Mile High Highlights: Damn Delicious Denver Dining

I just returned from a paradisaical two-week long sojourn in Denver. I had never been to Colorado before and had heard good things, but wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Let me state for the record: the Rocky Mountain High makes this Western gal’s heart sing.

Not only is Denver full of beautiful weather and beautiful people, but this city takes it one step further: it has an innovative, exciting restaurant scene. Colorado is a playful, active place, and its culinary atmosphere clearly reflects this persona.

The Paramount Cafe on 16th Street, a popular tourist thoroughfare, provides what seems to be standard bar fare at first glance. Don’t be fooled – this is bar grub with a Colorado twist. The burger pictured above is not a run-of-the-mill hamburger, but a patty made from fresh Colorado elk and topped with BBQ sauce, bacon, grilled onions, and roasted garlic mayo. What is ground elk like? A bit cleaner tasting than ground beef, less greasy and a little tougher… in a good way.

Before a long day of hiking in the sunshine, it’s important to fuel up. Luckily Denver has a plethora of great breakfast options, including my personal favorite, Snooze. Featuring a creative and healthy menu, it was overwhelmingly difficult to make a decision on my brunch.

Luckily I chose wisely with the (pictured at top) Upstream Benny: honey smoked salmon on house-crafted bacon-jalapeno spoonbread, topped with two farm fresh Niman Ranch poached eggs, cream cheese hollandaise, and chives. I’m going to go ahead and call it: best benedict I’ve ever had, and I consider myself a benedict connoisseur. The bacon-jalapeno spoonbread made this dish. Word to the wise: Don’t skip the coffee. Snooze offers a damn good cup of joe, brewed exclusively for their restaurants in the volcanic hills of Guatemala.

I also made the fantastic decision to try a pancake, which Snooze is famous for. Behold their intimidatingly gigantic sweet potato pancake, topped with homemade caramel, pecans, and ginger butter. Between three ravenous girls, we couldn’t finish the whole thing. So decadent.

More of Damn Delicious Denver: lobster tacos, herb-spiked lemonade, Colombian arepas and more.

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Gridiron Grub: Venison & Ginger Beer Chili

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A couple of weeks ago my Eagles were knocked out of the NFL playoffs and before that, my beloved PSU Nittany Lions embarrassed themselves in the Outback Bowl. Thankfully, while I drowned my sorrows last week, BS provided us with a look at overpriced NFL beer and provided me with some time to regain my composure so that I could return reinvigorated for the final 2 weeks of the 2010/2011 season.  The forecast for the games this weekend isn’t too promising and where I live we are expecting single digit temperatures. Needless to say, I will not be heading out to watch any games, but instead thought I would make a big pot of the ultimate winter comfort food….chili.

I don’t know if I have ever come across a bad bowl of chili. There are so many different ways to prepare it and they all end up being pretty delicious. While doing a little research for this post, I confirmed that the word chili is Spanish and the first recorded use was in 1604. The rough translation was: “a bunch of tasty shit stewed together for awhile.” Partly inspired by ML’s recent post about game meat, and the fact that I had access to locally hunted venison, I decided to go with a venison chili. This chili recipe started out a few years ago, straight from a Field and Stream recipe, but with small changes each attempt, I came to this week’s incarnation:

Venison and Ginger Beer Chili with Lime Cream

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