As the owner of the Lodo Restaurant Group, 43-year-old Chris Myers is no stranger to a busy kitchen. But with two small children at home, Chris and his wife, Patty, a native of Mazatlán, Mexico, look for healthy and simple solutions that fit their busy schedules.
Myers came to Colorado in 1986 for his senior year at DU, and started his career working with Epicurean Catering, Marlowe's, and the Paramount Café before breaking out on his own. He opened the downtown Lodo's Bar and Grill location in 1994, Mattie's House of Mirrors in 1998, and Lodo's Highlands Ranch in 2004, and added, Lodo's Westminster, in July of 2007.
"With a two-year-old and a five-year-old, we have to be done with dinner by bath time," jokes Chris. Though the family eats at home most nights, they look for kid-friendly restaurants as well. "My son loves spaghetti and meatballs, and my daughter eats whatever he eats, so we end up at the Saucy Noodle all the time." Saucy Noodle Ristorante, 727 S. University Blvd., 303-733-6977.
"Since I grew up in the Northwest, I can eat salmon four nights a week," Chris says. "I like to grill it with lemon and butter and just a little seasoning." His favorite: Chef Paul Prudhomme's Seafood Magic seasoning blend. $3 for 2 oz. at shop.chefpaul.com.
"I make banana bread for everyone, for birthdays or any special occasion," says Patty. She started with a basic recipe from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham and added a few ingredients of her own. "The key is the sour cream and cinnamon."
Five a Day
Chris grew up eating fresh fruit and veggies from his mother's garden in Lake Oswego, Oregon. "She had about a half-acre of fruits and vegetables," he explains. He keeps the tradition going by getting up early to cut up fruit for the kids' breakfast every day. "They love blueberries and strawberries, and I'll add cantaloupe and bananas."
The Myers shop at Carniceria Mi Mexico (4151 E. Kentucky Ave., 303-691-3867) for authentic Mexican items such as the fresh Chihuahua cheese that they use in quesadillas. For Patty, a walk through the store reminds her of home. "They have all the Mexican candies, and I grew up eating these," she says, holding out a bag of de la Rosa Japones Cocktail peanuts.
"I love to make chili," Patty says. "I use fresh ground buffalo meat from Whole Foods, with garlic, onion, and chile powder, and I add Bush's vegetarian baked beans, plus black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Then the trick is to let it sit all day and simmer."
The Myers travel to Mexico at least twice each year, and they found these colorful fish platters during a recent trip. "These are from Cabo San Lucas," Patty says. "We found them at a little tianguis—a Mexican outdoor market—and I use the bowl for chips and salsa, and the platter for sopas or appetizers."
Chris keeps a list of "Wines 2 Get" based on vino they've tasted when dining out. "We don't drink a lot at home," he says, "but about once a month we'll stock up." One recent addition is the 2001 Chehalem Ian's Reserve Chardonnay. "We had this one at Sweet Basil up in Vail."
Patty chops up a huge salad several times a week, and keeps it fresh in a larger Tupperware bowl. "I make it in advance, and we can eat that for a few days."
RECIPE: Patty Myers' Banana Bread
Cream shortening and sugar, add egg and sour cream, and beat well. Add bananas. Mix all dry ingredients and then add to creamed mixture. Add nuts. Bake in loaf tin at 350° for 45 minutes or until done.