Yoga On The Rocks Returns June 9th!


Denver Arts & Venues, in partnership with The River Yoga and CorePower Yoga, is pleased to present the sixth annual Yoga on the Rocks, bringing the chance to experience one of the most extraordinary venues in the world from a different perspective – the Downward Dog. 

“There’s just something about being surrounded by the nature at Red Rocks that inspires people to want to exercise, and there’s no better place to take a moment to be mindful,” says Tad Bowman, venue director. “We are so excited to bring Yoga on the Rocks back for another year.”

The early summer session, Saturdays, June 9-30 will be led by The River, and the late summer session, Saturdays, July 28-Aug. 18 will be led by CorePower.

Season passes for all eight classes are available for $110, four-packs are available for $58 and individual classes are $15 per person, per class. Season passes go on sale April 7 at 10 a.m., and four-packs and single tickets will go on sale to the public April 14 at 10 a.m. at

Yoga on the Rocks also has a charitable component with $1 from each admission to the June events donated to LoveYourBrain and $1 from each admission to the July and August events donated to Yoga Foster.

Each class is open to all fitness levels and begins at 7 a.m. (doors open at 6 a.m.).

For more information and complete please schedule visit: 

About Denver Arts & Venues
Denver Arts & Venues’ mission is to amplify Denver’s quality of life and economic vitality through premier public venues, arts and entertainment opportunities. Arts & Venues is the City and County of Denver agency responsible for operating some of the region’s most renowned facilities, including Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum and McNichols Civic Center Building. Arts & Venues also oversees the Denver Public Art Program, Create Denver, SCFD Tier III granting process, Arts Education Fund and other entertainment and cultural events such as the Five Points Jazz Festival, Urban Arts Fund, P.S. You Are Here and implementation of IMAGINE 2020: Denver’s Cultural Plan. Denver Arts & Venues is committed to diversity, equity and inclusiveness in all our programs, initiatives and decision-making processes.

The Perfect Place for Vegetarians and Carnivores to Dine Together

 Cordon Bleu Sandwich

Cordon Bleu Sandwich

The Pig & The Sprout restaurant in Denver’s Union Station neighborhood embodies the dual nature of its name - featuring hearty, meat-based items and lighter, veggie and based items. The physical layout of the menu is split down the middle with meat-based, heavier ingredient dishes listed under “The Pig” side and vegetarian, even some vegan, dishes listed under “The Sprout” side. This place is perfect for those couples who each have entirely different eating habits or large groups! The same goes for the cocktails; you’ll find bold, whiskey, bourbon and beer based drinks and then light, clear spirits with fresh citrus or herbal ingredients on the other side. We can’t recall any restaurant we’ve been to with such a contrasted, and clearly divided menu as this… and we think it’s wonderful.

When Andy Ganick opened his long dreamed of The Pig & The Sprout last summer, he called it his "dream restaurant that would satisfy all." Ganick is on site most nights, but is also the owner of Stapleton’s popular Berkshire Restaurant that’s been serving “Swine, Wine and a Good Time” since 2007.

 Eggplant Bruschetta

Eggplant Bruschetta

We had a good time and a great feast at The Pig & The Sprout last week and want to share our thoughts with you. We started with the Eggplant Bruschetta ($8) that was a very tasty "Sprout" starter consisting of fried eggplant, Boursin (soft, herbed) cheese, smoked tomato jam, and arugula which we really enjoyed. For our “Sprout” entree we ordered the Gnocchi, ($18) which was a wonderful vegetarian dish, but don't order it because you think it'll be lighter than something on the "Pig" side of the menu. In addition to the potato pillows (aka gnocchi), there were golden raisins, sunflower seeds, candied walnuts, butternut squash, Boursin cheese and arugula, all drizzled with browned butter sauce. This dish was decadent, filling and full of flavors.

Next, the Cordon Bleu ($14) sandwich was spectacular and is one of their most popular entree items, we get why. Every component from the toasted and mayo/fondue-slathered bun to the fantastic fried chicken made this sandwich a hit. The fried chicken is actually breaded with garbanzo beans, which gave it a more savory, nutty taste opposed to just fried crunchiness, and also makes it gluten free! In fact, you can make the whole sandwich gluten free with their special buns if you prefer.  

 The Brussels Sprouts & Hogger

The Brussels Sprouts & Hogger

The final dish was over the top and was a popular item we just had to try for ourselves (and to tell you about!) It was a towering assortment of pulled pork, bacon, a kurobuta pork patty from Berkshire Farms and topped with apple slaw, pig chips, and mayo. It is aptly named The Hogger ($17) and is served with fries, but we got their Brussels Sprouts ($8) instead because we were told how great they were. We were very pleased with that suggestion and got a heaping dish full of the glazed, Parmesan dusted sprouts. These however are not on the "Sprout" side of the menu because they are cooked and served with bacon. We could barely have more than a bite of this final dish after everything that came before, but I can tell you the leftovers were just as great the next day.

We only ordered one cocktail and choose the Wild Boar, consisting of El Dorado 12 yr. rum, honey, black walnut bitters and served with a spear of Luxardo cherry and prosciutto. It was like a sweet Manhattan and tasted more like bourbon than typical rum, apparently 12 years of aging will do that. Some of the other cool cocktails are their four different Mules, a Chocolate Mint Porter, and an Apple Pie Martini and Mimosa. During Happy Hour (3-6pm & 11pm-2am), ALL drinks are 25% off!


The space lends itself to a variety of personalities as well; climbing vines by the bar, antique books, garage door walls that open up to two outdoor patios, and sleek couches for lounging and community tables for making new friends. We thoroughly enjoyed this restaurant because it provides thoughtful, creative seasonal fare for vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, and carnivors alike. Even the large drink menu nods to their split personality with clever, one of a kind cocktails paired to both palates.

Words by Tiffany Candelaria        Photos by Samantha Bliss

Moscow Mules+Mini Golf = The Mule Majors

Spend an afternoon putting your way through the Broadway Sports Castle as it's transformed into an indoor put put course, complete with a unique boozy mule and a tasty bite at every hole! Saturday, April 7th play the Font 9 Holes from 1-4pm or the Back 9 from 6-9pm. Throughout the day, some of the best food trucks around town will be providing the bites: Adobo Food Truck, Banomanom, Funnels, Ohana Grille, Passport Food Truck, Roll It Up Sushi, Sokare, and Wheels on Fire. Need an added pick me up? Try the Hydrate IV Bar!


Guests are encouraged to dress the part, meaning high fashion golf attire, vibrant Polo's, visors, slacks, and fancy hats! A prize will be awarded to the best dressed for each session. The event will bring the rest of the Major's vibes with great music, fantastic decor, extra activities, and live screenings of the Masters and Happy Gilmore!

A portion of the ticket sales will go towards helping Sports Buddies. Sports Buddies is one of four core youth mentoring programs offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters. Their activities are designed to deepen mentoring relationships while supporting self-confidence, goal setting, collaboration, skill development, and healthy lifestyles. For more information and to purchase tickets for Saturday April 7th, visit


Local Photographer Sanjana Elina Unveils New "Taboo" Sex Culture Photography Series


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This Friday local artist Sanjana Stein releases her new project "Click Bate." "Click Bate" was inspired by a close friend of Sanjana's working as a cam girl and the American sex work culture. Each photo in the series is influenced from a specific fetish and shot from the subject's perspective. Widely seen as “taboo," in American culture, internet sex work is seldom celebrated as the selfless personal artistic expression that it often is. Sanjana, with her fresh voyeuristic style of photography, highlights her subject’s raw beauty and confident selflessness in a way that reminds us to think more deeply about how we interact with our ideas of sexual expression and the honest work that can revolve around it. In addition to Sanjana, artist Shira Roth will display her digital graphic piece! The series kicks off Friday at OkHi in RiNo at 7pm. Leave whenever you please. 

Denver's Independent Comics & Art Expo

The artist-centric event, Denver's Independent Comics & Art Expo (DiNK), is a celebration of independent artists, writers, creators, zine makers and publishers, and will be taking over all three floors of the McNichols Civic Center Building April 14 & 15, 2018. The event is comprised of entertainment, panel discussions, craft sessions, adult coloring, art auctions, comedy shows and the Mountain-West's first Comic and Art Awards ceremony 'The DINKy's.' This year, Dink Denver welcomes screen actor, creator and writer John Leguizamo of HBO series Ghetto Klown. Fans will get to meet Leguizamo through a series of meet & greet opportunities, panel discussions and even selfie sessions!

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"Sophisticated yet never dull, DiNK sources talent that has both wit and grit, with topics ranging from social justice to the antisocial and everything in between." More than art, displayed works include published books, manuscripts, zines, paintings and graphic novels. DINK provides an outlet for a talented cast of independent artists, creators, urban and tattoo artists, zine creators and graphic novelists to showcase their work for two days in the Mile High City each representing the counter-culture and the independent spirit of art in its many languages and styles. 

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Loaded with late night and adult programming, cocktails, and two complete days of activities, DINK prides itself in providing a vessel for fans to converse and imbibe with the art creators in a unique, intimate environment. Free admission for ages 17 ans under. For adult 2-day passes, VIP upgrades and additional experiential ticketing opportunities check out

Women's Creative Networking Event SAFEWORD Pops Off This Sunday



SAFEWORD is a women’s event-based collective where artists, creatives and entrepreneurs can come together to share their talents and knowledge while working to foster strong, confident, encouraging relationships through events, networking and building up each other's businesses.

Local model/writer Bryn Carter and local stylist Shayla Preeshl are the two faces behind the idea of Safeword. Both women have worked in different creative industries for years and have found it to be still a very male-run industry. For that reason, and because of all the talented women they have met throughout the years, they came up with the idea as a way for women to actually get to meet one another and from there, foster positive, growing relationships that help each of them grow in their creative businesses. Bryn and Shayla understand the need for real face-to-face interactions in today’s world where we all know one another via social media but may not know the true person behind the screen. They hope that by offering a safe, fun and interactive event, this will allow women to get to know one another on a personal level and help there to be growth for women in the creative industry instead of competition between one another.

Safeword is open for all women with creative passions from models to makeup artists to chefs so mark your calendars and come network with some of the most creative women of Denver!

When: Sunday, March 4th 2:00pm-6:00pm

Where: Invisible City 1545 Julian St, Denver, CO 80204


For any questions, please email Bryn or Shayla

Hedge Row Brunch

Cherry Creek has been known for its ritzy stores and high-end chain restaurants, however these days its restaurant scene is catching up with the rest of Denver's unique restaurants and bars, and offers more parking then you'll find in RiNo or Broadway. Hedge Row is different for a number of reasons; it's not a steakhouse, the prices are reasonable, they offer brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks, and most of the menu is locally sourced.


Hedge Row opened in the latter half of last year and sits on the corner of Cherry Creek Blvd. across from the mall. They describe themselves as a relaxed American Bistro featuring rustic dishes from a wood-fired oven. This shone through in everything from the decor, to the open kitchen, to the menu, down to the clothes the servers wear. The restaurant is very bright and open, and has colorful touches aside wood accents. It is somewhat reminiscent of The Kitchen and that's because it is part of the same restaurant group that is dedicated to serving delicious, real food sourced from responsible and local farmers and purveyors. Not only do diners get to experience the local freshness and quality of the food, but the staff also gets to try everything and takes field trips to the farms and ranches used at their restaurant.


We started with the Gulf Shrimp Hush puppies with hot pepper honey that were recommended. They were crispy little balls with warm, soft cornmeal and shrimp inside, atop a dollop of jalapeno infused honey that made for a scrumptious Southern starter. For our entrees we ordered the Slow Roasted BBQ Pork Spoonbread and the Char-Grilled Piri Piri Chicken Sandwich. Both were excellent and just the right size after our hush puppies and a Bloody Mary.


The Piri Piri Chicken Sandwich comes on a local Grateful Bread ciabatta and is similar to a Vietnamese  Bahn Mi. The chicken was juicy and came with some crunchy slaw veggies and savory spices. The BBQ Pork Spoonbread features a perfectly fried Wisdom Farm egg atop house slow roasted pork and a thick, grilled price of cornbread. There wasn't any kick to the BBQ, but it was flavorful and they have an awesome hot sauce with dates, cumin and fresh carrots by Seed Ranch. Sounds kind of strange, but it tasted similar to any regular hot sauce, but better. Other brunch favorites are their Smoked Salmon Flatbread, Yogurt Panna Cotta and Wild Mushroom Toast.

Last, although we were full, we still had to try their pastries and ordered all four ($12) to go. Their cinnamon rolls are quite popular and are finger lickin good, yes, you'll be tempted to drop the utensils and pull it's sticky goodness apart with your fingers. However, it's not sticky from frosting like other places sticky rolls, but rather coated with a sugar and bourbon glaze and topped with glazed pecans for a delightfully satisfying treat. Their other pastries are also tasty and flavorful opposed to overly sugary. They offer a Pear-Cardamom Coffee Cake, the Bourbon Pecan and Sticky Bun, Spiced Carrot Muffin, and the Maple Old Fashioned Doughnut, which was sweet but in a nice way that reminds you of childhood.

Hedge Row will be participating in Denver Restaurant Week (happening now), with a three-course wood-roasted dinner menu for $35. Go try their dinner or brunch for yourself, and don't forget dessert!

Words by Tiffany Candelaria       Photos by Josh Stephens

Vesta | 20 Years Later

Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth, is the inspiration for this Denver dining destination that first lit its hearth over 20 years ago. Owner Josh Wolkon shares his story with us, “Vesta opened in 1997 in Denver’s LoDo. I was 25 years old and driven by pure ambition to open my dream restaurant. Surrounded by young, energetic, passionate, and fun people, we created a destination restaurant before LoDo itself became a destination. The term ‘Vesta Vibe’ was later coined and became known for combining positive energy, genuine hospitality, philanthropy and fun.” Through deliciously cooked food in an inviting environment where friends and family can gather and connect by the warmth of the fire, Vesta continues living up to its name and its “vibe”.


The latest menu was created by Colorado-raised Executive Chef, Nicholas Kayser, whose culinary talents enhance the Vesta menu with creative interpretations and beautiful plating. Nicholas’ culinary talents and experience have come from his time working with top chefs all over the world, in restaurants from Hong Kong to New York to Las Vegas. He eventually longed to be closer to his friends and family back here in Denver and moved back and started at Vesta a couple years ago.

 Ahi Tuna Tonnato

Ahi Tuna Tonnato

The menu offers seasonal, creative American dishes, plus barrel-aged cocktails, craft beers and an award-winning wine list. To start, you can try “The Full Monty” of Vesta’s own house cured meats and artisan cheeses served with house made breads and mustards, along with pickles and truffle honey. We went a lighter route with the Ahi Tuna Tonnato, a lovely sashimi grade tuna carpaccio drizzled with olive vinaigrette, aioli, and topped with focaccia. This appetizer was incredible; it was not fishy, had an easy to eat texture, and a unique combination of Italian flavors from the focaccia and aioli paired with light, fresh tuna.

We also sampled the XO Smoked Pork Ribs garnished with a fresh cilantro salad. This too was very delicious, with great flavor of a sweet heat hoisin sauce around succulent rib meat with a slightly crisp outside. For the entrée we enjoyed the Pan Roasted Branzino, which is a mild, white fish and comes with crispy roasted red potatoes which we loved, celery salad, sorrel, and winter radishes. This is a modern take on an Israeli dish and incorporates Middle Eastern spices and ingredients which was creative, but not spicy.

 Pan Roasted Branzino

Pan Roasted Branzino

To cap off our dinner we were treated to sweet potato beignets. These delightful little dumplings of sweet potato and dough are rolled in cinnamon sugar and sit atop toasted marshmallow, cranberry compote, and caramelized milk. It was a sweet treat for sure, but not too intense or heavy. They have some other tantalizing treats we’d like to try next time like the Sticky Toffee Pudding with medjool date cake and their Tiramisu with chocolate honeycomb.

In addition to the great food, the restaurant has a beautiful interior with noticeable themes of warmth, sensuality and dreams reflected in the handcrafted industrial design. Curved booths, open flames from the exposed grill, and draped fabric light fixtures soften the industrial design and bring a sensuality and warmth to the space that complements the “Vesta Vibe”. Another cool component to Wolkon’s restaurants is their certification as Green Businesses through the EPA and Certifiably Green Denver. Further, since opening Vesta in 1997, charitable giving to nonprofit organizations, particularly youth-focused organizations, has been one of the restaurant group’s top priorities.        Words by Tiffany Candelaria          Photos by Samantha Bliss

 sweet potato beignets

sweet potato beignets

A Tropical Escape in Denver's Cap Hill

When you think of the Caribbean do you  picture white sand beaches, tropical colors and flavors, fruity drinks, and island music? Well you'll find all this (minus the beach) at the new Calypso Caribbean restaurant, bar and café Bang Up to the Elephant in their cool, new space in Capitol Hill.

The fully immersive restaurant comes from Denver restaurateur Kevin Delk, the creative mastermind behind Two-Fisted Mario's, Mario's Double Daughters and the Aspen tree filled Beatrice & Woodsley. In similar fashion, Bang Up to the Elephant is full of imaginative touches, creative interior design, and lots of Caribbean colors. From the painted floor to the blue-hued light and everything in between, this new restaurant offers much more than just a meal.

The large space had been abandoned for nearly 27 years prior, and before that was The Mercury Café. The team had a lot of work ahead of them, but the empty canvas allowed for creativity and a total transformation. Between the ambiance, the unique food, and the tropical drinks (and plants), you really feel transported to a tropical destination. Another cool component is the sunny front “patio” café, enclosed with colorful mosaic stained glass walls, big doors that can fully open on a nice day and a park fountain.

We began with a few cocktails from Cocktail Conservator Dylan Holcomb, our favorite being the Nose Ender because it’s served in a coconut and festively garnished. Its spirit is tequila and house-made cream of coconut. If this doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been transported, the food and ambiance surely will. The Devil’s Claw and Newgate Knockers where our other favorite cocktails and were also beautifully garnished. Devil’s Claw contains Mekong, a Thai spirit, lemon juice, Chinese Five Spice, and curry syrup. Despite all the exotic spices, the drink was well rounded and refreshing, it did bring out the spice in the food however. The Newgate Knockers drink was a bit creamy and sweet, with lemon juice, tamarind, gin and Orgeat.

The menu is led by Executive Chef Travis Messervey, of Beatrice & Woodsley, and features a wide range of "Calypso cuisine". Delk gave us a brief history of the Islands, explaining how many different countries explored and colonized the Caribbean at various times, thus bringing their foods and customs to the Islands and its native people. Diners here will find African, Indian, European and Chinese dishes and influences on the menu. For example, the Jerk Chicken is slow-cooked over pimento wood from the All Spice Tree, traditionally used to smoke jerk meats, and covered in a savory, spicy rub. It had wonderfully deep flavors, wasn’t too spicy, and sits atop rice and black-eyed peas. It comes with a side of astringent papaya-red cabbage slaw and is garnished with tasty smoked, sweet pineapple slices.

Their Bake & Pepper Shrimp sandwich was also a standout and is one of four versions you can order of this popular Trinidadian dish. It had breaded shrimp between two pieces of fried flatbread with tomatoes, red cabbage slaw, and a green herb spread. It was satisfying, fresh and crispy. We also tried the Kale & Plantains salad that was coated in hot pepper vinaigrette which really packed a punch. The plantains and jicama help cool you, but beware. The Bowl-O-Chow Mein wasn’t spicy except for the jalapenos on top and was loaded with healthy veggies, a bit too soaked in teriyaki sauce however. To finish us off we had a scoop of fried ice cream with chocolate rum sauce and mango chunks. Delk admitted fried ice cream is not really Caribbean, he just has a soft spot for it and thinks his diners will too. It was delicious, tasting like a sundae atop a warm old-fashioned doughnut. Their menu is extensive and offers many more delicious dishes than we were able to try, so we'll be back.

Bang Up to the Elephant provides a great year-round escape, whether it be from the weather, the daily grind, or the typical meal. They have happy hour daily from 3-6:30pm and will also be launching live music brunches on Saturday and Sunday’s 9-3pm soon!

Words by Tiffany Candelaria @TCdoesFnB       Photos by Samantha Bliss  @redfollowsherbliss

Breckenridge Brewery Tour & Dinner


Saturday night we got to go behind the scenes of the Breckenridge Brewery facilities at their Farmhouse in Littleton, CO and were treated to a special private beer dinner in their Barrel Room! Since being acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev December of 2015, the facilities and beer production has greatly expanded and contributed to their cool new Farmhouse "campus" as they call it.

We got a great tour from Katie who literally walked us through each step in the brewing, aging and bottling process. Yes, some of their beers are aged, including their newest Brewery Lane Series release, the Imperial Vanilla Porter. This limited series beer is aged in Rum barrels, which we later dined among, and brewed with Madagascar vanilla beans.


At the end of the tour we each got a full pour of the Irish Stout and headed down to the Barrel Room where they had set up tables for us lucky 30 to sit and dine. The first course was a Roasted Beet Flatbread paired with an amazing Barrel Aged Imperial Cherry Stout. Next we had an Agave Wheat Shrimp Ceviche served on an avocado with an Oak Aged Saison which was light but flavorful, just like the Ceviche.


The entree was a big bowl of Duck Confit atop Risotto and Brussels Sprouts with a dry hopped orange glaze. This dish was so delicious and had a wonderful caramelized taste with an orange undertone from the glaze. It was paired with their seasonal holiday beer, the Holidale wich paired the holiday flavors of cinnamon and spice perfectly with the warming dish tinged with orange flavors. The beer itself is more of an Amber Ale with savory spices reminiscent of winter.


For the fourth course we finished with an Imperial Vanilla Porter Orange Ganache Tart with a vanilla whip. This was a dense chocolate tart with a strong orange zest flavor and delicate whip and nitrogen shattered blood oranges sprinkled on top! They did the shattering in front of us which was fun to watch and added a unique taste and dining experience. This was paired with the Imperial Vanilla Porter of course which was dark and thicker like the Irish Stout. 


We were so impressed with this special Barrel Aged Beer Dinner by Executive Chef Nate Gravina and GM Joe Porter, and encourage you to look out for the next time the brewery hosts one of these. And after such an excellent dinner you should definitely make it a point to get some food with your beer the next time you're there. Cheers~

Full photo gallery below.

Words by Tiffany Candelaria             Photos by Josh Stephens

Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco And Music Festival Powered By Gringo Bandito Hits The Road This Spring

The annual Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival Powered by Gringo Bandito has announced multiple West Coast stops with April/May dates including performances by The Offspring, Pennywise and more. Popular hot sauce brand Gringo Bandito was founded by The Offspring frontman Dexter Holland and will heating things up at each stop. 

Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce is excited to be the official sponsor of the upcoming Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival Powered by Gringo Bandito, which kicks off on April 7 at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point , CA . The popular annual festival will hitting multiple cities for the first time, traveling up the West Coast with stops in Dana Point, Sacramento, Denver, Albuquerque, Tucson, Auburn and Portland. With a powerhouse artist lineup announced for the 5th year [it’s actually the festival’s 5th year], celebrated Punk Rock icons The Offspring will again headline and be joined by rock favorites including Pennywise and on select dates Against Me!, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, Lit, Street Dogs, The Vandals, Unwritten Law and Los Kung Fu Monkeys. Gringo Bandito invites guests to sample their hot sauce at their tent and witness a headline set by founder Dexter Holland’s multi-platinum group The Offspring.

Last year’s Sabroso was co-sponsored by Gringo Bandito and included a massive taco eating contest  featuring Takeru Kobayashi.  With a sold out crowd of over 8,500 people, this festival was destined to be so much more than a one day event. For 2018, Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival Powered by Gringo Bandito give s  6 cities outside of Southern California a full serving  of  punk rock, over 100 craft beer samples, Lucha Libre style wrestling, top chef created tacos and of course more Gringo Bandito hot sauce than their mouths can handle. Sabroso is presented by highly respected craft beer festival producer Brew Ha Ha productions and top festival producer Synergy Global Entertainment (SGE).

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Ophelia’s Will Tantalize All Your Senses

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is a multilevel "gastro-brothel" that surrounds its guests in luxurious furnishing, flattering mood lighting, and blatantly sexy décor, aka it’s a great place for a date. In addition to dining, there’s a stage and lounge in the lower level, also viewable from the upper restaurant level that wraps around it. The name of the place is an intriguing mouthful… and you’ll find the food is as well.

Ophelia’s opened a couple years ago and is part of Chef Justin Cucci’s collection of top-rated restaurants around Denver. Located in the old Airedale building on 20th Street and Larimer, it was formerly a peep-show parlor and clearly inspired the restaurant’s décor. The menu is a tantalizing assortment of American dishes featuring globally inspired ingredients paired in intriguing ways. In addition to its vegetable forward dishes, 75% of the ingredients are organically sourced and the menu has gluten-free and vegan icons to help those with dietary restrictions.

We were delighted to dine at Ophelia’s this Tuesday and were treated to an amazing assortment of dishes that showcased the variety of foods, flavors, and ingenuity the team brings to the tables each night. We began with cocktails of course, the Never Enough gin cocktail and the Hard Eight Rye cocktail, which were both great – one sweet and citrusy the later earthy and zesty.

To start, we selected the Smoked Scallops, 600 Degree Squash and the Crispy Pork Belly. This was already more food than we could finish knowing entrees where ahead, but we are so glad we ordered it all anyway because these three dishes were outstanding. The scallops were petite, soft and smoky, served with lavash crackers, microgreens, and a chive crème fraise and hot sauce, all meant to pile onto the crackers. The creamy crème spread was a perfect balance for the smoky scallops and seed-laden lavash. We also loved the 600 Degree Squash, a collection of caramelized yellow and green zucchini with sweet, creamy goat feta and a sundried tomato sauce. The Crispy Pork Belly was especially outstanding because it was not full of fat like so often happens when we’ve ordered pork belly. It truly was crispy and candied on the outside, and soft and supple on the inside, bursting with so much savory and sweet flavor. Best pork belly we can recall!  

Next, the kitchen surprised us with their Brothel Burger and BBQ Chicken Flatbread. The burger was super succulent Elk, we didn’t even realize this while we ate it, topped with Korean BBQ, Miso candied bacon, Ponzu onions, and pickled vegetables all between a pretzel pun. We loved it. The BBQ Chicken Flatbread was accompanied by bacon, Pepper Jack, mozzarella, charred onion, bell pepper and jicama-radicchio slaw, which was an excellent addition to an overall wonderfully composed sweet, smoky, tangy pizza. All of their flatbreads and burger buns are also available gluten free.

We then made room for two of their Dinner entrees, the Steelhead Trout with Pozole and Chicken & Waffles, which were like yin and yang as far as flavors, textures, ingredients and nutrition. Pozole is a traditional Mexican stew composed of hominy, green chilies, and spices. Their pozole is topped traditionally with fresh radishes, cilantro, tomatillo salsa, and chunks of avocado, but is only mildly spicy. The trout was wonderful, not too fishy, seasoned with black pepper, and a great, local alternative to salmon. An added bonus, all of the warming spices, herbs, root vegetables and omega-3 fish make this an excellent winter dish and flu-fighter!

On the other end of the spectrum, the Chicken & Waffles were decadent, sweet and crunchy. It comes with two pieces of herb and potato laden waffle between three pieces of crispy, fried chicken topped with bacon bits, a flavorful cinnamon apple butter and chili honey – my goodness! On the side, there’s a bit of healthy greenery for you with apple slices and dried cranberries.

Throughout all of this wonderful feasting, live musicians took turns on the stage below for open mic night. Wednesday’s and Sunday’s Ophelia’s has jazz bands, and the rest of the week generally has live music events as well. Ophelia’s is much more than just a delicious restaurant; it’s a happening hangout with plenty of pleasing offerings. The bar and lounge areas provide really nice drinking spots, and the wrap around restaurant is an awesome medley of fabulous food and dynamic entertainment below. We absolutely suggest you go!

Words by Tiffany Candelaria @tcdoesfnb     Photos by Samantha Bliss @redfollowsherbliss

Chicken & Waffles

Denver Celebrates MLK Day

The annual parade was held during the early morning freezing temperatures as crowds of thousands lined the streets of Colfax (en route to Civic Center Park) earlier today to celebrate Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The 32nd annual parade is commemorated in The Mile High City every January with what has grown to be one of the largest MLK Day celebrations in the United States -- even larger than that of Washington, D.C

Crowds braved the elements during this mornings march. (Photo Credit: Aly McClaran

Students from MSU marched along to celebrate MLK Day in Denver. (Photo Credit: Aly McClaran)

The morning was filled with drumlins from local Denver students. (Photo Credit: Aly McClaran)

The Raw Deal at Vital Root

Vegetarians aren’t messing around these days. Owner of Edible Beats, Justin Cucci, opened up vegetarian restaurant Vital Root on Tennyson Street a year and a half ago and it has been a hit ever since.  Whether you’re on the run or able to stay awhile, there’s an open seat inside or on their two patios and heaping flavors waiting for you in this fast-casual dining concept.

Using only the freshest organic ingredients in each dish, you are sure to leave feeling revitalized and satisfied, and ninety-nine percent of the menu can be prepared vegan and/or gluten free upon request. Not a vegan or gluten intolerant? Try ‘em out anyway - your body will thank you later.


Vital Root also places a huge focus on sustainability from the front of the house to the back. Supporting over 55 growers, farmers and food artisans, 50% of the ingredients are sourced within Colorado. Edible Beats’ homegrown produce comprises 40% of the produce used in all dishes across the six restaurants. It also supports local wind and solar projects through national clean energy provider, Arcadia Power, to help reduce America’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels.

We were cordially invited to their monthly Raw Pop Up Dinner held on the first Monday of every month. Why raw vegan cuisine? Vital Root’s chef says, “Raw food has not been heated over 118 degrees, leaving all natural enzyme and nutrient activity of the ingredients completely in-tact and maximizing bio-availability. The raw diet encourages harmony with nature, a nonviolent lifestyle, boundless energy, a healthy relationship to food-as-fuel, and is a remarkable way to experience the beautiful ingredients.”


Upon being greeted at the door, the hostess kindly led us to our seats where we anxiously awaited diving into the raw experience.

The first course presented before our eyes and our salivating palates was the Giardiniera, served on a spoon and ready to be devoured. Simple yet refreshing, the dish was comprised of eggplant relish, basil tomato and daikon thread. It set the tone for the rest of the meal and left our taste buds wanting more…which is exactly what we got.

The second course came in an array of multi-color roots. It was almost too pretty to eat, but that didn’t stop us. Served in a beautiful radicchio leaf, the Radicchio Beet Hummus executed on presentation and texture by utilizing the ingredient in two ways. We were given a variety of organic vegetables including carrots, bell peppers and cucumbers to enjoy with the hummus. To add a hint of sweetness to the dish, dates were also included.


The third course was the one I was most intrigued by, and that was the Squash Lasagna. I asked myself, “How are they going to serve warm cooked lasagna that resembled lasagna without the power of a hot oven?” Let’s just say, I was absolutely blown away. First off, the presentation was beautiful. Secondly, cutting into it felt just like eating momma’s homemade lasagna. It was dense yet light, and didn’t come with the typical sluggish aftermath, even after eating the entire plate. What made this dish even more unique was the vegan spin on the cheese. From ‘rawmesan’ and macadamia ‘ricotta’ to walnut pesto and a winter salad—it had me more than convinced.

And for the final course: the Blood Orange Granita, a Sicily-inspired shaved ice bursting with flavor. The dessert melted in my mouth like cotton candy, and refreshed my palate at the same time with the addition of the fresh basil.

If you’re sitting there living vicariously through my words, stop. You can reserve your spot for the next raw dinner through the Vital Roots website. What makes this experience even more thrilling is that the menu is a total surprise! You won’t know what’s coming to your table until it’s presented before you. Get your palate ready and imagination going for the eccentric yet inviting meal at next month’s raw dinner.


If raw food isn’t your cup of tea, no worries. Vital Root offers a wide array of options and is open Tuesday-Thursday from 10am-9pm and Friday-Sunday from 9am-9pm. Additionally, Happy Hour is Tuesday-Sunday from 3pm-6pm with specials including $1 off beer, $5 wine and cocktails, $2 Banh MI or Avocado Tacos, and $3 Korean BBQ Veggie Wings.

Don’t wait any longer—see what these vegetarians are raving about!

Written and Photographed by Samantha Bliss-Red Follows Her Bliss Photography

Justin Great Season 2 Fashion Launch

Justin Great, a Denver-based luxury streetwear designer, will launch his Season 2 collection with a party and pop-up shop on January 19th at Urban Mix.

The event will start at 7 p.m. RSVP online at or on the Justin Great Facebook page for a gift upon arrival and entry into a giveaway for a piece from the Season 2 collection. View Season 1 collection at

The event will premier Great’s newest “seasonless” designs, intended to be wearable from winter through summer. This will be the first event Great has hosted in Denver, and will debut the new line among a celebration of fashion, music, food, and art.

Denver-based CRL CRRLL will DJ the event, which will also offer free admission and parking, food and drinks, giveaways, a runway fashion show presentation, a dance performance by the CreNatives, a photo booth, and an opportunity to mingle, shop, and dance with Denver’s street culture elite.

“I’m really excited to finally share my brand with the city of Denver! I trust the sophisticated and modern streetwear aesthetic we offer will connect with the people,” said Justin Great, the founder and designer of the eponymous company, on his label’s signature style.

Justin Great is recognized as a growing name in luxury streetwear, known for its attention to detail. Based in Denver with a following in New York and Los Angeles, the brand is all USA made. Deconstructing and hand-sewn details are added by Great himself in his studio, ensuring no two pieces are exactly the same. Season 2 debuts the latest in the label’s signature clean aesthetic, complemented with limited edition pieces inspired by formal tailoring lines and classic prints redefined for the ready-to-wear world.

Justin Great’s Season 2 line will be available for purchase at the event, and will be available online exclusively at 

Justin Great is a relentless entrepreneur who has a passion for progressive culture and all forms of creative expression. His driven nature has compelled him to create and be involved in various ventures including, but not limited to, the worlds of fashion, creative content/media, design, music, and blogging. His background in fashion stems from the inception of his fashion and style blog “The Upper Echelon,” which he founded in college as a means of sharing fashion and style expertise. Since the blog’s inception in 2009, Justin has had the opportunity to showcase and collaborate with multiple brands and publications. As the blog grew to prominence and gained attention, many followers began requesting Justin to create his own fashion collection, which later birthed the Justin Great fashion brand and its subsidiary, Plumage by Justin Great.

Justin is the true embodiment of the Renaissance man concept. His creative content and design company - Luxpiration - allows him and his team the outlet to create via media (photography, videography, graphic design), web/product design, audio, branding, and marketing. Justin Great’s music production background has afforded him the opportunity to produce beats of several different genres for various music artists and also film/television (Great Beats).

In addition to the arts, Justin has a passion for technology and has created products in the tech space, including co-founding the start-up Friendect – a mobile application that is revolutionizing the way people meet up with their friends in the real world.

For Justin, his various ventures are a means of creative expression and influence and his goal is to fuel and inspire individuals to enjoy, appreciate, and partake in high quality lifestyle, culture, and product.

Justin Great is a firm believer that through creativity, action, and dedication we can influence and change the world.

Among other accolades, Justin has been featured in magazines and publications such as GQ, Fortune, and The New York Times. Justin was also named one of the top 50 style bloggers in 2014. 

Delicious Desserts at the Tag Restaurants

 Kabocha cake (Mister Tuna) - Amaretto squash purée, kabocha (squash) cake, buttered walnut ice cream, candied walnuts, and warm caramelized maple.

Kabocha cake (Mister Tuna) - Amaretto squash purée, kabocha (squash) cake, buttered walnut ice cream, candied walnuts, and warm caramelized maple.

It’s the time of year where we can over dress, over shop, over party and over eat. Yes, we at Ultra5280 Lifestyle love to do all of these things, all of the time, but during the holidays we let ourselves get carried away. Last night for example, we indulged in a variety of delicious desserts created by Denver native Joy Williams, newly appointed Executive Pastry Chef of TAG Restaurant Group.

Joy studied Baking and Pastry Arts at Johnson and Wales University and most recently led the pastry team at Bonanno Concept restaurants before joining TAG Restaurant Group. We met Joy at Guard and Grace, a contemporary American steakhouse in downtown Denver, to sample a few of the desserts on the menus at Guard and Grace, Mister Tuna and just-opened FNG.

 Guard and Grace

Guard and Grace

The Banana Cream Pie at FNG was a hit all around ­­– the main component, the creamy filling, is made with fresh bananas here, which we learned is usually not the case with banana cream pies. A browned graham cracker crust complements it, along with the huge dollop of whipped cream topped by bananas and caramel made for a sweet, comforting indulgence. Reminiscent of what you might have on a special occasion at Grandma’s house and worth ordering dessert after dinner.

 Banana cream pie (FNG) - fresh banana custard, graham cracker crust, whipped cream, fresh banana slices and salted caramel.

Banana cream pie (FNG) - fresh banana custard, graham cracker crust, whipped cream, fresh banana slices and salted caramel.

Our second favorite was the Kabocha Cake, which was unlike anything we’d ever had, and included a bunch of fall favorite flavors. While there were many elements, they all worked together beautifully and provided savory, sweet, crunchy, moist, warm and cool components, with a creamy buttered walnut ice cream on top! It was such a unique treat and perfect for anyone who waits all year for those fall/winter flavors.

 Coconut 'creme brûlée' (Guard&Grace) - toasted coconut custard, vanilla roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, house made passion fruit sorbet topped with caramel glass brûlée'.

Coconut 'creme brûlée' (Guard&Grace) - toasted coconut custard, vanilla roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, house made passion fruit sorbet topped with caramel glass brûlée'.

The Coconut 'Creme Brûlée' is on the other end of the flavor spectrum from the Kabocha cake, full of tropical, fruity flavors. It is not your traditional creme brûlée', tasting mainly of coconut, encircled by roasted pineapple chunks, and the brûlée' sugar hovers above like a tipped hat! Very delicious, but different from a traditional crème brûlée'.

Last but not least, the Cardamom Torte was much more subtle and simple in flavor combinations compared to the top two. The pomegranate sorbet on the side packs a tasty, tart flavor punch, but overshadows the elegant cardamom spice cake and apple accompaniment. This tote would be perfect with a coffee or tea or for those who don’t like a super sweet dessert.

 Cardamom Torte (Guard&Grace) - cardamom cake, whipped mascarpone, ginger beer compressed apples, caramelized honey (alchemy, Boulder) and pomegranate sorbet.

Cardamom Torte (Guard&Grace) - cardamom cake, whipped mascarpone, ginger beer compressed apples, caramelized honey (alchemy, Boulder) and pomegranate sorbet.

“We’re very excited to have Joy on board,” says Chef Troy Guard. “She has such a thoughtful way of doing things. Every flavor has a place; every ingredient has a purpose, and there’s a creativity there that makes her work so special.” We encourage you to set aside some time this busy season to see the holiday lights around town and to try the tasty treats Chef Joy Williams is cooking up in the TAG Restaurant kitchens!

Words by Tiffany Candelaria          Photos by Samantha Bliss

Devil's Myrtle Hill Cookery & Bakery | A Long-Standing Staple in Wash Park

Whether you’re a Denver local or a visitor passing through, Washington Park is a main attraction. From the parks radiating with life to the old historical landmarks telling their own story, you can’t help but to immerse yourself in all that it offers.

Within the vicinity, you’ll also come across an array of charming places down Gaylord street—delectable restaurant choices, unique boutique shops, and magical night lights that tie it all together. The history of this street is exquisite, especially the Myrtle Hill Trolley stop which once used to run through the little town. Passing by, there’s a little gem that can’t be missed: Devil’s Myrtle Hill Cookery and Bakery.


What once started off as a bakery in 1999 has now expanded into a full Cookery with the Bakery now it’s own cafe three doors down. The expansion occurred in January and has been a welcome addition to the Wash Park Neighborhood.

The feel of the bakery is unlike any other, and that’s because owner Angela Pilloud embarked on a cross-country adventure to find pieces that complemented her cookery. One might compare it to a vintage café in Paris, with the 100-year old wood floors all the way up to the tin ceiling tiles, to the wallpaper from the 1930’s. Even with all the vintage design catching your eye, your taste buds are still salivating over the best part of the place: the pastries and coffee.


Made with local ingredients, the pastries are displayed in antique showcases as they come out fresh from the oven. Don’t worry, the options are endless and guaranteed to satisfy even the sweetest tooth. To wash it all down, grab a coffee, hot tea, or kombucha on tap.

If you’re in a hurry, get your goodies packed up to go. Have some time to kill? Find a spot on the beautiful seating options throughout the bakery including the darling tables next to the French doors that open up to Gaylord street.


For a delicious breakfast or lunch, make your way three doors down to the Myrtle Hill Cookery. Charmed by the 40’s era, the restaurant features an old piano, cheese graters on the wall, an antique kitchen and church pews for seats.

It truly feels like breakfast at grandma’s; and yes, the food is just as good as grandma’s, too. The freshness and seasonality of the menu is as innovative as it gets. No matter how traditional or eccentric your palate is, you’ll be sure to find a favorite (or two) on the menu.


A spin on a classic, the Chicken and Waffles are topped with sausage gravy and Vermont made syrup. And, we could never forget their pancakes—the fluffiest stack of all time. A bit more on the adventurous side, mouths water when tasting the Quinoa Cakes and Eggs, Eggs and Ratatouille and the Short Rib Hash. Flip to the other side of the menu and you can also find some great lunch options like Butternut Gnocchi and a sweet yet savory Baby Glazed Carrot salad. I have tried almost everything on this menu and have yet to be disappointed.

The man behind these tasty creations grew up in the South Bend of Indiana and chased his dreams all the way to Denver, Chef Joel Urbany. I had the pleasure to sit down with him while trying his refined menu and I was blown away. His humble yet passionate attitude goes hand in hand with this charming place.

By his level of expertise, you’d never guess he is only in his 20s. How passionate is Chef Joel? Well, he starts his journey down at a local farm picking fresh produce to suit each of his seasonal dishes. His passion easily transfers to the plate—carefully crafting each dish before it leaves the kitchen.


One of my favorite things I heard about Chef Joel from fellow employees is regarding his leadership. He’s as patient as he is kind, and encourages accurate techniques and continued learning in the kitchen. With a great team behind him, he never falls short in reiterating how thankful he is to have them and that shows every day as the cookery is packed to the brim with new and returning customers.

From back of the house to front of the house, Devil’s Myrtle Hill Cookery and Bakery is something special. They put genuine love into everything they do and that’s what keeps people coming back after 18 years, and what led to the newest expansion.

  Butternut Gnocchi

Butternut Gnocchi

If it’s coffee and a pastry that you’re craving, swing by the bakery for a pick me up. Or, if American-style breakfast comfort food is on your agenda, then the cookery is the place to indulge. Denver is lucky to have this place, and I look forward to coming back for the years to come.

Written and photographed by Samantha Bliss

Colorado Takes Spotlight in this Season's "Top Chef"

Colorado is preparing to take center stage as a top culinary destination in the upcoming Season 15 of Bravo’s “Top Chef" airing tonight. Throughout Season 15, the Emmy and James Beard award-winning series will feature Colorado settings, ingredients and food personalities, as cheftestants from across the nation battle it out in a variety of picturesque Colorado locations for the coveted title of “Top Chef.” Two of the cheftestants are from Colorado -- Denver-based Carrie Baird, executive chef of Bar Dough, and Colorado Springs’ Brother Luck, owner of Four by Brother Luck in Colorado Springs. The Season Premier airs tonight, Dec. 7 (check your local listings), on Bravo.

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The first episode will kick off with a food festival on Larimer Square, we're guessing it's Slow Food Nations that we covered back in July. Denver show highlights will include Chef Alex Seidel’s Fruition Farms and Mercantile dining & provision and Sage Restaurant Group’s Chef Gregory Gourdet (“Top Chef” Season 12 Finalist) and his Departure Restaurant + Lounge. Denver stops will also include Rhein Haus, Elitch Gardens, Mile High Station, the Colorado State Capitol building and tailgating with the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium. The competitors also head to Estes Park for a Quickfire Challenge at The Stanley Hotel, Boulder, Telluride, and concludes with a two-part finale at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen with challenges at T Lazy 7 Ranch and the top of Aspen Mountain.

 The Top Chef judges on Larimer Square

The Top Chef judges on Larimer Square

Get ready for even more people to flock to our beautifully diverse state after watching this "Top Chef" season, as many will be watching because it is the top food show on cable! Soon, everyone will know Colorado is home to 35,000 farms and ranches, 100 farmers markets, more than 300 licensed breweries, 130 wineries and more than 70 craft distilleries. Three-quarters of Colorado’s restaurants are independently owned, and the state is gaining a reputation as a sustainability-focused and unpretentious food destination where chefs have the freedom to explore, create and try new things.

For episode recaps, chef interviews and more info on "Top Chef" in Colorado as the season progresses, visit More information can also be found at & a preview at

Holiday Flea: Where Mile High Makers & Easy Goin Vibes Reign Supreme

For someone who tends to shy away from anything that draws a massive crowd, I found myself absolutely smitten with the Friday night party for Denver's Holiday Flea. Taking over Broadway's legendary Sports Castle building for the weekend, the Flea hosted floor upon floor of Denver creative entrepreneurs & their finely crafted wares, six boozey bars serving up holiday cheer, & fitting tunes that kept that party goin. 

 Holiday revelers shopping threads from Shinesty (Photo Cred: Meesh Deyden)

Holiday revelers shopping threads from Shinesty (Photo Cred: Meesh Deyden)

Featuring about 190 makers from in and around the Mile High, the Flea brought local fare from new hustlers like Very Cool Club, with their typography-focused tongue-in-cheek clothing line, to more established brands like B. Fresh and 14er Posters. One could trek Sports Castle from top to bottom and find everything needed for the holiday season-- Keenan's Killer K-Sauce to douse on every underflavored appetizer you encounter at your slew of holiday parties; witty and colorful thank you cards from Mountains vs Plains & Parcel Paper Co. you belatedly send friends and relatives for all those fruit cakes, tamales, and socks; slick new leather wares you'll inevitably show off to everyone from Colored Red; and of course, winter-ready gear that screams Colorado from Mountain Standard

 Rollin deep

Rollin deep

Happiest Photo Bombers 2017

 14er Posters talkin shop

14er Posters talkin shop

Not only was I impressed with the sheer talent & business acumen this shopping extravaganza showcased, but I was positively barreling over in laughter with how silly and happy most attendees appeared. Every time I went to take a candid crowd shot, I was delightfully bombarded with profesh photo-bombers or pose-ready models just waitin for me to press the shutter. Thank you all for making my job easy, and my night that much lovelier. 

So, if you didn't make it this time around, check out our photo gallery below and see all the fun we had without you. JK, we love you, and you were probably doing something cool, too. Besides, there's always next year, babes.