Beer beer beer beer. I love tasting new beers. We were trying to find a place to watch the Broncos game one Sunday and picked Blue Spruce because we hadn’t been there yet. They have a wide variety of beers to pick from and I couldn’t choose just one or two. So, I got 2 sets of the sampler which includes tasters of 4 different beers. Honestly my favorite one was the vanilla porter. I am typically not a fan of dark beers, but this one was light in flavor and has a great after taste of the vanilla. Totally a fan now. They also serve food, which is odd from a brewery. We perused the menu and stumbled upon the carne asada. I am a bit of a carne asada whore. Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, I find it hard to get good Mexican food in Colorado. I ventured with the carne asada street tacos and Brian got the carne asada fries. We usually get these great dishes from Tacos Rapidos on Federal and Evans, but thought we would give them a whirl at this new brewery. The food came out and looked absolutely delicious. The carne asada fries were huge and you were given a couple of salsa choices for each dish. I put some green salsa on my taco and bit into it. Awesomeness. It wasn’t quite the same, but they were some damn good tacos. The rice wasn’t that great. It lacked that kick. The beans however, were amazing and covered in sprinkled cheese. The carne asada fries were in the same boat. They weren’t quite the same, but as Brian put it, they were the gourmet version of carne asada fries. The chili beer complimented the Mexican food well and was also a great choice. I can’t wait to go back and try more items on the menu.
Olive Garden VIP Denver Event November 4, 2014
Olive Garden contacted me and asked that I participate in a VIP tasting for their new menu items and give my feedback. I really didn’t know what to expect when I arrived with a friend. We were handed two drink tickets each and a seat in the private dining area in the back. Other food bloggers were seated next to me at the table. Then we were introduced to the general manager of that location, as well as a franchisee, several servers and a head chef. A menu of items were listed in front of each seat.
The list was extensive. I started with a salted caramel martini. I have had this drink before and it tickles my taste buds. I love it. They brought out the Olive Garden signature bread sticks. Who can go wrong with those? Then started with the long list of courses. 11 courses served in an hour and forty minutes. I was in pain when I left. They served an entire serving per 2 people at the table. Obviously, this was entirely too much food and we couldn’t consume all of it. They were kind enough to let us take home the leftovers. As they brought out each course, they explained what was in it, and how it was prepared. It was a little overwhelming, but very educating. My favorite dish by far was the grilled chicken butternut squash Alfredo fettuccine. I typically am not a fan of Alfredo sauce or fettuccine, but this one was cooked with cinnamon in it. I couldn’t stop eating it. I knew I had more courses to try, but this one stood out from the rest so much. I tend to get the same thing every time I go to Olive Garden, but my choice has changed going forward, This meal has now become my favorite. Below is a list of everything we tried and a description of it provided by Olive Garden.
- Crispy Risotto Bites (“Small Plates”) – Bite-sized blend of Italian cheeses and rice, lightly fried and served in marinara sauce.
- Polenta Shrimp alla Greca (“Small Plates”) – Sautéed shrimp served on creamy polenta and topped with a fresh blend of olives, capers and tomato sauce.
- Spicy Calabrian wings (appetizer) – Chicken wings tossed with garlic and chili peppers from the Italian region of Calabria, served with gorgonzola dipping sauce.
- Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad Topper – Fresh mozzarella bites, roasted tomato, bell pepper, basil, kale and an extra-virgin olive oil drizzle.
- Smashed Chicken Meatball Sandwich – Smashed chicken meatballs with roasted bell peppers and mozzarella on a focaccia bun.
- Bucatini with Spicy Three Meat Sauce and Sausage Meatballs – part of Cucina Mia:
- Choose your pasta: New Large Paccheri, New Tri-Colored Vegetable Penne, Bucatini, New Cavatappi, Whole Wheat Linguine, New Gluten-Free Rotini
- Choose your made-from-scratch sauce: New Creamy Garlic Alfredo, New Primavera, New Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato, New Spicy Diavolo, Fresh Tomato Pomodoro
- Add a topping (additional cost): New Chicken Meatballs, New Sausage Meatballs, Meatballs, Sautéed Shrimp
- Garlic Rosemary Chicken – Grilled marinated chicken breast topped with rosemary and caramelized garlic cloves. Served with garlic parmesan mashed potatoes and fresh spinach.
- Grilled Chicken Butternut Squash Alfredo Futteccine – Grilled chicken breasts served on a bed of fettuccine tossed with creamy roasted butternut squash alfredo and fresh spinach.
- Chicken Abruzzi (Olive Garden Specialty, Lighter Italian Fare [under 575 calories]) – Grilled chicken breast in a savory broth simmered with cannellini beans, kale and gardenvegetables.
- Pappardelle Pescatore (Olive Garden Specialty) – Sautéed shrimp, bay scallops and clams tossed with pappardelle pasta, fresh asparagus and tomatoes in a creamy red pepper seafood sauce.
- Pumpkin Cheesecake (dessert) – Pumpkin Cheesecake is topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce and ginger cookie crumbles.
Sushi Harbor November 3, 2014
A coworker of mine mentioned that a new sushi place was opening near our office and figured I would go check it out. I pulled up to a giant sign that said Grand Opening. I love trying new places during their grand openings. That is when they should really wow you. I walked in and waited a few minutes before being greeted and then seated. I was between a bento box or ordering off the sushi menu. Finally picked the sushi because it gives you a better idea of what their fish tastes like. I order yellowtail sushi, a spicy cripsy yellowtail roll, Alaska roll, and miso soup. The waiter brought out the food and poured me an iced tea. The bowl of miso was huge! I took a bite of the spicy yellowtail roll and fell in love. They have great yellowtail, which is my favorite. The rolls each came with 8 pieces. Overall, the sushi was excellent. The service, however, left a little to be desired. The waiter was standing around chatting with the chefs, not paying any attention to the 3 tables of patrons. My drink was never refilled and I sat for quite some time waiting for him to notice I was finished with my meal. For a grand opening, I felt the service sucked. I will go back though for the giant bowl of miso soup and great sushi.
Louis’ Diner In Littleton October 19, 2014
I pulled up this local diner on Yelp and saw some bad reviews from 2012 and 2013. Mainly things complaining about the service and lack of English speaking servers. We didn’t have a single problem with any of the known issues listed. Immediately greeted by a friendly waitress and seated at a table of our choice, I was already happy. This looked like it was going to be my new neighborhood food joint. The menu is pretty large and the waitress was eager with suggestions. I know it was breakfast time, but the fajitas were calling my name. Brian went with the pregnant burrito. That is basically a bean burrito stuffed with chile rellanos. Both were fantastic. The owner/chef is from Mexico and knows how to make some great Mexican food. I already have a list of things that are on my must try list. I don’t care what the reviews say, this place is awesome!!
Racines Restaurant October 5, 2014
I am constantly looking for dog friendly places to take the pup. While searching the internet for breakfast places, I found this restaurant called Racines. It is located in Denver, close to downtown and boy, was it a find. Tucked away in a neighborhood, this place was booming. They offer free valet parking, outdoor seating for those with dogs, and an extensive menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I had a very hard time deciding what to get. There were entirely too many options. Not that it is a bad thing. Settled on a skillet topped with green chile. Amazing!! Great food, fantastic service, large patio for the pups and valet parking. I love this place. We will definitely be coming back.
Banzai Sushi is not worth the cheap lunch September 10, 2014
I work near a sushi place called Banzai. I happen upon myself one day there for lunch. Their lunch menu is super cheap and had a nice variety of options to pick from. I selected the bento box with the 4 piece chef picked sushi, vegetable tempura and California roll. It came with miso soup and a salad covered in ginger dressing. Sounds great right? Wrong. The dressing on the salad was extremely bland. The tempura batter was so thin is just crumbled off of the vegetables. The California roll has some weird green stuff on top that masked the flavor and stuck to your teeth. The fish was just plain gross. I couldn’t eat the fish, it was that bad. The service wasn’t really anything to write home about either. Everyone seemed to hate their job and not want to be there. I would not suggest going here unless your taste buds lack.
Simm’s Steakhouse August 28, 2014
Want a beautiful view of Denver and a mouth watering steak? If so, then you have to go to Simm’s. It has been on my Denver bucket list for a while and finally dined there. There is not a bad seat in the entire house. Every table has an amazing view from the hillside that the restaurant sits on.
Brian went with steak medallions over vegetables and I had the filet with mashed potatoes. As a side, we got the fresh green beans and a few cocktails. Everything fell apart like butter. The meat was incredibly tender and full of great flavors. The service was perfect. He was always prepared with suggestions and opinions. I ended up with a banana chocolate martini that was to die for, based on his recommendation. I will definitely be back to try more tasty menu items and to enjoy the view.