On September 28 the Mile-High City will partake in an exciting event: The James Beard Foundation‘s first-ever Taste America national food festival. Denver has been selected as one of 20 U.S. cities to host a regional dinner celebrating the culinary organization’s 20th anniversary and James Beard‘s legacy. For any cook, Food Network addict, or Slow Food convert, James Beard should be a household name. Considered the dean of American cookery, the late Beard was a prolific cookbook author, the first TV celebrity chef, and was one of the first to sing the praises of eating local.
Susan Ungaro, president of the New York City-based James Beard Foundation, says Denver was selected because it’s one of the country’s 10 fastest growing cities, and several of our chefs are garnering good press. The dinner, which takes place at Panzano, is a collaboration of several top toques including Frank Bonanno (chef/owner of Mizuna and Luca d’Italia), Yasmin Lozada-Hissom (pastry chef at Duo), Alex Seidel (chef/owner of Fruition), Elise Wiggins (executive chef of Panzano), and Thomas Salamunovich (chef/owner of Vail’s Larkspur and soon-to-open Watermark). Bobby Stuckey (master sommelier at Frasca and a James Beard Award winner) will pair wines with each course, and Tim Love (a James Beard Award nominee and chef/owner of The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Love Shack, and Duce in Fort Worth, Texas) joins the Denver chef line up.
A limited number of tickets ($125 per person) are still available. To purchase, call 303-395-2677 or e-mail office@heedum.com. For more information about the event, logon to www.jbftasteamerica.com.

The cupcake craze continues and the Mile-High City is lucky that Yum Yums Delights calls Denver home because bakers Tara Langenderfer and Heather Maiurro have perfected the art of the frosted mini cake. My favorite of their treats is the Vanilla Bliss with French vanilla cake and heavenly vanilla buttercream frosting, but the duo whips up 18 different combos ranging from chai to red velvet. I first discovered Yum Yums at the Cherry Creek Farmers’ Market but now I’m anxiously awaiting the opening of their store in the Denver Pavilions where Langenderfer and Maiurro will peddle cupcakes, cheesecakes, cookies, brownies, and an assortment of other treats. Come early October, look for the Yums Yums sign to go up near Nike Town and Virgin Records on the lower level. In the meantime, check out their sweet website at www.yumyumsdelights.com

Uptown’s Marczyk Fine Foods has become our go-to spot for a no-fuss dinner. First we hit the fish department and grab whatever looks best, sometimes buttery black cod other times a light sea bass. On our way to the refrigerated case for savory market-made tomato pesto we select several ears of corn and a couple heirloom tomatoes. At home we start the grill, oil and season the fish and add a dollop of pesto before wrapping it in tin foil. After putting the fish and the corn on the grill we pick fresh basil from the garden, slice the tomatoes, and drizzle the combo with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Pull the goodies off the grill, unwrap the foil, and you’ve got dinner in just 10 minutes. 770 E. 17th Ave., 303-894-9499, www.marczykfinefoods.com

—Amanda M. Faison

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