Over Easy and Johnny Martin's victorious at CRA


The World Arena turned out to be a wonderful new venue for yesterday's 21st Annual Pikes Peak Food & Wine Expo, previously held at the Broadmoor. 
Just before the doors opened to the public, a view of the tasting floor. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Just before the doors opened to the public, a view of the tasting floor.

According to PPCRA organizers, attendance reached a new heigh of more than 1,000 people, who sampled from over 80 participating vendors. The goods were quite good, judging by the few samples I was able to try while otherwise being busy cooking with 2South's chef Supansa Banker (last year's victor) as part of the chef/media competition. 

A bartender's competition was concurrently held, also with 10 competitors, and Emilio Ortiz from 503W walked away victorious from the Best Bourbon Cocktail round, spotlighting Old Forester. My colleague Griffin Swartzell co-judged the bartenders, and received a recipe from Ortiz that I'll share here:

The Thai Empress
2.5 oz. Old Forester
3.5 oz. house exotic syrup 
.25 oz. fresh lime
½ of a Thai chili pepper
1 oz. egg white
3 dashes Angostura bitters 

Serve in a coupe and garnish with edible flowers and pineapple. 

Now, I'm not sure what exactly composes Ortiz's house exotic syrup or exactly how to handle the preparation — so it's best you drop by 503W to ask him yourself and have a drink. 
Johnny Martin's Andrew Gotham. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Johnny Martin's Andrew Gotham.

Meanwhile, Johnny Martin's Car Central bartender Andrew Gorham won both the Best Rum Cocktail, featuring Bacardi Superior, as well as the Best Overall Bartender award. I received not a recipe from him, nor did I find out what he made, amidst all the competitor chaos — so again, find out by visiting Johnny Martin's, which I guess means you'll probably have to join the club. We hear there's good cocktails. (Obviously.) 

Now, in the food arena, Corey Hoff from Cowboy Star won the Best Large Plate category, highlighting a pork chop as the challenge ingredient. Again, not sure what he made as I was busy cooking too.

And Justin Castor from Over Easy took home the win for Best Small Plate and Best Overall Chef.

The challenge ingredient for the small-plate round was true cod, and no, don't ask me again, I have no idea what Castor did with it. Yes, I could have called all the guys at work today and bugged them, and posted this sometime tomorrow. But I'd rather you go visit their establishments and congratulate them yourself and ask them directly.

Build community. And plan to attend next year. That's a big part of what this friendly annual CRA event's all about.

On that note, leftover food and drink items from the challenge pantry were donated to the Marian House, who also received some of the event's monetary proceeds, along with Colorado ProStart

Over Easy's Justin Castor (left) and crew.
  • Over Easy's Justin Castor (left) and crew.

Food judges included Mayor John Suthers (right). - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Food judges included Mayor John Suthers (right).

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