It’s been about a month since my trip to Denver for my friend Vy’s bachelorette party. Despite the time that has lapsed, I still am excited to share all the great foodie experiences I had during my first trip to the mile high city! We had a group of eleven all there to celebrate my friend Vy’s new chapter, marriage!! Her sister put together a great itinerary which included all the best Denver restaurants for us to enjoy. When I go on trips people generally defer to me for restaurant picks, but this trip consisted of several foodies and every restaurant they picked was great. I do not feel like creating more than one post, so this will be LONG, but bare with me because it’s worth it!
For the first day we got settled into our amazing Airbnb and then hit up Zengo for dinner. Zengo was an Asian and Latin fusion restaurant. To me, it had strong Asian elements with sprinkles of Latin. Most of us were fresh off the plane and famished. That always means appetizers! The crab guacamole was a hit as well as the duck tacos and brussel sprouts. I also enjoyed the Thai Chicken empanadas. For my entree, I ordered the lemongrass adobe chicken and toasted garlic fried rice. The rice was basically plain rice with some toasted garlic thrown in. I like plain rice so it worked for me, others expected a bit more. The chicken could have been great, but a few pieces of it were charred a little to much for my tastebuds. In short, the appetizers worked for me and the entrees were mehhh.
We swung by the Denver Beer Co. for a few more drinks after dinner. It had a great indoor outdoor concept. After a few rounds, we retired back to our Airbnb to get ready for an early start.
Whew lord… on Day Two we drove up to Boulder, Colorado to hike a boulder. Literally hike a boulder y’all. I am risk averse so hiking up a boulder with large drop offs, I just envisioned myself on the show a hundred ways to DIE. It didn’t help that I had the worst shoes with no traction for this adventure. We kept Beyonce playing throughout the hike to keep the motivation up. Once at the top it was a great view and all but all I could think is SOOOOO where are we eating now because I have earned it!! The bachelorette is a beer aficionado so we stopped by Avery Brewery for beer of course and food. I am not a beer drinker, but I have always had good food experiences at breweries that dabble in food. Flat Branch in Columbia, Missouri and Karbach Brewery in Houston come to mind.
When in Rome was my motto throughout the Denver trip, so at Avery I drank the Raspberry Sour beer which was pretty good. For the food, I kept it simple and went for the burger with a side of white cheddar mashed potatoes. It was just okay. Once the barbecue plates the other ladies ordered arrived, I wished I hadn’t have been a KC barbecue snob and just ordered that. For dessert, I could not resist the bricohe bread pudding, which included a vanilla glaze, challah and dark chocolate. Some of the best bread pudding I have ever had! It was a huge portion and severed pipping hot.
Before heading back to Denver, we stopped by Settembre winery for a quick tasting. There were a couple of wineries lining the same shopping center and my first thought was “Interesting, we don’t have that in Texas.” Once inside we all went for the $10 wine flights. Yes, TEN DOLLARS for six samples of wine. The wines were decent, but the winos in the group didn’t walk away with any bottles so that may be your best review right there. Taste aside, it was a small intimate spot. I enjoyed our brief wine tasting there before we headed back to Denver.
As I am writing this, I realize we did THE most on day two. For dinner, we all dressed up to head to Vesta Dipping Grill. The concept here is that every dish is served with a compatible dipping sauce. We visited several restaurants that weekend but hands down Vesta Grill was my favorite. I did not know most of the ladies on the trip coming into it, but halfway through I made a foodie buddy who understood the desire to try as MUCH as possible. At Vesta, we shared the garlic grilled scallops and the pork chop. Typically when I do this, I prefer one dish over the other. In this case, both dishes were amazing and should be combined to make it easier on greedy folks like me!
Also of note, by Friday evening we were bracing ourselves for a snowstorm. The group had varying experience with snow, but for the most part, we were all from the SOUTH, and we do not do snow!
By day three, the impending snow was now real deal, but it did not stop us! First up was brunch at Syrup! When you google “brunch in Denver” Syrup will be one of the top hits. We killed several mimosa pitchers to start the day off just right. I went for my favorite brunch dish, french toast. I went a little dangerous though and upgraded to the smores french toast. It was pretttty good. Everyone ordered varying things on the menu and I can honestly say I heard NO complaints.
After getting our fill of mimosas, we headed to Mile High Stadium to tour the home of the Denver Broncos! My NFL stadium experiences include the Astrodome, NRG annnd the now useless Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Since these folks were the reigning Superbowl champs, I walked in expecting to be wowed. NRG is better, the end. For one, as icy snow pellets belted us as we walked onto the field, I again tried to understand why Northern cities have not gone with retractable dome stadiums, like the cool folks in Texas. Catch up people. Oh and we also took every opportunity to yell GO TEXANS, upsetting the Broncos fans on the tour with us, HA!
After the tour, we headed to the Source, a unique hippy market place that put me in the mind of the Dallas eatery Eatzi’s. Inside there were different counters that specialized in different foods and a brewery in the back. There was the bakery that only had burnt beard… that confused me. The cheese shop where I grabbed some prosciutto and gouda. This was the perfect place to hang out, kill some time and grab a drink.
Our big event for the evening was a mixology class at the Crimson Room, but before we could go there, we had to have a real deal “when in Rome” experience, so we went to a dispensary. I am a perpetual rule follower, no line stepping, goody two shoes, but even I was curious! I went to just look and report back to you folks, I promise! The legalization of marijuana in Colorado is widely discussed nationally, so I went in really intrigued with the business aspect of it. The dispensary that we went to was super fancy, with a door man to check IDs and loud Night at the Roxbury music greeting you as you walked in. Once inside the store itself, “a bartender” asked for your IDs again and showed you the product. The whole operation showed a sophistication that I did not expect. Recently, there have been discussions about the racial disparities within weed prosecutions in Colorado and ownership of dispensaries. The few minutes I was there, I did not see much diversity in the folks that were working there, but a lot of diversity in the customers.
We left that adventure and headed to the Crimson Room. There our bartenders walked us through the steps for three drinks. I am horrible because I cannot for the life of me remember what drinks we had or made during this class. We did make a drink with egg whites though and I was SCARED because I have witnessed how serious the bartenders at Anvil take that process. I did not trust myself The takeaway is that we had fun and left there needing to uber to dinner!
Our final dinner was at Lena and by then we had all bonded as a group. Lena considers itself a South American restaurant. Based on that alone, I was excited to try it! By dinner we had been drinking since 10am and I am lightweight. With that said, I do not remember much of what I ordered at Lena and my pictures are not really helping. It’s also been a month too so lets blame it on that. The one thing I do remember was the ceviche I ordered as an appetizer. Everybody loved that! But do not judge Lena based on my lack of memory, because I do remember walking away satisfied.
I feel like I have legit been talking for an hour with this long post. Sorry for the length, but I couldn’t leave anything out! Overall even with the snow and the fear of cancelled flights, Denver was a great trip and we had a good time! I can’t wait for my friend’s wedding next month!