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chow guy

Keystone, Breckenridge, Summit County

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I'll be up in Keystone Colorado this week for a conference and would love some ideas for non touristy, not expensive good eats in the area.

I've heard about Mateo's for Italian in Silverthorn and Mi Casa in Keystone. Any comments or suggestions, greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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I had an oustanding burger at the ale house/brewery in Breckenridge over Thanksgiving last year. Seriously great burger.

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I had an oustanding burger at the ale house/brewery in Breckenridge over Thanksgiving last year. Seriously great burger.

Thanks, I'm all over that one.

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I just got back from the Lodge at Keystone. The food was expensive and unremarkable... but we didn't spring for the high end spots at the resort. There were a few good spots for food in the surrounding towns though.

In Dillon there was a very good breakfast place called the Arapaho Cafe. Omelettes were tasty and imagine: pineapple, , blackberries, strawberries and melon all perfectly ripe. I also stumbled on some very good thin crust NY style pizza at The Jersey Brothers and it was only a buck a slice during happy hour. I was very pleased.

On Friday morning there was a farmers market in Dillon with incredible peaches from the western slope. Next weekend is the big BBQ cookoff in Dillon. I was told there are cash prizes and folks come from all over the country to compete.

We also had a very good (pricey) dinner in Breck at the Cafe Alpine. The sashimi appetizer with sake- mango sauce and the soft shell crabs were big hits.

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A few months ago I ruffled a few feathers by suggesting that Denver, for all its charms, was a second-tier restaurant city, in this thread. I have the good fortune to be spending a night in the Queen City of the Prairie (assuming it doesn't get snowed in again) and wonder if someone who's still speaking to me wants to suggest a restaurant or two within cabbing distance of downtown. My wife and I have spent a little time looking over the endless Westword "best of" list and, while I was pleased to see a couple of old favorites like Potager and the Bonnie Brae Diner (is it true that The Saucy Noodly has gone down hill?), it also still touts Le Central and PF CHang's and is thus suspect. As much as I enjoy causing trouble, I enjoy a good meal even more, and would be delighted to have my earlier statement proven wrong.

In March, we will be heading to Breckenridge. Expectations for reasonably-priced slopeside dining are always low (though we had an excellent meal in Steamboat one spring, I wish I could remember the restaurant's name), but recommendations for anything from burger joints to fine dining establishments would be appreciated.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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A few months ago I ruffled a few feathers by suggesting that Denver, for all its charms, was a second-tier restaurant city, in this thread.  I have the good fortune to be spending a night in the Queen City of the Prairie (assuming it doesn't get snowed in again) and wonder if someone who's still speaking to me wants to suggest a restaurant or two within cabbing distance of downtown.  My wife and I have spent a little time looking over the endless Westword  "best of" list and, while I was pleased to see a couple of old favorites like Potager and the Bonnie Brae Diner (is it true that The Saucy Noodly has gone down hill?), it also still touts Le Central and PF CHang's and is thus suspect.  As much as I enjoy causing trouble, I enjoy a good meal even more, and would be delighted to have my earlier statement proven wrong.

In March, we will be heading to Breckenridge.  Expectations for reasonably-priced slopeside dining are always low (though we had an excellent meal in Steamboat one spring, I wish I could remember the restaurant's name), but recommendations for anything from burger joints to fine dining establishments would be appreciated.

some of my favorites are mizuna, z cuisine (zcuisineonline.com), duo. i recently had some really good tapas at the ninth door. i've never been to any of kevin taylor's restauraunts.

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I'm not a meat-and-potatoes or even a steakhouse person, so I can't tell you anything about that sort of place in Breck (of which, as you may guess, there are many). That aside, here are some decent places:

The Cellar, a new place in a cute Victorian with contemporary decor and upscale cuisine. It's got a lot of buzz because it's new, and has a sister restaurant in Frisco. It's claim is the tapas-style menu. I've only eaten there once, because while the food was good, I found the selection a bit thin, especially if you want to share tapas-style with the group. I think you can also go there for drinks-only, earlier in the evening.

Cafe Alpine, also upscale cuisine, also in a cute Victorian with somewhat-contemporary decor. Darling hubby thinks it's overpriced, I like it anyway.

Empire Burger opened over the summer, and it's one of our new favorites. Features burgers and delicious fries (hand-cut?) with a large selection of sauces to dip those lovely fries into. The siracha mayo is my favorite, though the blue cheese is good too.

Denzaemon serves, basically, Japanese noodles. Seems authentic to me, and great on a cold day, but I honestly wouldn't know if it wasn't authentic.

My Thai is definitely not authentic, not real spicey, but tasty nonetheless, and the staff is great and always helpful. We always get one of the curries, though once my son ordered the pad thai, and it was ok.

Clint's has very good breakfast stuff, though it's a bit unpredictable in terms of timing of baking in the morning.

Mi Zuppa has fantastic soups at bargain prices. Open primarily for lunch, though they stay open until the soup's all sold out, so depending when you finish skiing, you may be able to pick up something for dinner.

Mi Casa is the favorite "Mexican" restaurant, uses good-quality ingredients, and not too much cheese sauce enveloping everything. Much more authentic is Fiesta Jalisco, which has pretty good food. My favorite is the chicken mole.

I hate to encourage the Breck and Denver restaurant boosters to rain on my parade as well, but I wouldn't tell anybody to go to Breck for the food. (Though like Denver, it's getting better.)

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One advantage I have for Breckenridge eating is that my wife doesn't ski much (but she has to go to Colorado because her office rented the house and it would be bad corporate manners not to go :laugh: ), so we'll probably stock up on decent raw materials in Denver and then she'll spend the day braising. It works out well all around. On the other hand, we won't be chaining her to the stove, either, and out favorite butcher in the world is in Denver -- no need to eat out for steak and 'taters -- so your suggestions are much appreciated.

Any good wine shops?


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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out favorite butcher in the world is in Denver

Care to share? :biggrin:

Any good wine shops?

My favorite wine shop--large selection, reasonable prices, apparently knowledgeable (sp?) staff--is, hands down, Applejack Wine & Spirits in Wheat Ridge (out of your way, I know, but if you're driving around provisioning, it's worth the trip). The only down side is that they don't take credit cards. (Down side? What am I saying? This is the only thing that's prevented me from mortgaging the house when I'm there. :blink: )

City Wine gets good reviews in Denver (on Colarado at Alameda), tho their selection is small. Argonaut also gets good reviews (on Colfax), but for some reason I've never warmed up to the place. I'm sure there are others, but those are my favorites.

A plus if you go to Argonaut is that you're not far from Marczyk Fine Foods (770 E 17th) which used to be one of my favorite groceries. Unlike Whole Paycheck (however, if you choose to go that route, the best one in the city is on Hamden), it's small, locally owned, and they'll sell you cheese in picnic sizes.

But... my original reason for responding to this post is that, much as I think Denver is improving, I have to agree that we don't/can't match "real" food cities like NYC and SF. That being said, I think there are some very good options here (and Frasca, up in Boulder, which I've raved about before is even better than very good, but it's not within easy driving distance of downtown and you must have a reservation). Potager is definitely one of them, as are Rioja, Luca D'Italia, Restaraunt Kevin Taylor, and (so I've been told) Duo. I was singularly unimpressed with Tula (bland, lousy service, waaaay over-priced) and Tamayo (ditto) and haven't tried Ocean (which is in the very lovely ex-Mao location in Cherry Creek). Many people really like Zengo although I haven't been particularly wowed there and I've enjoyed the Highlands Coral Room (don't bother with the Stapleton location, though--it's almost as if they're not the same restaraunt). Table 6 is very good and North is fun for people-watching and Sushi Den is out-of-this-world, but extremely loud.

Hope this is helpful!

Edited to add that the only reason Marczyk's isn't still one of my favorite groceries is that it's too far a trip across town for me AND the Hampden Whole Paycheck is on my route home from work (a fact my husband is none-to-thrilled about since, unlike Applejack, they DO take credit cards :biggrin: )


Edited by BekkiM (log)

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

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We love Olivers Meats on 6th and, when my wife was going back to Denver for work more regularly, she would alwasy phone a massive order in for pickup on the way to the airport. (At some leve this is the mirror image of my dropping by a favorite Thai restaurant in DC when we were living in Denver and I was flying back to DC regularly).

I can't see us getting to Boulder as our time is short, but we will explore the downtown locations. Thanks.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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We love Olivers Meats on 6th

Aren't they wonderful? :wub:

I love shopping there--and I like Fred's Meats on Holly and Pete's Market next door as well.

Have a lovely visit!


Edited by BekkiM (log)

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

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If you're looking for wine shops in Breck, there's Ridge Street Wine, which is actually located on Main St. (used to be located, guess where, on Ridge). Decent selection for a short stay. Otherwise, I'd also suggest Applejack's.

I'd also suggest Marcyzk's (did I spell that correctly?). I don't go there often enough, but they generally have a good cheese selection, and other fun things, like marinated baby artichokes.

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it also still touts Le Central and PF CHang's and is thus suspect.

If you want to know what's good to eat, read the reviews. They're archived. Best of (insert name of city) lists are a homework assignment. It's all about finding places to fit required categories and inventing categories to highlight impressive plates. The latter are more reliable indicators of greatness than the former, but that's just the nature of the beast.

From everything I've read, you're not looking for an americanized version of a chinese restaurant anyway, so try not to be too cynical. An honest list would include four dozen awards for Frasca, but that's not really what people want to read. Do Kevin Taylor, Mizuna, Z Cuisine, Palace Arms. And for the love of Pete try to enjoy yourself. I'm not a critic, but I know one pretty well. The very best evenings spent at a restaurant are the ones during which you forget you're reviewing it. You wouldn't enter the bedroom of a beautiful woman saying, "This better be good." Having someone cook for you is a pleasure. Just enjoy. :wink:


Edited by Maybelline Centurian Waffles (log)

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it also still touts Le Central and PF CHang's and is thus suspect.

If you want to know what's good to eat, read the reviews. They're archived. Best of (insert name of city) lists are a homework assignment. It's all about finding places to fit required categories and inventing categories to highlight impressive plates. The latter are more reliable indicators of greatness than the former, but that's just the nature of the beast.

From everything I've read, you're not looking for an americanized version of a chinese restaurant anyway, so try not to be too cynical. An honest list would include four dozen awards for Frasca, but that's not really what people want to read. Do Kevin Taylor, Mizuna, Z Cuisine, Palace Arms. And for the love of Pete try to enjoy yourself. I'm not a critic, but I know one pretty well. The very best evenings spent at a restaurant are the ones during which you forget you're reviewing it. You wouldn't enter the bedroom of a beautiful woman saying, "This better be good." Having someone cook for you is a pleasure. Just enjoy. :wink:

I'm not cynical. I'm skeptical. I generally trust eGulleters as much or more than reviews, and resort-area reviews (especially) are spectacularly unreliable.

And I always enter a restaurant as I would enter the bedroom of a beautiful woman. That is, confident that they're lucky to have me there. :wink:

But, enough of that. I have actually been going through the reviews, and one thing I hadn't noticed was anything `that seemed mid- or upscale Southwestern/Coloradan (unless you want to drive out to The Fort). Not necessarily a necktie place, but somewhere where's you linger a couple hours over a three- or four-course meal. Seems that the heyday of the Rattlesnake Club/Mansion at Turtle Creek/Cayote Cafe -type places has passed, which is too bad, but if I'm missing something I'd appreciate enlightenment.

In the mean time we're probably thinking Mizuna or Z.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Here are some of my notable places that you might want to take in consideration...

Table 6 - Very neighborhood-like, it's small and the service is just awesome. It's an open kitchen and you'll even see cooks and chefs come out to see how you're food is doing. Very good bistro food with some flare. My favorite go to restaurant for just a good time with friends over some great food and wine.

Mizuna - It was very comfortable, the service did exactly what you could ever want and really did an amazing job of staying out of the way. The food was executed perfectly, nothing too special but really good food. It was a very enjoyable evening.

Rioja - I've been twice and both times were good. Both times we ordered a bunch of appetizers and then seperate entrees and desserts. I think thats the best way to go at it. A slightly more colorful than Mizuna (not in a bad or good way)

Cafe Star - You're going to get extremely well executed tasty food and really nothing more.

Restaurant Kevin Taylor Very high dollar, you're going to get 4 star 4 diamond service, Amuses, and excellent wine service. The food is high end but nothing that will change your life.

Vesta Dipping Grill Very fun and unique atmosphere and a great variety on the menu.

If you got time for lunch...I hear Steuben's is worthy for a shot.

I would say my three favorite restaurants were Table 6, Vesta, Mizuna, and Rioja durring my two years in Denver. Although, I will be moving back later this month so I do look forward checking out the restaurants and participating more on the SouthWest-Western Forum.


Edited by JWest (log)

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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Im not sure if you're into sushi or not but... I forgot to mention Sushi Den. I've had great experiences over there as well.


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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Im not sure if you're into sushi or not but... I forgot to mention Sushi Den. I've had great experiences over there as well.

We pretty sushied up in DC, and not junkies as some are, so we're probaly hunting for something a little different. Thanks. though, for this and all the other suggestions.

What's the deal with Kevin Taylor? When we left Denver, he had just received a savage review of his flagship spot in the RMN -- they just tore the place to bits as expensive, pretentious and inept. Has it come up? Were the original notices wrong?


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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What's the deal with Kevin Taylor?  When we left Denver, he had just received a savage review of his flagship spot in the RMN -- they just tore the place to bits as expensive, pretentious and inept.  Has it come up?  Were the original notices wrong?

I think it *is* a bit pretentious and (for Denver) over-priced, but the food was definitely good. My husband still drools when he mentions (as he does quite frequently) the homemade peanut-butter-cup dessert--on the other hand, I cannot recall anything else about that meal except that the restaraunt was virtually empty and our service was so-so. Of course, this was more than a year ago, things may have changed.


Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

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Hah. We're from the East Coast, so "pretentious and overpriced" is our briar patch. :laugh:

Actually, having done time tuxedo-ed up as a waiter in a brutally expensive French place in the 80's, nothing along those lines really phases me. But your comments echo criticism that we've heard elsewhere -- cooking and service that doesn't live up to the expense and the stiffness. We're looking at Luca for now.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Ended having drinks and a nosh at the new art museum -- excellent temporary/contemporary exhibit by a pair of local collectors, decent tuna tartar (but kick-ass considering it was an art museum restaurant).

The we wandered over to Luca D'Italia for a decidedly mixed meal. The weirdest thing was that they had one of those vanilla scented candles stinking up the whole place. I mean, they're offering a truffle menu against the backdrop of an aromtherapy joint?

I didn't take notes but the overall impression was fine but inconsistent. The truffles were luscious, some of the plates were vastly oversalted, service was excellent -- altogether we had a lovely evening.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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The we wandered over to Luca D'Italia for a decidedly mixed meal.  The weirdest thing was that they had one of those vanilla scented candles stinking up the whole place.  I mean, they're offering a truffle menu against the backdrop of an aromtherapy joint? 

Im just guessing it wasn't mean't to be "Truffles with Burning Vanilla Vapor" :raz:


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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Just spent a week in Breck and wanted to concur with the Empire Burger comments. We cooked and ate in the condo most of the time but did hit Empire Burger (3 times actually). Great burgers and what appeared to be homemade fries and onion rings. I too loved the sriracha mayo but was less fond of the green curry sauce. Salads looked pretty good and the wings were excellent. Great bar food, nice setting and they have Stone on tap (one of my favorite micros). Saw all types in there: families, apres ski drinkers, late night crowds. Not fine dining but good value.

Also enjoyed Mi Casa, but more for the margaritas than the food :wink:

Love the cookie shop too (maybe called Mary's Mtn Cookies?).

Empire Burger opened over the summer, and it's one of our new favorites.  Features burgers and delicious fries (hand-cut?) with a large selection of sauces to dip those lovely fries into.  The siracha mayo is my favorite, though the blue cheese is good too.

<snip>

Mi Casa is the favorite "Mexican" restaurant, uses good-quality ingredients, and not too much cheese sauce enveloping everything.  Much more authentic is Fiesta Jalisco, which has pretty good food.  My favorite is the chicken mole.

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