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Odds and Ends from My CO Trip


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Odds and Ends from My CO Trip

Hobsons Choice | Dec 6, 2008 05:40 PM

I had the opportunity to spend a few nights in Colorado in late October. In the coming days, I will write a couple posts about fun meals I had at specific CO restaurants. Tonight, however, I wanted to report back on a few individual food items that I discovered and enjoyed.

For photos, click here:

Craft Beer

Lets start with the beer. Colorado has phenomenal beer. My hotel was right next to Total Beverage in Thornton and I absolutely fell in love with the local beer selection. Throw in Total Beverage's "pick six" program (they provide the carrying case and you pick the six beers you want to take with you) and I was a happy camper. Wanting to focus on local beers I haven't seen in Los Angeles, I went with Left Hand Brewing's JuJu Ginger and Milk Stout; New Belgium Brewing's organic Mothership Wit; Breckenridge Brewery's Vanilla Porter; O'Dell Brewing's India Pale Ale; and Boulder Beer Company's Cold Hop.

It would take too long to go through the history and philosophy of each of these successful breweries. It is enough to say that I am thoroughly impressed with all of them. Of the beers I tried, my favorites were the Cold Hop and the Milk Stout.

Boulder Beer's Cold Hop British-Style Ale has a rich golden color. It has a fruity, floral hop aroma and an earthy flavor. There is a nice balance between the mild sweetness of the English grains and the bitterness of the hops. This 7th release in Boulder Beer Company's Looking Glass Series may not be around much longer so get it while you can.

Left Hand Brewing's Milk Stout was a completely new experience for me. I had never before tasted, let alone heard of, milk stout (at least I thought I hadn't until I did a little research - think Young's Double Chocolate Stout). And let me tell you, I want more. The beer is made like regular stout but the brewer adds unfermentable sugars, lactose, to the brew kettle for body and sweetness.

This was a very dark stout with a rich tan head. There is a very velvety creamy mouth feel with little to no carbonation. It has malt and mocha on the nose and tastes like a creamy malty whipped coffee (if that is possible). And there is a smooth finish with just a hint of bitterness to round out the sweetness.

French Fries

What's a blogger to do when a business owner throws down a gauntlet like the claim of "just maybe the world's greatest fries?" Drive straight to Boulder and rise to the challenge, of course. But first, let me take a step back and explain how I got here. I was sitting in my hotel room enjoying a beer (see above) and going over some work when I got distracted by a food blog (see below).

Profiled on the blog was a place call Spud Brothers that only serves french fries. You pick a size (small, medium or large) and you pick a cooking style (baked, half-baked, or ultimate fried). The fries are then topped with deliciousness like spicy Thai peanut sauce, fire jack cheese, green onions, sesame seeds, chopped peanuts and coarsely chopped cilantro (Thai'd Up) or buffalo sauce, chopped celery and blue cheese crumbles (Colorado Buffalo) or shredded cheddar, green onions, sour cream and strips of real bacon (Bacon Cheddar). If you are the creative type, you can assembly your own favorite topping combination. And in a nice touch of customer service, they will even store your self-titled flavor combination in the computer for your next visit.

So, the whole drive there I was thinking about the Thai style french fries. What a great flavor idea. I love peanut sauce and the idea of putting it on a french fry was genius. Genius deferred it turns out. When I approached the counter to order, I asked the lovely employee if she liked the Thai fries. Her answer, "no." I was floored.

My mind started racing: I only had 24 hours left in town. I didn't have time to come back another day. Could I waste my order on fries I wouldn't like? What if something was "off" about the peanut sauce? This isn't LA, this is the Front Range, maybe they don't know what good peanut sauce tastes like. This is a disaster. What should I do?

"What should I do," I asked her. "I like the chili cheese fries," she says. "But I get the vegetarian chili because I am a vegetarian," she added. And that was that. Except that I got the meat chili, not the vegetarian. And the fries were delicious.

Just to be clear - because some things can get blown out of proportion on food boards - they aren't revelatory. They are just french fries. But they are very good french fries. The folks at Spud Brothers know what they are doing and that means I am looking to hurry back for those Thai'd Up fries as soon as I can.

Something Sweet

If you are ever in Northern Colorado and have a hankering for something peanut buttery, chocolaty and delicious, get straight over to Kenny's Steakhouse in Greeley. The folks at Kenny's serve a bomb of a peanut butter pie with chocolate crust and chocolate ganache topping.

This pie is incredibly rich and incredibly dense (no cream pie here), but it is not a cheesecake. It is a bit of a hybrid. This is the kind of pie you are going to want to have with a glass of milk on a slow afternoon. Sad to say that I never had the opportunity to have a meal at Kenny's but I heard that they have a pretty good bone-in Rib-eye.

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