Scenes from the 21st Annual Food & Wine Expo

Colorado Springs, food news, Rocky Mountain Food Report

Sunday, the Rocky Mountain Food Report attended the always-fun Food & Wine Expo hosted by the Colorado Restaurant Association Pikes Peak Chapter. Held this time at the Broadmoor World Arena, over 80 restaurants and food and drink suppliers supplied a sold-out crowd with samples of their best and newest cuisine.

The Expo also stages competitions for chefs and bartenders. RMFR’s own Bryce Crawford helped judge the cocktail competition, which awarded three prizes: best bourbon cocktail, best rum cocktail and best overall. 2016’s winners were Emilio Ortiz of 503W for best bourbon; Andrew Gorham of Johnny Martin’s Car Central for best rum. Gorham also took home the top prize.

On the chef side, the Expo gives prizes for best small plate (or appetizer), best large plate (entree) and best overall, with a secret ingredient given on-site for each category. This time, for best small plate, with a secret ingredient of true cod, Justin Castor of Over Easy won, while Corey Hoff of Cowboy Star won for best large plate, working with the secret ingredient of pork chop. Castor and Over Easy then won the big honor of Chef de Cuisine.

If you can, and you love food, this is a great event to spring for tickets ($45 this year). We’ve been lucky enough to visit the Expo for several years, and it’s always fun and the food delicious. The mood is jovial and the liquor pours generous … those things may have something to do with each other. In any case, we paid for my ticket, and it was worth every penny.

Here are some shots of the affair (you’ll have to excuse the photo quality … and some of the less-than-precise descriptions. There’s a lot of booze at the Expo):

Colorado Springs, food news, Rocky Mountain Food Report
Lamb sliders with caprese toppings from Creekside Cuisine & Craft Beer.
Colorado Springs, food news, Rocky Mountain Food Report
The chef judges included Chef Nathan Dirnberger of Colorado Springs School District 11 and Mayor John Suthers.
Colorado Springs, food news, Rocky Mountain Food Report
Truffled Polenta with wood roasted garlic ricotta and butternut squash from Pizzeria Rustica.
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Turkey with chipotle served in mini waffle cones from Marian House.
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The cocktail judges, including RMFR’s Crawford on the right.
Colorado Springs, food news, Rocky Mountain Food Report
Elk bolognese served hot from the pan from Cheyenne Mountain Resort & Club.
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Detail of the elk bolognese, served with a bespoke amber beer.
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The bartender and chef competitors stood high above the vendors.
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A selection of sauces from Bird Dog BBQ.
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Brisket with hot barbecue sauce from Bird Dog.
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A view from above the fray. (Bonus points for lots of extra seating at the new venue.)
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Mark your calendars for the Feast of St. Arnold, June 11.
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The Chef de Cuisine trophy and a view of the competitors.
Colorado Springs, food news, Rocky Mountain Food Report
The Chef de Cuisine trophy and prize table.
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A selection of the plates from the chef’s competition.
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Chopped steak with bleu cheese and a pear component on toast points from the Famous.
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And, the crew from The Famous.
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The Howards from McCabe’s Tavern. (Dig their kid’s menus — they fold into cootie catchers.)
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Ribs from Patty Jewett Bar and Grill.
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Smiles and a saffron rice dish from Momma Pearl’s Cajun Kitchen.
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The crew from Colorado Coffee Merchants.
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Cookies from pastry chef Stephanie Lyman. Find them at Colorado Coffee Merchants.
Colorado Springs, food news, Rocky Mountain Food Report
“Piggy Jam Mac” from Brother Luck Street Eats.
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An array of mini cupcakes (some topped with Pop Rocks) from Garden of the Gods Gourmet.
Colorado Springs, food news, Rocky Mountain Food Report
Sausage taco with cream sauce from AspenPointe Cafe and Catering.
Colorado Springs, food news, Rocky Mountain Food Report
Desserts from AspenPointe.
Colorado Springs, food news, Rocky Mountain Food Report
Glass noodles and kimchi from Hotel Elegante.

[Images: Edie Crawford]