Sometimes you're too busy to make an entire meal from scratch. Enter Supper Solutions, a meal-assembly kitchen who helps prepare homemade meals that busy customers can cook up in their own kitchens. First, customers select a minimum of eight meals from the menu, which changes monthly and includes a variety of meal options. They then arrange to either pick up the fully prepared meals, or head to the location to assemble the meals themselves. The process helps customers cut back on grocery trips and planning, freeing up time to create elaborate food sculptures from any left-overs.
When Denver Westword critic Jason Sheehan visited Cracovia Restaurant and Bar, his summation of the meal ended up sounding less like a restaurant review and more like an Alice in Wonderland?style memoir dripping with passion and faux nostalgia. At one point, he recalled a desire to tackle a waiter who had walked by with a plate of cabbage rolls, so that he could "grab the golabki with [his] teeth and drink the tomato-mushroom gravy straight from the tureen." Later in the meal, he and his wife felt so connected to the food, they almost felt Polish themselves: "If our mothers had been Polish ? this would've been what we ate growing up, " Jason said, "This tastes like home cooking in the best possible way, tastes of time and care and experience and love."
Love is probably the key word here: it's not surprising that Jason and his wife were so enamored with their meal, considering Cracovia is a labor of love for husband-wife team Lester and Marie Rodzen. They named the restaurant after a Krakow hotel where they honeymooned more than a quarter-century ago, and they pour this affection for their home country into each of the from-scratch Polish dishes they create, which is part of the reason they were named ?Best German/Eastern European Restaurant Denver 2014? by Denver Westword. The aforementioned golabki?cabbage rolls stuffed with pork and rice?is one of the Rodzens' signature dishes, as are the homemade kielbasa and pierogi stuffed with meat, cabbage, cheese, or blueberries, all purchased at local farmers markets. In the spirit of its romantic inspiration, Cracovia is a perfect date-night restaurant?every Friday and Saturday night, live singers croon as couples make their way to the dining room's dance floor or three-legged racing area.
The beats of lean cuts of meat sizzling on the grill and ladles clanking against trays of zesty vegetables fill Qdoba Mexican Grill during construction of made-to-order Mexican fare. As healthy-eating devotees, Qdoba's staff stocks its kitchen with nutritious ingredients, seasonal flavors, and 100% cotton candy–free tortillas.
Julia Blackbird's New Mexican Café is the culmination of two of chef and owner Julie Siegfried’s deepest passions: cooking and New Mexico. To this day, her mother recalls Julie standing on a step stool, trying to peer into a soup pot and giving her grandmother directions about what to put in. And on her first trip to New Mexico, she used up 10 rolls of film snapping pictures. She fell in love with the region's unique vibe—the people, the artwork, and, of course, the food.
Today, she shares both of her loves with diners at Julia Blackbird's New Mexican Café. Her kitchen is stocked with New Mexican ingredients such as blue cornmeal, goat cheese from the San Luis valley, and piñones. For her signature dish, the Tres Hermanas, she stuffs a trio of blue-corn enchiladas: one with chicken and green chile, one with beef and red chile, and one with cheese and chile caribe. To make sangria, the staff soaks seasonal fruit in rum, then splashes the mixture with wine and sparkling water. The menu also features beers, mojitos, and top-shelf margaritas, which encourage diners to linger in the warmly lit space, admiring brightly colored artwork or arguing about whether red should be added to the list of primary colors.
Like procuring a pet elephant, Cava's bowls are priced according to weight ($0.70 per ounce, $24,692 per metric ton), with a sizable hunk of greens, four to five fillers, cheese, and a vinaigrette averaging around $5. The process begins by selecting greens, which include arugula, Boston bibb, and spring mix, among others. Next, peruse and infuse an assortment of unprocessed fillers, including pumpkin seeds, quinoa, grape tomatoes, dried cranberries, and sweet potatoes. Top off the dish with one of Cava's vinaigrettes made from 100% extra virgin olive oil, aged vinegars, and concentrated dreams. Upgrade a bed of greens and things to the next level with the addition of seared salmon ($4.50), seared tofu with basil parmesan vinaigrette ($3.75), or sage-rubbed steak ($4.25). Aside from custom field blends, Cava also serves handmade soups and a variety of sparkling beverages, sport teas, and water.