Fri. April 7, 2017 – Mon. April 10, 2017
When my friend Benny called to tell me that he had gotten a promotion and was moving to Denver, CO, I was SO happy for him! He had been in search of a new adventure, and this opportunity fell into his lap. Happiness literally boiled out of my skin when he asked me to take a trip with him to scope out the area and give him some company during apartment hunting – how could I say no?! I’m all for weekend adventures, and this would be my first visit to Colorado. Since a lot of our time was going to be spent getting Benny situated, we had a mental plan to scope out some great food spots since we knew we’d have to eat at some point.
Transportation & Accommodation:
Benny got a great deal on a rental car by using his employee benefits! This was great for us to have since we were apartment hunting a good distance away from where we were staying. We rented an Airbnb pad right off E Colfax Avenue near City Park, so we could embrace the walk-ability of the area as well. We used Uber for one night since we both wanted to have some drinks in the city.
Our primary goal was to get Benny’s living situation taken care of, so we didn’t have time for a ton of activities. We did manage, however, to have a brief visit in William F Hayden Green Mountain Park (which I was dressed completely inappropriately for – I had on booties), and visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The park had amazing views of the city and has some awesome trails that I’m excited to tackle on my next trip back. Although we only spent a couple of hours at the museum, we got to walk through some great exhibits. My favorite exhibits were the Coors Mineral Hall, which showcased and extensive collection of gems and minerals native to Colorado, Mexico, and other regions around the world, and the North American Indian Cultures exhibit. There was also a vikings exhibit that I’m sure I would have enjoyed, but we ran out of time to view it.
On our Saturday night in Denver, Benny and I celebrated him signing for his apartment by scoping out the bar scene along Larimer Street. We visited Meadowlark Bar and Cold Crush, but ultimately ended up spending most of the night at Matchbox. The atmosphere was fantastic and the drinks were great as well!
Food & Drinks:
Since we knew we weren’t going to have much time for activities, we made sure to make every meal count and splurged on our food. Denver is a culinary melting pot; I’d visit every restaurant we ate at again.
Hacienda Colorado (Friday Dinner)
While apartment hunting, we got multiple recommendations to check out this “Mountain Mex” restaurant. I ordered the Admiral Guzman’s Shrimp Enchiladas (cheese enchiladas topped with sautéed shrimp in a white wine shrimp cream sauce with pico de gallo and avocado; served with rice and black beans). The shrimp in this dish were popping! They were juicy and had the perfect lime flavor.
DJs Café (Saturday Brunch)
We came across this gem online while looking for places to eat. It had lots of recommendations from locals, so we tried it for Saturday brunch. I ordered the Smoked Salmon Benedict (two poached eggs with smoked salmon and asparagus on a toasted English muffin topped with hollandaise sauce; served with home fry potatoes and fresh seasonal fruit) with a latte. Let’s all take a second to admire how perfectly poached the eggs were!
Jett Asian Kitchen & Sushi Bar (Saturday Late Lunch)
Benny and I shared some steamed pork dumplings and this other appetizer that I’m going to call “lit oyster thing” because I never caught that name of it (and it was an off-menu item). For my main dish, I ordered Yaki Udon (stir fried Japanese style noodles in a sweet soy sauce with veggies), which our server convinced me to add tofu too. Overall it was the udon dish was delicious. My favorite part of the udon was all the fresh sautéed vegetables, but adding the tofu in was probably the only bad decision of the entire weekend adventure. I love trying new foods, but I’m sure that tofu is not for me.
Root Down (Saturday Late Night Dinner)
Root Down is where we splurged the most during our weekend adventure because we were celebrating Benny signing for his apartment. We started off with drinks. I had a Prickly Pear Cosmo (citrus vodka, prickly pear, blood orange liqueur, lime, orange bitters). For my main dish, I ordered the risotto small plate with 2 seared diver scallops. The risotto dish had peas, asparagus, roasted mushrooms, mascarpone, pecorino, black quinoa, and pickled rhubarb. It was probably the most extra risotto I’ve had to date, and my palate appreciated every single bite. The “extra”ness continued when I topped everything off with the Angel Food Carrot Cake (carrot caramel sauce, walnuts, currants, whipped cream) for dessert. I loved every bit and sip of this meal!
Africana Café (Sunday Lunch)
While walking E Colfax Avenue on Saturday, we spotted Africana Café and made sure that we would check it out Sunday. Such a great decision! Africana Café serves up some delicious Ethiopian cuisine. Benny ordered Zigni (fresh tender lamb cooked with traditional spices), and I ordered Yebeg Alicha (tender lamb stew flavored with African herbs, ginger, and rosemary). Both dishes were served on soft injera bread, and we were also given more bread on the side. This meal was so flavorful! I topped off my meal with a cup of Ethiopian coffee. Our waitress was so patient with us and explained what everything was, and even the correct way to eat the meal. I’m already planning to visit this restaurant again the next time I visit Benny. I’ve got to give some of the vegetarian dishes a try.
Steuben’s Food Service – Uptown (Monday Lunch)
We had our final meal before traveling back home at this restaurant. I ordered the Trout Amandine (almonds, parsley potatoes, green beans) and a side of Macaroni & Cheese (six-cheese béchamel, panko bread crumbs). This was such a good meal to end our trip with! The trout had a lemony twang to it, and the green beans were super fresh. The mac-n-cheese was everything I hoped and thought it would be – super creamy and delicious!
So much fun was had in such little time! I’m so excited and happy for Benny, and I can’t wait to visit him and take Denver by storm again.