Tasting around Denver

I’d been to Denver, Co once in my life and the main thing I remember is that we visited a Celestial Seasonings store. Yes, I was a 40 year old teetotaler at the age of 12. This time, the Ween reunion show was a great excuse to get better acquainted with this mountain town. We arrived at the Brown Palace Hotel close to midnight and went straight to bed but not before I snapped a pic of the old hotel’s creepy “The Shinning-esqu” lobby.


Brunch the next morning was breakfast in bed, which was meh and not photo-worthy and definitely not worth the $70 price tag for room service. It was nice to lounge around in robes for an unseemly amount of time though. Around 2pm, we ventured out, got coffee and sunglasses. What is this crazy orb in the sky?!?


All that walking around in the “Mile High City” really worked up an appetite so we headed to Illegal Pete’s  in LODO for burritos. Illegal Pete’s remind me of Seattle’s BIMBOS CANTINA with better food and even fewer fucks given (if that’s even possible). I got the Green Chili Burrito as recommended by Andrew who, left to his own devices, would probably eat every meal at this place while in Denver. It was quite tasty as was the Hornitos shot with a Tecate back, natch.


Then, we were off to the Ween show! VIP, bitches! Chocolate and Cheese Fountains!

The show was amazing, of course! The love and excitement were palpable and the cast of characters lively!

We ended the night relatively early so we could have a full day on Saturday.

For Brunch, I discovered a restaurant with many kinds of Benedict and a veritable plethora of Bloody Mary and Mimosa variations. Perfect. It was called Sassafras American Eatery and the wait was an hour so it must be good! We bided our time at a nearby bar called prohibition. which, as the name suggests, had excellent cocktails. We even ran into some folks going to the second night of the Ween show!

Brunch, finally! Can’t go wrong with fried oysters smothered in hollandaise and topped with a sprinkle of bacon!


A post brunch nap was definitely called for so I relaxed in the room for a bit while Andrew puttered around town. When we finally met up, it was Jaymos and romance.


I kept the Jaymo and passed along the rose to this handsome devil.


Being that it was the day before V-Day, many restaurants were slammed so we walked around a bit and admired the lights and the hometown pride. Go Broncos! Sportsball stuff!


Finally we snagged a pair of corner bar seats at a fancy Spanish restaurant called Rioja. Our meal started with the “Rioja Picnic” a delicious mix of charcuterie, cheese, bread, olives and other delights. Clearly not picnic basket portable though. To its left is their take on French onion soup. The fussiness of the presentation 100% made up for by the deliciousness of the broth!


Then it was Venison with butternut squash, mustard greens, fregola sarda, pickled sultanas, pecans and fig-sage purée for Andrew and octopus farfalle with preserved Basque chiles, piquillo peppers, tempura preserved lemons, gremolata and a caper-chile emulsion for me!

Too stuffed for dessert but still room for old timey cocktails at Green Russell where we dipped our toes into Denver’s craft cocktail scene and were impressed, if a bit bemused by the “Speakcheesyness” of it. While Seattle seems to be slowly growing out of its arm band and bowler hat phase of cock-tailing, Denver is still firmly enmeshed. But, to quote Seinfeld, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”


Then, late night room service with a bottle of bubbly for and fruit plate for Valentine’s Day.


We had a great time in Denver! It had a very small town feeling but with a lot of eating and drinking opportunities, which is what truly matters to this Hungry Ginger. And valuable lessons were also learned. Cocktails a mile high lead to hangovers a mile deep. They’ve got to have something for that at Celestial Seasonings, right?


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