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Yearly Archives

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To Manny, on the First Day of Christmas

December 2, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

Five afternoons a week, Manuel Macias comes through the door at Mizuna, quietly, nearly invisibly, and begins to wash the lobster pots. When the servers and cooks gather around the bar for family meal, sharing food articles and restaurant gossip, Manny takes his meal outside, enjoying a brief moment of peace before the evening’s service.
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My Favorite Tools

December 1, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

One Christmas Eve, dinner came to stop when my three year old niece walked out of the kitchen carrying my very large very sharp carving knife.  That was back before I had children of my own and knew any better—back when you could travel cross country with potentially deadly cooking tools in a carry on.
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A Little Change for Mizuna’s Tenth

September 3, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

I can’t believe it’s been ten years. When Mizuna opened, we took reservations by telephone and scrawled them in pencil, barely legible in a gothic black leather bound reservation book. The servers—there were three—wrote the orders out by hand. Our wine book listed 62 labels, though we had no bar to speak of or place
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Why 5280 is Great and I Suck

September 3, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

This month, Shari Caudron wrote a review of Lou’s FoodBar for 5280. Essentially, she concluded that she doesn’t get it. I ranted. What’s to get? Why didn’t she call to ask about the concept? How can she posit on a philosophy when she didn’t even take the time to discuss that philosophy with me–or Jacqueline,
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Lou’s: My Kinda Roadhouse

September 2, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

During my first visit to Germany, we pulled off the autobahn into what I can best describe as “all-white 1960’s mall structure” to eat what, according to Jacqueline’s cousin, was the best schnitzel in the country. That raststätte menu had everything from intricate French pastries to German staples like spätzle—and, in truth, the schnitzel was
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Perfecting an Ice-to-Spirits Ratio

June 23, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

The philosophy in this generation of bartending may seem new, but the verbiage–fresh, crafted, seasonal, local, paired–well, that’s familiar territory. It’s an honorable tribute to generations old techniques and recipes in both cooking and drink-making. I knew Adam Hodak was serious about his cocktail programs when our tool bags were sitting side by side. Interestingly,
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Old Executive Chef Returns to Mizuna

June 8, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

It’s not quite summer and the thermometer in the Mizuna kitchen reads 110 °. I am hot and I feel old—old because I am surrounded by youth. Because although we share the common language of classic movies and bad ‘80’s music, cookbooks and food writing—the banter fizzles when I start joking around about Agent P
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Sardines Don’t Stink.

May 11, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

(sardine wrapped in prociutto, above) So Tony Mantuano comes to Luca d’Italia, and we cook up a storm, and everyone loves the food and we get compliments all around. The cooks celebrate in the kitchen after, drinking wine and eating sardines, and what struck me—what struck us all really, was the great flavor of these
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Try the Pink Chicken. Please.

February 17, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

Sometimes you have to compromise even when you know you’re right. At Green Russell, we celebrate our industry with Fried Chicken Sundays. Ten dollars for Red Bird Farms organic birds and a big helping of mashed potatoes. The country fried recipe is pretty straightforward: legs and thighs brined in buttermilk, salt, and pepper for 24
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Support Denver, Eat Well

January 22, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

I don’t believe in offering coupons, or nightly specials; none of our restaurants advertise. Those somehow seem like cheap tricks to me—a way to lure diners and get them in over their heads, or get rid of food that’s suspect or doesn’t sell; a way to buy recognition. But there is an honest to God
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Nothing Fancy, Just Lou’s

January 6, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

Simple. Comfort. I walk to the coffee shop in the mornings with my sons. I walk to Mondo Vino Sunday nights to pick up wine for dinner. I walk around the corner for cupcakes, for bicycle repair, for flowers even. Although I’m within walking distance of lots of good restaurants, I really, really wanted another
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