From the collage above it’s clear that my year was full of food. I spy quite a few pizza pics (homemade pesto, smeared mashed potatoes and fried eggs, among others). Dane’s influence on me in beer drinking rose to a whole new level; when I joined the Ladies of Craft Beer as a website contributor and event host. We shared a beer-pairing dinner with Stone Brewing’s Greg Koch, and took our own “Greg Face” photo. And I checked off a “meet a famous food writer” from my bucket list when I met NY Times columnist Mark Bittman and chatted about my interest in further research surrounding the ethics of food journalism. Check!
I’d love to hear about your 2010 food escapades. Where did you go, what will you never live without, and how will you eat in 2011?
Where I ate for the first time:
Euclid Hall – Denver. The Bruery Orchard White and buffalo-fried pig’s ears. Nuff said.
The Kitchen – Boulder. Been wanting to go here forever and finally we landed here unexpectedly some Friday night. True love and they post their recipes online!
Le Central – Denver. Mussels and frites with one of my favorite food-lovin’ ladies.
Opus – Littleton. We went during Restaurant Week, which fell over my birthday. Dane out did himself! A birthday treat from my sweet (I even got a tiara made of sugar).
All over Tokyo – Including all-you-can-eat sukiyaki, a brewery inside a massive grocery store (think IKEA), authentic Japanese cuisine at the home of a rice cracker factory owner.
Yabby Hut – Lakewood. Crawfish and nails stained red from Cajun spice.
Sushi Sasa – Denver. Best sunomono salad I’ve ever had And really? Strawberries on sushi rolls are great.
Sweet Basil – Vail. Hot Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake. Best. Dessert. Ever.
Sapphire – Vail. Oysters and champagne can only happen few times a year.
Lola – Denver. Not the best planned brunch when consumed an hour before rollercoaster-riding!
Tailgating at CU – Boulder. Think bloody Mary bar, beer chasers, grilled asparagus, smoked ribs from the father in law, brats, and all the fixings.
Lucia’s – Minneapolis. Paying homage to a foodie friend who has passed.
Piranha’s Bar & Grill – Nashville. Not calorie friendly. A sandwich overstuffed with French fries and coleslaw.
Casa Bonita – Denver. Disney World in a Mexican restaurant.
Fruition – Denver. Chef Alex Seidel got me to eat garlic foam. And now I crave it all the time.
Delite – Denver. Happy hour apps are 10-times better than they know it.
Cheeky Monk – Denver. Mussels served alongside awesome sour beer.
Brown Palace Ship Tavern – Denver. A Christmastime date that struck the wallet!
The Original Famous Dave’s – Hayward, WI. Great view, great food and always some shenanigans in Hayward.
Thai Pot Café – Denver. Found my Pad Thai spot.
Pete’s Kitchen – Denver, Colfax. A little gyro binge after the Westword Web Awards.
Buchi – Denver. Best Cuban sandwich I’ve had. Others may disagree.
Wooden Spoon Bakery – Denver. New and serves fresh ingredients with integrity.
Colt and Gray – Denver. Enjoyed good friends, fab wine and an app of Bacon Cashew Carmel Corn.
Ondo’s Tapas – Denver. Tapas seem to have been a hit in past years and aren’t the “it” food now. But I loved these authentic Spanish tastings.
Kiki’s – Denver. Authentic: Little did I know that the katsudon (pork cutlet) I had here would taste exactly the same a month later in Tokyo.
Tocabe – Denver. Native American Indian tacos served Chipotle style.
Where I drank for the first time:
Avery Brewery – Boulder. White Rascal is a favorite.
New Belgium, Odell and Fort Collins Brewery – All on a camping weekend including a bike ride from Horsetooth Resivior through the cool town of Fort Collins and each brewery. Yah, we got a ride back.
Fresh Craft – Denver. What’s better than a beer for breakfast? I attended the Beer for Boobs Brunch with the Ladies of Craft Beer.
Cap City – Denver. A weekly stop with my kickball team, The Fifth Base. And a Vikings bar.
Yard House – Denver 16th Street Mall. Who knew it was the restaurant’s “soft opening,” meaning the day before it officially opened to the public. Well…all the meatheads in Denver, that’s who.
Dry Dock Brewing Co. – Aurora, CO. I don’t suggest driving after a thorough visit to their tap room.
Cool gourmet encounters:
Hops & Pie – Both an eating and drinking bonus in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood. I was honored to host a Ladies of Craft Beer pizza and craft beer pairing event. Leah and Drew are living their dream and I’m just a happy visitor!
Justice League of Street Food – Denver food trucks had a roundup in a dirty parking lot at 29th & Huron this summer. It was the start of something laid back but hot.
Chef Husband – For my birthday, Dane spoiled me with two homemade meals: fondue, Rachel Ray’s turkey burgers and then also took me to the culinary powerhouse Opus (worth mentioning twice in this blog post!)
Second Home “Cheffin it up” – Each third Tuesday of the month, spend $10 and you’ll get 10-times the value back in this chef demonstration, three-course dinner. It really is a fantastic and cost-effective date.
Gluttonous – Since we travel for Thanksgiving we never get turkey leftovers. So what did we do? Ordered a fully-cooked 11 lbs. turkey for our pre-thanksgiving feast. Leftovers are still in the freezer (YES!).
Westword Web Awards – Well, I either impressed the right people or somehow got lucky. My blog was nominated as “Best Food Blog” in Denver for the alternative magazine’s web awards. I also was included in the category “best tweet by an eater.” Sweet.
Places I always go back to:
The Cooler – Edgewater, CO. Carolina-style BBQ pork sandwich lunch special every weekday, $5, with crisp, homemade chips.
Sam’s No. 3 – Denver. CO. So I guess I only go here after the GABF, but it deserves a shout out for great service and huge menu for big appetites ( or just drunk ones).
Brit’s Pub – Minneapolis. Springtime and about 60 degrees in Minnesota really does not happen. Having a Bootleg (like a mojito) and good friends surround me was frosting on the cake.
Ernie’s – Denver. We celebrated Dane’s birthday here with my parents and they graciously gave us a $30 credit! (OK, we weren’t that special, go on the day of your birthday and you get the deal!)
Sazza – Greenwood Village, CO. Organic and with a passion. I love everything about this neighborhood pizza joint. AND (spoiler alert) they’re eyeing a Capitol Hill location soon!
Hanson’s – Denver. They’re the reason I started to like green chile.
Mama Maria’s – North Hudson, WI. I always order my favorite from a decade ago, champagne breast of chicken with cannalonni in white sauce (not on the menu). And for the last couple years they reinvented the former Vittorio’s deep fried capaletti!
Café Latte – St. Paul. Caesar salad, extra rye croutons and a cup of chicken salsa chili. Can’t go wrong.
Sunrise Sunset – Lakewood. This is our go-to breakfast spot on weekends. And with our summer-like Fall, we took a bike ride there and burned it all off on the way back.
White Fence Farm – Lakewood. Where else could we take our grandparents who love OCB and enjoy Americana? They really do it well there.
Rock Rest Lodge – Golden. Always a hot wing to be snarfed on at this road house. This former brothel doesn’t have a website, but it’s now on Facebook.
Valley Inn – Lakewood. Like Perkin’s but with Greek food and family-owned.
Highland Tavern – Denver. My favorite neighborhood spot in the Highlands and the food is a hidden gem. I even convinced a co-worker to host her birthday lunch there – full of beer, the “stupid” burger and Big Buck Hunter.
Toward the end of 2010 also brought some sadness with news of St. Paul’s The Nook experiencing a fire. This is my Juicy Lucy spot, so you can imagine my shock and disappointment. But these owners are Irish and stubborn and plan to clean up and reopen in a few months. Though the memorabilia and essence of the place will be changed, I am excited and proud that Casper & Runyon are so dedicated to continuing The Nook’s legacy. Cheers to you!