Nearly 30 tables full of diners assembled at Sunday's Chefs Up Front - each overseen by a different chef preparing a different five-course menu for Cooking Matters’ annual fundraising gala. In a just world, we would have been able to sample from all of them but we’re not really complaining that the laws of physics limited us to just one. After all, Acorn’s Amos Watts did a bang-up job, ending with a caramelized brioche dessert that we gobbled down as though we hadn’t just polished off four other dishes. From its light burnt-sugary crust to its toppings of bright strawberry ice cream and goat cheese whipped with honey, the French toast-like delight hit all the high notes at once: crunchy, eggy, creamy, salty, sweet, tangy. Best of all, you can sample it too, since a slight variation graces the menu at Bryan Dayton and Steven Redzikowski’s RiNo eatery right now, garnished with strawberry-rhubarb compote and lemon-buttermilk ice cream.
Another useful takeaway: Central Bistro & Bar’s G&T. The version Anika Zappe poured at the cocktail reception contained barrel-aged St. George gin to make for a heartier twist on the summertime classic; head to the LoHi hot spot pronto for a sip of the current offering, combining CapRock gin and James Menkal's housemade tonic, laced with notes of grapefruit.
Acorn: 3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-542-3721; Central: 1691 Central St., 303-477-4582