Friday, October 21, 2011

If you're in Denver, check out 2 places

Just got back from Denver, and I have 2 places that I'd HIGHLY recommend going to.

For Late Night Drinks
The first is Green Russell which was recommended to me.  It's in Larimer Square, and is a little hard to find because it's down a corridor and then down some stairs.  Thank goodness I asked the hostess exactly where it was when I made a reservation (reservations are a must to get in) because I think it'd would've taken us some time to find the place. We went down the stairs and thought we were in the wrong place because there wasn't any signage with the 'Green Russell' anywhere.  We almost went back up to make sure we were in the right place until the hostess came and got us.  She took us through a swinging 'pie shop' door and led us into a super cool, dark, Prohibition-feel underground SPEAKEASY! 

I wish I could've taken photos, but cell phones were only allowed in a phone booth.  The bartenders all dressed in Prohibition-era wear and were extremely skilled.  While there were a number of cool drinks ~ mainly brown spirits based on the menu, the server said that we could talk to the bartender who would concoct a drink based on our preferences.  A couple of people with me did this and enjoyed their drinks so much so that they ordered another.  I ordered a drink that had chartreuse, lime juice, bitters, gin (or maybe it was vodka), ginger beer, alldram spice, and some other things I wasn't familiar with.  It was amazing. . . had all of my favorite things in it (ginger, lime, and spice).  The ice in my drink was a ball that they had chipped from a large block of ice.

We also ordered a slice of banana pie which they're known for which was delish.

By the way, the restaurant is named after William Green Russell, a Colorado gold miner from the 1850s.

For Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
For breakfast, lunch or dinner, check out Panzano at the Hotel Monaco (a Kimpton hotel) downtown.  It was the 'perfect restaurant' -- hip and trendy but very comfortable and not pretentious; and the service and food were amazing.  Wish there was a restaurant like that near where we live.  It was an interesting layout with the bar on one side, the open kitchen in the middle with some tables in front of it, and then the rest of the dining room with another open kitchen on the other side.  While I only went for breakfast twice, the food was great.  They serve organic and locally sourced food. 

Their website says:
Named one of "America's Top Restaurants 2011" by Zagat, given "4 Stars" by 5280 magazine and called "Best Italian Restaurant" by Denver Westword, the awards and accolades are ever-growing for Panzano and Chef Elise Wiggins. And it's no wonder Denver loves Panzano's fine dining. Northern Italian dishes show contemporary flair, showcasing local ingredients while award-winning wines from Italy and beyond grace the wine list. Signature cocktails shine and savvy service prevails in the lively dining room.

The interior from where I was sitting.

Goat cheese, pepper, onion omelette
w/hash browns, fresh-squeezed
grapefruit juice, Lavazza cappuccino

Granola, yogurt and fresh berry parfait,
spicy AMAZING sausage that I couldn't stop eating,
 fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, Lavazza coffee

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