There’s a short blog entry on Troy Tulowitzki’s surge from Saturday night on my ESPN blog, with another just filed this morning.
I’ll be on ESPNEWS today at 2 and 2:30 pm EDT and possibly on 710 AM in Los Angeles around 12:40 pm PDT.
Denver rocks. What a great downtown – I probably walked six or seven miles in the three days, hopped the free shuttle on 16th a few times, and had a few good meals. I love downtown ballparks where there’s an actual downtown around the park, and Coors Field has a lot going on in the area. (The presence of many clubs nearby meant quite a bit of postgame eye candy walking the other way up Blake Street, a nice bonus.)
I got four different breakfast suggestions from readers but only one was really walkable from the hotel (I didn’t rent a car) – Snooze, on Larimer, very close to the stadium. Three of you recommended it and I can see why, as their food is very fresh and they make some excellent, funky pancakes.
I went twice, and the pancakes are clearly the main attraction. The first day, I got the ginger-peach pancakes, which had diced local peaches and crystallized ginger in the batter and a topping of streusel (just a little) and ginger butter. The second day, I went with eggs, chorizo sausage, hashbrowns, plus one whole wheat-blueberry pancake with sunflower seeds, maple syrup, and blueberry butter. Both types of pancakes had a great, light texture, with lots of big air pockets and a complex flavor. The whole wheat ones were either from a mild sourdough batter or made with buttermilk, probably the latter. The peaches, unfortunately, weren’t fully ripe and ended up bitter after cooking, but I imagine on a better day they’re pretty outstanding. They also do a pancake of the day; Sunday’s had white chocolate chips in the batter, which sounded too much like dessert to me.
My first meal at Snooze came with a bit of entertainment. I was seated in one of the five chairs at the counter, and the seat to my right opened up, at which point a woman asked me if anyone was sitting there and I told her no. She proceeded to sit there to make a call on her cell phone but didn’t actually order anything, so after five minutes or so, the host told her she couldn’t sit there. A little while later, she sat down to eat in the chair to my left, and before she’d finished the process of sitting she asked me which pancakes I had gotten. It was downhill from there:
Me: The ginger-peach pancakes.
Her: What kind of peaches are they?
Me: (reaching over, opening her menu, and pointing to the entry for the ginger-peach pancakes.) It’s all right there.
Her: Yeah, but I want to know what kind of peaches they are.
Me: I don’t know. Why don’t you check the menu?
Her: But are they canned peaches?
Me: I don’t know.
Her: I just want to know if they’re canned peaches.
Me: Ma’am, I did not actually make the pancakes. I’m only eating them. Perhaps you should ask someone who works here?
Her: How could you be in such a bad mood? It’s too early to be in a bad mood.
Oh, it gets better. She had already ordered breakfast to go, but then, just as it was coming out, she decided to sit at the counter and made them take the pancakes she ordered out of the portable container and put them on a plate, which seemed petty and wasteful. Then she ordered a sampler of two or three other kinds of pancakes – like I said, these are huge – and tried the one she originally ordered, the whole-wheat blueberry pancakes, which come with maple syrup already on them. And that set her off again.
Her: Why does it come with the syrup already on the pancakes?
Server: That’s how we serve that pancake here, ma’am.
Her: But the pancakes get soaked. The syrup makes it too sweet. You know that maple syrup is mostly sugar!
Server: Ma’am, it says on the menu that it comes with maple syrup on it. [To be fair, the menu wasn't explicit about this.]
Her: You should never serve it on the pancakes already. You should serve it on the side.
Server: Well, that’s how we do it … here.
When I went back on Sunday and sat at the counter, the server (a different one), asked if I’d been there before, and I said yes, the previous morning, and I was sitting next to a crazy woman. At which point he said, “Oh, you must have been sitting in that same chair, and she was there (pointing to her seat).” Apparently, she’s a regular, and she’s always batty.
That day-two server actually tried to coax me out of my EMP + a pancake order, saying, “You can get three eggs anywhere. I think what you really need is a benedict,” and he’s right in that they do have a half-dozen options of eggs and hollandaise. I’m not a big hollandaise guy anyway – I respect any chef willing to make it because it’s time-consuming and finicky, but I find it extremely heavy – and Snooze’s hollandaises all contained either cream cheese (which I don’t care for) or smoked cheddar (which I despise), so while a few of those options looked great (like the one with smoked pork), I didn’t see the point of getting a benedict-hold-the-hollandaise. He was right, though – the eggs etc. were on the boring side and the hashbrowns were undercooked, with nowhere near enough crispy brown parts.
When I went to Long Beach earlier this month, I had sushi at Koi over in Seal Beach and sat at the sushi bar. A guy sat down next to me and clearly had been there a few times, so I asked if he was a regular, and he said he had been for years but had since moved to Denver. So we chatted for a while, and I told him I was there on business, I was a sportswriter, loved food, etc., and he said, “Wait, what’s your name?” Turns out he’s not a reader, but a friend of his is, so I pointed Gabe (the guy I was sitting next to) here and asked him to shoot me a note with some Denver food rec’s. He suggested Sushi Sasa, which turned out to be one of the best sushi places I have ever been to. It was a solid 20-minute walk from the hotel, but I got a spectacular view of the river as I crossed over the bridge to get to Platte St, and the food was well worth it.
Sushi Sasa is kind of trendy-looking inside and they do plenty of gussied-up rolls and overwrought appetizers, but if you go there for nigiri or sashimi, the fish is amazingly fresh, easily rivaling that of good West Coast or NYC joints. Sasa’s daily specials menu mentioned that two of the fish had been flown in from some specific market in Japan that day, and they make their own unagi (barbecued fresh-water eel), which I’m told (by some of you, I believe) is unusual, as most places buy it already cooked and just reheat it for service. The maguro tuna was the best I’ve ever tasted and the salmon was close. The seaweed salad was a bit of a rip at $8 and came with some very fresh but unnecessary vegetables on top (e.g., one asparagus spear, cut into 2″ lengths), but it was interesting to see three different kinds of seaweed instead of the standard one, including a burgundy variety I’ve never had before that was slightly bitter and didn’t have the tooth of the more typical, green-and-clear kind. (Sorry, I’m not up on my seaweed terminology.) Even the green tea was good.
My one other stop was a minor indulgence, as I am a bit of a sucker for local fast-food burger joints and saw one called Good Times across the street from my hotel. It’s not Five Guys or In-n-Out, with a bigger menu and fries that aren’t hand-cut, but for a fast-food option it was two or three steps above the McDonald’s/BK class of “only if I’m desperate and even then I’ll think twice” establishments. The toppings at Good Times were also very fresh – bright green lettuce that still crunched, thick slices of juicy and faintly sweet tomatoes – and the beef (100% all natural Coleman … do I even want to know what 80% natural beef has as its other 20%?) was better than the bland, generic fast-food burgers forced down our throa… Sorry again, CSPI just hacked my blog, but I’m back. It’s a solid fast-food burger. The fries are coated, which I don’t really like, but they’re seasoned and not over-salted; skip the “wild sauce,” which is just barbecue sauce mixed with mayonnaise and is the color of terra cotta. Good Times also serves frozen custard, which I tried the night before, although they only do two flavors a day, vanilla and a special flavor, which was strawberry on Saturday. The vanilla had a good custard texture, and the mild flavor was nothing a little hot fudge couldn’t fix.