"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
People die every day. No one can avoid it, and who can say that one person is more important than another. Can anyone actually say that a president is more important than a father who worked his life away in a coal mine to provide a better life for his family?
That said, I do think we can learn from high profile people as we reflect on their lives. Steve Jobs created amazing things for the human race. Then he took those things and reinvented them by making them understandable and attractive to the masses. He pushed limits. He pushed his employees to create new ideas, and then make those ideas attractive and understandable. He paid amazing attention to detail. And on top of it all he was an iconic showman. He died way too young...there’s a lot we can learn from a guy like Steve Jobs. Carpe diem, people.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Someone once told me about the long-lasting impact negative encounters can have on people. You cut someone off accidentally and they yell at you, you have a bad encounter at work, whatever. It sticks with you, you retell the story and your blood pressure goes back up, etc. Well, I'm done with negativity.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The little café doesn’t have a huge menu (it changes on the chalk board often), and virtually no pasta (that I’m aware of), but what it does, it does well. Spuntino literally means “snack” in Italian, after all. Paninis, bruschetta, soups, salads, flat breads, and deserts…lots and lots of deserts. Not only to they make their own tarts, tiramisu and gelato (go with the salted chocolate carmel), but they have somehow perfected an idea that I always had but never knew it – make anything and everythinginto popsicle form. From your normal strawberry and chocolate flavors, to some interesting combinations (French toast, toasted coconut) to the exotic flavors that I’m somewhat scared to try (avocado vanilla, blueberry cinnamon). If you dream up the flavor, I’m sure Spuntino could put it in popsicle form. The great part is that most everything on the desert menu is made daily, so the next time you visit, they’ll have some type of new goodness for you to sample or take home with you.
I like Spuntino for a variety of reasons: fresh food, interesting combinations, gelato (in the restaurant and pints to take home!), cool space in an old LoHi building, virtually unlimited desert options, wine on tap, and a friendly staff who just generally seems like they enjoy being there. And really, who wouldn’t enjoy earning a paycheck by serving snacks, deserts and wine? It’s like handing out smiles and hugs for a living. Grazie, Spuntino!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
My latest find and new favorite is the brunch at Panzano. Consistently recognized for its delicious Northern Italian cuisine, gluten-free menu, fresh baked breads and wine list – and known for weekday power lunches and higher-end dinners, I never thought about Panzano having brunch until it came up in my Eat Denver Dining Deck.
Located in a 30s/40s era building and sharing space with the lobby of Hotel Monaco, the atmosphere is best described as “refined awesomeness.” It’s a quiet space, but if you want to liven things up a little, ask for a seat with a view of the kitchen and then watch the chefs do their work.
I expected a tasty menu filled with some of my favorite Italian standbys, but there were three things that moved Panzano’s brunch menu from “really good brunch” to “who wants to go back next weekend?”
1) The way they seamlessly mixed Italian ingredients with American brunch. Pancetta and fontina cheese omelet? Salumi scramble? An Italian layered casserole with puliese bread, eggs, prosciutto, spinach, basil, feta, provolone, scallion and chilli flake? Yes, to all of the above, please.
2) The price point was really reasonable. For a restaurant that serves $20-$30 plates for dinner I was expecting to pay more than $7-$12 for the plates listed above. Thankfully, I was able to sample the ridiculously delicious Italian omelet for the same price as lunch at Biker Jim’s or a burrito from Illegal Pete’s.
3) $9 bottomless Bellinis. I don’t think I need to say much more about this. Amazing. Go, get yourself an Italian inspired brunch, and sip on a Bellini that will never be empty…
The wait staff was professional and personable, the surroundings are appealing, the restaurant smells like fresh baked bread and pancetta, the food is delicious and the Bellinis are bottomless. Meet me at Panzano on Saturday mornings…
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
There are pizza joints, and there are pizza joints. Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria is the latter, and there are a variety of reasons that make it the best pizza joint in Denver.
Pizza is a pretty simple food, really. Some baked bread with a variety of veggies, meats and cheeses. Marco's serves two styles: New York Pies and Neopolitan - in fact, they're one of only 40 restaurants in the U.S. certified as an authentic Neapolitan restaurant by the Verace Pizza Napoletana. That's a lot of big words, but basically it means their pizzas are pretty basic (mostly tomato and mozzarella-based), fresh and generally amazing. They're cooked in a traditional coal-fired oven at a crazy high temperature – which translates to getting your food quicker and having a good mix of soft and crunchy crust (drool). I’m no foodie, so I won’t try to describe the ins and outs of Marco’s ingredients or cooking methods, but try the Sicilla if you’re into meat, or the Abruzzo if you’re a veg (or even if you’re not…the Abruzzo is on the top of my list regardless).
If you can, try not to fill up completely on pizza and sample some of the other greatness on the menu like the limoncello chicken wings or even the house salad (spring mix, mozzarella, grape tomatoes & balsamic). And do not, I repeat, do not leave without ordering a Nutella pizza for desert…I just started sweating while thinking about it. There’s a reason Marco’s was the top reader’s choice for pizza in this year’s 5280 Top of the Town.
Some other randomness that makes Marco’s great:
- The ballpark neighborhood location. It’s a great mix of LoDo, pawn shops, funky people, tattoos, local businesses and Rockies games. ‘Nuff said.
- Shiner Bock on tap. The pride and joy of Shiner, TX. These guys deserve their own post.
- The back patio. Which will remove you from the pawn shop clientele via 7-foot brick walls and patio lights for some ambiance. They even have heaters available for those chilly spring/fall Denver nights. Sit back with a Shiner and enjoy a Downtown Denver evening.
- The wine list. It’s not the top list in Denver, but its good wine to go with good food. Who can argue with that combo? Go with the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.
- The lunch special. A personal margherita pizza, house salad and a fountain drink for 9 bucks. Boom goes the dynamite.
- The wait staff. Friendly, helpful people who remember your name if you stop in a couple of times. Specifically, say hi to Marcel Alaniz (Sol) behind the bar and make friends with him…now. Find out why he was a 5280’s Reader’s Choice for Best Bartender in Denver.
I think I’ve painted the picture here, and I didn’t even mention the antipasto plate with reduced balsamic, Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma; or the gluten-free options. Good God…who wants pizza tonight?
Friday, July 22, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
I was thinking about "the point" of my blog this morning and it occurred to me that most of what I publish here has to do with enjoying what you already have, or what currently exists around you. Its okay to want more and strive to be more successful, but don't forget to appreciate the beauty that already exists around you. Its most likely free, and they are probably the things you'll remember most when you're gone.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
It's a fact, there's a lot to do in Colorado. Camping, hiking, fishing, skiing, biking, eating, drinking, kayaking...it's one of the only places I know of that has prairie, mountains, urban areas and desert all in one place. The problem is there are so many things to do, so many places to see that I tend to forget about a few tried and true areas that never disappoint - like Ft. Collins.
Sixty-six miles north of Denver and tucked between I-25 and the Roosevelt National Forrest, Ft. Collins is a highly underrated city for a number of reasons - but let's talk about what makes it great.
Its a college town. And with that comes young people, smart people, active people, entrepreneurial-minded people, attractive people and people who want to be with those aforementioned people. It creates lively sections of town - like Old Town and University Park - and it gives people something to universally root for (Colorado State) and something to universally root against (The Buffs).
People bicycle everywhere. And its not just bikes, people are generally active in Ft. Collins, but they literally bike EVERYWHERE. There are a lot of places in Colorado known for their active lifestyle and environmentally-minded nature...Ft. Collins is both and doesn't brag about it. Towns in Italy are really the only thing I can draw a comparison to (from my somewhat limited experience) when it comes to the number of people using pedals to get from point A to point B. Very cool.
Beer. Denver has a lot of microbrews, true. But Ft. Collins has a lot of really, really good and fun-to-tour breweries. Odell, Ft. Collins Brewing Company, Funkwerks, CooperSmith's and, of course, New Belgium Brewing. The great part is that you can tour all of these via a cruiser bike in one afternoon. Be prepared to meet some genuinely nice, somewhat hipster-ish (in a good way) and definitely knowledgeable taproom workers whose job is most likely cooler than yours. Grab a taste test or two, a growler and some schwag...you won't be disappointed.
Cache la Poudre Valley (and Mishawaka). Denver has I-70 and the gateway to Summit County, Vail, Frisco, etc. But if you want a really true, non-resort mountain experience, head west from Ft. Collins on Highway 14 and follow the Cache la Poudre River. The scenery is amazing, you can find a drive-in camp site fairly easily, there's very little traffic and the river is great for fishing, paddling or just falling asleep to the sound of in a tent. If you're into big resorts, spas, furry boots and hot tubs, it probably won't be for you. And that's a good thing. Oh, and I really need to give Mishawaka its own post because there's just so much good about it...but I'll just say that its a bar/amphitheater a few miles from Ft. Collins, on the river, that is a one-of-a-kind experience. Plan a trip around a concert...its the type of place that makes you appreciate life.
I could go on, but let me just offer up my perfect 48 hours in the Ft. Collins area:
Friday night - Drive to campsite along the Cache la Poudre River, set up camp, grill your dinner, start a fire and open a few beers/wine/Strannahan's with friends, fall asleep to the sound of the river flowing outside of your tent.
Saturday - Eggs, bacon and coffee over the camp stove; wake up a little by grabbing a quick hike or just read a little; venture into Ft. Collins with your bikes; tour 2-5 breweries; make some friends; grab a bite to eat in Old Towne Ft. Collins. Make your way back up Highway 14 to Mishawaka, tailgate a little before the concert, enjoy some live music in the mountains and along the river. Drive back to campsite, start a fire, discuss who brews the best beer in Ft. Collins with friends. Fall asleep to the sound of a river flowing by.
Sunday - Eggs, chorizo, peppers and onion scramble over the camp stove, with coffee; relive Mishawaka concert memories with friends; fish or hike for a few hours; pack up camp and head home.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Different situations call for different drinks. Winding down on a summer weeknight? I'll take a Blue Paddle, please. Hot summer afternoon? Tequila and tonic with lime (try it sometime in lieu of a marg). Then there are days when you need a cocktail. A REAL cocktail. Gin. Bourbon. Bitters. Ice. If you're having a "cocktail" day, or even if you just want a really, really good drink, go to The Green Russell (1422 Larimer St., Denver).