I recently spent a weekend in the capital of the American West, and soaked up the warm hospitality, sunshine – Denver is the sunniest city in the country – and local food and drink. If you’ve never visited for your own Rocky Mountain high, you should definitely treat yourself.
Since my travel plans are usually based on my appetite, I set out to sample what Denver has to offer a hungry and thirsty traveler. Needless to say, neither I nor my stomach was disappointed.
Here are some of the noteworthy spots where I visited, ate and imbibed:
- Uber Sausage – Everybody loves sausage, and this place knows what they’re doing. They’re motto is “So Good, It Should be Illegal” and this is pretty accurate. Open late-night, Uber’s treats will transport your taste buds to Germany, which is exactly how my German-born friend described it to me. Two or three of these bun-ensconced treats will do the job perfectly.
- Tattered Cover Bookstore – Okay, so it’s not a restaurant, but they serve delicious coffee, especially the red eye (a shot of espresso added to a cup of Joe), which came in handy against the jet lag. One of the best-known independent bookstores in the country, this will have you definitely feeding your mind. I lugged several books back to read on the plane.
- Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey – This is my kind of tourist attraction: a family-owned craft distillery, producing delicious “Colorado Whiskey” from locally grown ingredients. The small group tour was fascinating, showing how precise the process of making whiskey needs to be. Plus, you got to sample what you saw being made.
- The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa – I made a return trip to this Denver landmark that dates back to the city’s earlier days, when it was still small and growing. One of the country’s oldest luxury hotels, the Brown Palace really caters to its guests – so much so that I booked a room just for the night. Enjoy the Ship’s Tavern, which serves delicious cocktails in a richly paneled room decorated with amazing model sailing ships.
- Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe – In a city known its local beer scene, finding the best selection of Belgian brews this side of Brussels was a delicious discovery. The menu features page after page of Belgian imports, including some very obscure ones. The authentic frites are some of the best I’ve had stateside.
- Fruition Restaurant – Acclaimed as a top 10 new restaurant when it opened in 2007, Chef Alex Seidel’s talents serve up locally and regionally sourced food prepared in the New American style. Think rustically elegant with bold flavors. He even has his own farm to provide the kitchen with produce. This meal was a magnificent end to a weekend, and a treat for my taste buds.
If you haven’t had the chance to visit Denver, you’re missing out. Its past, youth and location pretty much smack dab in the middle of the country give it a distinctly American charm and flavor.