Free Market's Sole Restaurant BRUTØ Opens

BRUTØ, located inside the Denver Free Market, is a sustainability focused American restaurant officially opening Friday, September 27, 2019. The word BRUTØ means crude or directly from the earth, which is a reflection of the menu and vibe here.

The Denver Free Market opened in downtown Denver’s Dairy Block earlier this year and was created by local Id Est Hospitality. Their vision was to create a marketplace that connects people, objects, and ideas with hospitality at the forefront and a very thoughtful food and beverage partnership. The eight shops inside have not had a presence yet in Colorado, but bring great products and services, uphold good corporate values and exude a personable spirit. By incorporating the culinary and hospitality worlds into the Free Market, visitors are more comfortable browsing, shopping and more likely return again.

West Coast Oysters, Carrot & Fennel Salad, Sobrasada with Wildflower soda

West Coast Oysters, Carrot & Fennel Salad, Sobrasada with Wildflower soda

The team behind BRUTØ is known for the beloved Basta in Boulder and the funky Wolf’s Tailor in Denver, all led by James Beard Foundation nominee Chef Kelly Whitaker. The menu is small but broad, centering around their Italian wood-fired oven and heritage grain-based items milled on-site or at Dry Storage, their baking counterpart of Basta in Boulder. Expect fresh-baked breads, seasonal crudités, hearty wood-fired meat dishes, and a raw-bar. They also have a full bar with a few craft beers, wines, local Stem Cider and cocktails and a coffee bar named called BØH (for back of house) around the corner inside Free Market.

Bruto’s menu

Bruto’s menu

Socca (milled chickpeas) with Ricotta & basil

Socca (milled chickpeas) with Ricotta & basil

BRUTØ’s open kitchen with a wrap around bar is situated in a floor-to-ceiling glass corner of the market exposing it to passerby’s, making it perfect for cooking workshops and other events that are in the works. Their location also situates them one block from the Union Station farmers market, which was a selling point for Chef Whitaker who aims to provide Colorado-grown vegetables year-round.

BRUTØ during construction

BRUTØ during construction

The interior was a collaboration between three design groups: one from Berlin, one from LA, and a furniture and lighting artist in CA. The architect was a local CO company that designed Denver hot spots like Hop Alley.

Open during Free Market hours Tuesday -Sunday 11am-7pm.

Written & photographed by Tiffany Candelaria @TCdoesFnB

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What's on your 2019 Wish List?

New Year’s Eve in Aspen  Photo by Jamie Finn

New Year’s Eve in Aspen Photo by Jamie Finn

Whilst everybody else is slowly but surely giving up on their new year’s resolutions to drink less alcohol, eat more greens and get back into their running shoes, we suggest that you focus on your wish list instead. “What wish list?” you ask. Well, the idea of creating a lifelong ‘bucket list’ has been around a little while now, but a smaller, more manageable wish list for 2019 will see you achieve more in a shorter space of time. And have plenty of fun doing so.

The idea is to go big or go home! This could be the year you tick off those lifelong dreams that you've had in your head since high school. Take the plunge and get your first tattoo, travel to Las Vegas and experience everything it has to offer, or even organise a charity skydive. The sky's your limit so don’t be afraid to set the bar high. Even if you don’t manage to tick off everything, you’ll still have done some crazy cool stuff in 2019.

Aerial view of Red Rocks Amphitheatre Photo by Alex Mertz

Visit a National Park

It might seem like we’re starting off on a gentle one, but how many locals have actually been out to take a look around Colorado’s stunning array of national parks? With plenty of amazing natural wonders right on the doorstep, there’s no excuse not to venture into the great outdoors this year.

As a reader of this site, there’s no doubt that you’re into music in a big way. The perfect place to check out some sweet sounds bang in the middle of nature is the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre. At this gorgeous venue, you can experience everything from classical opera to modern rock bands in the open air, surrounded by incredible undulating rock formations.

Self-built Wonders

Moving on from the wonders of Mother Nature, there’s also plenty of manmade and reappropriated structures in Colorado that are not to be missed. The International Church of Cannabis is a rainbow dream in vivid technicolour from floor to ceiling; even if you don’t partake yourself, it’s well worth a visit to this incredibly decorated place of worship. On a similarly psychedelic theme, the Magic Mushroom House in Aspen is a groovy building conceptualised by 70s architect Andre Ulrych. Certainly an unusual piece of architecture to have a look round.

Other notable sites include: the UFO Watchtower in Crestone, which involves everything alien-related that you always wanted to see – as well as everything you didn’t; Denver’s Buckhorn Exchange, which contains an unbelievable number of taxidermied animals; and Cano’s Castle in Antonito, which is an impressive structure built, strangely enough, entirely from beer cans.

Inside the International Church of Cannabis Photo by Nicole Harrington

Detox Like Never Before

If you do fancy a bit of a health kick after all, go for something a little more interesting than the usual wilted salad and underused gym membership. In Denver, you can visit the city’s Flotation Center where you can spend time floating in salt water, completely quiet and comfortingly weightless. This should refresh your mind before you head to SunSpa Oxygen Bar in nearby Lakewood. Here you can get a concentrated oxygen hit – in your choice of fruity flavour, no less – to put you back on top form and feeling fighting fit for the year to come.

Go Extreme

Of course, one of the most extreme activities you can put on your list is the good old bungee jump. Colorado has some truly fantastic places where you can experience this ultimate thrill, including from the suspension bridge over the Arkansas River gorge, or above the spectacular Glenwood Canyon. Choosing an outdoor venue with brilliant views like the two mentioned here means that you can enjoy the whole experience and not just the few minutes’ thrill of the jump itself. Make a day of it and return home that evening feeling like you’re on top of the world.

Whatever you decide to put on your 2019 wish list, make sure it’s something fun, memorable and gives you the chance to fulfil a personal dream. After all, that’s what the idea of a ‘bucket list’ is all about and we only get one life – we might as well live it to the full!

5 Neighborhoods, 5 Restaurants in Denver

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Here are some restaurants to check out in five Denver neighborhoods. This is a great list to refer to the next time you're looking for a new dining destination or happen to be in one of the areas enjoying some night life. Plan on checking them out with a group? A Denver Charter Bus Service is the perfect way to make sure you're having the most convenient and safe transportation, and it's a lot easier than ordering multiple Uber rides!

LoDo

Rioja

1431 Larimer Street

Rioja is a Spanish and Mediterranean fusion style restaurant with some seriously impressive dishes throughout their menu. Their happy hour changes each month, inspired by a different country each time. Don't miss out on their weekend brunch menu, either! It features items like donuts with lemon marscapone and blueberry compote, sweet potato hash, and the rioja benedict.

Highland

Puerto Rico 5280 Cuisine

3109 Federal Blvd

This new Puerto Rican restaurant offers a comfortable atmosphere to dine and drink when you're in the neighborhood. How can you go wrong with comfort food options like the light, flaky authentic pastries named Pastelillos? The mofongo is another amazing dish to consider ordering when you're here. It's all super fresh!

Rino

Rino Beer Garden

3800 Walnut Street

Beer lovers consider Rino to be a haven for nightlife, and they aren't wrong! With their selection of beer and enhanced bar food, this will easily become of your regular stops if it isn't already. There are large outdoor patio with fire pits and easy to share dishes, so this is always a fitting spot to gather with your friends in Denver.

SoBro

Colore Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

2700 S Broadway

It can be hard to find good Italian food, but Colore definitely knows what they're doing. We recommend making reservations if you plan on coming here for a holiday such as Mother's Day or Valentine's Day. Some of the highlights on this menu include the roasted jalapeno artichoke dip, chicken marsala and linguine pescatore.

Cherry Creek

True Food Kitchen

2800 E 2nd Avenue

Are you looking for a healthy option? True Food Kitchen is the place to be for flavorful vegan and vegetarian eats. Try their edamame dumplings, spaghetti squash casserole, or the inside out quinoa burger if you want to stick to the tried and true favorites. We highly recommend taking a look at their dessert menu while you're here, too.

Pepper X Ultra5280: Bad-ass Babes Behind Denver Based Brassieres

Photos courtesy of Jaclyn Fu

Photos courtesy of Jaclyn Fu

We decided to highlight Denver based brand Pepper, for small boobies, and bad asses alike, take a peek into the journey of Jaclyn Fu.

Tell me a little about yourself, and the brand, Pepper? You must’ve reached a point where underrepresentation got frustrating if you were possessed to start your own brand. Do you feel as though the brand represents you as a person? 

I'm Jaclyn Fu, Co-founder & CEO of Pepper, the first and only body positive bra company for small-chested women that wants you to celebrate your body exactly as it is. Pepper was very much inspired by own frustrations of not being able to find a bra that fit because my size is typically an afterthought for bra companies. The brand does reflect my views on promoting self love and inclusivity, but more-so it represents our vibrant community of women who may be small but are mighty.

How do you even begin a project like this? How does one begin to make a model of a bra? 

Good question, my co-founder Lia and I had zero bra design experience when we started! We did get really good at talking to potential customers and listening to their pains, so we used that research to help design what a better fitting bra for this audience could look and feel like. We started by talking to friends, family, even people I met on Craigslist, to try to understand why current bras don't fit and how it makes them feel. We then did a lot of market research and came up with hypotheses on how to improve on the designs that are out there.

What struggles did you face getting started? Did anyone give you slack for what you wanted to bring onto the market? 

It was a constant uphill battle to show we were onto something with Pepper. We were doing something completely new, made most men uncomfortable to talk about, and so had a hard time being taken seriously. However we were able to find some really awesome investors who believe in us and our mission and are grateful to partner with them now to bring Pepper to the masses.

So after the Kickstarters extreme success (470% in the first 13 days is wild, btw), did you get reached out to by major brands/distributors? Who will be carrying Pepper? 

We are a direct-to-consumer brand, so for the time being will only be selling online. This allows us to really get to know our customers and develop authentic relationships with them so we can keep creating designs they'll love. We are open to major distributors in the future, however.

 

What is next for the brand? What’s next for you?

Our customers are already asking for more styles! We're currently working on a new wireless bra, and expanding our All You Bra collection with more colors and fabrics. We're also doing a lot of thinking on what it means to be a body positive brand and how we can live our ethos in everything that we do. For myself, I'm fired up to take Pepper to the next level and make an impact on an industry that hasn't been disrupted in so long!

 

What’s your favorite boobie related saying/slogan/catch phrase/silly saying? 

Embrace the 'flat' in flattering ;)

Thank you for being a Denver babe, working hard to represent all of us. Now onto a few random questions I’m sure our readers will be keen on learning about you. 

Favorite musician lately? I've been listening to a lot of Bazzi, Anthony Russo and Post Malone 
 

Favorite Denver hangout for a drink? for food? for music?

Bar Dough and Sushi Den are a few of my favorite restaurants. Love getting drinks at Death & Co and dancing at Temple!
 

Favorite Denver store?

Alas, I don't do much shopping anymore (the founder life)

Shop the brand at https://www.wearpepper.com/.

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.

Tacolandia's Top Tacos And More

One of the many tasty tacos at Tacolandia. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Tacolandia put on by Westword was a fiesta to say the least. The festival celebrated authentic street tacos by offering unlimited samples from over 40 taquerias and Mexican restaurants around Denver. Guests also enjoyed live entertainment, a car show, cash bars and great people watching in the heart of Civic Center Park.

Taco pimps slanging their warm tortillas with morsels of heaven. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

A VIP ticket gave you early access to the festival grounds, which was worth it, depending on how fast you can eat tacos. A full hour of early entry without the lines caused us to go into a taco-eating frenzy, followed by a taco coma. The coma timing was just right, coinciding with GA entry at 4pm, whence we made our way over to the VIP section to relax at a nice table in the shade, with drinks of course. VIP tickets included 2 cocktail or sangria drinks and a Bud Light, which pays for itself at most events where beers and cocktails are $7+, which was the case at Tacolandia. The VIP ticket holders were also treated to Lola Costal Mexican based in the Highlands. They had three tacos to choose from, including one of the only fish tacos we saw at the event, a "sustainably sourced red fish". After picking your tacos you moved to a toppings table with different salsas, a Serrano creama, kimchee vegetables, hot carrots, onions and cilantro. And last, they provided two aguas frescas, one a cherry base and one with a medley of melons. Those were delicious and so very vital on a hot day full of hot tacos!

Los Chingones with our favorite taco of the day. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

One of the non-traditional tacos featured Octopus. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

So let’s talk top tacos, because we all want to know where to eat bomb tacos in Denver. El Tejado was notable, as not only did they give you three tacos, but they were so tasty! They also had a very homey, welcoming feel, which translated in everything we tasted there.  Los Chingones served up one of the best looking tacos, with a colorful veggie slaw, pineapple and cilantro atop seasoned short rib. This taco was one I wanted to eat over and over again, but literally couldn’t because we had to try as many tacos as possible. Garibaldi's had a red chorizo taco that was so simple (there were no toppings, maybe they ran out) yet so delicious. Whatever they season their chorizo with and soak it in made it very flavorful, juicy/greasy(?) and so red that the juices stained our hands! Chuey Fu's food truck was onsite with four different taco options: roasted corn & black bean, char shu pork, Korean beef & the ancho chicken taco with peanut sesame sauce that was one of our favorites. Our final favorite was not a taco at all, but a shrimp ceviche from Suerte. Simple, fresh, and traditional.  Overall, there were only a couple veggie tacos, a couple seafood items, we found a lamb taco, but mostly it was beef and pork varieties with onions and cilantro as the popular topping.

Overall the event was a success, as we heard from random attendees that it was an easy decision to purchase GA tickets to the event and that they had in fact eaten enough tacos to make the price a bargain. Despite most lines becoming enormous once general admission was let in and vendors running out before close, we still heard happy remarks for the most part.

Aside from tacos, there were vendors sampling some tasty treats. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Tacos and Classic Cars = A match made in heaven. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Plus, in addition to tasty tacos, the GA sections also offered refreshing treats and drinks from Jarritos, Neveria Jadeney, Little Man Ice Cream and Aiko Pops. There was also live music, dance performers and the Tacolandia Car Show presented by the Saints & Sinners Car Club and seating options throughout so people could relax, eat, dance, etc.

We’ll be back, and we suggest you come VIP with us!

https://www.westwordtacolandia.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

Slow Food Nations Recap!

         Taste Marketplace

         Taste Marketplace

Colorado’s first ever taste of the Slow Food Nations took over Larimer Square last weekend with a plethora of events, interactive workshops, tastings, educational talks, and many exhibitors, companies, and producers of foods from around the nation and globe. The Taste Marketplace at Larimer Square was the main focal point with over 100 exhibitors of good, clean, fair food, and was free and open to the public Saturday morning through Sunday evening. Various renowned chefs, leaders in the Slow Food Movement and in sustainability, curated dinners, and hands on workshops made this event truly unique and marked Denver as increasingly relevant in terms of a foodie city that values various cultures, sustainability and accessibility.

                 Taste Marketplace

                Taste Marketplace

The event drew people from all over the state, as well as from different parts of the globe as their involvement with the Slow Food Movement encouraged their members to attend either as guests or as participants. The movement is focused on peoples’ access to grow and share good, clean and fair food throughout the world.

             CO-Made Block Party

             CO-Made Block Party

To kick off Slow Food Nations, they held an all-inclusive Colorado-Made Block Party on Larimer Square to celebrate Colorado farmers, ranchers, producers and chefs. Unfortunately, we were disappointed by their poor start to the festival as it was the low point of the weekend and hopefully didn’t discourage people from attending the other offerings or the Taste Marketplace that took place over the next two days. There was a line by 6p.m. and when you entered at 6:30 you were struck with the thought, “is this it?!” Yep, not even an entire street block was designated for the CO-Made Block Party and only about 4 tents, with two restaurants each made up the event. There was certainly no demonstrations or hardly even conversations between the chefs/restaurants and guests as the lines were so outrageous and the chefs were busy trying to keep up.

              CO-Made Block Party

              CO-Made Block Party

It was shocking almost and I heard nothing but complaints from the other guests, even the restaurants participating were upset because they were told to provide bites for 250 and ended up running out or having to serve even smaller bites in order to last the two hours. I feel bad for the 250 people squeezed in that little square who shelled out $70 to experience a “taste of Colorado” and only got about 10 bites if they showed up when it opened and waited in every line. For a two hour event on Larimer Square and touted as the kickoff party to the Slow Food Nations Festival, we all had much higher hopes, but instead were left squeezing through crowds, waiting in lines, and needing to buy dinner after.

Luckily the Big Bad Breakfast on Sunday was a much better experience. It featured Southern dishes from John Currence, a James Beard Award winner and Top Chef Masters contestant, along with notable chefs from select Southern cities. The ten or so booths served up a wide variety of tasty, hearty Southern cuisine.

                   Big Bad Breakfast

                   Big Bad Breakfast

             CO-Made Block Party

             CO-Made Block Party

This event was also held in the same small square as Friday’s Party, and cost $70, yet there were far fewer lines and seemly less people. One big factor I can attribute to this was every place served a full size portion, not just a few bites, and the dishes themselves were hearty and took time to eat. This meant people would get a dish or two and then sit down to eat and socialize for a while. It also helped that there were plenty of Bloody Mary’s ready to take from the team at Snooze & The Real Dill, they even had servers walking around with trays-full! The event finally provided cups next to the water jugs today and had jugs of tea too, which was a life saver as it was a hot morning full of spicy food and Tabasco products!

The free Taste Marketplace at Larimer Square was also really enjoyable and offered a really great selection of booths with products from around the US. It was designed much like a farmers market, where you have all your great food and health products with the growers/makers right there to talk with you about their items. However, unlike the local farmers markets we regularly frequent, every vendor was new! There were about 20 different cheese makers from around the US, various honey and chocolate booths from around the world, healthy snack companies, lots of charcuterie, coffee, lotions, and even crickets! Turns out kids are much more willing to try a cricket than the adults.

Everything in the marketplace was available to sample and to purchase and there were lots of great eats. Slow Food Italy, Mexico, and Turtle Island were featured in international pavilions on Larimer Square itself and offered full meals to purchase and information. We were surprised how easily two and a half hours passed in the Taste Marketplace and were happy the main event was a success for Slow Food Nations Fest! I heard rumors it will be back again if you missed it!

https://slowfoodnations.org/

Review & Photos by Tiffany Candelaria

                 Big Bad Breakfast

                 Big Bad Breakfast

                   Big Bad Breakfast

                   Big Bad Breakfast

Slow Food Nations Festival | Coming to CO for the First Time

Have you heard, Denver is gearing up for Slow Food Nations, a unique food festival coming to Colorado for the first time! Their movement focuses on peoples’ access to grow and share good, clean and fair food throughout the world. The weekend will combine the energy of a street food festival, the rigor of an academic conference, and the inspiration of a cultural exchange allowing guests to pick and choose their experience. Enjoy dozens of interactive workshops, delicious tastings, local tours, educational talks, and many meals and parties around town. Slow Food Nations connects farmers and families, leaders and eaters to share our stories and shape the future of food. The main festival is free and open to the public, with select-ticketed workshops, talks, dinners and tastings.

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The free festivities include an array of culinary demonstrations, guest appearances, tastings, and other entertainment. The Taste Marketplace at Larimer Square will feature international pavilions, local producers, and a variety of concessions. Slow Food Italy, Mexico, and Turtle Island will be featured in international pavilions and over 100 exhibitors of good, clean, fair food will be featured in the Taste Marketplace to tell their stories and let you sample and buy their delicious products. The exhibitor space will be open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 15th and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 16th. Also ongoing, The Food Underground, is a series of discussions, workshops, talks and panels located in the gallery rooms in the basement of Union Station. These free talks will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, focusing on topics like food justice and access, agricultural policy, the science and history of food, sustainable seafood, and more. Outside you’ll find The Denver Union Station Farmers Market on the plaza from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday featuring over 40 local Colorado producers and live music.

To kick off Slow Food Nations Friday night, they’ll be throwing an all-inclusive Colorado-Made Block Party on Larimer Square to celebrate Colorado farmers, ranchers, producers and chefs. Featuring Colorado food through demonstrations and tastings and drinks at the Colorado-Made bar showcasing the best spirits, beer and wine Colorado has to offer. Tickets are $69

Saturday, July 15, Chef Sheila Lucero from Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar will host an Oyster 101 Workshop with celebrated Baja Chef Drew Deckman as well as Chef Renee Erickson from Seattle. As part of Slow Food Nations’ educational curriculum, guests at this special event will get to learn about oysters from 3 different regions—Baja, the Pacific Northwest, and Virginia—and taste a signature dish from each chef, showcasing the unique qualities of each oyster. “We are so excited for Slow Food Nations,” Chef Lucero, “some of the country’s most talented, informed, and influential chefs and purveyors are coming to our city to share ideas and celebrate our country’s incredible culinary traditions.” Tickets $40

If you’re still craving more on Sunday, you should get tickets to Big Bad Breakfast Block Party with John Currence, James Beard Award winner and Top Chef Masters contestant. John gathers his big bad friends to cook up the ultimate southern brunch and Bloody Mary bar. Recipes from his best-selling book, Big Bad Breakfast, will be highlighted in this all-inclusive brunch party 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Tickets $69

Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat and how it affects the world around us. Since its beginnings, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries working to ensure everyone has access to good, clean and fair food.

There are so many amazing events, demonstrations and tastings to choose from it can be hard to coordinate them all, so the site provides some curated sample schedules to help you find the best events to match your interests: https://slowfoodnations.org/sample-schedules/

Free Taste Marketplace: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 15th & 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 16th.

 https://slowfoodnations.org/

 

Party Weekend Roundup | Cinco de Mayo & KY Derby

CENTRO MEXICAN KITCHEN | Cinco de Mayo

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

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

LOLA COASTAL MEXICAN | Picnic of the Pig

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

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

Illegal Pete’s | Cinco de Mayo

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

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

ViewHouse Ballpark | Cinco de Mayo

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

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

The Lobby | Annual Derby Party

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

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

ViewHouse Eatery | Kentucky Derby Party

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

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

The Real Dill | 5th Anniversary Party

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

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

The Big Wonderful | Kick-Off Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"SantaLand Diaries" | A Snarky Holiday Show

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) has a whole slew of shows lined up over the holidays, from Christmas favorites we've known since childhood to very nontraditional shows, and stories you have to see to believe! This December's performances include "A Christmas Carol", "An Act of God", "Finding Neverland", "Hedwig and the Angry Itch", "Rudolf" and "SantaLand Diaries".

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"SantaLand Diaries" is one performance that is difficult to categorize. While the story itself revolves completely around the Christmas holiday, it doesn't quite fit into the cheery and warm Christmas themes because of it's nontraditional, super snarky, offbeat and angsty tone. And that's exactly how the story's main character Crumpet the Elf feels during his time working in SantaLand. The story is based on a job satirical writer David Sedaris took on one winter in a desperate attempt to make some extra money over the holidays.

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This is a one man show is played by Michael Bouchard, who has received multiple honors for his acting here in Denver, and chronicles Sedaris' season as a Macy's Elf in all of it's cringe worthy, agonizing, hilarious glory. He goes from a respectable looking man in the opening scene to a humiliated Elf in fluffy polyester from head to toe, that must go through interviews, tests and training just to get the un-glamorous position. Once elf-ed, his roles vary between getting everyone from families to unexpecting foreigners into line to see Santa, guiding guests along and keeping them entertained once in line, acting as right hand man to Santa filling him in on the child's name about to enter, that half the time Santa is too old to hear correctly, and cleaning up messes and the frequent vomit that happens with kids' excitement or fear that overcomes them when they finally meet Mr. Santa man himself.

Audience members get a good glimpse of how the Holidays can drive people to do crazy things and the capitalism surrounding it all. In the end though, Crumpet learns some valuable lessons about people, life, love and all that warm, fuzzy Christmas stuff this show leaves out until the very last scene. And that's what makes it an awesome alternative to the typical Holiday stories. 

Off-Center Theatre Company
The Jones Theatre
1101 13th St.
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 893-4000
www.denvercenter.org

Perfect Pairings at Stem Cider

While Colorado holds the wonderful title of craft beer leaders, we are also home to many local wineries, cideries and coffee houses. The Ultra5280 Lifestyle section has had the privilege to try almost all of our state's staples and we will continue to do so long as there are more to try! Tuesday night we took it upon ourselves to branch outside of our white IPA and saison obsessions and taste some local apple inspired hard cider. We ventured into RiNo for Stem Cider's weekly Tuesday's Cider & Sides featuring four ciders paired with four pies from Long I Pie downtown.

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Stem Cider opened January 2014 with just three ciders on tap and now have over 20 ciders that they rotate weekly based on the season. In addition to great hard cider, they host fun events like Trivia nights, bluegrass bands and special tasting events. Stem Cider's Tuesday night pairings are different each week, matching hard ciders with sides such as cheeses, pizza, macaroni, pie, etc. from different local eateries. For $20 patrons get to try the four selected ciders with four samples of whatever the side of the night is at their own pace from 6-9pm.

Here's the lineup for last Tuesday's Cider & Long I Pie and our thoughts:

"Redhead's Revenge" (Sweet potato ginger pie) & L'Acier Cider

The pie was a typical sweet potato flavor and consistency tasting like mashed sweet potatoes with ginger and brown sugar mixed in and surrounded by a thick flaky crust. The cider was crisp, acidic and not very apple flavored, reminding us more of a white wine.

"Grandma's Pie" (Spiced apple cranberry) & Crabby Neighbor Cider

The pie was a blend of soft cinnamon apples and cranberries minus all the gooey, sugary pie filling in most apple pies, fully surrounded by a thick flaky crust. Paired well with the tart, fresh taste of the cider made from Granny Smith and crab apples and aged to soften the sour flavors up a bit.

"Honey Flower" (Salted lavender honey) & Remedy Cider

This pie was our unexpected favorite! Who knew a lavender honey pie was so divine?! This was our first experience with such a pie and we are fans for life. While this isn't a typical holiday pie because of the summer ingredients, it is just as decadent and delicious as all the pumpkin cheesecakes and pecan pies. It smelled and tasted like a lavender creme brûlée, but with more texture. The Remedy cider tastes very much like a white IPA. Very heavy on the hops for those who don't drink much beer as it is dry hopped with cascade and citra hops. We felt it overwhelmed and clashed with the delicate flavors of the Honey Flower pie. But we are excited to introduce this cider to our wheat impaired beer nostalgic buddies! 

"Drunken Nut" (bourbon chocolate pecan) & Branch & Bramble Cider

I love a good pecan pie for the holidays and I especially love a pie with whiskey or bourbon in it, I've been making them that way since before I was 21. So kudos there! This Drunken Nut lived up to my expectations with a thick inside that wasn't just that sugary corn syrup filling, but flavor and pecan dense. The nuts had a nice toasty crunchy texture and a rich but slightly bitter chocolate to round out the overall taste that was somewhere between sweet and savory. The Brand & Bramble cider it was paired with was almost sweeter in comparison and didn't really match the flavors in the pie. Instead, it was fresh, floral and fruity, and would have been great with the Grandma's Pie. Luckily, no one is orchestrating the tastings so you are free to taste and pair as you please.

Redhead's Revence & L'Acier

Redhead's Revence & L'Acier

We were surprised to learn that the Ciders and Sides was a weekly occurrence and could not be more excited to see what our friends at Stem roll out for the next pairing. On top of their weekly events, Stem is also host to a plethora of board games and day time activities... Your first Bumble date, girls night out, and friends in town activities just got easier to plan! See you next Tuesday! 

http://stemciders.com/                     http://thelongipie.com/

Denver's Weekend Lineup

Whether you're soaking up the sun in the mountains or exploring our urban jungle, there's plenty to do in the Mile High City this weekend. From experiencing the top 50+ eateries for $50 at The Big Eat, tasting the globe at a free downtown Bazaar, dancing at summer block parties, catching Pokemon at BBQs, enjoying live music and more... Here's Ultra5280's guide of what to do this weekend!

The Big Eat @ the Galleria at the Denver Performing Arts Complex 7/14

Curated by EatDenver, Big Eat celebrates celebrate Denver's food, art, and drink community. The giant party is a slice of Denver's thriving cultural scene. Bringing together 50+ locally owned and operated restaurants, tickets include unlimited bites, beer, wine, and cocktails.

Alf Queso 45+1 DJ set with Chris Dismuke @ Illegal Pete's Colfax 7/14

Free show starts at 9pm. Happy hour also runs 3-8pm daily.

Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival @ Keystone Resort 7/15

The Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival features classes, live music, seminars, tastings and more.

RNDZVS: Surf Rock Party @ Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art 7/15

The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting a Surf Rock Party, the second event in its youth-oriented RNDZVS series. “This is a brand-new pop-up series for the 21-and-up crowd that targets places often overlooked and underused,” says BMoCA’s director of education, Nicole Dial-Kay.

Call to Arms Brewing Company Anniversary Party @ 4526 Tennyson 7/16

Celebrating the anniversary of their first year open here in Denver with a day-long celebration with live music, 15 beers on tap, BBQ and carnival games with prizes.

LODOlympics @ Starts at Blake Street Tavern 3-9pm 7/16

Five different LoDo bars will host different drinking games–beer pong, corn hole, flip cup and more. Expect free food from burritos to brats, a raffle for Rockies tickets and huge prizes including a $500 private party at Blake Street Tavern. Tickets run $10-15.

The Mile High Global Bazaar @ Skyline Park 7/15, 16 & 17

A 3-day annual celebration of international cultures, arts, crafts, merchandise, food, and music. The event will consist of exhibitors from around the globe representing a vast array of cultures and goods. This event will also feature several live concerts featuring world music, belly dancers, and other entertainers.

Comedian Nikki Glaser 7:15pm, 9:45pm @ Comedy Works South 7/15 & 16

One Flew West @ Fox Theater Boulder 7/16

With The Longest Day of the Year & Whiskey Autumn

The String Cheese Incident @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre 7/15, 16, & 17th

Denver Deluxe Music Festival @ Park Burger RiNo 7/16

Mini music festival and block party presented by Park Burger featuring 10 Barrel Brewing Co. and a handful of Reggae, Jam, Rock, and Blues bands with The Original Wailers headlining. Tickets run $20-30, check Ultra5280’s social media accounts on how to win tickets!

Mini Pokémon GO meet-up @ The promenade by the boathouse in City Park, Denver 7/17

The Pokemon Trainer community in Denver will be meeting up for a fun-filled day of gotta-catch-em-all this Sunday 2-6pm.

Squeaky Bean Farm + Table Dinner @ Acres Farm 7/17

The special dinner will include dishes prepared from fresh produce for a four course dinner highlighting the "progression of a goat." http://www.thesqueakybean.com/#!product-page/niuhf/4d175ca2-0d85-d122-c3e4-f890ebb90962

Candlebox @ Hodi's Half Note 19th and Blake 7/17

Presented by 94.3 and Soda JerkWith Lullwater, Temple Agents.

Sufjan Stevens @ Red Rocks 7/18

With special guests RHYE 7:30pm

 

Breckenridge Brewery's Latest Mango Mosaic Is Sure To Be A Hit This Summer

The temperatures are heating up here in Denver as we embark on another season of unpredictable, yet warmer weather. A common tradition for most Coloradans is to make for the outdoors to enjoy what Mother Nature is throwing our way. For us that means enjoying our favorite libations with friends and families. The latest creation from Breckenridge Brewery is their new Mango Mosaic Pale Ale. It creatively brings the fine pairing of fine mosaic hops and fruit to your taste buds. The combination is not overbearing at all all is fully balances the taste with a medium body and goes down as smooth as the mountain rivers. We decided to pair our beer with a fine set of delicious street tacos (Al Pastor Style) that made for a perfect evening.

Mango Mosaic brings a lighter, “hops meets fruit” addition to the brewery's year-round portfolio. Available in 6-packs of 12-oz bottles and on draft, the 5.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) pale ale will be available in 35 states where Breckenridge Brewery beer is sold.

The beer will be fully stocked at the office this year just in case we want to take our work outdoors to enjoy (or get happy hour started earlier). Th beer perfectly pairs with any fine Carribean dish as well as any spicier combination of food pairing. We enjoyed ours with some dark spicy chocolate that was a match made in heaven.

"We've used Mosaic hops for several years in other beers, and we love the floral, tropical fruit, earthy characteristics that it gives - great aroma and a sweetness unlike other hops we've experimented with," explains Todd Usry, President of Breckenridge Brewery

 

 

Lifestyle | Valentine's Date Destinations | From Bae to Tinder

Valentine's Day is all about roses, red wine and paying inflated prices for a three course meal... all in the name of love. Complain all you want, but Cupid didn’t miss the target when it came to Denver dining. Whether you’re taking bae somewhere nice or trying to impress your latest Tinder squeeze, we’ve got your back… 

For those of you that have been so lucky to find someone to hold hands with on the same side of the booth, we know that upscale, classy is what you’re looking for this VDay and the following restaurants are sure to make bae swoon. 

A great starting point for a romantic dining experience in Denver is Larimer Square. Larimer Square is notorious in Colorado for upscale, delicious dining with ambience. Just stepping onto that square block greets you with twinkling lights, beautiful cars, and an array of cuisines to choose from. Here are Ultra5280’s recommendations for a memorable dinner out for those willing to indulge.

Photo Credit: Robert Castro

Bistro Vendome: Reminiscent of Paris, features traditional French bistro fare combined with seasonally-changing, local ingredients. http://www.bistrovendome.com/

Corridor 44: A classy champagne bar/lounge that also features a dinner menu designed to complement champagne, such as caviar, truffle fries, filet mignon, chocolate fondue, and crème brulée. http://www.corridor44.com/ 

Milk & Honey: This new restaurant is centered on serving approachable fine dining alongside a full bar complete with craft cocktails, elixirs, and after dinner drinks. http://milkandhoneybarkitchen.com/ 

Osteria Marco: A sophisticated Italian restaurant known for their handcrafted pizzas, meats and artisanal cheeses made on-site and a wonderful (while affordable) wine list. http://www.osteriamarco.com/ 

Rioja: A Mediterranean menu offering the best of Italian, Spanish, and French cuisine with an extensive Spanish based wine list. http://riojadenver.com/

Tamayo: Carefully crafted Mexican food with flair. Chef Sandoval blends traditional Mexican flavors with worldly ingredients and creative cooking techniques to create one of a kind dishes and drinks. Please note they are offering a special your choice 3-course Valentine’s Day menu. http://www.richardsandoval.com/tamayo/ 

Another idea for a memorable Valentine’s Dinner (or even just drinks and dessert) is adding some live music to the mix. Some great spots for this sweet combination, that will keep it romantic, are as follows.

Dazzle Jazz: This jazz gem has been showcasing amazing musicians for years and is really a great venue to relax while soaking and sipping it all in. There are still tickets available for their 9pm and 10:30pm shows Saturday 13th, free admission (reservations required) to their amazing bottomless brunch with live jazz 9:30am – 1:30pm, and tickets for the 5:30 show on the 14th.  http://dazzlejazz.com/ 

Jazz at Jack’s: This award winning jazz club is set above the 16th Street Mall and offers live music, special events, dance classes and a small bites menu. Tickets are available for their Saturday and Sunday night shows http://www.jazzatjacks.com/ 

La Cour Bistro & Art Bar: The live music performed here is tucked away in the upstairs of a charming historical house on South Broadway. In the summer months they migrate to the outside patio. Either way, La Cour makes for an intimate setting with delicious drinks and a decadent dessert menu. Best of all, there is no cover charge (but reservations recommended)!  http://www.denversartbar.com/ 

Nocturne: A beautiful, new music venue in RiNo fashioned after 1940s Supper Clubs. They will be holding two shows on the 13th and on the 14th along with a special four-course tasting menu and music from Wellington Bullings and the Scott Martin Trio Valentine’s night. Their menu is made up of small and large plates, desserts and a “Renditions” menu that changes seasonally and based upon an iconic jazz album. http://nocturnejazz.com/

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox: A subject of our most recent Edible Beats restaurant series, this eclectic “gastro-brothel” is putting on a special show for their Valentines patrons; a 3-course dinner complete with a burlesque peepshow! They are also holding their usual live-music Sunday brunch and a “Heartbreak Ball” Saturday night at 9pm. Ophelia’s delivers memorable on a whole different level.  http://www.opheliasdenver.com/ 

If forcing conversation for 3 hours while you politely chew on foie gras sounds like a special kind of hell, take a look at our top picks for getting boozy and handsy:

Photo Credit: Robert Castro

Torchy’s Tacos: A rather new staple to the Denver dining scene, but already burning a flame straight to the hearts of taco lovers everywhere. Share a green chile queso Lady In The Tramp style and down some margaritas under the twinkling lights of their DAMN GOOD sign. Trust us, nothing says romance like Torchy’s. 

Gov’s Park: Known for being the oldest bar in Denver (probably not true) and for being the favorite local watering hole of John Hickenlooper (also, probably not true), Gov’s Park is perfect for letting your hair down and while downing strong beverages. If you’re trying to go cheap, show up during happy hour and impress your date with a round of Fireball shots. 

Arby’s: Curly fries. 

Illegal Pete’s: Burritos, queso, margaritas and punk rock. If your date isn’t impressed and leaves you, at least you still have a burrito. Burrito = Bae. 

Taco Bell: Quesalupa, need we say more!

Whatever you do this Valentine’s Day, remember that food is the quickest way to win any heart and alcohol will help ensure you get lucky at the end of the night. Happy Love Day Denver, be ours forever?