Love for Italy in Denver – Shells and Sauce Restaurant

Aren’t neighborhood restaurants some of the best? I’m currently living in the area of downtown Denver known as Capitol Hill and within dangerously close walking distance is the enticing restaurant, Shells and Sauce. Much in the same way I became enamored with Italy last Spring, so Shells and Sauce has drawn me into it’s Italian food haven. I just seem to keep going back and I’m starting to take friends as well. Continue reading

A Cote at Z Cuisine – My Escape for European Tastes in Denver

My latest-greatest that is turning into a regular spot where they know my name, is A Cote, the bar-side of the French Bistro, Z Cuisine. Snuggled into the cozy neighborhood of Lower Highland, they are only a few blocks walking distance from the pedestrian bridge that spans across I-25 and into Riverfront Park. I seriously LOVE A’Cote. This little bar is right in the corner of an older, historic building on the corner of 30th and Wyandot Street, just a block east of the busier street of Zuni. If you’re not sure in your mind’s eye where that it is, think of where Little Man Ice Cream is and then picture walking just a couple blocks west of there, which takes you on just a bit of an uphill walk. And if you don’t have a reference point for Little Man Ice Cream…well, get out more in Denver’s LoHi neighborhood, snow or sun! So getting back to A Cote…

A Cote is magical and when I miss Europe, it’s my go-to. Traditionally French in every way, all the way down to that European neighborhood feel I love sinking into on their wrought iron bistro chairs outside their bar windows. On a warm, sunny day recently, I was walking past and the owner Patrick and his friend Brian, were sitting outside on those lovely colorful chairs, drinking Rose wine in the sun. I had met the owners, Patrick and his wife, a while back, so I stopped to chat with him and ended up joining them for what turned into a few glasses of Rose wine for myself as well. After all, it was my birthday and that was my idea of how to celebrate and enjoy the special day. Sitting there and talking with Patrick about the restaurant was wonderful because he is from France and so his French accent made me feel even more like I was back in France. We talked about the local Denver art community with his friend Brian Comber who is an artist that does paintings of different mediums and specializes in etchings that he creates in the original, traditional methods.

The company was wonderful and the Rose wine was delicious! It was no surprise that later that evening I returned to enjoy my birthday dinner there. The Beef Bourguignon is one of the dishes they are known for and it was wonderful. We accompanied that entrée with their French Onion soup, freshly hot and full of amazing flavor. As any good European menu will have, A Cote and Z Cuisine feature fresh salads, vibrant with local ingredients and the rich-tasting colors of vegetables. They put great value into using local ingredients from Farmer’s Markets, and it is one of Patrick’s passions incorporated into the bistro to “eat real, eat local”. Their cheese board is amazing, with an assortment of heady cheeses that explode into a different tastes with every thing they are paired with. Try each bite with a different delight, such as olives, crostini, meats, and candied walnuts. When the little brown bag appears on your table after first arriving, be excited to look inside. It won’t be full for long because it’s their fresh soft bread, served warm and accompanied with smooth luscious butter that is sprinkled with sea salt, ground pepper, and the bold red color of paprika seasoning.

While Z Cuisine is the main bistro, A Cote is the absinthe bar side and adjacent to the restaurant. Both share their menus so you can eat and drink from either menu in both areas. At the back of the bar A Cote is a beautiful display of their wines, where they are encased on shelves behind glass. Together they give a tantalizingly intoxicating representation of the regions of France according to the language of wine. Since I had Rose wine earlier, I enjoyed with dinner one of their cocktails, which are sexy combinations of liquors, fresh herbs and ingredients, all heightened in their creative flavors by either an absinthe rinse or a full-on absinthe base. Did I say absinthe? You read correctly! They have a tasteful array of absinthe to choose from and experience.

And being at A Cote is always an experience. I’ve been there several times before and every time, I’m entranced by their art displayed on the walls and hanging from their ceiling. On one wall, they project silent foreign movies, some of a past-era and in black and white, while others I have seen are animated and imaginative. Near the front is a beautiful chandelier that reminds me of a little girl’s princess room…the pastel colors on the varying sizes of gems and stones dangle in loops with ribbons and lines that curve in a figure eight shape and are alight with tiny bulbs of white light. To sit under this artistic display of light, is one of my favorite spots in the bar. My other favorite spot is at the front where a leather red bench borders the wall just under the large windows that frame the corner of the building in an L shape and afford a picturesque view of the neighborhood outside. When the weather is warm and lovely outside, they slide open those large wood-framed windows and one can recline their body to lounge languidly on the booth. Caressing a tall slender glass of wine and perhaps dangling an arm outside those deliciously open windows, one listens to the jazz standards softly playing in the background of the pleasant conversations floating through the air…ahhh…do you see what I mean? It’s like stepping into France without leaving Denver.

I cannot do the ambiance, food and drink justice by just my writings. It really is a place to experience. As the spring season comes to life in Denver right now, get to know A Cote at Z Cuisine. Whatever the weather may be, it’s like stepping into a different world when you venture to them and join their lovely French company.

Being Naked with Red Wine

 

I sit here, naked in my apartment in Oviedo, Spain…

Buzzed from local red wine, and disgusted from looking at Facebook for too long.

What is up with our society? Why is it that, we stay disconnected with all the technology we have?

I take another sip of red wine…earlier, the setting sun coming through the windows danced off that red wine…it cast rose-colored shadows on the table…

There are only a few things I’m aware of now and they seem most important…

My first love is gone forever. I don’t know how and I don’t know to whom, but he’s simply gone and I must accept that.

And many things are in motion that I can’t see…things that are building towards my future and that I have an idea about, but am afraid to be confident about.

I’m confused by this online society….I work in it, take part in it, and in that way, support it…

But what good is it really doing us in the long-run? What good is it doing me?

So here I sit, naked in my living room in Oviedo, Spain…drinking red wine and wondering, pondering…

Who are really my friends? What is my life all about? What is yet to come that I already know, but hesitate to admit?

Maybe this is what comes from being naked with red wine….