Could there be a more inviting name for a sausage spot than Bike Jim’s Gourmet Dogs? You’d be hard-pressed to find one, but that only partly explains the rise of this brick and mortar that began as a simple (and yet gourmet) hot dog cart. I went to the location in downtown Denver and struggled to find the right sausage for me.
While in Denver, I found myself at a trendy spot downtown called Hearth and Dram. It’s unquestionably the kind of name that was pulled out of the random trendy restaurant name handbook, but that didn’t change the fact that the menu looked like an unvegan dream. Sure, there were vegetables, but I liked to think they were an afterthought compared to the real food.
What do you do when combine Chipotle and Brazilian food in the city of Denver? Apparently a spot called Five on Black. It has the element of walking down the line to make an order, puts it all in a bowl instead of tortillas. Seeing as I and the world seem pretty bored of Chipotle these days, this seemed like a nice change of pace.
Brio may be a chain, but it’s the kind of chain I can get behind. After all, steaks are a central component of the menu at the place. Of course, with an Tuscan theme it’s possible to get some light pasta or something else crazy, but I am a man who doesn’t generally turn down the opportunity for a steak.
Highlands Ranch is a crazy distant suburb of Denver, which typically means chain restaurants galore. And that’s pretty much what I found, but I also found a place called Crave Burger that was anything but “chainy.” It felt like the kind of burger place I would open if I were ballsy enough to open a restaurant. The menu was loaded with all sorts of crazy and inventive burgers including toppings like peanut butter, jalapeno poppers and fried white cheddar and eventually I found mine.
Vail, Colorado may be a beautiful place, but it is certainly not a place to go if you’re on a budget. Lift tickets are crazy expensive and the food isn’t much cheaper. But there are a couple more reasonable places in town and The Red Lion is one of them. As you might expect, The Red Lion is a British Pub and has your classic pub fare. When it came to my meal, I only really had eyes for the burgers.
In Boulder (and a couple other places) there is an Italian restaurant that goes by the name of Pasta Jay’s. While Jay is not a very Italian-sounding name, we nonetheless found ourselves eating there in our short trip to Boulder. Like many other Italian places, it had a pretty extensive menu filled with pizzas and pastas, but I wound up keeping myself in the pasta game. After all, the place wasn’t called Pizza Jay’s.
Chautauquas are a weird thing. Apparently they were some sort of bizarre adult education/cult thing that got really popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, starting out in Western New York and reaching at least as far as Boulder, Colorado. It was in that Chautauqua in Boulder that I spent a weekend and ate a majority of my meals in the dining hall. Never fear, though, this dining hall is open to the public so this review is still relevant.
Somewhere along the way, someone figured out that sex sells. I don’t know when this time came, but I’m pretty sure everyone in the room looked at each other and nodded in agreement without a word. In the ’80s, Hooters took that genius concept to the restaurant industry and became a household name. And while Hooters is still going strong, the look has become a bit dated. Enter Tilted Kilt, which has taken the Hooters concept, splashed it with Scotch and trimmed the uniforms significantly so that even flat girls have cleavage and they all show some midriff. In other words, the girls at Hooters almost look like nuns in comparison. Yet, while Hooters is gimmicky, they still have pretty tasty wings. Would Tilted Kilt have good fare to offer with their good looks?
In dire need of lunch at the base of Breckenridge, I skied on over to Coppertop Bar & Grill to meet up with the fiancee while she was on a little break from ski school. Realistically, very little is expected of ski mountain food. The restaurants have a captive audience, jack up the prices and provide more warming and high energy foods than truly good food. So when I moseyed on over to the food area at Coppertop, my expectations were quite low. But wait…did I just see a dude walk by with curly fries covered in cheese sauce? Scratch that, my expectations hit the roof.