Best Tastes of 2016: Restaurant Edition

I really wanted to post this last week but Joey was adamant that I wait until we made it through the very last day of 2016 and HEY, he was right, because our very last meal of the year made it on this list and wouldn’t have otherwise.  He’s wise like that.

We were all over the country this year and so were the best meals we ate.  Burgers in Hawaii, po’ boys in New Orleans, miso butter in Chicago, cheese plates in Portland, roast chicken in D.C., Italian in Vegas.  Not to mention lamb sliders, Detroit-style pizza, steamed buns and, of course, ice cream right here in Denver.  2016 was, by all means, a delicious year!

P.S. Sorry I don’t have pictures of every single one of these dishes.  Sometimes it’s dark in restaurants and sometimes I feel like enjoying the moment without my iPhone camera 🙂

Best Toast:

Avocado Toast from Black Eye Coffee CapHill in Denver, CO (January 10) // cashews, housemade flax seed bread, cilantro + bacon

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Best Burger:

HĀNA BURGER from Hāna Ranch Provisions in Pāʻia, Hawaiʻi (January 20) // house-made ‘ulu brioche, caramelized onions, horseradish aioli, cheddar

Best Entrée Plate:

Crispy CHICKEN Breast, 3 CHEESE-MAC & CHEESE with SAGE & BUTTERNUT SQUASH from Tables in Denver, CO (February 14)

Best Slider:

Colorado Lamb Slider from Root Down in Denver, CO (April 1) // Harissa Aioli, Irish Cheddar, Arugula & Garlic-Mint Yogurt

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Best Sandwich:

Seared Gulf Shrimp Po Boy from Killer PoBoys in New Orleans, LA (May 2) // Marinated Radish, Carrot, Cucumber, Herbs, Special Sauce

There Denver (July 16)

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Let’s be mature about that category, okay?

Steamed Bun Trio from Night Shift in Denver, CO (August 4) // pork belly PB & J, pork belly, curried cauliflower

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Best Ramen:

Spicy Chicken Ramen from Uncle in Denver, CO (August 18) // spicy sesame broth, scallion, bean sprouts, soft egg

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Best Chicken Dish:

Roasted Half Chicken from Tail Up Goat in Washington, D.C. (September 11) // semolina toast, aioli, cipollini onions

Spaghetti & Meatball at Roma Deli 1 & Restaurant (September 22) // I think this might be self-explanatory 🙂

Sweet Potato at The Nickel in Denver, CO (November 4) // poblano chile, hazelnut, toasted crepe, shallot

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Snowy Weekend Things

You guys, you should have seen the grocery store on Friday!  We left work early to do our usual Friday night shopping trip (I am officially the antithesis of fun) and it was INSANE.  A million people, out of everything (and by everything, I mean bananas and spinach) and check out lines that looked like they were winding through the entire store.  It was like Y2K!  Except that I didn’t grocery shop back then so I have no idea what Y2K was actually like and except that it was just a snow storm everyone was bracing for, not some massive technological shut down.

We fully intended on going to the movies that night, but we got word that the new brewery down the street — yeah, because two other breweries within walking distance and A KEGERATOR IN OUR LIVING ROOM weren’t enough — had just opened, so change of plans!  They do this “guest brewer” thing where regular Joes can come in and brew with a professional and then have their beer served in the taproom.  I can’t decide if that’s cool or dumb but the beer I had was great!  The Peach Cobbler taster however… I took one sip and couldn’t imagine taking another.

IMG_7123Saturday was my nephew’s birthday and somehow he is SIX YEARS OLD.  When the heck did that happen?!  Before driving into Longmont, we went to our coffee shop and looked at pictures from the day he was born.  Whoa, we all look so young!  But now, 6-year old Gennaro has a bunch of school friends, wants to grow out his hair and wear ripped jeans and is too cool for Joey and I.  Though Joey was granted permission to join the exclusive laser tag group.  Three adults against all the kids: 23,000 points to 5,000 points.  I mean, way to take it easy on them, guys.

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After the party, we grabbed lunch (“I love Chipotle, Chipotle is my life”) and finally went to that movie.  American Sniper!  Okay, look, I was kind of preparing to hate it.  I think war movies are incredibly difficult to pull off, especially when you’re talking about recent war because it’s just kind of a sensitive subject and I don’t think it’s easy to represent that stuff in a way that will please everyone, but you know what?  I actually really liked it!  I didn’t agree with any of the criticism I’d heard about it and I thought it was very well done.

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It was full-blown blizzard status when we got out of the movie, so we drove home, parked it on the couch in our pajamas and stayed there for the rest of the day/night.  I think we watched something like 85 episodes of Friday Night Lights.  Give or take.  And though I was expecting and kinda hoping to wake up to 16″ of snow, I think we got about 5″.  Wah wah.  But snow days and Sundays call for fun breakfasts!  Is it weird that I’ve been dreaming of breakfast tacos all week?  Wait, don’t answer that.  I made us each some, plus pancake minis, strawberries for me and sweet potato home fries for Joey.  More breakfasts like this forever, please!

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I was kind of dying to break a sweat and seeing as we couldn’t use snow as an excuse not to go to the gym, we headed there mid-morning.  For real, I left my phone there and didn’t realize until we were home.  Who puts their phone down on a table to put their jacket on, then leaves it there and doesn’t notice?  Probably the same person who leaves their purse at restaurants and doesn’t notice.  I’m blaming Oscars excitement for my lack of focus.

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I made us this way-too-extravagant-for- just-two-people spread of Oscars viewing snacks and though we crushed that bowl of veggies, grapes, nuts, figs and popcorn, I swear we didn’t eat all of that cheese.  That Cambozola was a recent Bon Appétit recommendation and it was like a blue cheese-brie hybrid that tasted totally awesome.  How often is one allowed to eat cheese and crackers for dinner?  As for the actual Oscars.  Kinda meh, don’t you think?  NPH’s jokes didn’t seem to be hitting the right note (I personally thought they were too short and hard to catch) and everything in general just wasn’t that memorable.

Oh and Joey and I tied on our Oscars ballot.  I picked Birdman for Best Picture so I’m calling myself the winner, though.

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This is our forecast for the rest of the week.  Pray for us!