Chef Alex Figura – Dio Mio Handmade Pasta in Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood

Dio Mio (dee-OH mee-OH) is the creation of chefs Alex Figura & Spencer White.  The self-proclaimed artisanal spaghetti monsters created an eatery rooted in Italian culture enjoyed in a relaxed, approachable and fun space. With their consistently rotating menu, you can always look forward to trying a new dish.  Chef Alex Figura was kind enough to share his insight on owning a restaurant and dining in Denver.

Dio Mio Logo

Do you have a food philosophy at Dio Mio?
We prefer to keep it simple & genuine.  We source high quality ingredients and prepare & season them correctly without over manipulation.

Chef Alex Figura
Chef Alex Figura

Aside from a knife, what piece of cooking equipment do you use the most?
At Dio Mio we use the vita-mix most, at home the mortar & pestle.

Do you have any chef mentors?
I can not say mentor but someone whom taught me a lot as person & chef. Brian Lockwood, he is now the executive sous chef at Eleven Madison Park.

What do you like to do outside the kitchen?
I love to bike, hang out with my 2 dogs and eat anything and everything.

Garlic Cloves Close Up

Most undervalued ingredient?
Garlic. Depending on how you cut and cook it you can release so many flavors. A mince can provide strong flavor. Roasted provides umami/nutty/caramel notes.  Sliced and sweated in butter can soften it and help round out dishes. Whole cloves provide background notes that can help tie all the ingredients together. Continue reading “Chef Alex Figura – Dio Mio Handmade Pasta in Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood”

The Flourishing Denver Coffee Scene

Last July our family visited Portland, Oregon.  Arguably one of the best coffee towns in America.  Can you guess where we stopped first? 

Stumptown Coffee Roasters takes coffee and coffee roasting seriously.  Let me tell you, they are killing it.  Quality coffee is most important to Founder Duane Sorenson, who personally spends time visiting farms and is willing to pay high prices for coffee he deems worthy.  The bearded baristas crafted a cappuccino I wholly enjoyed.

Like Portland, coffee is no stranger to Denver’s thriving craft beer and culinary scenes.  With the convergence of outstanding roasters and talented baristas, Denver is making its mark on the coffee map. Amidst the ever-expanding list of local roasters, you should not settle for just anywhere.  I am currently sitting at Pablo’s Coffee Shop at 6th & Washington.  Although I like to switch up where to get caffeinated, Pablo’s is my go to spot for not only an enjoyable cappuccino, but for the all around good vibes.

Listed in no particular order are the five most visited coffee shops by FoodHigh.  Where do you go to enjoy a well crafted cup?  What others should we try? 

Huckleberry Roasters
Mark Mann and Kian Goedman founded Huckleberry in 2011. Huckleberry is truly excited about introducing coffee to people on all areas of the coffee spectrum.  Creating flavor complexities is their passion and it  shows up in each cup.  

-Black Eye Coffee 
Enjoy a cup of coffee in a space that is made for Instagram.  Black Eye features coffee from single origin roasters around the world.  Do not even bother resisting the pastry selection; it really is that good.  If you enjoy starting your day at Black Eye Coffee you can end your night at its alter-ego cocktail bar, White Lies.  I call that a win-win.  

-Steam Espresso Bar 
This lovely shop was opened by twin brothers Hani and Zahi Yaafouri in 2013. Steam is an independent shop taking pride on using sustainable brewing techniques and only beans that are ethically sourced from micro-roasters.  Steam’s mission is to create an excellent customer experience while embracing environmental responsibility.  

-Crema
Opened in 2012, Crema was at the cusp of the burgeoning RiNo neighborhood.  This inviting spot pledges to deliver a well-crafted espresso shot and sources beans from both local and out-of-state roasters.  Also, do not overlook the seriously delicious food menu.  

-Pablo’s Coffee
Pablo’s is one of the first Denver coffee roasters!  In 1995, founder Craig Conner quit his corporate job, followed his passion and opened Pablo’s Coffee. Pablo’s sources green coffee from all around the world and roasts it by hand in small batches.  The exceptional cappuccino is a good reason to walk into Pablo’s, but the friendly neighborhood vibe is reason enough to stay for two.    

 

Interview: Kyle Moyer – Crafty Fox Taphouse

Are you obsessed with all things craft beer?  You will be in good hands at the Crafty Fox Taphouse.  Owner, Kyle Moyer’s passion for beer was the driver for him to open the 6,000 square-foot, two-story taphouse offering 60 rotating taps.  Read on to learn more about the beer inspired menu, family friendly atmosphere, and what is next for the Colorado craft beer scene.

How did you come up with the idea of Crafty Fox?  
My shop, Bogey’s, is right next to this building, which was sitting vacant. (Bogey’s Beer and Wine is a craft bottle shop that carries virtually every beer that is distributed in Colorado.)   I saw this building and the views were great.  More and more I would speak to a breweries that had great beers only going into kegs.  I thought it would be cool to get my hands on them and work with both sides of the industry.  Also, I was intrigued at the concept of an all beer themed restaurant.  All of our food is cooked from scratch with beer ingredients. Continue reading “Interview: Kyle Moyer – Crafty Fox Taphouse”

Hidden Gem…Fooducopia: The Organic & Locally Sourced Eatery in Wash Park

How is it possible that I only now discovered Fooducopia?  I’m unsure if Fooducopia is a hidden gem to you all, but I just ate there for the first time last week.  Why haven’t you guys told me how outstanding this place is?

Who’s Behind Fooducopia:
Tim Lymberopoulos had never worked in a restaurant before opening Fooducopia in 2012.  His day job as an airline pilot gave him the opportunity to travel the country and see the kind of organic and locally sourced food available in other cities.  He had confidence in his vision to open Fooducopia and provide Denverites with the organic, local and quality products people find value in.  It began as an artesian corner market also serving breakfast and lunch.  With Chef Richard Glover in the kitchen, the eatery side gained momentum and is now serving a full menu. 
Continue reading “Hidden Gem…Fooducopia: The Organic & Locally Sourced Eatery in Wash Park”

Interview with Chef Justin Brunson

Chef-Owner Justin Brunson

Chef and charcuterie master, Justin Brunson has been instrumental in putting Denver’s dining scene on the map.  Chef-Owner of (get ready –  the list is plentiful):  Masterpiece Delicatessan, Old Major, Masterpiece Kitchen, Royal Rooster, Masterpiece LunchonetteCulture Meat & Cheese, and Denver Bacon Company.  Read on to learn more about his unique point of view, cooking at food events around the country and his enthusiasm for a $35 spoon.  There is no indication of him slowing down anytime soon.

You’re an Iowa Farm Boy.  How did this upbringing steer you into becoming a chef?
I grew up with a very rural lifestyle. The farming, gardening, foraging, hunting and fishing aspects really influenced me.  I shot my first deer at 12 years old with a bow and arrow and that is when I butchered my first large animal.  Growing up in the country, hunting was huge for me.  I didn’t have any neighbor kids around.  My parents let me go into the middle of the woods, by myself, and build a tree stand.  It’s crazy, that would never happen now.   Continue reading “Interview with Chef Justin Brunson”

The Best of — Milk Shakes

By Michele Brown

In our house March Madness means Milk Shakes, that’s right Milk Shakes.  Every March our family fills out our basketball bracket and we take it very seriously.  Not only does the winner of the bracket get bragging rights, they also get to pick out where the family will go to indulge in a celebratory milk shake.  Continue reading “The Best of — Milk Shakes”

In Good Taste Goes Adrift

Recently we’ve been fortunate enough team up with Courtney from the fun and informative blog, In Good Taste Denver.  In Good Taste is an entertainment review blog covering restaurants, theatre, movies, travel and all fun happenings in the bustling city of Denver.  We are excited to share a recent post about the new tiki bar on South Broadway, Adrift.  If you’re considering escaping to somewhere tropical to enjoy a cocktail without ever leaving Denver, read on!

Thanks to Courtney for sharing this review; FoodHigh is looking forward to a umbrella laden cocktail soon.  Cheers!

Food For Thought – Fighting Childhood Hunger in Denver

Food For Thought is a non-profit organization committed to fighting child hunger in Denver Elementary Schools. Bob Bell and John Theilen founded Food For Thought in 2012 after becoming aware of the enormous need in Denver Public Schools.  Since then, Food For Thought has delivered “Powersacks” each Friday, providing kids with food to eat over the weekend. The genuine, gregarious and kind hearted Bob Bell agreed to explain all that goes into Food For Thought and allowed us to see it in action. 

John Thelien, Founder; Jeane Larkins, Volunteer Coordinator; Bob Bell, Founder
John Thelien, Founder; Jeane Larkins, Volunteer Coordinator; Bob Bell, Founder

Continue reading “Food For Thought – Fighting Childhood Hunger in Denver”

Denver Union Station Baby Shower

Okay guys, you can call off the search.  You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to throw a fun and affordable baby shower in one of the best spots in Denver – Union Station.  I, along with my long time friend, Katie, had the honor of throwing our dear friend her baby shower.  We wanted it to be perfect. What better setting than the historic and beautiful Union Station?

With permission from the manager, we set up shop at a table in the Great Hall outside of Terminal Bar at no cost (no cost!).  For party favors we ordered macarons from La Fillette Bakery and  brought in our own decor.  It was just that simple.

Continue reading “Denver Union Station Baby Shower”

Hidden Gem…Rebel Restaurant

By Michele Brown

My husband and I have a tradition every summer when the kids are away at summer camp; we eat out every single night they are gone and it is wonderful!

My husband and I have a tradition every summer when the kids are away at summer camp; we eat out every single night they are gone and it is wonderful!

Last summer we had our list of new spots to experience and Rebel made the shortlist.   What a great experience we had!  First, the location is part of its charm.  It sits right on the edge of Globeville and RiNo, directly across the street from a grain elevator, in an unassuming corner building.


Continue reading “Hidden Gem…Rebel Restaurant”