Category Archives: Local Love

Local Love – Colorado Plus Brew Pub

It’s Colorado Craft Beer Week!

How can we possibly be so lucky as to live in the most beautiful place (ok, native bias MAY play a part in that statement, but come on,) AND have so many amazing craft breweries to enjoy too?

There are a wealth of Colorado beer-centric events happening this week, and I encourage you to let your fingers do the walking and Google away to get the best of those – as tastings, tappings, pairings, and full-on multi-course dinners abound.

YAY, Beer!

OR (or actually maybe and, because it is Craft Beer WEEK, and that leaves plenty of time to mix it up and get in on lots of fun,) you can point your navigation system toward Wheatridge and the Colorado Beer-a-poolza that is Colorado Plus Brew Pub.

56 taps adorn the bar of this large pub, and from every last one flows goodness that is brewed right here in Colorful Colorado. Even with the choice to build-your-own flight (3 oz of 5 beers for 9.00,) option anxiety is a gloriously unavoidable issue here.

They have all our front range favorites well-represented, but it is also an opportunity to see what breweries from other areas in the state are up to (and there is so much goodness to be explored.)

Additionally (because all of those alternatives just aren’t enough,) Colorado Plus brews its own beers, with head brewer Adam Draeger keeping things very creative.

Oh, and FOOD!!   Let’s face it, beer is good, but for Keri FOOD IS KING!

I have kind of a pork belly problem (well, the problem is how much I love the pork belly, actually,) so any place with “Pork Belly Fries” on the menu is going to get a visit from Keri.

Again, option anxiety is a delicious inevitability here. I  know I will leave with to-go boxes every time, because I can’t pick just one thing from the mouth-watering menu (or 2 for that matter. Shameless!)

The afore-mentioned Pork Belly Fries are an “always order” for me – chunks of pork belly fried along with the fries get crunchy-crisp on the outside, but stay buttery and salty on the inside. Have them with the Chipotle Roasted Garlic Mayo for fry dipping.

Other highlights include the Bison and Pretzel Skewers , anchored to the plate with a spoonful of the German Potato Salad, which it is imperative that you fight your table-mates for, just FYI.  (Ok, or just order a side, but where is the sport in that?)

The Beer Battered Fish and Chips are somewhat of a no-brainer here, because they have a glorious wall of beer options to experiment with in pursuit of the perfect golden crispy batter . (Also, the Chipotle Roasted Garlic Mayo for chip dipping. Possibly for finger dipping, or spoon eating, or anything else you can get down into the condiment cup to get the last bits of that goodness out.)

Parental sidenote for those toting the toddlers – the kids menu here is (giant sigh of relief,) very “typical kid” friendly. Chicken Fingers, Mac and Cheese, and other easily accepted alternatives mean that a meal out for the fam won’t be a fight. (Since Jr is 3, we are experiencing a bit of food stubbornness that hit by surprise, temporarily replacing my tiny culinary adventurer with someone eating only jello and chicken that doesn’t look like chicken. Sigh.)

There is no better way to buy local then to buy local beer, so go put together a flight of Colorado goodness and start finding some new faves while raising a glass to Colorado Craft Beer Week.

:::raising pint:::

Here’s to  Sun, Blue Skies, Mountains, and Great Beer!  (Seriously, how spoiled are we?)


Colorado Plus Brew Pub

6995 West 38th Ave, Wheatridge 80033


Leave a comment

Filed under Local Love

Local Love – Comida

I chase taco trucks.

Actually, “truck” is too restrictive a term.

I should include wagons, carts, RVs….  Hell there was one guy with a cooler in his trunk that used to stand in the parking lot on campus when I was in undergrad – I was a total sucker for his special version of steak tacos– which were folded over deep-fried flour tortillas filled with steak, grilled onion, cheese, and insanely spicy salsa, all wrapped up in foil pockets and piled in a cooler where they got kind of chewy as they steamed together.  (I miss you taco dude.  So much.)

Don’t get me wrong, I love any kind of food truck, and the front range has so many amazing offerings it boggles the mind.  But if you have tacos on board?  Chances are you see a lot of Keri.

I stalk them on social media, plan errands so I “happen” to be in the area they are parking for lunch that day, and end up taking extra laps around the neighborhood reservoir in response to “that incident with the taco truck for lunch yesterday.”  (One is never enough.  Or two.  Or three….  Need. More. Tacos.)

When it comes to the taco truck – there is no better, more mouth-watering, more delicious, more AWESOMELY perfect example than Comida’s.     I have an actual physical reaction when I see Tina (the truck)  in all her hot pink beauty shining in the Colorado sunshine – my heart speeds up, I get butterflies in my tummy.  My arm starts automatically flailing for my wallet.

Sadly, sometimes you just can’t go running all over town chasing down a moving lunch.  Sometimes you want to linger in a comfy chair in a climate controlled building while eating.  Mostly always Sometimes tacos without a margarita just sounds too sad to comprehend.

Here is where Comida ups their awesome right off the charts.  In 2012 the good people behind the great taco truck opened their first Cantina in the Prospect neighborhood of Longmont.  All my favorite taco truck treats (say it twice – fun to say,) PLUS more amazing menu items, PLUS booze.  You had me at “booze.” Sold.  The Prospect Cantina celebrated 2 delicious years in business just last week!

I can’t get enough.  My only problem here is option anxiety.  If the idea of keeping my order down to a reasonable number of items seems impossible at the window of their truck, it is a concept that doesn’t even have space in my head at the cantina.  I have to have the jicama and cucumber…. And the chips and guac….  And the arrachera taco(s)…. Oh, but the tortas – I HAVE to have the “sirloin situation” torta….   It gets out of control, and I am not even ashamed. (Just full.  Really full.) The food is creative and fun and prepared perfectly – off the truck or off the line at one of the Cantinas (A second Cantina location at The Source in RiNo opened in Fall of 2013.)  It is no secret that Keri is very much in the “food is love” camp, and this food?  In this food, there is most definitely love.

So….  do I stalk the truck or motor up 287 for tacos today?


The full Comida website

Comida on Twitter

Comida on Facebook

Leave a comment

Filed under Local Love

Local Love – Valentine’s Day

Ahhhhh Valentine’s Day.

Cards and Conversation Hearts; chocolates and flowers; strawberries and champagne….

(Or a big middle finger to the greeting card companies and a desire to turn Cupid’s bow and arrow right back at his diaper-clad little self.  To each their own, eh?)

Having been in the floral design industry for a good part of my 20’s, I confess I am somewhere in between. I lean toward cussing the whole thing and assaulting the cherub, but I do love any excuse to eat an amazing meal.  (Unless you bring me flowers – in which case I will shove them up your nose and stomp on your foot as I turn to walk away.  I have floral industry Valentine’s Day induced flower trauma.)

So, where do you go if you want to show your honey some Local Love this Valentine’s Day?

A few suggestions:

I would rather get the tar-and-feather treatment with a vat of molten chocolate fondue and the stuffing from a red-and-pink teddy bear than go out to a restaurant on or around February 14th.  The only day that is a bigger nightmare for dinner out is New Year’s Eve, FFS.  Skip the crowds and pre-set menus and drop in to your local butcher for the perfect steak (or chop, or a selection of charcuterie, or something else special and delicious,) to make a meal that is sure to show your other just how significant he or she is to you.  If the idea seems a bit intimidating to you, stop by Wally’s Quality Meats . The staff is approachable and quick to offer suggestions both for selection and preparation,  they will lead you to the perfect pick (and preparation,) to wow your Valentine.

Sweets for your sweetie!  You have to have a little something sweet on Valentine’s Day, right?  Of course.  Two of my favorites from around the area:

Sweet Cow – The original store in Louisville sees a lot of action from this family. So good. So. Dang. Good.

Indulge Bakery –  Red velvet cupcakes, people.  Come on now.  (Or Salted Carmel.  Or Butterscotch pie.  Oooo, or Cookies!!)

Wine. CLEARLY you are going to need wine to compliment the fabulous meal you are about to whip up, (or to cover up for not listening to Keri about Wallys’s and serving Chipotle by candle light instead. ) Even if you have your everyday favorites, a special bottle of something grape can be THE thing that marks an occasion and sets it apart.  For this reason a visit to  The Wine Cellar (attached to Wine and Cheese,) at the Orchard Town Center is in order. Tell them what you are preparing, tell them what you like (or don’t,) and they will assist you in selecting a bottle (or two.. ahem.. why not?) This is a boutique approach to wine, so every bottle is a stand out, and (fair warning,) stopping in for something new here can be a bit addictive.  You’ll be back.

Maybe you need a little gifty to bestow upon your beloved? Now if you are me, nothing says loving (to be given OR received by Keri,) like a growler or two from Big Choice Brewing. But if beer doesn’t = romance to you then I have just three words for you:  Curating The Cool. A fun and funky and, in keeping with its name, very well curated selection of vintage, along with handmade items.  Hint, the perfect change-his-life gift for your guy is a selection of Mod Cabin shaving and grooming products, which CtC carries.  You are welcome.

But Keri, ONLY flowers will do.  She/he/whatever EXPECTS the flowers.  I can’t skip the flowers.

Then call  Lafayette Florist. Or better yet, stop by and talk to the designers.  Skip the internet flowers-wedged-in-shipping-box situation and have a conversation with these folks to get something special that shows you didn’t just “get flowers.”  You got an arrangement that will appeal to the recipient.   The great designers at Lafayette did my wedding flowers and they were beautiful, elegant, perfection.  (It is not easy to please a floral designer on her wedding day, believe me. They did.)

Hint – if flowers are your goal, shop now. Like, maybe don’t finish reading this, just get on the blower or in the car and shop NOW.  Except do finish reading this first, because hello – Keri worked hard on it and that’s just rude.  Seriously though, if you want Valentine’s Day delivery, or even a nice arrangement to pick up and hand deliver yourself, get that squared away today, because calling on the day (or the day before,) is going to make for an extreme uphill battle.

There you have it – your NoBurbs Valentine’s Day  survival  – nay – THRIVAL guide. (Yep.  That’s not a word. That’s what I do, people.)

Use it well, and remember:  when it comes to steak, cupcakes, and wine, sometimes NOT having a significant other is a good thing.  :::Side-eyeing The Mr.::::  Protecting your portion can be so much work.

Leave a comment

Filed under Local Love

Local Love: Kachina Southwestern Grill

I have previously extolled the virtues of Kachina Grill over at Hungry, so my passion for the restaurant is no secret.

Frankly, I just reread that piece and lost 5 or 6 minutes to thoughts of beignets and Navajo tacos….  Mmmmmm.  Puffy tacos….

Woops, happened again.

It is true, I’d push The Mr. outside into a snowbank right now if he was trying to take the last Gaucho taco (slow braised lamb, smoked tomato aioli, brussel slaw, cowboy beans) off the plate.  I have no shame when it comes to those things.

Kachina’s cool-not-kitchy southwestern inspired décor is great for cocktails with the girls, or date-night with your sweetie (hello, Valentine’s Day – you are creeping up, aren’t you,) or even an “I’ve got the perfect restaurant for that business lunch/dinner boss,” suggestion that will make you the hero of the office.

The cocktail and happy hour snack menus are fun and funky; and people, there is an actual tamale cart that gets pushed around peddling extra deliciousness from within. (The answer is YES, you would like to try one.  Or two. Or more.)

Oh, and also, Wild West Brunch.  So yeah.  Yum.

Kachina is a good idea any time, on any normal-run-of-the-mill kind of day.

However, the real reason for my latest round of adoration for the Sage Hospitality managed restaurant is all about one really amazing, and really big, meal from the mind of Kachina Executive Chef Jeff Bolton (who previously held that title at Second Home in Cherry Creek, another of Sage’s concepts that turns Keri into a shameless foodie fangirl.)

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to attend Kachina’s  2nd annual Bison and Beer dinner at the end of January, for which the restaurant partnered with Prairie Ridge Buffalo Ranch (Limon CO,) and New Belgium Brewing.

Kachina sources whole animals from Prairie Ridge, butchering in-house.  From the bone marrow crostini (my favorite of the appetizers,) and the skirt steak tostadas (The Mr.’s fave,) right through until the dessert of carmel apple and pepita bread pudding with bison bacon gelato, it just got better and better (and better, and better… and… )

The passed appetizers were paired with a margarita made from New Belgium’s soon-to-be-released Snapshot wheat beer, and let’s just say that plans were INSTANTLY in the works for the many shameless excuses entertaining opportunities  I will find to recreate that particular beverage during the summer months.

Bison Carpaccio and greens paired with Spring Blonde Ale, was my favorite of the pairings, although all were delicious.  During the second course of short rib braised in the paired beer (a Lips of Faith collaboration with Cigar City Brewing,) accompanied by tepary beans and jalapeno cornbread I swear The Mr closed his eyes and I heard a low-but-audible “mmmmmmmmm” escape his lips.

The ranchers and brewery reps (“Beer Rangers”)  mingled throughout the dinner, and Chef Bolton offered his  insight into the dishes and beer pairings during each course.  His conscious efforts at relationship building with local resources are paying off in the dishes at Kachina, and this year’s Bison and Beer dinner was a wonderful example of that.

The Mr. did manage to pry the spoon out of my hand and roll me to the car after that bacon gelato incident – but it wasn’t without a bit of a fight.  Want. More.


Kachina Southwestern Grill

10600 Westminster Blvd
Westminster, CO 80020

Leave a comment

Filed under Local Love

Local Love: Burritos To Go.

Burritos To Go is a Broomfield institution.
People throw terms like “institution” and “tradition” kind of willy-nilly at this point, but I am not one of those people.
B.T.G. has been around since old lady hip-mom-Keri was awkward-high-school-freshman-Keri. (Pause for inevitable jokes and chuckles about Keri being older than town institutions.  And also possibly fire.)

Burritos to Go and its beloved owner Cindy Lamontagne are woven into the heart of this town – it is one of those places that retains a small town feeling in a suburb and an area that is rapidly expanding.  A glance through B.T.G.’s Facebook page demonstrates the kind of relationship this small storefront has with the town – relaxed and easy-going, engaged and caring.

The name is partially accurate- everything here is indeed “to go”  Step  1: order at the counter. Step 2: receive delicious food packed up to take with you. Except in between steps 1 and 2 is lots of friendly, genuine interaction with Cindy.
Andplusalso- the menu is much more than just burritos!! (Three words: Kettle Chip Nachos. Bless my soul.)
Peruse the menu on their website. They are ready and willing to add liquid cheese to anything – which speaks to Keri’s inner high schooler in powerful ways.
But I’m not just waxing nostalgic because I’m in breakfast burrito withdrawal.  The woman who, for so many of us, IS Burritos to Go needs some of the same caring that she has given through the years.
Cindy has been hospitalized for most of January. For more information and one way to help, please take a moment to read this.
In the mood for some tasty pizza ? Lombardi’s Pizzeria is donating a portion of sales through February 2nd to assist with Cindy’s care as well. Locally owned places helping each other out = the best of what local can and should be.
Or stop in to B.T.G. and grab a burrito – there is no better way to show support than by enjoying the Broomfield institution that she created.

I’m thinking burrito for lunch and pizza for dinner myself.   Mmmmm. (Eating for a good cause is one of my special superpowers – stand back!)

Get better soon, Cindy. Broomfield loves you!
Burritos to Go
1050 E. 10th Ave.
Broomfield 80020


Leave a comment

Filed under Local Love