El Five Adds Brunch & it's a Hit

Like its Edible Beats sibling restaurants Linger, Root Down, Ophelia’s and Vital Root, this Spanish/Middle Eastern hot spot for tapas transports guests to a unique setting serving amazing dishes and delightful drinks. El Five sits high above the offices of LoHi in a fifth-floor penthouse and is also the fifth restaurant in the Edible Beats family, hence the name El Five. Stepping off the elevator on the 5th floor guests are greeted with the smell of spices coming from the open kitchen and a vibrant atmosphere full of color and a spectacular view.

Dungeness Crab, Shakshuka & Iberico Benedict

Dungeness Crab, Shakshuka & Iberico Benedict

Like Linger next door, El Five capitalizes on their perfectly perched location with a large patio and floor to ceiling windows/doors that showcases Denver’s downtown skyline. The décor is bright, bold and eclectic, the last word describing all of the Edible Beats restaurants. Colorful faces from midcentury Egyptian and Turkish movie posters are painted on the walls and reflected in little hexagon-shaped mirrors. The vibe is fun, funky, swanky and sexy. It’s a great place for a date, whether dinner or just drinks, the setting and menu lends itself perfectly. 

Photo taken from El Five’s website

Photo taken from El Five’s website

We went to try their new Sunday brunch and of course, we were impressed. El Five‘s menu is clearly Mediterranean inspired, but creatively combines flavors and ingredients from multiple countries in that region. Thus, El Five has created a unique cuisine coined Tapas De Gibraltar, as the countries are all connected by this body of water. Indeed, everything we tried here had a unique twist that either tantalized or surprised our taste buds.

 We started with Coda coffee, Bhakti chi and a pastry basket with sweet treats like chocolate Baklava. We then moved on to the Pintxos tasting plate which we noticed all the tables around us had also ordered and was just like the tapas you get in Spain!

Pastry Basket with orange jam

Pastry Basket with orange jam

Pinxtos Plate

Pinxtos Plate

For entrees we selected the Dungeness Crab with Potato Latkes, Iberico Benedict, Garlic Shrimp with Manchebo Polenta (our favorite) and the North African dish Shakshuka. All four dishes contained very different ingredients and flavors, having originated in different parts of the Mediterranean. While the menu is Mediterranean, the 10+ entrees on the menu provide a diverse spectrum to please any palette. 

Garlic Shrimp: Sunny Side Egg, Manchego Polenta, Crispy Ham, Ibérico Brown Butter, Chilis, Salsa Brava

Garlic Shrimp: Sunny Side Egg, Manchego Polenta, Crispy Ham, Ibérico Brown Butter, Chilis, Salsa Brava

To conclude we ordered a Moroccan Pancake, an Apricot FROSÉ (our favorite drink on the menu) and a Sangria con Frutas. A sweet ending indeed!  

The brunch prices are very reasonable, only a few dollars more than their cocktails lol. But don’t let the price steer you away, dining or even just coming for a cocktail is worth every dollar.  

Moroccan Pancake: Farmer's Cheese, Nutella, Apricot, Pistachios, Orange Blossom Syrup

Moroccan Pancake: Farmer's Cheese, Nutella, Apricot, Pistachios, Orange Blossom Syrup

Rooftop Sangria & Apricot Frose

Rooftop Sangria & Apricot Frose

elfivedenver.com

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

Bottomless Bar Car Brunch at The Nickel

If you're looking for a booze infused brunch, The Nickel, inside Hotel Teatro, provides guests with three great bottomless beverage options. Even better, each is customizable and interchangeable, meaning guests can bounce from sophisticated mimosas to punchy Bloody Mary's to sweet cereal-infused White Russians!

Coco Puff’s infused White Russian

Coco Puff’s infused White Russian

Mimosa & Bombolone

Mimosa & Bombolone

Located within Denver’s historic Tramway Building, now Hotel Teatro, The Nickel pays homage to the space that was once used to collect fare from customers riding its resident streetcars: a nickel. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday's from 10am- 3pm and the Nickel is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Their full menu incorporates quality ingredients from local farmers, ranchers, distillers and craft producers, and is comprised of dishes that make guests feel the warmth of familiarity. The Nickel also has happy hour daily complete with cocktails, charcuterie, Colorado craft beer and wine from 3pm-5pm.

Biscuits & Gravy. Chicken & Waffles. Bloody Mary.

Biscuits & Gravy. Chicken & Waffles. Bloody Mary.

We thoroughly enjoyed all the bar car drinks and fixings and found many diners around us doing the same. For sustenance we ordered the Biscuits & (duck confit) Gravy which was good but not as decadent and delicious as we’re used to. Our other dish was Chicken & Waffles which had very lightly battered/fried chicken, with waffles that were nicely golden crisp on the outside and soft inside. We took our time enjoying the food, the ambience and the bottomless bar car. The restaurant was pretty busy with a diverse mix of diners; young and old, boozers and non-boozers, hotel guests and Denver locals.

The Barrel Bar

The Barrel Bar

Coda coffee & side of bacon.

Coda coffee & side of bacon.

At the end of the month Hotel Teatro, being one of Denver’s most pup-friendly hotels, will be hosting their third annual puppy brunch Sunday, April 28th! During this special brunch, puppies will be available to play with and adopt in the lobby in celebration of National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. To help raise money for Underdogs Animal Rescue, there is a $5 suggested donation to play with the pups and The Nickel will then treat you to a mimosa for donating! More info on the event here.

Dog In Lobby of Hotel Teatro

http://www.thenickeldenver.com

Words & Photos by Tiffany Candelaria

Denver Food + Wine Festival Returns with Even More to Explore!

Denver Food + Wine Festival (DF+WF) returns next week for its thirteenth consecutive year September 5-10! This event has gradually expanded from one attracting epicureans and oenophiles into a multi-day extravaganza attracting all types of foodies and wine and spirit drinkers. The Grand Tasting event not only has a huge selection of wines and eats, but also has entertainment, themed lounge areas,cocktails, sake, even beer, I hear. It is a really fun event and is offers the largest, most diverse selection of wine than any other festival or tasting in the Denver area. In addition the the Grand Tasting, there are various other DF+WF events that week to explore with varying price points.

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To kick the week off the Dinner Under the Stars event, Sept. 6, celebrates the best that Denver’s culinary and beverage scene has to offer with a unique alfresco pairing dinners on the Coohills pedestrian bridge. This curated, six-course meal features a wine pairing with each course, hand-selected by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits’ Master Sommeliers. Each course is prepared by a lauded Denver chef, representing some of the hottest restaurants in the Mile High City. The menu can be found on the website.

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On Thursday 7, local celebrity bartenders from the Colorado Bartenders Guild will compete for Denver’s “best cocktail” at the ShakeDown. Guests are invited to mingle from 6:30-9:30 while trying as many food bites and cocktails as possible and voting for their favorites of each! Live music from a special acoustic Dragondeer set, featuring members of Dragondeer, will accompany the evening’s festivities. This was a boozy blast last year, but come prepared to drink or you may miss out on the best cocktail!

On Friday 8, join Riedel and the DF+WF for an educational and entertaining program that will change how each guest enjoys wine. In a unique wine glass tasting, Riedel ambassador Doug Reed will demonstrate the relationship between the shape of a glass and the taster’s perception and enjoyment of various varietals. After the seminar, guests can take home a four-glass Riedel kit, valued at $120, containing one glass for each varietal explored in the seminar.

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DF+WF’s Grand Tasting takes place outdoors on Saturday 9 and unites the region’s culinary leaders, award winning chefs, mixologists and wine professionals, for a day of exploring and celebrating Colorado’s food and beverage traditions. The all-inclusive layout allows guests to explore creations from more than 40 top restaurants, and more than 700 different pours from wine and spirit professionals. In addition, the 5280 Home VIP Lounge, will pair specialty wines selected by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Master Sommeliers with 12 upscale restaurants for an exclusive experience. Celebrity, award-winning chefs will offer demonstrations on the Wolf Specialty Appliance Culinary Stage and guests can participate in a silent auction.

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And to wrap up this incredible week of DF+WF is a fun brunch festival featuring what will be the world’s largest Bloody Mary bar, with over 65 toppings! Rise + Dine will also feature delicious breakfast bites, bottomless mimosas, and encourage guests to wear their pajamas if they’d like!

http://www.denverfoodandwine.com/

Sunday Funday @ Punch Bowl Social

While Punch Bowl Social, the giant bar, game venue, diner, lounge, whatever you know it as, is nothing new, it’s food and beverage menu is always changing. If you have yet to go, you really should as it offers so much in every category: food, drinks, games, fun.  This large, two-story venue greets guests with a diner-style restaurant, then a 360 degree bar area and bowling lanes, then a back room featuring a “holiday lodge” lounge, two more bowling lanes, and a long line of bocce ball, shuffle board, foosball and corn hole. Upstairs you’ll find vintage arcade games, private karaoke rooms, pool and ping pong tables, another bar and mixed seating.  PBS is a destination where you can spend the whole day and offers food and fun for every mood.

We went for a super Sunday Funday to sample the new Brunch menu and Bloody Mary bar and play some games. Brunch is served Saturday & Sunday until 3 p.m. most of the menu is made in-house, including drinks, desserts and condiments. The brunch menu offers a variety of fresh juice creations, an amazing build your own Bloody Mary bar we were blown away by, and a host of other breakfast drinks and concoctions. PBS is continually changing their menu to reflect the seasons, the trends, and the talents of their chefs. This summer brings a renewed brunch menu that launched July 15th showcasing culinary partner and celebrity chef Hugh Acheson’s Southern spirit.

Hugh Acheson's fresh approach has earned him a great deal of recognition including Food & Wine’s Best New Chef, the Atlanta Journal Constitution Restaurant of the Year, a six-time James Beard nomination for Best Chef Southeast (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and the James Beard award in 2012. He has been both a contestant and a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef and now he’s leading the helm of Punch Bowl Social’s culinary creations.

We ordered the Hash Brown Skillet, the Mushroom Biscuits 'N' Gravy, and asked to put their OMFG gluten free fried chicken atop their malted waffle. Our chicken & waffle mash up was delicious with strawberries, crispy basil and this thick chipotle pecan maple syrup (not pictured) that made this dish really delicious. We could eat that thick jam-like syrup on anything. The chicken was close to being as crispy as a flour-fried chicken and juicy on the inside with good flavor. The dish overall was good, but the sauce enhanced it for sure, and ordering it on the side is a smart way to get the right amount with each bite.

The Hash Brown Skillet had layers of hash browns, Tasso Ham, onions, shiitake mushrooms, cheddar cheese and eggs. It was good but didn’t pack the flavor punch we were expecting, some of their special hot sauce helped put some punch in though! The Mushroom Biscuits 'N' Gravy were the standout, looking as good as they lasted. PBS makes a good biscuit in general, and then this dish adds a great gravy, beautiful eggs, perfectly cooked potatoes and a bright side of avocado. Bang for your buck and palette right here!

PBS has locations scattered across the U.S including Portland, Austin, Cleveland and Detroit with another CO location in the works for Stapleton. “at PBS we believe in a ‘dirty modern’ mash up of chandeliers, ‘Gangster’s Paradise,’ food for foodies, PBR tallboys, and craft beverages. We believe in brunch turning into a bowling party and bowling parties turning into all-you-can-sing karaoke. We believe in exploring evenings filled with shuffleboard and made-from-scratch chicken and waffles.”

Go explore Punch Bowl Social for yourself, open everyday with daily happy hour and late night food and fun.

http://www.punchbowlsocial.com/location/denver

Lifestyle | A Creative, Collaborative Twist on Dining in Denver: The Dinner Party Association

Food, fun, friends, music, local, libations, collaboration… These are things we are very fond of here at Ultra5280 and believe you, our readers, are fond of as well. Last weekend we discovered The Dinner Party Association, a new pop-up concept that brings all these wonderful things together once a month! Its founder, Megan Ranegar, and her “traveling supper club” are new to Denver as of this past December, but she didn’t waste any time acclimating her concept to the Mile High City. This first Sunday was the 3rd Dinner Party Association event, “The Taco Situation”, which took place three stories above the 16th Street Mall at a co-working space aptly named The Hive on 16th.

The basic concept is simple Megan explains, “We dinner party in unlikely places, eat delicious food, and toast with local brews.” Their goal is to create a community between Denver residents, foodies, chefs, musicians, photographers and the like. “I feel like I always meet the coolest people and have the best conversations in a dinner party atmosphere; I want to spread that magic through The Dinner Party Association.”

If grassroots involvement is any indication a concept is gaining momentum, then we think it’s pretty obvious Denver digs The Dinner Party Association’s arrival. We found out about the event via a post on Instagram and other brunch goers heard from a friend of a friend, or via social media as well. And now, you can say you heard about it here from us! While Dinner Party Association’s Instagram page has nearly 3,000 followers, it also has many other people and businesses that are outwardly supporting the pop-up on their social media outlets. Before moving to Denver, Megan organized similar pop-ups in Los Angeles but wasn't sure she’d continue them here, “I was mostly hesitant because I didn't have any connections to chefs, venues, etc. but I can't believe how collaborative the Denver community is! I've been so happily surprised at the reaction and support my concept has received here.”

Megan shares the one thing that really helped turn her California concept into a reality in Denver was meeting Brooks Gagstetter of Logan House Coffee. “Brooks basically said ‘you're doing this’ and proceeded to provide a beautiful warehouse space for our first event in January, and I’ve just continued building relationships from there.” The events now take place the first Sunday of each month in a unique new venue, with a completely different lineup of food, drinks and ambiance each time. “The theme of each event is something I dream up and then reach out to different spaces and chefs who I think would be a good fit. Then comes the fun part - designing the event. I have a background in marketing, so creating content to promote the event is fun for me too.”

Their first event was a “Coffee Beer Brunch” in the Logan House Coffee warehouse, in RiNo. Megan explains it's their goal to find cool, unique spaces for an alternative dining experience. The first Denver bunch to brunch with Dinner Party Association ate Thai fried eggs, rosemary chia pudding jars, pork rillettes with preserved pear atop Apache fry bread, and aged Rocky Mountain beers from Beryl’s Beer Co. For their second event they held a dinner and beer pairing and added live music to the mix with a musician from Denver and one from Chicago. Megan is very good about setting a scene and weaving a theme to make the dining experience truly unique, “I love thinking of little touches that will make the pop-up feel special,” she tells us.

The third event, which we attended, was titled “The Taco Situation” and began at 11am with cocktails, coffee and time to chat. Everyone was seated and plated with their first round of tacos around 11:30am. The brunch featured Horchata with Jameson on the side, coffee, a delicious hand crafted Apple cocktail from mixologist Lawrence Mack, and a series of Water, Land and Air inspired tacos.

The first round was Rainbow Trout Escabeche atop blue corn tortillas with pickled root veggies with a salty and astringent flavor palette. The next was a savory grilled Elk tenderloin with caramelized onion and subtly sweet pear jam atop potato tortillas. The third round was a sort of salty, smoky roasted Duck with beans, bacon crumbles and crispy shallots on butternut squash tortillas. Chef Kyle Morgan of Morgan Handmade Rations created each of these dishes which were very different in flavors and allowed you to experiment with pairing each up with the variety of drinks most of us had in front of us…They were all so good it was hard not to horde!

For the sweet finish, we each got a little jar of chocolate Serrano and tequila-infused dulce de leche with fresh, fluffy churros from El Camino Community Tavern! We lingered over this delicious dessert while wrapping up conversations and exchanging contact info with our new friends.

With all the new dinner halls, open markets, and community dining options we’ve come to frequent in and around Denver, it’s no wonder The Dinner Party Association found a home here. The next three months of upcoming events are already posted on their online calendar and they have full intentions to make this pop-up concept bigger and better. “We're hoping to partner with many Denver chefs and creatives as we continue to make our events magical--the more the merrier.” Megan thanked everyone in attendance and invited us all back to the next event for a discounted price, something she always does for repeat guests. The next event is April 3rd “Beer and Blues Dinner” with New Belgium and live music from Dragondeer. May 1st is a Spring Brunch and June 5th is an Artisan dinner at Cheese + Provisions. More information on The Dinner Party Association and tickets to April’s dinner can be found through the links below. 

http://www.dinnerpartyassociation.com/

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/blues-beer-pop-up-dinner-tickets-22935789564

By Tiffany Candelaria