Brider | Fine Food, Casual Setting

Executive Chef Steven Redzikowski is known for his restaurants OAK at Fourteenth and Acorn, which regularly appear on the list of best restaurants in Denver/CO. He now leads Brider, a casual rotisserie and seasonal market concept on Platte Street that doesn’t require reservations or a special occasion to fine dine. “Our new restaurant Brider is about delivering a more casual environment, but still delivering what our guests at Acorn and Oak expect from us,” says GM Jason Isch. Brider’s passionate team delivers a level of quality and craftsmanship that is unmatched in casual dining, promising only made-from-scratch, ingredient-driven offerings prepared with the utmost care and attention. “At Brider, we'll be sourcing the same great products but simplifying them, that also makes them easy to package for take-out, which has been popular here” explains Isch

Brider offers breakfast, lunch and dinner menus focusing on a selection of composed, rotisserie-centric dishes straight from Brider’s state-of-the-art Rotisol oven along with seasonal soups, salads, and sandwiches. We ordered the OAK meatball sandwich and the rotisserie porchetta dinner plate with a side of sweet potato tots. The OAK meatball was delicious and very hearty making it worth the $12. The meatballs were seasoned and juicy, surrounded by melted provolone, pesto and fresh marinara. Overall it was one of the best meatball sandwiches we’ve eaten.

The rotisserie porchetta dinner was wonderful as well, very succulent with an herb-laden, crunchy crust. The dinner plates offer a selection of “styles” for your dish, which gives the diner different flavors and sides to choose from. We chose the lemon and chili wilted kale “style” which was a delicious accompaniment of greens with zest. Speaking of zest, Brider even makes their own dips and hot sauces which we tried a few of. There was a cilantro jalapeno aioli that came with our order of tots that was an elevated alternative to the normal ketchup or ranch dressing and an amazing hot sauce they compare to Chalula, but is much better. It has really prominent smoked/roasted chili flavors, a mild to moderate amount of heat and the right amount of thickness so it wasn’t as runny or vinegar laden as some popular hot sauces. We loved it and apparently so do many other patrons as Brider has decided to bottle and sell it!

The drink menu, led by Beverage Director Bryan Dayton is just as impressive, with as much attention to ingredients and craftsmanship going into their lineup of beer, cocktails, coffee and wine on tap. “It’s Brian’s thing, being a former ‘Bartender of the Year’, to come up with a selection of craft cocktails and homemade drinks, which then led to doing everything in house, from sodas to coffee syrups,” explained GM Jason Isch. “He’s also gotten the staff involved in the fun by teaching them all how to make homemade Kombucha and letting them get creative with flavors that change regularly.” The taps also change, with 6 for beer and 4 for wine, and the other 8 are cocktails, Boxcar Roasters nitro-tap coffee, and house made ginger beer and root beer. We ordered the root beer and it tasted like the old-fashioned, less-sugary version of todays typical can and their Chai Latte, which we were surprised to learn (we hadn’t caught on yet apparently), they also make themselves! The Chai was robust but the right blend of sweet and spicy, and would be a great complement to one of their homemade pastries.

We were told their Fritter was actually an award winner and a must try. We of course did try and fell in love with the flaky, sugar coated, treat that was somewhat reminiscent of a funnel cake but with more flavor.  Their lemon meringue cake and coconut cream pie was also featured that day and they were too delicious not to finish. As you walk into Brider you are presented with their beautiful array of desserts and specials for the day. It makes it really hard to pass up on the desserts and we recommend you take one to go.

Our dining experience was just how GM Isch described it: laid back, top-quality, delicious and easy. We were very impressed with all of the flavors, homemade drinks and desserts, attention to detail, diverse menu options, and price point. They even have free parking and fun music! We will be back~

Open daily 8:00am - 9:00pm - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Carryout.Happy hour specials 3-6 p.m. featuring $3.50 beers, $1 off all drinks, and $2 pizza slices.  http://www.denverbrider.com/

Dazzle Jazz Re-opens in Former Baur's

The new space will feature three unique stages: The Main Stage (to be completed July 2017) will be suited for well-established acts requiring a larger seating capacity. The original Baur’s Stage will continue to be used for acts in an intimate setting while the Gallery Stage will feature music accentuated by unique works from some of Colorado’s finest visual artists. Patrons of the new location will be offered a new menu created by Dazzle’s team of culinary artists led by Chef/Owner Mario Godoy and Chefs Benjamin Erickson and Daron Edgar.

Tuesday, May 23 - Thursday, May 25th Dazzle Jazz is giving its patrons a chance to peek into their much-anticipated re-opening at the historic Baur’s Lounge on 15th and Curtis. Dazzle will embrace the community that it loves, dedicating its first productions to non-profit organizations with missions centered on music education and programming. “We have dedicated our new home to artists and the community that loves and nourishes them," says Owner Donald Rossa.

May 23, 6pm-8pm: Jam Session hosted by Paul Romaine benefiting Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts. 9pm-11pm Jam Session hosted by Todd Reid, Dan Schwindt, and Jean-Luc Davis benefiting the scholarship program for the University of Colorado - Denver's Music & Entertainment Industry Studies.

May 24 Celebrating World Music benefiting the Music Appreciation Society (MAS).
6pm-7pm Purnell Steen & LeJazz Machine. 7pm-9pm Tanner Harris. 10pm-Late “Pain and Art” Wes Watkins Ensemble.

May 25 KUVO Jazz 89.3 Benefit – A Dynamic Evening Featuring Three Unique Sets of Music. 5:45pm-6:45pm Ritmo Jazz Latino. 7pm-8pm Tyler Gilmore’s Candy Shop Ensemble. 8pm-10pm Ritmo Jazz Latino again.

Tickets range from $10 - $30, the later performances being the lower price, and most include a food tasting and premier seating.

"Everyone is invited to listen, taste and feel."

The Secret Garden - Now Playing!

The classic story The Secret Garden, written by Frances Hodgson Burnett in 1911 still finds itself being told to audiences today. Our Denver Center for the Performing Arts has adapted the novel into an all-ages theater musical at the Stage Theater downtown. The show has two Acts totaling 28 original songs by Marsha Norman, composed by Lucy Simon and directed by Brooklyn-based Jenn Thompson who has worked all over the US.

The story follows a child named Mary who is sent to live with her uncle after the death of her parents. She is sent to a big, solitary mansion on the Moors of England where she finds herself in a creepy, old estate left to her Uncle Archibald who lives in a state of grief and fear. Mary slowly learns the stories of the people both living there and deceased and uncovers all kinds of secrets. But when she uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden, she becomes determined to turn things around for everyone by reviving the beauty that once flourished. Surrounded by spirits of the past, she uses the magic of hope to help the world around her grow once again.

The cast of 22, orchestra and a stage crew of about 30 people make all the magic happen on and off stage such as smooth backdrop and scene changes, lighting and fog effects, and overall flow and presentation so the story comes to life. The vocal acrobatics and the abnormal amount of contrapuntal pieces in this musical made it a full-sensory experience. The plot line was well developed and the characters, half of who were deceased spirits guiding the living, created a complexity for the adult audience. Most of the play was more adult in tone and plot in our opinion, especially as it was set in a haunted mansion and dealt frequently with death, hardship and loss on multiple levels. Alas, all is not lost and the characters and garden find renewed life.

The show runs approximately 2 hours 10 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. Ticket prices vary by date and availability, and there are both matinee and evening performances on the weekends through May 28th.

https://www.denvercenter.org/shows/specific-series/Get?Id=4652359c-77e8-4812-9917-4b5dd5f9ffcf

Words by Tiffany Candelaria

Denver Cruisers are Back!

With the snow finally behind us, it's time to look forward to rooftop cocktails, volleyball in Wash Park and Denver Cruisers! So start dusting the cobwebs off your fixed speeds because it's almost time blast obnoxious music and bike around town like we're the god damn Hell's Angels. And just to quell the recent rumors, the DCR has been and will always be a free gathering!

Denver, CO, Since its inception in 2005, the Denver Cruiser Ride has brought together thousands of people each summer in Downtown Denver to ride bikes and have fun. This costume-wearing, bike-loving institution reaffirms its mission of getting butts on bike seats with an exciting set of updates to the DCR’s 2017 schedule.


Beginning with the first ride on Wednesday, May 17, the 2017 DCR will be consolidated into a TOTAL of five (5) rides for the summer. While the every-Wednesday tradition may be coming to an end, the new monthly format ensures that these rides will be bigger and bolder than before. While the exact plans for what to expect at the bike party locations will remain secret, the organizers are confident that 2017 will be full of bikes, fun, laughter and some of the kookiest costumes you’ve ever seen.

Riders can still gather at the Ginn Mill, a long-time start location, located at 2041 Larimer Street; as well as several satellite locations that will host their own rides, including: Monkey Barrel, Little Machine Beer, Be On Key and Illegal Pete’s (S. Broadway location). Riders can mix and mingle at any these locations from 6-8p. NEW THIS YEAR: the rides leave by 8:15pm, and the Bike Party/Circle of Death goes to 11p.

"[Brad] Evans (DCR's organizer) has long aspired to more than simply facilitating fun on two wheels... he wants to make progress on issues that are important to him"                                Westword, May 3rd 2017   

CITY SPARK:  DCR organizers, Brad Evans and Nick Armogida, have been hard at work creating a monthly happy hour series called City Spark. These meet-ups are designed to connect local thought-leaders and regular citizens alike; with a goal of engaging people beyond the stereotypical social media format - and creating face-to-face encounters that will spur fresh conversations and spark new ideas.

“With the current climate in both local and national politics, we felt we had an obligation to give more back to the community than simply focusing on fun and bikes,” says DCR Founder, Brad K. Evans. “Coupled with the launch of City Spark, we’ll also be launching a grittier than most, bicycle non-profit called Bike City this summer.”
READ BRAD EVAN'S OPEN LETTER TO DCR RIDERS AND FANS

With the Cruiser Ride format changes, alongside the launch of City Spark, the DCR remains dedicated to bringing people together on bicycles in a fun, festival-style environment.

2017 DENVER CRUISER RIDE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, May 17: THEME: Green
Wednesday, June 21: THEME: Cardboard, Bubble Wrap & Duct Tape
Wednesday, July 19: THEME: TBD
Wednesday, August 9: THEME: Dress Night
Wednesday, Sept. 20: THEME: Ski Bums & Snow Bunnies
 
 
2017 DENVER CITY SPARK SCHEDULE
Wednesday, May 24: Reality of 2017 being the “Year of Mobility”
Wednesday, June 14: Core issues of Denver's Homelessness and
Affordable Housing crisis
Wednesday, July 26: Is Denver more about Sprawl than Urban Design?

***More City Spark events coming soon!

Party Weekend Roundup | Cinco de Mayo & KY Derby

CENTRO MEXICAN KITCHEN | Cinco de Mayo

What - Cinco de Mayo Pig Roast: Slow-roasted in the caja china, the pork will be doled out in tacos and served alongside borracho beans and fresh grilled street corn. There will also be $5 Suerte Coins and other drink specials!

Where - 950 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO                         When - Friday, May 5, 11 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

LOLA COASTAL MEXICAN | Picnic of the Pig

What - Annual Celebration of All Things Swine on Cinco de Mayo! Lola’s own Jamey Fader and Sharif Villa Cruz will collaborate with five of Denver’s most talented chefs on an a la carte menu that celebrates all things swine. Gross-A$$ Man Band will perform live from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. and Sixty Minute Men will perform live from 9:00 - 11:00 p.m.

Where - 1575 Boulder Street, Denver, CO             When - Friday, May 5th, doors open at 2:00 p.m.

Illegal Pete’s | Cinco de Mayo

What - All day for happy hour pricing on margaritas and pacificos. May special offering “P.S. I Love You”, a Pacifico and a shot of Sauza Tequila for $5.

When - Friday, May 5th, open - 2am.                                                    Where – All locations

ViewHouse Ballpark | Cinco de Mayo

What - All Day Food & Drink Specials and Features with DJ & dancing all night.

When - Friday, May 5th, open - 2am.                             Where – Downtown Ballpark location.

The Lobby | Annual Derby Party

What – Free entry, lawn games in the Courtyard, killer food and drink specials and lots of chances to win cool stuff!

When – Saturday May 6th, 9am – 5pm.                                        Where - 2191 Arapahoe St.

ViewHouse Eatery | Kentucky Derby Party

What - It’s that time of the year to bust out those BIG hats, summer dresses & seersucker suits. Moses Jones Band will kick things off in the courtyard at 1:00pm. Live Derby Broadcast on the 200” outdoor LED TV & dozens of flat screens at 4:00pm with drink specials and contests all afternoon.

Where - 2015 Market St. Denver CO 80205                            When – Saturday 6th, 1pm – 2am.

The Real Dill | 5th Anniversary Party

What – Cocktail, cider & beer bars, food trucks, live music from The Raritans and 105% of proceeds will benefit The GrowHaus, a nonprofit indoor farm, marketplace, and educational center in Denver.

Where - The Real Dill 33 S Fox St Denver, CO 80223              When – Friday 5th from 5-10pm

The Big Wonderful | Kick-Off Weekend

What - Kicking off over Derby Weekend on May 5-7th, The Big Wonderful has a new location in Globeville and lots of exciting features for the summer. The Big Wonderful 2017 Derby Weekend has a slew of live bluegrass, including headliners Jeff Austin (Formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band) & Friends, The Drew Emmitt Band,  Andy Thorn & Friends, Rob Drabkin, and DeadPhish Orchestra. Saturday 6th, from 3-6pm is BEERFEST featuring over 20 craft breweries and distilleries pouring a handful of their finest flavors into commemorative BEERFEST sampling glasses. Each participating brewery and distillery will offer unlimited tastings of select brews, ciders and spirits, while Pickin' on Beatles (DeadPhish Orchestra) provides the live soundtrack.

Our Take On The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino

As many of you have seen, the latest craze taking over the internet today just so happens to be the newest flavored coffee drink compliments of Starbucks. I woke up this morning to an alert on my phone from Postmates informing me that they were delivering these delightful and colorful concoctions for free. Whats better than free? So I proceeded to order mine and within a few minutes my drink arrived at my doorstep. At first glance I wasn't sure what I was even about to consume. The colors looked bright with radiant pinks and subtle undertones of light blue. For the sake of journalism I dove right into what I consider one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Not only was the drink salty, but it also managed to feel like I was drinking a combination of sludge from a Lisa Frank factory. The tartness mixed with the sweetness confused my palate and I probably won't be able to recover for a few days. Kudos to Starbucks for a well thought out viral campaign that is currently blowing up the internet. Don't believe us look up the hashtag #unicornfrappuccino on Instagram (BeEWARNED). Read the official description of the drink below.

The flavor-changing, color-changing, totally not-made-up Unicorn Frappuccino. Magical flavors start off sweet and fruity transforming to pleasantly sour. Swirl it to reveal a color-changing spectacle of purple and pink. It's finished with whipped cream-sprinkled pink and blue fairy powders.

Troy Guard's bubu | Healthy, Delicious Bowls to-go

Denver restaurateur Troy Guard is at it again with a slew of new restaurants slated to open this year around town. In addition to a second downtown location of bubu and third location of Los Chingones in Stapleton, Guard has, “…spent months developing the new concepts, Hashtag and FNG. The details are really starting to come together now. We’re all about having a good time and not taking ourselves too seriously. These two concepts really speak to that philosophy.”  Hashtag will be a new casual breakfast joint featuring playful interpretations of traditional breakfast dishes, fresh baked morning pastries, and a selection of creative hashes and morning cocktails. FNG (short for “F’in Good”) will be a casual, neighborhood eatery and social gathering destination in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood. They will serve a menu of Guard’s elevated interpretations of comfort food favorites, centered on the restaurant’s wood-fired grill, along with a selection of house-made prepared foods at retail.

We got to try the fast-casual healthy eatery bubu in its second location that opened a few weeks ago at Republic Plaza. Branded as Chef Troy Guard’s “Fresh Revolution”, bubu serves healthy spins on build-your-own bowls. The eatery is a great lunch option as you don’t waste anytime waiting for a table, server, or your order. Instead, it’s a walk up counter and you order and pay right away. You can order a custom crafted bowl that lets you choose your base and protein or create your own from a long list of fresh or cooked veggies, nuts, seeds, and dressings. Guests will find a few exclusive offerings at the Republic Plaza outpost, including the Indian Bowl and the Troy Aloha “Poke” Bowl, as well as breakfast bowls and made-to-order smoothies coming soon. There are fresh pressed bottles juices and brewed teas and lemonade available as well as gluten free chocolate chunk cookies. In fact, pretty much the entire menu is gluten free except the Chinese and Soy Onion dressings and the crispy shallots and wontons.

For our lunch we went with the Paleo Bowl with a salad mix base and steak protein, keeping it truly Paleo, and the Indian Bowl with half brown rice half salad base and chicken protein. The Indian Bowl was incredibly flavorful as you expect with Indian food and contained roasted chickpeas, shredded carrot, harissa cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, Indian-spiced granola and yellow curry yogurt vinaigrette, topped with a dusting of togarashi. Every ingredient was delicious on it’s own, and all mixed together is was an amazing concoction of flavors, colors, textures and nutrients. We ate every morsel, and it’s a big bowl. The Paleo Bowl came with our steak perfectly medium-cooked, (it is not cooked to order) along with fresh green beans, diced bell pepper, half an avocado, and toasted almonds and dried apricots sprinkled on top with a side of carrot mustard dressing. With our salad mix base this was a very healthy bowl and very crunchy too, yet delicious with the dressing really complementing the flavors and steak. In addition to chicken and steak, protein options include top grade raw salmon, raw tuna, chilled shrimp, and tofu, unfortunately they cannot cook the salmon or tuna if you preferred as they prepare the proteins offsite.

The eatery offers community seating with upbeat music or there are all kind of tables outside in the Plaza. There was a constant stream of people coming through and taking their bowls minutes after ordering. We think they will do great and look forward to what they dream up for breakfast bowls. We hear it will include egg dishes and smoothie and granola bowls. Both Larimer Square & Republic Plaza locations are open Mon-Fri 11-5pm and offer catering, and will stay open a bit past 5pm for those who call ahead with to-go orders for after work pickup.  So whether you’re looking for a convenient breakfast, lunch or a dinner to-go, bubu has the Downtown Denver area covered with its satisfyingly delicious and nutritious bowls.

https://www.bubu-denver.com/

Your Invitation To 2017's Sesh Fest!

(I imagine something along the mood of this photo. Smiling people having a good time while drinking at a social event. However, I imagine one girl holding up a beer, like the girl on the far left, with the glass much closer to the camera and the Sesh Fest logo front and center. Behind her is a blurred background of a crowd dancing. It’s as if she could be your friend stopped still to invite you in while the event continues in beautiful, blurred chaos behind her)

(I imagine something along the mood of this photo. Smiling people having a good time while drinking at a social event. However, I imagine one girl holding up a beer, like the girl on the far left, with the glass much closer to the camera and the Sesh Fest logo front and center. Behind her is a blurred background of a crowd dancing. It’s as if she could be your friend stopped still to invite you in while the event continues in beautiful, blurred chaos behind her)

Remember to grab tickets for Two Parts’ premier summer, craft brew, and day-drinking social, Sesh Fest. Featuring a wide range of your favorite local Colorado breweries paired with games and  neighborhood food trucks with performances by Rumours Follow, One Flew West and Bud Bronson & The Good Timers.

Where?: Sculpture Park, Downtown Denver

When?: Saturday, August 5th 

Tickets?: $30 @ https://nightout.com/events/sesh-fest-2017/tickets


The invitation stands. We’ll see you August 5th, Denver!

(Obviously with date and price changed)

(Obviously with date and price changed)

Old Elk Distillery is Bringing Their Outlaw Spirit to the Mile High

Tired of the same old drinks? Vodka & Soda, Gin & Tonic… we feel your pain. And while those drinks are good “go-tos” to have in your back pocket, they can get a little, well, boring. Lucky for you, there’s a new distillery on the block. Welcome, Old Elk Distillery! Who decided to make the daunting journey down from our northern booze hungry ally, Fort Collins and settle in the land of craft beer, hipsters and opportunity. 

They are introducing the whiskey smitten Denver crowd to a new, creamier form of the bev. Enter: Nooku, a distant cousin of the post dinner favorite, Baileys.  Nooku is a cream based bourbon made with real dairy cream. The drink was inspired by a Native American name for a white snowshoe rabbit who is famous for its lush coat and lightning speed. *Warning* Could elicit desire to let your hair down and run around at a fast pace. 

Crafted using high malt bourbon blended with real dairy cream, this bourbon cream is made with only natural sugars and flavors. Nooku has spicy vanilla and toffee aromas, caramel chews in the flavor, and a hearty burst of bourbon finish. Enjoy on ice, in cocktails, or savored in delicious recipes.

We recommend it as a post dinner dessert cocktail shared among friends. 

Old Elk is also debuting two other spirits, Dry Town Gin and Dry Town Vodka, both originating from Fort Collins. Unbeknownst to most Colorado residents Fort Collins was a dry city from 1896 to 1969. The town had to rely on bootleggers and underground distilleries to fill their cups and appetites for alcohol. The Dry Town Gin and Vodka are made with a little bit of this outlaw spirit in each bottle. 

The gin is Artfully distilled using 10 botanicals; juniper, orris root, orange, lime, angelica root, black pepper, ginger, lemongrass, French verveine, and sage, Dry Town Gin has a smooth and distinctively refreshing herbal, piney citrus forward flavor. The distillation process allows for the extraction of each flavor in a way that best speaks to the botanicals’ true character. The crisp and savory taste comes from the fresh Colorado grown sage along with lemongrass and French verveine. Sliced oranges smooth out the mouthfeel while fresh lime peel creates a crisp, clean punch of citrus that brightens the gin. Enjoyed in classic martinis, modern cocktails, or sipped on the rocks.

The Vodka is hand crafted with a four grain recipe of corn wheat, rye, and malted barley. Distilled using Colorado grown ingredients and water, this vodka is unfiltered, heightening the expression of each grain. The earthy spice of the rye and silky soft texture of the wheat creates an elegant mouth feel and taste. Added corn, produces a sweetness that is the backbone of the vodka and hearty bread notes from added barley round out all the grains. Enjoyed in classic martinis, modern cocktails or sipped on the rocks.

Looking to get your hands on a bottle? Check out this store locator for Dry Town and store locator for Nooku, which will tell you where you can pick up a bottle or enjoy at your local bar/restaurant.

Need some recipe inspo? Take a look at the below recommendations from Dry Town!

The Magic of Mole & Mezcal | Centro Mexican Kitchen

Centro Mexican Kitchen celebrated two of Mexico’s most time-honored culinary traditions—mole and mezcal—at their second annual Festival de Mole y Mezcal last Thursday, March 23. Their head Chef Duane Walker prepared three different moles, rojo, verde and negro, while the bar offered three rare, specially crafted Oaxacan mezcals not on their normal menu. Let us explain why mescal and mole are so special to the Mexican heritage and why they are so delicious and often hard to come by here in the States.

Mole is the classic, ancient Mexican sauce made from chilies, seeds, nuts, and spices, among other ingredients. There are as many legends about its origins as there are types of mole, with variations ranging from negro and coloradito to poblano and almendrado. Some moles have as many as 30 ingredients, and family recipes are heavily guarded and passed down from generation to generation. “So much history, heritage, passion, and love goes into making a solid mole,” says Chef Walker. “It's all about building flavor, which takes time. To me it's the foundation of Mexican cuisine.” His recognition of mole’s history and his attention to detail was apparent in the rich, flavorful negro mole and toasted coconut coating the duck leg dinner special we tried. He had paired it with a dulce de leche sauce as well and served the duck with broccolini and risotto style rice with nuts and raisins. The dish was so savory and the sauces were much more succulent than sweet and matched perfectly with the various flavor profiles of the duck and sides. The duck was filling and full of flavors like warming spices, chilies, chocolate, smoke, game and we learned it was dry rubbed overnight until cooked in duck fat. Talk about a decadent duck dish!

Taking our meal up several notches on the delicious and memorable spectrum was a flight of mezcal. Mezcal is a Mexican spirit made from the heart of the agave plant, or piña. Unlike tequila, which is made using only blue agave, mezcal comes from over 30 varieties of agave. This, coupled with countless variations in the distillation process, allows for an astonishing variety of mezcals across the country. Some heirloom recipes include ingredients like cinnamon, pineapple, plums, cloves, and even raw meat. The three on special for their Festival were Mexicano, Madre Cuixe and Ensamble en Barro from the Mezcal Vago label. They were amazing, but because they aren’t offered here any other time I will tell you about some of the mezcals you can order anytime at Centro.

We tried three small samples from the Del Maguey family – Minero, Chidricapa, and Domingo Alban. They were all especially great with a bite of lime or orange and paired with food. The Minero was refreshing, but unlike most tequila, it has tasting notes of vanilla and caramel in addition to the agave taste. The Chidricapa was lighter and crisper than the other two, and resembled typical tequila in its agave and citrus forward taste, but with a bit of wood/oak flavor found in aged tequilas. The Domingo Alban mezcal was a bit sweet, agave forward and crisp, but with a smoky aftertaste. If you’re a fan of tequila and whisky/bourbon, mezcal is your kindred spirit and you’ve got to try a few varieties. As mentioned, mezcal comes from over 30 varieties of agave and is coupled with countless variations in the distillation process, thus you absolutely should not judge based on a past experience or just a couple of mezcals. There are so many flavor profiles to match many palettes, unless you just hate tequila/agave. So head over to Centro Mexican Kitchen for one of the best selections of mezcal in Boulder and Denver. They even have mezcal in a couple of cocktails or you can add it to a margarita to make your first time a bit more approachable.

 

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In addition to their great mezcals and mole, Centro has a large menu of soulful, imaginative Mexican cuisine. Centro also packs their calendar with fun events and weekly specials that continue to make their restaurant a fun, affordable and popular place to dine and drink. Two upcoming events include Easter Sunday and Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Centro is celebrating Easter Sunday with a festive brunch, happy hour, and dinner specials. Cinco de Mayo at Centro will have a pig roast on the patio, and served out in the form of tacos, tamales, and enchiladas all day long. There will also be $5 Suerte Coin Margs (while supplies last), $7 Shot & Beer (El Charro Silver and The Post Brewing Co. Top Rope Mexican Style Lager), and $15 Top Rope Buckets. They've also got some awesome weekly programing—Breakfast Burritos, Sunday Family Night (live music, dancing, kids eat free), Monday All Night Happy Hour, Tamale Tuesdays, Weekend Brunch, and Happy Hour food and drink specials daily!

http://www.centromexican.com/

Review by Tiffany Candelaria

Tamayo Rolls Out Five New Enchiladas for 2nd Annual Enchilada Fest

Calling all Mexican food foodies! Tamayo is at it again with their second annual Enchilada Festival (running until April, 23rd). The festival pays tribute to Mexico’s rich culinary past by celebrating flavors from different regions of Latin America, all in the name of the delicious enchilada. Each enchilada is carefully crafted – from the 23 ingredient based Mole’ to the pickled cherry tomatoes – no ingredient was undervalued.
 
Chef Sandoval created five enchiladas for the festival, each one inspired by a different region of Mexico. These are not your typical, corn tortilla, meat + cheese enchiladas. They are creative, authentic and true to Mexico’s colorful heritage. 

We’ve taken the time to break down the five enchiladas Chef Sandoval created. 

The Shredded Chicken Enchilada, complete with tomatillo salsa, chicken tinga, gouda cheese, crema fresca and pickled chiles. One of our favorites given the simplicity of the ingredients and tribute to the traditional enchilada. 

The Nortena Enchilada consisted of grilled lamb barbacoa, salsa borracha, pinto bean puree, cilantro, white onion and serrano. A little smokier than the others with nice kick from the salsa borracha. We’re assuming this enchilada is a homage to Mexican Nortena music which is normally high energy with a lot of instruments coming together. 

The Res Con Chilie Morita Enchilada, composed of slow cooked short rib, chile morita sauce sautéed with red onion, cherry tomatoes, queso fresco, avocado and refried beans. This was our favorite enchilada of the night! The short rib was cooked and seasoned perfectly, together with the cherry tomatoes and traditional Mexican toppings it made for one helluva bite. 

The Mexico City Enchilada, complete with pork carnitas, green mole sauce, pickled red onion, crema fresca and achiote oil.  We all know that sauce can make or break a dish, and with the Mexico City Enchilada, it definitely made it. The green mole added a fun, savory taste to the enchilada while still staying true to the traditional herbs and spices of regular mole. 

The Vegetarian Enchilada made with plantain tortillas, black mole, tofu, zucchini, yellow squash, requeson cheese and dehydrated mushroom. This enchilada took home the prize for most intriguing. We had no idea what to expect with all of the sweet and savory ingredients coupled together inside an even more intriguing plantain tortilla. Spoiler Alert: it works!

For the dinner special going on, you choose 3 of the 5 enchiladas listed above, prices range from $20-$26 per order. Also, if you have never been to Tamayo it is the perfect oasis of Mexican food in a sea of Colorado Tex-Mex restaurants. Even down to the cocktail list (looking at you Paloma). 
 
 Call now to make a reservation: (720) 946-1433
 

Game Of Thrones: Live Concert Experience

Have you ever experienced the overwhelming feeling of excitement, joy, pride, anger, sorrow, vengefulness, relief, laughter, and hope all in 2 hours?  Well, that feeling could be described as simply “watching Game of Thrones”. Before I go any further, it’s no secret that spoilers may lie ahead.

On Sunday night in Denver, Colorado, the Pepsi Center fills up with the biggest nerds to roam the Seven Kingdoms. Fans wait in long lines to take their photos in front of Meereen, The Wall, and even Kings Landing on a fun green screen PhotoBooth provided by HBO. As we head toward our seats, the lights begin to dim and the voice of Cersei Lannister (actress Lena Headey) projects throughout the arena.  "Should you not silence your phones, I will burn cities to the ground and the blood of your children will pay for your crimes for generations to come”. This receives a huge round of laughter and applause from the audience. 

A moment later, the German-Iranian composer, Ramin Djawadi, who has written all of the music for series, starts the show by conducting an 80-piece orchestra and choir on a 360-degree stage. (Most of the choir being a local Denver choir group). Their voices sound like indescribable angelic instruments accompanied by the band of traveling talented musicians. The violinist and all of the percussion members all dressed head to toe in Westeros attire.

The beginning of the musical journey opens up with the extremely iconic “Main Title” theme from the show which immediately gives me goosebumps. During which, the imagery on the screens captures every house one by one. Cheers are heard throughout the entire arena as audience members begin to shout for their favorite characters as they see the Stark family, the Targaryens and finally the Lannisters appear on the gigantic screen above us. The house banners appear at the end of the song, showcasing every family and their Sigil with their iconic words. Then suddenly, there are fire sparks and sword sharpening sounds as the Iron Throne rises from the middle of the stage. This is a mic drop moment. 

Every single piece of music is timed flawlessly to the video montage clips on the screen. Only a very few times were words spoken from the clips, because the music and imagery said enough for the fans. The entire show chronicles the journey of various individual characters as well as family story lines. One of the first being The Starks. A violinist heads to the very front of the stage and plays a lullaby song as the iconic red and white Weirword trees forms around her. The leaves eventually fall off of the tree and into the audience, symbolizing the start of Winter and the major deaths of those in the Stark House.

The rest of the experience portrays all of the major story lines of the fight to the Iron Throne. They begin with Stannis Baratheon, then the Greyjoys, the Lannisters, the Boltons, and of course follows Dany’s epic journey to become Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.

As Dany’s story is told, the crowd cheers “Mhysa!” in support of her claim to the Throne. When her dragons appear, actual fire shoots out from the stage at the exact moment that they spit fire on the screen. Directly after this, the concert cuts to Jon Snow being brought back to life- and the audience screams together in solidarity. Actual snow (white pieces of paper) begins to fall from the sky as the orchestra plays along to Jon’s battle against the White Walkers. I think everyone had chills. 

The show ends with the beautiful standout piece that plays during the final episode of season 6 (the most recent season) as Cersei Lannister prepares to send the High Septon and the Tyrells to their deaths. No words were spoken during this scene in the show, making it a very memorable composition that the audience immediately recognized with a collaborative sigh insinuating “Oh no… we know what’s coming next”. The piece is beautifully arranged to the images on screen, the editing of these montages to the music is so precise.

If you don’t already know, Cersei lights Wildfire underneath the building holding the religious fanatics who plan to put her on trial for her incestuous  relationship with her brother Jaime. As the fire lights up, hundreds in Kings Landing are blown up, and actual green fire shoots from the stage as the music rises.

We have to say, this show is correctly labeled an “Experience”. It truly pulls you into the world that George R.R. Martin has created. After a standing ovation from the entire arena, the level of appreciation for Ramin Djawadi and his vision greatly increased.  The new season starts July 16th, and although it has been unseasonable warm in Denver lately and definitely will be in July, Winter is Coming! 

Words and Images- Stephanie Mathena

"An American In Paris" | A Celebration of Art

The Broadway Theatre is here to dazzle Denver yet again with its multi-award winning musical, "An American In Paris" through Sunday, March 19th at Buell Theatre. The basic story under this title was first a book by Craig Lucas and became a Hollywood movie in 1951 starring Gene Kelly. The musical film was inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition "An American in Paris" by George and Ira Gershwin. The film won a number of Awards including Best Picture at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. So if you can't make it out to the Denver Performing Arts Theatre in the next week, at least the film sounds like it does the story justice. 

The film was adapted to the stage in the 2000s and again adapted in 2014 and performed in Paris and then New York City's Broadway March of 2015. Thus, this is a new musical with a long past and a legendary soundtrack of unforgettable songs from Gershwin, that along with acclaimed director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, has earned it more awards than any other musical in the 2014-2015 season!

The story begins as an American soldier continues to encounter a mysterious French girl and an indomitable French city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of World War II. The backdrops and projection were one of the first standouts as the musical began. They make the city come to life with projections of Paris being water colored right before our eyes, which plays into the introduction of the lead character Jerry Mulligan, the American soldier and artist who decides to remain in Paris after the war. As he pursues the French girl, he leans her name is Lise and she is a very talented, but sad, ballet dancer. In fact, both of the characters and actors are very talented ballet dancers and the play, as well as the story, both heavily revolve around ballet and dance.

We see some very intimate and intense dances, as well as some big Broadway, spectacular dance numbers complete with tuxedos and feathers. We also see a marvelously composed culminating performance that matches modern art with classical ballet, a performance worthy of awards in and of itself. We watch many interesting characters develop in the story as they try to pursue their dreams and find happiness in the post-war era. These dreams all revolve around some form of artistic pursuit and of course the pursuit of love. Some chase money, some chase fame, some yearn for their authenticity to shine while others choose to hide or put on appearances. While the main theme is the pursuit and celebration of art and its ability to bring joy, there's also an underlying look at gender roles and stereotypes, as well as doing what is right or expected versus following your heart.

When you see past all of the dancing, singing, and vibrant art on stage, you will see a poignant story about the trials and tribulations of figuring out how to pursue a happy and fulfilling life. It's no wonder this story continues to win the hearts of so many.

http://www.denvercenter.org/shows/specific-series/Get?Id=20d44ce2-4382-4b11-b7d9-ed33d6a8ab29

By Tiffany Candelaria  

Food Hall & Marketplace Hybrid Opens in Aurora

Food halls, collaborative work-spaces, artisan and urban markets are a trend on the rise here in Denver and the U.S. in general. Joining the club here in Denver is the new Stanley Marketplace, fully opening in April 2017, in the former Stanley Aviation headquarters in Aurora, CO. The hip, industry-style marketplace will feature a variety of carefully curated dining concepts, local shops, boutiques and a few other businesses.

Comprised of more than 100,000 sq. ft. on 22 acres, the adaptive reuse development aims to become the communities’ new centerpiece. In addition to the culinary options, it will be home to a spacious community park, indoor/outdoor event venue, office space and a wide array of shopping and recreational options, as well as residential offerings. What we learned on our visit was how this marketplace sought out and brought together a community of like-minded businesses and people who believe in doing things differently with sustainability, creativity, passion, and their customers' happiness forefront in their business practices.


We tasted a wide selection of dishes offered at the various Colorado-based eateries and found there is something for everyone. Another great feature is you aren't limited to one eatery, as many are designed to take-away if you'd like to keep exploring/shopping or grab more additions (or alcoholic beverages) to your meal. It's an informal, laid back space with storefronts of beautiful trinkets, treats and welcoming people. We invite you to take a look and have some things to eat and drink.

Dining options include:

Annette, Comida, Cheluna Brewing, Denver Biscuit Co., Glazed & Confused Doughnuts, Infinite Monkey Theorem, Logan House Coffee, Maria Empanada, Miette et Chocolat, Mondo Market, Rolling Smoke BBQ, Rosenberg's Bagels, Sazza, Stanley Beer Hall, Sweet Cow Ice Cream, and Yellowbelly Chicken.

www.stanleymarketplace.com

Photo Credit: Robert Castro

Breckenridge Brewery Presents Breck Trek, Coming To A City Near You

Our fine friends at Breckenridge Brewery have been pretty busy lately, aside from brewing some of the most delicious beer in the world, they have taken on this pretty interesting project that is currently touring cities across the country.

The process is simple, choose a city, introduce that market to some rare beers, get local band Paper Bird to join you on this trek, pair up with some of the finest local chefs for a dinner pairing, introduce an amazing art installment by Denver locals Ink Monster all while promoting the amazing aspects of our fine state.

We’re partnering with a local chef to prepare a memorable multi-course beer dinner in your city. Hosted by our very own culture czar, Todd Thibault, and our featured chef, we’ll present a curated evening of intriguing dishes creatively paired with special beers from our portfolio of well-known and rare beers.

The 3 day culture tour is a perfect opportunity for other cities to get familiar with the Breckenridge Brewery brand and amazing beer. Not only are they featuring amazing beers (and delicious dinner pairings) but also get a chance to promote local favorites Paper Bird, who have carved quite a niche here in Colorado. Some of Denver's finest artist get a chance to showcase their art with carefully curated installments courtesy of Ink Monstr. The tour has already hit cities like Los Angeles,and Dallas. Other stops include Orlando, New York, St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco yet to come. 

Meet The Band:

Paperbird


Meet The Artist:

Reed Silberman

Michael Corriano

Kal Urso

Naomi Haverland

Patrick Maxcy

Mike Fudge

Artopia | A Collective Showcase of Art, Music, Fashion, & Local Vendors 

The Artopia fashion show was full of local designers and models was a was a high energy showcase of approachable fashion statements. However, the fashionable aspect was lost in many of the audience members and attendants of the event. Has no one gotten the fedora memo? Some audience members were wearing suits, some were wearing jeans, and this was only the beginning of the clearly undefined vision of this event.

Admittedly, the vendor part of this event felt unnecessary.  It fell under the category of another kitschy Denver market where you can find standard Colorado gear, sunglasses, snapbacks, locally made soaps, jewelry, and overpriced, thrifted clothing of course! 

I will say that some of the artists exhibits stood out. But much of the work seemed kitschy, poorly curated, and not representative of what is actually present in the Denver art scene, which is wonderful, progressive art and the people behind it. On the flip side, when the leftover fashion show mess was cleaned up 45 minutes later, live painting began to happen and redeem some of the earlier work we saw. 

A silent disco on the top floor was also a twist we weren't expecting, nor were we expecting it to go so well. Three DJ’s played simultaneously while guests wore headphones that they could tune into any one of the three channels and dance in chaotic synchronization. People danced in synchronized chaos while actual chaos ensued around them.  Too many people and mix of things happening on every floor, made moving around feel like we were cattle being herded, unable to enjoy each element to the fullest.

Live music is a factor that in most scenarios makes everything better, and in this case the variety of genres kept the night lively and evolving. Overall, I think this is an event with a lot of potential if executed better, and we look forward to watchingArtopia evolve.

By Lina Skrzypczak

Jax Fishhouse | Specials & Brunch

Brunch is often most popular among the ladies, but Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar in Glendale is getting the guys involved with its new Bottomless Crab Sunday Brunch. In addition to the regular Jax brunch menu, from 10am – 2pm Chef de Cuisine Matt Lewis will offer endless Snow and Dungeness crab, plus sides, for $48. Guests can also enjoy unlimited Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s for an additional $15. The crab is served hot, a half-pound at a time with butter, lemon, and sides.

We were invited to this crab party and ate as many crab legs and sides as we could and loved every minute of it. The first round we had the Dungeness crab with their crispy potatoes, and were happily surprised by the sweet and spicy Cajun seasoning all over the potatoes. Next we tried Snow crab, which we really liked for its taste and the ease of getting the meat out of those clippers. Jax thoughtfully provides you with a cool bib, cracker, and a tiny fork for extracting the goodness. We then ordered the Bacon Braised Collard Greens and the Biscuits & Country Gravy sides and were very impressed. In fact, the guy who orders biscuits & gravy 90% of the time at brunch said both the biscuit and the gravy were top notch, and would be excellent if there was meat in the gravy. Lucky for him, the regular brunch entrée we ordered had spicy pork sausage in it and you can also order 3 pieces of tender belly breakfast sausage for $5 as a side.

 

The regular Brunch entrée we tried was The Hash: scrambled eggs, spicy pork sausage, shrimp, potatoes, grilled onion, arugula, and whole grain mustard vinaigrette. It was a perfectly composed brunch providing tons of protein, a good helping of greens, tasty potatoes, and a coating of mustard vinaigrette that really elevated all of the unique flavors. There is a lot going on in this dish and a lot of actual food, so it is very filling, delicious, and nutritious. Jax regular menu has many great seafood, meat, and combination plates like The Hash, such as Chicken & Crawfish Gumbo, omelets, bennies, French toast and waffles, peel n’ eat shrimp, etc!

 

All the Jax locations, Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Glendale, and Kansas City, have a great dinner, dessert, and happy hour menu as well. They’re also known for the various events and specials they hold throughout the year, like their Mardi Gras Crawfish Boil Tuesday 28th. All of March is Oyster Month at all Jax locations and they are celebrating with weekly chef specials, contests, giveaways, pints of Emersum Oyster Stout, and culminating with the fifth annual High West Oyster Fest at Boulder Theater April 4th. And, a portion of sales at this event and from Oyster Month at CO locations—Boulder, LoDo, Fort Collins, and Glendale—will be donated to their local charitable partners. The weekly oyster features will be different at each restaurant, created by the chef de cuisine and inspired by oyster-loving cultures from across the globe. Jax will also feature an expanded mignonette and oyster menu throughout the month.

 

Jax is the first restaurant in Colorado certified by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. The chefs work with sustainability-minded fishmongers from both coasts on a daily basis to ensure their seafood is of unmatched quality, flavor, and abundance.

Go crack a crab for us, or an oyster! www.jaxfishhouse.com

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Circus 1903 | The Greatest Show on Earth

What a spectacular show we saw last night at Denver’s Buell Theater! “Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus” thrilled us with its amazing performances, death-defying feats, extraordinary puppet elephants and comical ringleader. We were on the edge of our seats for nearly every act, along with all the kiddos in attendance. So yes, we think this is likely the greatest circus show on Earth right now!

This Broadway play isn’t exactly a play, but rather a re-creation of the vintage-era Circus, showcasing all of the hard work, diverse personalities, odd talents, glitz, danger, and showmanship that the Circus was known for in its heyday.  The show pairs producers of the world’s largest magic show, “The Illusionists” with the award winning puppeteers from “War Horse”, and an incredible cast of people who are top notch performers from all four corners of the world. During the show I wasn’t sure if the ringleader was just saying these performers were from Italy, Germany, France, etc. because it would heighten the thrill, but reading the program after the show these performers are by no means pretending, not even the ringleader. They are all bona fide award-winning performers of their craft from across the globe. A few of the performers have been in Cirque du Soleil, most have been on TV, and nearly all have won numerous awards for their talents. This show and its performances are the real deal and we still can’t believe the incredible things we saw! We also can’t imagine what casting must have been like, but it’s always the best of the best to make it on Broadway and we were truly blown away.

To give you an idea of what you’ll see, and we absolutely encourage you to go see this show, is a blend of comedy, puppetry, and a slew of incredible, unique, death defying performances. The show is nonstop entertainment and had us laughing so hard we had tears at times, holding our breath and looking away for moments, and frequently clapping and shouting at the top of our lungs to show our amazement. As the ringleader reminded us, “A lifetime of dedication goes into these performances that last a few fleeting moments under the big top.” These people are literally risking their lives in front of our eyes, so the least we can do is support them in the craft they’ve pursued. From various acrobatic acts, to out of control contortionists, to aerialists, jugglers, cycling tricks, highwire acts and puppetry, you’ll see it all at “Circus 1903” except clowns, which is fine by us.

The show itself runs two hours with a 20-minute intermission to catch our breath and get some popcorn. Curtain times are 7:30pm Thursday – Sunday with 2pm weekend matinees. Family Four Packs for $99 are available in Level 2 and 3 for all evening performances with promo code SAVE. You can also save 50% on Level 2 seats with promo code CIRCUS17THX.

http://www.denvercenter.org/circus1903

Review by Tiffany Candelaria | Photos by Mark Turner Images

DCPA's Motown The Musical!

Opening night of "Motown The Musical" hosted by the DCPA at Buell Theater was a delight for people of all ages to enjoy. We know a lot of people say that, but it's true. We were seated next to two older gentlemen getting a kick out of all the references to highlights of their own lives and seeing some of their favorite tunes come to life. Behind us, a girl no older than 10 wiggled around in her seat along with the dance numbers with a smile bigger than her mother’s seated next to her. It was everything we wanted in a musical and would recommend this one to everyone. Hurry over as the show only runs through Sunday the 19th before the magical "Circus 1903" takes the stage on February 21st!

The story of Berry Gordy, creator of Motown, begins in 1938 in Detroit where Gordy feels defeated by the music industry and not getting enough credit for the hits that he is writing. His solution? Start a recording company and compete to your best ability. Gordy ends up launching the careers of Motown legends Diana Ross and the Supremes, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and many more. This musical performs all of their hits arranged alongside their stories acted out onstage.

The show not only covers Gordy’s personal life, but the rise of the young Diana Ross and a very politically charged and racially divided past, specifically through Gordy and his artists' struggles in the music industry. An essential piece to making a story come to life is the characters and the actors that play them. So trust us when we say it came to life with this cast. Allison Semmes as Diana Ross, is a dream, and the whole cast was wonderful when it came to portraying the personas of Motown hotshots on the come up. Seeing characters like Marvin Gaye and Rick James come to life through hilarious mannerisms, angelic singing voices, funky dance moves, and great costumes was a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday night.

Diana Ross’s debut in the song “Reach Out And Touch” was an interactive piece where two audience members joined Semmes (Ross) in singing the song, while the crowd was asked to hold hands and sway. Definitely the cheesiest part, but after experiencing the whole thing, we all felt like a Motown family, haha! Grooving to songs like “Do You Love Me”, “My Girl”, and “Brick House” reminded everyone in the room of not only some of our favorite songs, but also the man behind them and the struggles he endured to make “black music” into popular music. This production also reminded us, as I’m sure it did many others, that our country is in a similar state of social and political disorder, but proved there are ways to remind folks of that while also bringing them together. And that's how Motown was born!

denvercenter.org   Review by Lina Skrzypczak