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Some 'serious' work involved amid festive wine classes in Colorado Springs

April 19, 2017 Updated: April 21, 2017 at 9:26 am
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Michaela Hightower, owner of Soiree, a wine expert and creator of The Curious Palate, teaches monthly wine, beer and spirits classes at the Fine Arts Center. Photo by Teresa Farney

Here's a tip for kicking off an evening out: The Curious Palate Tasting Classes in the lovely Deco Lounge at the Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St.

Michaela Hightower is owner of Soirée, a wine expert and creator of The Curious Palate concept, which involves 90-minute classes where she guides tasters through the finer aspects of sipping wines, beers or spirits. At the April class, titled,"Blanc of Blanc: Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc," we first learned the four "S's" of sampling wine: sight, sniff, swirl and sip.

To get everyone in a festive mood, Hightower started the tasting with a sparkling wine, before we got down to the serious work of applying the four "S's" of tasting the four white wines from different areas of the world. It was a fun interactive experience and served as an excuse to grab dinner at a downtown eatery.

Classes are on the second Wednesdays monthly at 6 p.m. Cost is $30 per person ($25 for FAC members) and includes professional instruction, tasting of five wines, paired food bites and a takeaway note sheet. Details: 634-5583, tinyurl.com/kevo3c7

Eat out to help out

The fourth year of Cooking for a Cause, a series of monthly cooking demonstration dinners put on by Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, got off to a great start April 13. Jay Gust, executive chef and partner at Tapateria and Pizzeria Rustica, was the featured chef along with his sous chef, Chris Lerdall. The four-course dinner included roasted peach with scallops crudo; chilled cherry soup with black pepper creme fraiche; seafood succotash filled piquillo peppers; crispy duck roulade; and saffron-scented cranberry almond pound cake. Each course was paired with wines selected by Mike Clause, a wine representative with Synergy Fine Wines.

The meal was masterfully prepared and presented. The wines were spot on. Highlight of the meal was what Gust called the "funky, wacky thing of making a blue cheese foam."

It was a show-stopper garnish for the duck dish, which arrived at the table in a cloud of smoke. The smoky effect was created using liquid nitrogen.

Clouse introduced many of us to the wines of Muga Winery. We sampled the 2016 Muga Rioja rose, but he highly recommends tracking down the reds from this winery.

The dinner series has been a huge success. As a matter of fact, all the dinners except the October and November classes have been booked. The cooking demonstration is held in the kitchen and dinner is served in the warehouse. Cost is $50 per person. Details: 434-4682, careandshare.org.

It's a date

Tuesday is Date Night at The Blue Star lounge, 1645 S. Tejon St., where you can buy one entree and get the second one half off. Details: 632-1086, thebluestar.net.

Bison burger a contender

Marvin Parliament, owner of The Wines of Colorado, 8045 W. U.S. 24, Cascade, announced that his famous bison burger has been nominated in the USA Today 10 Best Readers' Choice, Best Buffalo Burger in Colorado. Do your part to put us on the culinary map by voting once a day until 9:59 a.m. May 8, when the contest ends. Visit tinyurl.com/ldbablo to cast a vote.

'KVOR Table Talk'

Guests on the "KVOR Table Talk" radio show at 1 p.m. Saturday:

- Kristi Tutt, chef at The French Kitchen, talks about the kids' cooking programs offered at the culinary school and summer cooking camps. She will update listeners about the move to a new location at 4771 N. Academy Blvd. Details: 528-6295, tfkcc.com.

- Brandon Atencio, chef at the Willamette Market and Deli, 749 E. Willamette Ave., talks about the deli's menu , featuring hot dogs, and his recent winning of the Vegan Master Chef contest. Details: 419-7920, facebook.com/willamettemarketdeli.

- Ryan Murphy, general manager for Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop, 5198 N. Nevada Ave., talks about the restaurant's anniversary party, 2 to 6 p.m. April 29, and will update listeners about new events at the eatery. Details: 639-7440, cowboystarcs.com.

- Robert Brunet, chef and owner of Momma Pearl's Cajun Kitchen, 6620 Delmonico Drive, talks about his award-winning New Orleans-style food.

He will also fill us in about the Colorado Restaurant Association conference in Washington, D.C., Details: 964-0234, mommapearls.com.

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Send tips about restaurant openings, closings and specials to teresa.farney@gazette.com, 636-0271, Twitter: @tffoodie or Facebook Teresa Farney.

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