Surprisingly good eats in Denver

Last week, I spent a few days in Denver, CO, eating delicious food and wandering across town with friends. The last time I came through Denver, it was 2005. The city has changed a ton – with an explosion of dispenseries, breweries, and lots of great food. While I’m not really into weed, and maybe sort of into beer, I’m definitely into food. Here were some highlights:

  • Shrimp and Grits at Sassafras American Eatery. Known for a solid brunch, my friends Krys and Blaise recommended it. We sat outside on their pretty patio and loved their Southern-style fare. Pretty excellent beignets, as well.
  • Chicharones at Rackhouse Pub. Crunchy, bubbly, and porky. Yum. Also, the Not Bacon LT sandwich, featuring wort soy butter and fried green tomatoes was also a hit. Inside the pub, they recently opened a new brewery called Bierstadt Lagerhaus with deliciously drinkable beers. We tried a very refreshing pilsner and a bright helles.
Chicken fried biscuit with an over-medium egg at Rise & Shine.
Chicken fried biscuit with an over-medium egg at Rise & Shine.
  • Biscuits at Rise & Shine. Probably some of the most amazing biscuits I’ve had, although I did miss the jam and butter bar at Biscuit Head in Asheville. Also, the owner Seth usually works the coffee station, and the drinks are incredible.
  • Chicken noodle at Zoe Ma Ma’s. When I went to ZMM, it was the first real meal I’d had in about 48 hours – I had finished packing up my apartment and flew across the country. I was starving for a delicious, warm meal and this savory, fragrant broth was just the comfort food I needed. I went back a few days later and it was just as good. This was probably my favorite stop in Denver.
Noodles and veggies at Zoe Ma Ma.
Noodles and veggies at Zoe Ma Ma.
  • Peach and raspberry pie at Humble Pie. We were sitting at Cerebral Brewing nearby and craved something snacky. The peaches were in season, and the hand pies were just the perfect size.
  • While we’re talking about Cerebral Brewing, their oatmeal stout was definitely a winner.
  • Potstickers at Lao Wang Noodle House. Pan-fried with crunchy, lacy bottoms, these were some of the crispiest potstickers I’d had in a long time (and I’m still trying to figure out how to fry them so delicately and deliciously at home).

  • The patio at Overt. Good pastries, but more than anything – a quiet, beautiful, and easily-Instagrammable patio for a random afternoon.
  • Fancy Tiger Boutique featured locally-made, trendy fashion items at a pretty affordable price. I loved browsing it and would definitely go back. Also – Sweet Action Ice Cream was across the street, and I couldn’t stop myself from getting a hot fudge sundae.
Hot fudge sundae in an upside-down waffle cone is pretty much the only way to roll.
Hot fudge sundae in an upside-down waffle cone is pretty much the only way to roll at Sweet Action Ice Cream.
  • REI Denver is an experience all to itself. It’s about six times the size of the REI in Boston, and I spent well over an hour browsing the massive space, picking up some final items before our Yellowstone trip.
  • We wandered into Sous Le Lit and met the owner, Greg, who started the boutique nearly a decade ago with his ex. He and his wife run the boutique today, and while the foot traffic has increased over time, their online sales have exploded. Greg’s pretty adamant at offering trendy clothing at a reasonable price. It was fascinating talking to him and learning about how he’s handled online retail as a small store. I also picked up a sweet pair of sunglasses while I was in the store.

I’ve been on the road quite a bit lately. Here are my other random “brain dump” city guides for Portland (Oregon), Madison, Asheville, Montreal, and Barcelona. These are personal travel scrapbooks for me, hopefully someone else will find these lists helpful!