During our summer break, as every year, my very first item on my to-do list is to attend the International Society for Technology Educators conference. Today, because the effective, intentional integration of technology in meaningful ways is so crucial, I know that it is a necessary event for any teacher in our nation. That said, it is SUMMER! I want to have fun, and more importantly, take a dip into the Denver culinary community pool.
Yay, Denver! Yay to getting 5 peaceful days to work and get some professional development in!
Being in town for an international teacher's conference for teachers to explore the latest in technology is a mentally and physically exhausting one. I needed to get out and enjoy some really delicious food to re-fuel.
I'll start with the very best hot spot - Ophelia's Electric Soapbox.
The ambiance was just gorgeous. They have a burlesque show, but only at specific times. Just call ahead to find out their schedule so that you can accommodate your preference with or without the show.
Water?!?! What is this. We're teachers on break!
Their specialty cocktails were really beautiful. I got a Lustful Turk, and now I'm on the hunt for blood orange to make my own at home! Delicious.
Their food list was extensive. We didn't even know where to start! We relied on the recommendations of our server, which were spot-on. We all decided to share anything we got so that we could try more. I'm glad we did!
The Scandanavian Duck Meatballs.... YOU GUYS. These changed our lives. They were stuffed with creamy, rich goat cheese and had a fruity barbecue-style sauce coating them with house made pickles and perfectly cooked cheesy grits beneath. We practically licked the plates.... and then promptly decided to order TWO MORE. I could eat these every day and never tire of them.
The roasted beet salad was the perfect pairing with the rich meatballs. The curried cauliflower, grilled asparagus,, arugula fresh cooked beets and duck confit was light with just the right amount of dressing. Each of the flavors of the ingredients on their own demanded the light and creamy dressing without too much personality to overpower them, and they delivered.
For a change of scenery, we decided to check out the bar scene. After quite a bit of hopping around to try to find a fun spot that wasn't full of young college kids, we settled on our happy medium at the delightfully fun and irreverent yet high-quality Irish Pub - Scruffy Murphy's. A couple of Black Velvets (a combination of Guinness and hard cider) was all we needed to enjoy their 90's themed evening, complete with a costume contest. We sang along to every song by the stellar cover band and had a phenomenal time.
To cure my next-morning headache, I decided to stay in the hotel (we stayed at The Curtis - a great little boutique hotel near the conference center), which had a GREAT little restaurant. The Office has an eclectic menu, and each item is executed to perfection. By the time we left, we'd come close to trying everything on the menu. The lemony and smoky hollandaise made this eggs Benedict just the ticket for my big day of walking and thinking ahead. The bloody Mary was spicy and made with some high quality tomato juice. Solid start to my day.
After 9 classes in a row and countless poster sessions, I was completely beat and needed a break in the late afternoon. I headed back to the hotel to compile my notes and put my feet up for awhile. Spaghetti Bolognese alá room service from The Office, and I was pleasantly surprised! Bucatini and a strong, traditional bolognese with some authentic Parmigano Reggiano made me one happy woman.
The last spot we tried out and highly recommend for a low-key happy hour is the Greedy Hamster. They had a nice selection of small bites, and a networking group met me here. 4-7 they had several half-price items. Their specialty drinks were a little sweet for my taste, so be sure to stick with your standard choices unless that's your style.
All in all, Denver, I need to go back to visit you soon! The vibe and pace of the city was everything I'd hope for in a food scene.