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Everything posted by rlm

  1. Thanks. They are not doing a good job of publicizing that. You can make reservations at opentable.com for Zengo and it lists only dinner hours. Opentable.com Kyle Wagner's review in the Post only listed dinner hours as well. http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,3...2140181,00.html I looked at Richard Sandoval's Modern Mexican website and Zengo's not on there yet. Do they start serving at 11 or 11:30?
  2. Finally checked out Zengo. Very trendy, but fortunately they don't check at the door to make sure you have a Cool Kid card. They recommended for two people that you order two apps from the first panel on the menu, two apps from the second, and then split one entree. We decided to sample five apps and dessert, and that was more than enough food. I did not eat lunch so I would have room to sample more dishes, but felt stuffed after the apps and drinks. I could not leave without trying the Churros and Chocolate, however! They brought the apps out one at a time, which made the meal last longer, but I enjoyed being able to savor each item individually. I'm not sure if this is a standard practice or if it was because there was no reasonable way to put more than one dish at a time on the tiny two-top tables. I'm a bit of a buffoon with chopsticks, so I sheepishly had to request a fork. It was very hard to decide since everything sounded wonderful, but we ended up selecting: 1. Azteca Ceviche (rock shrimp, calamari, octopus, scallops with aji panca, which was pronounced to be a Peruvian pepper). The shrimp were the best--the other items were a little rubbery. This was Steve's favorite. Served on a banana leaf. 2. Crunchy Calamari (lemongrass, garlic, lime, orange-coriander sauce). Wasn't listed on the menu, but there were really hot red pepper rings on top as well. My favorite app. of the five. 3. Arepas de Puerco (pulled pork, achiote-hoisin, crema fresca, avocado). Tasted a little like the Tamal al Chipotle from Tamayo. The corn cakes on the bottom were a little hard. Great flavor combo. 4. Empanadas (Thai chicken, rajas, mango-curry salsa). I was salivating when pondering this combo, but it was the only thing I would definitely not order again. Our mutual least favorite. 5. Potstickers (lobster, rock shrimp, mandarin orange-birds eye chile). Pretty good dumplings. The Churros and Chocolate combo was outstanding. Hot, sugary churros and a parfait of chocolate with a blob of whipped cream on top. The fruity cocktails are great (Mango Mojitos!) although pricey. Besides Latin and Asian cocktails (including an $18 margarita!), they feature sake, wine, tequilas, and a few beers. Popped into nearby Denver Cru afterwards. A nice little spot, although the person working there was more interested in watching the Food Network on the flatscreen TV than acknowledging there were customers in the store. The only thing that disturbed me were the bright lights shining directly on the wine bottles. A nice selection of Sancerres, Andrew Will Merlot, Billecart Salmon Brut Rose (75 bucks a bottle! eek!)...
  3. Haven't been yet, but your post reminded me that I need to do this soon. If they were open for lunch, I would've already been there by now. Incidentally, while doing a Google search on Zengo to check out reviews, I came across an article by our own Peppered Palate for the Denver Metro Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Destination Denver
  4. Any date in July works for us. Agree that it would be good to push it back so Fred can join. You guys are cracking me up!
  5. Returned for appetizers and drinks @ the bar, so hopefully I will be able to type this correctly and not make up any words. Key Lime Pie Martini - My god, this was good. It was just like eating a key lime pie so I felt guilty for starting with dessert. Italian Tomato Soup from the Classics menu for 5 bucks. Not bad, but it didn't change my life or set fireworks off in my mouth or anything. Drizzled with some olive oil and sprinkled with some basil. Torchon of Foie Gras with port wine poached figs. Mmmmm. Okay, Colorado e-gulleters, I must confess I've always wanted to but had never tried foie gras until now. I see a 12-step program in my future. So you have to tell me where else to try this around here so I can start making comparisons. Bay Area suggestions also welcomed so I can go crash with my friends and eat foie gras and crab cakes until I hurl unsightly objects. I wanted to try the recommended Kasu Black Cod seared over mustard greens, but the embarrassed bartender had to return and admit they were out of it. I asked about the Fresh Crab Salad with avocado and fresh chili, but it didn't get a ringing endorsement from the staff. So I ordered the Organic Colorado Heirloom Tomato Salad. Nothing like Jennifer Jasinski's heirloom tomato salads, unfortunately. The tomatoes were a bit mealy so I'm surprised they put this on the menu when the ingredients weren't up to snuff. Chunks of tomatoes with some bread and basil and olive oil drizzled over it. Hubby ordered a blackberry Izze and a house lemonade. Had the rigatoni with peas, burrata cheese, and olio verde. It looked a little plain, but I didn't try any since I didn't want to pass along the cold I am getting over. Somewhere in there I also downed a Kitchen Cosmo. Not really food-friendly, but I didn't expect it to be. Just felt like a cosmo dammit. Alcohol doesn't lower your immunity, does it?
  6. I haven't been in a while, but Pagliacci's would rank right up there. An old Kyle Wagner review of Pagliacci's Pagliacci's Website
  7. I was surprised to find that I have 150. I haven't been collecting that long. Egads!
  8. Yes, "award winners" make my BS Detector go off. While searching for the article about Spice China's owner, I read a blurb about China Gourmet that said you need to order from the "blue menu." I am not sure if you have to specially request this or what.
  9. After living in Texas for four years and being spoiled, I admit that it's hard for me to get as excited about the Mexican food in Colorado. I miss having a million co-workers bring in their grandmother's tamales around the holidays. I miss the food at my friend Lupe's house. I miss running down to Laredo and drinking cheap beer on the roof of a building. So nothing's going to compare to that. Katzenjammy, being from Texas, you probably relate to this, no? Call me crazy, but I do enjoy the Amazing Corn Tamales from the Boulder Farmer's Market dipped in a big pool of Cholula. A co-worker picked up some tamales once from La Popular downtown and they were pretty good, but he made his own excellent green chile that really set it off. Tacos Cazuelas De Fer (cart on the 16th Street Mall) has tiny soft corn tacos for a buck each--al pastor, chorizo, barbacoa, asada. I'm sure there are a bunch of no-frills places like this, but I haven't made it to enough of them yet. I still need to make it to Santiago's, afoodnut! I was skeptical about that huge Hacienda Colorado mess way down south since I heard the guys that started it previously owned a bunch of Black Eyed Peas, but I was assured the only other one is in Lakewood and it had some good reviews. We had a great meal there (except for the annoying server with the wrap-around mike who thought she was being clever by constantly saying "holy guacamole"). The spicy green chile wasn't, but the food still had lots of flavor. Or maybe I just drank too much tequila. There is a new downtown Denver place that I tried the other day on Blake called D'Corazon, but I can't recommend it. Maybe they're still working out the kinks, but I asked for the green chile made spicy so they just chopped up some RAW jalapenos and dumped them on top (it was bland underneath). Some of the other places mentioned in this thread are intriguing. You've given me some more places to check out and I thank you.
  10. Found a reference to the Boulder place in Boulder Weekly, even if it's not the article I was thinking of (click): Spice China is a sister restaurant to China Gourmet on north Broadway, and the food is just as good. If you are looking for a meal with a quieter ambience, take the time to go to Louisville for the evening, as the Boulder restaurant tends to be a bit crowded and loud...
  11. I've had pretty good experiences food-wise at Spice China, although the service has never been that great. As a result, I am more likely to pick up appetizers to go (soups, crab cheese wontons, dumplings). I read once that the owner's parents had a place in Boulder where you could order all kinds of funky things "off the menu," but I can't recall the name at the moment. Maybe it's Google time...
  12. July 10th at Dalat sounds good to us.
  13. 1. Beans. As a child, I only saw them prepared two ways: Barbecued and poured into a large foil tin at picnics with the flies buzzing around and my mom's big pot of brown beans stewing in nasty-looking brown juice. 2. Canned salmon patties. 'Nuff said. 3. Grape soda. Once you retch this stuff up (especially when combined with the jumbo can of corn you had with your lunch), there's no going back. 4. Cottage cheese. My sister would slather this on two slices of white bread, seal, and eat. Yuck. 5. Those weird pink and green salads you always see at family reunions (with whipped topping, nuts, canned mandarin oranges, jello, marshmallows, and other ingredients that should never co-exist).
  14. Either Vietnamese or the dim sum places mentioned previously sounded great to me. As long as it's not at the end of June (say the 24th - 30th), I'm in.
  15. I remember the days of sleeping on the floor and rolling up pennies to buy 5 bucks worth of gas for my Green Demon. In the dorms, I had to petition to have the number of meals in my cafeteria meal plan reduced since it was so expensive. I must admit that our two cafeterias were actually pretty good. We had a line of woks where we could do our own stir-fry, waffle presses at breakfast with different flavors of mix and various toppings, etc. When not eating in the cafeteria and in my post-dorm experiences, my meals were much uglier. *Lipton noodle packets gussied up with Swanson chicken in a can *Hormel canned tamales *Kraft boxed spaghetti meal (add one can of tomato paste to water and you're ready to rock-n-roll) *Peanut butter on graham crackers *Lots of Taco Bell's 39-cent menu items and Wendy's 99-cent options eaten while walking between classes. I can't eat this stuff now, needless to say. *Bad sandwiches made using a cheap press from Target (featuring whatever supermarket bread was on sale, sub-par bologna or ham, and Kraft singles) *Cabbage bread (biscuits stuffed with cabbage and ground beef) *Hot dogs *Anything that was cheap and microwaveable
  16. We went to The Kitchen and sat at the bar. A little pricier than you might expect. Better than the place that was in the space before it (Triana). I would probably go back for drinks and appetizers. They had a "Classics" menu with appetizers, mains, desserts, and sides, as well as "THE MENU" ($33 prix fixe with your choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert). You could also order the items on "THE MENU" individually. Flip-side was "THE WINE." 7 whites, 7 reds, 3 dessert wines, 3 sparklers. Third piece of hard paper consisted of the drinks. 5 specialty martinis including a Key Lime Pie Martini, 4 premium beers like Chimay, 10 imported beers like Foster's, 5 local brews like Fat Tire, 2 light beers, a few non-alcoholic selections like Izze, some single malt scotches, grappa, brandy/cognacs, port, and 3 additional dessert wines. Their menu states that they always look locally first before choosing a supplier, and 50% of their kitchen is wind-powered, although their publicist might want to re-word the statement that proudly proclaims they "FED-EX" their fish in. Here's what we had: Prosecco with blood oranges Small cheese plate featuring cheeses from the excellent Boulder Cheese Co. (Epoisses, Berkshire Blue, Haystack Mtn Goat cheese, and one mystery selection I could not discern along with 3 tiny pieces of bread, a little balsamic drizzed in the center, a couple of sun dried tomatoes, and a dab of fruit spread). Marc Tempe Riesling, Alsace '99 "The Brazilian" (Absolut and organic limes on the rocks) Fresh Crab Spaghetti with chili, parsley, and lemon zest Coleman rib-eye with herb butter that they cooked the hell out of (served with fries) "Saketini" (Junmai Hakushika Sake and Ketel One Citroen) Creme Brulee Pot Au Chocolat Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes '96 (divine with the creme brulee) The bartender also gave us a taste of the Yalumba Botrytis Semillon. They have a website now: The Kitchen Cafe Website.
  17. It's more related to liquid lunches, but "Drinking, Smoking, and Screwing (Great Writers on Good Times)" is a fantastic read (with the usual suspects like Bukowski, Dorothy Parker, H.L. Mencken). Picked up "Offbeat Food" by Alan Ridenour in a bargain bin. Any food book that mentions Cibo Matto, Luis Bunuel, Andy Warhol, and the exploding guy from Monty Python's "Meaning of Life" is a must-read for me. "Love by the Glass" by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher. A romantic story about how they met and how wine is so entwined with their lives. Jeffrey Steingarten's two collections, of course, since he is so witty. Bourdain's books since he is so punk-rock. "American Pie" by Pascale le Draoulec, since I've always dreamed of going on a pie journey like this (having grown up on old-school diner pie). I don't remember the exact posts, but I recall seeing recommendations on egullet for Toby Cecchini's "Cosmopolitan" and the "New Great American Writer's Cookbook" (edited by Dean Faulkner Wells) and had to pick them up. THANKS! Both are gems.
  18. I didn't notice any tables just for two, but that's part of the fun. We sat at a table for six and had a delightful couple join the four of us. I suppose you could make a request to have a table set aside. I'm not sure if the crowd that night was typical or not, but I definitely felt young for the first time in a while.
  19. rlm

    budget wine shopping

    Mongo - One option is to go to Marczyk Fine Wines in Denver and ask Kristin to help you put together a few bottles. I seem to remember that they give discounts on mixed half-cases and cases (and they even carried my box out to my car for me). It's a small shop without attitude and they have many reasonably-priced options from around the globe. Meanwhile, below is my stab at a few under $20 that I've enjoyed (keeping in mind your desire to have a variety of grapes and regions represented). I've listed approximate prices. Whites: La Yunta Torrontes, Argentina ($10.00) Alvaro Palacios, Placet, Rioja, Spain ($15.00) Trimbach Riesling, Alsace, France ($17.00) Chateau de la Greffiere, Macon La Roche Vineuse, France (Chardonnay) ($12.00) St. Hallett Poachers Blend, Australia (Chenin Blanc, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc) ($13.00) Hippolyte Reverdy Chaudoux Verdigny Sancerre, France (Sauvignon Blanc) ($17.00) J. & H.A. Strub, Riesling Spatlese, Germany (I think this is actually over $20, but it's so good) Reds: Louis Jadot, Beaujolais Villages, France ($8.00) (The $10 Jadot Pinot Noir is nice too) La Crema Pinot Noir, Sonoma, California ($12.00) Chateau Larose Trintaudon, Bordeaux, France (Cab/Merlot) ($14.00) Qupe Syrah, Central Coast, California ($15.00) Luis Felipe Edwards Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile ($15.00) Cape Indaba Pinotage (Pinot Noir and Cinsault), South Africa (Western Cape) ($9.00) M. Chapoutier, Petite Ruche, Crozes-Hermitage, France (Syrah) ($17.00) Montes Alpha Merlot, Chile ($18.00) Bubbly That is Not Champagne But Still Pretty Good (especially in mimosas): Zardetto Prosecco, Italy ($8.00) Cava Duran Brut Nature Gran Reserva, Spain ($9.00) If you want to put together wines for a tasting, pick up Andrea Immer's book, "Great Wine Made Simple." Lots of fantastic ideas in there. If I knew more people into wine, I'd definitely utilize it more. Places where I've procured or tasted the wines listed above: Marczyk Fine Wines, Boulder Wine Merchant, Superior Liquor Mart, Lukas Liquors, Hawaii Liquor Superstore, Wine Experience, Pour (now closed), Seed (now closed). I also read in the Post that there is a Target in Glendale, CO, that has a liquor license courtesy of a loophole regarding pharmacies. I haven't made it there yet, but I'd be willing to bet you could get some fairly good deals there (and the afore-mentioned Andrea Immer is apparently Target's wine consultant).
  20. I filled out a card at the table that came with the check on an earlier visit, but I would imagine you could call and ask to be placed on their distribution list. We signed up for this dinner as soon as we received the e-mail. I'm glad we did, as a couple at our table remarked that these dinners usually fill up quickly. Q's 2115 13th Street In the Hotel Boulderado T: 303-442-4880
  21. Mongo, it was $45 per person + tax and gratuity.
  22. Attended the "California's Central Coast" wine dinner at Q's in Boulder this month. I've eaten at Q's several times, but have never been to one of their special dinners (having only recently signed up to be on their e-mail distribution list). We brought along two friends who have never had a tasting menu experience before and had to assure them not to be nervous at the menu descriptions (trust the chef). The restaurant was completely booked for the wine dinner except for the covered patio area, which remained open to regular diners. We arrived about 30 minutes early and were told we could sit anywhere we wanted. We headed for a larger table so we could socialize and were then told, "Actually, that's reserved for a party of 10, and so is that table over there." Okay, so I guess we really couldn't sit anywhere we wanted! The wines for this evening were all from Foley and Lincourt, owned by the same family in the Santa Barbara area. I'd had the Foley Pinot Noir before at another wine tasting & enjoyed it, but never the Lincourts. A distributor was walking around giving his sales pitch on the wines to the tables (a little smarmy to have a distributor giving the hard sell instead of just having a sommelier providing descriptions, but he was a nice guy and you can't fault him for doing his job). Started with freshwater eel (?!) with scallion, daikon, sesame crisps, cucumber, ponzu, and sprouts. I'd had eel once before at a sushi bar and don't really crave it, but this preparation was flavorful. This was paired with the '02 Foley Sauvignon Blanc. Not the best first course I've ever had, but better than expected. Next up was the pan-roasted California bass with grilled potato, orange butter, sunflower sprouts, and oven-dried tomato, paired with the '01 Lincourt Chardonnay. This tied with the next course for the best of the menu, although I could have done without having sprouts on the plate for two straight courses. Bass was nicely seared on the outside and falling off the fork on the inside (wonderful). I don't remember picking up any hint of orange butter flavor, so maybe the wine muted it. Third was the crisp herb rubbed quail with soft polenta, apricot jam, pistachio pesto, and arrugula (a course the chef indicated they are considering placing on the regular dinner menu). This course was paired oddly enough with two wines--the '00 Foley Pinot Noir and the '00 Lincourt Pinot Noir. The Lincourt Pinot was the only wine I truly didn't care for (an odd sweetness to it and the Foley blew it away). Small quail bones make it difficult to eat gracefully as you try in vain to extract as much meat as you can without looking ridiculous, but the apricot jam just really set this dish off into the stratosphere. Completely unexpected. Next was the wild boar chop with gold potato gnocchi, stewed tomatoes, green olives, almonds, and sage, paired with the '01 Lincourt Syrah. Based on the description, I thought this would be the course I would enjoy the most, but the bass and quail were far better (and it's nice to be surprised in a good way like that). The chop was a little bit tough and we should have been given a steak knife for it, but the gnocchi/tomato combo was divine. We finished up with a cocoa crepe stuffed with ricotta and topped with strawberries, basil, and balsamic. Oh, my god. This was sooooo good. Reminded me of Jennifer Jasinski's strawberries & balsamic combo at Panzano, only the crepe just added another dimension of fabulousness. This was served with a Delaforce Tawny Port. I'm not a port fan and think the ability to pair it successfully with chocolate is over-rated, so I'm not really qualified to pass judgment on its quality relative to that of other ports. At the end, Chef John Platt went around to each table asking for feedback on the dishes. What a great deal--a captive focus group that pays to give you their opinions. Over-all, an excellent experience and one I would like to repeat. Platt is really gifted. The cost for four of us was equal to the cost for two people at Adega for their tasting menu paired with wines, although there was less food, the service was not quite as exemplary, the wines weren't as thoughtfully selected or diverse, and there was less of an artistic flair to the presentation.
  23. rlm

    White or Red?

    Definitely prefer reds, especially pinot noir (perfect with so many foods). I started off by carting jumbo cabs to college keg parties (granted, they were cheap ones given my budget) and didn't even consider whites until I started going to wine tastings and discovered they weren't all wimpy. Now I love brut champagne (especially Veuve Clicquot), rieslings from Alsace, even dessert wines like sauternes when paired with appropriate foods. I've never really figured out the port thing though (a little bit like cough syrup to me, although the traditional port and Stilton pairing is actually intriguing).
  24. Shermar - Yes, the Humboldt Fog cheese by Cypress Grove is outstanding! I'm able to find that here in CO at gourmet markets like Marczyk's and Whole Foods. Very expensive, but so worth it. Almost went to Hog Island Oysters myself. It was so hard to decide what to try in the Ferry Building since there were so many tempting options. Melkor - I agree that my expectations were high for Bouchon as far as the quality level is concerned, but I had read about the fact it was French bistro fare in a Cuisine Tours magazine and didn't expect the full-on, multi-course tasting menu extravaganza. I love basic French classics and eat that type of food often, which is another reason I was so disappointed. I expected it to be at least as good as similar places I've eaten at in the Denver area (Bistro Vendome, L'Atelier, Le Central, etc.), but it wasn't even close. What is more telling is that my three dining companions (all from widely different backgrounds) did not have any expectations since they aren't big food geeks like moi, yet they expressed the same level of disappointment (although they were reluctant to tell me at first since I had selected the restaurant! ha ha). I WANTED to like the place really badly. The french fries did ROCK, and the onion soup was good, but the entrees were over-priced and over-salted (which is why I thought it may have been Trainee Night in the kitchen).
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