All Around Denver, or, a Motley* Post

I have made my living as a copyeditor for some 13 years now, and it has been kicking my butt for the past two years. I used to romanticize reading for a living, but no longer. I’m not sure if it’s my eyes getting tired or my really, really old chair, but my body just doesn’t do it as willingly as it once did.

All that whining was a prelude to explaining why I don’t have a bona fide Golden Triangle/Capitol Hill post today, though one of the places I talk about is in the Golden Triangle. I spent most of the weekend copyediting instead of going to Denver, which would have been much more fun.

But at least I’ll nod in the GT’s direction while I blather on about various restaurants in Denver.

mad-greens-near-art-museum-golden-triangle-denver-2008Mad Greens—Inspired Eats has a restaurant right across from the Denver Art Museum on Acoma between 12th and 13th. Started by two New York guys who apparently met at Colorado College, it’s a salad restaurant where you can build your own or order a Napoleon or a Mad Molly Brown straight from the menu. (Tip: buy a half-salad, and ask for “light” dressing, which means about 5 squirts of dressing instead of 10 or so. Unless your definition of salad always includes 1 cup of mayonnaise.)

The first time I went to a Mad Greens, in Boulder, I was put off by the astounding amounts of plastic they wasted by serving salads in disposable plastic bowls. They’ve long since switched to metal bowls, so I don’t feel guilty about enjoying their salads anymore.

The cool thing about the restaurant near the Denver Art Museum is that it includes a Novo Coffee, a Denver-based coffee company, and a Mad Wine and Cheese. The night I was there, I was about the only person in the restaurant, so I took my salad over to the wine side and surveyed their selection of reds.

I had ordered the Edgar Allen [sic] Poe salad, with greens, apples, pears, walnuts, and blue cheese. In other words, not so different from the salad I had at Le Central, only much bigger. The wine was a 2006 Paso a Paso Tempranillo from La Mancha, Spain, about which I remember—there was a lot of it. The other thing I remember from this far-off meal is that I wanted to get a group of people to hang out for an evening at the wine and cheese bar and see if it could ever be really mad.

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The Oceanaire Seafood Room, at 14th and Arapahoe in downtown Denver, was the restaurant Todd and I chose to visit during Denver Restaurant Week, on a Sunday night. Everyone else had apparently made the same decision, because the place was packed.

Oceanaire has a lounge vibe going on, Grasshopper!but not the red-light-at-the ceiling tackiness I found at Copeland’s in Louisianamaybe it has an ocean liner vibe? I would call it swank, especially since our bill was about twice the $52.80 base price for Restaurant Week (that’s $52.80 for two people, not counting drinks and tax and tip). I mean, $15 for a glass of Chalone chardonnay? I don’t think a bottle costs that much.

I could go on about the food, but I’ll say just this: if you like seafood, by all means try the Oceanaire. It has 16 locations nationwide, and the seafood we ordered was cooked perfectly, in my opinion. My mahi-mahi in crab bisque was better overall than Todd’s marlin with blue cheese, oceanaire-marlin-denver-2009but they were both good. However, the food did not leave me “lusting for more,” as the website promised. (To be honest, I think conch fritters in the Bahamas are the only seafood that’s ever had that effect on me. OK, so I’m lowbrow, or I need a beach to get lusty. Sue me.)

What impressed me most about Oceanaire was the service. Our waitress recommended a Joseph Drouhin chardonnay (also $15 for a large glass) that went well with both soup and entrée. Three managers, I believe, stopped to chat with us. I’ve never seen servers help each other out as much as they did at Oceanaire, without anyone asking. There was definitely a spirit of camaraderie among the staff.

The milk chocolate mousse was good, and the cheesecake was the whitest I’ve ever seen.
Oceanaire Seafood Room on Urbanspoon

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I’ve been to Patsy’s Italian Restaurant twice, most recently to have dinner with a couple Todd “met” through a D&D blog. Located at 36th and Navajo (formerly Little Italy, now Lower Highland), across from the Bug Theater and Edge art gallery, it’s been in business since 1921.

Patsy’s is a Denver institution, the place to go for basic Italian. Todd had a massive red serving of chicken parmigiana in a baking dish, with a side of noodles, as if he didn’t have enough food, and I had fettucine alfredo. I liked it (for dinner and lunch the next day), and I liked our waiter, who was attentive and very tall. I’d eat there again, on one of those cold evenings when I wanted warm, solid food, but if I wanted more interesting Italian, I’d go to Pulcinella in Lafayette (since the one in Denver closed).

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By far the most luscious dish I’ve had recently was the ravioli small plate special at the Mediterranean Restaurant in Boulder, filled with portabello mushrooms and Wagyu beef (Kobe beef comes from Wagyu cattle) and covered with a balsamic reduction. It was rich and smoky and went well with the Grenache/syrah I was drinking.

The Med is a great restaurant if you like a party atmosphere. We arrived at 6 on a Saturday night and it was already bursting with energetic conversations. The servers whizzed by and never dropped anything. I had dinner with 8 women, only 1 of whom I’d met before, and it was fun. Almost all of them were taking a night away from toddlers, so I didn’t whine to them about my copyediting woes.

See how lucky you are?

*According to Webster’s, the characteristic dress of the professional fool.