Archive for category Food

Just Chili – California Hot Sauce!

There are lots of hot sauces out there and although i’m no connoisseur, I do like to discover new ones.  My go-to’s are Tapatio and Cholula but last weekend I came across a bottle of sauce at a Tahoe restaurant that looked just like Sriracha, but it was called Just Chili – California Hot Sauce.  It has the consistency of Sriracha and tasted pretty similar but it’s made in San Diego so I like to support the local brands.  I’m not sure if it’s available in stores, but you can order two 18oz bottles for $9.95 plus shipping.  To order you’ve got to do it the old school way and pick up the phone but it’s worth it.  Check out their site at:

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Drink WAT-AAH!!

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpgBeing in the start-up world has exposed me to many new companies and ideas.  Everyday there are new companies forming to meet the needs of people and improve upon various methods and products.  Although I am usually scouring the latest tech start-ups, I have come across a new bottled water start-up based in New York City called WAT-AAH.  Not only is it super fun to say out loud, it is a company with a great mission.  WAT-AAH was formed to help reverse the dependency on sugary drinks among Americas children.  We all know that children like sweets, but we also know how bad they are for growing kids.  The rate of childhood obesidy in America is alarming and I applaud new companies like WAT-AAH, that are aimed at making it cool for kids to eat and stay healthy from an early age.  Although water seems pretty basic and there are dozens of bottled water companies out there, none of them appeal to kids.  WAT-AAH has combined some clever graphics and branding along with pure, non sodium or sugar filled water to appeal to parents and kids.  They offer 4 kinds of WA-AAH, one that is just pure water and the others that have beneficial additives like electrolytes, magnesium and oxygen.

Although I am well past my kid years and I am not yet a parent, WAT-AAH is still very appealing to an active 26 year old like myself.  Because there are so many bottled waters out there, I have started to be picky when buying a bottle.  I hadn’t realized until recently that many waters had sodium in them, and obviously the popular flavored waters like Vitamin Water have a ton of sugar in them.  This defeats the purpose of drinking water so its good to see a new brand out there that is offering pure water with some added, natural boosters without the sugar.

As a skier, the Energy WAT-AAH is my pick.  Living in Aspen, CO for 2 years and skiing at elevations above 12,000 feet where there is less oxygen in the air, you need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.  People at the summit would often joke that they needed an oxygen tank along with their bottle of water and although WAT-AAH is not an oxygen tank, it does provide an added boost of oxygen that will further help you adjust to the altitude.  If someone at 12,000 feet saw a bottle of generic water next to WAT-AAH with Oxygen, i’m pretty sure they would spring for the oxygenated WAT-AAH.


To further prove that WAT-AAH is not just for kids, I brought some into my office last week and not surprisingly, the crew loved it.  Not only did the green from the label match our walls perfectly as you can see in the picture, it was satisfying and everyone thought the graphics and concept was clever.  From one start-up to another, WAT-AAH is supaah!

To buy WAT-AAH near you, check out the retailers map on their website at:

If you live in a state like California where WAT-AAH is not yet available, head on over to Amazon to buy a 12 pack.




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Brooklyn Slate Company

As we near the holiday season, unique and functional new gift ideas are always welcome.  The Brooklyn Slate Company is a new venture out of Brooklyn, NY that is offering unique slate products which come from a family owned New York quarry.  Not only are they unique and super cool looking, they are very reasonably priced and one of the founders is a fellow Hamilton grad.  Currently, they are offering slate cheese boards, sushi boards, coasters, trivets and serving trays.  Prices range from the $10 trivet up to the $24 serving tray.  The slate products are all dishwasher safe, non-porous and food safe so not only will your guests be impressed by their natural stone looks, they are easy to clean and you won’t have to worry about fungus or mold getting into them.  They are packaged up with burlap bags and hand made envelopes and if you order before December 15th you can get free shipping and a personalized message.  If you know someone who likes to cook and entertain or just appreciates functional, unique items then add some slate to your holiday shopping list, or just get some for yourself at



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Palisade Peach Season Is Almost Over – Get ‘em Before It’s Too Late

The last time I talked about Colorado produce on here was when I was gearing up for the Olathe Corn Festival. That Festival turned out to be a huge success and the trip was definitely a Colorado highlight for me. In addition to Olathe Corn, Colorado is also well known for other forms of produce, many of which have their own festivals as well.

Another one of these festivals is the Palisade Peach Festival which features the famed Palisade Peach. These peaches are grown in Palisade, Colorado, a small farming town like Olathe in Western Colorado. Although I missed this festival back in the middle of August, I have been enjoying the fruits of their harvest this summer, literally. Palisade peach season usually goes through the middle of September so this week may be your last chance to sample this tasty fruit.

Although any ol’ Palisade Peach will do, I have taken to the High Country Orchards variety. According to their website, peaches can stay fresh for 2-3 weeks if refrigerated so head to your local farmers market, fruit stand or grocery store and stock up before they disappear until next summer.


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The Art of Ribs By Ted Leonard: Cooking Low and Slow

With another weekend fast approaching, grilling is on my mind. For todays post, I have turned to my good friend Ted Leonard for some rib cooking wisdom. I got my first taste of these Leonard specialty ribs at his Kentucky Derby party this past spring. Although the party was bumping and and music was pumping……when Ted served up his ribs, the house fell silent. All you could hear were some mmmmms and the smacking of lips. They were good; Ted sure has skillz on the grillz.

So today, I introduce to you, the first ever guest blogger on Stuff Mike Likes….Mr. Ted Leonard and his art of ribs. Happy grilling everyone.

Ted has skillz on the grillz

The Art of Ribs: Cooking Low and Slow By Ted Leonard

Ribs have been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. To me ribs signify a gathering and community; the first rule of cooking ribs is that they can’t be consumed alone. Whether you are cooking for two or for thirty, the preparation, process, and presentation remains the same.

Begin prepping the ribs the night before. The first order of business is trimming the excess fat and removing the membrane from the bottom side of the ribs. Use a boning knife to trim the large pieces of excess fat from the top portion of the ribs. Be weary of the fat build up on the ends of the ribs. Remember to trim the excess fat and not over do it, some fat is good. To remove the membrane, use your finger nails on the edge of the bottom side of the rib to peel it up. The membrane should come up all at once as if you are pulling an adhesive off the back of a sticker.

Once you have finished laying the ground work for the ribs the next order of business is by far the most important, prepping the ribs with the rub. While some people have their own rub recipes, I found out very quickly that Savory Spice Shop in Denver ( has worked out a fantastic rub that requires no additional work. I recommend the Platte River Rib Rub. In addition to the rib rub brown sugar is by far the most important ingredient in cooking edible ribs. Although the Platte River Rib Rub has brown sugar in the mix, it isn’t enough. The folks at Savory suggest you use 2 tablespoons per pound of meat but I use significantly more. My general rule of thumb is that once you think you have applied enough brown sugar/rub mixture; throw another layer on there for good faith.

IMG_1334Your ribs are now ready for the fridge to sit over night. My practice is to wrap the racks in Cling wrap and to wrap them up well. You don’t want a puddle of pig juice and rub at the bottom of your refrigerator. Let the ribs sit for at least 12 hours to make sure the rub sets in and that you have a good base of flavor in the ribs. Please note that the flavor of the ribs does not depend on the BBQ sauce used but rather the rub used the night before.

When you are ready to cook the ribs give your self at least 4 hours prior to the guests arriving. Preheat the oven to 215 degrees. On a flat surface layout two feet of aluminum foil. Over the kitchen sink remove the Cling wrap from the ribs and place on tin foil (you want to put each rack in an individual piece of foil). Fold the long edges of the foil up and over the ribs then crease the short edges and fold over five times (make sure there are no holes for the ribs to drip in the oven as this can cause great hardship when cleaning up). Before sealing up the tin foil pour ¼ of a can of beer in the tin foil – I suggest Dale’s Pale Ale. This keeps the ribs moist and adds some flavor to the final product. Once you have the ribs in the oven let them cook for 5 hours.


Time to fire up the grill! As a BBQ snob I always suggest that you use charcoal and use a lot of it when cooking ribs because you want the grill hot! Remove the ribs from the oven and from the foil. Be very careful as the ribs are now in their most delicate form. Mop on your favorite BBQ sauce generously and quickly move them to the grill. Place the ribs on the grill for ten minutes flipping them once. Serve the ribs immediately and enjoy with your company.

The hosts - Mr. & Mr.s Leonard

The hosts - Mr. & Mrs. Leonard

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Spicy Meatballs!

Last night at the free concert in Snowmass I came across a group of friends who had decided to cook up some food and watch the concert, pot-luck style. My friend Al took home top pot-luck honors with his spicy meatballs. I thought they had to be some secret family recipe he had fired up, but he revealed that the recipe was found online at The secret ingredient in these suckers…….grape jelly!

If you like meatballs and a little bit of spice I seriously suggest you check out this recipe:

Super Bowl Grape Jelly Meatballs

2 lb. hamburger
1 c. bread crumbs
Minced onion or chopped onion to taste
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp. parsley flakes
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Mix ingredients together and make small meatballs. Brown and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
1 (12 oz.) bottle chili sauce
1 (16 oz.) jar grape jelly
Combine and bring to a boil. Spread over meatballs. Cook meatballs and boiled sauce in crock pot for 2 to 3 hours.
The link to the full post on can be found here: Spicy Meatballs!
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Olathe Corn Harvest – Get It While It Lasts!

To me, nothing says summer like corn on the cob, a hot dog and cold American beer. However, to those who know their corn out here in Colorado, not just any corn will do this time of the year. Olathe corn has become famous in this state and for good reason.

For those of you who don’t know about Olathe Corn, you need to try some in the coming weeks, but you better hurry because this corn harvest doesn’t last long.

Olathe Corn is harvested in Olathe, Colorado and is prized for its sweet taste, which is attributed to the rapid change in temperature from the hot days to the cool nights.


A festival is set for August 1st to celebrate this wonderful corn. Complete with a performance by country singer Clint Black and some fireworks, it looks like it will be a good time. For more info on the festival, check out their website:

Thanks to an article from TheDenverPost, This years harvest will produce 550,000 cases of corn, each containing 48 ears of corn which amounts to over 26 million ears of corn. Although that sounds like a lot, don’t expect the Olathe corn supply to last more than a week or two in your local grocery store.  Even if you don’t live in Colorado, you can get your hands on some of this corn, with stores as far away as Alaska slated to be carrying it.

Photo Credit The Denver Post

Photo Credit The Denver Post

Look for this corn in a store near you in the coming weeks, round up some friends and have a BBQ.

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