Kraut Burgers and Berry Patch Farms

October 10, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Posted in Denver Area Restaurants | 32 Comments

A mid-day field trip to Brighton found us eating Kraut Burgers for lunch and exploring a wonderful certified organic farm.  Let’s take a look.

With my friend Marla as tour guide, Kirsten over at  My Kitchen In The Rockies and I were given a mighty fine tour. You see, Marla’s Russian-German descendents settled in this agriculture rich area of Colorado. She and her family still live in the area and when she suggested that Kirstin and I meet her for a Kraut Burger, followed by a stop at Berry Patch Farms, we couldn’t get it on the calendar fast enough. 

Let’s start with Lauer Krauts, a small family owned and operated  restaurant in Brighton simply serving Kraut Burgers and a soup of the day. You can get your Kraut Burgers three ways; regular, with cheese or with jalapeno. I opted for the original “regular” version. A Kraut Burger is ground beef, onion and cabbage and some seasoning, steaming inside a fresh-baked bun. Cut it in half, squeeze in some spicy brown mustard and you’ve got a delicious treat.

The meal even came with nice visit with the owners who demonstrated a sauerkraut making machine and gave us a view of a special German pastry, kuchen. 

Their kuchen is made with a German berry that can only be obtained by growing it yourself. Smaller than a  raspberry with a more tart flavor. They grow the berries behind the restaurant and keep a list of patrons that want to purchase a slice of kuchen each fall. Doesn’t it look beautiful? I didn’t write down the name of the berry…darn it. Marla actually just commented on this post and informed us the berry is Schwartzbeeren and you can read abit about it at this link:  http://www.volgagermans.net/portland/foods.html

Seating inside is friendly and hospitable and we had such a good time chatting with everyone. Kirsten, my blogging friend is from Germany has only lived in the states for a few years and I honestly didn’t think they were going to let her leave. Too much fun talking about German food.

Lauer Krauts is beaming with small town charm and great food. I’ll definitely be back.

Next stop was Berry Patch Farms, which hosts a barn full of beautiful certified organic produce grown on the land that surrounds it. Take a look at their website to learn more about them.

You can also pick your own at Berry Patch.  We didn’t, but as you can see by the look on this young man’s face, it’s a satisfying task. Man, don’t those raspberries look good. It’s a wonderful  place, with a great selection of produce and a lot of items I had never heard of…lilac and chocolate bell peppers to name a couple. It even comes with a greeting crew of beautiful roosters, a farm dog that chases the roosters and a pig that doubles as entertainment and sheriff.  As you can imagine, I felt like Alice in Wonderland.

Thank you to Marla for a wonderful Foodie adventure, and stick around for a slide show tour.

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PHObia

September 13, 2009 at 8:35 pm | Posted in Denver Area Restaurants | 7 Comments
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022I’ve been wanting to go for Pho for years. I just haven’t because I didn’t know what to order, how to eat it or even how to act once I got there.  This past Friday, Deborah and I went for Pho.

A couple of months ago I walked into our office and Deborah was there and had brought Robert Pho for lunch.  Robert is one of the owner’s of our company and Deborah is his girlfriend.

I asked Deborah to take me for Pho.  I explained to her my PHO-bia.  I am most certainly glad she agreed to go with me.  Looking at the menu I was clueless.  Oh, I suppose I could have Googled “How the heck do you order and eat Pho”, but it was way more fun to have Deborah go with me as my mentor.  We had a great time with some great food.

Here’s what I learned from Deborah

  1. You can choke while eating live octopus because they can crawl back up your throat with their suction cups and suffocate you because you can’t swallow them because they’re stuck to your throat
  2. How to correctly pronounce Pho (which makes the title of this blog post wrong – it’s not a long O)
  3. Pho broth is made from Oxtails
  4. How to get those slippery Pho noodles to stay on that  little spoon
  5. How to order, how to act and how to eat Pho

We ended up at Pho Saigon on Arapahoe Road, just east of I-25.  The place is packed for lunch!  There are several selections of Pho dishes.  She recommended we order the rare beef.

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A beautiful plate of bean sprouts topped with fresh Thai basil and cilantro, lime wedges and sliced chili’s  is delivered to the table. 

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 Next is a steaming bowl of noodles and beef steeping in a very delicious broth.  Already at the table are bottles of  Hoisin sauce, sriracha hot sauce then some unlabeled really scary hot sauce that Deborah warned me not to use. 

In a small bowl, we mixed together the sriracha hot sauce and Hoisin Sauce.    Take some of the fresh herb leaves and tear them into small pieces and drop into the soup.  With chopsticks in one hand and spoon in the other,  dip spoon into the sauce mixture, spoon up a little of the broth and meat, pile on some bean sprouts, then some noodles and slurp it down. 

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Delicious.

Pesce Fresco With Friends

September 1, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Denver Area Restaurants | 2 Comments

Friday for lunch, I met friends Lee and Mary at Pesce Fresco Restaurant.   Pesce Fresco is a great little place tucked away behind Safeway just north of the intersection of Arapahoe Road and Quebec Streets in Centennial.   I love this restaurant, the food and the atmosphere.

Look at those crunchy golden fried mushrooms

Look at those crunchy golden fried mushrooms

We decided to share an appetizer and chose Gorgonzola Cheesecake.  The House Speciality.  Oh my goodness.  This is a fabulous and interesting creation.  A savory warm cheesecake topped with caramelized balsamic onions and served with crispy golden mushrooms.  I recommend this. 

A big spoonfull for all

A big spoonfull for all

And one order was just enough for a big spoonfull for all three of us.  

025Since I was preparing pasta for dinner Friday, I decided to go the healthier route so ordered my stand by; Sauteed Scallops and Bacon Salad.  Sauteed sea scallops tossed with mixed greens, green apples, red onions, applewood smoked bacon and a sweet apple cider vinaigrette.  This is delicious and fresh.

026Both Lee and Mary ordered the Shaved Italian Beef Sandwich.  This is shaved grilled marinated tri-tip with sauteed peppers, fresh herbs, balsamic onions, smoked provolone served on a Hoagie roll.  It looked wonderful and they both said it was great.  It’s a large sandwich and each of them ended up taking half  of it home. 

I am still looking forward to ordering the house specialty Seafood Relleno.  Handmade relleno stuffed with shrimp, lobster, crab, Manchego and Asadero cheese, over a savory posole with calavasitos, topped with a fried egg and sharp cheddar.  One..of..these…..days.   One of these “I’m feeling skinny-ish days”  🙂

 

Sahara Restaurant

August 15, 2009 at 12:16 am | Posted in Denver Area Restaurants | 1 Comment
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003About 7 of us met for lunch today and when this group gets together, Sahara is “our place”, a  long-standing tradition. The group is tied by one common denominator; place of employment. Current employees, past employees, relatives of employees…the only way we’d ever know each other is because of corporate America.

Sahara Restaurant is a casual spot offering Middle Eastern specialties from Lebanon and Morocco and is located in a strip mall just east of Arapahoe Road and I-25 in Centennial.

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Another tradition with this group seems to be some sort of odd rule. You’re supposed to order the Spicy Chicken.

SPICY CHICKEN is grilled sliced chicken marinated with a special Harissa sauce, served with saffron rice and grilled vegetables.

I’m a fairly new invitee to the Sahara Lunch Clique so last visit  followed ritual and ordered Spicy Chicken. It was good, very special flavors, liked it, but didn’t fall in love. So today, I decided to try something different. I ordered the Combination Brochette. When the words came out of my mouth, Bob queried “You’re not getting Spicy Chicken???????”   Rooster calls entertaining the place abruptly fell silent from David’s I-Phone.  Brenda looked down at her menu in order to remove herself from the “situation”.  Confident Robin didn’t blink an eye. Mark, the vacationing relative, was oblivious to the situation. However, I did notice he ordered the Spicy Chicken. Brenda must have warned him in advance.  I think they even make poor Tommy Tucker order Spicy Chicken.  Tommy is a an occasional invitee and owns a graphic imaging shop. He calls on Bob for business.  He probably feels like he has to order spicy chicken so he doesn’t lose the account.  hmm…Tommy wasn’t there today, I wonder if he didn’t order Spicy Chicken last time…….I wonder if Bob has switched graphic imaging vendors???

At any rate, my saving grace was Josh, Robin’s 9 year old, who ordered Onion Rings.  High-five to Josh and kids everywhere who strive to eradicate peer pressure in our lifetime.

Spicy Chicken

Spicy Chicken

 

The Kabob

The Kabob

BROCHETTE COMBINATION is a combination of beef kabob, chicken kabob and gyros. Served over a bed of saffron rice.

I was very pleased with my lunch. The beef was very tender with mildly melt in your mouth flavor. Next visit I’ll probably try the Shawarma (that is IF I’m invited back). Upon closer study of the menu, it sounds very interesting.  The Mustard Chicken also sounded intriguing.

Sahara is reasonably priced and the atmosphere is festive.  The menu is packed with a good variety of interesting sounding selections, however, we don’t know much about any of them since everyone always orders Spicy Chicken.   Sahara was busy and hosted a good lunch crowd, and after 15 years in business that speaks highly of their reputation.

Inside at Sahara

Inside at Sahara

Sahara on Urbanspoon

Via Baci Restaurant, Lone Tree (Denver)

July 15, 2009 at 3:21 am | Posted in Denver Area Restaurants | 5 Comments
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A year ago, if you would have told me that my favorite neighborhood restaurant would be stuck in the far east end of the Super Target parking lot in the strip mall at Yosemite and Lincoln, I would have laughed.

I’m not sure I ever would have known about Via Baci  if it wasn’t for our friends Dan and Teri.  Let me tell you a little more about the food.  I couldn’t agree more with the verbiage on their website:  “Via Baci has a passion for fresh, light Italian foods with bold unique flavors”.

I absolutely adore a great salad and Via Baci has one of my favorites.  I love a great pizza, I have never had any quite as good as this.  Looking for a great Angel Hair Pasta or Butternut Squash Ravioli, you’ll find it at Via Baci.    On its own, each dish is perfectly crafted.  

I love their unique pizza.  An authentic Neopolitan pizza with hand pressed thin crust, imported flour directly from the Vesuvius Valley in Italy.  They also make their own mozzarella in house, every day.

A couple of the pizza’s we’ve tried are:

Chicken Bianco:  Oven roasted rosemary chicken, goat cheese, house-made mozzarella, marinated black olives, sun dried tomatoes, scallions and fresh grape tomatoes.

Diavolo:  Spicy hot with San Marzano tomatoes, house-made mozzarella, sopressata salami, pepperoni, pepperoncini, spicy red pepper,  fresh basil.

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This picture is the Chicken Bianco.  The mixture of flavors are superb, and look at that crust!!

One of my favorite salads and usually what I order is:  Wood Roasted Salmon, over mixed baby greens with roasted asparagus spears, marinated tomatoes and sweet balsamic syrup.

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This last visit I ordered the Angus Sirloin Salad:  40 day aged sirloin for premium tenderness and flavor, wood roasted and sliced, over mixed greens with diced egg, capers, scallions, tomatoes and house Dijon ranch dressing.    The capers with the dressing combined with the rest of the flavors are fantastic. 

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The atmosphere is social, lively and family friendly.  The decor is modern and comfortable, and the service is always wonderful.  An all Italian white and red wine list, featuring around 20 – 25 selections, good quality with affordable prices, I think it’s a fabulous little wine list. 

Via Baci has become our choice for many a family and friends meet up destination, whether it be to plan a wine tasting trip to Oregon, celebrate our son’s art gallery opening, or just for no reason at all “let’s meet for dinner”. 

I also need to mention prices are very reasonable, a great value.  Take a look at their website for location and full menu:  www.viabaci.com

Via Baci on Urbanspoon

Takin’ Care of Business, NoNo’s Cafe Revisited

July 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Denver Area Restaurants | 2 Comments
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Thank you Randy Tickle, Colorado State Bank and Trust,  for sending me business, thanks to NoNo’s for being in business so I can take care of business and thank Randy for his business.

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A client appreciation lunch ended up at NoNo’s Cafe in Highlands Ranch. Randy read my blog post about NoNo’s and being the good ol Southern boy that he is, choose NoNo’s for lunch.  Not that he’s new to NoNo’s, he’s been going there for years.

As always, good service greeted us at the door as we were quickly seated near a window.  It’s a bit of a shame that NoNo’s is losing their mountain views due to hotel construction directly to the west.  But if you look carefully you can still glimpse the mountains to the southwest.

017I felt adventurous, so ordered something different.  As soon as I did, I was 2nd guessing my decision and wondering if I should have stuck with my favorite NoNo’s house salad drizzled with NoNo’s delicious homemade Blue Cheese Dressing along with a cup of Shrimp Bisque????  Too late.  I ordered Chicken NoNo.

The dish was bite-sized chunks of chicken swimming in a sweet and spicey tomato sauce served over a bed of angel hair pasta with a side bowl of Maque Choix.  I’d have to say the flavors of the tomato sauce were delicate with just the right kick of spice to make it interesting. 

Randy ordered the Crawfish Pie.  Not much left on his plate, so I’m assuming he enjoyed the selection.  I didn’t take a photo of this since I already have a photo on a previous post.  It’s a house favorite and popular selection.

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As always, NoNo’s brings an offering of bread with that dipping sauce.  What is that stuff?????  I know it’s a spicy oil, but don’t know what the sauce part is.  It is soooooooo good.

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I didn’t  put  this sauce on any of my food, but spotting the bottle on the table decided to take a picture just to add to the Loisiana ambiance of this blog post.  When I looked at the bottle,  the words “Don’t try this at home” came to mind, I also had visions of Sookie and Vampire Bill  sauntering up to the table to ask if I wanted a vile to go.   🙂

NoNo’s was pretty much packed for a mid week lunch.  I’m glad to see them doing so well.  It is a good place to take a client for a casual lunch, as the noise level is perfect for conversation.   As always, don’t leave for home without purchasing a jar of the homemade Blue Cheese Dressing.  Delicious.

 

A Stout Lunch at Breckenridge Brewery

June 4, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Denver Area Restaurants | 3 Comments
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I know I’ve written alot about restaurant visits lately, which is not my planned focus for this blog.  I’m suppose to be talking about good recipes!  It seems we can go 6 months without eating out, then all of a sudden we’re everywhere!  Not to worry,  we’ll get over it soon and back in the kitchen. 

When Bob and I scheduled lunch with Sean, we decided on Breckenridge Brewery (5th and Kalamath) since it’s a short walk from Sean’s Studio, Studio 12. 

I was expecting a commercialized chain restaurant feel like Champs…..I’m not at all interested in that type of restaurant.   I was pleasantly surprised to walk into a cozy “local joint” feel brew pub. 

Continue Reading A Stout Lunch at Breckenridge Brewery…

Never Share Your Mango Roll

May 29, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Denver Area Restaurants | Leave a comment
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PICT0034First of all, take a look at that picture and that big beautiful high altitude blue sky we have in Colorado.  Breathtaking. 

Food:

When I pull into the parking lot of my favorite restaurant John Holly’s Asian Bistro in Lone Tree, my pulse quickens, my breathing becomes shallow…..  Why? The Mango Roll.    My friend Cauleen agrees.  I had been to John Holly’s and had ordered other things off the menu, Shrimp and Scallops, Seafood Dynamite, all delicious.  But it was Cauleen who asked if I had ever tried the Mango Roll off the Sushi menu.  

John Holly’s Mango Roll:  Shrimp tempura (breaded shrimp), crab meat, Japanese squash covered with thin slices of mango and avocado.

Cauleen and I have different rituals for eating the John Holly’s Mango Roll.  Cauleen carefully places a slice of the Mango Roll in a shallow bowl to soak in a small amount of Soy Sauce.  I, on the other hand lay my slice flat on my plate, brush with a small amount of wasabi, top with a slice of ginger and pop it in my mouth and savor the unbelievable combinations of flavor.  I think it may just be the perfect food.  

I have a quick story to tell about the Mango Roll. 

Continue Reading Never Share Your Mango Roll…

Dinner at Uniscali, Castle Rock, CO

May 25, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Posted in Denver Area Restaurants | Leave a comment
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PICT0032Our friend Dan, suggested that we try out Uniscali Restaurant in Castle Rock. So Friday night, we did exactly that!  Apparently owned by the same folks as Union, also in Castle Rock, and Ya Ya’s in Greenwood Village, it sounded like we were in for a treat. And a treat it was.

An unexpectedly urban place in Castle Rock, the food is quite good.  The small plates are outstanding.  Ambiance was loud and active, but not detracting.  The place was packed.  The wines were inexpensive and uniformly drinkable and good.  Good value for our money.  Everything considered I’d give it good marks and would go back.

The Uniscali Mixed Green Salad with roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella and farro, tossed with pine nut vinaigrette was outstanding!  Kathy managed to get this recipe and can’t wait to try this emulsified dressing.

I chose a special, Gnocchi topped with Sea Scallops and Smoked Paprika Cream – I was very pleased.

Continue Reading Dinner at Uniscali, Castle Rock, CO…

Cheeseburgers in Paradise, Sanctuary Golf Course

May 24, 2009 at 8:22 pm | Posted in Denver Area Restaurants | Leave a comment

PICT0029_edited-2There’s nothing like cheeseburgers & fries at one of the most beautiful and exclusive golf courses in the United States; Sanctuary, Castle Rock, CO.  Sheri and I joined the foursome:  Paul Oehm, Jeff Little, Bob Brown and Greg Tiffin for lunch only (some one around here has to work).  Before the tee-off, we all gathered on Tee #1 for the sweeping and breathtaking views of the Colorado Rockies front range.  Even though I’d love to turn this into a culinary post, it truly is all about the event:  Playing golf at Sanctuary.

Lunch bunch at Sanctuary Golf Course Club House

Lunch bunch at Sanctuary Golf Course Club House

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