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.
Owned by a 15-year home-brew veteran with more than 9,000 beer recipes, Do Your Brew educates burgeoning malt mavens on all the basics of concocting brews during a hands-on introductory brewing class. Aspiring brewmasters can select from twelve brew kits, such as the Bitter Bob Bitters, a deep and big-bodied pale ale with a quick-brewing process and a satisfying result, or the Dark Roast Porter, a dark-coffee brew with rich, spicy hops and a smooth finish. Other selections include the Atbier, Black Canyon Stout, Bronco Amber Ale, Enlightened Black Ale, Gold Coast Pale Ale, Irish Red Ale, Kolsch, Nut Brown Ale, California Common Beer, and Sundown Wheat. In addition to their newly gleaned imbibing insight, beer believers can take home five gallons of beer from the resulting handcrafted batch, ideal for impressing family members or German dignitaries that randomly appear in one’s basement. Aspiring barley pop experimenters also get 10% off all home-brewing supplies and kits at Do Your Brew if they want to continue crafting hop concoctions.
Noodles & Company's cooks unite a diverse menu of Asian, Mediterranean, and American fare with the common thread of the noble noodle. The friendly cooks speedily serve each order, which deliciously bridges the gap between convenience and fine dining with casual fare and a strictly enforced dress code of flip-flops and tuxedos.
On average, it takes one year to invent a sandwich that meets the standards of Jason's Deli—countless combinations of breads and filling won't ever leave the test kitchen. Those that do follow a strict set of rules: no artificial trans fat, no high-fructose corn syrup, and flavors that come from freshness rather than additives. The results can be bitten into at hundreds of locations across America. At each, difficult choices abound between reubens and spicy-ranchero chicken wraps, or between a turkey club and a New Orleans-inspired muffaletta, spread with a family-recipe olive mix. Even those who don't want a sandwich still have to make tough decisions when they approach the salad bar brimming with organic fixings.
Despite the difficulties of selection, Jason's Deli prioritizes convenience. Its stores have organized a list of gluten-sensitive selections as well as healthy kids' meals, which come with sides of organic carrots or apples as opposed to other restaurants' deep-fried lard balls. The company also advocates for emotional health as fervently as it does nutrition—its Leadership Institute hosts workshops for employees on topics ranging from conflict resolution to finances to ethics.
According to a 2013 article in the New Yorker, Colorado is No. 3 in the nation in terms of number of craft breweries (it has 151 altogether). According to that same article, the number of craft breweries continues to grow every year in almost every state. It seems like people can't get enough of the inventive craft beer flavors made by beer lovers from breweries such as Broomfield's Big Choice Brewing.
Located Southwest of 120th and Main in Broomfield, Big Choice Brewing is a little off the beaten path. It offers pints and growlers of their 10,000 Summers Saison, brewed with wildflower honey, or the #42 Poblano Stout, which contains poblano peppers. To make the beer tastings more of an experience, Big Choice offers in-house movie nights and trivia nights.
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.