Larkburger (Northglenn, Colorado)

I’m always craving a burger…there’s just something about that bite of juicy beef and a side of fries.  While I was in Denver, I just had to find a place and came across Larkburger. They advocate natural ingredients, natural operations, and natural packaging. For a quick service burger joint, I was surprised at the quality…

 

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Larkburger. 1/3 lb certified angus beef. Lettuce. Tomato. Onion. Pickle. House Sauce. Cheddar.

Truffle Burger.  1/3 lb certified angus beef. Lettuce. Tomato. Onion. Pickle. Truffle aioli

 

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Truffle & Parmesan Fries. Hand cut fries. Grated Parmesan. Italian parsley. Truffle Oil.

 

The food is great and the they’re all natural so that’s a plus! The burgers aren’t your big, hearty burger size, but they are the perfect for lunch. I think I can handle two if I was really hungry, but I can eat a lot so order accordingly. The fries were delicious and had to be my favorite part with the perfect amount of salt, parmesan, and of course, truffle oil.

If you’re looking for a quick and tasty burger, Larkburger is where it’s at! I’d definitely return, especially for those fries! We were at the Northglenn location, but I’m sure their other restaurants are consistent. Enjoy!

 

Larkburger on Urbanspoon

 

Snooze (Boulder, Colorado)

Boulder, Colorado is a nice little college town with a cute, but modernized hominess. If I were to live in Colorado, Boulder would be the place. It doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of the big city, but it’s not quite suburbia either. Let’s not forget to mention being so close to this gem…

 

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Black Coffee. 

 

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Chilaquiles Benedict. Barbacoa beef. Ranchero sauced Tortillas. Melted Cheese. Poached Cage Free Eggs. Roasted Poblano Holandaise. Pico de Gallo. Cotija Cheese.

 

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Gyros Benny. Griddled Feta. Herb Bread Pudding topped with Braised Lamb. Poached Cage Free Eggs. Cream Cheese Hollondaise. Tomato and Cucumber Salad.

 

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Pineapple Upside Down Pancake. Buttermilk pancake. Carmelized Pineapple Chunks. Housemade Vanilla Crème Anglaise. Cinnamon Butter.

 

There was a bit of a wait, but it’s worth it. We waited about 30 minutes, and we were seated promptly. Enough about that, now onto the food! The “Benny’s” were a great interpretation off the original eggs benedict. “The  Chef” and I ordered the Chilaquiles and the Gyros Bennies. I was so surprised at the creativity that they brought to the plate. “It’s like a Mexican chef and Greek chef got together and had a benedict throwdown and these two new beautiful morsels were born.” I quoted “The Chef” since I can’t take credit for his beautiful words!

Normally, an eggs benedict would consist of a poached egg on top of an English muffin, but no. Snooze had to “hit the snooze” on that old time clock. The Chilaquiles surprised me with the corn tortilla as the carb and the Gyros Benny was laid on top of a bread pudding. Who would have thought of that?! They also perfected the “art of hollandaise” and incorporated a unique flavor to each Benny. My only disappointment was in the hashbrown. It was a bit too dense, in my opinion, but it left room in my tummy for the deliciousness around it!

I cannot forget to mention the pancake. THE. BEST. PANCAKE. EVER. It was dense, but light and I felt I was eating the best cake of my life. I’m not exaggerating. Others have recommended the Blueberry Danish Pancakes, but I couldn’t room another bite…until  next time!

Considering Snooze is a local chain in the city, it holds the restaurant title for best brunch with originality and character. Next time, I’ll come in starving so that I could eat a feast!

 

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Rating: 4.5/5 spoons
Snooze on Urbanspoon

Rioja (LoDo, Denver, Colorado)

Rioja…a blend of Spanish, French, Italian influences, and the recognition from the James Beard Foundation. I was unaware of what this meant before I met “The Chef”, but I quickly learned that only the best of the best are awarded with the James Beard Award. Chef Jennifer Jasinski was awarded with Best Chef of the Southwest in 2013.

It’s not often I get to visit Colorado, so why not try the best of the best?! So, how did Rioja measure up to this recognition?

 

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Goat Cheese Biscuit. Seasoned Flatbread. Lavender Sourdough. Loved the lavender sourdough. Perfect note of lavender paired with sourdough!

 

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Pre-meal Rosé. 

 

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Chardonnay. Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco, Rioja.

 

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Amuse bouche: Pork belly bite. 

 

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Fresh Bacon. Pork belly. Cardamom. Curried Garbanzo Bean Pureé.

 

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Duck Confit Flatbread. Lemon Pistachio Pesto. Gorgonzola Dolce. Cherries. Port Pickled Red Onion.

 

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Beet Gnocchi. Strawberries. Hon-shimeji Mushrooms. Walnuts. Tarragon. Horseradish-fromage blanc.

 

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Pacchetti. Rapini Mousse filled Saffron Pasta. Heirloom Tomato. Italian Sausage. Burrata. Basil.

 

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Artichoke Tortelloni. Artichoke Mousse. White truffle brodo. Queso de Mano. Chervil.

 

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Seared Sea Scallops. Arugula Risotto. Baby turnips. Artichoke. Saffron-lemon Puree.

 

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Beignets. Sweet Goat Cheese. Black Mission Fig Filled Pastries. Ruby Port Wine Reduction.

 

 

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Hand made ice creams.  Left to right: Apricot Ice cream. Tangerine Sorbet. Cognac Ice Cream. Lace Cookie Plate.

 

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Candied Mint. 

 

**Keep in mind that “The Chef” and I like to order various menu items and create our own tasting menus so some of the dishes were split in two by the chefs in the kitchen. That’s why the portions appear a bit small, but each small bite was bursting with deliciousness.

I know this sounds super cliché, but the entire meal was like an orchestrated musical. There was never a moment that I felt I was waiting for my food. It’s almost magical how they organized it. Those who are not in the industry don’t realize how difficult food service can be and I can understand why when restaurants like Rioja make it look so easy.

Now, onto the food…

They catered to exactly towards my palate! Delicate, light, and bursting with flavor. I had so many favorites. The amuse bouche was scrumptious and I could eat a bowlful! My favorite pasta was Chef Jen’s signature pasta, the Artichoke Tortelloni. Next, would be the Fresh Bacon dish. It sat on top of a savory Curried Garbanzo Bean Pureé. Lastly, the sweets deserve some mentioning especially since my hometown is the home of the beignets (New Orleans)! The beignets were delicious and complimented the ice cream and sorbet dishes well. My favorite ice cream was the Cognac. “The Chef” jokes that I’m an alchie, but you can’t blame me for having great taste!

From top to bottom, Rioja excelled in great service, food orchestration, and flavorful execution. I can’t wait til I visit Denver again to try brunch at Rioja!

 

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Rating: 5/5 spoons
Rioja on Urbanspoon

Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs (Five Points, Denver, Colorado)

 

“The Chef” and I have tried so many restaurants in New Orleans, but we’ve made a goal to do more travelling..first stop, Denver, Colorado!

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 Colfax St. and the State Capital.

 

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Scenic View on the way to Vail, Colorado. 

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Larimer Square is one of the main attractions of the city. Not too far down the road is Biker Jim’s! We read great reviews and even saw that Anthony Bourdain had endorsed these delicious dogs. The schedule was packed, but “The Chef” and I decided to fit it a quick bite a few hours before dinnertime…

 

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Great selection of dogs, especially game dogs: Veal, antelope, pheasant, rattlesnake…

 

 

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Duck Cilantro Dog topped Coney Island style. Rich, meaty New Jersey style chili. Diced onions. Yellow mustard.

 

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Rattlesnake & Pheasant Dog topped with Biker Jim’s Classic. Cream cheese. Carmelized Onions.

 

Great quality dogs! My favorite of the two had to be the Rattlesnake and Pheasant. I’m not the biggest fan of game meat, but this dog had great flavor. I wish we could’ve tried more, but we will definitely return next time.  I’d love to see some snow this winter! We don’t get much in NOLA!
Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs - The Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Pho Noi Viet (Garden District, New Orleans, LA)

Vietnamese food has been popping up all over the city…and it’s no wonder! The food is always refreshing, tasty, and great for those on a budget. I’ve been skeptical of the new wave of Vietnamese restaurants, and you can’t blame me since that’s where my roots lay. Nothing can compare to mama’s homemade meal, but I’m very surprised at what Pho Noi Viet had to offer…

 

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Goi Cuon. Spring rolls.

 

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Jasmine Tea (left). Chystanthemum Tea (right).

 

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Com Thit Nuong. Rice with Grilled Pork.

 

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Pho Tai Chin. Rare Beef & brisket.

 

Everything was great! I love the hominess of the food especially with the rice dish with grilled pork. There’s a hominess that’s difficult to describe, but reminds me of my mom’s cooking. I really enjoyed the iced green tea…floral and refreshing. I really wouldn’t mind getting one to go right about now! The menu is very simplified and they lack Bo Vien (meatballs), which is a staple in the Pho industry, but other than that, service was awesome and the food was delicious!

Regardless of the limited menu and the lack of meatballs, those are minor when looking at the overall and I will definitely come back to try out other menu items!

 

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Rating: 3.5/5 spoons

 

Phỏ Noi Viet on Urbanspoon