Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Restaurant, Taphouse and Brewery Reviews


Turnip the Beet Denver restaurants
Special of the evening at Basta, everything's better with an egg on it!
A delightful raw beet concoction served on a hazelnut crust at Linger
Sampler line up at De Steeg
The HOLY GRAIL, Linger's "Devil's on Horseback"

Oh, how I wish I'd been doing proper reviews for years now. I always take mental notes, then forget to write them down when I get home! Our server would never know it, but for such a laid-back individual, I'm actually a VERY picky diner! Things just oughta be a certain way. Whether it's at a greasy spoon or a 5 star joint, there's a certain level of congeniality and service of which I've become accustomed. Now, I realize that at a road-side diner it's entirely unrealistic to expect the kind of service that you'd get at a stuffy white table-clothed joint, but they really shouldn't be too far apart either. I firmly believe in treating your guests like family or like a regular and they'll soon become that way. 
I base my reviews on a few different factors but overall it's the way the experience made me feel and the quality of the food and service. It's a lot like music for me, there's no one genre I like, I just appreciate when someone puts their heart and soul into something and there's not a whole lotta fluff!

Settin em up and knocking em down at Uncle
I think it's very important to have a well rounded beer/wine and even cocktail list, so whenever I come across a place that has both great food AND drink (namely beer), you'll be sure to hear about it. Many times we sacrifice the quality of food just to have a good beer and I hope that changes soon. It seems to be happening slowly but surely but for the time being, we're happy to give our dollars to the good people at Hops & Pie! (See my glowing review below)

BASTA!                                     Last visit: 04-13-2013
3601 Arapahoe Ave Boulder, CO

 Pizzeria Basta is a must every time we go to Boulder. The service is ALWAYS fantastic and the food is just amazing! Their wood-fired pizzas have the best crust I've ever tasted...it's like a thick, bubbly, wood-charred crepe! 
 Our favorite pie is the "Arugula" with tomato, smoked mozzarella, arugula and prosciutto but you really can't go wrong no matter what you choose.
Burrata with leeks, house pancetta and toast= ridiculous deliciousness!

For starters, you have to try the Burrata, it's a very fresh italian cheese made from rich mozzarella and pure cream, the outer shell is solid mozzarella and the inside is a creamy luscious blend of the two that just seeps out like molten lava when you slice into it. Served on top of a super savory blend of braised leaks and house made pancetta with a side of crostini...delicious! This is one of the best dishes I've ever had. It's rich, indulgent and decadent yet you still feel like you're eating something that's good for you. At least that's what I'll keep telling myself :)
To top our evening off perfectly we had the campfire vanilla ice-cream (OH...MY...GAWD!!!), a perfect blend of creamy vanilla with house smoked campfire goodness. Your server will be happy to tell you the process, it's pretty cool. And if you're really lucky, they'll have the fresh mint ice-cream...I almost fell out of my chair! It's made with fresh mint as opposed to that over-processed store brand mint flavor and the difference is outta this world. So fresh and light! 

They have a pretty decent beer selection with choices from a few of our favorite breweries, Firestone Walker and Crooked Stave, as well as a great wine list.
We love you, Basta...keep it up!
Basta on Urbanspoon
~I give Basta 4 out of 5 stars, only because we still need to go there a few more times ;) ~

EUCLID HALL!!!                         Last visit 03-08-2013
1317 14th Denver, CO

I really can't say enough about Euclid Hall. Everything there is amazing! 
Euclid's "Chips n Dip"!
Their "Chips n Dip" is one of the best, most interesting concoctions I've ever had the pleasure of eating. It's a lemon goat cheese dip which is tangy and perfect on it's own, topped with oolong smoked rare duck breast, duck confit, homemade potato chips (that are super crispy and delicious) and baby dill. The flavor combinations are crisp, rich, cool and absolutely ABSURD! I hope they NEVER ever take this off the menu!
Their lemon and coriander spaetzle is one of my favorite dishes anywhere and I often recreate it at home, the honey mustard chèvre on top is absolutely perfect! I didn't see it on the menu last time we were there and I hope to god they're kidding. It's really unbelievable and I have to have it! :)
My 1st spaetzle
This is one variety of the spaetzle I've made, inspired by Euclid Hall. With prosciutto, braised short ribs and a wasabi greek yogurt sauce, a twist on their honey mustard chèvre..

Fried Oyster Po'Boy! YUM!!
My husband always goes for the Chicken n Waffles or the Fried Oyster Po'Boy. They're both sooo good! The variety of textures and flavors in the Chicken n Waffles is like nothing you've ever had before, crispy chicken mousseline "nuggets" with black pepper béchamel and maple gastrique....it'll make you wanna punch somebody! 
 And last but most definitely not least is their hand-cranked sausage selection! Yum! Get the sampler and try em all! It comes with 4 of their homemade mustards too that are awesome!!
This is the "Boudin Noir" aver curry and aubergine. It  seriously has the consistently of devil's food cake and tastes truly unique...try it!

And of course, they have a very impressive variety of craft beers on tap and even more in the bottle. They're rotating tap is usually pretty good and they always have something from Firestone Walker, Elevation and sometimes Crooked Stave. A fantastic wine selection and great cocktails too! 

Overall, Euclid Hall is great for a special occasion or a casual night out. The atmosphere is unique in the way that you could feel totally comfortable there in flip-flops or a prom dress (but please don't do both). It's not too expensive either, we usually get out of there for around $100 and that's if we go all out. Beer, wine, coffee, dessert but a casual night would only set you back about $60. Go there, share stuff, drink stuff...NOW!

Euclid Hall on Urbanspoon
Euclid Hall's Rating......5 ENTHUSIASTIC STARS!!!

Hops & Pie!!        Last visit 07-28-2013
3920 Tennyson Street Denver, CO

OK...first of all, I'm a little biased when it comes to H&P...because I'm in love.
We fell in love with them the second we walked in the door way back in 2010. Then it was only the one side of the restaurant where the bar is, and much like it is now that they've expanded, you're happy to stand in a crowded corner just to savor one of the many amazing beers they have on tap. They have 20+ beers on tap and are constantly rotating them once one has kicked. I've never had a beer there that I didn't like, in fact, I can credit H&P for turning me into an official beer snob. I've always liked a good hefeweizen but until they came along, that's where my adventurous spirit ended. They've turned me on to an entirely different level of beer appreciation...and there's no turning back! Now I seek out the newest of the new, the firkins, sours, IPAs, barley wines and even STOUTS! Which for me, used to be all but torture, but my palette has most definitely developed and I have them to thank for it!! I now find myself geeking out on a regular basis whenever I hear the mention of breweries like Firestone Walker, Dogfish Head, Elevation, Epic, Stone, or Crooked Stave to name a few.

And if you don't know what you like, don't worry! They have some of the most helpful staff we've ever encountered EVER and we're now happy to be able to call many of them friends. They'll totally guide you on your hoppy lil mission. You can taste anything you want before you commit and they're all experts at guiding you in the right direction and helping you to find what you're looking for. We've walked in the door many times only to have Jenny rush over to us to let us know about a new beer they have on tap that she knew Gregg would love...she's been right every time!

OH YEAH, I almost forgot...they have food too! ;)
Just kidding because there's no possible way you could forget their food! Hops & Pie is one of those rare and magical places where the food matches the beer. Cue the sirens!!! And that's exactly why they see our shining lil faces in there at least once a week! We've got it so bad that Steve or Josh (our usual delivery dudes) see us weekly too. 
It's GUD! I'll start with their pies. THEE best, thinest, flakiest, buttery crust imaginable with the freshest most inspired toppings! Our favorite is the Blackberry BBQ sauce (I know!) with Beer Braised Brisket, Arugula and Goat Cheese. The combination of the sweet tangy BBQ sauce with the rich goat cheese on top of that crispy crust makes my mouth water as we speak!
And THEN, as if their pizza wasn't enough, every single other thing on the menu beats anyone within a 50 mile radius with a stick! I've dreamt about their IPA Mac n Cheese. With english peas and huge chunks of smoked ham it comes in a piping hot lil casserole dish covered with bread crumbs n filled with cheesy goodness. It's inspired me to replicate it many times at home. 

My version of H&P's IPA Mac n Cheese

And then there's their sandwiches! And salads! We seriously can't get enough! But probably the best thing about H&P is the lovely couple who brought it into our lives. Drew and Leah Watson are just my favorite kind of people; cool and down-to-earth. They treat their employees like family and the customers as friends and it really don't get any better than that! They moved here from back east with a dream of pairing great beer with new ideas about what pizza could be like...and Hops and Pie was born! Their story is truly inspirational and we love giving them our support!

They were also featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" on 05/27/2013...check it out!
Hops & Pie on Urbanspoon
Hops & Pie receives another enthusiastic 5 star rating!!

more reviews coming up soon.....................

1 comment:

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