Sunday, September 18, 2016

TEDx - Denver and Boulder

Ted has become a common house name over the years. I see Ted on Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix. For the first time ever though, I got to meet Ted in person. Or I guess I should say TEDx at the Macky Auditorium in Boulder. And what a fabulous meeting it was. Love at first sight I would say.



For those who are unaware (as I was), the little x at the end of TED just means that the event was independently produced and that a group had gotten a TED license. Most TED talks have a theme of some sort and the one that I saw was called Discovery and Wonder. The event ran from 5-9pm and I was transfixed the entire time. I learned about Moon Rocks discovered in Antarctica, the special kind of heartbreak that comes from losing, How water could equal peace, Bacteria (! ...so much to think about here), and finding empathy in clutter. The four hour event had an intermission where they served a light salad sourced by the Boulder Farmer's Market.

The best thing about this event is the hunger that I left with wanting to hear and see more. My curiosity was piqued about subjects that I didn't even know existed. Furthermore, the speakers were all local and all apart of the Colorado community. I truly can't wait for the next event to come.

There are a few  TEDx communities in Colorado -

http://tedxboulder.com/
http://www.tedxmilehigh.com/
http://www.tedxrino.com/

I don't have access to any videos from last night's event, but below are a couple of fascinating ones from previous years.









Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Epic Sandwich? Curtis Park Delicatessen

What makes a great sandwich? Is it the fillings, the perfect bread, or a handed down recipe? The Curtis Park Delicatessen first piqued my attention when I read an article from Denver Eater - Epic Sandwiches to Eat before you Die . That's quite the lead in.

Waze has lead me through Five Points and I am driving through the 'residential' section. My GPS indicates the Curtis Park Deli is on the block of 26th and Champa. On this Sunday afternoon, a street spot is readily available on the block.

Walking up to the entrance there are several occupied tables on this sunny afternoon.  As I'm entering the eatery, I get the feeling like I'm walking into someone's home. The interior 'Dining Room' consists of two large dining tables ... by dining tables, I mean like the ones at my mom's house growing up. You know, like Oak Express style.



But, I'm not here to check out their furniture. Proceeding to the counter, I study the chalkboard menu hanging above a deli display case, showing meats and cheeses. I try not to pay attention as the woman in front of me buys 3 packages of bacon for $70 bucks ... Maybe it was their meal too... Note to self to check out that bacon later. 

My friend and I decide on the Curtis and the French sandwiches. Truth be told, I had decided to order the Curtis because it was on that damn list. I don't always do what I'm 'told', but if someone claims that a sandwich is so good that you should try it before you die, I'm inclined to at least check it out. 

The Curtis is basically a Ruben on Ciabatta bread. Normally, I avoid ciabatta. Not because of the taste, but due to the chewy battle between my teeth tearing the bread - I don't like fighting for my food if I can help it.  This Ciabatta was different; soft and sour with a dusting of flour. This is the perfect vehicle for the homemade thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, corned beef, and swiss.



Looking at my friend, he momentarily has flour on his lips from the French sandwich that he is eating. He asks if I want to try a bite. It's just as good, but for different reasons. The tang of mustard (also house made), complements and brings out the flavor of the brie and rosemary ham. 


A great sandwich is the sum of it's parts and every ingredient was on point, creating a perfect bite. As consumers we typically judge a restaurant by it's food, service, and atmosphere. This is a place to come to for a good sandwich. The guy at the counter was friendly, but their philosophy is just to make yourself at home, which includes helping yourself to the drinks, seating, and getting your food. Not that this is a bad thing, just setting the expectation.  

http://curtisparkdeli.com/fare/sandwiches/
Address: 2532 Champa St, Denver, CO 80205
Hours: 
Tuesday10AM–4PM
Wednesday10AM–4PM
Thursday10AM–4PM
Friday10AM–4PM
Saturday10AM–4PM
SundayClosed
Monday10AM–4PM


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Beauty on 17th st


Beauty on 17th st 

No area is perfect, but I do find some parts of Denver to be extra special. I was walking down 17th st recently, passing Steuben's, Hamburger Mary's, and The Denver Turnverein - and it struck me how peaceful it felt. I love the life of the city hearing ping pong balls bounce as I round the corner by Ace. Next I saw the shadow dancers in the windows at the Denver Turnverein moving to the music pouring from the building and I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to be in a city like Denver. 



Sunday, March 6, 2016

Denver Day Trip #5 Stapleton - Brunch at Four Friends Kitchen, Leopold Bros Distillery Tour, and Rocky Mountain Arsenal Visitor Center - Trail and Drive

Day trip number five starts out with Brunch at Four Friends Kitchen, followed by a tour and refreshments at the Leopold Bros. Distillery. After the tour, get snacks at Thai Street Food and head over to The Rocky Mountain Arsenal and Wildlife Preserve.

Four Friends Kitchen
Cost: $7-$15 pp
 2893 Roslyn St, Denver, CO 80238
(303) 388-8299
Breakfast: M-F, 6:30-11; Lunch: M-F, 11-2:30; Brunch: SAT-SUN, 6:30-2:30

The Four Friends Kitchen features southern cooking with a modern twist. This restaurant is a newcomer to the Denver brunch scene, but is here to stay with already classic dishes such as their  Crispy Huevos Rancheros, ‘Overnight Grits’ (that can be ordered either sweet or savory), and a variety of benedicts. If you are not in the mood for breakfast foods try, they have a great lunch menu too – consider the Mac-n-Cheese, Green Chili Chicken Cobbler or the Root Beer BBQ Brisket.





Leopold Bros. Distillery

Cost: $16-$20 pp for tour and sampling 
5285 Joliet St, Denver, CO 80239
303-307-1515
Saturday 11:00am/ 4:00pm or Sunday just at 11:00am – Reservation required (check website for current tour times)

Now that you have had a bite to eat, it’s time to check out one of the many great distilleries that Denver has to offer. Leopold Bros is a family owned and operated small-batch distillery, just outside the Stapleton area. The distillers feature whiskies, gins, vodka, liqueurs, fernet, and absinthe – And all from Colorado grain. The entire process is completed on-site – malting, milling, fermenting, to the barreling and bottling. The only part of the process that they don’t do is farm, but not to worry – most of the ingredients are sourced locally. While you can find the Leopold Bros. around town, the best way to experience the brand is to take ‘The Connoisseur Tour’ or sit in on ‘The Cocktail Hour with Alec’… for those 21+ of course. Both events require advance ticket purchase and frequently sell out. As they are a small distillery that works strange hours, they typically cannot accommodate impromptu visits, so please plan before visiting.



The Connoisseur Tour takes about 3 hours and usually available on Saturdays at 11am/4pm or Sundays just at 11am, but check out their website for current times. On this tour you get to learn the history, see the entire production, and best of all, sample a tasting of the Leopold Bros entire line of spirits. This tour costs $16 and 50% of the cost of admission can be donated to 1 of 4 non-profit organizations that Leopold Bros supports (Children’s Hospital, Colorado Symphony, Dumb Friends League, and Food Bank of the Rockies).


Thai Street Food

Cost: $9-$12 per entrée
 11650 Montview Blvd, Aurora, CO 80010
303-587-2293
Open Tuesday – Saturday 11:00am – 8:00pm

If you need a bite to eat after the 3 hour tour (ahem’ and drinking), pick up some take-out at Thai Street Food. Full disclosure - Thai Street Food restaurant is ‘Carry Out’ only. We have included this restaurant because the food is amazing. Almost everything is made-to-order and is customized to the level of spiciness requested – boasting 7 levels of spice! The menu is relatively small, but each item seems to be carefully curated. Chef Anna originally started with a street cart on 16th street mall and many patrons would sometimes wait over an hour for these tasty Thai dishes. As accolades and business continued to grow, Anna transitioned in the brick and mortar restaurant at the current location.


The Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge

Cost: Free
 6550 Gateway Rd, Commerce City, CO 80022
(303) 289-0930
Wednesdays – Sundays from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
(Closed on Federal Holidays)

Now that you have your take-out, head to The Rocky Mountain Arsenal for a picnic and some prarie trails. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal has a history dating back to pre- WWII. The 15,000 acre preserve was declared a super fund site, but thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Army, Shell, and the U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service in the started mid-90s, the Arsenal has become one of the largest urban wild life refuges in the country. The refuge is home to more than 330 species of animals. There are over 10 miles of hiking trails, site tours, or a self-guided auto tour. The visitor center is an experience in itself, as it is somewhat a museum of the history and the evolution of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge.








Saturday, January 23, 2016

Miyako Ra-Men Spot - Noodles in the Burbs

In the midst of a Colorado January, few things are as satisfying as a delicious bowl of broth-y ramen. The problem is that for those of us (non Subaru drivers) in south Denver, we tend to not want to make the trek on icy roads, to the other side of Denver. Needless to say, I was quite happy to discover the newly opened Miyako Ra-men Spot on S. Broadway. It's a little north of Dartmoth, close to the Gothic Theater.


















The food is simple and a good value for the amount of food that you get - The Ramen starts at $9.50 a bowl. We started with an order of the house-made Gyoza and the flavor and texture were perfect. Potstickers are not fancy, but I love when they are perfectly seared and these ones had the perfect mix of the crunch from the sear with the dough having a nice tooth, but not mushy.  















The Ramen of course is the main event. I ordered the Shoyu Tonkotsu - salted pork and soy sauce broth with egg noodles. The standard toppings include a 1/2 boiled egg, shredded carrots, spinach, house roasted pork, and green onions. There are additional toppings that you can order a la cart, but I just went with the standard for my first time. The broth was delicious and had great flavor and the noodles were cooked perfectly.



The service was attentive and I appreciate the recommendations from our server. We were there on a Sunday around noon and the restaurant wasn't super busy. I could however imagine this place filling up rather quickly depending on the day. I've only visited once so far, but myself and my companion both enjoyed our food, so I'm sure that we will be back soon.



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

3 ways to Stay in Shape This Holiday Season

Pachanga/ Plango - 4 weeks of Fitness Classes for $35  - Pachanga and Plango are the same thing... If you take Pachanga at 24 Hour Fitness, it's just called Palango. These classes are incredibly popular and for good reason. The simple, intense, and fun workouts torch calories while you hardly notice.

$30 for Ugly Sweater Run  -  The Ugly Sweater Fun Run is a 5k where you get you run in your favorite ugly sweater and after you will get a beer too with your ticket

The Ugly Sweater Run: Buy Now While Supplies Last


$19.99 for Billy Blanks PT 24/7 7-DVD Set with B2 Bands and Gloves .... because, hey it's Billy! Who doesn't remember Tae Bo?! This 7 disc set is actually worth $80 and comes with resistance bands and gloves!


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fiske and Frisk on the Hill - Planetarium, Cafe Aion, Shopping and your pick of History or Theater

This week's Colorado itinerary takes you to 'The Hill' in Boulder. For those not familiar with the University Hill, it refers to the neighborhood around Colorado University. Full disclosure, if you visit during a semester, there will be a fair amount of college students around. Personally I like the energy and the pace of the area. A 1/2 off Groupon featuring Fiske Planetarium  was the inspiration for this collection of places to visit. Please leave feedback and let me know what you think of this day trip. For the most part, all the below suggestions are in walking distance of each other. In addition to some of the recommended restaurants, I have also included a links for other restaurants in the area that currently have deals.


Cafe Aion - Brunch 11 am 

Cost: $6-$15
http://www.cafeaion.com/

Start your day with brunch at Cafe Aion. Many of the dishes are designed for sharing. Spanish and Moroccan flavors are apparent in the menu. The fried cauliflower is surprisingly one of the stand out Tapas - fair warning, you may not want to share. In addition to coffee and juice, they also have a full bar. I am particularly fond of their Bloody Mary's, made with chili infused vodka and crispy bacon.

Bloody Mary @ Cafe Aion

Fiske Planetarium - CHECK SHOWTIME AND GET TICKETS

Cost: $11 for 2 tickets with Groupon (Reg. $10 per ticket)

The Fiske Planetarium features the Ziess, one of the most advanced stargazing machines in the world. Furthermore, CU has recently invested in an all-new fully immersive theater system, making it one of the most sophisticated planetariums in the country. Since the planetarium was the inspiration for this day trip, I suggest that you select what show you would like to go to, as there is different programming throughout the day.  https://fiske.colorado.edu/beta/events 


Use the below suggestions to fill the time in before or after the planetarium show.

Shopping on the Hill 

Cost: Varies $-$$$ 
http://www.thehillboulder.com/businesses/ 

  • Meininger's - Go get your craft on! Actually if you time your trip right, you can take a free art class with part of the Demo and Dialogue series that is hosted at Meininger's in conjunction with the Art Student's League. As a bonus feature, a coupon is usually given to those who participate in the class-  http://www.meininger.com/demo-dialogue/ 

Colorado University: Natural History or Theater 

Cost: Free - $$ (admission to some theater events)

Since you are pretty much on CU's stomping grounds, you might as well check out some of the culture on campus. Two points of interest are the Natural History Museum and the University Theater.   

GrassRoots

Restaurant Deals - Up to 40% Off 

Here are just a few food options that are reasonably priced and in the area. A couple of the recommendations are neighborhood favorites and the other three have good Yelp reviews and Groupons! 
  • Terra Thai - No coupon on this one, but with most of the menu ranging from $3-$8, why would you need one? Great food here, however, they are not open on Saturdays 
  • The Sink - What does Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain have in common? They both ate at this burger joint when they were in town.... not together, of course ;)  
  • Tibet Kitchen  - $12 for $20 worth of food for two or more people with Groupon
  • Mimi's Kitchen  - $13 for $20 worth of Mexican cuisine for two with Groupon 
  • The Cheese Course -  $15 for $25 worth of bistro menu items and drinks for two with Groupon