At Melonlight Dance, students make art on the dance floor, painting the dark-stained hardwood with their graceful movements and flourishes of fancy footwork. DVIDA-certified instructors Emily and Ray lead these lessons, teaching students to waltz, strut, and scamper in private and group settings. Students train for upcoming competitions or even a flash mob in a warm studio lit from above by twinkling Christmas lights and the traveling essence of Giorgio Moroder. In addition to its artful dance sessions, the studio also plays host to soothing, restorative yoga classes as well as personal training and fitness sessions.
The Dusty Boot Steakhouse & Saloon welcomes hungry guests to dig into burgers, steaks, and Mexican-inspired specialties. In the dining room, more than a dozen TVs tune in to games as diners sip tequila, margaritas, and other drinks. Meanwhile, the chefs wrap filet mignon in bacon, slow-cook slabs of pork ribs in tangy barbecue sauce, and garnish fish tacos with fresh cilantro. Diners not in the mood to build their own burgers can pick one of the specialty burgers, which include a breakfast burger with bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg, and the Fatty melt—a burger, sautéed mushrooms, and onions between two grilled-cheese sandwiches.
On the weekends, the Dusty Boots' staff wakes up early to the sound of their rooster's idiotic radio show and cooks up breakfasts of three-egg omelets and latke reubens, which include two potato pancakes smothered in corned beef, sauerkraut, thousand-island dressing, and melted swiss.
At African Grill and Bar, owners Osei and Adowa Ford-Wuo strive to make everyone’s African dining experience fun and unintimidating, personally attending to guests and making suggestions from the menu of beef and goat stews, fried snapper and grouper, and fragrantly spiced spinach and vegetable plates. Unlike traditional American starches such as boring white bread and canisters of uncooked biscuit dough, even the carbs of West African cuisine lend distinct flavors to plates. Fried plantains, ground cassava, and tender spheroids of pounded yam accompany dishes, which range from groundnut soups to chicken curries. Fried-rice pilafs pop with the vibrant colors of spinach, tomato, and spices, complementing the décor of dark red tables, wicker chairs, leafy plants, and walls bedecked with African woodworking and weaving.
For the last 12 years, the Real De Minas kitchens have tempted patrons with the aromas of sizzling meats, vegetables, and seafood, as the chefs whip up authentic Mexican dishes. At breakfast, chefs dish out traditional Mexican meals including huevos rancheros and chilaquiles, in addition to a varied lineup of omelets. Later, entrees such as burritos, lobster-tail fajitas, and steaks team up with 13 combination platters. Guests can pair bites with imported beers and 26-ounce margaritas, the ideal amount of liquid to spit take into an enemy?s face.
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.
Fresh from their successful founding and franchising of the Smiling Moose Deli, local restaurateurs Kevin Sloane and brothers Bryan and Kevin Brutsch have tackled a new project: experimenting with what international influences can fit into a taco tortilla. Each freshly-made tortilla arrives filled with treasures from disparate and delicious cuisines, such as spicy chicken vindaloo, slow-roasted Mexican carnitas, or Caribbean jerk pulled pork. Garnishes and sides add a splash of color, texture, and intense flavor, from the housemade guacamole and pico de gallo, to the cripsy slaw blends and jicama.
A laid-back vibe permeates through Marg's LoDo and Cherry Creek restaurants, thanks to cool green walls, rustic wood accents, and generous patio seating. Diners share a leisurely hour or two among friends, with no need to don a blazer or formal taco bib, while sipping margaritas spruced up with herbs from the restaurant mini-garden.