Pacific Ocean Marketplace–Denver, CO

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Pacific Ocean Marketplace 2200 W. Alameda Ave. Denver, CO (303) 936-4845 Pacific Ocean Marketplace is one of the anchor stores in the Alameda Square Shopping Center, consisting primarily of stores and restaurants that specialize in Chinese or other types of … Continue reading

Asian Cookery–Colorado Springs, CO


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Asian Cookery
6760 N. Academy Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO
(719) 465-2988
Asian Cookery

Asian Cookery


I have to give Asian Cookery credit for staying away from a fusion concept and doing only one thing, which is Malaysian food. I have found Malaysian cuisine to be one of the most delicious in Asia, and I also give them credit for opening this this type of restaurant in a relatively small city compared to the metropolitan areas where ethnic food is usually found. They seem to have found an appreciative customer base that has kept the restaurant going since 1989.

According to the restaurant’s web site Chef Peng Jones has formal culinary training in several Asian cuisines, although Malaysia is her native country. Her husband Ted greets customers, takes their orders, and makes the dishes understandable to customers. Of course one of his most important jobs is to offer a ten percent discount to all “first time customers.” I observed a crew of helpers in the kitchen who appeared to be family members, and who were busy preparing the food along with the head chef.

Ordering is a rather straightforward process. Between photos on the wall, the descriptions given of each dishe, and Ted’s explanation of the ones I wanted to explore further, I felt very comfortable in making a decision about my order.

The food here is Malaysian “street food,” and the menu is very streamlined compared to other Malaysian restaurants I have visited. There were about ten or twelve choices on the menu (you can also choose the type of meat you want for many of them). One thing street food has in common with other types of Malaysian cuisine I have tried, though, is that all of it is flavorful, healthy, and has an interesting combination of ingredients (many of them coming from tropical regions).

Nasi Lemak

Chicken rendang nasi lemak

Chicken rendang nasi lemak

It was explained to me that Nasi Lemak meant “rich rice,” and was considered to be the national dish of Malaysia. It consists of jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. The side dishes, including the hard boiled egg, are also traditional. The rice was very fresh, and I very much enjoyed the flavor combination of what was served here.

The Rendang is a Malay curry which in this case was served over chicken (the restaurant also offers beef). The restaurant explained to me that this is a “dry” curry, and I thought it was very flavorful with a good spiciness level but not over the top in this regard. There is a Sambal (hot, spicy sauce) which I added to bring the spice level more to the level which I prefer, and the flavor of the sauce was also good. A small container of Ikan Belis and Peanuts is also included (ikan belis are fried anchovies). In my usual fashion with all things Asian, I ate everything first and did research about what I was eating later.

I also have to mention the iced Malaysian Milk Tea which was similar to Thai tea, but which I think I prefer to most versions of Thai tea I have tried. This is probably because the Malaysian version was not as sweet and had a more balanced flavor, although I am not as good at analyzing things as I am about just knowing what I like.

Other Observations
The restaurant closes at 7:00 p.m., and is closed Sunday and Monday. The restaurant is small, you order at the counter, and payment is made up front. Food is served very quickly and the tables remind me of a fast food restaurant, but the difference with fast food restaurants is in the quality of the food and the fact that the emphasis is on serving healthy food.

The iced Malaysian milk tea was so good that I think this has equal weight with the food in making me say I would really like to return if I can.

One factor that seems to give them a large group of loyal customers is the friendliness of the owner Ted who greets every customer and makes sure they are able to understand the menu and get exactly what they want. This is also a feature that definitely sets it apart from the typical fast food restaurant.

I do not think there is MSG in any of the food here (but I did not specifically ask about it).

One thing that made the food stand out was the coconut rice, and this was a definite taste treat that I was not really expecting.


Asian Cookery Web Site


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Malaysian
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Tue.-Sat. 11 am to 7 pm
Accessible: Yes
Alcohol: N/A
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 9, 2019
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Chicken Rendang Nasi Lemak, Malaysian Milk Tea

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Milk Tea (cold), Green tea & ginger tea (hot)
MSG: N/A
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Chicken Rendang Nasi Lemak
star 5 Malaysian Milk Tea

Gabys–Lakewood, CO


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Gabys German Eatery
245 S. Harlan St.
Lakewood, CO
(720) 329-8188
Gabys German Eatery

Gabys German Eatery


For years I have searched out German food on my travels, although I have yet to make it to Germany to see how it should really taste. I have it on good authority, though, that it would taste like the food at Gabys (from my friend who lived in Germany and accompanied me to the restaurant). I already figured this out from tasting the food, but it is good to know that my instincts are correct, and the best German food is also the most authentic.

This was indeed probably the best German food I have ever had, although I do want to leave it open for other experiences I have had in the past which might resurface in my memory of some special dishes. One thing about Gabys is that it is not trying to prepare over-the-top special occasion dishes, but I would call it everyday food that becomes very special because of the flavor and the way it is prepared.

I assume it was Gaby who served us, although she was a little busy and I did not get to chat with her very much. I did learn that the restaurant had been open for a couple of years, and that they have daily specials which make the menu a little more interesting if you are a frequent visitor. In the short time it has been open Gabys has become probably the highest rated German restaurant in Denver on Yelp, leading me to think that the on-line reviews of Denver restaurants are some of the more trustworthy ones. I honestly would not have found this place without the help of Yelp.

Restaurant and auto repair shop

Restaurant and auto repair shop

There is an auto repair shop in the same building which initially made me think the two were connected, but this was not the case. The restaurant itself is a little larger than it looks from the outside, but it is a small place with perhaps twelve tables and apparently with Gaby doing all of the cooking. Actually my favorite ethnic restaurants are usually ones where there is only one cook, or at least that you know the food will be the same every time you go. I cannot guarantee that Gabys is this way, but if the Yelp reviews are to be believed then I have every confidence that it is.

Schnitzel

Schnitzel

Schnitzel with potato salad and mushroom gravy on the side

Every German restaurant seems to have Schnitzel, but they are not all equal. I do think, though, that almost every restaurant I have tried does a good job with the schnitzel, and usually it is difficult to say that one is really better than the other. This is the reason I was surprised to find that at Gabys, I really can say that I think think this is a better schnitzel than others I have tried. The only way I can describe it is that in addition to having top quality meat, the flavor and freshness make it stand out so that this really becomes the standard by which to judge the others.

The difference in flavor seems to be mainly because of the breading. Gabys serves the schnitzel the traditional way with a lemon, but there is a serving of mushroom gravy on the side so that if you wish you can make Jagerschnitzel out of it. Normally I would jump at the chance to add the gravy, and I thought it was excellent, but I really enjoyed being able to eat this schnitzel both ways and enjoying both of them.

This was a very interesting Potato Salad because it was made with blue potatoes. It did not seem as if the blue potatoes had a flavor that was very different from regular potatoes, except that it had a flavor (I would describe most white potatoes as being without much flavor, making it almost a requirement to add butter and salt). I believe the potato salad had all the seasoning that any other good version would have, but it just seemed as if the potatoes were exceptionally good (and of course I have to say that the seasoning was very good as well).

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut

I ordered Sauerkraut on the side because it did not come on the plate, and I wanted to try it. The plate really had a sufficient amount of food, and I would have been satisfied with that alone. The sauerkraut had a very good flavor, but the potato salad was so exceptional that I think Gaby made a good choice by offering this as the side dish on the plate.

Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten

For the Sauerbraten I tried a sample but I got a very good idea of its flavor. This is a marinated pot roast with very moist and flavorful meat. I have had sauerbraten before in other restaurants but this one stood out because of the flavor. It is not often that I find food that I consider to be fine dining at prices that are as affordable as at Gabys, and this is definitely a dish that I would consider for it (although there were other dishes on the menu that seemed to be equally upscale).

Another consideration for trying the sauerbraten is that it is not served at many German restaurants in the United States, and therefore is a special treat at Gabys (although the way the schnitzel was prepared made it a special treat for me as well).

This Red Cabbage was a special treat as well because of the fact that I think Gaby is more skillful than most in the wine/vinegar component of it, so that it still has a good flavor but the vinegar flavor is not as strong.

Dessert

Black forest

Half of an order of black forest cake

There are several dessert choices including Black Forest, which had all the elements I expected in this pastry. The flavor was excellent, but in addition the freshness was at a higher level than I typically find at restaurants.

Other Comments
The restaurant is small but there were several empty tables when I went for lunch on a weekday. I imagine there are times when there is a waiting time for a table, but the way the food is prepared means that any meal is likely to involve a wait that is longer than at most restaurants. I believe they take reservations for large parties, though, which may speed things up for some people.

I did not see that they serve beer or alcohol but I did not inquire about this. Perhaps this will come in the future but right now I think the emphasis is on serving food that in itself is not only very good but is one of the more memorable experiences I have had in a restaurant.

My bill was very high because as far as I knew I was only going to make one visit and I wanted to try as many items as possible (sauerkraut, black forest, etc.). I do not regret ordering these, but I did think that if you just order one of the plates on the menu and skip some of the extras, you will have a very satisfying meal at a price that would be comparable with many “ordinary” restaurants. (To me Gabys is a place which I consider “extraordinary” with the accompanying temptation to keep ordering extra items, but I did want to make this one point about the size and the quality of the servings).


Gabys Web Site


RATING: 27

Cuisine: German
Cost: $$$
Hours: Wed.-Sun. 11:30 am to 2:00 pm; 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 9, 2019
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Schnitzel, Sauerbraten, Potato Salad, Red Cabbage, Black Forest

Special Ratings
star 5 Schnitzel
star 5 Sauerbraten
star 5 Potato Salad
star 5 Red Cabbage
star 5 Sauerkraut
star 5 Mushroom Gravy
star 5 Black Forest

Super Star–Denver, CO

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Super Star Asian Cuisine 2200 W. Alameda Ave. Denver, CO (303) 727-9889 In the Chinese culture the number 8 is considered one of the luckiest numbers, as evidenced by the fact that the parking lots in the Oklahoma City Asian … Continue reading

Bread+Salt–Frisco, CO


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Bread+Salt
401 E. Main St.
Frisco, CO
(970) 668-0902
Bread+Salt

Bread+Salt


Frisco is one of the popular ski towns in the Vail area, but it also seems to have quite a substantial year round population that support some very good amenities such as Safeway and Whole Foods grocery stores, as well as a number of restaurants. Possibly the biggest disappointment of coming to Frisco is that you will not be able to try all the restaurants that look good, and even if you were able to do so there are always the neighboring towns of Dillon, Silverthorne, Breckenridge, etc. that would offer their own challenge. By the way, my friend who traveled with me on this trip went to the The Lost Cajun and recommends this restaurant very much as having a true (not touristy) flavor.

Bread+Salt is another restaurant that is not touristy in the sense of being dumbed down. I am speaking primarily of items they serve such as huevos rancheros that have a true south of the border flavor. I would go further and say they are like the food you find in alta cocina restaurants in Mexico, the type of restaurants from which chefs like Rick Bayless get their inspiration.

Every restaurant in Frisco seems to be crowded, particularly at breakfast and right at the lunch hour. I have heard that many times you need a reservation at Bread+Salt but when I went in the late morning it was busy but not full. The breakfast menu is served until they stop serving the regular menu at 2 PM (their web site says they serve burgers and beer from 2 to 8 PM). I think they are known for their breakfasts, and they have quite a range of choices. There is a large outdoor patio, and in nice weather the dining room has the feel of being outdoors because they leave the doors open to let in the outside air (when you are in Frisco I think you will want as much of the outside air as you can get).

Frisco Omelet with Fixings

Frisco omelet with fixings

Frisco omelet with fixings

As much as I liked the huevos rancheros that I sampled, the Frisco Omelet with Fixings was the highlight of the meal for me. It had three eggs, which was more than I thought I could eat, but in full disclosure I ate part of the omelet and part of the huevos rancheros, so I am not sure about how filling each one would be if you ordered it alone. You get “fixings” with it that are not cooked into the omelet, but rather stuffed inside so you can either eat them with the omelet or separately (this made more of an impression on me that I would have thought, having the items cooked into the omelet in all of my other experiences that I can remember). The quality of the food at Bread+Salt is top notch, but I think the recipes they use and the way they cook the food is the other vital ingredient that makes this a memorable experience.

My fixings were black forest ham, Sonoma goat cheese, and spinach. Either I miraculously stabbed in the dark and found a very good combination, or the restaurant has a way of taking anything you order and making it good. Afterward I was glad that they let you choose your own ingredients and do not just offer their own combinations that they think would be good.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros

Huevos rancheros

I was very afraid that if I got something like Huevos Rancheros in Frisco it would be the tourist version, but fortunately I got some good information from the desk clerk at the hotel (whose father is a chef at Bread+Salt) that I should try the ones here. As I mentioned in the introduction, these have a very Mexican flavor. Specifically they come with black beans, queso fresco, poblano green chile, and crema mexicana. My thought in tasting it was that it was really good, but another thought was how things have changed so that they can get a regular supply of poblano chile, queso fresco, and crema to allow an item like this to be on a restaurant’s menu. It is also available with red chile (red chipotle) which I believe is really hot, but in my mind the green poblano chile was plenty spicy enough and had an excellent flavor.

Recommendations
The huevos rancheros would make this restaurant worthy of visiting, but I enjoyed the omelet even more (I can get good huevos rancheros in El Paso but not so much with the omelets).

I think if you come here for breakfast, it might be your lunch as well. I say this not only because of the quantity they serve, but the price is a little bit high and you might not want to spend any more money for lunch if you are satisfied with the breakfast you had (this is the way I felt). There is also the fact that the omelet comes with bread, and they have a very good jelly on the table that makes this almost a meal in itself.

The restaurant’s web site says that they have a sister restaurant named Bagalis at 320 Main St. where you can get dinner. They also have a restaurant in Breckenridge named DOMA 1898 at 270 N. Main St. which is open 8AM to 2PM for breakfast & lunch, and until 8PM Wed-Sun.


Bread+Salt Web Site


RATING: 25

Cuisine: Breakfast, Sandwiches
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily 7AM-2PM (Open 2 to 8 PM for burgers & beer)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, and I am not sure what else

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 8, 2019
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Frisco Omelet with Fixings, Huevos Rancheros

Special Ratings
star 5 Frisco Omelet with Fixings
star 5 Huevos Rancheros

Currents–Salida, CO


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Currents Steaks & Seafood
122 N. F St.
Salida, Co
(719) 539-9514
Currents

Currents


Salida was quite surprising to me when I visited this time. I had been here a number of years ago and the town did not seem to have grown physically at all in this time. However, in terms of people, life in the city, restaurants, shops, etc., it was a different story. This seemed to be one of the liveliest towns of its size I had ever seen, and I do not think this can be attributed merely to the summer tourist season. The restaurants in town all seem to be high quality, and I would use the term that there seems to be a refined crowd here hoping that this would not be interpreted as saying that it felt stuffy.

Currents is located in the downtown area in an older building where parking is on the street and the demand for the parking spaces there is very high. I am not sure if the restaurant is handicapped accessible because there were steps coming in, but if you need to know it would be best to contact the restaurant. There is a small outdoor patio next to the street, but even indoors it seemed that you could feel the outside air because the doors were kept open (similar to the way many New Orleans restaurants are open to the street during the cooler non-bug season).

Specials board next to the outdoor patio

Specials board next to the outdoor patio

I think the restaurant is known for its steaks, but just about every review I have read has been for the non-steak items on the menu, of which there is a large selection. I came specifically for the chicken pot pie and my friend wanted the beef stroganoff, both of which have had very good on-line reviews.

They do have daily specials, and the menu is available on the restaurant’s web site.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie

The Chicken Pot Pie may be shaped like some sort of space rock, but it met all of my expectations when it came to the flavor. The chicken pot pie as it has now evolved is said to have been developed by early Americans, and I think one possible motive may have been to hide the vegetables inside the pie in order to trick the children into eating them. The pie at Currents is so full of vegetables, chicken, and other ingredients, though, that simply cutting it open will reveal all the good things that are packed inside. After most of my recent experiences with chicken pot pie being the “creative” variety, I was very glad to have one that was more traditional. They did add a spice that tasted like basil to me and I would call the flavor “elevated” (a term they like to use on Master Chef), but in its essential form I would say this pot pie is the traditional one that most people expect.

The bad news about this pot pie is that it now seems to have been taken off the menu. At the time of this writing (about two weeks after I visited the restaurant) the web site menu lists beef steak pot pie, but there is no chicken version. I am sure the flavors are still good, but personally I would not crave a beef pot pie the way I would if it were chicken.

Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff

Beef stroganoff

The Beef Stroganoff may have been my second choice for an order, but since I was able to sample it, I ended up being able to see how it stacked up against the pot pie. It is hard to tell from the photo, but this dish was full of mushrooms, and also had more beef than I think the photo indicates. I had a mushroom stroganoff in a now closed restaurant in Walsenburg, Colorado which was one of the best meals of my life, and I was wondering how this one would compare. I will have to say that if I had ordered a mushroom stroganoff here (which the restaurant will do on request) I would have been disappointed. When I ate the pasta, sauce, and mushrooms together on this dish it did not have the flavor that I really wanted, and I think the main reason was the sauce. When I added the beef, though, this dish became “elevated” and it met my expectations. The beef does seem to be quite flavorful and well cooked here.

Recommendations
I would choose whatever looks good at the moment when you come here. The menu has good choices, and the quality seems to be good in everything they prepare.

The restaurant is upscale but casual. Prices are not out of line compared to other restaurants, and I would have more confidence here than in many other restaurants that anything you order will be good.

One factor to consider is that Salida seems to have a number of good restaurants. If I went back and found out that the chicken pot pie is indeed no longer available, and nothing else looked like what I wanted to eat, I think there would be no problem finding another restaurant. I do think, though, that Currents has a number of dishes that will make people happy.


Currents Web Site


RATING: 25

Cuisine: Steaks, American Food
Cost: $$$
Hours: Open Daily except Mon. Lunch
Accessible: N/A
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Yes (I’m not sure about the details)

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 7, 2019
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Chicken Pot Pie, Beef Stroganoff,

Special Ratings
star 5 Beef Stroganoff
star 5 Chicken Pot Pie