Unless you live under a rock, you realize Christmas is next Monday and with it comes twinkling lights, the possibility of an ugly sweater or two, and of course, time with family. And what better way to bring in all of that holiday cheer than with some good old fashioned whiskey? So whether it’ll be a gift to yourself to make it through day, to a ‘worldly’ boyfriend or girlfriend, maybe a whiskey-loving dad, or that soon to be mother and father-in-law you’re trying to impress, here’s a quick list of some of the best on the market today.
Nose: Hints of peppermint, malt, sweet barley, sugary porridge, creamy vanilla, papaya and citrus.
Palate: Spicy and soft, gentle bourbon oak, green woods, menthol, potpourri.
Finish: Creamy, long finish, vanilla.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof – This stuff is uncut, straight from the barrel without chill filtering and just won Whiskey Advocates Spirit of the Year award.
Nose: Fiery cinnamon and clove, joined by red apples covered in a thick layer of caramel.
Palate: Nutty at first, though soon enough you’ll find oodles of toasted sugar and vanilla bean notes.
Finish: Lasting orange oil and poached pear. Hot spices stick around minutes afterwards.
E.H. Taylor – This is a true sipping bourbon that is made by hand, aged inside century old warehouses, evaluated and selected to create the perfect blend of its distinct characteristics. If you’re wondering which option to choose from, honestly, just take your pick. They’re all exceptional tasting with unique layers of flavor.
GlenDronach 18 Year Old Allardice – This is a non chilled filtered, sherried single malt, matured in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, bottled at 46% and rated with a near perfect score from the Whiskey Bible.
Nose: Sherry notes so thick you need a knife to cut them! There’s a hint of old rum in there too, with pineapple and brown sugar in tow.
Palate: Christmas cake, rum again, chocolate-coated hazelnut, runny honey and a hint of Sauternes.
Finish: Fresh blackcurrant, blueberry pancakes with a generous helping of maple syrup.
Glenfiddich Project XX – This is the second release in the Experimental Series and made not by one Malt Master but 20 of them. Each was invited to pick any expression from the thousands of casks maturing in the warehouse. The 20 chosen whiskies were then married by Malt Master Brian Kinsman to create this single malt.
Nose: Classic fruitiness with hints of apple blossom and plump pear. A perfect balance of rich vanilla oak with golden sugar and a touch of liquorice.
Palate: Deep and mellow, the candyfloss sweetness is complemented by unusual notes of toasted almonds and cinnamon and a hint of crisp tannin.
Finish: Long lasting with a savoured sweet oakiness.
Looking for more cost effective options? Try these.
Larceny – This smooth, small batch, sipping bourbon uses wheat as the secondary grain rather than the more conventional choice of rye and just won Top 20 Spirit in the World.
Elijah Craig Small Batch – Producers discontinued the 12 year old expression and created this to take its place. But if you’re a fan of Elijah Craig, this one definitely maintains their standard for high quality and its delicious backed apple and honey flavor.
Korean BBQ has hit the world by storm and Denver is no different. There is just something about cooking your own meat on a tabletop grill and customizing your own food with various colorful side dishes.
To help you choose, here are the top Korean BBQ joints in and around Denver.
It has three locations around Colorado and is one of the most popular BBQ joints in this list. They serve traditional Korean meats like Galbee and Beef Bulgogi that are marinated in Dae Gee’s secret marinate. Like most Korean BBQ joints, you get to cook your meat on table-side grills.
827 Colorado Blvd
Denver, CO 80206
This Aurora joint is not as traditional as it mixes Korean BBQ and Japanese favorite, sushi. Aside from the great meats and sushi, there are other favorite Korean fares. Try their complimentary bancha, which are several small dishes that give you a glimpse of traditional Korean food.
2080 S Havana St
Aurora, CO 80014
If you are missing local favorite, Sae Jong Kwan, then let us ease the pain a bit. Shin Myung Gwan, the Korean BBQ joint that replaced it does not disappoint. They have the traditional banchan to start you over before you dig in for their powerfully marinated meats. Aside from a table grill, you also get bubbling hot pots for a different take on Korean meats and dishes.
2680 S. Havana St.
Aurora, Colorado 8001
This one is an experience. Tucked beside an auto repair shop, this Korean serves authentic Korean BBQ fare. Serving lunch and dinner, their meat is well marinated. They also serve other favorites like chik engmyum and zippy stew with kimchi.
3005 S Peoria St
Aurora, CO 80014
Gluten-free foods are no longer as difficult to find as it used to, especially in a progressive city like Denver. Now the search has changed. Instead of just looking for restaurants with gluten-free menu, the search has evolved into which restaurants serve the best gluten-free items from their menu.
So, whether you have Celiac disease or is just looking for a healthier way to eat, here’s a list of some of the best restaurants for gluten-free delicacies.
Beast + Bottle
This uptown eatery is a seasonal restaurant from Chef Paul Reilly. So, for you guys looking for a variety of gluten-free choices, this is for you. Not only are you getting a number of gluten-free items on the menu, you may find that the next time you visit, they will have an entirely different set of choices. To know which items are gluten-free, just look for the GF next to the dish. Some of the favorites previously served includes smoked lamb ribs with chimichurri and pan-seared black bass.
719 E. 17th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Highland Tap & Burger
We all love burgers and this joint lets you enjoy this all-American favorite and other options, gluten-free. Best part is that there is no separate items that are gluten free. You can check the regular menu and it is indicated whether the dish can be served gluten-free, which means you get to enjoy the same stuff (almost) as everybody else. Try their gluten-free, barrel-smoked chicken wings with their duck-fat fries. It’s amazing.
2219 W. 32nd Ave.
Denver, CO 80211
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
Owner Justin Cucci is known for joints that feature menu items, whose ingredients are sustainable and locally sourced. Ophelia’s is no different. Their menu details the items so that there are no surprises. You know that what you are eating is gluten-free because you know what’s in it. Some of the favorites include dry-rub ribs, lamb gyro, the pineapple pico arepas, and Wagyu beef siders. For an extra dollar, you also get gluten-free buns on some items. Aside from the good food, you also get to catch some great live acts.
215 20th St.
Denver, Colorado 80202
If you love Ophelia’s because of their gluten-free options, you will love Chef Cucci’s Root Down even more. Once an old gas station, this was converted to a retro chic bar and restaurant with great views of the Denver skyline. Like his other joints, this restaurant is all about locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients. Best part, almost all items on their menu have gluten-free or vegan options. Some favorites include Colorado rack of lamb and risotto with carrot-chorizo emulsion.
1600 W. 33rd Ave.
Denver, CO 80211
Date nights on a Friday in Denver can mean brewery hoppin’, dinner and a movie, First Friday food trucks, art, and live music down on Santa Fe, and for this guy, that ever present craving for some late night donuts when it’s time to wind down. But at 11 o’clock at night? Where would I find such a place?
Habit Doughnut Dispensary. That’s where.
Habit Doughnut Dispensary—born in Denver, raised on hip hop—dispenses irresistible confections and naughty neighborhood necessities near Confluence Park.
Known as the “cheeky bakery on Platte” carving out a commanding presence in Denver’s doughnut scene with premium, chef-driven doughnuts, monsta cinnamon rolls and shooters of whiskey with (or without) a cuppa coffee.
Habit was actually closed by the time we arrived but knowing Carbon tends to keep some leftover goodness from next door on hand, it would still count for this review and everything would be alright. And sure enough, as soon as we stepped through the door there they were. And yea, choices may be limited but come on, it was 11 and we weren’t looking to be picky. So, we simply went with the first two that caught out eye; the Plain Jane and Chai Tea.
Anyone who knows me or read my last post, understands that one or two donuts usually isn’t good enough. But on this night, I felt the need to go simple, test out just these two. (It could have been that I downed a giant ice cream cone about 10 minutes prior though.)
Now I’m not going to get all fancy on the taste breakdown, the ratio of donut to frosting, or what I’d pair with these little goodies, but let me tell you this. Jason Graf – the apparent confection wizard behind every Habit creation – is a genius. Those donuts could have been there for hours and they probably had been, yet those were some of the best late night, get your fix donuts I’ve ever had. Every write up, great review, or friend’s story about how good they are, is no lie.
It’s time to get your ass down to Habit, people. And chances are, you’ll probably see me there, too. I’ll be the one in the corner looking like this.
Oh the controversial taco, the Mexican fare that has divided the masses for generations. There is always a line that separates fans of this great food in two sides. There’s the tortilla vs. flour debate. Another is the soft or hard shell dilemma. And there are even arguments about having it with sauce or without. It’s like listening to iPhone loyalists and Android fanboys argue.
Here in Denver, people do not care about all that. They know what side they are on and they are on the side of delicious. The people of the 303 know their Mexican food and they sure know where to get their taco fix.
Each person has their go-to taco joint. Here’s ours:
Not the most inviting façade, but do not judge this taco joint by its cover. If you are looking for legit tacos that will really fill you up, then take your sweet behind over this grungy place. Our favorite taco is the Al Pastor or the spicy chorizo but at just above a dollar each, you might as well try as many variants as you can. Savory tacos at dirt cheap prices. Can’t get any better than that.
3757 Pecos St., Denver, CO 303.458.0880
Wish they had a bigger place because the place is almost always full. And with so many people, it is understandable that the service may be iffy at times. But there is good reason why the place is always packed—good food, specifically, great tacos. What to order? You should try their beef steak tacos. Whether in soft or hard shell, the tender meat goes so well with green onions, cilantro, and salsa. Get the $8.40 plate for 3 tacos with rice and beans.
714 Santa Fe Dr Denver, CO, 303.623.3926
After a night of binge-drinking and you suddenly feel the munchies, just drive thru Tacos Rapidos. This Mexican joint is open 24-hours a day but the convenience is not why you will come back. Get the carne asada tacos and pair it with their carne asada fries. The beef is so good that you may come back in the morning just to get a breakfast burrito.
2800 W Evans Ave. Denver, CO 303.035.0453
A bit pricier than other Mexican joints but the tacos are worth the price. If you like your tacos with a bit of spice, then the Tacos al Carbon will do the trick. The moist sirloin strips are sautéed with salsa and some jalapaño. The final touch of melted cheese, refried beans, and a smothering of green chilis leads this taco to perfection. Tip, Tacos al Carbon is served in flour tortillas. If you prefer corn, you can always ask the waiter to change it.
2527 W. 26th Ave. Denver, CO 303.433.8300
If you are not familiar with the place then you might have some difficulty finding it. After all, you will not see the name “Pinche” anywhere on their façade. That is because of the many protests on the name, which apparently may mean something dirty in Spanish. But if you do find the place, then treasure that moment by savoring their wide selection of “street” tacos (they started out as a food truck). All their tacos are to die for but their Lengua (cow tongue) might just send you to heaven. The Lengua is topped with cilantro, avo, onion, and salsa. Then it is drizzled with their guajillo honey salsa, which you just want to put in everything you eat from now on. No wonder it is consistently recognized as one of the best taco joints in the nation.
1514 York Street, Denver, CO 720.475.1337
Sound off in the comments and tell us what you think.
Donuts. Donuts. Donuts. I love donuts! Cake donuts and yeast donuts. Jelly, sugar, glazed, and powdered donuts. Bear claws, fritters, twists, chocolate, Bavarian creme, Cruller, French Cruller, Long Johns, old-fashioned, fancy, and donut holes. I love them all, but I have to be honest. Sometimes getting out of bed, into the car, and then driving to wherever to get a dozen or two of these freshly made miracles of life is a bit too much early in the morning. Of course if someone were to go get them for me, I wouldn’t have a problem rolling out of bed to eat a fritter or two. No problem at all. But what about those cravings I get later in the day; say 6pm when most of the bakeries in Denver have been closed for hours? Where can I get my fix; the opportunity to feast upon a donut that has stood the test of time within a glass case to remain tasty, halfway moist, and even worthy of its name, donut?
It may be a chain, it may be a grocery store, or maybe a mom and pop shop I’ve never heard of; I don’t know. But I’m going to find out. For you. For me. For all of the donut lovers reading this right now. I’m going to hit the streets of Denver for this Get Your Fix series to see who’s open and if they’re donuts are indeed worth making that all important, sweet-induced craving of a drive in order to pick up a box for the whole family, or just you.
And so it begins…
First in this series came to me by happy accident right before dinner the other night. Donuts before dinner you ask? You bet your ass donuts before dinner! That’s how strong the craving was. So as my wife was driving I opened up Google Maps in order to see if there were any shops close by and as luck had it, City Donuts on Peoria Street in Aurora just so happened to be five minutes away and you guessed it, they were open!
At City Donuts, we are excited to share with you, our unique bakery craftsmanship. With over 50 years of industry experience, our team of bakers are proud to serve you our timeless recipes – handcrafted and fresh daily.
Apparently this place had some serious donuts, at least that’s what their website was telling me as I urged my wife to drive a bit faster. In fact, they were voted “Best Donuts in Denver” by Best of Westword, 2016.
So what did I choose? The bear claw, a fritter, chocolate and cherry frosting, cinnamon crumb, one with tiny Oreo chunks on top, a twist…shall I keep going?
Bite after bite, one after the other, I dove into these beauties enjoying every delicious second. The only one that came off a little dry was the bear claw but that didn’t deter me from eating most of it anyway. The best out of the bunch on this day, though? I’d have to give my vote to either the cinnamon or Oreo crunch.
Interested in their full menu? Click here.
I’m not sure how long the donuts had been sitting out but all in all, I’d definitely say this place is a must visit for anyone out there like me that likes to enjoy a good pre-dinner or after 6pm donut.
Cheers to you City Donuts!
Yes I do.
PintPass, the clever app that helps people discover local craft breweries and shows users what is currently on tap at breweries in their area or places they’re traveling, recently choose their five favorite beer cities with Denver being named one of them.
Here’s what they had to say.
Denver has much more than just mountains – but be careful drinking here if you don’t have experience with high altitude. One strong beer might feel like four because of the light air. In addition to the massive breweries already nestled in Colorado – the ‘Denver Beer Triangle’ between Boulder, Fort Collins and Denver boasts over 70 breweries between the three. Ratio Beerworks’ 20 barrel system ensures that there is no shortage of their delicious craft beers.
And since they named Ratio Beerworks by name, here’s three more places where you can sit down and enjoy that great Colorado craft taste with some friends.
2540 19th Street
2801 Walnut Street
2201 Arapahoe Street
The Denver International Festival in Civic Center Park is this Saturday and for all of you food truck enthusiasts, it’s the perfect opportunity to choose from a variety of flavorful options from all over the world. Here’s a list of five must try food trucks while enjoying the festival.
From the Tikel Gomen and Gomen with Dinich right down to the Kik and Injera, this is the only truck in Colorado where traditional Ethiopian food is served up hot and fresh. This tasty food is the best in town and will not disappoint.
Looking for a little taste of Cuba this weekend? If so, head over to El Cubanaso and enjoy everything from sandwiches like the Tony Montana and the Cuban to garlic shrimp quesadillas and Cuban steak tacos.
Ever tasted arepas? If not, be sure to order this authentic Venezuelan bread that’s been split open and stuffed with a variety of tasty ingredients. Whether it’s the Pabello, a Casa Grande, or the Queen, this truck’s menu is bursting with flavor.
This truck is changing the way people see sushi and doing it while bringing some amazing flavor to the streets of Denver. With sushi rolls named Voodoo Child and Godzilla, you have to give them a try.
This mobile bistro specializes in authentic Polish food that includes pierogies, beef goulash, and kielbasa. This is Eastern European food at its finest.
For an entire list of food vendors at this year’s festival click here.