizza in Colorado and a family of four(2 kids) can have dinner or lunch with wine or beer under $50.00.

They even have a playroom for the kinder so adults can have moments of peace.

I can live without many things but pizza isn't one of them.

Best of all, Frankie will NOT rip you off on wine and beer like all the other eateries in town. Nothing fries my bacon then when a restaurant marks up their tiny glass of wine 400%.

Note: I went to Brickhouse 40 in Granby last night and paid $9.00 for 2 ounces of wine in a hugh glass. Heck, the bottle cost $12.00 in Applejacks. I hate it when eateries gouge the customer on booze.

Tabernash Tavern

This place has evolved into one of my favorite restaurants. The food is creative-fresh -elegant and a great value. I had the Korean steak the other night $17.00  and was amazed at the quality and monster portion. Appetizers were fun and tasty and the ceasar salad with the spicy dressing was a hit at our table.

We even had a great waiter.

Who would ever have thought that you could get  great haute cuisine in Tabernash.

Keep up the good work guys

Monday, October 19, 2009

Petes Kitchen for Breakfast in Denver-A great old dive :-)

Petes Kitchen
1962 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80206-1302
(303) 321-3139

Just had a great breakfast at Petes Kitchen in Denver. Super value, great food , fun waitresses but the bathrooms could use some elbow grease, cleaning and remodeling.

The Omelets and PAncakes are the best in the State and priced very fairly.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Brickhouse 40 Granby review

Ok, Lets face it; we just don't have too many really higher end quality food eateries in grand county with the exception of (Fontenots-Deno's and Tabernash Tavern).

BrickHouse 40 is one of the newest genre of better restaurants to open up. You walk into the cavernous fireplace entrance with one of the best looking and spacious designs I have seen up here in high country. Great looking old style wood bar.

In a nutshell the food is great, creative and the wine (my personal pet peeve) is reasonably priced but a short pour.

Try the Calamari as an appetizer, flawless, great salads too. Best I have had in a long time.

Steaks-Lamb and the Pizza are a step above the usual fare I have had in the area with great presentation.

My only complaint (isn't there always one) is the service.

We had to wait 30 minutes in the foyer when the hostess told us 20. BTW there were plenty of tables available but I assume not enough waiters. For some odd reason there were a lot of "little ones" running up and down by the tables all night.

Why can't anyone in these mountain restaurants get wait staff that wants to earn their 20% or more ?

They (waiters) either ignore you or throw the food at you. They literally have no idea of what is necessary to get the job done for their cliental . Brickhouse 40 needs some folks who have the wonderful ability to simultaneously hustle and entertain at the same time.

Our waiter took 30 minutes to bring us our drinks and then when we ordered and we waited some more.
I look for a few  things when I review any restaurant.

1. Bathroom must be spotless ! (bathroom is dirty then so is the kitchen and staff)
2. Food Quality
3. Value
4. Service
5. Atmosphere

This establishment passed all of the above and has everything going for it except the service. Owners need to crack the whip a little bit in this area.

I went during the recent Octoberfest celebration in Granby; what a fun weekend BTW. 

I will wait a few weeks and then return and see if we both have a better night.

The Fray

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tipping in American Restaurants 2009

I read in The New York Times today, that some NYC restaurants are now big on the automatic gratuity added to your check, just like in Europe. I did a little googling and was amazed at the attention which is dedicated to this subject matter!  I thought I would share my tip grading system with the readership of this blog. As a former bartender as well as a former delivery boy in NYC, who lived for tips (and I did well), my standards are high and may even seem draconian or Midas-like.
Rule #1: Mom used to say "if you can't afford to tip, then you shouldn't go out to eat".

Rule #2: Never tip unless the server and/or the establishment deserve it. The word 'Tips' stands for "To improve personal service" Not "To increase Personal Spending"!
Claude's Tip Guide:
I generally start out at 20% as a standard, but have been known to give as much as 25% to 50% for outstanding service. 
Tip Deductions:
5% if the server doesn't pay attention to my table and I have to keep waving my arms, make eye contact or send telepathic smoke signals.
5% for interrupting a conversation rudely. Why can't they ever wait 15 seconds before telling me about  tonight's special?
10% for a dirty bathroom (my personal pet pieve and I usually leave if I didn't order yet).

Health Rule 101: If the Bathroom is dirty, then the kitchen is probably worse! 
5% to 10% for dirty silverware and water/wine glasses.
5% to 10% for cold or lousy food. 
Note: Yes, I know that these items are not always under the waiter's control, but how else do I communicate my displeasure in such a direct fashion?
5% when the server takes the payment folder off of the table and asks "change from this"! This relatively new expression is annoying and rude. When did a tip become an entitlement? BTW, I still don't get why there is a tip jar at The Starbucks counter or any self-serve establishment. How dumb are people to leave tips for BASIC SERVICE?

Side-story: I recently had a bartender ask if I wanted change from a $20.00 bill. The tab was $10.50 and he thought he was entitled to an almost 100% tip!  Normally, I would leave $1 to $3,  but this time I left Nada! Not cheap, just smart!
5% to 15% if I have to send my cold and/or undercooked food back to the kitchen.
15% if the server has dirty hands, an unkempt appearance, more that 5 visible piercings in his left nostril or a tattoo that says 'OJ is Innocent'.
20% If the waiter tells me that the chef will not cook my steak well done.
20% if there is foreign matter, glass or bugs in my food (really happened)!

Tip Additions: 
Add 5 to 10% for good manners. What ever happened to holding chairs for someone about to sit down at a table?  How about saying 'hello'?  When did restaurants stop serving Ladies, Seniors and Children first or for that matter not taking the lady's order first?
Add 5% for Speed.  I love it when my drink and the bread arrive quickly.
Add 5% to 10% for personality/pleasantry. How hard is it to inject some personality?
Add 10% for special orders, without the attitude. Would you mind asking the chef if...............
Add $20.00 to $100.00 for holding/returning or calling me about the jacket, cell phone or my intact wallet that I left on the table.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fontenots in Winter Park

One of my favorite restaurants in Winter Park, Colorado. I believe that this is their 3rd location right up the street from the "The Pub" (a favorite football drinking establishment). Why ? because they needed more room which is always a good sign. This eatery always seems to be busy.

This is the only place short of New Orleans to get a decent Gumbo and cornbread. Make sure you add the Talapia fish and Andouille Sausage BTW. Appetizer favorites are the fried green tomatoes and shrimp dim sum. The traditional shrimp cocktail needs a little work in it's presentaion and sauce.

After a 10 mile run I usually stop in for lunch and get one of the hugh PoBoys. This is essentially a monster sandwich with shrimp, scallops, talapia etc. I have never been able to Finish this hugh portion that comes with fries in one sitting.

Prices seem to be very reasonable for the quality of the food and portions.

Bathroom Check: Clean even on a busy night :-)
Note: Restaurant bathrooms are a personal pieve. My Dad who was a great new York deli caterer always use to say that "if the bathroom is dirty then the kitchen is worse"

My only complaint is that this use to be a locals favorite and fortunately for the owner the tourists have discovered it too.

I give Fontenots a Ski poles UP rating

Rating system

1 Ski Pole down-Avoid
2 Ski Poles horizontal- OK
3. Ski Pole Up -Good Food and Value

Friday, March 7, 2008

I love Ruths Chris Steakhouse BUT.........

I Love the Ruth's Chris steakhouse chain but why do they have to overcharge me on the wine ?

I am a regular and love the service, the white tablecloths, the Awesome steaks. Having said that why does 2 inches of California Pinot Noir in a ultra tall glass cost $17.00 .

This is also true for the bottled wines listed which in some cases are price much as 3 to 4 times as much as I can buy in the supermarket. Sure make a profit but why gouge a loyal customers especially Californians who love wine and know their true value?

Monday, February 11, 2008

DeAntonio's Pizza - Best Winter Park Local Eatery on the Cheap

I don't know about you but when I was a starving High school student who evolved into a starving College student and then a starving working stiff I always tried to find cheap and tasty eats.They may not have ambiance but they get the job done cheap.

Here are a few of my favorites and most of the locals in Winter Park.

Great Pizza, cheap, no Ambiance (who cares anyway)

I don't know about you but I have always had a pizza monkey on my back. I love the stuff. I literally lived on it when I was a kid in NYC. Problem is what do you eat after you leave the big Apple and go to places like Winter Park, Fraser , Grand County. Heck even Denver is Pizza Challenged.
Note: If you know a great place in Denver or San Diego and I don't mean Pap johns email me)

My prayers were finally answered one day.

Name:DeAntonio's in Fraser across the street from the Safeway on rt 40.Its tucked away in the coner of a shopping strip next to my favorite coffee shop The Roastery (more on this another time)
It's run by my fellow transplanted New Yawker "Frankie"
This place is the only true NYC style pizza. It even looks like a NYC dive pizzaria with the TV blasting, old photo's and stuff. The place is so small you think you just stepped into a broom closet.

A Large plain pie is $12.00 and more than enough for 2 or 3 people to chow down on. You can also buy it by the the slice . You can get any topping suasage-pepperoni-mushrooms etc. Drinks are the usual soda fountain fair.

I don't know how Frankie and family do it but they have an authentic NYC Crispy cruncy thin pizza crust that snaps when you fold it in half as all traditionalists do. I would never vote for a person who eats pizza with a knife and fork !

But wait it gets better. The cheese is real and hot and messy and generous. The test is if you have that long string of gooey stuff hanging from you mouth looking like a tightrope for the flying wallendas as you eat. Its messy but who cares.You are a ski bum anyway. The ultimate measurement is if the grease starts to roll off the wax paper and onto your ski bibs.

They 3 or 4 tables and there is usually a line but its worth it.

Tip: Call in advance and just pick it up and eat it in your own home with a good bottle of Carlo Rossi Burgundy. Its al fresco but better than a large bill and a snotty waiter who thinks he is entitled to a tip for lousy service (another article another day.