Denver Comic Con Returned To The Mile High City For Another Amazing Weekend

Denver Comic Con arrived back in Denver with a slew of characters. (Photo: Jason Pendleton)

The comic con scene is alive and well in Denver nowadays. Denver Comic Con continues to grow exponentially year after year with bigger crowds and more importantly bigger guest celebrities. This year was no exception.

This year boasted the likes of childhood heroes of mine such as Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy of Sixteen Candles fame. Val Kilmer was in attendance, Mr. Iceman himself. A who's who of current television stars such as Jason Momoa (Justice League and Game of Thrones), David Harbour of recent Stranger Things fame and Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy). The list goes on and on.

This year's crowds seemed on par with last years  in terms of numbers. Vendors still maintained their strong threshold with a vast opportunity to get your collectables. With 3 Main Events stages, 25 session rooms, and almost 750 hours of celebrity Q&As, panels, workshops and demos there wasn't a dull moment at this years con. There was something to keep you busy all three days.

Lot's of time and dedication went into this years cosplays. (Photo: Jason Pendleton)

The amount of hours people put into their cosplays this year did not go unnoticed, vast amounts of different array of costumes adorned the convention hall, from your usual Star Wars and Dr. Who to more intricate costumes from the world of anime and comic books.

Photo Gallery: Jason Pendleton

This years attractions such as Opening Night, Celebrity Summit, Artist Valley and Booktopia provided guest unique and one of a kind experiences. It is these experiences that people love to come to and participate in.

The Riverdale panel with KJ Apa, Skeet Ulrich and Molly Ringwald. (Photo: Austin Voldseth)

This years panels were a big hit. (Photo: Austin Voldseth)

Photo Gallery: Austin Voldseth

Top Taco | Showcase of the Best Tacos in Denver

Once a year when summer finally starts, Top Taco takes Denver as the largest taco and tequila festival. In its fifth year, over 60 local restaurants participate in serving up hundreds of their top tacos and cocktails to hungry Denverites. The event has grown into a large-scale taco and tequila extravaganza with two live music stages, lucha libre wresting, lounge areas, lots of giveaways from the booths and vendors, and some of the best chefs and mixologists in Denver. Be sure to scroll the gallery below.

A ticket provides guests unlimited tacos and drink samples, and there are over 50 brands of tequila and other spirits served straight and/or in cocktail form to get you every penny’s worth of your ticket price. There’s also plenty of water and other non-boozy beverages available to keep you in check, in fact, this festival wins for best water stations and tasting trays of any foodie festival I’ve been to. There were large coolers set up around the grounds full of ice and water bottles, and I never saw them run low. Everyone receives a tray upon entry, and they were properly sized, made of sturdy plastic, and had a great built in cup holder. These trays let you fit a few tacos, a cocktail, and a shot on your tray before retreating to eat.

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While we’ll get to the judge’s choice and people’s choice winners, we want to tell you which tacos and cocktails we thought were standouts! If you’re game for rabbit, you’ve got to try the rabbit taco with crunchy potato from Lola Coastal Mexican. I actually went back for another later in the night and one of their bright hibiscus margaritas. The Edge Steakhouse served a high-end steak taco with bacon that was so flavorful and juicy. Their thyme infused margarita was also one of our favorites because it had a nice balance of flavors and wasn’t overly sweet like many of the other drinks we tried. For Most Creative, Range served a Mediterranean style taco on a pita with taziki and radish. For the Traditional taco category our favorites were Adelitas Cocina, Comida, Que Bueno Suerte and Uno Mas Taqueria.

Now for the Judges and People’s Choice winners, and these may have been the best, but apparently we didn’t make it to the winning taco tables – there was just so much to do, and drink, and eat!! For Traditional Taco Los Dos Potrillos Mexican Restaurant took first place from the judges, but Adobo Food Truck won People’s Choice. Necio Latin Eatery won Judge’s Best Creative Taco and Dos Santos won their Best Vegetarian vote. The Top Cocktail winner was from Former Saint (inside Hyatt Regency), Los Chingones took second, and in third place was Los Dos Potrillos Mexican Restaurant (they also won best traditional taco).

Just like Top Taco festival, Denver has a ton of taco restaurants that deserve a visit. Tacos are cheap (usually), so go out and eat and find your favorites. Top Taco 2018 supported Denver Urban Scholars, a non-profit service organization, that partners with high poverty, high performing schools to unlock the potential of students facing added challenges by creating individual pathways to career and college.

Written by Tiffany Candelaria     Photos by Bridget Burnett

Bonanno Opens 16-Venue Marketplace Downtown

Acclaimed Denver Chef Frank Bonanno has created his most ambitious venture yet, bringing together sixteen individual local dining and imbibing concepts under one roof in the new Dairy Block development on Wazee and 18th Avenue. The aptly named Denver Milk Market opens June 1st - a century after the Windsor Dairy first opened in the same location. As Bonanno tells us, just as Windsor Dairy nourished the community with its dairy products, we strive to do the same with a focus on family, community and a love of celebration within our doors.” His dedication to the community is also evident in his decision to donate one percent of all sales at DMM to the neurology department at Children's Hospital Colorado. and we have the insider sneak peek of all the delicious eats and drinks you'll find inside this lovely 18,000 square foot marketplace.

Guests can grab pastries and coffee in the morning; enjoy a freshly chopped salad or hot sandwich for lunch; meet friends and colleagues for evening cocktails; and pick-up fresh meat, seafood and house-made pasta by-the-pound to enjoy at home. Bananno tells us, "Each concept is rooted in a family member, a favorite trip, or favorite dining experience, so the design is not only meant to be engaging and fun for the guest, but is also a love note to every memory that each space represents." Below are the 16 carefully crafted concepts and what you can expect at each:

Morning Jones:  Coffee and nitrogenized oat milk and almond milk lattes; hot chocolate on tap; and pastries. For convenient grab-and-go, Morning Jones features a walk-up window in the Dairy Block alleyway!

Bao Chica Bao: Celebrates the cloud-like and perfectly steamed bao buns that have been a neighborhood favorite at Capitol Hill restaurant Bones. The venue is one of only two U.S. restaurants to serve jelly beer, a popular drink in Thailand that’s likened to a beer slushie. A walk-up window in Dairy Block’s activated alley allows for quick grab-and-go.

MOO Bar: Adorned with a one-of-a-kind chandelier that speaks to the space’s former life as a dairy, MOO Bar is the striking centerpiece of Denver Milk Market that serves up craft cocktails, beer and wine. Many of Bonanno’s greatest boozy hits appear on the menu, made using house-made bitters and syrups.

Lou’s Hot|Naked: A Denver favorite has been resurrected! Fans of Lou’s can expect the same juicy and spicy Nashville Hot Chicken that made their former Sunnyside neighborhood joint famous. 

Stranded Pilgrim: Offers guests an all-Colorado list of brews previously only available at brewers’ taprooms. “Frank’s Honey Blonde” – brewed exclusively for Denver Milk Market by Great Divide Brewing Company – is a nod to Frank’s wife and partner, Jacqueline, and is only available here.

Albina by the Sea: A tribute to Frank’s grandmother, whose cooking inspired him as a child, offers seafood favorites like crab cakes and lobster rolls, along with fresh fish, house-made cocktail sauce and other necessities to create a seafood feast at home.

The Green Huntsman: For lighter fare, guests will find freshly chopped and perfectly dressed salads at The Green Huntsman, in addition to house-made drinking vinegar and nitrogenized green tea.

Mano Pastaria: Mano, meaning “hand” in Italian, features quintessential hand-rolled pastas to enjoy at Denver Milk Market or at home. Pastas and sauces are available for purchase by the pound, as well as antipasti and pizza dough from neighboring Bonanno Brothers Pizza. 

Bonanno Brothers Pizza: Named after Frank’s two sons, Luca and Marco, Bonanno Brothers Pizzeria celebrates decades, and generations, of Bonannos crafting delicious, freshly-spun pizza.  

Ruth’s Butchery: A one-stop-shop for the best meats, Ruth’s Butchery is a tribute to his wife Jacqueline’s grandmother, who famously made the best hamburger around. Guests can try it and a selection of other hot sandwiches here.

S&G Salumeria: After 15 years of perfecting cured meats, S&G Salumeria offers Frank’s expertly house-cured meats, as well as house-made and imported artisan cheeses. Guests can observe as fresh mozzarella and burrata are crafted behind the counter, while enjoying a sandwich made popular at Denver Highlands’ neighborhood restaurant, Salt & Grinder.

MoPoke: Offers the ultimate Hawaiian experience, with fresh fish over rice, and the perfect accoutrements to transport taste buds to the islands.   

Cellar: Cellar allows guests the unique opportunity to purchase a bottle of wine from a carefully curated selection and bring the opened bottle with them through the Market. Wine is also available by the glass.  

Fem: With just three ingredients (flour, eggs and milk), Fem turns out simple, yet seriously tasty crepes.  

Cornicello: Cornicello transports guests to the streets of Rome with deliciously indulgent gelato, boozy milkshakes, soft serve and other delicious dairy treats. The creamery also features a walk-up window in Dairy Block’s alleyway, ideal for warm summer evenings.

Engine Room: Open late and the perfect way to end a night out, Engine Room serves up delicious New York-style slices and Sicilian pies from the walk-up window located directly on Dairy Block’s activated alley, on 19th Street.

To celebrate the opening, Denver Milk Market is offering a variety of activations Friday, June 1 through Sunday, June 3, many of which are free and open to the public. Events will include yard games in the Dairy Block Alley, photo booths, a Rockies Rally Happy Hour with cocktail and beer specials, community yoga, a violinist brunch and more. For a full list of events, visit DMM’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/denvermilkmarket/

For more information, please visit http://dairyblock.com.

Photos by Robert Castro

Surf & Turf in Style at Ocean Prime

If you’re looking for a great date restaurant or just a great meal, you can’t go wrong on Larimer Square in Denver. We treated ourselves to a scrumptious Sunday Surf & Turf dinner at Ocean Prime on Larimer Square last week and want to show and tell you why you’ll want to treat yourself to their fabulous food.  First off, this is an award-winning modern American restaurant from renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. They always source the highest quality ingredients available and use simple, pure, local and regional flavors on the made from scratch menu. Seafood is selected and flown in daily for freshness and the steaks include USDA Prime cuts and are aged for maximum tenderness and flavor.

 Surf & Turf Appetizer

Surf & Turf Appetizer

Ocean Prime’s new menu addition features a Sunday night Surf & Turf special for $55 that includes a soup or salad, an 8oz filet, a choice of shrimp scampi, crab cake, or sea scallops, and a side dish. We chose, with some help from Chef Julia, the house salad, a side of jalapeno au gratin, and the shrimp. The salad was bright and crisp with candied walnuts, apple slices, and a perfect coating of slightly sweet, slightly acidic Sherry mustard vinaigrette. The filet and shrimp were succulent and full of flavor. Our side of jalapeno au gratin was so deliciously decadent we had to resist eating all of it to save room for our smoked Gouda tater tots and pea risotto (below). To top off the Sunday special, bottles of wine from their Wine Spectator award-winning wine list are half off!

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The other Surf & Turf entrée on the menu is available seven days a week and features an 8oz filet and poached lobster draped in a bright Béarnaise sauce, atop a crispy hash brown cake and sautéed spinach. This dish was a decadent deal for $60 and brought together the robust but refined flavors of their steak and crispy potatoes, alongside the lighter lobster and seared spinach. These Surf & Turf entrees are the best way to go if you want the best of both worlds, and at a restaurant like Ocean Prime we recommend you try both worlds.

 Surf & Turf Daily Entree

Surf & Turf Daily Entree

Another great way to do this is by ordering their smaller in scale and much smaller in price Surf & Turf appetizer. In this dish you’ll enjoy two perfectly seared, soft supple pillows of sea scallops along with the best short ribs, they’d surely been simmering all day. Hints of parsley, a rich short rib reduction, and creamy mashed potatoes round out this exquisitely executed Surf & Turf sampling.

If you decide not to go the Surf & Turf route there are plenty of other options: sushi, raw bar, salads, seafood, chicken, chops, and a handful of prime cut steaks and sides. Some of Chef Julia’s favorite menu items include the Alaskan Halibut feature; the Teriyaki Salmon and the Chilean Sea bass are fantastic she says, and two of the most popular dishes; and the Prime New York Strip steak has great marbling & flavor.

I highly doubt you’ll be able to share a starter and eat your entire entrée with sides and still have room for dessert, so you’ll want to make sure you pace yourself because their desserts are exquisite. They include chocolate cake with ice cream, a mile high carrot cake, a chocolate peanut butter pie, crème brulee, sorbet, and this amazing creation pictured below named the warm butter cake. We blissfully breezed through the whole cake, ice cream, berries and all; even the non-dessert eaters thought it was heavenly.

https://www.ocean-prime.com/

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Words by Tiffany Candelaria    Photos by Josh Stephens

New this June at Denver's Longest-Running Block Party | People's Fair

People’s Fair Art & Music Festival is Denver’s largest and longest-running block party, which celebrates its 47th year at Civic Center Park, June 1-3, 2018. People’s Fair celebrates the best of the Mile High City, including music; culture; fitness; food and beverage; fine art; and a makers’ marketplace produced in partnership with Denver Flea.

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They are kicking things off Friday, June 1. with a featured concert from MAX, who's current hit, “Lights Down Low,” ft. gnash, hit number one on Billboard’s Emerging Artists and Adult Pop Songs charts earlier this year. A variety of free concerts will follow MAX’s performance throughout the weekend: a full day of bluegrass performances on the festival’s main stage on Saturday, June 2, featuring Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs, Turkeyfoot, Lonesome Days, Kitchen Dwellers, and Trout Steak Revival. Sunday, June 3, Moon Taxi will make their only Colorado appearance this summer at 4:30 pm, with The Other Black  opening for them at 3 pm. Additional live entertainment will showcase an eclectic range of Denver talent, including performances from Dazzling Divas Drag Show, Colorado Mestizo Dancers, and dance groups performing everything from ballet to belly dancing!

The Mural Project is back this year, a live art competition in which teams of young, local artists paint murals onsite during the festival. Many teams return to the Mural Project year after year, allowing attendees to witness transformations in the up-and-coming artists, who develop positive self-expression, time management, critical thinking and more through participating in the project. There is also a fine art show featuring more than 100 artists, beer & wine garden, a variety of fitness vendors, fitness-oriented events, such as free community yoga classes courtesy of CorePower Yoga, hosted at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday on the main stage. New this year, the “Outdoor Adventure Fest” will invite attendees to experience the Colorado outdoors in the heart of the city, with a climbing wall, a kayak pool, goat yoga and more.

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In addition to highlighting the unique communities found in every corner of Denver, People’s Fair raises funds for nonprofit organizations. The event primarily benefits Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, although all of the beverage booths at the festival are staffed by volunteers from various nonprofit organizations, who raise funds via tips received at their bars. 2018 community partners include Project Angel Heart and Colorado Gay Rodeo Association.


Reserve VIP tickets, your free yoga ticket, or $5 general admission ticket to MAX at  https://peoplesfair.com/tickets/

Photos by Ryan Cox

The Summer Passport Has Arrived

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Whether you’re looking for a place to enjoy patio weather, a new date night spot, or the perfect after-work libation, The Summer Passport has you covered. The Denver Passport Summer Edition is a pocket-sized book filled with 2-for-1 drink specials from the city’s best establishments. This Summer Edition will feature 66 establishments and also includes a spotlight on a few of the best pizza spots around town.

“For our sixth summer we compiled a list of the 66 best bars and restaurants Denver has to offer,” said Amy Osgood, director of The Passport Program. “We’re featuring Frank Bonanno’s not-yet-opened Moo Bar in the Milk Market, while also not forgetting about his other concept Luca and its frozen Aperol Spritzes. We’re including James Beard award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski’s newest concept Ultreia, as well as the nationally anticipated American Bonded. And making its first appearance in the Denver Passport is the beloved El Chapultepec, which will offer 2-for-1 ‘jazz-themed-cocktails.’ Also new this year, one can get 2-for-1 slices at Marquis Pizza and Sexy Pizza, because who doesn’t love pizza!”

Curated with the mission of highlighting the city’s best drinking destinations, The Passport Program encourages locals and visitors alike to explore different cities and regions via 2-for-1 craft beverages. The Passport’s various seasonal programs feature pocket-sized field guides that are designed to spark adventure, as well as support local establishments and non-profits. From tried-and-true local favorites to newly opened hot spots, this Summer Edition Passport helps narrow these options down while also providing extra incentive, a complimentary drink, to make going out that much easier—and more fun.
 
Participating bars and restaurants: Ace Eat Serve, Aloy Modern Thai, Alternation Brewing Co., American Bonded, Angelo’s Taverna, Banded Oak Brewing Co., Bar Fausto, Bear Creek Distillery, Bellwether, Bistro Vendôme, Block & Larder, Brazen Neighborhood Eatery, Copper Lounge, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Deep Roots Winery & Bistro, Denver Distillery, Dio Mio, El Chapultepec, Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen, FERMÆNTRA, Fish N Beer, Fort Greene Bar, French 75, Great Divide Brewing Co., Hudson Hill, Illegal Pete’s, Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, Kachina, Leña, Leopold Bros., Lola Coastal Mexican, LOW Country Kitchen, Lowry Beer Garden, Luca, Middleman, MOO Bar at Milk Market, North County, Odell Brewing Co.’s RiNo Brewhouse, Ophelia's Electric Soapbox, Oskar Blues’ Black Buzzard, Park Burger, Punch Bowl Social, Ratio Beerworks, Root Down, Sarto’s, Seedstock Brewery, Skyline Beer Garden, Spangalang Brewery, Stem Ciders, Steuben’s Uptown, Stoic & Genuine, Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, Tacos Tequila Whiskey, Tatarian, the ART, The Family Jones, The Post Brewing Co., The Way Back, there …, TRVE Brewing Co., Ultreia, Upstairs Circus, Vesper Lounge, Vital Root, Woods Boss Brewing Co. and Zeppelin Station.
 
Participating pizza locations: Marquis Pizza and Sexy Pizza

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The Passport Program Summer Edition is a proud supporter of the Colorado Restaurant Association's Angel Relief Fund. A portion of Passport sales in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and the Mountains support the Angel Relief Fund's mission of helping hospitality professionals recover from the unexpected by offering emergency assistance grants to those facing an unanticipated hardship such as: accident, illness, injury, death of an immediate family member, or natural disaster. To learn more, please visit angelrelieffund.com.

In addition, to celebrate all the good things teachers do year-round, The Passport Program is setting up its own Summer Passport Scholarship. The first 1,000 teachers that apply, in each city, will receive a free Summer Edition Passport. Teachers can apply here.
 
The Denver Passport Summer Edition is valid from May 25th through September 3rd. Passports go on sale on May 15 at 10:00 a.m. MST for $25. To purchase, visit ThePassportProgram.com.

Cultures Collide to Make Familiar Dishes New Creations at Mister Tuna

With a new Executive Chef and a new season comes a new menu for Troy Guard’s Mister Tuna restaurant. We will highlight a few of the great new dishes you'll want to try this Summer, and point out a few house favorites that have carried over. The new Executive Chef, Tristen Epps, relocated from Brooklyn to Denver last year and took over the kitchen at Mister Tuna in February. Having grown up in the Southeast where BBQ is popular, combined with his travels through Asia, Chef Epps unites the flavors of these two distinct cultures into dishes that may appear familiar, but taste completely original.

 Ancient Grain XO Spaghetti

Ancient Grain XO Spaghetti

Mister Tuna opened about two years ago and was inspired by creator/owner Troy Guard's childhood days in Hawaii where his dad, known as Mister Tuna, cooked meals over a grill in their backyard. The new menu combines Guard's Hawaiian history and Chef Epps Southeaster and Asian experiences. Together they have created a marvelous menu with many different flavors, ingredients, and creative combinations. The menu offers Raw Bar selections, many Shared Plates, and a handful of large Entrees meant for sharing. The whole menu in fact was crafted with the intention of sharing a meal, sharing an experience, and enjoying the flavors together with the friends or family at the table with you.

The wood fired grill is a central component here and works alongside the rotisserie that spins everything from local game to whole heritage hogs. This method showcases a style of cooking that brings people together in “Ohana”, the Hawaiian concept for family.

 Bison Tongue Toast

Bison Tongue Toast

To start, the Oak Grilled English Peas are a fun and flavorful appetizer for the table. They mimic Edamame but with an entirely different flavor that comes from charring them right on the coals and seasoning with yuzu black pepper butter. The other appetizer we shared was their popular Bison Tongue Toast. The bison in this dish is brined for two weeks then cooked for a whole day to become bison pastrami. This delicacy sits atop a house made bread, Fontina cheese sandwich garnished with pickled spicy radish. This shared plate, along with the Charred Barbeque Octopus, are two of the most popular new dishes on the menu. Two longstanding favorites of Chef Guard's that remain on the menu are the broccolini, speck Gnocchi and his Roti Tacos.

Two larger standouts we tried and recommend are the Ancient Grain Spaghetti and the Smoked Cauliflower Agnolotti. While both are pasta dishes, they tasted far from Italian, especially the Spaghetti, which Chef Epps said he calls "Faux Soba". The bolognese sauce he makes is slightly creamy, but uses Asian flavors and XO sauce, simmered shrimp, smoked eggplant, and specked with Speck (cured pork). The Spaghetti is handmade with ancient grains, has the perfect amount of creamy XO sauce, and is all topped with sautéed bok choy and crispy fried shallots - what a wonderful cultural mash up!

The Smoked Cauliflower Agnolotti is similar to ravioli and is stuffed with smooth pureed cauliflower and potato. A house made calabrian chili oil, which is a spicy, mildly sweet Italian chili, surrounds the pasta pillows and provides a zesty punch. Living local greens, buffalo burrata and charred cauliflower decorate this delicious dish.

 Hanger Steak

Hanger Steak

If you still have room to order an entrée after all the scrumptious shared plates, you can choose between Hawaiian Fish in coconut curry, Rotisserie Pork Collar, and Hanger Steak with their incredibly unique potatoes (gnocchi meets sponge cake gets baked, then deep fried). There’s also a Lamb Ribeye, Halibut, and Fried Rice. You can enjoy the entire menu or just a cocktail at the interactive Chef's counter, the raw and preservation (pickling) bar, the cocktail lounge, or their large outdoor patio. Mister Tuna provides plenty of spaces to match your mood and plenty of eats to please your palate.

https://www.mistertuna.com/

Words by Tiffany Candelaria

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Steuben's | Comfort Food with Some Twists

Featured on national TV shows including “Food Paradise” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”, Steuben’s is a local Denver restaurant serving regional comfort food at its finest. It’s is named after a famous Boston restaurant that owner Josh Wolkon’s Great Uncles, Max and Joe, opened in 1945. Hosting Big Band, Jazz, and Swing groups, Steuben’s was once the center of the Boston dining and nightlife scene. Today, the Steuben’s in Denver and Arvada are known for their casual diner vibe and home cooking.

 The Rock n' Rye, the Zombie cocktail and Falafel, Pita Platter

The Rock n' Rye, the Zombie cocktail and Falafel, Pita Platter

The menu here isn’t typical diner fare however; there are all kinds of options from healthy to hardy, grilled to fried, vegetarian and pescatarian dishes. To start we had a Hummus, Falafel & Pita appetizer that was fresh and filling. Next, we wanted to try their Lobster Roll because it seemed a surprising dish to see on Steuben’s menu alongside all the decadent comfort food like burgers, six-cheese mac and cheese, and fried chicken.

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On that note, we did try out their mac and cheese and fried chicken because that’s what they’re known for. Their 4-piece buttermilk brined chicken was everything fried chicken should be, served with mashed potatoes, a biscuit, and a dish of chicken gravy. They also have a Nashville Hot version on the menu, both only $17. We ordered sides of the six-cheese béchamel mac and cheese and the Crispy Brussels, which were both extremely satisfying sides.

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Steuben’s has a whole host of sandwiches as well, like the Cubano, the Monte Cristo, Crispy Fish, and Cheesesteaks. After eating the Lobster Roll, we realized it is comfort food after all, packed full of luscious lobster tossed in a mayo-pickle mixture and placed atop a very tasty, griddled New England split-top roll with a side of crispy fries.

Steuben’s is also known to have delicious desserts; we recommend the lovely and light Lemon Icebox Bar and the chocolaty mousse Mississippi Mud Pie. We also managed to save some room for their homemade ice cream. They just debuted a brand new ice cream sundae, called Muddy Buddy, chosen from tons of online submissions. It’s got little Chex Mix “muddy buddies,” perhaps you know it as “puppy chow”, sprinkled on top with chocolate sauce and peanut butter. You can also get it, or any of their ice creams as a milk shake or malt – excellent alongside their classic burgers.

 Lemon Icebox Bar

Lemon Icebox Bar

Speaking of burgers, from 10pm – close you can get one of their burgers, with fries and a beer for only $7! It’s called the Lucky 7 Happy Hour where you lucky late nighters can choose from a burger, grilled cheese, falafel sandwich, or 2-piece fried chicken for only $7 and it’s served with fries and a Genesee Lager!  Whether you come to Steuben’s for the comfort food, delicious drinks, or a tasty treat, you’ll walk away happy and full for a nice price.

https://www.steubens.com/

Words by Tiffany Candelaria      Photos by Robert Castro

 Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll

BRECKENRIDGE BREWERY RELEASES THE 2018 OFFICIAL COMIC CON BEER “RAZZNAROK”

Launch Party to Take Place Thursday, May 17th at Stoney's Bar and Grill

WHO:  Breckenridge Brewery and Denver Comic Con (DCC) will officially launch the 2018 Comic Con Beer, RAZZNAROK, on May 17th at Stoney's Bar and Grill with live music, games, cosplay, and the first of many collectible pint glass giveaways. The beer’s name was the winner of the annual “Name the Denver Comic Con Beer” contest which beat out more than 800 submissions during the online contest. RAZZNAROK was inspired by the widely popular 2017 Marvel Comic book film: Thor: Ragnarok.

The 2018 DCC beer is a Belgian style witbier brewed with fresh raspberry puree. For the seventh straight year, Breck will be releasing the beer along with limited edition DCC beer pint glasses. This year’s Razznarok glass features artwork by local comic artist Morgan Beem.

After the launch party, RAZZNAROK will stay on tap at Stoney's through Denver Comic Con. Other pubs within walking distance to the Colorado Convention Center will serve the beer leading up to and during the event. Follow Breckenridge Brewery on Facebook and Twitter for information on other pint glass giveaway events during Denver Comic Con. This information will also be posted on breckbrew.com in the weeks prior to the DCC.

WHAT: For seven years Breckenridge Brewery has brewed a special beer exclusively for Denver Comic Con (DCC). The first 200 people to this FREE event will receive a limited collector’s series “Razznarok” pint glass featuring custom design by artist Morgan Beem. Colorado's premiere party band, 6 Million Dollar Band will be bringin' the 80s energy to keep the dance floor movin' all night!

WHERE: Stoney's Bar & Grill 1111 Lincoln St. Denver, CO

When:Thursday, May 17th

- Doors 7pm

- Live music by 6 Million Dollar Band 8pm

- DJ 10pm

About “Razznarok!”

Razznarok is a time-honored, Belgian-style ale with a tart pink twist. Brewed with unmalted wheat, orange zest, coriander and fresh raspberry puree, this unfiltered, light-bodied beer has fruity notes of raspberry & citrus, a touch of spice, and a pink blush of color. Refreshing. Surprising. Sprightly. Whimsical.

Past winners of the "Name the Comic Con Beer" contest are The Fantastic Pour, The Caped Brewsader, Brews Wayne, Hulk's Mash, Snape-ricot, and I Am Brewt.

 

5 Upcoming Events In Denver

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5 Upcoming Events in Denver

Denver hosts a plethora of unique events throughout the year. Regardless of the activities you enjoy or the scene you prefer, it's safe to say that you'll be able to find something that fits your interests. Here are some of the top upcoming events in the Denver area spanning from fashion, food, to music! If you're looking for a way to get around without shuffling ride share services or dealing with traffic, be sure to check out this Boulder Party Bus Service.

 

Denver Beer and Music Festival

May 19 at the Vinyl Events Center

This craft beer and music festival is headlined by the rock band Shwayze, but there will also be other live bands and DJ's at the event. There will be local food vendors at the Tasting Village of Food as well as unlimited samples of 50 different varieties of spirits, wine, and beer. Tickets range from $35 to $50 for VIP admission, and it will be worth every penny.

 

ThriftCon

May 20 at INDUSTRY RiNo Station

For those who enjoy a good bargain or rare vintage find, you're not going to want to miss out on ThriftCon. There will be vintage collectibles, clothing, and home goods to consider buying here. With over 40 vendors, the selection is sure to be solid. You won't leave here without a new piece, guaranteed.

 

Trash Fashion Show

June 9 at EXDO

This evening of innovative fashion features clothes made from reclaimed material by local designers. There will be different categories that the designers will compete in such as "Little Black Dress" and "White Trash". General admission will run you $25, while the $150 VIP ticket includes valet parking, a pre show cocktail reception, gift bag, front row seating, and admission to the Tracks nightclub for the after party.

 

Denver Summer Brew Fest

July 27 & 28 at Mile High Station

The Denver Summer Brew Fest boasts over 100 brews and ciders to choose from 40 different breweries. The brew fest benefits the Swallow Hill Music Association, so it's a great event to support. Tickets range from $35 to $60 for their package deal. General admission runs from 7-10 PM, but VIP holders can show up an hour early to enjoy a special beer and cheese sampling.

 

Reggae on the Grass

July 29 @ Levitt Pavilion

This is a free concert series that's open for all ages. Feel good reggae will be playing on multiple stages with bands like Nase Face, Emcee Rasta Stevie, Colorado Binghistra, Ras Marcus Benjamin, and the Denver Vintage Reggae Society. This is the first annual event, and it's sure to be super entertaining.

Yoga On The Rocks Returns June 9th!

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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 AXS.com.

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: RedRocksYoga.com. 

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. 

www.ArtsandVenues.com

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!

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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.          https://www.pigandsprout.com

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!

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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 https://www.themulemajors.com/

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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 DinkDenver.com
 

Women's Creative Networking Event SAFEWORD Pops Off This Sunday

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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

Why: www.thesafewordis.com

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

https://www.hedgerowbistros.com/event/denver-restaurant-week-223-34/

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”.

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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.

http://www.vestadenver.com/        Words by Tiffany Candelaria          Photos by Samantha Bliss

 sweet potato beignets

sweet potato beignets