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Denver Restaurant Week Is Back!

Denver Restaurant Week 2

Make your reservations now! This year’s Denver Restaurant Week is February 26th – March 6th and we have a menu to excite every member of the family! Whether it’s a date night for two or a family affair, be sure to stop by Carmine’s on Penn to celebrate this local culinary tradition.

For $30.00 a person, restaurant patrons will be able to choose one dish from each category. For more information, please visit Denver Restaurant Week.

Appetizers

Ravioli alla Vodka
Sausage and Peppers
Bruschetta
Anti-pasta Misti
Tour of Italy
Portobello

Salads

House Salad
Caesar Salad
Pear Salad
Spinach Salad

Entrees

Strozzapreti
Chicken Montana
Carbonara
Pasta Carcio
Pasta alla Capo
White or Red Clam Sauce
Shrimp Calabrese
Chicken Besciamella
Chicken alla Carmine’s
Chicken Marsala
Chicken Parmigiana
Chicken Piccata
Chicken Pazzo
Baked Ziti w/Italian Sausage
Baked Ziti w/Bolognese
Baked Ziti w/Primavera
Baked Ziti w/Meatballs
Moose’s Pasta
Shrimp Parmigiana

Dessert

Three Layer Chocolate Cake
Tiramisu
Chocolate Chip Cannolis
New York Style Cheesecake

Vegetarian and gluten free options are available! Don’t wait – give us a call today and reserve your spot!

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How Italian Culture Can Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Before cutting out carbs – or even your beloved Italian food – for those New Year’s resolutions revolving around losing weight and eating healthy, we wanted to share how certain elements of the Italian culture can actually help make some of the most common resolutions of 2016 a reality.

At Carmine’s on Penn, we believe in knowing where our ingredients come from – and it’s not from a can. We stay away from processed food and prepare our meals fresh every day. When available, we do our best to source local and regional ingredients based on the season.

“First and foremost, we cook! We bake bread, we start with whole vegetables, we roast our own turkey for sandwiches. We discuss what we are looking for with our vendors and ask them to search out what we desire,” explains owner, Brad Ritter.

In addition to cooking with the freshest ingredients and avoiding processed food, Carmine’s on Penn offers a variety of substitutions for those with dietary restrictions. With over half of our menu ‘gluten-intolerant friendly’, our knowledgeable wait staff is trained to help guide restaurant patrons through the menu to find the perfect meal that fits with their dietary restrictions.

And it’s not just the type of food, but also how we encourage you to eat it, that can help you keep up with your New Year’s resolutions.

Our chefs spend all day cooking and preparing your dinner, so it would be a shame if you only spent 12 minutes eating it! To dine at Carmine’s means you must first take the time to talk with your dining companions and your service staff to decide your meal. Because our food is served ‘family style’ with portions made to share, the dining experience is more communal and intentional than at other restaurants. We encourage you to sit back, chat and share your time, food and wine together.

Whatever you’ve determined to be your New Year’s resolution, we hope to see you and your family at Carmine’s on Penn in 2016.

 

 

 

 

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National Pasta Day is October 17

Celebrate National Pasta Day this October 17th with your favorite pasta dish at Carmine’s.

With over 300 known shapes, pasta is one of the world’s favorite foods. Generally, the larger shapes work better with thick, robust sauces, while skinny shapes suit light, cream sauces.

Here at Carmine’s, we offer our customers three different pasta types imported from Italy – spaghetti, linguine and ziti.

Spaghetti is the classic pasta shape. These are long pasta with a rounded shape, perfect for twirling around a fork. Spaghetti is best paired with light sauces like tomato or garlic and olive oil because they will coat the strands evenly without weighing them down. Need more than just pasta and sauce? Go ahead and top with fresh herbs or diced tomatoes to add some texture.

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Linguini pasta is long, flat and narrow. Because it is thinner than other pastas, it pairs best with with simple sauces like Alfredo or delicate proteins like seafood. We like to add linguine to most of our seafood dishes, and we especially love it with our White and Red Clam Sauce, Seafood Marinara, and Lemon Shrimp Calabrese.

 

Ziti pasta is tubular and short like penne, but lacks the ridges and has a square cut. Short, tubular pastas go well with sauces that are thick or chunky. Ziti pasta is best known as an element in pasta bakes, like our Baked Ziti. We recommend adding Italian sausage, vegetables, meatballs or Bolognese to really complete the dish.

The possible combinations of pasta and sauce are limitless, giving you more than just one way to enjoy National Pasta Day. Come celebrate with us on October 17!

 

 

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The Delores Project Share Dinner on September 8

The following post was contributed by Carrie Packard, Development Director at The Delores Project – a transitional shelter program for homeless women in Denver. Carmine’s on Penn is proud to once again host a fundraising dinner for this wonderful community organization.

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ShareDinner2015The annual Share Dinner at Carmine’s is much more than a fundraiser for The Delores Project. Not only does the community come together for a fantastic family-style meal, but Carmine’s also hosts guests from our shelter as part of the evening, giving them the chance to enjoy a delicious meal, impeccable service and an evening out of the shelter with their friends and supporters.

“I was desperate for a place to stay and a meal. The Delores Project saved my life! I did not know that women from various backgrounds could survive by coming together to make a community.”

For more than 15 years, The Delores Project has provided safe, comfortable overnight shelter for women and transgender individuals experiencing homelessness. The Delores Project welcomes each guest without judgement, believing change comes from people in their own individual way. The Delores Project supports this unique path by providing services with as few requirements and restrictions as possible.

The Delores Project is seen as the leader in shelter programming for women and transgender individuals, ensuring that every night at least 50 women and transgender individuals have access to comfortable overnight shelter and services. Each evening, guests at The Delores Project are welcomed with a home cooked meal and a welcoming community helping them move from crisis towards stability and self-sufficiency.

We are grateful to have the support of Carmine’s, especially the waitstaff who so generously offer their time to serve our guests a warm and filling meal. It is appreciated more than you could ever know!

Call today to make your reservation for this special evening. A $45 prix fixe family-style meal will be offered, with $30 from each meal and 50% of beverage sales to be donated to The Delores Project.

 

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Family Style Dining at Carmine’s

Dining Room

Since the beginning, we’ve always focused on family and community. We even started Carmine’s on Penn with family in mind — using traditional recipes to create all of our sauces, breads and dishes the way they’ve been prepared for decades.

We wanted Carmine’s to be a place where people could come and gather with loved ones and enjoy delicious food. That’s why Carmine’s on Penn has served our food family style from the beginning. Every meal is made to share, whether it’s between two, four or more!

Other restaurants are now learning what Carmine’s has always known — food connects people and community in a magical way. It’s no surprise that family style dining is trending in restaurants this year. It encourages restaurant patrons to share — taking away mine’ and yours’ in dining and creating we.

Family style dining may be a ‘trend’ for some restaurants, but at Carmine’s, it’s how we’ve served our food for over 20 years. That’s why we’re thrilled to host our first annual Market-to-Table Community Dinner next week, where friends and strangers alike can dine together and enjoy a meal with ingredients grown right here in Colorado.

Family and community are synonymous at Carmine’s on Penn. We use food as a means to connect with our community, because our community is our family. It’s the connection of sharing food family style that makes Carmine’s on Penn and Italian culture so unique. Regardless of the trend of family style dinning lasting through 2015, our portions will always be made to share. Come join us!

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Bringing Italy’s Finest Wines to Colorado

After a weeklong winery and vineyard tour throughout Italy, Carmine’s owner Brad Ritter is back on American soil with a head full of wine knowledge and a belly full of authentic Italian cuisine. We’re not jealous..

Italian VineyardSelvapianaChiantiRufona3SelvapianaChiantiRufona2

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Dalla Terra Winery Direct – a direct importer of Italy’s finest wines – Brad was invited to attend a ‘Giro d’Italia’ for a behind the scenes look at where Carmine’s wines come from. This trip gave Brad the opportunity to meet the people who spend their days at the vineyards and in the wineries actually producing our wines – starting from the vine, to the grape, and finally, to the bottle. Learning about the wine making process first-hand allows us to appreciate and truly understand the wines we serve our customers.

Brad’s adventure began on the southeast coast of Italy, which is bordered by the Adriatic Sea. After enjoying the coastal life for a few days, the group traveled northwest to the Tuscany region, where a handful of Dalla Terra producers are located. To close out the trip, the group enjoyed their last few days in northern Italy and the “The Floating City”,  or Venice as we like to call it.

http://www.dallaterra.com/producers/

Photo Credit: Dalla Terra

With so many wonderful sights, smells and tastes captured in Brad’s memory, it seems impossible not to share them all. Join us for our next Tour of Italy dinner and wine pairing on October 14 and enjoy your own Italian sensory adventure! More details coming soon.

Saluti!

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Support the Families of Warren Village on June 23

Located in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Warren Village was established in 1974 when citizens and business professionals saw an influx in the number of single parent families struggling to subsist. These community members wanted to build a program that would give these families a chance at economic independence.

One of those community members was Dr. Myron Waddell, a physician who worked in Denver’s inner city during the 1960s. Along with others in the community, he conceived Warren Village after observing an increasing number of single parent families and accompanying high rates of poverty, family violence and homelessness. An active member of Warren United Methodist Church, Dr. Waddell envisioned an “intentional community” of single parent families who could live in a safe and decent temporary home while working toward self-sufficiency. Over a period of nearly ten years, Warren Church bought eight plots of land, razed the existing buildings, and donated the land for the creation of an urban village.

Fast forward to today, 40 years later. Warren Village has continued their mission to provide single parent families in Denver with affordable housing, supportive family services, childcare and education. There is no doubt about the impact this organization has made on our local community.

As a public business, Carmine’s is frequently approached by a variety of charities seeking financial support. Obviously, we cannot support each charity, but once we were introduced to Warren Village, we knew our contributions would go far.

Warren Village certainly stands out with a 40-year history of community service to families in need of a hand up, not a hand out. The dedication of these single parents to improving their own lives and creating better futures for their children is truly inspiring.

For that reason, we will host our second dinner for Warren Village on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. We find that hosting repeating dinners for a charity will often have a natural growth allowing us to offer more financial support. These special dinners also help to build community in support of a particular cause – in this case, poverty and homelessness.

We hope you join us for a special evening to benefit the families who receive services through Warren Village. Learn more at www.warrenvillage.org.

 

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The Little Black Dress of Ingredients

Throughout the history of fashion, the little black dress has become known as the essential staple in every woman’s closet. And when it comes to the Carmine’s menu, we have a staple of our own.

So what is this dress-me-up, dress-me-down, night or day ingredient we can’t live without?

It’s basil. 

The basil plant is one of the most widely known and grown herbs in the world. Often associated with Mediterranean cooking, basil is native to India, Asia and parts of Africa. As a member of the mint family, basil has antioxidant and antibacterial properties, and offers a healthy dose of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese and magnesium. It’s no wonder we use it in so much of our cooking!

One of our favorite basil-touting recipes at Carmine’s is homemade gnocchi. Served in roasted pomodora sauce with kalamata olives, we toss in torn basil to maximize the dish’s flavor. We also slide some basil in our seafood dishes and use it to enliven our Panzanella (bread salad).

Basil is also the main ingredient in pesto – a mixture of basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Pesto appears in many places on our menu, and even just a small amount can take a dish to the next level.

Of course, we don’t limit our use of basil to food. Our new specialty cocktail, the Carmine’s Cooler, is a blend of Cruzan Light Rum, Tommasi Prosecco and fresh-squeezed lime, made perfectly refreshing thanks to muddled basil.

This summer, we encourage you to discover new ways to use basil in your own cooking (or drinking!) at home. And the next time you come in to Carmine’s, we promise there will be plenty of basil to go around.

 

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Behind the Bar: Q&A with Brandi the Bartender

Let’s go behind the bar with Brandi for the inside scoop on her favorite Carmine’s dish, favorite adult beverage, and her go-to wine recommendation…

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Q: Carmine’s employees are known for their longevity at the restaurant. How many years have you worked at Carmine’s?

A: Compared to everyone else, I’m a newbie! I started here June 2014, so I’m coming up on one year next month.

Q: There are so many menu options at Carmine’s. If you had to pick a favorite, what would it be?

A: Honestly, I think we make the most amazing cheesecake on the planet. But aside from dessert, I’m a big fan of the Chicken Montana, Pasta alla Carmine’s, and Chicken or Veal alla Carmine’s. If you want veal, Carmine’s is the place to get it.

Q: As a bartender, you can probably mix up a drink with your eyes closed. What is your favorite drink to make behind the bar?

A: I pour an awesome glass of wine! Other than that, I really enjoy making an Old Fashioned. It’s such a classic drink and for some reason, it seems to taste better here at Carmine’s.

Q: And what about your favorite drink to enjoy after hours?

A: I’m all about the bourbon. 

Q: Carmine’s has a pretty extensive wine list. If it were in stock, which wine would you recommend to a customer?

A: Try the Sor Ugo Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend from the Aia Vecchio Winery in Tuscany. If you’re looking for a smooth red wine, this is the one.

Q: Last question and probably the most important! Why do you love Carmine’s?

A: First of all, I knew about Carmine’s before I even moved to Denver! I had heard wonderful things about their management, and it all turned out to be true. They take good care of us, don’t micromanage our work, and encourage us to be ourselves and let our personalities shine. Plus, it’s always nice to enjoy a free family-style meal with your coworkers after a long night. 

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Why We Give Back: Community Support at Carmine’s

When we took over Carmine’s nearly ten years ago, I was surprised by the number of solicitations for donations we received. It was our standard practice at the time to give a gift certificate to just about anyone who asked. But I could see that this was not a sustainable practice and questioned the true value of these donations from a both a philanthropic and marketing perspective.

Then the recession hit in 2008, really changing the financial realities for many people. Our business declined substantially as well. As the dust was settling, I realized that we were still in good shape and felt a need to support the local community in some way and to share our good fortune with others. My wife and I debated several ideas with a real focus on how we might “feed” people in need.

This led me to the head of The Delores Project. She agreed to meet with me and hear our “brilliant” idea. I wanted to open the restaurant for one day a year and feed anyone for free. She politely told me this was not only a bad, potentially chaotic plan, but that this one day of helping would not spread very far. So our plan evolved. We chose to select as many charitable partners as we thought we could support and then design specific ways that we might help each one.

Fast forward to today. We have used our restaurant space for special gatherings, catered events, and hosted dining evenings where substantial portions of the proceeds are directed to our partners. Each fall, we entertain presentations from organizations that ask for our support. We are naturally drawn to certain types of organizations. Specifically, we have worked with groups dedicated to homelessness, children and schools. We try to determine if our support will be important to the recipient either financially or in a way that helps to build up an organization. We want to evaluate each organization for their ability to deliver to those in need and use our donation wisely.

This month, we are proud to support the work of two local organizations – Project Angel Heart and The Denver Waldorf School. On Tuesday, April 28, we are hosting a fundraising dinner for The Denver Waldorf School and will be donating at least 50% of the evening’s food sales to the school. My three children attended Waldorf Schools from preschool through high school, so l am acquainted with the wonderful work done by dedicated teachers in this system. Not only that, but The Denver Waldorf School moved back to our neighborhood in 2014 and is celebrating 40 years in Denver! We wish to support their continued growth and capacity to serve children.

Then on Thursday, April 30, we are joining over 250 restaurants throughout Denver and Boulder to participate in Dining Out for Life to support Project Angel Heart – a nonprofit whose mission is to deliver nutritious meals to Coloradans with life-threatening illnesses. Save the date to dine out with us and we’ll donate 25% of the evening’s food sales to Project Angel Heart!

We hope to see you soon, and thank you for your continued support.

-Brad Ritter, Owner