Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More than omelets and tea

Go with me here. What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear "Denver Cuisine?"
  1. Omelets
  2. Rocky Mountain Oysters
  3. Denver has cuisine?
  4. Boy, that game last night against the Steelers was brutal!
Let's try another one. What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear "Boulder Cuisine?"
  1. Home of the Vegan Lifestyle
  2. Tea
  3. Boulder has cuisine? Can college kids afford cuisine?
  4. Damned pot-smoking dippy hippies, get off the lawn!
While some of this is indeed true, trust me when I say I wouldn't be happy living out here if there weren't some tasty places to dine. I grew up outside of Chicago, and my parents' hobby was trying new restaurants. I'd rather go out for a nice dinner with my husband than anything. Unfortunately, we seem to be raising small monkeys instead of young boys, so we don't get out as often as we'd like...but I digress.

There are wonderful places in Colorado to eat. I've been out here 12 years now, have had many memorable meals, and not one has included an omelet or deep fried bull testicles. There's The Fort west of Denver, which is the place to take a date...or the in-laws. Fancy-schmancy restaurant, specializing in Old West cuisine, with a killer view of the lights of Denver from the foothills. Is seafood more your thing? Try Jax Fish House in Boulder (which will be our next dinner out). What? Seafood in the mountains? Dude, yeah. The kitchen is run by Top Chef Season 5 winner Hosea Rosenberg. There is also a wide variety of little joints beloved by regulars; you need only to ask a local.

Now, the question is, "Jen, do you really go out that often?" Nooo...I wish; see aforementioned young monkeys...erm... children. We save dining for adult time, and take full advantage of a fantastic week in February. Denver Restaurant Week (also known as cheap week to eat out), is the week that we suck it up, get a couple of sitters and hit the top restaurants on our "to try" list. Restaurants have a set menu, priced at $52.80 for two...and not just the inexpensive items on the list. They showcase some of their best meals; it's the only way we were able to dine at The Fort a few years ago. It started a few years back and was such an stunning hit that many restaurants participate for two weeks, and the list of restaurants grows every year. I highly recommend planning a ski trip around Restaurant Week. I may eat rattlesnake that week, but certainly not bull testicles. A girl's gotta have limits, you know!

Denver may not have a signature item, like Chicago's deep dish pizza or hot dogs (ooh...I could go for one of those right now), but this is a food town. Just a very quiet food town. If people came here and realized how beautiful the weather and town and mountains were AND we had good food, no one would leave. Come to think of it, that might explain all the California license plates...


  1. Jen, you left out what is truly Colorado - Micro-brewed BEER! CO has more microbreweries per capita than any other state. When I think of Denver, I think Fat Tire (which I can't even get here in NY).

    Also, you MUST try NoNo's Cafe in South Littleton off Broadway and C470...I haven't been there in awhile, but it is one of the best eateries I have ever experienced.

  2. I love love the fat tire beer as well, haven't been able to find it 'round here. I also lived in denver for 3 years and love and remember well my many visits to Sushi Den and to Swing Thai found in Denver; as well as my friends who still own and run the 'GOAT' up in Keystone. Great food at all three places. I miss Denver, but glad I at least had the opportunity to live and experience it.

  3. Denver also has:
    Beau Jo's Pizza - a totally different animal than Chicago pizza, but oh so great anyways -- don't forget to dip the crust in honey at the end! www.beaujos.com

    Cafe Brazil - yummy Brazilian food -- try their calamari - it rocks! www.cafebrazildenver.com

    Potager - OMG - the best date night restaurant around! fresh local ingredients. amazing wine list. try it! www.potagerrestaurant.com

    Mexican food -- you can't go wrong out there! La Fogata, Josephine's (under the I70 viaduct at York, I believe), Brewery Bar II, etc etc etc.

    Then there's Thia's (Greek food), Alice's Diner, Zayde's, Tastee Donut (in Commerce City - don't laugh!), Sushi Den (try their house roll!), Wynkoop Brewery (Railyard Ale! Peach Koopler with Stout Ice Cream!).

    OMG, I can go on and on and on and on and on!

    Yes, I agree that Jax is good and the Fort is a must (especially for the atmosphere alone) but there are so many other great places to eat as well!

    I love and miss Denver --- can't you tell???

  4. Ok, wow! I only touched on a few places, and now have a ton more to hit. :)
    Yes. I LOVE microbrew beer more than I should (Fat Tire how I love thee...), but unfortunately I had to go gluten-free last year and that was that. I keep hoping New Belgium will come out with a GF beer...sigh...
    Thanks for the great suggestions, guys! :)

  5. Gluten- Free?? You should write about this. I know so many people who create food in the GF zone. Let me know if you are looking for more resources.