Friday, January 30, 2009
Thanks to a post on the DDP Blog, I found out that one of my favorite restaurants, WaterCourse Foods has opened an outpost on the corner of 17th & Market. If you don't know, WaterCourse is a vegetarian, often vegan, restaurant that has it's own bakery. The bakery, in Capitol Hill, supplies vegan/gluten-free baked goods to all of WaterCourse's shops as well as the public.
Now you can get their baked goods, vegetarian panini sandwiches, and coffee drinks (Pablo's roast) at this new downtown location. The bakery case includes muffins, cookies, scones, cupcakes and quiche. Prices might be a bit more than you expected to pay, but the product is fresh, local and uses top quality ingredients.
I was a bit confused when I read that this new location was being called the WaterCourse Cafe @ the Aveda Academy. Having been a regular at the Academy last year, I couldn't imagine how in the world they could fit a cafe into that space. So of course, I had to check it out. What has happened, is that the Aveda Academy has greatly expanded since last fall. They've opened up their area through to 17th St. On the corner of 17th and Market, they've set-up a new reception area that shares a beautiful airy space with the WaterCourse Cafe.
The Cafe itself is not very large. The seating area is limited to a nice narrow counter and stools facing the window onto 17th St. It's actually quite a needed addition to street scene on 17th. It has always seemed that this part of town was a bit dark and "financial", if you get me. This whole set-up is refreshing, yummy, and in my opinion, a good partnering with Aveda.
WaterCourse Cafe @ the Aveda Academy
1380 17th St
Denver, CO 80202
Open Mon - Fri 7am to 6pm
Sat 8am - 5pm
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
If you'd like to try something a little different, you need to get over to JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant on Alameda. I think most people stuff themselves silly before they realize that they can get a dessert here. It's actually on the appetizer portion of the menu, maybe that's where it should be, I'm not sure. All I know is that I always save room for an order of the Deep-fried Chinese bread.
Don't take this home, you need to eat it freshly made. It's steaming hot inside, beautifully shiny on the outside. It comes with a little bowl of condensed milk, yum! The first layer is soft and spongy, the center is a denser, yellow, braided core of dough.
With a nice pot of jasmine tea, this serves as a great dessert. One order is 3 buns split in half and should be enough for 4 people, as long as you're willing to share.
You are willing to share, right?
JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant
2500 W Alameda Ave.
Denver, CO 80219
Monday, January 26, 2009
Beef tongue or lengua is one of the under-appreciated fillings for Mexican tacos. Most people just think of the basic carne asada, carnitas, or al pastor if they're feeling adventurous. The tender and flavorful tongue, however, is among the most addictive fillings you can wrap your tortilla around.
Don't get too crazy with the dressing on this taco. Traditionally all you need is some diced white onion, cilantro, and a little salt and lime. A shot of salsa verde will round it out.
Sorry I can't invite you all over for tacos de lengua, but in Denver I'd recommend that you visit Taqueria Patzcuaro (on W. 32nd), El Taco de Mexico (on Santa Fe Drive), or your local taco truck for the taste that tastes you back.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Plenty of places sell oil and vinegar in Denver, so what's all the fuss about? Walk into this beautiful shop and you'll find out. No clutter, no potpourri and cutsie gifts to distract you from the main attraction. Lined up, front and center are a two rows of gleaming stainless steel containers (fusti I believe they're called) with a spigot. Each one is filled to the brim with liquid ambrosia. Probably a dozen varieties of olive oils from around the world: Italy, Greece, Spain, California. Different varieties, pure or infused: Frantoio, Arbequina, Manzanillo, basil, garlic, white truffle... And the Balsamics don't lag behind: pear, apple, black cherry...
The real king, however, is the 18 year-old balsamic. Wow! Give me a bottle of this and I'll be pulling on it all day; one sip at a time.
As soon as you walk in the door, Mick or one of the staff will help you get your bearings. The purists are pointed to the little cups that are stacked next to each spigot, waiting for you to pour yourself a little oil or balsamic. This is a nice way to go so that you can inhale the deep and rich aroma of each of these special ambers. Then throw it back and savor it's richness as it coats the tongue. On their own or mixed in creative combinations, you'll be enthralled as you sample the great variety of tastes and aromas. For those a bit reluctant to sip on olive oil, bah!, you'll find cubes of fresh baked bread from the Denver Bread Company (EVOO Marketplace also sells select loaves from the DBC).
The simplicity of the concept, the clean feel of the shop, the variety of choices, and most importantly the freshness and quality of the product, set EVOO Marketplace apart. Nowhere else will you have access to this many choices and the ability to taste and be educated by those that really care about your experience. Wine is not the only precious liquid that should be investigated in a meaningful way. Here you can do just that with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Once you identify the oil or vinegar you can't do without, Mick will bottle it up for you, cork it, seal it, and you're set. Oh yeah, you do have to pay first. Prices range from about 12 to 18 per bottle, depending on how rich your palate is. But you can be sure that after sampling the goods at the EVOO Marketplace, your palate will never settle for less!
1338 15th St.
Denver, CO 80203
Thursday, January 22, 2009
If you're walking up from Broadway, you'll probably first encounter City o'City at 13th and Sherman. A vegetarian pub/coffee shop that makes great pizza.
For the sake of accuracy I must include the Domino's Pizza, if you can call it pizza.
Within the next two blocks of 13th you'll find a couple of places that serve good pizza-by-the slice, as well as whole pies: Pizzicato at Pennsylvania and Benny Blanco's just past Pearl.
Let's start with Benny Blanco's. This is the place where the term "hole in the wall" was coined. To say it is small is an understatement. Word of warning; the leggy pizza girl watching over the patrons of this establishment has no basis on reality. I'm not discussing her anatomical proportions, I'm just saying that the guys dishing-up the pizza here have nothing in common with this saucy rendition of Saint Pomidora, patron saint of the midnight-pizza patron (yeah, I DID just write that sentence, y que?). So while your checking out Saint Pommy on the wall, (you lech!) one of the rude boys behind the counter will be throwing your selected slice into the oven and then flopping it onto a paper plate.
Either the blasting music will drive you out, or one of the guy's will after they take your two bucks. That's ok, you need to get out of there anyway so you can dig into your perfect slice of peperoni before it gets cold on you. Nice crisp edges on a nicely foldable triangle of salty peperoni and gooey cheese. No fancy stuff, just some solid grub for the street. Open until 3a.m., what else you want?
Benny Blanco's Slice of the Bronx
616 E. 13th St.
Denver, CO 80205
On that same outing walk, I swung by Pizzicato to find out what their peperoni slice to go was like. For more info on Pizzicato, check out my review here.
On this pizza-by-the-slice outing here's what I found. 75 cents more and 30% smaller, but yeah, it was better. The quality of the ingredients is noticeably superior. If you can live without Saint Pommy, and you cravings are more gastronomic than simply quantitative, go to Pizzicato. If, however, you're just looking for a good, quick fix, then don't forget about Benny Blanco's.
1300 Pennsylvania St.
Denver, CO 80203
Thursday, January 8, 2009
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
Take off the casing of the chorizo and add it to the pan. With a wooden spoon start breaking up the chorizo and cook it for about 3-4 minutes stirring frequently. (Note: I use pork chorizo that isn't too fatty, if your chorizo isn't lean, you might want to start it off in another pan to render off some of the excess fat.) Add the bacon back into the pan and add the pepper and cumin. Cook 2 more minutes.Now add the tomatoes, diced chipotles, cinnamon, and cloves. (Note: if you use fresh roasted tomatoes, you might need to add a 1/2 cup of chicken stock to have enough liquid for this step.) Cook this at a low simmer for about 15 minutes, partially covered, stirring every 5 minutes.Add the turkey meat, sugar, vinegar, and adobo sauce. Bring back to a simmer and cook covered for another 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt accordingly.Here's what your tinga will look like, notice it isn't dry, it has a nice red sauce. You can adjust the amount of extra adobo sauce that you add based on your tolerance for heat.
You can dress this dish up or down, depending on what type of meal you are preparing for. It's really good as a taco filling. Heat up some corn tortillas and throw some cilantro and red onions on top with a splash of lime. Casual but a nice step up from basic carne asada.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Two tacos of beautifully cooked carne asada and two tacos of chopped carnitas on a double corn tortilla. Simply served with fresh diced tomato. Inexplicably, there was a little pile of shredded orange cheese in the middle of the tacos. A minor confusing distraction, let me get back to the meat. The carnitas were cooked just right, but had too much fat on them. Combine this with a tortilla that had been warmed on a greased comal (griddle) and watery salsa verde; WOW, what a mess.
The asada (pictured here), was a much better option. Except for needing salt, they were very well prepared. I'd prefer a salsa roja for these, but the green was just fine. Tender beef, perfectly grilled and then fried up for a very satisfying taco.
My conclusion? Rather mixed I'm afraid. If you are looking for some basic taco truck food, find yourself a taco truck! If your'e in the 40th and Tejon area and want this kind of food, then definitely stop in at the crazy Mercado Perez.
Mercado Perez III
40th and Tejon St.