My first instinct when I sit down at a restaurant is never to order a dish that sounds too crazy to be edible. Sure, I’ll always read the description of said crazy menu item, laugh a little at the what the chef has concocted, and then order something bound to be delicious. Sometimes though, you and your taste buds get tired of the classics and you start craving food that will excite you. When this happens you know it’s time to step outside your comfort zone and trust in the chef’s creations. Odds are the crazier the dish sounds, the better it’s going to taste. The bolder you become when ordering food, the more fun your dinner experience will be. Take it from me, when I ordered outside the ordinary and satisfied my crazy cravings, I was anything but disappointed.

The Fort

Photo Courtesy of Lois Ellen Frank

What to order: The peanut butter stuffed jalapeños or their Game Plate which includes a variety of  out-of -the ordinary meats like teriyaki quail. 

The Low Down: I first discovered The Fort when I was visiting colleges with my family five years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite spots to bring people. Nestled above Red Rocks, the building is modeled after an old fur trading fort and has all the charm of an old west classic. On one particular trip with some close friends and family, we started our meal with an order of the peanut butter stuffed jalapeños. I myself love anything spicy, and biting into my first jalapeño I was over come by a taste so different I can barely describe it now. The smooth texture of the peanut butter was the perfect sweet end to a spicy jalapeño. Needless to say, if I wasn’t sharing the jalapeños with a group of people I would have devoured the whole plate. The taste of the jalapeños, so unlike anything I had tasted before, left me craving more. The secret is that the jalapeños are pickled giving a subtle bite to compliment the sweet peanut butter taste. The food at The Fort is incredible and the peanut butter stuffed jalapeños are a fun way to start your meal and satisfy your adventurous side.

Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs

Biker Jim's Reindeer Hot Dogs

Biker Jim’s Reindeer Hot Dog. Photo by Aless Amescua

Where: 2148 Larimer St, 16th Street Mall and Highlands Ranch 

What to order: This is not your average over cooked hot dog joint, be prepared to indulge in your crazy cravings. 

The Low Down: Biker Jim made his start with the Denver street food scene and has since become a local favorite. Now, with two store fronts, one in LoDo and Highlands Ranch, Biker Jim is expanding beyond his street cart to bring his innovative gourmet brat combinations to diners everywhere. When you first get in to Biker Jim’s check out the extensive menu and choose a dog. To satisfy my own crazy craving I chose the Alaskan Reindeer and topped it with Biker Jim’s classic which is cream cheese and caramelized onions. I know that reindeer sounds terrible and way too out of the ordinary for a meal but trust me. The Alaskan Reindeer is smoky in flavor and topping it with the cream cheese and caramelized onions added to the flavor by providing a sweet finish. Each bite is packed with flavor and the best part is that you have so many options to choose from. Nothing is typical at Biker Jim’s and that’s why he has been such a success in and out of the street food scene. Dining in at Biker Jim’s is always a treat because the food is incredible and the menu always has something to offer you. While the menu does offer a typical all beef hot dog it’s the crazy cravings, the out of the ordinary Alaskan Reindeer or Rattlesnake and Pheasant dog that truly make Biker Jim’s a Colorado staple. Biker Jim’s talents are best displayed when you try something completely different and dive into a completely new dining experience. I can honestly say I never thought I would enjoy reindeer. But the smoky taste was better than any barbecue and topping it with cream cheese will make you laugh at any ball park frank topped with ketchup.

Bones

Bones' Duck Ssam, photo by Rachel Nobrega

Bones’ Duck Ssam, photo by Rachel Nobrega

Where: 701 Grant St. 

What to order: The Lobster Ramen (menu subject to changes, but usually Bones has something unusual to offer)  

The Low Down: If your mind is set on an authentic noodle bar Bones may not be for you. Frank Bonanno’s creations are known for their incredible food and exotic combinations. Bones melds classic French and Asian dishes together to create a whole different dining experience. Bonanno takes the classic noodle bar approach and elevates it, creating dishes worthy of indulging in. When you’re in the mood to indulge in your crazy cravings, it is fun to try something exotic. With the lobster ramen at Bones your taste buds will savor classic French and Asian elements like the perfectly cooked lobster paired with crunchy salty edamame. The whole dish is paired over ramen noodles and topped off with a miso broth. If you’re like me then chopsticks won’t help you dive into this dish. Ask to pour the broth over the ramen yourself, so that you aren’t foraging for your lobster. I am capable of using chopsticks don’t be mistaken, but the lobster is too good to not savor every last bite of.

 Wazee Supper Club

Wazee Supper Club, Cheesesteak pizza

Wazee’s Cheesesteak Pizza with Cheese Wiz and all. Photo by Roman Tafoya

Where1600 15th St, Denver, CO 80202
(303) 623-9518
 
What to order: The Mile High Pizza (Peanut Butter + Pickles) and The Cheesesteak Pizza ( with Cheese-Wiz topping) 
 

The Lowdown: The Wazee has been a Denver institution since 1974 and for forty years they have been slinging pizza and beer to locals and visitors (including President Obama) alike. And although at this staple restaurant you can always expect to get the traditional pizzeria fare, newly appointed Chef Bob Whitmer has added in a couple crazy combinations that are bound to satisfy. The Mile High Pizza — emphasis on the high— is a peanut butter  pizza topped with pickles and bacon. It might sound strange and the menu does list “bravery” as a requirement for consumption, but the pizza is quiet delicious. Imagine ooey, gooey warm peanut butter, on top a crisp crust with salty and crunchy pickles that add a little bite. Doesn’t sound as strange now, huh? If you still can’t imagine sinking your teeth into the Mile High, try the Cheesesteak pizza, that actually adds cheese-wiz on top. Surprisingly, this kid classic is actually a welcomed addition to the pizza and will make you incredibly nostalgic.

Ultimately dining out should be an experience, and these restaurants help excite your usual evening meal. Ordering something off the menu that is anything but typical helps satisfy those crazy cravings, and really shows you that crazy cravings are really just delicious. In my opinion it’s worth it when you’re dining out to try something new. It’s for your benefit that you try something less than ordinary and find out that good food is just good food no matter how crazy the description is. 

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