Seeing as how I've been on a mission to get out of "food blogger shape", I don't really go out for burgers anymore. While I love nothing more than taking down a hearty bacon burger, especially after a night of heavy boozing, that pile of medium rare deliciousness defeats the purpose of me going to the gym. Then again, ingesting copious amounts of calorie rich alcohol probably isn't helping me either, but you have to pick your battles, right?

With that being said, there's no event I get more excited for all year than the Denver Burger Battle. Last year was my first time going, and as long as I'm alive, and this event exists, I'll be in attendance. This year the Denver Burger Battle stepped their game up and switched venues. Instead of a scorching hot parking lot in the middle of downtown, this year we were lucky enough to have our grumbling stomachs grace the field of the Denver Broncos (Praise be to Elway). This in and of itself was an experience, but of course, the fun didn't stop there. 

I was lucky enough to get VIP access so I could cruise through the restaurants offerings before the large crowds started to pour in. This gave me a chance to quickly decide whose I liked best. Now, last year I shared with you my tasting notes on all of the burgers I tried. This year, I'm changing it up a little bit, and have created Indie Eats Denver Burger Battle Awards. So here's three completely made up awards that carry no clout whatsoever outside of my blog. 

The burger that I would love to eat on a Sunday after drinking: The Sink

Texas Onion Straw Burger – Provolone, Cheddar Cheese, Jalapenos, Crispy Onion Rings with Chipotle Mayo.  I love seeing the really unique burgers at the burger battle, but I also love the ones that I would see myself ordering on an average day. With my fondness for spicy foods, and spicy foods being a cure for hangovers, this was definitely one of my favs. The fresh Jalapenos were crisp, and spicy, and the freshness cut through the rich fried onions and melty cheese. While it didn't blow me away, this is something I would order on the regular.

 

 

The Burger that had so much going on, but was still amazing: Crave

The Wiseguy – Crispy Mozzarella, Prosciutto, Fresh Basil, Tomato and Onion Drizzled with Balsamic and Olive Oil. Ok, last year I loved the Daffy from Crave. Yes, their burgers have a ton of flavors going on, and they're messy as hell. Here's the thing though, they're pretty damn good. The flavors work together, and don't overcomplicate the burger. If they had a location closer than Castle Rock, I would probably be down there a lot more often.

 

 

 

The Burger that unexpectedly made my knees weak: Mateo's

Colorado Sirloin, Caramelized Onions, Herb Aioli, Gruyere.  I don't make it up to Boulder very often, but I can assure you that I will from here on out, if only to eat something from Mateo's again. This burger was perfectly cooked and seasoned, and had a perfect blend of flavor profiles. The sweet caramelized onions paired with the creamy aioli and the melty gruyere. It was simple, yet extremely sophisticated in it's execution.

 

 

Ok, so I know these awards don't have any official meaning to the Denver Burger Battle and it's attendees, but these two do. Here are the official winners of the day:

Judges Choice – Larkburger - Bacon Truffle Cheddar Burger. Truffle Aioli, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Tillamook Cheddar
People's Choice – Crave - The Wiseguy – Crispy Mozzarella, Prosciutto, Fresh Basil, Tomato and Onion Drizzled with Balsamic and Olive Oil

Once again the fine people at the Denver Burger Battle have accomplished pulling off the best food event in Denver. While I definitely encourage you try all the participating restaurants, I also encourage you to plan on going to the 2013 Burger Battle next year. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Recently I've noticed an upswing in the amount of "suggested" behaviors that servers and food professionals have graciously asked that we, the diners, take. I've read them carefully over the past few months, and after a slew of bad service experiences, I've decided to put out a helpful piece for Denver's wait staff. Let me begin by giving you my background. My very first job was in the service industry. At the young age of 15, I worked as a bus boy at the Arvada Red Robin. Being a social young lad, I knew that the service industry was where I wanted to be. All through high school I worked as a bus boy, before moving onto becoming a server.

I always enjoyed providing guests (never say customer) with amazing service. Yes there were times where I was frustrated, angry, and downright seething pissed at the sheer stupidity of the general public, but I tried to hide those feelings based on one simple notion. Those people were my paycheck, and that paycheck could choose to be spent at any number of different establishments around town.

It wasn't until college that I truly began to master my craft. I helped open a pizza joint owned by a very reputable chef, and learned from one of the best service individuals out there. I learned that a service experience is something that a lot of people don't understand. I wasn't writing orders down; I was creating an experience. I was doing things that I would enjoy had I gone out to dinner that night. Having this train of thought made me very good at what I did.

Seeing as how my college education took me 8 years (please feel free to make fun) I had the opportunity to continue what I loved on a bigger stage. I left where I was at to work for a very well known restaurateur in Cherry Creek. I won't say this person's name, or the restaurant, just know that it's a difficult place to serve. Servers were expected to turn tables quickly, while hitting a remarkably difficult number of service points. We were tested regularly from secret shoppers and let's just say the turnover rate was ridiculously high.

I hustled. I knew my wines. I knew my menu. I knew my service points. All of these resulted in one thing – a noteworthy dining experience for my guests. I took pride in what I did, and the fact that I did things by the books. Were there assholes? Of course. It's Cherry Creek. But knowing those people were my paycheck, I bit my lip and kept hustling. I carried this on for two years before being asked to interview for a position as a corporate trainer. This would essentially mean that I would travel from new opening to new opening,teaching servers how to give great experiences. I had to turn this offer down because I finally graduated college and was ready to embrace my new career. The fact remains though that I was respected highly enough to be considered for this position.

Ok, at this point I know you're wondering why I haven't really given any insight to the wait staff of Denver. Well, it's coming. Don't get your panties in a bunch.

 

 

 

Every profession deals with ridiculous complaints that are unjustified and piss you off.

This is my biggest pet peeve that I hear about from servers. "Someone sent their fish back because they thought it was medium rare instead of medium…even though the CIA trained chef in back KNOWS that it's a perfect medium." Tough shit.  You dealing with nonsensical complaints is no different than anyone else out there. Work sucks sometimes, which is why it's not called fun. Get over it. I can't count how many times I had to bite my lip as as server, but that's just what you do. I've also had to bite my lip in my current career. That's life. If you want to see really ridiculously rude people, get a government job. Of course if you did that, I'd be reading a blog on how to act appropriately at the DMV.

 

I'm your paycheck. That doesn't give me a right to be rude, but remember the fact that…well…I'm your paycheck.

Look, I know you want to get off work so you can hit up the Aesop Rock concert at Summit, but here's the deal. You're at work. This is your job. I had no prior knowledge of your plans to hotbox your car and go to a show. Had I known, I would ask for a different server that enjoys the money I'm about to give them. So if I seem a little turned off that you're trying to rush me out, don't complain about me being a dick.

 

Regardless of how I'm dressed, treat me the same as you would any other guest.

Ok, we live in Colorado. This isn't exactly Madison Avenue. Yes, I probably could benefit from shaving, and throwing on a blazer when I go out to a decent spot, but I like good food! What the hell does that even mean, you ask? Well sometimes my friends and I are out and about and want to go somewhere a little nicer, but we're not dressed the part. That doesn't mean I'm not going to drop the same amount of loot that I would had I dressed up. The last few times my friends and I were judged on how we were dressed at a nice establishment, we ended the experience at one drink and one app, when we would have racked up a decent sized bill had we been treated appropriately.. Don't judge. I've sat at Cap Grill's bar drinking Stoli Doli's in flip flops and jeans, and those guys have never even batted an eye. And they always get tipped well.

 

Don't be a lazy asshole.

One thing that drives me crazy is servers that don't go the extra mile. A truly unique and incredible service experience should be seamless. A diner should never wonder what's going on, should never ask why they don't have something they need, and they should never wish they had something additional to make their experience better. I was recently on a day-date and met a girl at a overwhelmingly popular breakfast/brunch spot. After waiting for 55 minutes for a table (the food is worth it) it then took an additional 15 minutes to get greeted. Then an additional 25 to get our food. Then an additional 7 to get silverware. That's right, as our food that we had now waited an hour and forty three minutes for got cold waiting for something to eat it with, your tip went down. Weird how that happens… Don't be a lazy asshole. It all comes back to this…I'm your paycheck. Do you want a larger paycheck or a smaller one? It's a simple concept really.

 

Think of what you would want.

As a server at a nice restaurant and I'm positive you're no stranger to dining out. What pisses you off about service when you go out? Can you honestly say that it doesn't bother you when someone says, "you should hang on to your fork."  If I'm paying for a $15 dollar app, I'm almost positive that the water and electricity costs involved in washing that fork so I can have a new one is included in that price. Replacing silverware should be accepted as common practice. Don't give me your "conservation" argument either. I've seen plenty of dish racks go through the dishwasher half empty. You can easily fit a bin of silverware in that rack.  No one wants to wipe their fork in a napkin, forcing them to then have a crummy napkin in their lap. If I wanted that experience, I would go to Denny's. But I don't, which is why I come to your restaurants. So just do it already.

If you need a good case-in-point, take this story for an example. My last trip to New York I was fortunate enough to eat at Thomas Keller's per se. I know you're not dealing with the magnitude of check totals that those servers are, but bear with me. As the server brought a basket of breads, and explained all of them, I noticed there was a pretzeled roll in there. Being 3 cocktails in at this point, I jokingly asked if they had any mustard to accompany my pretzel. The server smiled and said, "Let me see what I can do."

He returned two minutes later with an array of four types of mustard, and placed it right in front of me. While I was kidding, he knew that I secretly did want some mustard, even if I was at one of the nicest joints in Manhattan. He knew that's what he would like. Think of that as you approach your tables. What would you like to experience?

 

Don't scoff at the notion that people want to split a check.

Not too long ago, my friends and I went out for Sunday Funday at a Sloan's Lake restaurant. Aside from the simple fact that I've been a server, I also know that we're in the year 2012 and that restaurants have ample technology to split tickets in a variety of ways. These programs assign items to seat numbers, making it very simple to separate items per person. If you ring things in correctly, then you can easily figure out how to separate things. If you're a lazy asshole (see above) then you probably just punched in the drinks all on seat one, because it was far simpler than actually assigning them to the individual that ordered them. This is not my fault as a guest. Yes, we should let you know every time before hand because it's polite. But the funny thing is you don't seem to care about social graces as you rack up a huge tab with my booze sales, that is, until you realize that we need it split. Then suddenly I'm the worst guest in the world for requesting the "unique" favor of splitting my bill according to what we ordered.

Don't be a lazy asshole. Ring your shit in properly and you won't have to worry about this dilemma.

 

Yes, some people have kids. You were a kid at one point, and probably acted unruly.

I get it. Kids don't spend any money. The simple fact of it is, that kids are going to come out with patrons who want to eat at somewhere other than their local pizza spot. Kids can often be unruly. This is the unfortunate thing about taking kids out to eat. But…if patrons don't take their kids out and teach them how to behave in public, then how will they ever learn? It does suck that this is on your behalf, but remember this. Those people are your paycheck. Oh! There it is again. Also, that family splitting entrees and drinking lemonades may be doing that today, but then later in the month the parents might be going out for dinner alone, and drop some cash on a bottle of Cakebread. That's the thing. This individual experience may suck, but look at the greater picture.

 

My final message to you is that being a great server is a very rewarding career. You have the ability to make people's nights amazing. Will you have to deal with a few bad apples? Yes. We all do though. It's part of life. Vent to other servers at the bar later that night. That's what I always did, and it always seemed to do the trick.  Here's the beautiful thing though, you can turn an bad apple into a smiling face. You can then turn that smiling face into a repeat customer. And after more amazing service experiences, you can then have people request your section. Amazing service = happy people. Happy people = busy restaurants. Busy restaurants = more money for you. So it's simple really. Just provide every table with a service experience you would be happy with, and in the end, you'll have more loot in your pocket to have fun with.

 

 

 

 

 

At this point in time, you all know my affinity for Jensen Cummings. The Executive Chef at Row 14 and I have spent time together on multiple occasions. Aside from this media dinner, we also had a night where I staged for him. When I say staged, I use that term very loosely. I made a few salads, but really I just sat there and gabbed Jensen's ear off. Thank god it was a slower dinner service for them that evening.

This time around I was lucky enough to be on the dining room side of the expo window. I brought my mom with me, as she has never had the pleasure of coming to a media dinner. What ensued was 13 dishes of pure deliciousness. At one point my mom looked up at me and said, "I feel like I'm on Iron Chef". I was more than happy to see the sheer glee on my mom's face as the staff of Row 14 brought out dish after dish, and poured glass after glass.

I was invited to shed some light on the new menu that Row 14 is rolling out with the celebration of their one year anniversary. So I know what you're thinking…Indie…what did you like? Well I'll tell you this. I like simple/classic dishes a lot of the time. Don't get me wrong, I loved my meal at Per Se in New York, but I find myself drawn to the taco stands and food trucks more often than not. With that being said, I think you'll be able to see my tastes, in my two favorite dishes.

1. Cherry Wood Smoked Pastrami/Fried Egg/Swiss/Carmelized Onion/Harissa Aioli – I'm not normally a fan of Pastrami, I'm more of a Corned Beef fan. With that being said, this Pastrami was perfect. The right cut to gave it tenderness and chewiness that accompanied the runny egg and the creamy, spicy Harissa Aioli in perfect harmony. I proclaimed at the table that this is the perfect hangover food, and it is. Chef Cummings can expect me in my jammies with bloodshot eyes and a grumpy disposition soon.

 

 

2. Pork Cheek Tacos/Napa Cabbage/Asian Pear Pico/Spicy Hoisin/House Sriracha – Boom. House Sriracha? No you didn't! Yes they did, and it's good. Also Cheek is one of my favorite cuts. Delicate, tender, and downright flavorful. These tacos were the shit! I'm a big taco connoisseur, and I must admit, these are one of my new favs. Bravo Row 14.

 

Aside from a tasty new menu roll out, Chef Cummings also presented a few other ideas of his to the group. The one that I was most excited about was the "Road. Vine. Table" trip. Row 14 has partnered with the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology (CAVE) to launch Colorado’s first series of wine-and-farm tours. What the hell does that actually mean? Essentially this – you'll be getting on a bus, having intimate discussions and tastings of Colorado Wines as your drive south. Upon arriving in Palisade you'll have a two-day excursion filled with more wine, multiple winery tours, and meals prepared by Jensen and Mark DeNittis (Owner – Il Mondo Vecchio). This two-day, all inclusive event costs $350 per person, and will most assuredly be worth every penny. Please call Row 14 for more details.

Ok, I know you have internet attention spans, which means most of you stopped reading after the pictures ended, so I will end this here. Chef Jensen embodies what I want in Denver. Playful, locally inspired cuisine at good prices, paired with great wine and beer and served with a big smile. Boom. No need to complicate things. Get down to Row 14, Denver. Jensen is killing it on the regular.

 

 

 

 

Ok kiddos, it's about that time again. Grills will be fired up, kegs will be tapped, napkins will be abused, and the city of Denver will be prepping for one giant, beautiful meat coma. Yes, it's time for the Denver Burger Battle. This year's event is set to be bigger and better than ever before. While I know most people say that, this time it happens to be very true. Here's the details.

Location: This year is a huge step up from last year, which was no slouch. We'll be gnawing down juicy burgers on the field of the Denver Broncos. That's right, DBB2012 will call Sports Authority Field at Mile High it's home this year. Wicked.

Contenders:

- Larkburger
- TAG
- H Burger
- Parkburger
- City Grille
- Cholon
- The Sink
- Mateo
- Row 14
- Madison Street
- Highland Tap & Burger
- Crave Real Burgers
 
Beer Vendors include:  Avery, O'Dell, Great Divide, and Left Hand

Tickets are only $75 and are going rather quickly. I was lucky enough to attend this event last year, and it's one you simply CAN'T MISS. So click this link, and get ready for some burgers.

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Country Time BBQ

June 4th, 2012

 

After spending some time with a lovely lady from Kansas, I was instructed on how far off Denver BBQ joints are from those of the great state of Kansas. While we may excel at having a rad, mountainous playground in our backyard, tasty green chile as far as the eye can see, and the ever-so-great Denver Broncos, Kansas probably has a leg up on us as far as good BBQ goes.

With that being said, I feel like this is a spot that the aforementioned lovely lady would definitely approve of. Before I get into the food, let me mention this. You will be intimidated as you pull up. The place is tiny, divey, and in an industrial part of town, just off of Hampden and Santa Fe. Don't let this deter you from getting some tasty BBQ though. The staff is pleasant, and the meat is tender. Let's be honest though, as long as the meat is tender at a BBQ spot, who really cares what the restaurant looks like?

I opted for the brisket sandwich, with hot BBQ sauce, and a side of french fries. The slabs of beef brisket overflowed out of the bun and were messily sauced with spicy, sweet, and smoky sauce; just how BBQ should be. The meat was impecabily tender, with not a single dry or tough spot throughout the sandwich. The fries were actual, cut-from-potato fries, which were fried to order. They were served crispy, skin on, with a little bit of salt. The only regret I had was not getting enough napkins, as this was quite a messy meal to have in my car. Oh, which reminds me, there's no seating, so be prepared to take it to your house, your office, or you could always just take it down in your car.

 

 

 

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Burrito Giant

April 14th, 2012

 

 

 

Before I say anything else, let me warn you – when you walk into Burrito Giant, you will have no idea where you're at. The mix of gym equipment, mexican pottery, a food counter, and two patio tables can be confusing. But, you needn't worry about about anything other than the food counter directly to your right.

Every time I go into Burrito Giant, they always seem like they're so excited to have me in there. This in turn, makes me excited for choosing them as my provider in breakfast burritos. All silly wordsmithing aside, this place is great. While the plain looking burrito above may not indicate anything special, it truly is. Instead of the lard-laiden beans that you usually come by in the stop-and-grab burrito places, they use extra virgin olive oil. While some of you purist might cringe, I'll tell you this – don't knock it till you've tried it. They're light, and incredibly flavorful.

Aside from all of this, the one thing that I absolutely love is their green chile. There's a perfect amount of heat to it, it's fresh tasting, it's not too thick, nor too thin, and is easily one of my top three favorites in Denver.

If you just want to stop in and give them a try, opt for the Jr. Breakfast burrito. It's only $1.25, and it's a good portion of potatoes, eggs, green chile, and cheese. This is plenty for the start of my day, but if you're a big eater, you may want to try one of the regular sized burritos.

Burrito Giant is located at 4501 W 38th Ave. There's street parking availble, and a trecherous little lot behind it that is rarely used.

 

 

 

 

There are a few chefs in Denver that are synonymous with amazing food, and Chef Justin Cucci is one of them. His two restaurants, Root Down and Linger, are incredible additions to the city of Denver, but there's more to Justin. Aside from owning and cooking at these two restaurants, he is a very musically oriented person as well. While some of you may think that running two restaurants is enough for one person, it's not the case here. Chef Cucci also moonlights as the guitarist for local band, The Chest Rockwell Band.

When I landed the opportunity to sit down with him, I was obviously really excited. As some of you may know, I do a lot of work with The Music Ninja. Food and music naturally go together in my mind, and I knew Chef Cucci was the same way. So without keeping you much longer, I'll let you experience what I mean. Here's my interview with Chef/Lead Guitarist Justin Cucci.

IE: What came first in life, the love for music or the love for cooking?

JC: Probably music. That's the first love.

IE: Do you listen to music while you cook?

JC: No. I like to be immersed in what I'm doing. I feel like when I'm cooking, I want to focus on what I'm cooking. When I'm listening to music, I want to be in it. I like being fully immersed in it.

IE: Name your top three songs you're listening to right now.

JC:  Escort – Cocaine – it's an amazingly catchy, hook song. It's disco, funk and it's new – so it's really fresh.

Prince – Uptown – I'm in a Prince - Dirty Mind phase.

Bill Withers – Kissing My Love – I love how simple he is, and how funky he is with an acoustic guitar. He never overdoes it.

IE: If your cooking style was a genre of music, what would it be?

JC: Wow. It would definitely be a mashup. It couldn't be one style of music. It would be like a jazz funk.

IE: Alright, on the flip side of that – if the music you played were a type of cuisine or food what would it be?

JC: Oh shit. Oh my god. That is an impossible question. It would probably be street food. Kind of a really accessible bastardization of culture and food put into music. I don't even know if that makes sense.

IE: (Laughing from the previous response) Tell us about the Chest Rockwell Band.

JC: It came because each year we have a Christmas party, and we have this amazing opportunity to have 150 staff members as a captive audience. I put a Craigslist ad together, two years ago, and hired a bunch of musicians just thinking it would be a one-off. We did it - played about three hours. It worked so good that I hired the same guys this year, and added two female singers, a percussionist and a keyboardist. It's an eight piece band.

I love this incarnation, because it's just music to go have a great time to. It's funky, disco, hip hop, soul, 80's, and some Grateful Dead. To me, it's like all shit that's really loose and really fun. I just wanted a busy, fun experience and music that would fit that.

IE: Good drinking music?

Yes. Get girls there – they like disco, they like 80's, they like to dance. If we can do that and get the girls there, guys will follow. I feel like both my restaurants cater towards women, and the guys follow. Or not. And if not, then it's all women. Which is fine.

IE: If you could open for any band, who would it be?

JC: Oh shit. Fuckin A. It would probably be Escort because I think that whole album is bomb. Even though those guys are more DJs.

Right now, existing bands? Little Dragon. I love Little Dragon. 

Or even though I don't like what he does now, Beck. I love Midnight Vultures, and Mutations. I love that era. If I could open for that era Beck, that would be cool.

IE: (Again, laughing from the previous response) And if you could cook for any band, who would it be?

JC: Steely Dan. I love their New York sensibility. There's so many layers – I love that people associate them with elevator music. I'm like, "yeah, but the song you heard in the elevator was about incest and drug addiction. You just didn't know it because their hooks and melodies, and they craft it so well."

Whenever I hear a Steely Dan song, their music tells one story, and their lyrics tell another. In food, I want multiple stories going on. Whether it's the culture of the food tells one story, and the texture, or color tells another story. They have such a contradictory relationship between their words and their music.

 

After reading that, you can tell that we had a good time. Chef Cucci was down to earth, raw and damn funny.

Most of the time, I'm leaving you with one request – go check out this restaurant. Well this time, it's a little different. You should still check out Linger and Root Down, as they are two of Denver foodies most beloved gems. But I'm also going to throw something else out there – this Saturday, head down to the Three Kings (60 S. Broadway) and check out Chef Cucci and the Chest Rockwell band, at 10 p.m. It's St. Patty's day, and you know you'll be out. So stop by and hear some fun, dancy, locally based tunes.

 

 

 

My favorite part about St. Patrick's Day is the food. I know it's pretty basic, but one of my all time favorite dishes is Corned Beef. I love it on sandwiches, I love it sliced, I love it just about any way it's served. My mom is part Irish, so this day is always a celebration for us – corned beef, cabbage, mashed potatoes, soda bread, and some root veggies accompanied by Black and Tans, and of course, copious amounts of Jameson.

The cynic in me wants to avoid downtown Denver all weekend long, and just celebrate with my family. But you know what? It can be a fun time. People are coming together to celebrate good times with good friends, and what better way to have fun with your friends and family, than by doing it and supporting a good cause.  This Friday, make sure you stop by Fadó Irish Pub. The pinnacle of  St Patrick's Day celebrations is this charity event on March 16, for St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

If you're not familiar with this, know that it's the world's largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research. Thousands of volunteers shave their heads in solidarity of children with cancer while requesting donations of support from friends and family. Not only will monetary donations be greatly appreciated, but Fadó's will also be donating 20% of all food sales.

With all the money you'll be spending on booze, try to tuck away a little and head down on Friday. It's for a really great cause, and it will make your hangover that much better the next day.

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The Asian Cajun

March 5th, 2012

I have to admit something. This is my first time to a restaurant with both Cajun and some type of Asian cuisine. I've seen a few of them on Federal, but I've never really thought to stop in. Well I finally ended that nonsense and stopped in to the Asian Cajun. Now, sometimes in my travels I stop in to a random place, and have a terrible experience. I choose not to write about those. Instead I only share when I stop somewhere and it was tasty – and this was one of those times.

At first glance, it feels like you're walking into a restaurant located near, in, or around the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The restaurant has a nautical theme, that's pretty dead on with Disney. I happened to like this, because I often have the mindset of a child. The one issue that I had with this place was that it's incredibly hard to choose between the Vietnamese menu, and the Cajun menu. And it was especially difficult considering that they had a full Pho menu. But, the bayou was calling my name this day. and I decided to try a couple of their Cajun items.

Gumbo – This gumbo was pretty traditional. Spicy broth with okra, rice, andouille sausage, and chicken. It was inexpensive, filling, and god damn tasty.

Cajun Fries – Normally with Cajun Fries, I expect this: frozen fries, fried, then coated in Cajun seasoning. This was not the case here. The fries had a super crunchy coating on them, that made them wildly addicting. The coating ensured that each fry had texture, even the long soggy ones that no one really likes. They came served with a creamy spicy mayo.

The good thing for you is, I brave the crummy hole-in-the-wall spots so you don't have to. Trust me, I've had some experiences that you don't want to know about. But when I do find a good one – I'll let you know about it. Make sure to head down to the Asian Cajun. Just be careful – you're going to have a tough time deciding what to order.

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The Crushery

February 1st, 2012

Ok, I know. It's been about a month since my last post. I apologize. Life gets a little hectic from time to time, and January was one of those times. Now that we have that out of the way, please pay close attention. As you probably already know, I love sandwiches. Subs, Tortas, Paninis, Arepas, and any other type of food incased in bread.

With all the different types of sandwiches out there, it stands to reason that there is going to be a lot of good spots, and a lot of bad spots. Well, the Crushery is definitely one of the good spots. After two stellar, hot-and-melty pressed sammies, I now feel completely comfortable in telling you this – eat at the Crushery.

Located on South Pearl street, it's one of a couple restaurants that has lasted through the bizarre closings as of late. And it's not hard to see why it's making it. Creatively composed sandwiches grill-pressed into perfection, a roll-up garage door on warm days, and liquid nitrogen ice cream. While I haven't had the ice cream just yet (trying to get into speedo shape) I have had the #1 and #2. Check 'em out below.

#1 – Shredded Pork, Bacon, Green Chilies, Queso Fresco, Chipotle Aioli. The bacon, green chiles, and Chipotle Aoili really made the tender pork-packed sandwich come to life. While this sandwich wasn't as "melty" as I normally like a grilled sandwich, it was still good down to the last bite.

 

#2 Pastrami, Sauerkraut, Swiss, Ancho 1000 Island – Out of the two sandwiches, this was my favorite. But I am a sucker for the combination of salty red meat and thousand island dressing. The cheese melted into every crevice, making a inseparable bond with the pastrami. Couple that with creamy 1000 Island – and you're in flavor country.

 

The Crushery is open Tuesday through Sunday, starting at 7am. Aside from sandwiches, they also do bagels, salads, and of course – liquid nitrogen ice cream. When you're done eating there – like 'em on Facebook and tell em how good it was.