1441 Larimer Street | Denver, CO 80202 | 303.996.9985

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CELEBRATING 1920′s STYLE

Here’s just a glimpse of the fun we had at our Prohibition Dinner on January 16, 2013.  Thank you to all who attended, to Stephen Gould of Golden Moon Distillery and to Michael, Kalin and Adam of Birdhaus for your support.

Visit our Facebook page for more photos of the festivities.

Nikki’s Wine Corner

January, 2013

Happy New Year! We made it through a crazy New Year’s Eve and are looking forward to another great year at TAG! Though the “holidays” are over, it’s no reason to stop enjoying.  Keep the good times rolling and make a resolution (that you can actually stick to) and drink more bubbly this year!  Seemingly always viewed as a special occasion only drink, bubbles are an “all the time” option for this girl. They accommodate the most discerning of palates, they don’t have to break the bank and give you a tickle at the same time. Where else can you get that!  Different style variations and bottle size make the possibilities endless. Next time you are at TAG, grab a glass- a half bottle- or go for the gusto and get a full bottle, trust me, you’ll drink it. Stop waiting for that perfect special occasion.  As they say ‘your life is now’, so celebrate all the time and every moment will be special.

A MESSAGE FROM TROY:

January, 2013

“Because we can!”  That’s my motto for the new year.  Those who know me may not be surprised, but this year it really is a new Troy and a new TAG, if only just a sliver.  It’s a New Year and we are all reborn!  New ideas, resolutions, ideas, challenges.  We definitely have all of those here at TAG!  This year for me, and of course my team, is about taking the new year by the horns.  Like most people, we want it all and we want it now!  2013 is going to be hedonistic at TAG, as we aim to have more dinners, events, and fresh experiences for our guests.  So come, live life and enjoy, push the envelope, try something new, do something great again: because YOU can.

Cheers!  Troy Guard

Nikki’s Wine Corner

December, 2012

‘Tis the time of year to be grateful and giving… however, as it’s my job to talk booze (poor me!) let’s get to it.  What to be grateful for in December? – Repeal Day!!!  For those who weren’t paying attention in school this day marked the end of Prohibition.  For 13 long years the US was dry (legally anyway). Those against prohibition were referred to as “wets” or “soaks”.  In January, in honor of how far we have come, we celebrate the day Prohibition went into effect-Underground style.  Think jazzy 3 piece band, tons of white lightning provided local Golden Moon distillery and tasty food to keep you upright done in the TAG way.  Join us for an unforgettable evening of historical celebration, dress era-appropriately if you dare.

A MESSAGE FROM TROY:

As 2012 comes to a close I reflect on what a crazy year it’s been. TAG has come a long way and accomplished many goals that I set for myself and my team early on.  Making the top 25 restaurants in 5280 for both TAG and TAG RAW was huge!!  We started a rooftop garden and transformed our Madison Street concept into another dream of mine: TAG Burger Bar, none of which would be possible without our amazing TAG Team. In the coming year we look forward to more special events, new restaurants, and greater community involvement, all while continuing to march to our own beat. For all of our guests, new and old, we wish you all much happiness in 2013 and thank you for your support of the TAG vision.

Happy Holidays, Troy

Nikki’s Wine Corner

November, 2012

Goodbye Halloween and hello to the holiday season!  Let your kids keep their candy this year and start thinking healthy, before resolution time.  Put the Jack-O-Lanterns to good use and incorporate pumpkin into your fall routine.  (Pie doesn’t count!)  Here at TAG we like to be a little different so we use Kabocha squash.  Often called the Japanese pumpkin, it offers a light texture and a strong yet sweet flavor.  In our kitchen we whip it into a velvety puree or give it a quick blanch for risotto.  What to pair with this vita-rich veggie- you ask?  Often overlooked, Viognier has proven to be a worthy match for our new BFF.  Similar in body to Chard and rich in flavor, it works with salty and sweet- really its versatility is quite endless. (my current and most easily found favorite is Yalumba).  Try it at a party or enjoy with some Kabocha in the company of friends at TAG.

Cheers!  Nikki Schaeffer

TAG Rooftop Garden

TAG’s Rooftop Garden began in the springtime of 2012, when Manager Nikki Schaeffer made it her mission to bring this project to fruition.  After much discussion and checking out multiple options, we decided to build our urban garden on the rooftop terrace of the Larimer Parking Garage near 14th and Market.  The garden consists of a variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, mint, pineapple sage, basil, chives, strawberries, morning glories and more.  Each day, Nikki and the TAG staff tend to the garden and clip the freshest herbs and vegetables for the Chef’s daily specials.  Though the garden does come with a lot of work, the fruits of our labor is paid off with every smiling guest after they taste our fresh creations.

Denver, My Kind of Restaurant Town

By Chef/Owner Troy Guard

How to describe the Denver restaurant and food scene? Forgive the stab at culinary wit, but I like to call it high altitude/low attitude dining: something that hit me the very first time I stepped off a plane at Denver International, in November 2002, and experienced the heady crystal air with ears frozen and heart aflutter at the prospect of cooking for still another crowd.

It was true then and is still true today: Denver is a cowpoke town; where seldom is heard a discouraging word, but where there is also a chicken for every pot, a space for every car, and cattle – here you find the beef, not to mention bison and lamb, coming out of our collective yin yang to the tune of some 1.3 million head owned by over 13,000 independent ranchers. More than enough to feed the 2.5 million people currently living in metropolitan Denver (21st largest in the country).

Denver has never stopped being a boomtown – if it wasn’t cows, gold, silver or some kind of fuel, it’s been some kind of high tech industry – because, to a large extent, it’s always been a desirable place to live. For me, personally? Besides the pristine water (life tastes so good when it doesn’t have to come from the bottle) and snowcapped mountains (winter sports!), I think Denver’s greatest asset has always been its people.

It’s the people who have made me feel welcomed as a chef, from my first gasp of thin mountain air nine years, after spending the previous twelve years chained to stoves in Maui (granted, a nicer than average place to be enslaved by food), Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and New York. My own cross-continental ramblings had prepared me well: the reason local restaurant mogul Richard Sandoval first invited me to Colorado was to head up a cross-cultural Latin/Asian concept called ZENGO.

At first, admittedly, there were fears, because I wasn’t sure if full blown fusion cooking would get a thumbs up or thumbs down from the locals, largely accustomed to steak knives, not chopsticks. But I quickly discovered that even the average Denver restaurant guest is as sophisticated as any big city’s, but with a bonus: they are far less tyrannical in their judgements than the tough cookies I had previously encountered in major “restaurant towns” (re San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and even Tokyo, where it can also be challenging).

Simply put, people in Denver know and appreciate their food and wine, but with an outlook that tends to be positive rather than negative; preferring to find something to cheer and celebrate, rather than bitch and moan, about. Go, Broncos!

Is it any wonder that I have remained in Denver ever since? I love the Rocky Mountain air, but I love the almost innocent air of people who seem to appreciate you for what you do, not what you don’t. And now I have a beautiful two year old daughter, fittingly named Grace, who teaches me an even purer innocence – reminding me, everyday, of what a privilege it is to live, and cook, in this big, shining city on this 5,280 ft. hill. October 2011

Troy Guard will continue his ramblings on the Denver restaurant scene in future posts. Guard is the chef/owner of TAG Restaurant, TAG | RAW BAR and Madison Street in Denver, CO. He cut his first culinary teeth under Roy Yamaguchi in the Roy’s family of restaurants, and has helmed kitchens at Tao in New York and Doc Cheng’s in Singapore. He describes his cuisine as Continental Social Food; a combination of Hawaiian roots, Pan-Asian experiences and an evolving feel for Colorado grown ingredients.