wineitup

Denver, CO

141 posts in this topic

Going to Denver for meetings next week.  Any good places I should try to get to?

If you have the time/freedom to go over to Boulder, this place sounds good: Frasca (I haven't been)

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It's been a few years since I've been back, but when we lived in Denver Potager was by far our favorite place. On Capitol Hill, noisy, hip, excellent food. I believe its reputation is still very strong.

You might cruise out for Mexican if you've a mind, as well. And find a good place for Huevos Rancheros (made with local specialty green chili) for breakfast.

Where are you staying.

Also, try to get a martini in the lobby of the Brown Palace hotel downtown -- just a spectacular piece of Old Denver, and where Presidents and the Beatles stayed.

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Waitman, what's that dive bar you sent me to for breakfast, near the Crowne Plaza? I loved it. A true dive.

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Waitman, what's that dive bar you sent me to for breakfast, near the Crowne Plaza?  I loved it.  A true dive.

Remind me where the Crown Plaza is? Was it El Chapultapec? The Cherry Cricket? Or Duffy's?

(rereads note) Must be Duffy's if you had breakfast there.

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The Crowne Plaza is on the end of the pedestrian mall furthest from the Westin. Does that help?

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The Cruise Room in the Oxford in LoDo is also a swell place for a cocktail. If you are in Cherry Creek Mel's, Barolo & 4th Story (located in a fine independent bookseller Tattered Cover) were fine establishments (but this info is a bit dated - try to confirm with a current local). I would add my support for Potager and Duffy's. There was also a great Indonesian restaurant that had hallucinogenic Sambal. Waitman do you remember the name/location?

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The Cruise Room in the Oxford in LoDo is also a swell place for a cocktail.  If you are in Cherry Creek Mel's, Barolo & 4th Story (located in a fine independent bookseller Tattered Cover) were fine establishments (but this info is a bit dated - try to confirm with a current local).  I would add my support for Potager and Duffy's.  There was also a great Indonesian restaurant that had hallucinogenic Sambal.  Waitman do you remember the name/location?

It was on South Federal, just below the point at which the Latin neighborhood turned Asian. BYOB, as I recall. Sadly, I can't come up with a name.

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The Cruise Room in the Oxford in LoDo is also a swell place for a cocktail.  If you are in Cherry Creek Mel's, Barolo & 4th Story (located in a fine independent bookseller Tattered Cover) were fine establishments (but this info is a bit dated - try to confirm with a current local).

Mel's was still good as of 18 months ago - the last time we were there. For some reason I'm thinking that Barolo closed...anyone know?

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Arguably Mizuna is the best in Denver http://www.mizunadenver.com/ I have not been to Frasca but a friend "whose opinion I trust" raves about it. Highlands Garden Cafe is also interesting but not on the level of Mizuna. If your taste runs to Rocky Mountain oysters or rattlesnake marinated in red chili and lime you may want to give serious consideration to Denver's oldest restaurant, the "unique" and interesting Buckhorn Exchange. http://www.buckhorn.com/

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As soon as I saw Denver, I thought Buckhorn Exchange. It is a fun restaurant, I have had everything from Yak, to Musk Ox. I understand that the mountain oysters are quite good, it is the only food that I have an aversion to, so I wouldn't know.

If you like steak, give Brooks a try. It is one of the best steak houses in the country.

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Yes go to the Tattered Cover! Also go to the Le Central the Affordable French Restaurant. http://www.lecentral.com/

I have to disagree on Le Central - we tried hard to like it when we lived there, but we couldn't. Best get your French fix at one of DC's many fine Bistros and look for something else in Denver.

If you want low-end Euro Chow, better to find The Saucy Noodle (motto: if you don't like garlic, go home) for something in a red sauce, followed by good homemade 'scream at Bonnie Brae ice cream four doors down.

Tattered Cover in Cherry Creek, (NOT the one in LoDo) btw, aside from being a legendary bookstore has a great restaurant on the top floor, the aforementioned Fourth Floor, and is walking distance from Mel's and the Cherry Cricket (and a 2 minute drive from The Saucy Noodle). The tattered cover in LoDo is close to the Cruise room (on 17th) and the Chipultapec's, the Mexican Jazz bar as well as whatever's hip in that 'hood these days.

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We loved the burgers at Cherry Cricket. There's also a good breakfast place on E. 3rd in Cherry Creek but damned if I can remember the name.

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Mel's was still good as of 18 months ago - the last time we were there.  For some reason I'm thinking that Barolo closed...anyone know?

Mr. S is flying to Denver tomorrow to spend a week with family. I printed out this thread for him and instructed him to take notes and report back.

His brother told him tonight in a phone call that they do have ressies at Barolo for one evening, so no, it isn't closed.

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I am a huge fan of a microbrew called: Fat Tire. It is brewed out in Colorado by The New Belgium Brewing Company, but alas, they do not distribute their product to this area.

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I am a huge fan of a microbrew called: Fat Tire.  It is brewed out in Colorado by The New Belgium Brewing Company, but alas, they do not distribute their product to this area.

One of previous jobs took me to Salt Lake City, on every trip I would stop by one of the crappy sports bars in the Denver Airport for a large Fat Tire. It was my only saving grace before heading over the mountains to the Bee Hive State, also known as the land of watered down beer.

The same job also took me to Fort Collins just as often (where New Belgium is located), so I was able to make up for all the lost beer drinking time in Salt Lake City. Their Blue Paddle was my hands down favorite, but on my summer trips, the Sunshine Wheatbeer sure hit the spot.

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Someone once gave me a hard time for praising Fat Tire, not obscure enough, I guess. But when I lived in Denver I loved the stuff.

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All this talk of Denver and beer has me thinking about the Great American Beer Festival. I have not been in many years and wonder if it is still worth the trip? Anyone have any recent trip reports?

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One of previous jobs took me to Salt Lake City, on every trip I would stop by one of the crappy sports bars in the Denver Airport for a large Fat Tire.  It was my only saving grace before heading over the mountains to the Bee Hive State, also known as the land of watered down beer.

The same job also took me to Fort Collins just as often (where New Belgium is located), so I was able to make up for all the lost beer drinking time in Salt Lake City.  Their Blue Paddle was my hands down favorite, but on my summer trips, the Sunshine Wheatbeer sure hit the spot.

Salt Lake City? I have found memories of a joint on N. Temple called The Red Iguana which was really good, especially for mole. I also remember some really strange hamburgers with pastrami on them at a place downtown that was a long standing local tradition although I still don't understand why.

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All this talk of Denver and beer has me thinking about the Great American Beer Festival.  I have not been in many years and wonder if it is still worth the trip?  Anyone have any recent trip reports?

My brother, who lives in the area, has gone every year for about the last 5 or 6. He says that each year it gets more crowded and more expensive, but it's still worth going to. But worth going to as a local, and worth flying out for are very different things.

Don't know if it was always this way, but now when you buy a ticket, it's only good for a single four-hour session - there are 4 (Thurs, Fri, Sat nites, and Sat day). The major brewers (?) like A-B now have a huge amount of square footage. Almost 30,000 people attended last year.

click me

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My brother, who lives in the area, has gone every year for about the last 5 or 6. He says that each year it gets more crowded and more expensive, but it's still worth going to. But worth going to as a local, and worth flying out for are very different things.

Don't know if it was always this way, but now when you buy a ticket, it's only good for a single four-hour session - there are 4 (Thurs, Fri, Sat nites, and Sat day). The major brewers (?) like A-B now have a huge amount of square footage. Almost 30,000 people attended last year.

click me

I was last there in '97 and A-B has a table just like everyone else, but had the fewest people visiting :lol: . The sessions were setup the same way and Saturday afternoon was for vendors and American Homebrewer Association Members. During that session is when they would announce the winners which was pretty good as the crowd was rather small then.

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Was at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood a month or two ago. One of my co-workers found this place a couple blocks from our hotel 240 Union (speaking of places named after their address). It was not at all what I expected... it was excellent... it says the Denver Post declares it one of the 10 best in Denver and I believe it. In terms of style of cooking and the menu, it reminded me most of Zest (in Frederick).....creative comfort food. I had the half-chicken with apple smoked bacon potatoes. The flavor moistly permeated into the whole chicken.... and bacon really does make potatoes taste better. Great deal at $15 also.... Co-workers had pasta with italian sausage (Strozzapreti) and another had a fish special (halibut I think). Way too full for dessert. Looked to be a decent wine list but I didn't look too long at it... was in a beer mood.

Definitely worth a stop if you're in the area.

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Sullivan's Steak House

http://www.sullivansteakhouse.com/denver/

It's not often I can say that I had one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. The 24 oz bone in cowboy ribeye has to make my top 5 list. I understand that this steakhouse is part of a chain, but the steak was divine! A simple wedge of lettuse with blue cheese dressing came as a starter, and some pretty good fresh bread. The service was great!

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About 7 years ago, we had a fun meal at Vesta Dipping after a Rockies game (we were driving cross-country). In retrospect, the concept sounds kind of unappetizing (you chose various "dipping sauces" for your dinner-- kind of like Melting Pot), but at the time we really enjoyed it. Has anyone been; is it still around?

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Any further thoughts on restaurants in the downtown area? We'll be staying at the Hyatt on Welton Street, and will be joined by my wife's kids and their well-behaved three-year-old for part of the time. I wonder if she would enjoy the Ship Tavern at the Brown Palace? I haven't eaten there for years, but remember it as fairly casual with decent food. Any recommendations for the munchkin and/or just the two of us would be most appreciated.

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My wife -- Mrs. B -- and I weighed in with some suggestions earlier in this thread, but I'll just peek back in to say that, while it is utterly undistinguished in a culinary sense, the Ship's Tavern is a great informal place to get a dinner or some kid-food because the cooking is decent and the restaurant is distinctly Denver -- it has a sense of place that makes you feel that you've actually travelled somewhere, as opposed to being transported, Star Trek-like, to the same chain restaurant, just in another galaxy. Good burgers, too.

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My wife -- Mrs. B -- and I weighed in with some suggestions earlier in this thread, but I'll just peek back in to say that, while it is utterly undistinguished in a culinary sense, the Ship's Tavern is a great informal place to get a dinner or some kid-food because the cooking is decent and the restaurant is distinctly Denver -- it has a sense of place that makes you feel that you've actually travelled somewhere, as opposed to being transported, Star Trek-like, to the same chain restaurant, just in another galaxy. Good burgers, too.
Your suggestions sound good, and we'll certainly try Potager and, probably, 240 Union as well. I agree with you about the unique ambiance and understated elegance of the Brown; it's steeped in history, and my only regret is that, during one phase of its remodeling, they did away with those wonderful, old leather chairs and stand-up ashtrays in the lobby atrium--a place where a guy could swallow some scotch, read a paper and have a cigar without offending the known universe. And, yet, the Ship Tavern beckons, probably for two visits-- the bar alone is worth a good part of an evening. Again, many thanks.

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Your suggestions sound good, and we'll certainly try Potager and, probably, 240 Union as well. I agree with you about the unique ambiance and understated elegance of the Brown; it's steeped in history, and my only regret is that, during one phase of its remodeling, they did away with those wonderful, old leather chairs and stand-up ashtrays in the lobby atrium--a place where a guy could swallow some scotch, read a paper and have a cigar without offending the known universe. And, yet, the Ship Tavern beckons, probably for two visits-- the bar alone is worth a good part of an evening. Again, many thanks.

I'm glad we appear to be helpful. Another thing to keep in mind is that Denver is full of diners that serve huevos rancheros with green chili -- a local specialty, you can find local Mexican-Americans roasting the chilis in parking lots on Saturdays, for sale -- that kicks butt. Even in the diviest diner (of which there are more than a few on Colfax).

If you have time to kill and a rental car, consider getting directions to Federal Blvd, which runs north-south just a few minutes from downtown, and cruising from the Hispanic neighborhoods (north) to the Asian neighborhoods (south) and picking a local unknown joint to drop into. Very worth your time. Also, even if kids are worried about ethnic food, they always love the idea of choosing between strawberry and mango soda in the Mexican places, and ethnic joints always love kids. We are blessed with great Vietnamese in DC, but Old Saigon on South Federal is worth checking out if you develop a pho craving.

Finally, and this has nothing to do with food, I seem to recall there being an Indian jewelry store on the ground floor of the Hyatt with some excellent and reasonably priced native American stuff, (independant of this thread, I was pining for a lost pair of cufflinks from that shop as I got dressed the other morning) from the outlandish to the extremely cool understated. And let us know if the cool coffee shop with the jazz and pool table is still around the corner.

Damn...who knew I'd get all nostalgic for Denver.....

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We lived in Denver for a couple of years and I lost over 20 pounds a while back :P . Things have changed and I am sure there are new restaurants at which which I should be pleased to spend my hard earned DC dollars :D . Please don't mention Zengo or any Kevin Taylor restaurants, Jax, Palace Arms or G-d forbid Vesta Dippy. Sushi Den is lovely but we can do that here if I were of the mind. I'm thinking of one of these: Z Cuisine, Mizuna, Rioja, Luca d'Italia which are all new since my departure. Anyone been out West recently and willing to offer some advice?

If my flight out were not so early I would totally dig into a plate of huevos & green chilie. I also think it may be possible that the Chinese down Federal may be better than DC (not hard) so would love any ideas about that for future trips.

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Is dining in Boulder an option? I believe I read of an interesting dining scene there (via mongo jones, probably on mouthfulsfood.com).

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Is dining in Boulder an option? I believe I read of an interesting dining scene there (via mongo jones, probably on mouthfulsfood.com).
Boulder won't work this time. I will try Frasca next time I get there based on all the raves.

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Christmas Eve 2005 I went with family members to Rioja, down on Larimer for a late-night dinner. Granted, it's not the best time to sample a restaurant, but it didn't give any indication that it was not at its best. We all enjoyed our meals, which ranged from pasta to fish to lamb, all expertly prepared. (I understand the house-made pastas there are their specialty.) I would rank it with some of the better neighborhood restaurants in DC, such as Ardeo or Sonoma--not top rank, but very good. In fact, we had planned to return there this past Christmas Eve, we liked it so much, but my flight was delayed and we were forced to cancel our reservation, so I can't report if it's kept up its quality.

The Fort, in the foothills outside Denver, near Red Rocks, is not outstanding, but a good place to go if you like to eat game and more "western" type foods.

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The trouble with organized conventions is that although I spent a long weekend in Aspen, all of those meals were catered by the hq hotel. Bumming around afterwards did open up some opportunities though.

Colorado appears to define the northeastern range of accurate New Mexico-style chile verde, so I was pleased to discover a satisfying version at The Golden Burro in Leadville. Made fresh daily from green chiles and tomatillos, it really amped up the signature Golden Burro-Ito, a delicious but relatively slender burrito. The restaurant itself is a weird, bright, quaint joint full of Leadville nostalgia, both printed in the menus and hanging on the walls. The outside neon sign and facade appear to date from...well, a lot closer to 1938 than 2008. Lots of charm, and I'd definitely eat here again.

Quite a bit farther to the north in Fort Collins, I needed a place to grab a late lunch and took a gamble on the Charco Broiler, located on the main strip-mall drag to the east of town. Inside the vestibule, a dozen or so certificates reflected CB's perennial status as the best steakhouse in town according to Ft. Collins Magazine. Trying to save some room for dinner, I instead opted for the "Holy-Moley Guacamole" burger, well-grilled with a nice bit of smoke and char, and covered with a smooth spicy guacamole and pieces of roasted green chiles. The side of fries were good, not great, but if you like meat, this would be a fine destination.

Not too far down the same stretch of road, I found Supermarket Liquors (1300 E. Mulberry). Apart from a confusing bit of information regarding Terry Theise's hometown, they had a surprisingly decent selection in both German and Champagne departments...not comprehensive, but still impressive (for instance, a half-dozen Dönnhoff bottlings and maybe twice as many RM as factory-fizz represented) considering the limited size of the market for either in Ft. Collins.

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I'm headed to Coors Field tonight to see the Dodgers and the Rockies - at least one team is still in the wild card race. :angry: Is there anything particularly tasty that I should look for at the park? And any way to avoid Coors beer products? (I realize the latter request is a long shot.)

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It's been a while since I've been to Coors Field, so this may be a bit out of date but:

1) Eat before you go to the park

2) There used to be a microbrew beer stand. As I recall, it was on the main level in the general vicinity of 3rd base/short left field but you should probably ask around if you don't see it.

3) If you're really desparate for a non-Coors (or if there's a rain delay, not uncommon in Denver) you're allowed to leave the stadium to knock back a cold Fat Tire and -- with a ticket stub and hand-stamp -- get beck into the park.

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Thanks, Waitman. I saw your post after the game, so here's my recap, and I'll include some stuff related to your post.

I didn't eat before going to the game. While not a culinary revelation, I've eaten far worse, at games and otherwise.

I got garlic fries (the only ones I've had since going to a game in SF back in the late 90s) and frankly, they were pretty decent. The fries held up much better than other, non-garlic fries in other parks, staying relatively firm until the end. (Just leave that comment alone, okay?) The garlic could have been more, um, garlic-y, but all in all, definitely not bad for ballpark food, and $5 for a big plate. It should have been dinner, but I went hiking in the Rockies, so I felt justified in eating more than I should have.

There are a couple of stands serving "regional-style" dogs. New York, Chicago, Denver, and some other-style dogs that I don't remember - Tuscon, maybe? The Denver dog had cheese, jalapenos, and green chili sauce on it. Given that Denver is a hotbed of the real thing, I couldn't, in good conscience, get that. Instead, I got the Chicago dog. I went to Hot Doug's in Chicago back in August, and though the Coors Field dog didn't rival that, it was more than edible, and I'd recommend it over the Rockie dog, with limp-looking peppers and who knows what else. The Chicago dog came with a serviceable, crispy dill pickle spear, sport peppers (!) that gave some heat, celery salt, and in the main flaw of the evening, squirts of Gulden's. Was it Hot Doug's? Good god, no. Was it good for Coors Field? Absolutely. The dog itself had some pop, so combined with the other plusses, it rated a "very good" for ballpark food.

The microbrew stand you mentioned (section 137) was the only one with Fat Tire, which I had had at the place where I was staying for a couple of nights. The problem was that the stand ALSO did mixed drinks, and while friendly, the people looked to be about 102 and took forever on the drinks. I didn't have the patience to wait in line so I got a Blue Moon from one of the other stands, she said shamefully. Better than any basic Coors product. There were other micros available in bottles at the section 137 stand, but I can't recall which ones since I wandered away exasperated. Like at RFK, there are a few stands serving beer with body/color/flavor, but also like RFK, there aren't many outside of a couple of stands near the expensive seats. [Note to baseball fans - I got one ticket behind the plate, 19 rows back, for $42 plus service charges. If you're in Denver...go to the game!!!! You can't beat that experience for that price.]

All of my impressions were formed BEFORE Brad Hawpe hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th to put the Rockies ahead for good after a wild back-and-forth game. It was a great time.

For dinner tonight, I went to Zolo Grill in Boulder. Wild boar quesadilla (tasty, lots of boar, about equal in flavor to Dino's wild boar pasta but clearly a different genre), and the duck tacos, one of which is now in the fridge for breakfast tomorrow, very tasty, with a pineapple/mango habanero salsa that kicked butt. Drink quibble: my "Zolotini" (basically tequila, lime, and another citrus liquor I don't remember) came with a small glass and a shaker. The whole drink didn't fit in the glass, which meant the drink sat in the shaker, ice and all, until I finished it. Which then meant the last pour was at least 1/2 melted ice. On the plus side, I was a solo diner, without other means of entertainment, and didn't feel like they treated me any differently - without a huge crowd, the manager got me a table outside - a 4-top - on a beautiful night, so it was very pleasant.

That's all I got for now.

Thanks again, Waitman. Hope this helps next time you're back out in this vicinity during baseball season.

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I was in Colorado for two (!) weeks visiting familiy members. Some culinary highlights were:

Tres Margaritas: the portions were so big that you could make about three meals out of any the dishes they served. Their margaritas, especially their "Cadillac Margarita" was divine. They served all their dishes with a vinegary coleslaw which was a nice contrast of flavors from the heavy meat and cheese and carb dishes we ordered.

We also went to A taste of Colarado:

PULCINELLA RISTORANTE: The meatballs were amazing, perfectly seasoned, light and delicious.

TRAIL DUST STEAK HOUSE: now normally I pride myself as someone who is no longer a wimp about spicy and hot food but thier bacon wrapped cream cheese stuffed jalapenos nearly did me in. I had to make a beeline for the drink vendor, got a huge bottle of water and it still burned through my mouth. But it was very very good.

Tropical Grill:

Their banana Lumpia was excellent. I wish I had tried more of their food.

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I spent a couple of days in Denver this week, and I have to join in the praise of rioja, Jennifer Jasinski's newish Med-local place on Latimer Street in the LoDo section of town. I sampled a couple of the house pastas, the best of which was the black-truffle gnocchi with mushrooms and arugula. I also tried the roasted Colorado leg of lamb with goat cheese polenta, grilled Roma tomatoes, and bacon-wrapped treviso. The lamb was served without the bone in sight and sliced in medium rare rectangles -- much like how Tom Power does his lamb dish at Corduroy. Although Jasinski's lamb is cooked perfectly, the flavor of the accompanying sauce is better and richer at Corduroy. What's more the goat cheese polenta was somewhat dense. Indeed, my biggest gripe about the place was how heavy-handed it was with cheese (a delicate Hawaiian hearts of palm salad was marred by a too-strong parmesan chip). But Jasinski excels with meats, pasta, and bread (the lavender sourdough is out of this world), and that's what you should stick to if you visit. For dessert, my host recommended the chocolate s'mores pot de creme -- a wonderful dish that turns the classic on its head by using housemade graham crackers as dipping sticks into a marshmallow-topped chocolate pot. This is a fine spot for a nice dinner out in Denver.

I should say too that the wine list at rioja is exceptional; although, as its name suggests, it focuses on Spanish wines, it has a number of interesting and reasonably priced American and French offerings. We ended up with a bottle of 2005 Alvaro Palacios "Les Terrasses" priorat for the table.

I also revisited Panzano in the Hotel Monaco for the first time since 2002. Panzano is where Jasinski made her name before jumping ship to start rioja and sibling Bistro Vendome. Oh, how Panzano has fallen. The service is clueless, and the food is uninspired. The one saving grace is the housemade bread, which remains outstanding. But Panzano is now a place to skip completely while in Denver.

(And, yes, Dora, Vesta Dipping Grill is still kicking. I liked it too when I first went a few years back.)

Michael

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My sister and I went to Jasinski's Bistro Vendome for Christmas Eve dinner a few weeks ago. Granted, as with my Christmas Eve trip to Rioja, this is not the best time to visit a restaurant to get the best impression. Still, I would say that Rioja is the much better restaurant, and that this effort at a French bistro pales next to most similar places in DC, such as Montmartre, Cafe du Parc, etc. Sis had the Crepes Vendome, filled with chicken, tomato, olives, herbs, and topped with a fried egg and bernaise--a rather rich starter!--and I had a nice beet carpaccio salad, whose highlight was the goat cheese croquettes. For entrees, she had the vegetables and cheese in puff pastry (which I didn't taste), and I a pork chop marinated in maple syrup, with acorn squash, blue cheese-potato puree, a spiced rum reduction, and bacon-wrapped dates. While the presentation was attractive, and the portion generous, the meat was a tad dry, the potatoes bland, and overall it was a bit sweet for my taste. Darn good dates though. Overall, the dish just strike me as all that French, and would have been more suited to the Rioja menu than here. We were too full for dessert. Nothing terrible here, but Jasinski doesn't seem to have the feel for French bistro cooking that she brings to her modern American fare elsewhere. Indeed, as with my entree, there wasn't much here that was all that different from Rioja, just identified with French names.

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I spent a week in Denver (actually, a week at the Western Development federal government training center in Aurora, just outside Denver) and made it to Rioja (on Larimer St.) for dinner. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone traveling there. My starter was a sugar snap pea soup - light on the cream and a very fresh taste. For an entree I had the grilled Colorado lamb over a lentil viniagrette, with goat cheese ravioli and braised greens. The lamb and lentils were delicious, but the ravioli ( a single large piece) held the freshest and smoothest goat cheese I have had. Absolutely perfect. The dessert was also excellent - orange risotto brandy cannoli - it was one of those times when I did not want dessert, but it sounded intriguing, so I ordered it and thought I would have a bite or two, but finished the whole thing in record time. This was one of the best desserts I have had in a long time- the risotto/pudding like center was not too heavy and the passion fruit sauce was a great complement to it.

On the other hand, I do not recommend the cafeteria-like buffet at the Red Lion hotel that is the government's only food offering for its training classes - three meals a day. You can endure breakfast (although the poached eggs were like none I had ever seen before), and with a strong imagination, lunch is passable. But, you will not want to enter the place for a 3rd meal each day. If you go, make use of the hotel's generous offerings of shuttle service to local places or the proximity of the train station to downtown Denver. Consider yourself warned.

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Had a bud come back from Denver with four strip steaks from Oliver's Meat Market on 6th Avenue -- conveniently located just outside of downtown on your way to the airport (and walking distance from my old house). Unfuckingbelievable -- astoundingly worth the effort of hauling them home. As with any small butcher shop, the quality varies a bit from cow to cow but the steaks tonight were without question head and shoulders above any steak I've ever bought in any butcher shop in the DC metro area. Dry-aged prime, they had the flavor of a proper strip, marbling that suggested nothing so much as real Wagyu and, on cooking, and the silk texture of a filet; mouth-melting, food orgasming. We made a little marchand du vin sauce (is there anything better than having a gallon of stock in the fridge? Except Oliver's on the way?) and grilled it over gas. If you've got hotter gas or the patience for briquets, you might even turn out something incrementally better than what we had. At any rate, if you're in Denver, bring home as much as you can carry. 75% chance you'll wish you brought home more.

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Busy trip, but did make it to two places worth mentioning.

Cook's Fresh Market is a homegrown style market along the lines of Dean & DeLuca that should be supported if for no other reasons than it prepares fine food and is not a national chain. If you are there for breakfast I can recommend the egg, ham, and cheese breakfast panini, with mustard aioli, lettuce, and tomato on homemade bread.

If you are on Larimer Street in LoDo and cannot get in Rioja, a situation I encountered with no reservations, I suggest ambling a few doors down the street and grab yourself a space at the long bar at Osteria Marco and settle in for some nice Italian comfort food. I only had time for a quick antipasti and salad. It may not sound like much, but the meatball sliders were an excellent combination of veal, pork, and beef and served on tasty toasted homemade rolls akin to brochen. In this case, simple was better. The shaved lamb salad was generous in portion, with tender meat roasted in-house right in the dining room, and served with goat cheese, kalamata olives, and roasted peppers on a bed of greens and tomatoes. The combined price was less than $20 without drinks. Not a bad deal. Not a bad deal at all.

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I'm in Denver through Saturday, staying on 16th St mall & spending most of my time at the Convention Center. My dining options are somewhat limited, however--we're currently experiencing blizzard conditions, so I'm pretty much sticking to trying to scope out decent local spots between here and the convention.

I have to second the recommendation for Cook's Fresh Market, on 16th at Glenarm. They have a very nice selection of sandwiches, with great bread--I had a roast beef with just the right amount of horseradish. Everything is very fresh, they have an excellent bakery with both bread and pastries, and were a very welcome alternative to an au bon pain or corner bakery when I was fighting my way through horizontal snow and needed a decent lunch to sustain me.

Last night, my colleague and I stopped by the Paramount Cafe, also on 16th St. Unpretentious little cafe/bar frequented by locals (as opposed to the thousands of my professional colleagues who have descended on the city; not that I don't love 'em, but I would like to hang out with some actual Coloradans). I had a simple burrito with pork & green chili, accompanied by posole and black beans. Tasty and well priced.

I'd love to hear any other suggestions for places nearby that aren't too pricey (we have a $30 maximum on expenses for dinner); I think my colleague is interested in trying buffalo, although she's not a super-adventurous eater.

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I'm in Denver through Saturday, staying on 16th St mall & spending most of my time at the Convention Center. My dining options are somewhat limited, however--we're currently experiencing blizzard conditions, so I'm pretty much sticking to trying to scope out decent local spots between here and the convention.

I have to second the recommendation for Cook's Fresh Market, on 16th at Glenarm. They have a very nice selection of sandwiches, with great bread--I had a roast beef with just the right amount of horseradish. Everything is very fresh, they have an excellent bakery with both bread and pastries, and were a very welcome alternative to an au bon pain or corner bakery when I was fighting my way through horizontal snow and needed a decent lunch to sustain me.

Last night, my colleague and I stopped by the Paramount Cafe, also on 16th St. Unpretentious little cafe/bar frequented by locals (as opposed to the thousands of my professional colleagues who have descended on the city; not that I don't love 'em, but I would like to hang out with some actual Coloradans). I had a simple burrito with pork & green chili, accompanied by posole and black beans. Tasty and well priced.

I'd love to hear any other suggestions for places nearby that aren't too pricey (we have a $30 maximum on expenses for dinner); I think my colleague is interested in trying buffalo, although she's not a super-adventurous eater.

I've been to a good tapas place in LoDo, forgot the name, though.

EDIT: The 9th Door, maybe?

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They used to have Rocky Mountain Oysters at the Rocky Mountain Diner but a quick review shows that they are no longer there :rolleyes: . They make a very fine Huevos Rancheros, the Turkey Posole is pretty good, the Pan Roasted Chicken is also quite tasty. For your friend they have Buffalo Meatloaf. My favorite thing about this place is the home-made lemonade. Very localcentric especially at lunch and happy hour.

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The Buckhorn Exchange (cab distance) has extensive buffalo offerings and the Wyncoop Brewery offers a buffalo steak within walking distance.

There used to be an all-buffalo all the time restaurant in Denver (which is what I was looking for when I found Buckhorn and Wyncoop), but it appears to be, um, extinct.

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Any recent experiences in Boulder? We're going to be there in a couple of weeks. We're on the waiting list for Frasca and Kitchen is completely booked, so looking for other ideas. Thanks.

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Any recent experiences in Boulder? We're going to be there in a couple of weeks. We're on the waiting list for Frasca and Kitchen is completely booked, so looking for other ideas. Thanks.

It's been a while, but I try to keep up with Boulder as I did live there for many a year. Once place I've heard good things about is SALT Bistro which just opened in the old Tom's Tavern spot (website mainly a stub right now). I don't think it's a fancy place, but Bradford Heap did a good job with Colterra, so I give him some leash (friends that went to Colterra raved, so if you have a car, might be worth a trip to Niwot).

Beyond that, hmm, Radda Trattoria has gotten some praise from friends.

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It's been a while, but I try to keep up with Boulder as I did live there for many a year. Once place I've heard good things about is SALT Bistro which just opened in the old Tom's Tavern spot (website mainly a stub right now). I don't think it's a fancy place, but Bradford Heap did a good job with Colterra, so I give him some leash (friends that went to Colterra raved, so if you have a car, might be worth a trip to Niwot).

Beyond that, hmm, Radda Trattoria has gotten some praise from friends.

Matt, thanks! Those all look promising. I made a reservation at Colterra (neither Salt nor Radda accept reservations) and we're looking forward to it.

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I'm going to Denver for 5 days next week for the American Dietetic Association's annual meeting at the Convention Center. Since I am being entertained at night, I am in need of suggestions for places to sneak out to for some really good food (read: unhealthy) when all the healthy eating discussions become overwhelming.

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I'm going to Denver for 5 days next week for the American Dietetic Association's annual meeting at the Convention Center. Since I am being entertained at night, I am in need of suggestions for places to sneak out to for some really good food (read: unhealthy) when all the healthy eating discussions become overwhelming.

Hmm. Unhealthy, eh? Well, since you'll be downtown, my first thought was Domo. This is Gaku Homma's aikido dojo that also happens to serve Japanese country foods. Of all the places in Denver to eat, Domo is always my first choice. But, it's not very unhealthy.

If you have access to a car, take a straight shot down Santa Fe to El Taco de Mexico. It helps to speak Spanish there, but "tacos de lengua", "al carbon", "sesos"...you'll work it out.

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Just returned from a trip to Boulder and, for the most part, we were very impressed with our dining experiences. I highly recommend:

Frasca

My daughter and I had an incredible dinner here. Everything from the food to the wine to the service to the ambiance was perfect. If you have only one night in Boulder, make this your dinner destination. I'm dreaming about the Hamachi crudo with pickled horseradish.

Salt

My husband and I had lunch here and it was so good that we decided to return for dinner with our daughter and her roommate. This is a laid-back, casual restaurant with excellent food and wine. I'm still thinking about the curried corn soup with pesto sauce; and the 7-hour braised lamb.

The Kitchen Cafe

We had lunch here and it was delightful. All organic, locally-sourced ingredients.

Lucile's

Lucile's is a funky, down-home, creole cafe that serves outrageous breakfasts. Every meal is accompanied by biscuits that are, I'm not kidding, 5 inches square! The homemade strawberry-rhubarb and blueberry jams were great on the mammoth biscuit or the beignets. I was just sorry that I was catching a plane later in the day and could not take a doggy bag of my creole omelet with me --- it could easily have served 3!

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Going to be stuck in Denver on business on my birthday.

I've put together a small group of business associates/friends to help me celebrate (we'll be 6-7 total).

I'll be staying at the Sheraton Downtown.

Any good suggestions to help me celebrate?

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Denver is not much of a dining destination, but there are increasingly a number of small gems to be found here. While I've enjoyed Rioja and Bistro Vendome in the past, and The Fort is a unique sort of place, Fruition is the first restaurant I've encountered in Denver that merits comparison with the best of other major U.S. cities. Led by chef Alex Seidel (one of Food & Wine's best new chefs for 2010), it only looks like a cozy neighborhood place--there is some real talent at work here that one would expect to find in a more high-profile restaurant.

The three of us started with a trio of stellar starters: asparagus with green garlic flan, prosciutto, and hearts of palm salad; potato-wrapped Oysters Rockefeller with bacon and spinach; and a pasta carbonara with house-cured pork belly, poached egg, and parmesan broth. Those descriptions may sound rather ordinary, but each revealed some extraordinary flavors--the flan was a subtle delight; the juicy oysters were offset nicely by the potato-chip like wrapping; the carbonara was light on the cavatelli but enriched by that perfectly cooked egg. As my sister said upon sampling the pork belly--"That tastes like what bacon wants to be."

The entrees did not disappoint either. My prosciutto-wrapped scallops with pea emulsion and tendrils stayed luscious inside their wrappings. My sister's sea bass was likewise cooked perfectly, and was coupled with baby artichoke agnolotti that slowly exploded with flavor. Bob's duck breast was not cooked as rare as what we encountered at Beast in Portland a few weeks ago, but coupled with risotto, and a duck prosciutto, it was still an expert dish.

We shared a pair of desserts: the Fromage Vendeen Bichonne had an unidentified semisoft cheese at its center, but the accompanying apple beignets, radish salad and marmalade made for a uniquely savory and sweet course. I am not totally convinced the combination worked, but it was compelling nevertheless, and a good warm-up to the vanilla crepes with strawberry-rhubarb compote, marscapone, and pistachio crumbles, which was the lightly sweet finisher we were looking for. The 2008 Château Pesquié, “Terrasses”, from the Rhône Valley took a bit of time to open up its charms, but proved a sturdy wine to accompany all our variety.

Friendly service and a relaxed atmosphere topped this lovely (though not cheap--$240 w/tip for 3) evening. Fruition may be the best restaurant in Denver; it certainly would sit high on the lists here in Washington. I would not be surprised if Seidel gets some James Beard Award attention before long. I hope I can get back some time to check out its other seasonal menus.

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I will be in Denver for one day in August, before heading to Vail for a few days. Food and drink in Vail is covered, so I'm looking for the one "can't miss" meal in Denver. And I want it to be very Denver-ish, not French or Italian, unless there's a Michelin 3-star that is worth the detour.

I'll be staying for the night at the Brown Palace, so I already know to tuck into the bar there for the martinis. But that one "can't miss" Denver meal is what I'm looking for. Right now, Buckhorn Exchange is at the top of my list, so if anyone wants to topple that selection with a better selection, then I'm all ears....or, eyes.

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I will be in Denver for one day in August, before heading to Vail for a few days. Food and drink in Vail is covered, so I'm looking for the one "can't miss" meal in Denver. And I want it to be very Denver-ish, not French or Italian, unless there's a Michelin 3-star that is worth the detour.

I'll be staying for the night at the Brown Palace, so I already know to tuck into the bar there for the martinis. But that one "can't miss" Denver meal is what I'm looking for. Right now, Buckhorn Exchange is at the top of my list, so if anyone wants to topple that selection with a better selection, then I'm all ears....or, eyes.

I haven't been to Buckhorn Exchange, so I can't comment on that. But Fruition does deserve your serious consideration; chef Alex Seidel runs a farm near Denver from which he sources most of his produce, so it's got very much a "locavore" vibe. For sheer quality, it's the best I have found in Denver.

As far as "very Denver-ish," if you have transportation, you might want to try The Fort, near Red Rocks Amphitheater. The menu is similar to Buckhorn, specializing in game (well, mostly buffalo and elk), rattlesnake cakes, bison tongue, and, yes, Rocky Mountain oysters. It was more interesting than delicious, I guess, but the setting is very nice. I suspect both places cater mostly to out-of-towners looking for "Western food."

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I'll be in denver this weekend, any recommendationd for good brew-pubs? Wynkoop Brewing worth a visit?

I'll be staying in the middle of the Central Business District

thx.

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I'll be in denver this weekend, any recommendationd for good brew-pubs? thx.

The Wynkoop in downtown Denver is the old stand-by brewpub. I was there once years ago and I seem to recall it's immense; it's probably the Denver equivalent of Capital City Brewing. Can't comment on the quality or if there are other, newer, better places, but it's accessible by light rail.

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Yeah, the Wynkoop Brewery is the big name, doubly so since Hizzoner the Mayor is an owner. However, if you find you can't decide, you could always take the Denver Microbrew Tour. Looks like no tour on the 4th, but an extra added on the 3rd.

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Yeah, the Wynkoop Brewery is the big name, doubly so since Hizzoner the Mayor is an owner. However, if you find you can't decide, you could always take the Denver Microbrew Tour. Looks like no tour on the 4th, but an extra added on the 3rd.

yeah I looked into that. thanks

it appears within stumbling distance of my hotel there is Wynkoop, Breckenridge Blake street Pub, Great Divide Brewing, and Pint's Pub...that seems like a good start!

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OK, I could use a sanity check from those in the know....

Girlfriend and I will be in Denver for one day, Saturday, August 7th. We arrive around noon and check into the Brown Palace. We have tickets for the Denver Brewpub tour from roughly 3 to 5, and then reservations at the Buckhorn Exchange at 7pm....rattlesnake, Rocky Mountain Oysters and elk will be devoured. After which we will likely head back to the Brown Palace for nightcaps. Then it's off to Vail for 3 days....

Did we miss anything that falls into the "definitely don't miss this" category...?

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Despite the Starbucks, fast food chains, and Ann Taylor Lofts, the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall serves up enough local funk to keep it interesting - street performers, artists, food street carts -- as well as a free shuttle bus. We stayed in the Central Business District, and didn't have a car, so we pretty much stuck around the downtown area.

Food

Rioja - Stopped in for lunch and grabed a seat at the bar no problem. Started with a very nice duo of soup (summer corn soup as the base, sitting in the middle was a roasted tomato which had been cored and then filled with gazpacho, came with a smoke halibut brandade fritter), waiter came around with a large basket of 5 different breads, next had the bbq pork belly sandwich (two pork belly sliders served on cheddar cheese biscuits, with a ginger-infused jicama and watermelon salad, which while not particularly gingery, jicama-y, nor watermelon-y did at least cut through the richness of the sliders). Located in Larimer Square, which is a couple blocks off 16th Street. Definitely recommend Rioja.

Osteria Marco - Also located in Larimer Square, this basement Osteria is following the Cheese & Salumi, antipasti, panini, pizza formula. You will probably have a decent-to-good meal here, just nothing to be overly enthusiastic about. Started with the ciccioli (braised pulled pork, which actually quite good served on grill bread), sampled the beet salad, and split a wild mushroom, robiola, truffle oil pizza. Also sampled the shrimp fra diavola and rapini and sausage pizzas. we had a bunch of left over pizza which made for a good cold pizza breakfast while watching the World Cup. If you lived in denver this would be a good spot for a low-key, not too expensive dinner, but as an out-of-towner probably not really wortha visit

Gastro Cart - Curb side food cart started by two local chefs, sampled the spicy chicken taco with kimchi and 1,000 Island dressing ($2), worked well together. worth hunting these guys down. Apparently not open on weekends.

Thai Food Cart - Near the intersection of 16th Street and Stout, this little cart is manned by a little thai woman serving up thai food cooked from scratch. Ordered a very good and very spicy (medium heat) pad thai for $5...large order was $7. The cart serves up some other noodle dishes, curries, as well as spring rolls, dumplings (although sadly they were out of those). Also worth seeking out. Closed on weekends. Might have a long line since everythig is cooked to order.

Our other dining locations were all wedding related with fixed menu so I won't comment on them.

Beers

The microbrew/pub scene in denver is excellent. Within a 10-15 walk of my hotel were at least 6 brewpubs.

Rock Bottom Brewery - Yes I went all the way to denver and then went to a Rock Bottom. But it was two blocks from my hotel and wanted someplace close to watch the end of the Ghana-Uruguay match (!). sampled the Red Rocks Red and Molly's Titanic Brown. meh.

Breckenridge Brewery - Located a block from Coors Field, Breckenridge is a large brewpub, sports bar-ish type place. Sampled a vanilla porter (solid), a stout on their nitro system (excellent) and the small batch 471 IPA (if you like the 60 and 90 minute IPAs from Dogfish, then you will love this beer). They serve beer in pints, 10oz, and flights...although they do not offer flights on baseball game days (the place was filling up quickly around 5pm with baseball fans). I would definitely recommend stopping in, they have at least 12 of their beers on tap.

Wynkoop Brewery - Another large brewpub (think brewpub meets Buffalo Billiards). Sampled the Rail Yard (ok at best) and St. Charles ESB (I remember it being pretty good).

Not bad for one days work :D

Other beer sampled

Also tried a bunch of other beers in bottle and cans

Breckenridge Avalanche - nothing special

Ellie's Brown Ale - Avery Brewery, this was quite good.

90 Shilling - Odell Brewing Co., an amber ale, very easy drinking...which I did

Easy Street - also by Odell, unfiltered wheat beer, good if you are into that kind of thing.

Gordon Ale - More hopped up beer from Oskar Blues Brewery

Red Stripe - Think it was from Jamaica or something :)

and yes, I even had a Coors Light, even at a mile high still tasted like crap!

Other activities

If you are into contemporary art then stop in at the MCA Denver.

Also check out out City Park and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, I can't recommend the museum, but the view from their rooftop/glass atrium is fantastic. Denver skyline, Rocky Mountains behind, setting sun...yeah it kicked ass!

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Had a pleasant dinner on a pleasant evening at Parallel 17 in Denver last night. Outdoor seating is a big draw here, as is a menu spanning creative cocktail concoctions and twists on Vietnamese classics.

Virginia's Eden Center and other finds in the DC area set a high bar for Vietnamese cuisine. The most raved-about (winner of 5280 magazine Best Bite award) appetizer at Parallel 17 is the coconut-ginger crusted calamari ($13). I put this in the definite edible camp, but the awkwardness of chewing unruly, uncut watercress takes it out of the running for exceptional. Untamed leaves may make for a dramatic presentation, but chopping them up would elevate this dish significantly. If you order it, ask for this modification, and you'll dig the tender, spicy, sweet, sour interplay.

The Sizzling Crepe with fried Tofu ($16), although not able to touch Viet Bistro, was a tasty rendition bursting with fresh ingredients. Pommes Frites ($6), featuring both Yukon and sweet potato, served with a side of chili garlic aioli, are a must order, enough for the entire table to share. My cucumber basil vodka martini ($6) came with a few more ice chips than a righteous straining should allow. But the bar was incredibly busy this hopping Thursday night, and the beverage refreshing. Service was friendly, although not especially knowledgeable about the menu (server may have been new).

All in all, a convivial, fresh-ingredient option especially worth a look if refreshing beverages and outdoor seating compel you a clear Denver evening.

Off to Boulder today, will see what the dining chips (carabiners?) have in store.

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I love the DC dining scene but I am headed to Denver for a long weekend and want to see what their dining scene is like. Anyone have recommendations on places to eat at while I'm there? I would be interested in anything from your favorite smothered burrito shack to their version of Komi/Source and the like.

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I love the DC dining scene but I am headed to Denver for a long weekend and want to see what their dining scene is like. Anyone have recommendations on places to eat at while I'm there? I would be interested in anything from your favorite smothered burrito shack to their version of Komi/Source and the like.

Denver doesn't have anything that approaches Komi, but Fruition (which I reviewed above) I think is close to Palena/Restaurant Eve levels of excellence. Rioja, on Larimer, is a notch or so below that--it felt a little tired last time I was there, but still respectable. As I and others have noted, Buckhorn Exchange and The Fort are the places to go for "Western/mountain" food--a bit touristy, perhaps, but fun (The Fort is pretty pricey, though). My sister likes Red Tango up in the Wheat Ridge area for South American food--very friendly staff, the food was good, but didn't wow me. Another family member has mentioned a Thai place that he says is the closest he has found in the U.S. to what he ate in Thailand, but I don't know its name.

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If you have the time and a car, it's worth the drive to Boulder to have dinner at Frasca. Had one of my better meals of the last couple of years there last October. After I got back to DC, I was astonished to read Tom Sietsema reply to a chatter's query about the best meals he had ever had: one of them was a meal at Frasca!

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If you have the time and a car, it's worth the drive to Boulder to have dinner at Frasca. Had one of my better meals of the last couple of years there last October. After I got back to DC, I was astonished to read Tom Sietsema reply to a chatter's query about the best meals he had ever had: one of them was a meal at Frasca!

And I followed foodtrip's lead by having an incredible lunch at The Kitchen Cafe in Boulder a few weeks ago. Outstanding experience in every way. Friendly service, deftly seasoned seasonal ingredients prepared simply and skillfully. Don't forgo the garlic fries here, and anything pork will be magical given their sourcing.

I wish I had remembered to post more detail shortly after my visit.

But the mountains kept calling and I had to answer with both lungs. :(

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I'll be in Denver this weekend. Unfortunately, my time will be limited, and food options will be severely restricted by my fellow diners. That's OK, the company is far more important than the food, but I'd still like to have a decent meal. So, are there any recommendations in or near the Highlands Ranch / Littleton area for reasonably priced steak, barbecue, or other heavy proteins, preferably with good beer? I have no idea yet how many people (could be five, could be twenty-five), but it will be mostly very large, powerfully built men who have spent the day working up a large appetite (imagine an NFL team at their 20-year reunion - only one of these guys actually played pro football, but the others look like they did).

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I'll be in Denver staying at the Brown Palace in a few weeks, From this thread it looks like my best bet is at Rioja on Larimer for at least one meal. Any other suggestions that keep us close to the 16th street corridor? I doubt my colleagues will want to cab around when they can see so many (mediocore, sigh) options right in front of them.

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if you are going with work peeps and trying to avoid crappy chains, then Osteria Marco, also located in Larimer Square area near 16th (almost next door to Rioja), will be a decent choice...the food was solid to good, the vibe was fairly casual, and I don't remember it being overly expensive.

The Breckenridge and Wynkoop brewpubs are both near the 16th Street area...skip Rock Bottom, which is actually on 16th.

and do try and seek out Thai food cart at 16th and Stout...yum!

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Short work week in Denver, and managed to score some pretty eating experiences. The 16th street area is ridiculously full of choices, and the only problem is finding the really good food!

Rioja was excellent! I had the black truffle gnocchi, exotic mushrooms, red wine truffle emulsion, organic arugula to start and then the saffron manchego risotto and seared Muscovy duck breast, pistachio pine nut stuffed Medjool dates,

saffron almond cracker, spiced citrus jus. The gnocchi were light and actually tasted strongly of potatoes, and the sauce was lickably good. My main was very heavy, with seriously cheesy risotto topped with lovely duck slices, perfectly medium rare. Again, a wonderful sauce accompaniment. I don't care for dates, but someone who does would have loved the roasted dates, the sweetness of which cut right through the heaviness of the main event. The bread service reminds me of 2491, with many types of bread to choose from, of varying tastes and textures. I tried the goat cheese biscuit (flaky but deadly, and again, you could definitely taste the goat cheese) and an orange and fennel roll. I should have learned my lesson in being about to taste the flavors here, because the fennel was very strong and I don't like licorice flavors, with a secondary citrus aftertaste, but it was a great roll - crusty on the outside with a soft, fluffy inside. I don't know if it's the best of Denver, as the website claims, but it was fantastic!

Cook's Fresh Market has a limited selection of hot breakfast items, but they have some nice breads and pastries and very buttery croissants. Illy coffee is available. There are lots of snacky things to buy, if you're willing to drop some $$. Reminds me of a Dean and DeLuca.

Primebar for a work event. They were very nice to us and easy to work with - highly recommended if you're going with a large, picky group and want a nice-looking spot to graze and drink. Large portions of upscale-ish American/bar food, nicely presented with some whimsical touches. My chicken tortilla soup had some heat and my beet salad was topped with a few pieces of peanut brittle! I didn't drink but the group seemed very happy with the beer and cocktail selection.

Illegal Pete's for a shredded beef burrito was fine, but not particularly special. I do like how they mix up all the burrito ingredients before wrapping it up. A perfectly serviceable quick lunch spot.

I was all set to recommend Osteria Marco for a dinner, when the groupthink decided on Euclid Hall. When I found out that it was a sister restaurant to Rioja, I was thrilled! It's a very different spot, with an extremely eclectic menu. Loud and boisterous, with an extensive drink menu (with, it seemed to me, fairly decent prices), and friendly but casual and slightly slow service (I think, though to let groups drink more. Which is correct, when folks keep ordering!). We tried the housemade kielbasa (wonderful!) and blood sausage (tender and crumbly and strongly of curry) and several poutines. I thought that the duck topping didn't add much to the plate, but the person who ordered the wild mushroom topper loved it. The mushroom soup is not cream-based, which is nice, but was tangy and had lots of carrots, which I didn't enjoy nearly as much as I'd hoped I would. The bone marrow looked fantastic, and the person who ordered it refused to share. It's a really fun spot with lots of great food and presumably drink choices.

I saw the Thai cart at 16th and Stout, and even waited in line for awhile. But it was taking too long and I had to make a shuttle. I really wished I could've tried it, though, as several people in line were commenting how she was absolutely worth the wait. It was neat seeing her craft different dishes to order in that tiny booth! I had to make do with gloppy Wolfgang Puck pasta at the airport :)

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Obviously there are not too many people interested in cuisine in Denver. But a good place to look for info about food and drink in Denver can be the Cafe Society Blog on the Westword website (Westword is Denver's City Paper).

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Obviously there are not too many people interested in cuisine in Denver.

Hey, that's not true at all! I'm interested in anything in the Boulder/Denver/Colorado Springs corridor...and should be able to report back on at least a few forays by the end of April. :)

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"So, this would be pretty good for DC, yeah?" asked my friend.
"Hell, this would be pretty good -- no, really good -- anywhere," I replied, and I meant it.

If you find yourself in Denver on a Sunday morning and don't have brunch at Duo, you're missing out. This little restaurant with exposed brick walls and funky mismatched napkins focuses on farm-to-table fare, and does it with aplomb and creativity. The sweet sunday poached eggs on grilled sourdough bread + spinach, mushrooms + sweet onion ragout in a whole grain mustard cream sauce, crispy potatoes ($8) came with perfectly poached eggs; the substantial amount of nicely sautéed vegetables had great flavor, the mushrooms earthy and tender, the spinach nicely wilted and without bitterness, and the onion ragout pulling it all together with sweetness. The mustard cream sauce provided an outstanding counterpoint, a bit sharper than a traditional hollandaise (vastly appreciated in this case), and the potatoes, crisped with a bit of smoked paprika, were a great foil for soaking up the runny yolk.

One member of my party chose the pork hash house made pork sausage + kale, carmelized onion, roasted tomato, potatoes + sunnyside up eggs ($9), which he pronounced outstanding (when I could get him to weigh in, as he promptly devoured his meal). Our table also sampled the challah french toast fresh fruit compote + vermont maple syrup ($9) which came as four thick, fluffy slices dusted with powdered sugar and an abundance of fresh blackberries, along with a tiny carafe of good syrup, and the applewood bacon ($4), three strips of crispy, smoky bacon. Excellent coffee in a French press finished off the meal nicely.

With a drink, a glass of juice, and three orders of the bacon (hey, I maintain that there is no such thing as too much bacon, at least at brunch), the total for three people came to $55 before tip. If this is dining in Colorado, sign me up.

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So I'm off to Vail next Thursday for a week for a friend's destination wedding. I usually can't stand destinations, but I'm using it as an excuse to get some skiing in and check out Denver a little. We're flying in at 2:15, going to do the Great Divide Brewery tour at 4, but that puts us out at 5 so I need to either decide to hit the road and hope Denver traffic isn't as bad as DC's or stick around and grab a bite to eat. I saw a few suggestions above, but we'd really like to hit something with local flare along the way-Fruition looks great, and we might just eat there if there's nothing else that piques our interest, but I'd much prefer to hit a random little dive along the way to Vail. Does anyone know anything west of the city or along I70 that might fit the bill? Cheap, probably greasy, but surprisingly delicious? I'd love to check out some of the apparently great Mexican south in Colorado Springs, but that's too out of the way. And maybe the best spot to pick up some good beer along the way to avoid what I'm sure will be Vail's drastically inflated prices?

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Well, for beer along I-70 on your way to Vail, in my day the default was Applejack. Applejack has a pretty big selection of beer and probably has something you'd like. In fact, I remember tour buses and skiers stopping off there every time I was in that strip mall.

As for food, hmm. I always remembered stopping off at the original Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs on the way to the mountains, but that's probably a bit too west for you. For an interesting Mexican experience, there is El Paraiso just off I-70 on Harlan. They always had an interesting menu: parrilladas, rabbit, liver, goat, lots of seafood. It's not like the great taquerias in Denver, but you can't beat it for breadth of menu!

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Post-Christmas, between rich meals and the usual overspending on gifts, my sister and I were feeling a bit poor, but still wanted to go out for dinner together. I was in the mood for Mexican, and decided to bypass some of the good hole-in-the-wall places and go to the local standby on Broadway, Blue Bonnet. The place is incredibly popular, but not on account of the atmosphere or food, from what I can tell. Noisy to an extreme, this is a place that caters to the masses. The food may be a notch above your usual Tex-Mex (or, the Denver-Mex variation), but that's not saying much. The beef burrito had nicely shredded beef, the salsas seemed homemade, the chips crisp, the chile relleno had some heat, but the overall flavor profile was salt (the rim of my margarita glass was comparatively low-sodium). There's better southwestern to be had in Denver, so steer clear.

On the other hand, if you want Thai food, Denver has a shockingly good place, Taste of Thailand, that may be the best I've ever had. My uncle and aunt, who have been to Thailand on many occasions, say it's the closest they've found in the U.S. to the native cuisine. The atmosphere is homey, the staff friendly, and it's encouraging to see fresh herbs growing in the windows. The menu includes both Thai The green papaya is a textbook rendition, and the whole crispy fish a revelation. The menu offers both the usual suspects and street foods, much of which I've never seen before. The green papaya salad is a textbook rendition, the whole crispy fish easily feeds three or four, and the Stir Salmon terrific. If you're looking for cheap eats in Denver (well, in Englewood, near Swedish Hospital), this is a must-try--it's far above your run-of-the-mill Thai food.

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The Kitchen Cafe

We had lunch here and it was delightful. All organic, locally-sourced ingredients.

And I followed foodtrip's lead by having an incredible lunch at The Kitchen Cafe in Boulder a few weeks ago. Outstanding experience in every way. Friendly service, deftly seasoned seasonal ingredients prepared simply and skillfully. Don't forgo the garlic fries here, and anything pork will be magical given their sourcing.

This past weekend, The Lt.Col. and I went up to Boulder for a little getaway weekend. Boulder is just the right distance to be able to do that kind of thing pretty much on a whim: there are enough little hotels nearby (because it's a college town) that you can grab a cheap room and then spend the afternoon shopping, drinking coffee in local cafés, and browsing in the independent bookstore before heading off to a fantastic dinner at a spot that's completely hopping at 8, 9, even 10 p.m. -- you just get that excited-to-be-there vibe, even if the 8 p.m. reservation is a bit past your own bedtime (note to self: when did you get so old?).

I'd been looking forward to trying The Kitchen, about which I'd heard only good things. We arrived about twenty minutes early and managed to hover until we got seats at the bar to wait for our table. The bartender was immensely helpful, despite being slammed; when Ed ordered the whiskey flight, he talked through all four pours (the first being a millet whiskey from Chicago, something neither of us had seen before, and very intriguing). I stuck with a Barbera, which I had a feeling would carry me through the meal -- and it did.

We were seriously tempted by the tasting menu, but instead put together our own. To start, we shared the Escarole Saladblue cheese, walnuts, parsley & pedro ximenez dressing and the Long Farm Pork Bellyfrisée, cure farm duck egg & saba. I love a winter greens salad like this one, the hearty escarole standing up to rich cheese and nuts, and the sweetness of the dressing pulling it all together. The pork belly was outsanding, four slices crisped perfectly on the edges but succulent inside, and the soft poached egg, when pierced, lent an unctuousness just cut by the bitter frisée and a bit of sweet saba. I could see making a meal of these two dishes and some of the garlic fries, which we did not order but saw go by frequently enough that I said, "OK, we're just going to have to come back for those."

"Oh, yeah," he agreed.

Next, we asked to share the Hand Rolled Celeriac Gnocchi black trumpet mushrooms, haystack chèvre & thyme. These were outstanding -- "Awesome!" I said to the server, when he came to retrieve our plates. The dumplings were small and on the denser side, which worked so that they could carry the mushrooms and delicious, creamy goat cheese, all tied together in an herb-redolent broth. On a cold night, a big bowl of this and some of the good bread to wipe up the rest would be heavenly.

For an entrée, I had the Pan-Roasted Red Trout Ingrid's mussels, root vegetables, saffron (this one isn't on the online menu so I'm doing the best I can from memory). The fish reminded me a bit of salmon, meaty but flaky with a very crisp strip of skin, with a mild flavor boosted by the saffron broth. Several plump mussels and tiny dice of local root vegetables, cooked through but not mushy, created a great textural interplay as well. This was both delicate and satisfying.

The Lt. Col. went with the Koberstein New York Strip Char Grilledceleriac gratin, kale & green peppercorn jus. The juicy, medium-rare meat reminded of a bistecca alla fiorentina, with an exterior salt crust sealing in its flavor and just enough bite from the peppercorns. The gratin and kate rounded out the plate visually as well.

Since it was a treat weekend, we shared two desserts, the Pot au Chocolatwith heavy cream and the Potato Doughnutswith spiced hot chocolate. The latter came with three traditional-shaped doughnuts that were sugar-crisp on the outside and light as air inside, just right for dipping into the not-too-sweet chocolate. Even darker and more molten was the pot au chocolat, really a molten cake, presented like a soufflé with a pitcher of cream for drizzling. Decadent, for sure, but worth it? Absolutely.

The meal did run a little long for us, particularly since on this Saturday night, the place was crowded -- a six-top next to us turned and began anew at nearly 9:30, and I saw at least one two-top seated at 10 -- but the warm exposed brick, loft-like ductwork, and funky old glass and crystal chandeliers make the room a warm, welcoming place to spend a few hours. The staff gives the impression that they truly enjoying working there, which adds to the overall pleasant nature of the experience.

We headed out into the quite chilly night after a fantastic meal, pleased and already discussing when we might return -- always a good sign. If I lived closer, I could see hit the bar (called "Upstairs," which should give you an idea of its location) for cocktails and garlic fries as a precursor to a movie or even dinner back home. In the meantime, I'd love to return as the seasons change to see what else the main space is putting out, and it would be a wonderful location to meet up with a few friends for a leisurely, excellent meal. After all, doesn't everyone always gather in the kitchen?

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Hey Leleboo! Need a Denver update (not Boulder, not C-springs, not the ski towns, not anywhere else in the great state of Colorado). Got anything for us? Merci.

Oh, and Kitchen is great. I'm a big fan. Try Frasca for dinner if you haven't already next time up Boulder way. Fairly outstanding and reservations essential.

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Will partly answer my own question with a place I already knew but was reminded of more recently.

DC (and most cities) really, really need a reasonably priced, quality, and sustainable breakfast-focused place like Snooze in Denver. Locations by Coors Field, Centennial, Ft Collins, Boulder and San Diego. Lots of benes, egg dishes with niman ranch eggs, meats, and the requisite waffles/french toast/pancake options. My only nit is that they don't use real maple syrup.

Great concept, executed very well, for more than 6 years. And, by all accounts, these folks make money just serving breakfast. Go figure. Why can't this be done successfully in DC?

With apologies if this was already suggested way upthread or in the mother thread. In full disclosure, didn't check first this time.

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Tom Sietsema reported in his most recent chat that he liked Euclid Hall, in the Larimer Square area; since it's headed by the reliable Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja), it's probably a good bet. On one of my most recent trips I also had a good time at Root Down, in the Highland neighborhood--low-key farm-to-table cuisine, small plates and half-portions available, an interesting drinks list, great view of downtown from their patio.

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Hey Leleboo! Need a Denver update (not Boulder, not C-springs, not the ski towns, not anywhere else in the great state of Colorado). Got anything for us? Merci.

Oh, and Kitchen is great. I'm a big fan. Try Frasca for dinner if you haven't already next time up Boulder way. Fairly outstanding and reservations essential.

Will partly answer my own question with a place I already knew but was reminded of more recently.

DC (and most cities) really, really need a reasonably priced, quality, and sustainable breakfast-focused place like Snooze in Denver. Locations by Coors Field, Centennial, Ft Collins, Boulder and San Diego. Lots of benes, egg dishes with niman ranch eggs, meats, and the requisite waffles/french toast/pancake options. My only nit is that they don't use real maple syrup.

Great concept, executed very well, for more than 6 years. And, by all accounts, these folks make money just serving breakfast. Go figure. Why can't this be done successfully in DC?

With apologies if this was already suggested way upthread or in the mother thread. In full disclosure, didn't check first this time.

Tom Sietsema reported in his most recent chat that he liked Euclid Hall, in the Larimer Square area; since it's headed by the reliable Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja), it's probably a good bet. On one of my most recent trips I also had a good time at Root Down, in the Highland neighborhood--low-key farm-to-table cuisine, small plates and half-portions available, an interesting drinks list, great view of downtown from their patio.

Sorry, all -- was on honeymoon/babymoon in Portland and Vancouver, and returned home just to turn around and evacuate from the fires.

Snooze is great, but the lines are absurd. I highly highly recommend Denver Biscuit Company instead, unless you like waiting for hours for breakfast/brunch. Also, Udi's cafe -- although a small local chain -- does great breakfast sandwiches and burritos.

Kitchen just opened in Denver (I adore the original Boulder location, and the Denver one should hold up). Bones for noodle soups is on my husband's short-list; every time we head to town, he recommends it. We love dinner and brunch at Duo, in Highlands, and have meaning to try both meals at their sister restaurant, Olivea -- both are farm-to-table, local-produce focused, with Olivea hitting a more Mediterranean-style menu. Friends recommend the previously-mentioned Root Down as well as Linger and Table 6. Don't think you can go wrong at any of them, although I haven't been to them yet. :)

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Tom Sietsema reported in his most recent chat that he liked Euclid Hall, in the Larimer Square area; since it's headed by the reliable Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja), it's probably a good bet. On one of my most recent trips I also had a good time at Root Down, in the Highland neighborhood--low-key farm-to-table cuisine, small plates and half-portions available, an interesting drinks list, great view of downtown from their patio.

Root Down is good. It's also one of the closest eateries to my sister's abode. B)

In LoDo, Falling Rock Tap House is maybe the best of the numerous beer bars near the ballpark. A great and lengthy beer list.

As for Frasca, I wonder if they still have a prix-fixe dinner on mondays that isn't too expensive, as they did when I went my sisters a few years ago (I want to say it was $35 at the time). It was excellent, and the service was outstanding. Even unnecessarily so; we ordered one wine bottle, they poured 4 glasses, one each to the 4 of us, then came back and said they were sorry and had accidentally poured the rest of our bottle (didn't think there was anything left) to someone else, and would give us the wine pairing with the meal on them. One of the best meals I have ever had. I would love to go back.

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I'm going to be stuck in Golden over the weekend. Are there any places that DON'T have beer and steaks? I don't eat (much) red meat and I don't drink beer. Please tell me there's a restaurant somewhere in Golden that can feed a picky (chicken and fish mostly) eater?

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Thanks to my friend who lives in Denver, I enjoyed two very good meals while I was out there a few weeks ago.

uncle, in the LoHi neighborhood, has a very momofuku-esque feel to it, both from a menu and space/ambiance perspective. We started off with the steamed pork buns and Brussels sprouts - both very good. My friends really enjoyed the chashu ramen, topped with pork belly and other goodies. Based on the taste I had, I would order it on a next visit. I opted for the udon, a vegetarian preparation, full of mushrooms in an flavorful onion dashi. Service was efficient, despite a full restaurant.

ChoLon Bistro (in LoDo) has a more refined feel, with dark wood and dimmer lighting than uncle. I was dining solo, but managed to try quite a few things (and leave with some leftovers). Their version of soup dumplings (sweet onion and Gruyere filling) were quite good, but damn were they hot and a bit tricky to eat. Wok-fried Brussels sprouts and ground pork was a warm and satisfying dish, especially with snowflakes falling outside. The asparagus and mushroom salad with soy-truffle vinaigrette was light and quite pretty; a nice combination of flavors. I finished things off with the Chocolate Pudding Cake, Salted Peanut Ice Cream, Banana. Not my favorite. I found the cake a bit dry, but the caramelized bananas on top of it, and the ice cream, were both nice elements. The coconut green tea was so good I'm planning to order some. The Old Saigon was a refreshing drink made from Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, muddled Thai basil, Luxardo cherries and housemade bitters.

I grabbed a quick breakfast at the downtown location of Syrup the morning I left. The flight of 4 (bigger than) silver dollar pancakes was enough to satisfy me until a late dinner. It also provided plenty of surface area for trying out the three syrups I was able to choose to accompany the dish (buttermilk, apricot, and maple vanilla). The ramekin of green chile stew provided a spicy, savory counterpoint and I would certainly order it were I back in for lunch.

Lots of great dining options out there, hope I have the opportunity to return and try some more before too long!

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I'll be in Denver Tuesday through Saturday next week. Any updates past the last few? I'm a big fan of either bar food (wings, etc.) with good beer, red meat, or "other" meats (like the rattlesnake cakes/Rocky Mountain oysters mentioned back in 2010).

Fortunately (or not) I'll have a car when I'm there, as I'm guessing I'm stuck in kind of a corporate sprawl since I'm taking an Oracle class out on Technology Drive...

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I'll be in Denver Tuesday through Saturday next week. Any updates past the last few? I'm a big fan of either bar food (wings, etc.) with good beer, red meat, or "other" meats (like the rattlesnake cakes/Rocky Mountain oysters mentioned back in 2010).

Fortunately (or not) I'll have a car when I'm there, as I'm guessing I'm stuck in kind of a corporate sprawl since I'm taking an Oracle class out on Technology Drive...

Sounds like you'd like Euclid Hall. Great beer list with good bar food. The most notable items I had there were the sausage sampler, marrow, pad thai pig ears (best thing I ate that night), and hammed pork chop. I'd stick to the small plates, as my co-workers didn't really like the "Steak N' Sauce". But then again, they didn't find the food all that "accessible" either. Since you're going out there for work, just keep that in mind.

I also went to ChoLon Bistro while out there, which I really liked, but didn't find all that unique. Lots of pan asian food that is well prepared, but nothing that really stood out for me.

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I'll be in Denver Tuesday through Saturday next week. Any updates past the last few? I'm a big fan of either bar food (wings, etc.) with good beer, red meat, or "other" meats (like the rattlesnake cakes/Rocky Mountain oysters mentioned back in 2010).

Fortunately (or not) I'll have a car when I'm there, as I'm guessing I'm stuck in kind of a corporate sprawl since I'm taking an Oracle class out on Technology Drive...

TAG Burger/Bar is supposed to be excellent as well. It's in Cherry Creek, so if you're at the Tech Center, it's not too far of a schlep.

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There's no more pleasant place in Denver to eat chicken wings than the Cherry Cricket, a neighborhood dive that always feels as comfy as an old pair of levis.

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I'll be in Denver Tuesday through Saturday next week. Any updates past the last few? I'm a big fan of either bar food (wings, etc.) with good beer, red meat, or "other" meats (like the rattlesnake cakes/Rocky Mountain oysters mentioned back in 2010).

Fortunately (or not) I'll have a car when I'm there, as I'm guessing I'm stuck in kind of a corporate sprawl since I'm taking an Oracle class out on Technology Drive...

Well, for "other" meats in Denver, the places to go are (or were, I suppose) usually Buckhorn Exchange and The Fort. They often have various game available, though that might depend on the season.

And, I guess, technically Biker Jim's Dogs is also a place for game. Looking at the latest menu, he's got elk, boar, rattlesnake & pheasant, and reindeer dogs available. They're at 22nd and Larimer near Coors Field.

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I'll be in Denver Tuesday through Saturday next week. Any updates past the last few? I'm a big fan of either bar food (wings, etc.) with good beer, red meat, or "other" meats (like the rattlesnake cakes/Rocky Mountain oysters mentioned back in 2010).

Fortunately (or not) I'll have a car when I'm there, as I'm guessing I'm stuck in kind of a corporate sprawl since I'm taking an Oracle class out on Technology Drive...

If you get tired of rattlesnake and feel like a nicer Italian lunch or dinner out near Tech Center, the Wooden Table in Greenwood Village is excellent. (Full disclosure: I'm close friends with the family of one of the restaurant's partners.) When I visited a few months ago, I had the best agnolotti I've had outside of Italy--everything I had was superb but the agnolotti was one of those dishes that I'll remember for a long time. The grinders at lunch are supposed to be pretty good too but I've yet to try them.

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Damn. For whatever reason, I forgot to double-check this thread. I was staying out in the Doubletree Tech Center, so I wasn't far from the Wooden Table, I bet.

Most of the week I ended up staying in the hotel because, well, I was tired, and it seemed expensive to get downtown. The Zink Kitchen + Bar wasn't bad, and with half price beers at happy hour I drank a lot of Hoppy Boy IPAs. Plus a good hangar steak with sweet and sour brussel sprouts, soy caramel pork belly, duck confit eggrolls...

On Friday we got out early. Taking the light rail downtown, I saw the Buckhorn Exchange and almost got off at that station. I ended up on the 16th St Mall, where I had some "eh" wings at the Yard House (I went with Firecracker, should've done jerk) and beers. From there I went to Great Divide, but they were insanely packed, so I drank across the street from Biker Jim's Dogs at the Star Bar (great bar, but no food) before Uber-ing back to the Doubletree ($70, ouch) and eating housemade lamb sausages there.

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In Denver for one night next week, for work.  Actually, I will be in the Lakewood area.  Anything I should look out for while in town?

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In Denver for one night next week, for work.  Actually, I will be in the Lakewood area.  Anything I should look out for while in town?

 

Hey there -- emailed you some places, but it's all kind of car-dependent. In general, if you had one night in Denver, my top recs are:

Duo

Beast and Bottle

Bones

Linger

TAG Burger + Bar

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