Restaurant Kevin Taylor in Hotel Teatro

Just a few foodie highlights from Restaurant Kevin Taylor at the Hotel Teatro in Denver… many thanks to the Boulder Food Media Meetup group for pulling it all together!

Talk about a treat – six mini-courses paired with six gourmet cocktails at one of Denver’s finest restaurants in a luxurious, historic hotel. I swear I have no idea how to live this large, so I just play along and hope for the best…

Foie Gras Mousse at Restaurant Kevin Taylor

Foie Gras Mousse donning turnip marmalade paired with Van Gogh Apple Vodka, Disaronno, and Lucien Albright Rose – is there a yuppie in the house?

Scottish Salmon Rillettes at Restaurant Kevin Taylor

Scottish Salmon Rillettes – sweet potato cake and buckwheat granola with earl grey compote paired with Stranahan’s Whiskey, grapefruit juice, and muddled cucumber – probably my favorite course of the night that wasn’t dessert

Braised Bison Short Rib at Restaurant Kevin Taylor

Braised Bison Short Rib – cumin, olive beet relish, and prune puree paired with rye whiskey, Campari, Bitters, and root beer – no one may ever know how many of these I ate.

Delectable dessert at Restuarant Kevin Taylor

“Snickers” – peanut butter powder, burnt caramel, and nougat paired with a chocolate martini, Godiva Liqueur, Frangelico, and Baileys, which amounts to zero calories, if you’re unwise in the ways of counting calories. They also dipped the glass rim in melted chocolate and then coated it with some kind of sugary perfection prior to serving.

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I am… One Guy.

Unchained Eatery in NYMAG.COM

The Unchained Eatery featured in NYMAG.COM

Yes. I am One Guy!

Many thanks to the folks at NYMAG.com for their mention of the Unchained Eatery in their recent writeup: Denver Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan. The online food blogging battle they’re referring to is here.

Sincerely,

One Guy

Fruition Restaurant

Briefly, but more commentary to come… Fruition is my favorite restaurant in Colorado. It scores a 99 out of 100 on each of the following points:

– food quality
– food presentation
staff attentiveness, knowledge, and enthusiasm
value for a high-end meal
– date-night atmosphere
attention to every detail contributing to a wonderful dining experience

duck with a side of duck at Fruition

Fruition in Denver is one of very few restaurants exhibiting the wherewithal to serve duck – with a side of duck

Fruition Denver duck

Fruition: where ordering the duck is always a great idea.

Fruition lemon meringue

Fruition’s Lemon Meringue Pie with Graham Cracker Crust & Fresh Blueberry Compote – the upper 90% is gluten free! Also, the meringue kinda looks like the pointy DIA “tents”.

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Best gluten-free pizza in Denver/Boulder? Stay tuned…

We’re going to try it all. My extremely significant other even had “Pizza is a vegetable” t-shirts made (which *she* designed, btw… feel free to pick up one of your own here – 20-ish bucks).

We will find Colorado’s best gluten-free pizza crust. Oh yes. Here are the top several so far, as vetted by my wheat-free partner in crime:

#6. Backcountry Pizza & Tap House (Boulder)

#5. Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House (Louisville)

#4. The Sink (Boulder)

#3. BRU handbuilt ales & eats (Boulder)

#1. (tie) Tony P’s Bar & Pizzeria (Denver – Highlands; gluten-free pie pictured below)

#1. (tie) Pizzeria Locale (Boulder)

Pizza is a vegetable t-shirt

About to dive in to gluten-rich (left) and gluten-free (right) pizza bliss at Tony P’s at 32nd & Zuni in Denver

Photo courtesy of Beth Photography.

Denver A List Food Blog Battle

Peeps- I owe some anonymous soul a thank-you for nominating me for this contest. I hadn’t heard of it until a friend told me she voted for me a few weeks ago – that was back in Round One. Now, somehow, the Unchained Eatery is in the finals.

If you’re interested in voting, please do! The link is here. Our final opponent is The Sizzling Cupcake, a fellow Denver foodie blogger. Thanks for voting, and good luck, Cupcake!

Denver Food Blog Battle

The Sizzling Cupcake vs. The Unchained Eatery in the Denver A List Food Blog Battle

Black Shirt Brewing Co

Black Shirt Brewing front door

The Red Door opens to Black Shirt Brewing in Denver.

I was lucky enough to score a spot at the Black Shirt Brewing tour/tasting via the BrewDEN Meetup group in January 2013. Black Shirt is unique in that they brew only incarnations of red ale. At first that may seem odd, particularly if red ales aren’t your thing, but taking a closer look, they craft:

  • red saison
  • red ale
  • pale red
  • imperial red rye IPA
  • and… I heard discussion of a red porter on the horizon. Pretty cool. You’ll need to check their taproom “now playing” board to see what else is on offer at the moment, but those listed above are what I know of.

I found myself practically pounding the IPA (out of BSB’s custom-designed glassware) because it was so tasty and drinkable. At some point, I had to remind myself (again) to be careful with high-ABV IPAs. Yikes.

The beer was excellent. I was pleasantly surprised because red ales aren’t typically the first style I reach for, but I’m now a believer. Never doubt a craft brewer. Well, maybe not “never” but certainly “seldom”. These guys know their stuff.

Black Shirt Brewing is less than two miles from Coors Field. Just sayin’. Stop in to say hi to brewers Chad, Brandon, and Carissa, and visit them here.

Black Shirt Brewing custom glassware

Black Shirt Brewing worked with a vendor to create angled, custom glassware so patrons could fully experience the unique taste and aroma of their beers. It *does* make a difference!

Black Shirt Brewing tank

Where the beer happens at Black Shirt Brewing

Congress Park, Capitol Hill, or Lodo… Who tosses Denver’s best pizza?

The answer is: I don’t actually know. I just offer semi-well-informed suggestions, people. I will say these pizza joints are solid, and it really depends on what you’re in the mood for.

Metro Denver Pizza destinations

Denver Deep Dish at the Bar Car (Congress Park)

I’m one-quarter Italian, so it follows that I should know roughly ¼ of what I’m talking about when it comes to pizza. It turns out I know slightly more than that since I’ve practiced eating pizza most of my life. Here’s what you need to know about Denver Deep Dish:

    • DDD has the market cornered on Denver’s best pizza sauce – it’s the perfect blend of sweet and savory, and there’s a kick of heat at the end to keep your taste buds wanting more.
    • DDD uses cornmeal in its crust, which I never imagined I’d endorse as one of the best culinary ideas ever, but I’m doing it now.
    • D3 is *in* a bar – and what better place to indulge in the city’s best deep dish but in a place where you can fuel another awesome habit: rampant booze consumption.

For my money, DDD is the best pizza bet on Colorado Boulevard (8th & Colorado). As the name suggests, it’s a Chicago-style crust, so bring your appetite.

Walter’s Pizzeria (Capitol Hill/Uptown)

Walter’s screams comfort food. It’s smallish, quaint, and has a distinct “neighborhood” feel to it (19th & Pearl). If you live in Uptown or Lodo, you likely already know about this local gem. The pizza is hearty and thick, the seating area is cozy, and it’s the perfect spot to bring 4-5 friends along to munch pizza and watch the BroncosRockies or Avalanche. Even though it’s been extremely hard to watch the Avs lately. 😦

Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza (Lodo)

On the other end of the spectrum, and on the north side of town, is Marco’s (21st & Larimer). Everything about Marco’s is Italian – the imported meats and cheeses, the thin crust, the wine, (some of) the beer, and particularly the San Marzano tomato sauce. If you’ve never tried it, it’s time to treat yourself.

Marco’s is the perfect destination before a Rockies game (walking distance), and it’s also great for date night. They have an eclectic selection of beers, and someone at Marco’s took a heap of time assembling the wine list, because it perfectly complements thin-crust pizza. And did I mention… they have a one-thousand-degree, handcrafted, hickory-fired oven? No cold pizza here…

As always, if I’ve left off your favorite pizza eatery from this list, write a note below and I’ll get it added after indulging in your recommendation a time or two. Ciao!

Goodbye, Detroit… Hello, Denver. Now let’s eat.

Woodward Avenue and Detroit Tigers... meet downtown Denver and a bunch of sweet mountains... welcome!

Woodward Avenue and Detroit Tigers… meet downtown Denver and a bunch of sweet mountains… welcome!

You’ve said your temporary goodbyes to Union Street. You’re leaving behind, for the moment, Eminem, Kid Rock, Seger, Ted Nugent (hopefully forever), I-75, 696, 275 & 96 traffic nightmares. You won’t see any natural lakes for a while… Yes, you’re leaving Metro Detroit, but probably not for good. You’re seeking snow-capped peaks, roaming buffalo, a startling lack of trees, and… Peyton Manning? What? Whatever. You’re on vacation, and it’s time to indulge in some Rocky Mountain calories. So here’s where to go:

Denver:

Vesta Dipping Grill (slightly upscale, perfect for a night out in Lodo [lower downtown])

Steuben’s Food Service (best local, home-grown comfort food in Uptown… and yes – please do try the mac’n’cheese)

Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizzeria (the only authentic Neapolitan restaurant in Colorado – this is thin crust pizza at its best… great beer/wine selection as well)

Root Down (there’s no better brunch in Denver; their happy hour is among the best as well)

D’Corazon Mexican Comfort Food (their mole sauce with thigh meat, rice, and beans is worth the DIA/DTW plane ticket… trust me)

My Brother’s Bar (the classiest dive in Denver… burgers, beer, patio, shade, classical music, and free parking… heavenly)

A note about restaurants with a view in Denver:
It seems that Denver restaurants with the best mountain views are unreasonably expensive, while the restaurants with the best city views have the best happy hours (see Root Down, Linger). If you’re hoping for a great mountain view and reasonable prices, it’s best to head to…

Boulder:

Click here for a complete list of the best restaurants to check out in Boulder.

Boulder restaurants with great mountain views include: West End (rooftop – beer, burgers), Brasserie Ten Ten (patio – contemporary French), and Southern Sun Pub & Brewery (patio – beer/pub food).

Golden:

Sadly, I could not get anyone to commit to any stellar eateries in Golden, Colorado. Is this really the case, people? Is Golden so devoid of solid restaurants that no locals can vouch for even one great place in the whole city? If so, this seems like a “golden” opportunity for restaurant entrepreneurs… or possibly other restaurant entrepreneurs… or still other restaurant entrepreneurs… hmmmm.

*Also: Huge thanks to my sister for her photo of the Detroit Tigers marquee. Nice one, Dan-yell-o! 🙂

D’Corazon Mexican Comfort Food

There’s one place to go in Denver if you’re craving mole sauce: D’Corazon.

D’Corazon offers any and all traditional Mexican dishes – a la carte or combo style – but the main reason to seek out The D is to experience their mastery of the mole sauce. It’s the perfect balance of spicy, sweet-chocolate-y, and savory. My favorte combination is the Mole Poblano, Traditional Style (below).

D'Corazon's Traditional Style Chicken Mole in Denver

D’Corazon’s Traditional Style Chicken Mole topped with sesame seeds… Spicy goodness! Wash it down with a frozen mango margarita.

The great irony of D’Corazon is that it’s directly across the street from the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant on Blake in Lodo. There’s always a line out the door for the Rio, whereas it’s typically easy to find a table rather quickly at D’Corazon. And while the food at the Rio is occasionally decent, D’Corazon is the eatery of choice for quick, quality Mexican fare in Denver.

Further: there’s no question the Rio is the destination of choice if you’re looking to drink yourself into oblivion in a hurry. Rio margaritas are easy to drink – and easy to drink too much of before you realize how little time has passed. But if you’re in Lodo, and you’re hoping for stellar Mexican food, head east from the Rio – about 50 feet, and check out The D. It’s one of Denver’s lesser-known gems. Their $3 frozen mango margaritas are pretty tasty, too.

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My Brother’s Bar

My Brother’s Bar helps you avoid expensive and uncomfortable Denver parking-latrine garage scenarios thanks to their free parking lot…

My parents hate this place.

I happen to love it.

About every five years, my mom and step-dad come to visit me. They showed up in 2001, 2005, and 2010. I’m guessing I’ll see them with a Rocky Mountain background again in 2015 or so.

The first time they visited, we drove to Colorado Springs, Golden, Estes Park, Denver, Boulder, and a few other places I’m forgetting.

The second time they showed up, we went to fewer cities, but more restaurants. Notably, we went to The Med in Boulder and ordered 21 appetizers, which you can read about here.

Most recently (3rd visit), we went to Oskar Blues (Lyons), Radda, The Med, Le Peep, Mead Street, and… My Brother’s Bar (MBB).

Let me first report that I’m not sure the ‘rents hated MBB so much as they hated downtown Denver in general. We walked – in the hot sun – from Uptown to MBB, which is next door to REI… probably too long of a walk to begin with to go to a place that’s something of a dive, but that’s beside the point. I’m not sure if my mom and s’dad didn’t care for the walk, the “condiment caddy”, or the burgers, but… they were less than impressed. This was slightly disheartening as I really talked up MBB, but this had to happen at some point. Statistically speaking, I suppose they had to hate at least one of my favorite places. 😦

As mentioned: I love My Brother’s Bar – for several reasons:

  1. They have an assload of imported beers on tap, AND you can order by the pitcher.
  2. Their bison burgers kick ass. To add to the ass kicking, they even named their bison burger after CU’s mascot, Ralphie the Bison. Order the Ralphie Burger! (it’s not actually made of Ralphie… as far as you know…)
  3. MBB plays only the finest classical music, which makes it an even better choice for a dive, because you don’t know what to think when you’re sitting at a dive place that plays classical music, except that what you’re doing must be awesome. I think it’s the classiest dive in Denver.
  4. They have one of the best shaded patios in Denver. It’s one of my favorite places to spend Saturday afternoon to escape the hot Colorado sun.
  5. Unlike most Denver restaurants, MBB has its own parking lot that you do not have to pay for. Swish… score. Go there next weekend.

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Denver’s Best Wiener?

Denver's best hot dog - Continental

Best hot dogs I’ve ever had. And please note: they come six to a package, but I wolfed down two before I had the chance to take a picture. They’re that good!

Just a quick note for those of you firing up the grill for the summer: these are the best hot dogs in town. And they’re literally *in* town – Continental Sausage is headquarted in north Denver, where they source beef, pork, and chicken from farmers who raise their animals on sustainable family farms without sub-therapeutic antibiotics or growth hormones. You really can taste the difference, so definitely put these delectable wieners on the list for your next bbq.

I’ll follow up with a full review of the Continental Deli (Cherry Creek) and Black Forest Deli (Arvada), where you can find the aforementioned wieners and some of the best deli sandwiches in Denver, but I wanted to get the word out on these stellar wieners in time for grilling season. Because who doesn’t like talking about wieners?

I can think of no one.

“Looking for authentic Asian food? Don’t go to Denver.”

banana wrap photo

Deep fried banana leaf meat (photo courtesy of Jared M.)

If you live in Colorado, you’ve likely heard this line more times than you care to recall. Happily, nothing could be further from the truth. While discovering a great restaurant can involve heaps of trial and error, there *is* a more efficient route: get someone else to do the legwork for you.

I feel lucky to have inadvertently surrounded myself with foodies. How did I pull this off? I have no idea. There’s no question I exude a heavy yuppie vibe – but as to whether this actually attracts fellow food snobs – I don’t know. I do know this: I have a slew of friends who are familiar with the “Federal Corridor” in Denver, and they’ve assured me that the following Asian restaurants are solid. So here’s what to look for:

for Dim Sum (Chinese):

Star Kitchen (open 7 days a week AND has a liquor license)

for Noodles/Vietnamese:

Vietnam Grill

Pho Duy

Saigon Bowl

 

for Thai:

J’s Noodles & Star Thai

So… having recommended these restaurants, I now have to actually go try them. Consequently, I’m putting enormous trust in my friends that the above eateries will live up to their billing. I have no doubt they will. So please call me, and I’ll meet you for some authentic Denver Asian fare. If you don’t love it, I’ll buy you a beer… unless I think you’re lying. Deal?

rice and curry bowls

Delectable rice, curries, etc. (photo courtesy of Jared M.)

Watercourse Foods

Full review coming soon!

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Steuben’s Food Service

Full review coming soon!

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Parisi Italian Market and Deli

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