Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Best Nachos and Big Blue Bear in Denver

Andrew, Amy and I had the pleasure of spending Labor Day weekend in Denver, my first time in the lovely state of Colorado.  Our purpose was to catch up with our friend Ben (Amy's old roommate and Andrew's best friend from law school).  Our flight was originally supposed to get us to Denver at around 7 pm, but as our flight was descending, we were suddenly told that severe thunderstorms were preventing any flights from landing so we got re-routed to Amarillo, Texas.  Now, we didn't leave the plane for the time we were landed in Amarillo but I can safely say that based on what I saw from my window, there ain't much happening there.

Three hours and two fueling attempts (the first fuel truck ran out of gas while filling us), we made it into Denver past 10 pm. Of course, there was a backup at this point at the passenger pick-up area, because everyone and their mother was trying to get to the airport to pick up someone up, now that previously delayed flights were allowed to land.  So it was really almost 11 pm by the time we made it into Ben's car.

He was a good sport, and sensing how cranky/tired/hungry we were, he took us to a popular downtown Denver bar to unwind, and enjoy some beer and food.

We checked out Wynkoop Brewing Company, which bills itself as Denver's oldest brewpub.  Sidenote: we had a friendly guy sitting next to us on the Boston - Denver flight who chatted all the way through the 3 hour delay, and not only did he recommend Wynkoops but he also said it was started by a man who is currently Denver's mayor.

Wynkoops brews its own beers and after hearing Ben describe the Wixa Weiss as Blue Moon-like, I was sold. And it lived up to my expectations, so I would wholeheartedly recommend it to any weary traveler needing a pick-me-up! (Andrew also enjoyed his Rail Yard Ale, in case you were wondering what he ordered)

As an appetizer, Andrew was insistent that we order nachos and I'm so glad he did.  This is the first time I've seen nachos served this way and it's the most clever thing on earth! The pinto beans, green chili, queso, salsa, sour cream and guacamole were served "dip-style", accompanied by a big basket of salty, greasy, delicious tortilla chips. That way, there were no soggy chips and an even distribution of whatever topping you cared to put your chip into.  I still long for these nachos:

For an entree, I went with buffalo wings and rice (I need rice with all my proteins to fully enjoy them) but unfortunately, the wings were really dry despite being doused in sauce. A bit disappointing after the standout beers and nachos, but I was willing to settle for them considering it was midnight at this point (2 am in Boston - yikes!)

Ben dropped us off at our hotel in downtown Denver (Hyatt Regency Denver, I highly recommend it) so we could crash.  By the time we rolled ourselves out of bed, showered, and considered ourselves ready to face the day, it was 10 am.  Since we had a little time to spare before Ben showed up as our ride to brunch, we explored the neighboring convention center and a work of art that had caught our eye - a big blue bear!

I'm not sure if you can appreciate the scale of how big this bear is, so I've kindly taken a shot from the perspective of looking up at it:

It's a steel structure whose official name is "I See What You Mean" and it measures approximately 40 ft in height. Its creator was seeking to bring whimsy to a "conventional"  (pun intended) area and certainly exceeded as this seemed to be popular with other tourists taking pictures, including, ahem, two people from Boston:

This is Amy and I seeking to insert some whimsy of our own into the photos by doing our best bear impressions...

Luckily, Ben showed up before we could embarrass ourselves further (in a car that the sweet guy had rented for the weekend, solely for the purpose that we would be more comfortable in a roomier car):

And we were off to one of my favorite meals of the whole weekend, brunch!


* said...

I stayed in the same hotel! the hugeness of that bear is hard to describe!

bcallegra said...

It was an awesome thing to find just around the corner from our hotel! Colorado does seem to love blue stuff...