Archive for November, 2010

Gift Wrap that Meatloaf? Dixons Announces Daily Comfort Food Menu Just In Time for the Holidays!

Here’s good news for those of us living or working in Downtown Denver! Dixons Downtown Grill, on the Mall at Wazee since 1997, is rolling out comfort food. A warm dinner on a cold night for just $9.99! If there is a better place Downtown than Dixons to give you a feeling of familiarity and well-being (the definition of “comfort food”), let us know.

Chef Aaron Youngbood is putting his own touches on this nightly dinner menu, and, it will be around for a while. Monday is, of course, Chicken Pot Pie day. Tuesday is for Beef Brisket. Wednesday brings out the Stuffed Meatloaf. Thursday is the day you order an Herb-Roasted 1/2 Chicken. Then, Friday, they’ll offer Shrimp, Chips and Slaw. Come back Saturday for those Slow-Roasted Short Ribs. And, on Sunday, show up for Steak Stroganoff. All dinners are just $9.99. Yes, just $9.99. Dinner.

Behind all those gift-wrapped holiday windows, another present to Downtown. Give us comfort!

Rail Line at RedLine. An RTD Informational Open House.

A series of Open House presentations regarding the East Corridor to DIA construction project will find itself Downtown Wednesday, December 1 at RedLine Gallery, 2350 Arapahoe. Denver Transit Partners, the consortium in charge of the massive project will show plans and schedules and invite your comments and questions. Light (rail?) refreshments at 5:30, program at 6:15.

And, by the way, take a look at this space if you don’t already know it. RedLine has frequent exhibits by its own resident studio artists as well as others. Denver by the Slice featured their Valentine’s show at this post from our archives.

Slow News Day? Would You Like a Muffin?

A space that couldn’t make it as a Starbucks is being transformed to a muffin shop. This is the space next to the entrance to the Regional Headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. Next to the Chase branch, close to pizza stuff and across from Union Station on the lower end of the 16th Street Mall. I don’t recall seeing “muffins” on the lists of items reported in polls of LoDo residents’ concerns, but here they come.

This is going to be one of about a half dozen Colorado locations of a franchise that nationally operates nearly 110 stores. Their website claims over 20 flavors of muffins made fresh daily, cupcakes too, bagels, egg sandwiches, party platters, salads and sandwiches, and coffee and espresso drinks. Lots of stuff from a small space.

Franchised from a company called BabCorp of Deerfield, Illinois, the Colorado franchise territory developer started in 1995 way out south on Arapahoe Road.

Brewster’s Coffee is featured, along with Big Apple Bagels, the other key brands involved. What they won’t have, though, is a friendly, warm meeting place of nooks and crannies, filled to the rafters with books, magazines, papers…and coffee and food. Downtown development needs to be about more than muffins and sandwiches.

But, muffins are not donuts. So, we’ll wait to see how they go over with the Homeland Security boys.

Just Like Rockefeller Plaza…Sort Of.

Light the lights! Tonight, the holiday lights throughout Downtown Denver come on for the season. Highlighting the luminosity is, of course, the Civic Center and the opulent display adorning the City and County Building. A nightly traffic jam. Unless you really need to see, up close and personal, the “every-Dad’s front yard” assembly of creatures and cradles, the best view of the lighting is from back…way back…as in near the Capitol Building. And, likely you can avoid the crawling traffic that way without the kids and dogs hanging out the windows of suburban SUV’s.

Next, the full length of the 16th Street Mall is ablaze in LED bright white lighting. And, in the middle of that, at Skyline Park, the D&F Tower stands guard over decorated buildings, the new Southwest Airlines Ice Skating Rink and their very tall decorated Spruce tree. (Okay, it’s not a real tree. And, it does gain a lot of its height from sitting on a big gold gift box. And, it does look suspiciously like the tree that has stood at the Christkindl Markt the last couple of years. Or the one that Continental Airlines used to sponsor in Larimer Square that always stuck out into the street. But…there are real lighted pines next to it here!) The tower lights change constantly as does the time on the clock.

And, speaking of trees, which we will in a moment, Union Station is illuminated as a LoDo beacon…without the traffic jams and without a respectable “tree”. Denver by the Slice is starting a campaign to upgrade the “tree” concept portion of the Union Station lighting. Stringing lights from the top of a flagpole does not count. It’s just tacky. So, our goal is to move towards a real tree…sort of like Rockefeller Plaza…by the time the re-make of the Wynkoop Plaza takes place during the redevelopment project. Surely we can find someone to sponsor this, some company with a stake in the area. For the right price, in fact, Denver by the Slice will professionally manage the marketing effort for this and other activities at the area. We need a real tree.  Don’t you think?

But, of all the lighting celebrations that go on tonight, the Union Station event is the only one that has Dinger-Claus! Since it’s the off-season, Dinger can’t be everywhere. He can’t fit down the chimney at the Clocktower. And, there are already plenty of characters at the City and County Building.

And, Now Showing on 14th Street…

Ground was “broken” today for the re-make of Downtown’s 14th Street. You can read about it here at the Denver Business Journal. While it certainly makes sense to dress up the area that includes the Convention Center and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts for all the visitors, we do question one earlier announcement of a related event.

Part of the planned signage to lure people to 14th Street, presumably the people who are not already there for some reason, is a 18′ x 32′ LED lighted sign at the corner of 16th and Champa. Yes, somewhere there near McDonald’s where they already play opera music on the sidewalk. This lighted sign is intended to call attention to activities at the DCPA and Convention Center. The problem is that fully (as announced) 85% of the time of the sign will be advertising, constantly changing. But, a whopping 15% of the time is planned for event promotion. That’s a very big, very bright billboard on your 16th Street Mall. The sign was announced to appear in December of this year. The improvements over on 14th Street are scheduled to be complete by the end of 2011. We’d rather see more trees than LED advertising billboards.

From the South of Burgundy…To an Alley Near You!

As we all know, the third Thursday of every November is the official date for uncorking the annual edition of Beaujolais Nouveau. And, frankly, we usually skip that, filing it away with events like Cinco de Mayo that seem marketing driven and marketing driven alone for their existence.

Ummm! Friday!

But, they are really trying…again…to make this worthwhile and worth the hype. That finally may be starting to translate into better wines.

The Gamay grape grows best in the granite-thick area of Beaujolais, not too far from Lyon, and comprising the southern 35 miles or so of the Burgundy region. Gamay alone is used in this short-fermented wine (just 7-9 weeks) meant to celebrate the end of the harvest. And, that really has gone on for a long time. But, as business would have it, the middle 70’s saw the rise of marketing to build business and make the annual release a major media event. Races to Paris with bottles for the date. Tap into foreign markets like the United States (never one to fall for any marketing scheme) and build international sales of the youngster. And, just too darn often, the wine had odd notes and aftertaste. Many times, frankly reminiscent of bananas. Not everyone likes their wine to taste like a banana.

So, today, with some trepidation, Denver by the Slice joined Jed and Paige at Wines off Wynkoop’s Friday afternoon tasting to try out this year’s offering. From the “inventor” and marketing spirit of Beaujolais Nouveau, Georges Deboeuf. And, you know, it was pretty good. More fruit. No banana.

We reviewed as “Interesting.” “Drinkable.” “Not bad.” And, a few other near-accolades. For just $10, this works and then you can wait until next year’s.

A Votre Sante!

This Sunday Morning? Bottoms Up!

Just another one of the neighbors on national TV. This Sunday morning’s CBS Sunday Morning will have a segment celebrating beer…at the Wynkoop Brewery in LoDo!

According to this article at Westword today, filming was done yesterday, and the piece will air Sunday. Typically, a very enjoyable way to begin most Sunday mornings is by watching Charles Osgood deliver a sort of Sunday-paper-of-the-air every week. This week, that will be served up with a beer…Railyard Ale, anyone? Tw0 Guns Pilsner?

Watch at 8:00 a.m. Channel 4. Cheers!