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

Winter Wine Festival | Celebrating Colorado's Other Craft

You may not think rolling fields of vineyards when you think of the Colorado landscape, but unbeknownst to most CO residents the precious grapes have been thriving here since before prohibition era. And this past Friday we paid tribute to our boozy grape enthusiast ancestors in true Two Parts fashion. From sweet rose to full and inviting red blends, the Winter Wine Festival covered all of our favorite grapes and was an eye opening introduction to Colorado's second favorite craft to harvest. 

This sold-out event took place in the newly remodeled McNichol’s Building and was spread over two levels. The first hour saw a line of young and old alike waiting out to the street, but once you made it inside the festivities began as you were greeted with a glass of Molly’s Spirits Cider. From there you went upstairs and began wine tasting!

With an open mind and an empty glass, we began to make the rounds to each station. There were of course a few favorites, a few we had to skip because of their long lines, and a couple of go-to tables. #UltraTip: Grab a cup of cider before taking on the long wine lines, they were quite tasty and came with a larger pour - definitely made the wine lines less begrudging to wait in. The ciders and wines were all Colorado-based as promised and showcased the variety of flavors our state can create, from deep reds, to Rose’s, to whites of all types. In fact, one of our favorite white wines wasn’t even made with grapes, but with our famous Palisade Peaches. A sweet treat!

With all that wine you do need/want food no matter how much you already ate for dinner. Luckily there were savory snacks and sweet treats to quell our cravings and without much of a wait, if any! We noshed on breads, cheeses, meats, chocolates, doughnuts and pie while we sipped wine and listened to Fresh Noise play live. 

Wine tasting is an intimate outing, normally accompanied with harrowing tales of the grapes and the winemaker's jigsawed vision of the libation. The long lines and beer festival setting made it a bit difficult to get a clear understanding of the wine or a taste of all their different grapes. But what the festival did accomplish is a broad and captivating view into the expansive wine of Colorado. We had no idea what was being grown on the outskirts of our four-cornered state. We cannot wait to school our dates this Valentine's Day with our newly garnered wine knowledge. 

Cheers to Colorado! A state dedicated to transforming their inhabitant's drinking habits into bonafide hobbies!

Treat Yourself this Valentine's

Now that the Super Bowl is behind us, we can turn our/our s.o.’s attention towards Valentine’s Day! No matter your “status”, it’s a great excuse to treat yourself, and we like to do that with a night out at a new restaurant. Valentine’s is next Tuesday and many Denver restaurants are offering special dinners, menu items, or events. Here are a few on our radar that showoff the delicious diversity of the Denver dining scene. Cheers love bugs~

Ace Eat Serve is offering a luxurious prix fixe meal for two for $100 Friday, February 10 – 14th. Or if you’re looking for a more affordable, fun vibe, consider entering the weekly Tuesday ping pong tourney on Valentine’s evening, or simply gather a group to play a few rounds for fun (Ace has 11 ping pong tables). Plus, the $1 spicy Asian BBQ wings, $5 Bulleit Bourbon specials, and $20 bottles of Prosecco are the perfect pairing.

Beatrice & Woodsley, the beautiful wooded restaurant on Broadway, is throwing the ultimate Galentine’s Day dinner party for 16 guests, below the main dining room in their private wine cellar. Along with a cupid piñata filled with secret gifts and treats, bubbles and delicious food will be bountiful at this female-only, community-style dinner! For $48 per person, guests will enjoy a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception at 6:30, followed by a three-course prix fixe menu, with optional wine pairings available. Reservations are required (303) 777-3505.

11th annual Wine & Chocolate Weekend at Bonacquisti Wine Co, February 11th, 6p-9p and Feb. 12th, 1p-4p. 2016. The pairings include:  Sparkling Riesling with Cashew S'more Toffee
[d] RED with Jamon Serrano and Manchego Cheese Truffle
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon with Manhattan Truffle
Sangria with Sangria Truffle

Tickets are $30 ($25 for Wine Club members). https://www.bonacquistiwine.com/collections/frontpage/products/2017-wine-chocolate-weekend

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House is celebrating Friday, Feb. 10 – Feb. 14 with Oysters & Pearls For Two, $48 Chilled Oysters on the Half Shell, Caviar Mignonette paired with 2 Glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne or Grey Goose VX Vodka. Or Chateaubriand For Two,  $130 Roasted & Sliced Tenderloin, Butter Poached Lobster, Green & White Asparagus with Hollandaise, Peppercorn Sauce and Bordelaise.

Guard and Grace downtown is offering a full weekend of Valentine’s Day features February 10-14. Specials include an extravagant 45-Day Dry-Aged Ribeye with Périgord black truffles & sauce perigueux and for dessert an Aphrodite’s Sphere with macadamia pecan brownie, milk chocolate mousse, passion fruit cream, chocolate five-spice ganache, and caramel.

Infinite Monkey Theorem GALentine's Day! Ladies will receive 20% their tabs all night long 4-10pm. So grab your gals and head down for a little “Valenwine”. The following night, IMT will be holding a “Wine & Cheese Me” night, February 15th. 6:30-8:30pm. The Truffle Table will be there to host a wine and cheese pairing of 5 wines and 5 cheeses at $35/person. Reservations are required - email or call 303-736-8376 x4 to reserve your spot.

Jax Fish House in Glendale is offering a romantic prix fixe menu of sustainably-caught seafood specialties. Dinner begins at 4pm and is $65 per person for 3-courses, and an a la carte menu will be available at the bar as well. In addition, Jax will offer 25% off bottles of wine $50 or over.

Jax Fish House in LoDo is also offering a special prix fixe menu for the evening showcasing some of the finest delicacies of the land and the sea, with raw bar selections and an optional wine pairing. The 4-course dinner is $75 per person and the wine pairing is an additional $35.

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La Sandia Northfield and Park Meadows Valentines Day 4-course modern Mexican dinner $32 each or ala carte option. Includes soup or salad, tuna tartar, tamales, pollo, steak, and a Mexican cheesecake or chocolate mousse to savor.

La Guera, Richard Sandoval's new gastro-cantina, is having an anti-Valentine’s Day special, with all drinks buy one get one free and $2.00 tacos.

 LA GUERA - DENVER

LOLA is making date night all the more romantic this Valentine’s Day with a complimentary glass of bubbles and chef’s specials like Whole Maine Lobster Zarandeado, Lover’s Parrillada, and Mexican Chocolate Covered Strawberries (ordered in advance). Dinner reservations start at 5:00 p.m. and are not required but are strongly recommended. An abridged version of the regular menu will also be available. And the Saturday night before LOLA is hosting a Singles Salsa Mixer 9:00 -11:00 p.m. with DJ Joseph Snowhawk spinning some spicy Latin tunes for guests to get down to, cover free.

Los Chingones locations in RiNo and DTC have created a Valentine’s Day feature called Aphrodisiac Valentines Taco. It has seared swordfish, artichoke & smoked Fresno chili puree, fresh arugula salad tossed in rose water/pomegranate/honey vinaigrette, and chili-spiced pepitas for $5 each.

Mister Tuna, trendy new cocktail bar and Hawaiian-influenced restaurant by Troy Guard, is offering a 4-course prix-fixe menu for $69pp or $99pp, with beverage pairings. http://www.mistertuna.com/

Nocturne Jazz invites you to celebrate Valentine's Day in proper fashion with a special four-course tasting menu set to the music of Nat King Cole performed by the Paul Musso Trio. Tickets/Reservations required and you can choose between an early 5:30pm set or a late 8:30 pm set.

Postino Wine Café will have $5 glasses of Mercat Sparkling Rosé and Ioppa Rosé of Nebbiolo, from open ’til close (11 a.m. – 11 p.m.). Got a date? From 8 p.m. on, take advantage of the Tuesday night Board and Bottle special: a bruschetta board and bottle of wine for $20. It’s easily to fall in love with a deal that good!

 SONY DSC

Punch Bowl Social is a great escape from a dull night with darts, wall size scrabble, giant foosball table, ping pong, skee ball and bowling! Try out the featured February punch, Shot Through the Heart, made with Old Forester Bourbon, strawberry cinnamon shrub and Teakoe pear tea. Don’t forget to grab a photo in front of the famous I Love You wall.

Retrograde Speakeasy & Frozen Matter Ice Cream are a dynamic duo, scooping up sweet treats in front and crafting cocktails behind the freezer door in one dynamic space.  If you haven’t heard of this place yet, it’s a great date spot and they’ve made a special batch of ice cream for February. Rose Tyler has rose water, elderflower liqueur and vanilla. And/or you can get a bottle of wine or two cocktails of choice and an ice cream sundae for $45.

Vesta has been named the “Most Romantic Restaurant” or “Best Date Night” spot in Denver year and again. This year, new Executive Chef Nicholas Kayser has cooked up a menu of sure-fire romantic dishes perfect for sealing the deal along with their special craft cocktails.

Denver Is Stronger Together: Women's March 2017

Last Saturday will forever remain one of the most powerful, uplifting and hopeful experiences in my life, as I’m sure it will for an abundance of people globally. For two weeks I’ve been trying to find the right words and to form adequate sentences, to try and piece together every positive occurrence, pertaining to the largest collective, international protest the world has ever seen. Disturbed by Donald Trump and his administration's looming agenda, on Saturday January 21st, 2017, women across the world marched, however long, however far, in however many numbers, for equality, for women’s rights, for their children’s future and for our nation’s future. 

Image from: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/01/19/womens-march-against-trump-turns-global-day-action

Sister marches in large international cities such as Madrid, London, Montreal, Sydney, Dublin, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam all showed their support in large numbers. Even more awe-inspiring were the small, but still significant, protests that expanded over all seven continents. 15 women in Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, marched down a local highway and with them Kenyan citizens in the capital of Nairobi, a small fishing village in Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica, 30 people on a small expedition ship in Antarctica and my little home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. They were all among hundreds, if not thousands of Women’s Marches around the world. They stood tall with their signs and chants, holding the hands of their children, partners and friends to send a message to the world: Our voices are strong but stronger united. 

Here in Denver, I had been watching the Facebook event’s numbers grow with anticipation for weeks. I had no idea the size and attention of the protest as initially I clicked “interested” on my invite back in November. Denver’s numbers grew from 2,000 to 10,000 to Facebook’s final event numbers at almost 50,000. As we know, those numbers still don’t properly reflect the size of the attendance that day. The Denver Post is now estimating more than 100,000 women, men and children marched on our city. No wonder I couldn’t find any of my other friends! 

Rebecca Shook, 60-year-old Hawaiian resident, is the powerful initiator behind this historic movement. She was, like a many other women November 8th, 2016, devastated with the election results. She called into question if women could march on Washington on Inauguration Day as she expressed her anger and frustration on a Facebook post. With the help of her friends, she created a Facebook event. Shook was unaware of how receptive people would be to her idea. Shook’s event was shared on popular intersectional feminism, LGBT, racially and religiously inclusive secret Facebook group “Pantsuit Nation.” That got the event the media attention it needed to spark the fire. 10,000 people confirmed their attendance in less than 24 hours. Over the last couple of months, the fire traveled: Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Denver and Seattle were among the largest other U.S. cities in attendance. 

Denver’s crowd was lively and emphatic from Civic Center Park up 15th Street, Glenarm to 17th, 17th to Champa, Champa to 14th and back to Civic Center Park creating our 1.5 mile loop. All the while, our voices filled the streets and bellowed through the crowds, “Love not hate, makes America great!” “All four years, we’ll be here!” “This is what Democracy looks like!” “Her body, her choice! My body, my choice!” Police lining the streets appeared almost bored as the march was 100 percent non-violent. From local office windows and restaurants, messages and posters displaying love, equality and resistance were seen throughout the march route. One construction worker held a sign of “Peace” 10 stories high in an unfinished apartment complex as we all waved our appreciation in return. The amount of love and unity was astounding to say the least. Strangers complimented each other’s messages and art, friends and lovers shared hugs and kisses, and generations stood together, fighting for their family’s future.

Denver, I know a lot of us are hurting. A lot of us feel scared and deceived, powerless to the fate of ourselves and our nation. There’s still a lot we can do to increase and expand awareness, and to remain positive and proactive. Call and email your senators and representatives. Senator Cory Gardner, Senator Michael Bennett, House of Representatives members Ken Buck, Jared Polis, Ed Perlmutter, Scott Tipton, Mike Coffman, Mike Lamborn and Diana DeGette, have all of their contact info listed in the link below. 

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/24/how-to-contact-colorado-congressional-delegates/

Contact our state legislation and let them know what issues are important to you. 

http://www.cairco.org/legislation/colorado-legislators

Create, and/or sign petitions to express and voice your opinion on what you believe in. There are many petition websites currently: Change.org, Petitions.whitehouse.gov, iPetitions.com, act.credoaction.com, etc. 

Join one of the many peaceful protests and events happening in our great city. Check Facebook for the latest organized petitions and gatherings. Upcoming events this week include: “STOP Colorado’s 3 Anti-Choice Bills” this Thursday February 9th. Protesters will meet to voice their disapproval of the three new anti-choice bills in the Colorado General Assembly. This Saturday protesters will join at Skyline Park to show their support for Planned Parenthood outside Senator Gardner’s office in the “Colorado Stand With Planned Parenthood” event. Saturday, February 18th is the “Defend Our Constitution March” at Civic Center Park where protesters will stand united for our rights and against hatred. Also February 18th is the “One Billion Rising Denver: 2017 March & Rally” at the Denver Pavilions. One Billion Rising is a global movement to end violence against women. Monday, February 20th is the “Rally for Justice,” where you can speak up in the fight for integrity in education. 

Next month on the 25th is the “Women’s Day of Service Denver.” Volunteers can choose a daily task that contributes to the community including refugee assistance, feeding the hungry, community gardening, and helping low income women, families and youths. 
The link to register is listed below. 
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Xp-W_HGsKNniIW5taoQ7bE13wXfF7FVosV26e3psoZk

This Earth Day, April 22nd the “March for Science - Denver,” will march for evidence-based policies for the common good of the public and to include all individuals in the education and career paths of science. 

These are just a few of the organized upcoming gatherings to get involved in. Be sure to keep up with happenings in our city on your Facebook events page. 

You can also donate to organizations you care about and need your support. 

Planned Parenthood: https://secure.ppaction.org/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app20109b?df_id=12913&12913.donation=form1&s_src=Evergreen_c3_PPNonDirected_shorturl&NONCE_TOKEN=1A40821157A3B351A95453895C10B536

ACLU: 
https://action.aclu.org/secure/donate-aclu

Green Peace: https://secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app367a?df_id=3241&3241.donation=form1&s_src=header&NONCE_TOKEN=BFA6E0CE20C3A686B7CD8B705423B1EF

350.org: 
https://act.350.org/donate/build/

The Human Rights Campaign: https://give.hrc.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1954&ea.campaign.id=51848

National Immigration Law Center:
https://nilc.z2systems.com/np/clients/nilc/donation.jsp?campaign=15&

The many speakers at Denver’s rally urged us to run for office and control from within. If you or others deem your voice powerful and have good intentions, run for your local office, be a leader in your community, start an awareness group on topics you feel strongly need to be discussed and given attention to, join or create a student organization group on campus, or just spread goodness in your community. Hold open the door for the person behind you, compliment a stranger in line at the grocery store, express your appreciation to your barista when you get your morning coffee. Help others, appreciate others, empower others, praise others. Of course a lot of us already to these things in our daily lives. As Coloradans, we’re some of the kindest, compassionate and tolerant people in the nation. Keep doing good. Goodness changes attitudes. Good attitudes generate hopefulness. Spreading love and kindness with small, daily actions is the easiest way to create empathy and to spread ripples of change in your local community. Where there is empathy and compassion, things like racism, sexism and intolerance are diminished.

Whether you were a supporter of the marches or not, you can’t deny their numbers. Women of the world have come together to not only support their sisters, but also people of different races, religions and sexualities from themselves. This unity is a powerful force and one that can awaken the world to change the course of history. We’ve shown those in power that our voices will not be silenced, we are not afraid and we will not disappear. If you were as stirred by the Women’s Marches of the world as I was, hold onto that feeling–now is the time to act. If you’ve experienced fear that your rights are in danger, or sadness or outrage at the world around you, hold onto the strength you felt at the march and do not sink back into complacency. Fellow marchers, I still stride forward with you. Saturday, January 21st I was so overjoyed with unity and hope in this community. I love you, Denver. Stay awake. 


Cited Sources:

●    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/womens-march-world-cities_us_58836f38e4b096b4a231ee64
●    http://fortune.com/2017/01/21/womens-march-photos/
●    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/01/21/womens-march-on-washington-antarctica/96882184/ 
●    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/21/world/womens-march-pictures.html?_r=0
●    http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/21/14346500/women-march-world-photo
●    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/01/21/womens-march-on-washington-antarctica/96882184/
●    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/22/trump-inauguration-latest-womens-marches-held-around-the-world-in-solidarity-with-dc-demonstration.html
●    http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/01/19/womens-march-against-trump-turns-global-day-action

A Newer Generation Of Athletes Ushered In The Latest Installment of The Winter X-Games in 2017

Another edition of the Winter X Games descended upon Aspen, Colorado this past weekend. With record crowds and an abundance of some of the best musical acts around. Aspen/Snowmass was the place to be seen and heard. This edition of the games will be known for the youth movement taking over. Hailey Langland all of 16 years old became the first woman to land a cab double cork 1080 in competition. Others such as 17 year old Marcus Kleveland landed the first-ever quadruple cork in competition on the big air course. Kelly Sildaru who last year at the age of 13 became the youngest athlete to win a Gold medal was at it again as she captured her second Gold in Women's ski Slopestyle.

Some of music's best know artist also took residency as Bassnectar, Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals, and The Chainsmokers played unforgettable sets in between competitions. 

All images courtesy of Austin Voldseth (All Rights Reserved)



10 Barrel Brewing Opens with True Homage to Denver Culture

 10 BARREL BREWING - DENVER

This past weekend Denver’s favorite art district turned craft beer haven added one more brewery to the mix. 10 Barrel hails from the Pacific Northwestern town of Bend, Oregon. A well established craft beer mecca known for having fun and drinking good beer - two core values that 10 Barrel holds true to. Since inception in 2006 10 Barrel has expanded their reach to 5 different cities - San Diego, Portland, Boise, Denver, Bend. In fact, 10 Barrel Brewing was one of the first craft breweries to be purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev, back in November 2013. With the new influx of cash from AB they have been able to test limits, explore new avenues and expand to cities with a thirst for the craft.

 10 BARREL BREWING - DENVER

10 Barrel Brewing knew their target market and opened their doors this past weekend with a bash fit for a true Denver native. 10 Barrel’s Pray For Snow evening was complete with a snowy half-pipe, local musicians and an ample amount of craft beer. The half-pipe proved to be a crowd favorite as we eagerly watched amateur snow enthusiasts test out tricks, tumble, get back up and go again. The true hero of the halfpipe was the resilient boarder in the Elway jersey who despite multiple failed attempts finally landed a back-flip to the tune of many cheers from liquor coated fans.

 10 BARREL BREWING - DENVER

Despite the cold, Dragondeer, Brent Cowles and Rapidgrass kept our heartbeats up and the crowds dancing all night long. Featuring local bands was a great homage to 10 barrel’s new home in the Mile High City. If their stay in Denver is anything like their opening party, we're all for it!

Inside, the brew pub was able to hold true to their North Western roots- the steel, wood and the furniture was made by the same maker out of Bend, OR who designed 10 Barrel's original brew pub. Twenty sleek stainless steel tap handles line the length of the bar - a system that is unique to this brewery alone. The brew pub spared no expense when it came to top of the line technology, this specific location has a fully operational 20-barrel fermentation tank system at its core and a glassed-in barrel aging room that we can't wait to see. But above all of the fancy technology the brewery boasts a beautiful rooftop overlooking Denver’s Rocky Mountains. We have no doubt that the 10 Barrel Brewing pub will become a staple for brewery hoppers and sun seekers alike in the forthcoming warmer months.

 10 BARREL BREWING - DENVER

Some things to keep on your radar about the new space: The last Tuesday of every month will be donate proceeds to a specific charity - the charity rotates monthly. Learn more here! The brewery has an event space in the back that can be rented out for gatherings, work events or parties. The Denver pub will offer beers brewed by Kay that aren't available anywhere else besides this specific RiNo location. 

Cheers to expansion and welcoming our neighbors from the west. 

 10 BARREL BREWING - DENVER

10 Barrel Brewing Co's New Pub Set to Open This Saturday in True Denver Fashion

Image: Denver Post Blog

Image: Denver Post Blog

Your DIY RiNo brewery crawl just got one stop longer! Join us this Saturday, January 28th as we celebrate 10 Barrel Brewing Co's grand opening of their very anticipated pub. 

This Saturday, 10 Barrel will be shutting down the street in front of their new pub (closure on Walnut St. between 26th St. and 27th St.) to officially celebrate the Denver pub opening. They’ll have live music from local bands including Brent Cowles, Rapidgrass and Dragondeer, tons of giveaways, including a raffle going toward our charity of choice, Big City Mountaineers. If you're feeling competitive, 10 Barrel will be bringing along their beloved 10 Barrel rail jam truck offering two $300 cash prizes to the best skier and best snowboarder. 

The party is free and open to the public of all ages. Beer and food will be available for purchase.

Winter X-Games Ready To Takeover Aspen January 26-29

Jubilant fans enjoy some of the sights and sounds during X Games in Aspen, Colorado

X Games returns to Aspen, Colorado's Buttermilk Mountain from January 26-29 for the world's best action sports, music and festival experience -- on snow! All sport competitions are free and open to the public. All musical performances will take place at the stage at Buttermilk Mountain. There will be many different type of ticketing options this year see Ticketing Information Here.

Here are some of this years storylines:

Olympics: This is an Olympic qualifying year and we’ll have more than 100 Olympians competing this year including Big Air, which will be an Olympic discipline for the first time in Pyeongchang.

Rising Stars: The Next Generation of Athletes – Up and coming competitors like Chloe Kim, Kelly Sildaru, and Marcus Kleveland are all less than 20-years-old and taking the slopes (and pipe) by storm.

Local Athletes: Torin Yater-Wallace and Alex Ferreira have pushed passed the clutter in their hometown to prove themselves in the limelight.

Siblings: Darcy and Cassie Sharpe, Mark and Craig McMorris, and Arielle and Taylor Gold have all kept it in the family – with medals all the way around.

Five Years of Music: With performers Bassnectar, The Chainsmokers, Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals, and G-Eazy, this marks the fifth year of X Games music, creating a true festival experience at Buttermilk Mountain.

New Sports: This year, X Games Aspen features the first Ski Big Air at a U.S. event, snowmobile freestyle, and a Snow Bikes, a crossover discipline featuring popular Moto athletes.

Winter Wine Festival Feb 10th

Twenty Colorado wineries will gather for the second annual Winter Wine Festival this February 10th from 6-9pm at The McNichols Civic Center Building. The Festival pairs wine tastings and gourmet bites with local vendors and great music for an approachable and delicious night. Event Company Two Parts has gathered a wide range of Colorado's best wines for the Festival so guests can try everything from big, bold reds to crisp, dry whites and all that's in between! And staff from the wineries will be available to tell you all about their vineyards, grapes, wines, and can even sell you a bottle to take home right then and there.

Tickets are on sale for $50 and includes unlimited pours, small bites, wine tote and commemorative glass. Last year’s event sold out, but this year's location at the McNichols Civic Center Building will provide more room for attendees and vendors, about 700 tickets are available this year! Ticket sales benefit the Colorado Association of Viticulture and Enology (CAVE), Colorado’s only trade non-profit that supports the wine and grape growing industry. This event is also sponsored by the Grand Junction Visitors Bureau, to support wine tourism in Colorado. It's always more rewarding to drink to a good cause, so don't miss out this year on all the great wines, bites, music and fun. 

Fresh Noise, a funky, jazzy collaboration between vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Joseph Lamar and keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Mikey Smith will be performing during the festival. The local restaurants and vendors will be announced as the event gets closer. The Colorado wine scene is growing and this event is a great way to sample everything that Colorado has to offer and grow your own repertoire on the fancy grape drink. Cheers~

Allis Ranch Winery
Augustina's Winery
Avanti Winery
Balistreri Vineyards
Bijou Creek Winery
Black Arts Cellars
Black Forest Meadery
Bookcliff Vineyards
Byerscellars Wines
C Squared Ciders
Carlson Vineyards
Catriona Cellars
Climb Hard Cider
Colorado Cellars/Rocky Mountain Vineyards
Colorado Cider Company
Cottonwood Cellars/The Olathe Winery
Creekside Cellars
DeBeque Canyon Winery
Decadent Saint Winery

https://www.twoparts.com/event/winter-wine-festival-2017/

Blue Moon Brewery Surprises with Sophisticated Beer Pairing Dinner

Craft beer snobs often turn their nose up at breweries associated with non-craft brewers and I have to say walking into the MillerCoors owned Blue Moon Brewery I was a little sceptical. However, the mood changed instantly as I was approached with a smiling face and a tall glass of ice cold Blue Moon wit, nothing can appease scepticism like a tasty beer. Immediately the group was whisked away by none other than head brewmaster John Legnard for a quick tour around the new brewing facility. Now I’ve been on more then my fair share of brewery tours, so I will spare you the details of the brewing process, but what became apparent during this tour was that Blue Moon had a brewer behind it that possessed the passion and knowledge to overcome some of that big brewery stigma. 

John Legnard got his start in craft brewing working around some of the now craft brewing giants of Fort Collins, Colorado. As a student at Colorado State University, John decided to brew beer for his chemistry final on fermentation. While his fellow students first eyed him warily as he brought this beat up jug of brown liquid into the room and told them to drink it, their eyes lit up as they tasted John’s first craft beer and from then he was hooked. Working in brewing for 10 years up in Fort Collins, when John heard of the opportunity to work for a small brewery attached to Coors Field he lept at the chance. From there the “Sandlot Brewery” as it was originally called created what we now know as Blue Moon Belgian White. After 10 years in the small facility it was time for an expansion and the ability to have a brewery that could focus on experimenting not just with beer, but with a good menu as well, thus the new Blue Moon Brewery RiNo was conceived.

We were ushered into a beautiful serving room, enclosed by glass so we could look upon the brewing equipment. John began leading us through the food and beer pairing. Legnard provided a brief description of both the beer and the food, stating that brevity was his prerogative because he wanted us, the tasters, to be able to form our own opinions. One thing he did highlight was the three “C”s of beer pairing, compliment, contrast, and cut and continued with that concept over the course of the evening. Here was the menu for the evening and my thoughts on it.

Course 1 - Polentina Paired with Saison    
This spicey and banana-clove heavy saison was considered a “compliment” to the polentina. A polentina, if you aren’t familiar, is a corn porridge that incorporates thin slices of polenta to thicken the texture. While not bursting with flavor, the polentina brought out spicey, fruit notes of the saison and was consistent with the texture of the soup since it is an unfiltered beer. 

Course 2 - Harissa Shrimp with Israeli Couscous Paired with Mango Wheat
The Mango Wheat was hands down my favorite beer of the night. I am definitely a fan of fruit beer, but it can often be difficult to find one that isn’t going to sucker punch you with a sugary bite. When John discussed the brewing process for this it beer it included over 8 pounds of mango puree in every keg. Yum! This beer has a very powerful mango aroma and taste, but with an IBU count of 18 it finished with a balanced hop flavor. This beer helped cut the spiciness of the harissa shrimp. The harissa sauce had a smokey chile flavor with hints of garlic and cumin. The shrimp, on a bed of couscous captured the full essence of a Mediterranean meal.

Course 3 - Roast Tenderloin with Smoky Sauce Paired with Smoked Porter
This beer was the only barrel aged beers that we tried over the course of the evening and I have to say I am looking forward to drinking more of their barrel aged line. John discussed how smokiness, which used to be prevalent in brewing in the past because of the use of wood burning stoves, has been somewhat lost in the age of steel and natural gas. This beer was brewed with the thought of returning to those smokey roots. The porter was pretty complimentary to the perfectly cooked roast tenderloin. Every tender bite was more unbelievable then the next. Hard to describe something that was so good, so I suggest to just go and try it for yourself!

Course 4 - Burnt Caramel Pudding Paired with Hogshead Collaboration Foreign Stout
Hogshead Brewery is known for their cask style beer, or a beer that is unfiltered and served without any additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure. While this collaboration stout was not a cask ale, it was very apparent that Hogshead had a hand in making this one. Smooth and drinkable this stout had a balanced flavor profile not often found in stouts. Like creme brûlée but was better, the caramel pudding was topped with dark chocolate shaves, whip creme, and a churro and was indulgent. The burnt quality to the pudding complimented the stout. This dessert was the perfect end to a perfect beer paired dinner.

While it may be personally difficult to give a MillerCoors owned brewery a nod of recognition, it is clear that under the brewing leadership of John Legnard creativity, uniqueness, and flavorful beers are going to continue to flow from Blue Moon Brewing’s tap handles. 

Zoe Lanterman

La Güera | High End Eats Meet Low Prices

You probably know by now the Ultra5280 staff loves tacos and that we also love delicious but affordable food. While there are many great places in Denver for tasty tacos, mile high nachos, and cheesy quesadillas, there aren’t as many that serve it in style and at a great price.

 LA GUERA - DENVER

This Mexican beauty is internationally known chef-restaurant owner Richard Sandoval’s newest culinary venue, La Güera. It’s styled as a casual gastro-cantina with an order up counter by day, perfect for short lunch breaks, but transforms come 5pm into a more swanky, sit down, full-service restaurant. However, no matter the time from 11am-11pm the affordable, a la carte menu remains. The prices get even better between 3-7pm Monday through Friday during Happy Hour though, when you can get the quesadillas, nachos, tacos, margaritas, beers and wine for a fine $4!

Starters at La Güera include Crispy Bacon Guacamole and Tortilla Soup, which we had to try. The bacon guacamole is fully loaded with bacon crumbles, onion, pico de gallo, cilantro and cotija cheese, to the point where every one of those ingredients are in each scoop you take. The Tortilla Soup was thick, flavorful and not spicy, which really surprised us that it didn’t have cream added. Instead it was all just hearty, healthy chilies! Taking the soup to the next level is shredded chicken, avocado chunks, crema fresca and tiny tortilla strips. This soup is a must get, and for $3 I seriously don’t know where you could find a better soup, at this size, at this price. Really, I’ve been on a soup hunt since our first dusting of snow. 

Antojitos are the main courses here and display the inventive cuisine for which Sandoval has become famous, yet in the form of favorites you crave when heading to a Mexican restaurant. You’ll find Carne Asada Sopes, Chicken Flautas, Enchiladas, Nachos and seven types of tacos.  We tried the veggie taco with roasted peppers, guacamole, and smoky seasoned pumpkin seeds. It was a delicious dish with winter warming flavors. The chicken enchilada was also good, but not drenched in a red or green sauce like you usually see. Instead it had pickled chilies and a light dollop of sour cream, cheese and salsa on top. The chicken flautas were also tasty and topped with chopped romaine and pico de gallo that added some healthy freshness to chicken wrapped in a deep fried shell. We also thought it important to try one of the less traditional Mexican dishes on the menu, perhaps a Sandoval original, the Tlayudas. This was described as a Mexican pizza, and while it comes close in appearance it’s very different in taste. Instead of dough it has a crispy, thin corn base then bean puree is spread on and topped with Oaxaca cheese, pico, salsa, and avocado. You can also add on spicy shrimp, chapulines, or chorizo. Sandoval displays his creative talent yet again with this Mexican pizza.

While at first glance the menu may seem small, that’s really just the size of the paper fooling you. The menu covers all the bases and leaves room for the sweet stuff with a couple of homemade desserts and Aguas frescas, Café, cocktails, craft beers, wine and more than 200 tequilas! And if all this isn’t reason enough to go, the interior ambiance of the place is really inviting, comfortable and fun. Inspired by the streets of Mexico, La Güera features hand painted murals from local artists, Mexican blankets on the booths, and other thoughtful touches. All of these qualities were important to Sandoval in creating La Güera as a place people could come to relax and transport themselves away from their busy days, whether it just be for quick lunch or for a leisurely dinner or drinks with friends. We definitely recommend you go try La Güera, as it offers many great eats one would find at a refined Mexican restaurant with ambiance to match, but with prices you’d expect at a hole in the wall. Viva los tacos!

 LA GUERA - DENVER

http://www.richardsandoval.com/laguera/

Tiffany Candelaria

DCPA's "A Christmas Carol" | A Classic for All Ages

The holiday season is here, the time of year where we celebrate with friends and family, drink champagne and eggnog, and see the city covered in twinkly lights! There are so many delightful things about the holidays, which for some include listening to Christmas music, watching holiday movies, or seeing “The Nutcracker” or “A Christmas Carol” performed for the twentieth time. In fact, this is the 24th season for Charles Dickens’ famous story “A Christmas Carol” at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) Theater Company, that was first published December of 1843. It has managed to really stand the test of time thanks to the Theater Company’s diligent work and because the story’s themes still ring true to both children and adults today.

Over the years the DCPA production has gone through many changes, some big like venue spaces, sets, and script, and many small changes to keep the audience interested and entertained, and they do a great job (watch out for that trap door!). This year marks a couple of noteworthy changes with a new director, Melissa Anderson and a new main actor as Scrooge. Sam Gregory now plays Scrooge after having played six other roles in this production and is 26 years younger than the past years’ Scrooge. This younger Scrooge brings new life into the character and the story’s message can live longer through Scrooge now that he is younger when he learns his lessons. However, despite age, Gregory says, “We want to focus on the fact that this is a really incredible play about redemption and how anyone can be redeemed and can change at any age into a better human being.”

Gregory does a great job in his new role portraying the grumpy, greedy businessman and then slowly shows the audience signs his cold heart is melting as the Ghosts of Christmases past take Scrooge moment by moment through events of his life. By the time the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his likely future, Scrooge/Gregory has displayed a whole array of emotions on stage. By Christmas morning (spoiler alert) Scrooge is a changed man and he sets out to change the lives of his fellow townspeople for the better as well! Gregory is a dynamic actor who, alongside a fantastic cast of characters dressed in exquisitely crafted classic costumes, makes this show a worthy tradition of Christmases past and Christmases yet to come.

“A Christmas Carol” plays through December 24th at the DCPA’s Stage Theater with multiple show times and is great for all ages. There are a few startling parts, and ghosts, so if you’re bringing young children I don’t recommend sitting too close to the stage. . . you’ll see!

By Charles Dickens. Adapted by Richard Hellesen. Music by David de Berry. Directed by Melissa Anderson. Runs approximately 2 hours, plus a 15 min intermission.

https://www.denvercenter.org/shows/specific-series/Get?Id=de96942d-2f07-401c-8622-ad726f693b4f

Reviewed by Tiffany Candelaria