It’s best to start the day off right. With breakfast. But how much of your time is it worth?
The first time we drove past Snooze, we saw their ever-present line, too. Now, we’ve often waited around in LA for a seat at a table, but it seemed quite out of place in Denver. Plus in LA, what the crowds were going crazy for wasn’t always all that. We couldn’t put Snooze out of our minds though, and when a local friend suggested it for our Brunch date, we jumped at the chance. Was it going to worthwhile? Was it hipster-central? Was the staff going to be rude?
Snooze calls itself an “A.M. Eatery:” they are open only for breakfast and brunch, or until 2:30pm (yet somehow, they have a full bar). We showed up just before 9am, and had to wait for over an hour. While we excused ourselves past waiting co-eds to the free coffee stand, our spirits began to sink. Yes, this was going to be LA all over again… Then we were seated. The menu wasn’t rambling, which is a plus: it’s hard to make decisions on an empty stomach. The waitress was refreshingly normal, the staff cared about us and checked back often. We were allowed to linger over our coffees and finish our conversation.
The food was pretty outrageously delicious, and obviously the reason everyone was waiting outside, salivating at our plates. It wasn’t all hype; Snooze delivers, and won us over on heart. The faces behind this establishment know what they’re doing: Snooze is a sibling of a few local restaurants.
Whether you like tea or not, the Celestial Seasonings tour is going to be recommended to you 3 times a day if you’re planning a trip to Colorado. You know you’re curious to see the tea bagging, the mind-clearing mint room, and the psychedelic box art posters that all the midwestern visitors are photographing.
Where else can you wander around an industrial facility in white mesh shower caps and taste tea until your bladder explodes? Seriously friends, don’t miss it.
Tours are free and take place many, many times a day. And yes, you can drink all the tea samples you ever thought you wanted. The bathrooms are very clean.
Denver is more multicultural than we thought. Prior to our visit, a friend said that he got some “salsa” on a burrito in Colorado one time that turned out to be ketchup. We’re happy to report that’s most likely a lie, and there’s lots of well-executed international fare all over town. We were particularly intrigued by the so-called “Far East Center” along Federal Boulevard, between West Alameda and West Mississippi avenues. Young locals we talked to said they didn’t get out that way much, but it struck us as a great place to go for some “destination” lunches.
Great cheap eats at Taki’s on Colfax
And coming back to that Colorado salsa… Our experience with the locally famous green chile was no laughing matter: it was so spicy we barely made it through 5 spoonfuls in a row!
The salsa wasn’t the only over-the-top offering at Jack n’ Grill either. Their headliner, the 7lb burrito, deserves a post all to itself. Larger than a newborn and concocted with seven potatoes, 12 eggs, a pound of ham and a whole onion, plus cheese and chili, it has to be put into something resembling a trough to get to the table. And it’s not just Man vs. Food that’s ready to take this beast on; while we were having dinner 5 others ordered one. We thought we’d show restraint and pick their “standard size,” either way, we got schooled by Colorado Mexican Food.
For more handheld and manageable faux-Mex, skip the Chipotle flagship (they’re from Colorado) and sit down at Illegal Pete’s instead. These two are set up somewhat similarly: you pick your fillings, they roll it up and you enjoy. Illegal Pete’s shows some style by putting a big ol’ spoon to your burrito fixings and giving it a nice swirl. Somehow, this is the magic that’s been missing your entire life. Highly recommended breakfast burritos and crispy fish burritos aplenty. And since this is Colorado, a good selection of beer is available.
Or, when you’re tired of taking stabs at authenticity, and want to have some fun instead, head over to Noodles & Company and choose your own adventure. Yes, we’re sending you to a chain, but it’s really quite a cool, nicely-executed idea. Their customizable menu is broken down into three categories: Asian, Mediterranean and American. You’ll pick out a pasta (rice noodles, penne, macaroni), veggies and a sauce (peanut, pesto, stroganoff) with options like chicken and tofu. Everything is made fresh, tossed to order. It’s quick, easy and kind of clever.
So we started out with breakfast, had some tea, dinner and all hours dim sum — all we need now is dessert. Enter Marczyk’s Fine Foods.
This place is reason enough to move to Denver. Carefully stocked, well designed, noisy, aromatic and connected to the community; Marczyk’s is what you’ve always wanted in a neighborhood store. Stop by here for wine, groceries, pantry items, the deli counter and all manner of specialty foods. You’ll find our favorite locally-made ice cream sandwiches, too. Jeremy’s is peanut butter ice cream on a chocolate bacon cookie.
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