Tess on the Town: Zagat adds Grand Valley eateries

The howls came loud and fast when the nominations for the Zagat’s restaurant guide for Colorado came out last week.

“Hellloooo? How can the largest city between Denver and Salt Lake not be in the guide.”

“Grand Junction is not going to be in it!!!??? What are we, the redheaded stepchildren of Aspen and Vail?”

“Ridiculous that Grand Junction isn’t in the survey. This valley is unique in its talent and self-sustainability?”

“Thousand upon thousands of Front Range tourists flock to Grand Junction and the Grand Valley year-round. These folks need to know about our great restaurants and wineries, too.”

Their indignation? The Grand Valley appeared to be missing from the “monster roster” of more than a thousand Colorado restaurants from Denver to Durango that are candidates for listing in the guide.

Zagat’s Colorado editor had her blog blown out with nearly a hundred incredulous comments about the omission.

It turns out, 11 restaurants in the Grand Valley WERE in the list, but they got lost in the fray and miscategorized under “ski resorts.”

The finalists are: 626 on Rood, Bin 707 Foodbar, Dream Café, Hot Tomato Café & Pizzeria (Fruita), Hyeongje Korean Restaurant, Il Bistro Italiano, Inaris Bistro (Palisade), Le Rouge Restaurant & Piano Bar, No Coast Sushi, Pablo’s Pizza (Grand Junction, Fruita) and the Winery Restaurant.

It’s not too late to vote for your favorites, here in town or anywhere in the state, and the winners will be included in the Zagat Survey for Colorado.

The deadline is this Sunday, May 6, and your vote is free. You are encouraged to weigh in on food, décor and service for each restaurant.

You, in essence, are the “surveyor” of the restaurant and report your experiences to Zagat. Your opinion becomes the basis of the guide.

Each surveyor will be entered into Zagat’s Witty Surveyor contest, where the most pithy, descriptive and clever comments will win $400 to spend on a night out in Denver or a Samsung Galaxy Android Tablet.

The guide also will include a “Best Bang for Your Buck” list, which spotlights restaurants with the best food for the lowest prices.

Tim and Nina Zagat published their first guide in 1982 in New York, using the opinions of their friends and associates. Today, they depend on diners in various geographic regions to provide the fodder for their reviews.

The so-called “burgundy bible” expanded into an empire, but this is the first year a Zagat’s is being published exclusive to Colorado.

To register your vote, go to http://www.zagat.com/rateColorado.

And if nobody votes for local favorites, all those Front Rangers won’t know what a homegrown, burgeoning restaurant climate we have here in the valley.

A TASTE OF FRANCE: The Beaumont Hotel & Spa in Ouray will host an evening of food and wine on Wednesday, May 9, to benefit the Ouray County Historical Society.

In honor of the Beaumont’s French Gothic architectural style, the chef and wine director have selected four French wines imported solely for the Beaumont, paired with four traditional French courses featuring duck.

Reservations are required for the $75 per person pairing, and seating is limited. Call 325-7000 or 325-7050 for reservations.

And if you’ve never seen the Beaumont, take a peek at http://www.beaumonthotel.com.

QUOTE: “I believe humans get a lot done, not because we’re smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.” — Flash Rosenberg

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