"If the Divine Creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."
Food. Such a simple necessity, yet it all awaits its discovery.
I spent the better part of February and now early March discovering Denver's finest restaurants and eateries. Colt & Gray, Steuben's, Vine Street Pub, Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria, Panzano, and Jelly! - just to name a few.
Chicken apple sausage, made-to-order cinnamon sugar donut holes, bacon grilled cheese, mascarpone-arugula pesto spread, Baked ricotta stuffed rigatoni with red pepper pesto, brown butter gnocchi, peach jelly, chocolate cannolis over black cherry sauce, and Dr. Loosen Riesling. Oh, must I continue? My mouth is starting to water!
A native of San Francisco, you would think I would have tried it all. But I grew up a picky eater - and some people wonder how I've lived.
It's a valid question, and one that I dared myself to challenge in 2011. With all of the exciting things ahead of me in my life, I figured I would add the uncharted territory of food to the mix. And I certainly haven't been disappointed.
When I went off to college in August of 2005, I had only ever tried 5 kinds of fruit: apple, banana, grape, watermelon, and cantaloupe. WHAT? No..ORANGE? Yes, no orange. I have distinct memories of my dad chasing me at half-time during little league soccer games to eat one. NEVAHHHHHH!!!! I was a defiant eater of sorts.
My lack of risk taking (but let's be honest, an orange to most people is not risk) in trying foods is almost humerous when I look at how I take risks in all other areas of my life. I'm not really afraid of the unknown when it comes to anything else - so why food? Perhaps this is a phenomenon I will continue to discover the answer to as I explore the possibilities. The only thing I know right now is that I sniff EVERYTHING I eat, and God gave me an acute sense of smell. What I'm finding is that acute sense makes new flavors unbelievable!
But the common theme I've found each time I dine is that I discover another facet of beauty. And it's not just in the food. It's mostly in the conversations. With friends. With bartenders. With servers. And with strangers. The times I dine alone are the most profound, because every time I do, I meet someone new. I'm more comfortable eating alone and making conversation with the guy serving me than I am eating a mushroom smothered in brown butter sauce. Perhaps there's something strangely beautiful about that.
Being young (almost 24 - eek!) and single, the freedom and possibilities are endless! And I can't say I've minded a few drinks and dinners paid for by strangers either. I swear I don't make conversation for free food, it really is because I want to get to know the person. But surely big curls and mascara help :) I'm kidding!
Just yesterday I was at Vine Street Pub with a friend. We walked around uptown (17th) for 20 mins while we waited for it to open at 4. We walked past my next adventures of il Posto, Thin Man Tavern, St. Mark's Coffeehouse, D Bar Desserts, Strings, Limon, and Pasquini's Pizzeria. We sat at the Vine Street Pub bar and it was there that I discovered the "Create your own Grilled Cheese." Bacon, pesto, mushrooms, avocado, you name it! The bacon grilled cheese on buttered bread paired with green chili chicken enchilada soup.
Every time I asked our server Andy what he thought about something on the menu, he used an exciting adjective, and said it in a way that made you want to order it. And he did that for EVERYTHING - the hops in the beer, the soup, the burger, the grilled cheese. Fantastic, delicious, amazing - it made me want one of everything.
I topped off my meal with a slice of Quoddy Mousse Pie in a small to-go box with a "to-go fork" - in the words of our adjective-loving server Andy. Dark chocolate cookie crumb crust, a layer of chocolate torte, a layer of chocolate mousse, and topped with white chocolate cream fluff. I ate it while we walked on 17th again so I didn't feel so guilty. We passed by a small boutique called Peppermint, and the only reason why we stopped was because there was the cutest dress on a mannequin outside. I may or may not have purchased it.
But, inside I met Tymla, Stephanie, and her husband Chris who all worked for the same company. Peppermint has a brother store next door for men, and then there is a place called Pandora on 13th near the Capitol building. Over the better part of an hour, we shared stories, laughed, and acquired new revelations about the purpose of the life experiences we've had. And all just for walking through the door. This is what I've loved about my food adventures. Someplace, someone, and something new every single time.
The newness of these adventures hardly leaves room for boredom; routines have no place. The exciting thing about where I am in life right now is I get to decide where I spend my time and with whom I spend it.
And can I just say that I'm having the absolute time of my life?!
I swear I was born for living in the heart of a city downtown!
I know that someday, I'm going to meet that person that shares the same love of adventure. We'll take the risks together. And we're going to have the absolute time of our lives.
Until then, I can't wait to try Crème brûlée.