The Populist

Last night Zach and I cashed in a very thoughtful wedding  gift from one of his college buddies.

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We ventured to what is becoming one of our favorite parts of town for a very trendy dinner date night to celebrate 5 years at The Populist.

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Click for their website

 

Right as we walked in I knew this was our kind of place.  The bar looked to be a unique collection of book shelves holding a great deal of delicious drink options.

We were quoted a 15 minute wait and escorted straight to a seat at the bar.  I mentioned very casually to the hostess that it was our anniversary (she asked if we wanted to sit in a shared seat, and I asked if it were OK that we wait, because it was our anniversary).  I thought nothing of it and enjoyed a glass of white wine at the bar with the boy.

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Right around 15 minutes later, we were escorted to a window seat that was perfect for the two of us.  We quickly put in an order of brussel sprouts and settled in.

The Populist has a limited but spectacular menu of small plates meant to be shared.  Zach and I love meals like this because it allows us to try a bunch of different plates, in stead of just stealing each other’s food (just me?)

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The sprouts were served with pine nuts and pork belly and were AMAZING.  They were the perfect temperature (weird, I know. . . but I like my food HOT) and were bursting with flavor.

This dish did a great job of wetting our appetite before putting in our main order.  Zach and I shared the kale salad and a pasta plate

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This is the one dish that I probably ate my fair share of more of.  The kale had the perfect bite and the mix in of pistachios and pine nuts were just perfection.

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And this little pasta and sausage? COME ON.  The broth that all this was served in tasted like it had been cooking for weeks.  It literally exploded with flavor.   Zach and I both dominated this plate without any problem.

We contemplated ordering another plate. . . but ultimately decided against it due to the size of the three plates we already had (they were large!).   We ordered dessert drinks but were surprised by a nice little sweet treat to celebrate our anniversary.

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It was a lemon cake of some kind with granola something or another on the side (how do you like that description? I apologize Populist).   Zach does NOT like citrus but totally gobbled up this plate.  You know I was all over the granola and lemon.  YUM.  The perfect way to wrap up the  meal.

When Zach and I got the check, we were surprised to see that both our dessert and first round of drinks had been comped.   We of course made up for it in tip, but how awesome is it when you get little surprises like that?

You better believe Zach and I left happy and planning our next trip to the Populist ASAP.  As we were walking out we noticed what looked like an awesome outdoor patio that we fully plan on taking advantage of this Spring/Summer.

If you are in the Denver area, you’ve gotta check out the Populist.  The service was spectacular, the food is unique and the drinks are dangerous.

 

 

I Need a New Wardrobe and Brunch at Lola’s

I’m back with more details from my fun filled weekend with the family :).

I left you with a full and happy belly after a delicious dinner at Ocean Prime.

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I was up way past my bedtime enjoying that gigantic carrot cake without shame, playing with  my new Nike training club app (if you have a smart phone but don’t have the app, get it.  It’s addictive).   I have already tried 5 or 6 of the workouts and am having to force myself not to do more!  My abs are killing me after the last one I did, Alpha Abs by Joselynne Boshen.  wooof.

Moving on. . . of course Gusman doesn’t care if I’m up past my bedtime and had me up and moving by 730.  We enjoyed another version of our favorite 2 mile hilly loop to wake up.

Workout of the Day

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To which I followed up with the hardest workout I’ve done in a long time:  Challenger on the “get strong” section, under advanced, of the NTC app.

It has been a long time since I’ve done a workout without any real cardio that had me sweating like this one did.  And I was just in a sports bra for a top.  Wow.  I am a believer.  This workout had a great short warm up (light jog that I did around the apartment and high knees), followed by a routine of very dynamic poses and finished off with a great 3 or 4 minute recovery.   This one is definitely not for the faint of heart, but let’s just say I’m not missing running too much with workouts like this one.

After my workout I showered up, spoke with Zach from WAY overseas (he made it through his 20+ hours of flights, not including lay overs) and is hopefully currently resting before his day begins in a few hours in Singapore.  Don’t know how he does it . . .

By 10 or so I met back up with my parents for brunch before they headed back to Saint Louis.   Thanks to my once again lack of forethought, we drove around for about 30 minutes finding hour plus waits at all of my favorite spots.

Thankfully, I remembered that Lola, a Mexican restaurant with a seafood speciality in the highlands, was open for brunch (I saw it on my walk with Gus this morning, go figure).

Now, I’ve been to Lola’s a couple times before, even with my parents, but never for brunch.  The place was pretty packed but we were able to be seated right away.  My dad was in hog heaven because we were actually seated right by the kitchen.  He could watch the magic happen and see what orders were being brought out. . . loved it.

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I ended up ordering the benedict with the hollandaise sauce on the side, with fruit.

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Yum.  The black bean salsa and carnitas were great, for me the star was the chive biscuit.  To be completely honest, yolks kind of freak me out (I always imagine a baby chicken is going to fall out of it or something I don’t know . . . ) so I left a lot of the egg. . . but overall the dish was amazing and my parents were very happy with theirs as well.

Oddly enough, we saw our adorable waitress from Ocean Prime as we were walking out! She saw us walking out and pulled us aside, so adorable.

Highly recommend Lola for brunch or dinner!  But especially brunch, it’s very reasonably priced in the AM!

After brunch my parents took pity on me and headed over to REI to get a new everyday sweater/jacket for me :).  I  presented it as don’t you want to go check out the flagship REI?. . . They knew what I was doing but they are awesome and just went with it.

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30  minutes later I walked out with a brand new, adorable MUCH BETTER FITTING purple comfortable jacket that I can really wear year round here in Denver (Sunny and warmer during the Winter afternoons, and cool in the mornings and evenings even in the Summer).

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It’s a long fitting zip up that I know I will wear the heck out of.  Thanks Mom and Dad :).

And now, I am going to relax and watch more of the TV I got myself addicted to last night. . . Come Date With Me from the cooking network.  How do I find these things?

Question of the Evening:  Are you a little freaked out by yolks?  Any other foods that freak people out?

My Parents Are Adorable Ocean Prime

 

Weekends always seem to go by in a blink of an eye, don’t they?

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I guess that is only magnified when you have your adorable parents to keep you company for the weekend :).

We spent the afternoon yesterday enjoying the fresh air with windows open watching olympics with the furballs.  Because of our early-ish brunch meal, around 530 or so people started to get hungry so we decided to walk down to Larimer Square (a really cute, albeit a tad expensive, area of downtown Denver) for our early bird special dinner.

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Little did I know it is restaurant week here in Denver. . . upps.  Basically everywhere we went had a wait, but we ended up getting extremely lucky and getting a lounge seat at the fancy little corner spot,Ocean Prime.

Review: Ocean Prime

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There were no tables available until 1045 (yes and it was before 6 PM). . . but the lounge worked out perfectly for us, granted we did get lucky and score an isolated corner table in the lounge.

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The table started with some simple, but delicious bread and wine.

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For my meal, I went with the lobster bisque and caesar salad.

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apologies for the awful, dark lit photos.

The salad was a surprisingly large bed of greens with simple parmesan cheese and croutons.  The star were the parmesan chips really . . . yum.

The soup was brought out with 2 little corn fritters and lobster in a huge bowl, to which the waiter poured the bisque. Unfortunately, I could only have a few bites of the soup (and the fritters, hello) because it was just so rich.   Not saying it wasn’t good, but it was basically just heavy cream.  Not exactly what my stomach needs ever, let alone currently.

My parents ordered entrees and specialties, and they both were amazing.  My mom had scallops and exchanged risotto for wild rice, and let me tell you.  The best rice any of us had ever had.  YUM.   My dad ordered a chicken dish and brussel sprouts which ended up being added to my salad to make it a chicken caesar.  Let’s just say I wasn’t complaining.

Overall, the food was great, especially the entrees and dishes that were recommended.  They know what they do well, and they DO it well.

Honestly, one of the highlights of the night was above and beyond the food.  It was the service.  We had the most adorable waitress who took such great care of us, and ending up giving us a free creme brule because she heard us going back and forth between the carrot cake and it.

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My parents ate the creme brule and said it was to dye for (and their faces made that obvious).  We all tried the carrot cake while we were there, but packaged most of it up for me to enjoy later :).  I’m almost embarrassed to say that I basically polished that baby off while I waited for Zach’s plane to land (about midnight Denver time).  Yup — I felt a little gross. . . but it was totally worth it.

Again, overall our experience at Ocean Prime was excellent.  Sure, it’s pricy, but you know that going in and you absolutely get what you paid for.  A perfect spot to take the parents 🙂

I have so much  more to chat about from this weekend but this post is already getting long!  I’ll check back with you all later today for more from the weekend with my parents :).

Question of the Afternoon:  What make a good waiter for you?

For me, it’s the balance between being friendly, attentive, and not overwhelming.