Best Bites: Oogie’s Gourmet Popcorn
Remember in the 1980s when Smartfood‘s white Cheddar popcorn was all the rage? We devoured it by the handful, only to discover that the fat-laden snack was hardly a smart choice. Fast forward to 2005, when Denver-based Oogie’s Gourmet Popcorn officially launched its line of all-natural popcorn with savory flavors such as Caprese, sun-dried tomato and Parmesan, and spicy chipotle and lime. Since discovering the healthy snack (no trans-fat, no sugar, no artificial colors or flavors), our pantry is always stocked with bags of the smoked Gouda flavor. By the handful or by the bag, we simply can’t get enough. Bonus: Oogie’s popcorns are kosher and gluten-free. Available at Marczyk Fine Foods, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and Vitamin Cottage.

Road-trip Restaurant: Jour de Fête
Though located in the heart of Aspen, the bustling Jour de Fête feels like a genuine Parisian cafe, thanks to the authenticity of French owner Olivier Mottier. Eaten there or taken to go, breakfast consists of frothy cappuccinos sided by buttery croissants, while lunch is a bounty of soups, prepared salads, quiche, and made-to-order sandwiches. Our favorite of the bunch is the JR, a crusty baguette stacked with prosciutto, European butter, cornichons, lettuce, and tomatoes. Tip: Since it’s just a couple blocks from the gondola, this local haunt makes an easy lunch spot for skiers willing to come off the mountain. 710 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, 970-925-5055

Super Recipe: Frasca’s Football Food
With the Super Bowl on the horizon, shopping lists for chili, nachos, guacamole, and buffalo wings are being drawn up in a hurry. This year, we’ve decided to go about the party food differently; we’re making spicy pork sausage from a recipe courtesy of Frasca‘s Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson. We came across the dish in The Taste of the NFL ($19.95) a guide to restaurants in each NFL city where top chefs offer up a recipe and chime in about favorite spots to dine in their respective city. Choosing Mackinnon-Patterson for the book seems a bit odd given that Frasca is located in Boulder (which is not home to the Denver Broncos), but at least his preferred eats are in the Mile-High City: Barolo Grill, Potager, Proto’s, Table 6, and Z Cuisine. We do, however, commend Mackinnon-Patterson’s participation, since he’ll travel to Arizona to cook the dish at The Taste of the NFL party, an annual event which raises funds and awareness for hunger relief organizations.

Spicy Pork Sausage with Mustard and Horseradish
(Serves 6–8)

  • 5 pounds of ground pork loin
  • 1 1/2 pounds prosciutto and speck scraps
  • 2 tablespoons crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

To make sausage: In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined and let rest for 24 hours.

To cook: Place sausage mix on a 1/2 sheet tray with parchment paper and place in a 275° oven for 20 minutes, or until medium temperature. Alternatively use rinsed natural pork casing or a synthetic one and form into 3-inch links. Serve with Dijon and horseradish.

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.