There's 99 days left in 2017 and Fall has arrived. This is indeed the time of the year that you have to admit that the ascent to those ambitious goals set out at the beginning of the year may be too steep based on your diminished supplies. Fret not, however - this is the time to dig in and revise expectations.
Wait, isn't this a food blog? As you may have guessed, I don't like boundaries or lines. Those are meant for crossing! But, I have shown up today, woefully behind in my goal to write a post every month, to tell you that I found a place that met expectations. Was it the El Dorado of my eating tour? I wouldn't go that far, but I was pleased.
...and a gasp is heard round the world
What was so pleasing, you ask? Impatient, as always, you are. To honor tradition, we shall first discuss the journey to this quaint little establishment. GPS was right on point for this jaunt, but the parking situation was less than ideal. Street parking was the only option, and the streets are narrow in this area of South Denver, so we had to wander around the picturesque neighborhood until we found a spot where tow anxiety would not taint our dining experience. The walk to the restaurant turned out not to be an inconvenience, but part of the experience as our path was tree-lined and adorned with one of those cute Colorado neighborhood book-share thingys. Someone from Colorado will have to tell me more about this, but since visiting Wash Park Grille, I have spotted these little glass-covered nooks, containing books for borrowing, in other spots. What a cool idea!
The pleasant smells of garden flowers with the shade from the intense Denver sun, transported my companions and I from that post-work hangover to a point that resembled relaxation. Could this be an essential part of the recipe? Hmmm.
We arrived a little early, but our presence was welcome and there was no time-limit warning. I was instantly impressed by the bar, which was small, but not too small and had a nice neighborhood feel. The lighting was perfect, not too dark (I'm sensing a Goldilocks theme). We were escorted to a cozy table in the side room, next to the windows. Since there were no gimmicky drinks to distract us, we all went the classic route. I had my go-to Cosmo with Absolut Citron and Cointreau, which was perfectly mixed.
While perusing the menu I told my friends about a recent trip to a Chinese restaurant in some small town in TN. Forgetting where I was and all of my 20+ years living in the South, I made the mistake of asking the server for her recommendation, and then ordering it - broccoli and chicken. I have never been a broccoli and chicken fan and typically go the curry route. This is not a dis on the South or the folks of the South, but each region has its taste, and folks in the South like greasy! I hate greasy, so you have to know yourself and know your surroundings to find that suitable dish. I'm sensing some possible revelations from this post...........
So, when I asked my server this time around for her recommendation, I did so circumspectly. However, when she recommended the lamb, I felt that our tastes might align. Although not a frequent lamb eater, the description matched my inclination for red meat with a peppery twist:
COLORADO RACK OF LAMB- rosemary pesto crust, madeira-peppercorn reduction, eggplant yukon potato gratin, asparagus
At heart, I am a lean meat and potatoes girl, and with the bizarre absence of filet from every Colorado menu I've seen thus far, this dish sounded quite palatable.
And, the dish did not disappoint. The lamb was divine, tender and fresh. I've been seriously avoiding my post about Elways in which my experience with their meat was not so pleasant. But, I digress. The potatoes were a little dry, but only slightly distracting.
My compadres decided to try the "Italian twist" aspect of the menu. My Fort companion went with the Italian Campanelle and my Café Terracotta companion went with the Bianca Bella pizza. Conversation was limited, but sighs of pleasure were numerous.
Experiencing the foodie high, we decided to try our luck with the desserts. Eager anticipation for the Tiramisu Affogato and the Zeppoles turned to disappointment as the former was bitter and the latter stale, but we quickly brushed it aside, choosing to focus on the previous, exceedingly pleasant, 3/4ths of the meal.
We walked out into the temperate Denver twilight, exceedingly content with our experience. Somewhat selfishly I felt relief, thinking that I had finally found a restaurant that I could write about sans that disdainful and sarcastic undercurrent of previous posts.
The journey, however, is not over. Next up, forays outside of the Denver area into the Colorado frontier as I re-focus and reset my goals for the remainder of 2017. Stay tuned!
But, for now, Dear Reader....
Recommendation: Nice neighborhood spot - perfect for a relaxed meal with good company
Freeing Sisyphus (aka Melody)
Putting the shoulder to the boulder and taking small steps each day to achieve freedom from the mundane.