Tag Archives: Denver

Denver eats, return

Watching Deadline Whitehouse, making chicken stock and dinner — I must be home. The sky is leaden, rain imminent — I must be home.

Trip to see younger son in Colorado was a little disorienting because we had no room to furnish or apartment to find or supplies to buy. Didn’t drop several hundred dollars at Target, so we went out to eat instead!

Best meal in Denver was not either of the three-dollar-sign dinners, but rather a reasonably priced lunch at Rotary Eats, one of the stalls in a place called Avanti. Avanti : like a food court, only good!

Exterior of Avanti, above, and interior, below.

My selections were roasted chicken thighs, roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce and golden raisins, and the best homemade potato chips I’ve ever had.

Our first special dinner was at The Black Cat in Boulder. The place gets great reviews and takes seriously the farm to table model of dining, but I didn’t like all the pickled vegetables or the flavor of the sauce served with my artisanal pork, so I was a little disappointed. I’m prepared to admit that the fault lay with my palette and not the food preparation. Salad was outstanding — greens picked that morning! — as was the service.

Brunch at “duo” in Denver proved disappointing, too, probably because I’ve had southern biscuits and the biscuits in my breakfast were grainy and muffin-like. K loved his meal, shown next to mine below.

(Biscuits and gravy with two eggs).

Sharing the meal with Denver friends we see about once a year, Marc and Kim, was great though. Marc and I went to law school together.

The other restaurant in the “duo” is located in Vermont.

We had another special dinner in Denver at a place called Vesta. I had braised lamb shank on a hot pepper infused polenta. Delicious! The meat fell off the bone, as it should! Those yellow chips are deep fried garlic slivers — insanely good.

The place is known for its sauces, so we started with a selection. The most popular was the hot pepper, horseradish a strong second.

I’ll leave you with “crack bacon.” I misread the menu at the breakfast joint “Syrup” and thought the dish was “cracked bacon” (as in crispy). Oh no. The strips were sautéed in brown sugar. Caramelized. They meant “crack” as in instantly addictive!

The phone is ringing and it’s not my sister. If you’re tired of her and my relationship, consider this post done!

My sister got very anxious whenever I left town — amped up worry informed mostly by abandonment issues and imagined travel mishaps. She never could keep straight the dates, so for weeks ahead of time, I would have to keep reiterating the plan. It got annoying. It didn’t help to write it on her calendar because usually her calendars went missing.

My sister magnanimously deemed my time away as vacation from her, partly because she knew I needed a little separation and partly because she kept forgetting about cell phones. Even so, to her utter amazement and gratitude, I’d generally check in at least once while away.

Obviously, this trip there was none of that. And no quick call immediately upon arrival home to quell her anxious misery. I missed that a little because her intense relief at my being back was a form of welcome.

On the other hand, there’s the relief: no need to scramble and rush up to the North Shore for a visit during the very same days when I need to settle back into being home. The car engine smelled like burning rubber or oil today while out for groceries. Instead of irritation I felt only gratitude — it wasn’t happening en route to Salem! I wasn’t gonna have to juggle car repair and a trip to Salem! I was headed home, where I would stay for the rest of the day!

It’s been two months and a week since she died — a fact I find amazing.

Denver / York / historic bldgs/ art

York was an African American explorer born into slavery who was owned by William Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame. He bravely and competently facilitated the long and difficult expedition to the Pacific Coast. While Clark eventually manumitted York, he did not do so early enough in York’s life for him to be able to track down the wife he left behind to travel west.

I started my day with this well-made little YouTube video about him.

If you prefer to read, here’s a link to a narrative on the Denver Library site. I believe the statue above is located near the library.

Next up, an informal walking tour of one of the historic districts of Denver: the Highland District. It was a mix of well-maintained expansive homes, well-maintained cottages, and derelict structures. A lot of building going on.

We had time to kill before our brunch date, so stopped for coffee in a hopping place situated under (and named for) an iconic sign: Olinger Mortuaries.

The building originally housed a mortuary and was the first in Denver. Billy the Kidd’s body came through the place. Now, they dropped the “O” to call the restaurant, “Linger.” K and I were two of four people over the age of 35.

Smart toilets taken to a whole new level.

After brunch (food to be posted later), we toured around in the car, always taking care not to hit motorized scooters. They were EVERYWHERE.

A quick stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art was sufficient: a small-ish space and unimpressive works.

Is it crankiness or the entitlements of age (and are those two things different?) that I didn’t feel the slightest obligation to like the works on view or to accord them extra credit for being hung in a museum?

The first floor featured a tattoo artist who has innovated a “watercolor” style of applying ink. I thought her subjects looked like they rolled in a paint box, leading to the conclusion that just because something is original doesn’t mean it’s good.

Wachob’s use of tattoo inks on paper were also “meh” (below). While the application of tattoo inks on paper may be novel, the results were not.

Her works on lemons filled a small alcove and were fun, but art? Maybe not.

It is common, I learned, for tattoo artists to practice their trade on fruit.

By far the most interesting of Wachob’s works were large monoprints that she photographed, transferred to canvas, and then assembled in large patchwork-like pieces. But even with those, respect for the technique surpassed the appraisal of the result.

Upstairs, the curator’s organizing theme was a good one: artists’ creative responses to Georgia O’Keefe. Apart from some skillfully rendered abstractions on 10×10″ pieces of wood, though, I thought the work was uniformly awful. I didn’t photograph much of it.

I don’t know if the hall pictured below was part of that show, but as I said to K, “it’s hard to be enamored of a painted grid when you’ve seen it skillfully rendered with 1/4” strips of fabric.

(Hand positioned for scale. It is not actually touching the painting).

I DID like the building. A lot. The architect alternated compact nooks and wide views in a compelling geometry.

The top level featured a cafe with expansive views of the city and a rock garden.

Returning to the car I found a chalky design on the sidewalk. I liked it better than anything in the museum — by a sizable measure.


IMG_0061Here is a conceptual nine patch. It is about all I have time for now.
IMG_0062 I am intrigued by how radically an image can be altered, just by changing how  much light gets in.
IMG_0063IMG_0068This little landscape moves from left to right in installments like a comic book.  I like finding the mountains, lakes, and moons in the fabrics. I like including time as an element in the story of the cloth.








front yard


back fence

I am in and out of town one more time — so blogging will be more intermittent than usual until after Labor Day. Enjoy the last days of summer!