By Jesse Paul
The Denver Post
Meth tacos: 17 indicted in Colorado bust of alleged drug ring Continue reading
The White Buffalo Grille/
The Lodge Casino
240 Main Street
Black Hawk, CO 80422
The White Buffalo Grille is a white-tablecloth, fine-dining establishment on the second floor of the Lodge Casino Hotel in the gambling town of Black Hawk, Colorado. Quit snickering, this is a quality restaurant serving gourmet entrees and fine wines. Continue reading
First published January 12, 2014
National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado
January 11 – 26, 2014
Background: In its 108th year, the National Western Stock Show is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides college and graduate level scholarships in agriculture and medicine for practice in rural areas. It is also our mission to serve producers and consumers throughout the world by being the premier Stock Show, Rodeo, Horse Show and center for year-round events. The 16-day show also serves as an entertainment arena, hosting one of the world’s richest regular season professional rodeos, largest horse show and Colorado’s largest tradeshow.
Attendance: Overall attendance in 2013 was 628,366. The attendance record was set during the Stock Show’s 100th anniversary in 2006 at 726,972.
Exhibits: More than 15,000 head of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, alpacas, bison, yak, poultry and rabbits step foot on the grounds of the National Western Stock Show each year. The National Western Stock Show is noted for hosting the world’s only carload and pen cattle show, held in the historic Denver Union Stockyards.
Trade Show: More than 350 vendors fill the nearly 100-acre show grounds with a variety of food and shopping opportunities. The National Western Trade Show offer a variety of products including fine art and jewelry, clothing, household items and agricultural products and equipment.
Ticketed Events: National Western hosts close to 50 performances in the Stadium Arena, Denver Coliseum and National Western Events Center. Among these are the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza, PBR Bull Riding Touring Pro Finale, Pro Rodeos, Martin Luther King, Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo, the Gambler’s Choice Open Jumping Stake, National Western Wild West Show, RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining, Grand Prix show jumping, Super Dogs shows, An Evening of Dancing Horses® and Draft Horse and Mule Shows.
Señor Ric’s Mexican Restaurant
13200 E. Mississippi
Aurora, CO 80012
Señor Ric’s exterior – you can’t really tell from the photo – has New Mexican style wrap-around blue and red neon tubing at the top of the building. When I first saw Señor Ric’s, I thought of Central Avenue in Albuquerque, although the restaurant seems to be referenced as Santa Fe style. Both work for me.
Owners, Jeff and Julie Eaton have been serving (mostly) traditional Mexican food since 1986. Señor Ric’s has a New Mexican “hacienda” feel to it, spread throughout a huge space. The New Mexican style decor/design provides a bright, cheerful background; Think Rose’s Cantina, white-washed walls and a red rose. Upon entering the restaurant, on the left is the lively, colorful lounge/bar area, on the right – several dining rooms.
We stopped in one evening while the Happy Hour was in session. Señor Ric’s Happy Hour is a habit not easy to break since the Happy Hour is a very good thing. “Daily from 3-6pm & 9-11pm the Happy Hour includes: Traditional Margaritas, Fruit Margaritas, Domestic Drafts, House Wine and Well Drinks.” First trip, I had the red wine (2) for about $4.00, then switched to the 2-4-1 Traditional House Margarita at $4.95;) It’s just about the only Happy Hour, inexpensive-margarita I’ve had that doesn’t give me a headache or worse.
During Happy Hours, there’s a little buffet table in the bar area stocked with a huge bowl of light, thin chips, a spicy been-dip and a decent salsa. On Friday nights they add baby Taquitos. Last trip the Taquitos were of the spinach and cheese variety. Sometimes they serve cheese-filled Taquitos – all complimentary.
On our second visit, we decided to dine from the main menu – in the main dining room. I had the Spinach Enchilada – a tortilla stuffed with sautéed spinach and baked in a light vegetable sauce, “finished with zesty chili con queso” served with Mexican rice and sour cream for about four bucks. I wanted to try this dish because of the spinach. It was excellent Tex-Mex with a healthy twist. Here’s the skinny on two:
“Two enchiladas stuffed with sautéed spinach and baked in a
light vegetable sauce. Finished with our zesty chili con queso.
Served with Mexican rice and sour cream ($8.99.”)
Other traditional items from the menu include: Appetizers from $7.49 to $9.79, Combinations, such as: Two cheese enchiladas, Mexican rice and refried beans, $8.49. (With pork, beef or chicken add $1.00;) also flautas, burritos, rellenos, tamales and tacos.
Fajitas are on the menu.
“One half pound of marinated strips of steak, chicken or pork served on a sizzling skillet with fresh picco de gallo, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, refried beans and your choice of hot flour or corn tortillas” $13.49. Mix beef, chicken or pork add $1.00
“A crispy flour tortilla filled with your choice of one of the tasty ingredients listed below, topped with mild green sauce, Mexican rice and choice of refried beans or black beans. Served with sour cream.” Choose: Shredded Beef $8.99, Chicken $8.99, Ground Beef $8.99, Bean (black or refried) $8.29
“Ric stuffs this chimichanga with his famous Green Pork Chili and tops it with scoops of sour cream and guacamole. Olé!” $9.29
Also: Weekday Specials, A LA Carte, Seafood Items, Gluten Free Menu, Salads and Wraps. Find Ric’s complete menu here.
HOURS OF OPERATION
Dining Room: 11:00 am to 9:30 pm Sun. – Thurs.
11:00 am to 10:00 pm Fri. – Sat.
Lounge: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm Daily
Originally Published on: Nov 7, 2013
Torres Mexican Restaurant
1597 So. Federal Blvd.
Denver, CO 80219
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”
I know the extent of my ignorance. My knowledge of the rules of English grammar is not 100%, and I know that for a fact. Sure, it doesn’t matter for the 99% who either don’t know any better or just don’t give a damn! But the grammar meanies know all the rules and, by gosh, they’ll call you on it. So I’ll write away, blissfully unaware of my grammatical errors, hoping the reader will be able to understand what I’m trying to say. The grammar patrol can go end themselves with a preposition.
Anyway, having said that, let’s get down to business.
And the business is Torres Mexican Restaurant on the ¹Federal Strip in Denver, Colorado.
From the high-quality, rich-wood dining chairs and cozy booths to the modern, newly remodeled bathrooms—to the respectful and polite servers in their smart, black & white uniforms, this place is all class. And I haven’t said a word about the fishbowl (size) margaritas or the cool bar area with a few booths and tables for dining (my favorite area.)
Traditional Mexican food served unpretentiously, yet respectfully, in a family-friendly, homey restaurant is what Torres is all about. The energy is high; the restaurant is spotless; the owners and staff aim to please, and they do.
The food is classic Mexican: Botanas (appetizers) including NACHOS ($6.75 – $10.05,) CHICKEN WINGS, FRIES, CALAMARI and more; ²FAJITAS: (steak & chicken $13.95,) (de camaron $16.90;) CARNITAS ($12.95,) TAQUITOS (3-pork $8.50,) TACOS (1 chicken or beef $2.10;) and FLAUTAS, BURRITOS, ENCHILADAS, TOSTADAS etc. View Torres’ menu here for all items and prices.
The high-quality chairs somehow remind me of a bull—standing its ground, perhaps due to the sturdiness of the strong, rich wood, and (one can’t really tell from the photo) the fact that the chair-legs and backs are poised like a strong bull.
Also on the menu you’ll find: Desayunos (BREAKFAST items ($2.60 – $9.75;) COMBINATIONS ($7.85-$10.60;) STEAK (here’s one of four on the menu:) Mexican T-bone served with potatoes, rice, beans and salad ($17.50;) SALADS; SEAFOOD: for example – BANQUET MARINARO with shrimp, oysters, fish, ceviche and more ($29.15,) or 7 MARES: combo seafood soup w/2 tortillas ($18.95;) SANDWICHES, TORTAS, BURGERS, VEGETARIAN items and DESSERTS are available, such as FLAN ($4.05.)
One of our favorite menu items is the Combination Burrito, smothered with: lettuce, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, shredded beef, ground beef, chicken, chicharones and beans ($6.95.)
The little bar is the center attraction serving everything from giant Margaritas ($8) to regular size Margs and pitchers, wines from ($4.00,) and all of the full bar choices, including Courvoisier and Tres Generations. Note the large mounted fish above the bar.
On those fair-weather days one can enjoy the patio under an umbrella.
Torres Mexican Restaurant Official Website with menus
¹A two-way commercial strip with many Hispanic and Asian businesses, from about W Evans Avenue to around 38th Avenue on Federal Blvd.
²My understanding is that Fajitas are a USA/Texas contribution to Mexican cuisine.
“Our research confirms 1971 as first print date for “fajitas,” as we know them today.”
This is a quick, update post – Patsy’s has been reviewed before (there’s a link at the bottom of this post.) Pardon my grammar, the editor is otherwise indisposed, and I wanted to get this out there. Story by William Carbone
Patsy’s Italian Restaurant
3651 Navajo Street
Denver, CO 80211
Mural on the north-side-wall of Patsy’s: did someone tell me that an itinerant artist painted this mural for food and a room to sleep above the restaurant – or did I imagine this?
“With a history that spans more than 80 years, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant is Denver’s oldest Italian restaurant. Founded in 1921 by the Aiello family, Patsy’s has undergone a few changes over the years but the heart and soul of tradition have remained the same” read more…
One thing that hasn’t remained the same is the food. I’m laying down my cards here, saying that the food is getting better, probably better than anytime in Patsy’s long history – not that I’ve been around for all of those years. I’ve been enjoying the pasta since the 60s. That was when business-men in suits and ties, and secretaries with stiff-hair would drive up from downtown Denver to lunch. So what’s new besides transplants moving into the Lower Highlands neighborhood and joining long-time locals who have been returning to the restaurant, week after week, since the days when Patsy’s was in the center of *Denver’s Little Italy?
It’s 2013, tons of sophisticated transplants are moving to the Lower Highlands and diners are generally becoming more hip to the nuances of restaurants/food. Someone at Patsy’s is doing a good job raising the bar. That would (most) probably be (a relative of Chubby Aiello, the original owner) Ron Cito, and Kim Delancey, the current owners.
The homemade noodles and the other traditional Italian dishes have always been good. The soups, salads and desserts, always good. The bar has always been impeccably, vintage cool.
The food – though still based in tradition – has become more sophisticated. The marinara sauce has been jacked-up, jacked-up with garlic. Owner Ron Cito shared his secret of the great, gastronomic, garlic flavor: he steams the garlic. Other food items are more subtly seasoned, and there are, in addition to standard, old-school favorites, new creative dishes on the menu.
This, in my opinion, is Patsy’s signature dish: Homemade Spaghetti with meatball or sausage, served with soup or salad and bread ($10.75.)
The elegant Italian Fried (Ruby) Trout served with garlic cream spaghetti, soup or salad and bread ($13.75.)
What else is new? The restaurant itself is a time-capsule from the 1920s, definitely not new. The owners and staff are new. The service is generally good, sometimes it’s a notch above good. We do miss “Sherrie,” who was a real asset to the business.
*In the late 1800s and the first half or so of the 1900s the area in Denver between Broadway and Zuni Streets on the east and west and 46th and 32nd Avenues on the north and south was known as “Little Italy”. It was an area of Italian grocery stores and bakeries, community bread ovens, churches, and schools; an area where a new wave of immigrants from all over Italy moved to and where they were comfortable and socially secure in this new country read more…
Open 7 days… Parking lot 1/2 block north…
First published September 15, 2013
Odyssey Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
603 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
A funny thing happened on the way to a longtime, favorite, hideaway restaurant on 6th Avenue in Denver: the new owner’s renovations were a bit more extensive than we thought they would be. The “new” restaurant’s ambience exceeded our comfort level so we left.
Standing at the curb, feeling forlorn and betrayed, we were trying to regain some level of composure as I gazed across the street. Lo and behold, a sideways banner, silently shouting “pasta,” was beckoning to us. Across 6th and a half-block to the west, a world of promise was possibly opening. It was Odyssey Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar.
I said, “Let’s go!” We went.
Upon entering Odyssey, my first thoughts were of a cozy eatery in West Los Angeles—Hollywood to be more specific, The Sunset Strip to be even more specific—where clean water runs down the curbs, and the restaurants are so fancy one hesitates to enter if one is, say, homeless and wandering, or on a lessor note, just not dressed appropriately. (A couple of days later, I thought of the well-worn Alexander Graham Bell adage “When one door closes, another opens.” Perfect!)
At that moment a very animated and over-the-top gracious young man introduced himself and gave us a quick tour and brief history of the restaurant and the owners—his father and himself: Executive Chef Ignazio Mulei (father) and Michael Mulei. It is a good thing.
This little bistro on East 6th Avenue is in an old, established neighborhood in a turn-of-the-century house that proudly displays exposed old-brick walls; worn wood; many wine bottles, photos and paintings; a small cave-like corner bar; white tablecloths and sometimes candles on the tables glowing in champagne glasses.
Cozy interior of Odyssey Italian Restaurant’s main dining area
A half-dozen tables, a few booths left over from other restaurants that have occupied the space, and the bar complete the main dining room. Another dining room sits up a short flight of stairs, past photos of Dean Martin and Saint Francis (F.S.) with other members of the The Rat Pack, and past a kitchen door. Here are more tables and booths, a fireplace, and a special deeply recessed space with a U-shaped booth—an intimate, private, mini dining room with curtains. Guess where I’ll be next visit, and I guarantee there will be a next visit. Three slanting tables out front (the sidewalk slants, see top photo) and another half-dozen on a raised patio are there for fresh-air romance on 6th Avenue.
We didn’t stay that first evening, but we did return for the following Monday Night Pasta Special—pasta dinner with Caesar Salad and bread for $8.99.
Let the Odyssey begin. We chose the table in the middle of the room. Not my usual favorite place but the other choices were right up in the other diners’ business, so to speak, so we drew our cards and sat down. A lovely, petite server warmly greeted us with the menus and the standard opening gambit of asking if we would like to order cocktails or wine before dinner. Sure! We both ordered a glass of wine from the bottom of the menu, the $5.00 house red for me and a $6.00 Little Black Dress white for Sue Ann.
Bang! Chef Ignazio appeared out of nowhere with an appetizer plate of calamari. As East Coast-animated and gracious as his son, Chef Ignazio told us that he’d like to have us try the calamari, on the house, and launches into a bit more history of his life and of the restaurant, speaking to us like an old friend or a relative. It was good. The calamari were perfect – velvety golden-brown, tempura-like on the outside, and on the inside the meat was not too soft and not too hard, served with a light marinara and wedges of lemon. The portion size was decent.
I was there for the pasta special, however, after perusing the menu and listening to the recitation of the night’s other special entrees, we decided to split a dish called Red Snapper Florentine with roasted seasonal vegetables (Caesar Salad & bread included ($16.00).
After savoring the calamari, sipping the wine and taking in the sweet vibe of the restaurant, the fish dish arrived. The Red Snapper was swimming in an ocean of spinach, with a few long green beans, resting on a bed of (whole-wheat, my choice) spaghetti in an Aglio E Olio sauce. The portion was very generous.
Chef Ignazio offered to share a Sambuca with us. After waiting a while, we decided that he was busy in the kitchen, so we paid the check and left knowing we’d be back.
The next Monday we returned with a guest, a food and travel writer. This time I called ahead, reserving a corner booth for 7 p.m. Once again, we were cheerfully greeted by the servers and Michael, who immediately began chatting in Italian with our guest like a long lost friend. He entertained us with stories of his family—mostly stories of the family kitchen—and there was the kissing of the hand and conversation about the due baci (the kissing of both cheeks).
Once again, Chef Ignazio appeared with a complimentary appetizer, this time a Sicilian dish of sausage slices, cheese, salami, green peppers, onions, and . . .raisins, which were the coup de grâce. The sweetness and flavor of the raisins, juxtaposed with the other spicy flavors imparted a memorable taste.
After much chatting in Italian between the guest, the chef and the son and many stories told—and we hadn’t yet ordered dinner—Chef Ignazio announced that he was going to cook the guest’s dinner tableside. OK. In the meantime, we ordered an appetizer. It was a beautiful Eggplant Caprese (tomato and mozzarella layered with grilled eggplant with a slightly crunchy outer edge). I could easily do one of these as a meal, or if I needed a bit more, I’d also order the Calamari.
Here’s Open Table’s menu for Odyssey. I don’t know if it’s complete or accurate, it’s the only one I can find since Odyssey doesn’t have an active website.
This evening two of us split the Veal Braciole, flavorful and tender. It was served over a bed of butterfly pasta. Our guest had a Sicilian Red Snapper dish, prepared tableside over a little cooking plate; Every time the chef added a splash of Captain Morgan’s rum to the pan, a flame would shoot up eighteen inches, instantly creating a show; everyone in the dining room was having a great time.
Impressive and generous entrées at Odyssey Italian Restaurant
The only thing on the negative side is the very limited parking. There may be some curbside parking across the street or around the corner, but there are no nearby parking lots, or valet service that I’m aware of. Valet would be a good addition and make the over-the-top service complete.
This post was written and assembled by William Carbone
Thank’s to Claudia Carbone for editing
Patsy’s Italian Restaurant
3651 Navajo Street
Denver, CO 80211
We dined at my favorite Denver Italian restaurant the other night, and the dish we shared was the best we’ve had in years. Of course there have been several owners as well as different dishes served over the years, but this was – hands down one of the best.
The dish was “Italian Fried Trout”
Ruby Trout dusted lightly with herbed flour and flash fried, served with garlic creme spaghetti. The huge (bragging rights) fish was filleted and laid out on a large plate in two fat pieces with golden garlic creme spaghetti filling the rest of the plate. I’m a red-sauce guy but this light, creamy beauty hugged the spaghetti in a perfect marriage with the fish ($13.75) including Homemade Minestrone Soup or House Salad, and bread.
This may be a one hit wonder – we’ll see – though I might have to order my regular fav next time: Patsy’s big, fat homemade noodles with the garlicky red sauce served with balls or sausage, or one of each ($10.75) with Homemade Minestrone Soup or House Salad, and bread.
Or we’ll try the Ruby Trout again hoping they can repeat perfection.
There’s a new seats-you-at-a-table guy/barkeep at Patsy’s. He seems to be a good guy and adds high energy to the place; the downside is that the ice-cool and lovely, SB is no longer at the helm of the bar – a role she could have played in a Bogart film scene for scene. She will be missed.
Tony Pasquini keeps hit ‘n ’em out of the park with another home run – his new Tonys Ps on 17th Street in Denver.
777 East 17th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
Lodged in a deep groove of Denver hip, Tony P found a sweet spot with this uptown Dr. Parnassus-like Imaginarium/Restaurant/Hip Lounge.
They say it’s haunted… More later…
Colorado’s Tom Tancredo announced this morning on a Denver radio talk show that he will run for Governor of Colorado in 2014.
Barry Fey, one of the pioneering promoters in the U.S., and highly influential in building Denver into one of the most robust live concert markets in the country, died at his home yesterday, with some Denver media reporting an apparent suicide. Fey was 73, and had recently undergone hip replacement surgery that kept him hospitalized for a month, and sources say he had been despondent about the pace of his recovery read more from Billboard.Com…