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.

0

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.

 

 

 

0

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

0

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.

0

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.

 

0

Las Tortas

December 27th, 2011

 

 

 

If you follow me on twitter, you've come to realize one thing about me. I love strip mall Mexican food joints. Something about the banquet chairs, corona signs, and table tents that state the same three deserts that every other Mexican restaurant has tend to call my name. While I thought that my experience at Las Tortas was going to be similar, I was wrong.

Las Tortas is tucked behind the ritzy part of Denver, across Colorado Boulevard on Leetsdale. It sits in a shopping center that was part of new construction some time in the 60's, and still carries the same curb appeal. Most people would pass by it and not think twice to stop in, and that is a huge mistake. What lies inside is a restaurant dedicated to the Torta. A simple Mexican sandwich with some kind of tasty slow cooked meat, avocado, lettuce, chipotle sauce, mayo, and cheese all tucked neatly into a bun.

I had the Carnitas Torta, and Mrs. Indie Eats had the Pollo Torta. Both were huge portions, both were wonderful especially with the added extra hot sauce. We coupled our sammies with a couple of La Victorias, which is our favorite Mexican brew. It was a perfect meal, and all for under $20.

So, next time you're shopping in Cherry Creek, and you don't feel like going for the $70 lunch, or the plethora of chain restaurants, drive a few minutes east on Leetsdale and hit up Las Tortas.

0

La Sandia – Mole Festival

November 25th, 2011

Before you say it, I know. My blog is called Indie Eats, and I focus on independently owned restaurants. While La Sandia is owned by the legendary Richard Sandoval and his restaurant group, which has restaurants all over the nation, it still maintains an extremely high standard of food and also does great things for the food community of Denver. Case in point: the Mole Festival, which has been going on for the past month or so.

The Mole Festival is designed to introduce people into flavors that they're not aware of, which is something that I try to do everyday. I have to admit, I really didn't know much about Mole to begin with. I didn't know that it was Mexico's national dish, and I also didn't know that there were so many different types of Mole. To be able to sit down with the Chef who engineered this menu, Ana Luisa Almazan, and enjoy course after course of completely different Moles, was a truly enlightening experience.

The experience had a perfect ambiance for an authentic Mexican experience, sitting at a long table on Dia De Los Muertos. Each course was paired with a beer, or wine and the food, conversations and experience as a whole was incredible. Check out the dishes below. Once again, I need to apologize for the level of photography. Believe me, these shots don't do this meal justice. Maybe it's time to step up my food blog game with a nice camera.

Mole Almendrado – Grilled Shrimp, Green Olives, Capers, and Chile Guero salsa. – This mole was made with almonds, and no chocolate (which most people expect from a Mole), and it was paired with La Victoria beer. A beer which I had never known, but am now very familiar with. :)

Mole Negro – Red Snapper Filet with a Sweet Corn Tamal – Pan seared goodness served with a Rose. This particular kind of Mole was the only one that I had before. Rich, warm, and complex flavors worked well with the Snapper and sweet tamal.

 

Mole Rojo – Chicken Enchliadas with Shaved Yellow Onions – Served with Pinot Noir, and was probably my favorite dish. Beautifully simple and amazing.

Mole Pipian – Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Refried Beans – Perfectly cooked tenderloin served with Tempranillo. This mole was made with fresh chiles, and was served with some of the best refried beans I've ever had.

Shared Dessert Tasting – As most of you know, I'm not a dessert person. My guest on the other hand, was, and pretty much took down a shared platter to himself. His tasting notes? "I just ate that entire thing of flan. It was soooooo good."

I've always been a fan of Richard Sandoval's restuarants. I love Zengo, and eat there on a regular basis. I had never been down to La Sandia before, but I assure you, I will be down there again. The atmosphere and decor of the actual building is breathtaking. They have an amazing view of the front range, as well as a killer menu, and top-notch libations.

The Mole Festival itself is really incredible. Not only for the eye-opening flavors, but also for the history involved. I highly recommend that you get down there and check it out.

If you took a survey of my kitchen, there's going to be a few things that I always have. I tend to always keep some staples around that are versitile ingredients. This way I'm always prepared for that last minute light bulb that goes off. And that ligh tbulb often goes off after a few glasses of wine, so it's important to keep these things close. Because if not, I'm hoofing it to the store.

Eggs. Milk. Flour. Butter. Cheese of some kind. Soy sauce. Worchestershire sauce. Mustard. Hot sauce. The list goes on, but there's one that's always there. I promise you, that I am never without this one ingredient – especially growing up in an Italian family. Yep. It's olive oil.

Now a few weeks ago I was asked to attend an olive oil tasting and dinner put on by Star Fine Foods. You may recognize the name – because they're in most grocers. And if you appreciate a martini every now and then, you've most assuredly purchased some of their olives.

For this particular occasion we were at Ototo, which is part of the Sushi Den/Izakayi Den family. Their head chef prepared a five course meal that really showed the versatility of this beautiful ingredient. To spare you my inane banter, I'll cut to the chase. Here's the dishes with descriptions and photos. I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos. It was dark in the restaurant, and I was simply equipped with a mere iPhone camera.

Grilled Zucchini, Tomato Jam, Anchovies, Capers and Star Olive Oil – Beautiful, simple, and delicately Mediterranean. The olive oil added a depth of flavor to the grilled zucchini.

Olive Oil Cured Ahi, Orange Segments, Olive Olive Oil Confit Tomatoes, and Tagliatelle Pasta – I was unsure about this dish when I read it on the menu, but it was phenomenal. Once again the olive oil provided a nice rich complexity, but the dish finished beautifully with the citrus from the orange segments.

EVOO Poached Alaskan Halibut, Saffron Braised Fennel, Fennel Puree, Fennel Olive Oil – Perfectly prepared piece of Halibut and the fennel was used in a way that was complementary, and not overwhelming.

Colorado Lamb Chop, Olive Pistachio Crust, EVOO Poached Fingerling Potatoes – The best lamb chop I've ever had. Not kidding – not in the slightest. The olive and pistachio crust provided a salty nutty crust that was just spot on.

Olive Oil and Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Hazelnut Souffle, and Honey Olive Oil Tuille – Normally not much of a desert guy, but this was pretty tasty. The flavor of the olive oil definitely came through, and didn't dominate the dish, which was impressive.

For a dinner based around an ingredient, this was fantastic. I felt like I was a judge on Iron Chef. The Executive Chef at Ototo masterfully prepared and plated each course, which of course highlighted the olive oills that were presented by Star.

The food, wine and ambieance were incredible, thanks to the staff at Ototo. But also, a big thank you is necessary for Star Fine Foods for putting this event on, and for Creative Culinary for organizing everything. It was a great evening, and a great showcase of how diverse this beautiful ingredient can be.

As you may have come to know, my mantra is pretty easy to understand. What you may not know is I became this way from how I was raised. And as I grew up and experienced new flavors and cuisines, I started to associate with more people that did the same.

Just recently I was having a non-alcholic (yeah right) beverage with a fellow Denver blogger who has the same views and had a similar upbringing. After about eight or nine non-alcoholic beverages, we started a "Who Knows Ethnic Food Better" pissing contest.

And the winner of that pissing contest? Well, we forgot. But who ever won, Indie and I (yes, this is a servant. Do try to keep up, good reader) came up with a list that we both feel is a pretty comprehensive look at ethnic food in the Denver area. We decided to go ahead and put that list into your hands, so that you might share something of our childlike joy for adventurous eaters.

So before you read on, you have to ask yourself: does the question "what is your favorite type of food" almost bring you to tears of frustration as you try to decide which flavors you prefer? Do you live in the Denver Metro area and detest generic, chain-food-TGI-McChili's type restaurants? Do you roll your eyes when your friends try to be "adventurous" at a restaurant by ordering Shrimp Scampi? Then we've got just the list for you.

Well stated, a servant. Let me just chime in and mention that we tried to stick to places somewhat off the beaten path. Everyone knows Frank Bonanno is awesome, but we like to give praise to the little guys as well. With that in mind, here's our picks. Bon Appetito

Indie Eats and a servant

Asian
Pho: Pho 79 in Aurora/Pho Duy – We hit a stalemate on this one. Either way you go though, you're looking at hot noodle goodness.

Vietnamese: New Saigon – Supposedly there's a secret "Vietnamese" menu, but you’ve got to be Vietnamese to access it. We’re not, by the way. But if you are, well, we guess you know how to ask.

Banh Mi Sandwich Shop:Ba Le – $5 dollars actually did make us holla.

Japanese: Sushi Yoshi in Superior – Say whaaaaaa? Yep. It's that good.

Thai: US Thai – For the love of god, don't order the "Thai Hot".

Chinese: Heaven Dragon/Tea Garden – Sometimes what you were raised on is what's best. Tea Garden hails from Arvada and has been in business for 25 years, Heaven Dragon has locations in Arvada and Thornton.

 

Middle Eastern/Indian
Indian: Jewel of India in Westminster/Little India – Why does food that smells like cab drivers taste so delicious? We don't know, but it does.

Middle Eastern: Jerusalem's – Open late means great food post-party food, but it's also good on quiet nights as well.

 

African
Ethiopian: Aradas in Denver – Who doesn't like to eat with their hands? Oh you? Ok, well we suggest you don't try this one then.

 

South of the Border
Colorado Style Mexican Food: Los Arcos — Just the basics – but with chips and salsa to die for! Try not to get creeped out by life sized portraits of the owners staring at you while you eat.

Authentic Mexican Food/Tacos: Tacos Y Salsas – Careful what you order – it might be organ meat, and will definitely be delicious.

Venezuelan: Empanada Express — Ten dollars never bought you so much fried beauty! Seriously, one appetizer and a full plate will feed you for 3-5 days.

Cuban: Buchi's — Out of this world Cuban sammies and the best damn cup of servant’s had outside of Paris, France.

Brazilian/Latin: Cafe Brazil — extremely delicious, very authentic! Enjoy the Brazilian artwork (some of it bizarre) and staff.

 

European
Italian: Parisi and Firenze A Tavola — Parisi is a must before strolling the Tennyson artwalk. The deli is a fun way to blow fifty bucks (if you cook like Indie and servant do), but make sure to head downstairs for Firenze A Tavola. It's more upscale, and the Osso Bucco is top notch.

French Bakery: La Patisserie Francaise – Oddly placed next to a Target and Planned Parenthood, but down right tasty. Grab some coffee and a pastry and you're good to go.

Greek: Melita's —a charming staff and wonderful gyros. Servant’s favorite is the lemon soup! Don’t hesitate to pick up some amazing hummus and inspired olive oil.

Jewish: The Bagel Deli I was eating here before Guy Fieri thought it was cool. If you think Einstein has good bagels, please slap yourself, then head down here.

So that about wraps it up! Feel free to visit these websites, print out this list, stick it on your refrigerator with a magnet, and salivate while looking at it daily! Enjoy our recommendations and feel free to add your own on our pages. Whatever the case, enjoy eating! No really, just in general, enjoy eating!

Also, don't be scared to show us some love on your favorite social network. We're on both, and occaisionally one of our jokes is mildly amusing.

Ciao!

Indie Eats                            A Servant Writing

Facebook                            Facebook

Twitter                                 Twitter