Being Nice Pays Off

Happy Sunday everyone 🙂  Who has had an awesome weekend?  What’d you do?

Welp, this morning started off with a little bit of a late start (thank you time change), a good run, and I’m about to head out the door to a blogger meet up.  Fun!

But before I get to that . . . let’s back track to last night and the real point of this post 🙂

Being Nice Pays Off

Last night was our originally planned anniversary dinner.

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Promise you, this is our last anniversary celebration 🙂  This dinner was SUPPOSED to be last Wednesday, but Zach thought he was traveling so we postponed the reservation.  And then he ended up not traveling so we did lots of celebration in between :).  I hope you all don’t mind :).

We started off the evening at a new-to-us bar in the neighborhood, Churchhill’s Public House.  We were only there for a drink (4 dollar Malbec for this girl, hello!), but we definitely enjoyed ourselves.  There were tons of TV’s showing all different kinds of sports, all different kinds of games and seating area options.  I could easily see us going back there for sporting events in the future. . .

The highlight of the evening was a date to one of our FAVORITE local spots, Duo.  We made 730 reservations and were sure to show up early (closer to 715 than 730) to get our table.

We were warned that our table wasn’t ready yet, since we were early. . . but that it shouldnt’ be a problem to be seated by 730.  So we went to the bar to order a drink to enjoy with dinner.

Welp, 730 came and passed with no table.  Thankfully, the hostess came up to us and let us know that the people in our table were eating their dessert and that it shouldn’t be long. . .

By 745, I started to get a little annoyed, but stayed quiet.  This is when the bartender ALSO apologized, and let us know they were still eating their dessert, but that the kitchen was going to be sending us out a snack.

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Sorry for the poor lighting, but that is salmon in an amazing fresh and spicy puree of some sort.  It was tiny, but helped to make us feel a little better about the situation.  Pays to be nice 🙂

And then 8 PM rolled around and we still weren’t seated.  Whomp whomp.  By about 805-810 we were finally taken to our table with TONS of apologies.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I totally get that restaurants get busy and patrons stay longer than anticipated. . . but almost 40 minutes was a little frustrating.  Oh well . . . we knew the meal would be good.

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Like every meal at Duo, we started with marinated olives and flat bread, that didn’t dissapoint :).

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And split a mushroom tart appetizer that was tiny but PACKED with flavor.

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But my entree stole the show.  Grilled chicken in a jalepeno cheddar polenta with jelly on the top.  AMAAZING. I literally couldn’t stop eating it, so good.

Zach got a braised beef dish and we both polished the meals together without problem.

The real nice surprise was when we got the check — not only was our snack free (which we anticipated) our first round of drinks were free.  I promise you we didn’t mention that it was our anniversary this time, they just felt bad for the wait.

And let me tell you — that is one way to totally make the wait seem OK.  Everyone in the restaurant was apologetic, they gave us a snack, and comped us drinks.  I’ll wait 30 minutes for that 🙂

And that my friends, is why it pays to be nice 🙂

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And of course, we capped off the evening with Little Man ice cream — AMAZING.  The place was packed at almost 10 o’clock, but TOTALLY worth it.  Best dessert ever.  Love this warmer weather Denver is having 🙂

Question of the Morning:  Have you had a situation like this before when you made reservations?  Were you nice 😉

The Populist

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



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.



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




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.




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.