Archive for December, 2009

Mile High-5’s for Downtown Denver

Denver by the Slice is launching a regular feature this week with this column called “Mile High-5’s for Downtown Denver”. We’ll invite a noted, or known, resident to offer their favorites, five of them, about some factor of living here. We’ll get to restaurants, bars, hang-outs, galleries, stores, coffee shops, patios, favorite buildings, people and more through the year.

This week, since the kids and even grandkids are still hanging out for the holidays, we asked what were some of the best things for kids to do in this part of town. We asked long-time resident, friend, and sage, Jerry Fredericks about it. Here are her Mile High-5 experiences with grandson, Dylan.

1.Playing and exploring in Cherry Creek and the Platte. “Dylan grew up with them, from learning to skip rocks, floating boats, watching wildlife to roller blading along. Always something to do and see!” (Editor’s note: Every kid should have a creek to grow up with as an essential right. Here, they get both a creek AND a river.)

2.Riding up and down the Mall on the shuttle bus, and again.

3.The hot dogs at My Brother’s Bar. Especially in the summer on the patio when they bring balloons.

4.Exploring all the hidden outdoor areas in the tall downtown buildings – up and down stairs, through gardens and across bridges.

5.And, of course, a trip to REI because you might get a gift out of it!

Thank you, Jerry! She actually went over the limit and sent others like the Children’s Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Skatepark and movies at the Pavilions, but she did comment that the best and most memorable activities seemed to be the ones that are just here for the making. Non-commercial attributes of living in Downtown Denver. Adults having fun with the kids!

Dining Challenge in Downtown Denver

The Challenge in the Year Ahead

Well, one of them anyway. We define as part of our mission, here at Denver by the Slice, a continuing quest to rid restaurants of that most irritating of questions:“Are you still working on that?”

And, sure enough, it surfaced again on Christmas Eve. At our favorite French restaurant in Larimer Square (for now remaining nameless). We’ll have to work on this, with a lot of help, for at least the next year and probably longer. This is a well-embedded enemy. Around every corner and at nearly every table holding a meal, whether fully or partially consumed. We’ll keep bringing this subject up, along with some other gripes…and accolades…for our local dining establishments.

And, it is certainly a national problem. A very American problem. Last fall, a New York City restaurateur (and writer), Bruce Buschel gained infamy by publishing (some have said daring to publish) his “100 Rules for Servers”. Servers screamed in unison. They could not believe there could even be so many rules to their jobs. Now, some of these rules were certainly mundane enough. For instance, Rule Number 1: “Do not let anyone enter the restaurant without a warm greeting.” That’s fair.

Rule Number 11: “Do not hustle the lobsters. That is, do not say ‘We only have two lobsters left.’ Even if there are only two lobsters left.” Well, a bit more esoteric, but probably correct.

And, I should mention here, that I firmly believe there should be, if not already, a list of 100 rules for customers. We are not always perfect, just always right.

But, there on the servers’ list, right at Rule Number 78, is our current quest. “Do not ask, ‘Are you still working on that?’ Dining is not work until questions like this are asked.”

Couldn’t agree more. Well stated. What would a chef in the hot kitchen think, who might have invested a lot of money and years into his or her labor, and probably has some pride in this food and his presentations, think if customers felt they had to “work” on the meal.

And, how could you translate this phrase in a phrase to foreign travelers? Non-English language speakers will be forever lost when asked this question…in a restaurant. Only one time have we experienced the same phrase outside of this country. And, that time was at a very Americanized resort in Mexico that still had real Mexican food.

Denver by the Slice knows this has come up in the press. But, most servers seem oblivious to the problem. Every time we bravely mention it, they recognize there may be something wrong. Some are even grateful, some do not care, but most servers really do want to do their jobs better. And, they get better tips.

Weigh in on this and we’ll publish the best comments. And, throughout the year, we’ll probably tackle some of the other issues from that same “100 Rules…” list. Like, Rule Number 91: “the music is not for the staff — it’s for the customers.”

Or, and here’s one that was not even on the list: why everyone, everywhere is addressed as “guys”.

Holiday Mandolin Concert This Sunday!

Music that Takes You Away, Free this Sunday!

Late word on a Downtown Denver musical event that we love.

This Sunday, at the Wynkoop Brewery, in the Mercantile Room, the Denver Mandolin Orchestra presents its annual Holiday Concert.

The DMO is in concert nearly every fourth Sunday of the month at the Wynkoop. If you have not had a chance to escape with their beautiful tones, you need to do it. About 20 musicians playing these instruments, in new and traditional songs, just take you somewhere else. Especially if you are enjoying a fresh Wynkoop brew…and you close your eyes. Few things in downtown are so relaxing and sound so good at the same time.

And, look, as always, for Manny Salzman playing in the front row. Thanks, Manny and Joanne, for sending the reminder over.

It’s FREE, this Sunday, December 27 at 7:00 p.m. at the Wynkoop. Come and enjoy! Then, buy their latest CD and take the whole orchestra home for New Year’s!

Spanning the Solstice

Just a few days left to…

Enjoy Downtown Denver’s Christkindl Market in Skyline Park. Booths are open through Thursday afternoon, December 24, with holiday gifts and decorations, toys, woolens and candles. And, inside the heated tent, cold German beer and traditional hot Gluhwein go so well with a plate of steaming goulash from one of the food booths outside. These are hardy vendors, with only hours left of standing in the cold waiting for you. Hours are 11-7 daily, closing at 4:00 on Christmas Eve. Arapahoe at 16th.

http://www.denverchristkindlmarket.com/

One night only…

 Great jazz! No cover! Menu and bar specials! Tuesday, December 29 at 1515 Market Restaurant in LoDo, just off the mall on Market Street.
Music by Andrew Hudson on bass, Mark Klagstad on guitar and LoDo’s own Bob Montgomery on trumpet. 8-10 P.M.
Hosted by Gene Tang, owner of 1515 Market Restaurant, phone 303-571-0011.

And, just mention you started a blog…

 And, the information comes rolling out! Over the weekend we heard high praise for Mangiamo Pronto, recently opened at the corner of 17th and Wazee. Delicious tomato soup and spinach salad, we’re told.
Also, the new Downtown GastroPub, in one of the three spaces that housed Alto, on 15th Street between Larimer and Market. Food outpacing décor. We all need to try it.
And, even on a cold winter night, it’s hard to beat the Negresco dessert crepe at Crepes n’ Crepes in Writer Square. I think I like ordering this since it inspires thoughts of the Belle Époque hotel of the same name in Nice. This is a beautiful crepe presentation of just vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream, perfect to share. If you have to.

Ho! Ho! Oh! So, so Green this Season!

You live in LoDo. In fact, you are so into living in LoDo, you do it without a car. But, you need a real Christmas Tree. Reasonably priced. Not too big. Where do you get it and, more importantly, how do you get it home? No problem…this year.

This article won’t sell any more trees this season for Tiri’s Garden Holiday Tree Lot, but they claim they will be back next year. They sold all of their trees that should have been sold, and they donated the rest to Denver Catholic Charities.
Here’s the story.

In the undeveloped lot at 15th and California, Dale Deleo (with a bunch of help) built a raised garden for the neighborhood last summer. Nicely landscaped (that’s his business), the garden produced produce for some urban gardeners and a Farmer’s Market. It’s called Tiri’s Garden, named for one of the children special to Christie Isenberg and the Concerts for Kids program. And, the garden will be in bloom again this spring. For the winter, Dale turned the garden into a tree lot this holiday season and set about to get some publicity.

Not only did he sell trees that had come from de-forestation projects, he gave away hot chocolate and cookies. And, he gave away a portion of the proceeds to the Concerts for Kids Program. Dale’s company, Europa Escape Landscaping is also responsible for a lot of the larger lighting projects around town. This allowed the Tree Lot to trade new LED lights, at a discount, for old lights brought in by customers.

Dale did get publicity. In print, and on television. We just happened to see it on a newscast the very day we were trying to figure out how to get a tree, without a car, being so, so Green! Our lucky day! We had a similar purely-by-chance event only a few weeks earlier, when home on a Saturday afternoon, we just happened to be standing in the kitchen when a shower in the unit above went awry and spewed buckets of water into our place. Fortunately we had buckets. You need those downtown, too.
Well, the tree is a beautiful 6-foot Lodgepole Pine (no beetles) and it is now covered in new blue LED lights. Good job, Dale! And, the dilemma that started this quest? No problem. Just hop on the Mall Shuttle! Trees ride free!

Happy Holidays!
A couple of links: http://www.concertsforkids.org/ and http://www.europaescape.com/