Just when you thought my resolution had started its passage to the place where resolutions go to die, I am here to prove you (or me) wrong.
Miss me? Of course you did.
Despite my inability to make it to the BLOGOSPHERE, my culinary adventures have continued. Which - after much delay - leads me to that excellent adventure of Ophelia's Electric Soapbox.....
As the way most excellent adventures work, I found my way to Ophelia's because I utterly failed to follow through on my intentions. I had made a firm commitment to try at least three restaurant's during Denver's restaurant week, which required reservations. No reservations, meant no restaurant visits during restaurant week. What kind of food critic am I? So on the heels of restaurant week I made a reservation for the wrong amount of people at the #1 suggestion on my Open Table for restaurant week. Luckily, my friend had a backup plan.
And that is how we arrived at a youth hostel. What? There are still youth hostels? What do youth hostels have to do with this post?
I've lived in the Denver area for 19 months yet I have been as adventurous as a well-located tree frog. Wait - tree frogs are probably more adventurous than me. So, I was utterly unfamiliar with LoDo, necessitating utter reliance on my friend's app which led us through the wrong door, completely exasperating a young European chap on his way to his own adventures.
And checked in early for our reservation at which point we were cautioned that we must leave by 7pm sharp for the next patrons. That left me less than electrified, but I'm not a dweller, so I focused my attention on the cool interior. A 70s Sci-Fi adventure was playing silently on the large movie screen planted on the ground floor, while a small happy- hour contingent huddled around the cozy bar. The interior had a New York feel, exposed brick and low lights. The hostess led us to a little booth on the 2nd floor with a birdseye view to the stage where a band would play later in the night (way after our reservation was scheduled to end). We climbed into the raised booth which was a bit cramped, but we were excited and felt a little cooler than we should.
On to the best part of any meal - the cocktail paired with appetizer expectation!
Two of us went for the PG 13 (Vodka, Dill, Cucumber, Lime, Soda) while our sweeter sidekick landed on the Never Enough (Gin, Lemon, Grapefruit, Blueberry, Mint). Both were momentarily delightful, but I have found "craft" cocktails are much more exciting to the food and beverage ingénue. I personally prefer a well-made staple to an "inspired" creation. The former being a true measure of the craft while the latter a result of a truly uninspired experiment.
Enter stage right - The Truly Inspirational Appetizer: Green Chili Goat Cheese Cornbread!
Cornbread? How can cornbread be inspired, you ask? I'm a Southern gal who can say plainly that my most treasured food memories include such carbo fantastic concoctions like cornbread, or Great-Grandmother's scratch biscuits. In my "real" life, I typically avoid carbs, but Dear Reader, for your sake, I put aside all my rules to provide you with a well-rounded review.
I have many memories of cornbread. Cornbread is what you ate when things were tight and you needed to fill your belly. You used it to sop up your black-eyed pea juice, or you watched your Pa-Paw dip it in buttermilk (Ew!). But, you could always count on cornbread. And, if you were truly blessed, you had an iron skillet handed down to you from the strong women who came before you, a palimpsest of Crisco, butter and bacon grease. A staple to moor any meal, transformed into a culinary introduction.
And thus was the Green Chili Goat Cheese Cornbread at Ophelia's, perfect texture, perfect taste, hand delivered by a Food Runner who waxed on about its properties in a rehearsed tone, but didn't stick around for questions.
With such a great introduction comes great expectations which were sadly, unrealized. The sublime cornbread was the highlight of the meal. We sampled the Shishito Poppers and Cheese Curds which were Applebee-like. And the Flank Steak entrée and its "off" taste are best left forgotten. My partners in crime enjoyed their hamburgers, but I was left.............uninspired.
So, to my disappointment, and I'm sure yours, the El Dorado of my Colorado Eating Tour seems like a desert mirage, forever shimmering, forever unfound. But of course I exaggerate as I'm prone to do. Onward we go with increased blog frequency (I promise).
Recommendation: Eclectic, kitschy, with no follow-through. If you are in the neighborhood worth it.
Freeing Sisyphus (aka Melody)
Putting the shoulder to the boulder and taking small steps each day to achieve freedom from the mundane.