Altitude Hospitality Group battles itself in knife and bar fight — and ... wins!

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The winning girls team: Larissa Vendola from Garden of the Gods Market & Cafe (right), Kelsey Horwitz from Pinery at the Hill (left), and Ariel Bilyeu from Sprig. - AMANDA LAMB
  • Amanda Lamb
  • The winning girls team: Larissa Vendola from Garden of the Gods Market & Cafe (right), Kelsey Horwitz from Pinery at the Hill (left), and Ariel Bilyeu from Sprig.

Altitude Hospitality Group
hosted an internal Knife & Bar Fight on Tuesday, November 5, which is to say chefs from TILL, Garden of the Gods Gourmet, Sprig and The Pinery at the Hill faced off in friendly competition, with an invite to guest bartenders from Distillery 291 and Brooklyn's on Boulder. The event was free, and a small group of attendees, including me, acting in a judging role.

Wisely, Altitude couldn't really come off looking bad since one of the their chef teams was bound to win ... I mean, I suppose they could have goofed a course and risked bringing the whole empire crumbling down, but that did not happen. Not even close, as the three food courses — challenged by mystery ingredients of Dr. Pepper, goat cheese, blackberries and PSMO (full beef tenderloin) — completely kicked ass.

My favorite course of the evening, from the boys: coffee rubbed tenderloin with sunchoke, bacon, leeks, red potato hash and a sauce consisting of Dr. Pepper, English mustard and blackberries. - AMANDA LAMB
  • Amanda Lamb
  • My favorite course of the evening, from the boys: coffee rubbed tenderloin with sunchoke, bacon, leeks, red potato hash and a sauce consisting of Dr. Pepper, English mustard and blackberries.

Teams for the food fight were dividing into boys and girls: Respective head chefs Larissa Vendola from Garden of the Gods Market & Cafe, Kelsey Horwitz from Pinery at the Hill, and Ariel Bilyeu from Sprig. And TILL executive chef Philip Griffen, his sous chef Josey Boyd, and chef de cuisine David Platzer on the Altitude catering side.

TILL chef Philip Griffen, left. - AMANDA LAMB
  • Amanda Lamb
  • TILL chef Philip Griffen, left.

The girls ended up winning the night overall. Here are both teams' menus, utilizing the mandatory challenge ingredients in no particular order:



Girls:
1) Beet green salad with Dr. Pepper orange vinaigrette, goat cheese cream and honey candied pecans and baby beets.
2) Chile-rubbed tenderloin over sunchoke and celery root purée with roasted cauliflower and a Dr. Pepper-blackberry-jalapeño sauce.
3) Chevre and thyme mousse with roasted blackberries and strawberries topped with a brown sugar crumble cookie. 

Boys:
1) Roasted beets with beet leaf pesto and cashew nuts, beet crisps and a fennel-orange- pomegranate salad with chile vinaigrette.
2) Coffee rubbed tenderloin with sunchoke, bacon, leeks, red potato hash and a sauce consisting of Dr. Pepper, English mustard and blackberries.
3) Goat cheese honey mousse with blackberry chile jam and Dr. Pepper powder cinnamon crisps.

The chefs present to the judges, explaining their courses and intentions. - AMANDA LAMB
  • Amanda Lamb
  • The chefs present to the judges, explaining their courses and intentions.

For the bar fight, Brooklyn's on Boulder came up victorious in the end, utilizing challenge ingredients of rhubarb liqueur, spice cranberry Pinnacle vodka and Sipsmith sloe gin over three courses.

Brooklyn's on Boulder bartenders Philip Taylor, left, and Carlos Garcia. The won the bar fight. - AMANDA LAMB
  • Amanda Lamb
  • Brooklyn's on Boulder bartenders Philip Taylor, left, and Carlos Garcia. The won the bar fight.

Bartenders Philip Taylor and Carlos Garcia made the following recipes:



1) A sloe gin aperitif cocktail with Leopold Bros. Aperitivo, lemon and pomegranate juice, simple syrup and a lime garnish. (Garcia says it was an Aperol riff.)
2) Giffard's Rhubarb Liqueur with a split base of Michter's Rye and Weller Bourbon, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, bitters and hand-squeezed green bell pepper juice, garnished with orange peel pierced with clove spikes. (Taylor says it was partly inspired by a Martinez cocktail.)
3) Pinnacle spiced cranberry vodka split with Lee Spirits Dry Gin, plus Grand Marnier, Benedictine, Creme de Rose, Sauterne dessert wine and orange bitters, garnished with maraschino cherry and cranberry.

Distillery 291 bartenders Philip Rawleigh and Kande Warf. - AMANDA LAMB
  • Amanda Lamb
  • Distillery 291 bartenders Philip Rawleigh and Kande Warf.

Distillery 291 bartenders contributed my single favorite drink of the evening in their second round. Here's what they concocted:

1) A rye gin fizz with sloe gin, 291 rye, pink peppercorn infused 291 White Dog, orange and lemon juice and a candy garnish.
2) A strawberry rhubarb Old Fashioned with rhubarb liqueur, 291 bourbon, black walnut bitters, plum bitters and strawberries soaked in 291 Fresh, with Luxardo cherry and a lemon honey stick garnish. (Wow!)
3) "Christmas in Your Mouth" made with 291's Decc, spiced cranberry vodka, lemon and orange juices, ginger beer, earl grey tea, and cardamom bitters.

The guest judges sample spirits during a cocktail round. - AMANDA LAMB
  • Amanda Lamb
  • The guest judges sample spirits during a cocktail round.

All in all, the Knife & Bar Fight proved enjoyable as sort of a random election night one-off chef showcase with a booze back. (Special thanks to photographer Amanda Lamb for the free photo usage here.)

Head to TILL soon if you want to see it as it stands. Remember, come summer time, it'll be relocating to a spot in the Broadmoor area, and this location will be repurposed into a “family-friendly, open-air dining experience and entertainment complex, featuring pickleball courts, bowling, shuffleboard, a high-tech beer wall and plenty of outdoor games," according to a recent release. Here's a rendering:

COURTESY ALTITUDE HOSPITALITY GROUP
  • Courtesy Altitude Hospitality Group

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