This item on my 30 Before 30 list has been a lot of fun to complete. We are creatures of habit. We love the foods and restaurants that we know and stick to our “usuals” for the most part. So, to break out of that, I wanted to go to 10 local restaurants that neither of us had tried before (an easier feat for me than for Stephen!). I defined local as only in Colorado. It could have more than one location, but all locations had to be in Colorado. Without further ado, here are the restaurants:
1. The Cherry Cricket (7/1/12):
Our first stop was the Cherry Cricket. It’s located in the more upscale Cherry Creek mall area but is a really low-key, relaxed bar. We came in and it was packed to the edges with every type of people: bros, families, old people. After being seated, I noticed that the staff are all dressed in street clothes (which kind of makes them hard to identify, but I never needed to so I don’t mind). We got burgers. I got green chiles on mine and it was tasty. Good food for “bar food” for sure. It had a really laid back feel, especially considering fanciness surrounds them.
2. Los Arcos (8/16/12)
Los Arcos was recommended to us by 5280 magazine as the best local Mexican restaurant. We love Mexican so we thought we should definitely check it out. The decor is legit, complete with triumphant Aztec-looking artwork. I decided to try their specialty, the tacaso, a “Grande deep-fried taco filled with pork and potatoes, smothered in red chile, topped with sour cream and guacamole.” It was good. We both thought the food was good, but still like Hacienda better (and obviously it’s no Murillos!).
3. Parry’s Pizza (9/1/12)
We just happened to see Parry’s Pizza in Castle Rock when we were in town for some other reason. We had pizza with pepperoni, garlic and bacon. I mean seriously, can it get better? The pizza is really good, they have a decent amount of beers on tap (not that I care, but it works for Stephen) and THE BEST fried pickles anywhere. We try the fried pickles everywhere we go and it is unanimous that the slight kick in Parry’s breading and the bread to pickle ratio makes them the best. They’re New York style, so the decor is a bit Yankee heavy for my tastes, but that’s okay because the food is good.
4. Smokin’ Daves BBQ & Taphouse (10/18/12)
After a windy, cold hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, Smokin’ Daves in Estes Park really hit the spot. The brisket, green beans (with bacon) and fries were really tasty. Just looking at this picture makes me want to go get some. We had the fried pickles there. They were good, but they fry them in spears. This often lead to taking a bite and the pickle sliding out of the breading. Not my favorite preparation, but they tasted good. The real surprise to me was the Carolina Mustard BBQ sauce. I had never had it before and really, really liked it. The best out of all 4 sauces they offer, in my opinion.
5. La Polleria (12/26/12)
A cute little Mom-n-Pop style Peruvian place in Littleton (or maybe it’s Centennial), La Polleria was something I had to try since I’m part Peruvian on my Jackson side 🙂 Having no prior Peruvian food experience, I had nothing to really base my opinions on, but it was good. The spicy aji sauce was no joke. I’ve spent the last few years building my tolerance but that sauce was spiiiiiicy. The chicken burrito was good and the Inca Kola was legit. I can’t wait to bring my Peruvian family here to see what they think!
6. Shells and Sauce (1/12/13)
We went to Shells and Sauce on a good day. Well, good for me, not so good for Broncos fans. Following the Broncos playoff loss to the Ravens, we headed up to Denver with Brian and Rachel to try this place out. It’s really cute and has a great patio dining area upstairs (which thankfully has heaters for the winter). I would love to go back in the summer and sit up there and overlook the street. I had the chicken parmigiana and it was so good. So good, in fact, that I barely remembered to take a picture. The company surely added to the experience and I’m glad Brian and Rachel suggested this place.
7. Marlowe’s (2/15/13)
Marlowe’s is located on 16th street mall and we went there before a movie on our weekend trip to Denver. We only went for happy hour, so we didn’t really experience the full menu. I had a salad, which was good (not much you can do to ruin that) and we shared their “Crispy Fried Angry Pickles.” Expecting fried dills, we were disappointed when they were more like fried half sours. We didn’t even finish them. I’d be willing to go back to Marlowe’s and try their actual food. The atmosphere was nice and during the day the patio would be a nice place to people watch.
8. Rialto Cafe (2/16/13)
Having been to Snooze earlier in the day for brunch, we weren’t super hungry for dinner. We decided to go to the Rialto Cafe for happy hour. We shared the kobe sliders, fried pickles and truffle fries. They were all pretty good. The real star of the show was the Strazzberry Lemon Drop martini. These could be serious trouble.
9. Racines (2/17/13)
Racines was our last hurrah coming out of Denver after a great weekend “away.” Racines has a really nice atmosphere with a huge bar area in the middle. We went for breakfast and it was pretty busy. We waited probably 30-45 minutes.It was worth it. The food was really good. I had the breakfast burrito (now that I eat eggs this is an easier option) and the green chile was on point. We got Breakfast Potato Skins as an appetizer and I can’t believe no place I’ve ever been has had this idea before. Potato skins with eggs, bacon and cheese on top with green chile on the side. So good.
10. Pete’s Central One (4/7/13)
Pete’s is one of our friends Brandon & Meghan’s favorite places. It’s just down the street from their apartment and is super cute. We went with them on Sunday after the Rockies game. I haven’t really had Greek food much before and it was delicious. It’s a really small place, so the guy in charge knows them well. He came and sat and chatted with us for quite some time. He was an adorable little old Greek guy and super friendly. Potato+garlic dip with pitas? So good. Chicken pita sandwich with tzatziki? Tasty. Definitely a good way to end the “challenge” and to have my “last supper” before my juice fast. We capped the night with some free shots of ouzo from the little Greek man. Ouzo: not my favorite. Tastes like black licorice. Couldn’t turn down free.
This has been a fun experience with a lot of tasty foods. I learned that I really enjoy trying new things with Stephen and discovering things together. I hope to try more new places with friends and expand our “usual” restaurants.