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next colorado gathering?


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now that we have a couple of new names in the crowd--katzenjammy, chezhoff, even kris, if she'll deign to join us--should we start thinking about potential times and places for the next colorado egullet gathering?

personally, i don't think i'll be able to make it to anything before mid-june. how does that sound to people? a number of people had suggested vietnamese as our next meal--i'm down with that and also optionally with dragging you denver-ites up to boulder (though this might kill any chance of the person from colorado springs, whose name escapes me for the moment, joining us).

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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.

“When I was dating and the wine list was presented to my male companion, I tried to ignore this unfortunate faux pas. But this practice still goes on…Closing note to all servers and sommeliers: please include women in wine selection. Okay?”--Alpana Singh, M.S.-"Alpana Pours"

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I'm good for anytime except June 17-21, and I nominate either Dalat or New Saigon, both of which are Vietnamese and on South Federal in Denver. I adore dim sum, but weekend mornings aren't great for us, since Stephen and I have a four-year old, and it's more difficult to get a sitter in the am.

Jack-n-Grill would be fun, too.

-Lori

-Midson-

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart, who looks at her watch

-James Beard-

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check katzenjammy out--hasn't been here longer than 8 posts and already telling us old farts where to go. the nerve!

just kidding--cambodian sounds good, and making everybody drive some distance sounds fair. i'm in for whatever the consensus is. i think we should do mid-june so as to not go more than 2 months between outings, and i think if we do an outing once every 2 months for sure it won't matter if we each miss an outing or 2. but i'm not organizing again for the next 8 outings. once we've got a date in june that more than 6 people can make those people should elect a leader.

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My wife and I would be interested, a lot of it will depend on if we can find a sitter for our 3 kids. We are generally free most weekends. As for places, I'm game to try anything and like the Vietnamese idea as that is a cuisine I'd like more exposure too. I've been aching to try Jack-n-Grill as well.

Brian Hoffmeyer

"It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."

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I am also out of pocket for most of June. Will be roadtripping with the 9 and 11 year old back to the east coast, with stops in Louisville, KY, DC, NYC,Boston, Maine, Viagara Falls and Chicago. Don't worry, I have my priorities straight and most of my food stops are already planned out, thanks to Holly eats and other egulleteers. If June is out, and I'm not saying it is, let me throw out a July date and food suggestion, just to try and get everyone in the right direction or we will have this polite, "I'll go where you want to go" exchange well into September. Saturday night, July 10, vietnamese if peppered and someone else will assist in the ordering for us neophytes much like mongo did.

On a more immediate note, I find myself at 285 and Wadsworth tomorrow evening due to a lacrosse game . . any suggestions of must eats in or aorund that area since we never travel south of Denver for food?

Thanks

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On a more immediate note, I find myself at 285 and Wadsworth tomorrow evening due to a lacrosse game . . any suggestions of must eats in or aorund that area since we never travel south of Denver for food?

Thai Bistro on Kipling and Bowles (5924 S. Kipling St.)

Cafe Jordano (Italian) on Kipling and Jewell (11068 W. Jewell Ave.)

or...if you want down and dirty, but extraordinary Mexican food in a setting that barely rises above a burger barn, then go to El Azteca on Federal and I don't know what the cross street is. It's about half a mile south of Hampden on Federal on the east side of the street.

-Lori

-Midson-

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart, who looks at her watch

-James Beard-

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I am also out of pocket for most of June....  If June is out, and I'm not saying it is, let me throw out a July date and food suggestion, just to try and get everyone in the right direction or we will have this polite, "I'll go where you want to go" exchange well into September. Saturday night, July 10, vietnamese if peppered and someone else will assist in the ordering for us neophytes much like mongo did...

Amy's suggestion sounds good to me; it looks like June holds conflicts for many.

And I agree with Lori:

I nominate either Dalat or New Saigon, both of which are Vietnamese and on South Federal in Denver.

New Saigon has been my favorite Vietnamese restaurant for years. I've not been to Dalat, but I've only heard good things about it, and I know the chef there used to be the chef at New Saigon. So I vote for either Dalat or New Saigon on July 10.

Edited by afoodnut (log)
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July 10 is no better for me, so maybe there are enough June people to go ahead with a June date.

Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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Can we get a sense for Dalat on July 10? Anyone?

Lori, thanks for the recommendation of Cafe Jordano. Worked out perfectly and I was very smug in not following the rest of the lacrosse team to Old Chicago after the game because I had three different local options to choose from. Very good ravioli, 11 year old lacrosse playing son had buffalo parmigiana (even he did not mind missing Old Chicago) and daughter had a very tasty and very homemade pasta pesto.

Now, Niwot tomorrow night after girls softball . . . any thoughts?

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Amy--

Glad you enjoyed Cafe Jordano! In Niwot, the only restaurant I've been to is Le Chantecler (Radek Cerny, who is chef/owner at L'Atelier, runs it), but it's been a while since I've been there. There is also a terrific market and deli in Niwot called Treppeda's, but I'm not sure what their hours are. Their website is Treppedas.

As for Dalat on July 10th, that works for me.

-Midson-

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart, who looks at her watch

-James Beard-

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i vote for dalat on july 10. they better have pho with tendon and tripe or else heads will roll

Their number is 303-935-4141, if you'd like to inquire. Lehndorff reviewed them a a few months ago. Click Here.

-Lori

edited to add the link doesn't work. URL is http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/dini...2808888,00.html. If that doesn't work, I dunno. :unsure:

Edited by pepperedpalate (log)

-Midson-

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart, who looks at her watch

-James Beard-

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Dalat's authentic fare draws loyal following

By John Lehndorff, Rocky Mountain News

April 16, 2004

Dalat is such a captivating restaurant that I need much more space than my weekly allotment to talk about the dishes I love. So I'm going to dispense with the excess verbiage and stick to the fare facts.

Suffice it to say that Dalat is a small South Federal eatery run by chef Ha Tran who gained fame while heading the kitchen at New Saigon Restaurant for 16 years. She and her family opened Dalat in 2001. The place is comfortable and nicely decorated but not fancy, and the service is fast and extremely helpful.

Fans - and I count myself as one - flock here from all over for Ha's huge menu of authentic Vietnamese creations. I don't mean the usual noodle bowls, spring rolls and lettuce-wrapped appetizers, although they and every dish are well-prepared. Dalat draws devotees for delectable, un-Americanized regional dishes rarely available elsewhere.

Consider the grilled clams ($16.95 for 10) heated until bubbly hot in the shell and cranked up with fried onion bits, fresh green onions and a mystery basil-like herb. We dislodged the plump, blissfully sand-free, fresh beauties and sipped the remarkable fresh ginger fish sauce straight from the clamshell.

Dalat's comfy com tam bi cha ($6.95), or "broken rice with egg and meat paste," is something completely different. The plate is centered by a tall wedge of yummy, onion-flavored meatloaf accompanied by a mound of mini-grained, steamed rice. Chunks of the "paste" are dipped in a clear jalapeno-fired sauce. One creates a pleasant non-fried rice by mixing the rice with finely shredded pork dusted with rice flour.

Although it sounds like a kitchen sink soup, there are no extraneous ingredients in the special Dalat noodle bowl ($8.95). The foundation is a broth that tastes like beefy French onion soup with a hint of heat. Along with soft rice noodles, a veritable texture fest of sea creatures swims within: thin fried fish slivers, snippets of squid, shrimp, and elusive strips of rubbery jellyfish.

One adds fresh crunch to the soup from a plate generously laden with shredded green mango, sliced jalapeno, lime, green onion, sprouts, chopped peanut and a pointy-leafed basil relative. The result is the quintessential Vietnamese taste experience in all its spicy, salty, fishy, earthy, crispy, yummy glory.

In fact, almost every Dalat dish seems to arrive with a bounty of profoundly fresh greens, veggies and bright herbs that seemed to have been picked that morning. They accompany the best softshell crabs ($16.96 for three) I've sampled in ages.

The crab proved a perfect prelude to Denver's ultimate slaw, Dalat's eye-popping papaya salad ($9.95). The huge crunchy mound of shredded green papaya, carrots and cabbage was garnished with shrimp, roast pork slices, peanuts, herbs and fried onions in a tart, chili-enhanced, earthy dressing.

The more accessible "regular" entrees are delivered with the same care, skill and generosity. I love the curry chicken ($8.95) with its plentiful slices of chicken breast meat napped in a coconut curry sauce with a bright flavor scheme. The same is true for the peppered chicken ($9.95) prepared in a sauce nuanced by fish stock, butter, garlic, onion and black pepper. I could live on Ha's grilled beef noodle bowl ($6.95) with its symphony of well-cooked beef, sauces, crunchy veggies and sauces, and feel good about it.

Dalat's lunch ($6.95 for most dishes) is a great deal on lots of food during a lunch hour stretching from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Atkins-friendly grilled combination plate ($7.96) is piled with tasty grilled chicken, pork chop, beef, shrimp and an egg roll. My vegetarian friend, John, swears by "the No. 10," or Bun Tau Hu Xao Se Ot ($6.95). Stir-fried, lemongrass-infused tofu strips join rice noodles in broth to which you add fresh veggies. It's immensely satisfying, whether you tread the meatless path or not.

Some adventurous menu items meant well, but didn't quite click with us. The huge Vietnamese omelet ($6.95) provided a crispy egg thing with a too-greasy flavor lightly filled with shrimp, pork, onions and bean sprouts. The roast beef salad ($10.96) was nothing like Sunday dinner. Thin slices of very rare beef are tossed in a very tart, very spicy dressing with a heavy dose of fish sauce.

Finally, there was the dreaded goat. De xao ca ri ($18.95) was tough, boney and fatty goat meat chunks that were truly hard to eat. However, the meat was immersed in an impeccable yellow curry peanut gravy with a memorable depth of flavor. We also loved the wedges of soft, deep-fried taro in the curry.

We crossed our final gastronomic frontier with a traditional Vietnamese dessert. The che sam bo luong ($3) fills a tall glass with sweet, smoky shreds of seaweed, white lotus seeds, large red berries and longans. After my first taste I let out a muffled yikes! By the time I had my final sip, I was hooked on the smoky sweetness and ready to spring it on friends.

It's obvious from soup to dessert that the chef's hand, eye and taste buds were constantly involved in every Dalat dish. It's evident in the wide-eyed wonder and truly happy mouths you see around the table.

Like I said, there's not enough room to tell you about everything I've enjoyed at Dalat, but there's so much more I want to encounter, including garlic and black pepper head-on shrimp ($9.95), grilled venison lettuce wraps ($18.95); and shrimp paste wrapped around sugar cane ($15.95).

Wandering off the eaten track can provide unexpected and unimagined rewards for open mind and palate. Take the less-traveled road to Dalat and be delighted.

John Lehndorff is the dining critic; lehndorffj@Rocky MountainNews.com or 303-892-5103.

-Midson-

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart, who looks at her watch

-James Beard-

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July 10th at Dalat sounds good to us.

“When I was dating and the wine list was presented to my male companion, I tried to ignore this unfortunate faux pas. But this practice still goes on…Closing note to all servers and sommeliers: please include women in wine selection. Okay?”--Alpana Singh, M.S.-"Alpana Pours"

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Consensus is building for Dalat on July 10. I am happy to monitor our numbers, cajole people into RSVP'ing and even make the reservation as we get closer, but do I have a volunteer (oh, food nut and Lori) to help with some pre-ordering or do we want to figure it out when we get there this time?

Off topic response to Lori -- Treppada's closes at 6, so I think the child is going upscale and I will take her to Le Chantecler, I have always had very good food there, and lots of variety. fois grois, mmmmm.

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I am happy to monitor our numbers, cajole people into RSVP'ing and even make the reservation as we get closer, but do I have a volunteer (oh, food nut and Lori) to help with some pre-ordering or do we want to figure it out when we get there this time?

While I've often been advised by people wiser than I am not to volunteer, I think it's safe to do so in this case. If we decide to preorder, I'll be happy to help. (Since I haven't eaten at Dalat yet, I might even want to try a pre-gathering meal to sample their food.)

The biggest issue in my mind: Let's try to figure out a seating configuration that let's us all converse.

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but do I have a volunteer (oh, food nut and Lori) to help with some pre-ordering or do we want to figure it out when we get there this time?

I think we should order when we get there. Dalat's menu reads like War and Peace, and while I would try to play it safe for those who have never tried vietnamese fare (or have limited exposure to it), I'm likely to order dishes that I like, and what I like most assuredly won't be to everyone's taste. Plus, I think it's far more enlightening to explore the menu as a group and allow the server to make his or her own recommendations. We can definitely order family style once we get there, but I'd also like the option of ordering something for myself that no one else may want. I'm greedy and selfish that way. :biggrin:

-Lori

-Midson-

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart, who looks at her watch

-James Beard-

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