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Entries in Rioja (1)

Thursday
Mar312011

Denver, Denver...Always in Denver

I just made it home from three weeks in Denver (with three days in DC thrown into the mix just for fun).  While I'm not crazy about the cold (putting it mildly to say the least), I love downtown Denver.  I love the mix of old buildings with the up-to-date finishes, the eclectic shops, and the fantastic restaurants.  My co-workers and I found two FAB-U-LOUS places this time around and we whole-heartedly stuffed ourselves silly.

One night we found Rioja.  It has been voted the best restaurant in Denver and really, I can see why.  I was singing the praises of this place before I even got of the door!  My dinner consisted of:

Appetizer:  Fresh bacon - cardamom spiced Kurobuta pork belly, Madras curry scented fresh garbanzo bean puree

Salad:  Rioja house salad - baby arugula (I'm obsessed with this stuff!), Medjool dates, gorgonzola, toasted almond vinaigrette

Entree:  Rioja picnic - trio of artisan meats, pine nut crusted goat cheese, Italian Mountain gorgonzola, marinated olives, truffle fennel salad,  orange confit, and toasted almonds

Dessert:  grapefruit sorbet

Holy Cow!  Can you imagine??? I just kept eating and eating and eating.  I paid for it later - I couldn't sleep a wink because I was so full....but it was worth it!

 

Another night, we found ourselves at Vesta Dipping Grill.  Loved, loved, loved this place also.  Great mood - great vibe. I really out-did myself this night with the food:

Appetizer:  Chinese bbq pork belly with yuzu mayonnaise, orange and shiso

Appetizer #2 (I couldn't help myself): sauce sampler with pita bread.  I sampled the following five (yes, five - now be quiet) sauces:  cilantro pesto, salsa roja, salsa verde, steuben's chimichurri (you know how I feel about this stuff!!), and spicy ancho

Entree:  cheese & cured meat tray.  This tray can only be described as insane.  My co-workers and I just stared at the waiter when he brought this tray out - it was THAT big.  We had to re-arrange our table so my plate would fit! The platter, about three times the size of my head, had five different types of meat (duck rillettes, green sald duck ham, prosciutto, red wine bresaola, and pancetta) and five different types of cheeses (romano, gorgonzola, humboldt fog, rocky mountain dawn chevre, and mouco camembert).  It also came with toast points, cherry mustard, candied walnuts, black pepper truffle hones and apples.

Dessert:  did I get dessert?  I cannot remember and honestly, at this point, I don't think I'd share with you what dessert I did eat that night.  I already look like a big fat glutton.  Telling you about my dessert will not help your opinion of me.   ;)

p.s.  I'm sorry that some of the pics below might be a bit blurry.  I just got an iPhone the other day, so I should be able to take great pics on my future travels!

Click pics to see full size