Colorado Cocktail Taste Test

20140209-115826.jpg

Last night after a girly day of shopping, grilled cheese, crafts, and pizza (we are the classiest of girls) we had an impromptu Colorado cocktail taste test hosted by dad (of ‘Dad’s Corner‘ fame). He’s been practicing his bar tending skills over the past few months, so when my sister saw 5280’s poll for the official Colorado state cocktail, she knew he would be game to try at least one. Of course, Dad can’t say no to a challenge so he concocted our own in-home, four person contest between all three. Like I mentioned, I wasn’t expecting to end my night this way, which means that I did not have my regular camera to take lovely pictures! We did our best though. We had a sample size of each drink and picked our own winner/s. Check out our thoughts on all three drinks below! Spoiler alert: YUM.

20140209-115958.jpg

Kevin Burke’s “The 4th Pin”bitters, Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur, Whiskey, orange peel.

Dad: offered the most traditional western drink…like when Colorado was an old cow town.

Mom: liked the complex herbal flavors

KT: definitely strong but was pretty good. I liked that I could taste the bitters towards the bottom.

Bepcity: really nice layering of flavors. I don’t always do well with strong drinks, but I really enjoyed this one.

20140209-115852.jpgAlexandra Parks’ “Central Slope Sour”: Lemon juice, honey, Three Pins Herbal Liqueur, Breckenridge Bourbon, Avery IPA

Dad: Becky and her man hands squeezed too much lemon…but still really good.

Mom: really liked the honey and lemon! Would be great on a hot summer day.

KT: liked it best because of the tart lemon juice! It was definitely sour! But again, the herbal liquor added something unique.

Bepcity: loved it! I just felt happy drinking this. The perfect, summery glass of lemonade with a kick.

20140209-115758.jpg

Sean Kenyon’s “The Centennial Smash”: Palisade peach, mint, Colorado honey, bourbon, Three Pins Alpine Herb Liqueur

Dad: I think I added too much bourbon…this one needs a second chance.

Mom: thought this would be my favorite, but it was my least…wonder if it would be better when palisade peaches are in season to get more fresh peach taste.

KT: I agree with mom. Felt very summery.

Bepcity: I liked the subtle peach and mint flavor, but agree we should give it another shot.

THE VERDICT

All great contenders for a Colorado cocktail! The girls all agreed that the Central Slope Sour was our favorite while Dad picked The 4th Pin as his favorite. We all expected to like the Centennial Smash best, but it was everyone’s least favorite – possibly due to our own lack of in season peaches. I think we will definitely be trying it again this summer! All three used Leopold & Bros Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur, which is really cool stuff. Highly recommend you take a look at 5280’s post, which has videos of each bartender making their entry. Even if you’re not in Colorado, it was fun to have a little tasting party of these tasty drinks that will get you pumped for summer! I love you, Colorado!

Denver – Manneken Frites

DSC_2961

I was so excited to try Manneken Frites when I was home last week and we just barely squeezed it in. My mom and sister tried it a while ago and knew that it was just my thing. Mostly because they had poutine, which I have mentioned at least a couple of times on this blog. Love it! Unfortunately, poutine has been removed from the menu, possibly temporarily. Shucks! I wasn’t too disappointed though because I was mostly interested in trying a few of their many, many sauces. We ordered a double with three sauces: buffalo blue cheese, sauce andalouse (green pepper + onion), and chipotle mayo. My mom and sister already knew that the chipotle mayo was a must and they were right. The other two were great and all mixed well, but maybe we should have been a little more creative with our choices! The server mentioned that we somehow ended up with every orange sauce they offer. Oops! Didn’t even think of that. Honestly, it was nearly impossible to choose three sauces. They all sound really good.

These are the restaurants that I love trying. And whenever I have dreamed up imaginary restaurant ideas it always uses the same concept of doing one thing really well and offering lots of cool choices and varieties. I’ve mentioned how indecisive I am – I always appreciate having the option to choose more than one thing! Manneken Frites is a really fun place to go sample with friends. They also have hot dogs and beer if you want a more substantial meal. By the way, if you’re in Boston, Saus has a very similar menu and their poutine is really good! They also have waffles and ice cream, but I’ve only tried the poutine. I’ll have to go back soon and take some pics!

DSC_2960DSC_2962 DSC_2963 DSC_2964 DSC_2966

Denver Places – Steuben’s

photo

Paul and I ate at Steuben’s Food Service in Denver on New Year’s Eve. We didn’t want to go anywhere fancy, we just wanted some good food and a cool, kinda retro, atmosphere. Steuben’s turned out to be the perfect place! We both started with one of their cocktails. I had a Second Best and Paul had a Sazerac. Off to a good start! They had a special, huge, menu for the night. It was a great night to go because you could choose from their brunch and dinner items. It was an awesome selection, but also really hard to decide! From mac & cheese, to lobster rolls and even étouffée, (I love cajun!) I finally decided to try the chicken & waffles. I’ve been wanting to try it since college when I would see kids making their own waffles on fried chicken nights in the dining hall. I remember when I was younger we would sometimes drive by a restaurant simply named ‘Chicken and Waffles’ and we would all laugh about how weird that sounded. Little did I know, it’s gooooood. It came with maple syrup, red eye syrup, and white gravy. I liked alternating depending on what was on my fork. Just waffle = maple, just chicken = gravy, both = red eye. Paul had the skirt steak, which came topped with herb butter (yes!) and tons of fries. I had a bite and the steak was super flavorful – really good! We both cleaned our plates. The waiter told me how ‘proud’ he was of me for eating it all…I’ve come to expect waiter compliments when I eat all my food now. Hasn’t happened since, darn.

We really liked the vibe here and had a great time. After we left we wished we had come in later so we could have stayed for their countdown! It felt like a really fun, laid back place to ring in the new year.

20130108-120635.jpg

:: my Second Best. Really refreshing! (Pyrat Rum, Lazzaroni Amaretto,lime,pineapple and Angostura bitters) ::20130108-120706.jpg

:: chicken and waffles! I saved a hunk of waffle for ‘dessert’ – so good! :: 20130108-120715.jpg:: I told you the skirt steak came with lots of fries! ::

Denver Places – Jonesy’s EatBar

20121205-204616.jpg

There was one place that I really wanted to try when I went home for Thanksgiving and that was Jonesy’s EatBar. I was looking at a list of best fries a few weeks ago and this Denver place jumped out at me. I immediately texted my brother when I read that they have mac & cheese fries and buffalo fries. Um, awesome. I’m mac & cheese obsessed and he’s buffalo wing obsessed, so it was a no brainer. The only dilemma was that we wanted to chow down on all of the fries, but the rest of their menu also sounded really good!

My family went on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to take a break from leftovers. Everyone else was till eating turkey so it wasn’t busy at all and the place had a really cozy feel. It was perfect. We all found a slider that sounded appealing and luckily the menu notes that you can swap out one of three sliders for any of their fries. Problem solved! I definitely recommend this option – we were all still full even without the third slider. They also brought plenty of extra plates because, duh we wanted to share everything and they expect (and encourage!) that. It was really fun getting to sample all the fun flavors! It’s a great spot to go with a group. I thought the cute, long booth with the heart art looked perfect for a birthday dinner. So all in all, I loved the food, loved the decor/ambiance, and the staff was really friendly too! I think next time I’ll get the buffalo fries with the shrimp po’boy sliders. YUM! Is anybody out there from the Denver area too?? And have you tried this place/will you try it now?

PS I really meant to bring my real camera, but I was so excited that I forgot! I hope these phone pics do the place justice.

20121205-204414.jpg:: Bacon Mac & Cheese Fries – Can’t go wrong! I had them with the portobello sliders ::

20121205-204435.jpg:: The favorite fry on the night – Buffalo! Super good! Mom and brother ate them with Bacon Bleu Sliders ::

20121205-204442.jpg:: That’s Nacho Fry (That’s really what they’re called. I’m not trying to be punny. But I do love the name!) Good, but #3 on the list. Dad and sister had them with Shrimp Po’Boy sliders, which were really good! ::