M. F. K. Fisher, an iconic American food writer known appropriately as the “poet of appetites,” once wrote of the evocative nature of food. She explained that throughout all of our lives, certain dishes, meals and morsels have the ability to summon nostalgic yearnings. From fresh berry pies savored on a perfect summer eve to the strange reverie that can be found in a superbly fried potato chip, she expressed how these “favorites of a lifetimes” can imprint themselves deep within our memory.
In the spirit of Fisher and the increasingly delectable Denver dining scene, we’ve decided to share some of our own summertime favorites. Whether you’re a fellow iced coffee addict or a bivalve buff, we hope that this list will help you create some nostalgic memories of your own. Just grab a friend or your favorite book and head to one of these selected spots for a supremely satiating summer… Something we missed? Feel free to share your own list by commenting below. We’d love to hear where you get your fix on.
Bones’ Churro Ice Cream Sandwich
Where: 701 Grant St., Denver
Neighborhood: Governor’s Park
Why you gotta try it: Although they are known mainly for their steamed buns and noodle bowls, the culinary team at Bones also makes a constant effort to dish out a slew of playful and creative concoctions — just follow Executive Chef John DePierro on Instagram for reference.
This churro ice cream sandwich is just one example of how the menu at Bones is so much more than just ramen. Made with Bones’ famous soft serve and two perfectly springy and soft churros, this frozen treat comes served cold and best enjoyed when cut in half (but you don’t have to share it if you don’t want to). Plus as an added bonus, Bones also has a sake snowcone so you can really round out that whole summer state fair vibe but in a deliciously adult way.
Lena’s Octopus Ceviche
Where: 24 Broadway St, Denver
Neighborhood: South Broadway
Why you gotta try it: When it comes to octopus, many people have become acquainted with the chewy, under seasoned pieces of rubber that many establishments serve all too often. At Leña, though, this ceviche will banish any octo-related nightmares from your memory. Not only are the perfectly proportioned pieces of meat tender, but the combination of the creamy avocados offset by the heat of the jalapeños and the tang of cara cara oranges makes for an explosively delectable dish. One bite and it’ll leave you with a new found foodie philosophy: that never again shall you accept awful octopus. Just head to Leña now and let the revelation begin.
Rosé Flight at Corridor 44
Where: 1433 Larimer St., Denver
Neighborhood: LoDo/ Larimer Square
Why you gotta try it: Nothing says summer indulgence like spending an afternoon sipping on Champagne. Luckily, Corridor 44 is the perfect place to go when that mood hits. Grab your gaggle of girlfriends (or your favorite wino) and post up at this Larimer Square hideaway for some fancy day drinking. The rosé flight — also available as a regular Champagne flight — is a good place to start because you’ll have the opportunity to compare several labels. With over 135 bottles and a vast collection of directly imported grower Champagnes, it might be hard to choose (we’d recommend sitting at the bar so the bartender can provide assistance). If you choose wisely though, you’ll end up with an appreciation the subtle variations of this pink drink — hopefully sans hangover.
Corvus’ Nitro Cold Brew Coffee
Where: 1740 S. Broadway, Denver
Neighborhood: Platt Park
Why you gotta try it: As die hard coffee fanatics, there’s few things we love more than an iced cold brew on a hot summer’s day. Corvus Coffee has been home to some of our favorite cold brews, but when it introduced a nitro infused rendition last summer, we already knew where we’d be allocating the funds from our caffeine coffers. Served via a keg and tap system similar to your standard brewery, the baristas at Corvus expertly pour a chalise that first floods with a cream colored foam, recognizable to any stout drinker. You can also get this beverage in to-go form, but we’d recommend sticking with this in-house service for the most memorable experience.
Ice Cream Flight at High Point Creamery
Where: 215 S. Holly St., Denver
Why you gotta try it: There’s a lot of ice cream joints in Denver. From universally loved Little Man to the forever favorite, Bonnie Brae, there’s no lack of places that’ll satisfy your cravings. However at High Point, the concept of an ice cream flight practically guarantees you won’t be disappointed with your choices. We particularly like this Hilltop spot because it often partners with local restaurants like Root Down and TAG to create unique chef inspired flavors. Mix and match these adventurous options with more classic flavors and you have the perfect summer treat. And as an added benefit, High Point even currently has a coffee ice cream made using Corvus Coffee (so you can kill two birds with one stone).
Tiki Cocktails from Ste. Ellie
Where: 1553 Platte St., Denver
Why you gotta try it: Even though Ste. Ellie is located underground in a completely windowless space, Kevin Burke and his tiki drinks are all the sunshine you’ll need. Here in this stylish sub-terrestrial spot, Mr. Burke pours all his boozy knowledge into his well crafted tiki drinks — which according to the menu, will “make you want to take your shirt off.” And while it also explicitly advises against actually doing so, these tiki drinks will make you feel like you’re on a tropical island, scantily clad in your best bikini…
Not a huge fan of rum? Forget what you know and make room for a boozy education at Ste. Ellie. Because unlike the sugar-filled rum-based libations many are probably accustomed to, Burke only uses fresh ingredients paired with a hand selected variety of aged rums to craft his tiki drinks. Ever had a single-island vintage dated rum? Or how about one that’s 21 year old? Both can be found at Ste. Ellie (if you know how to ask). Pro tip: As an added benefit, this summer’s tiki menu was crafted especially for the Denver Passport, the highly coveted drink special booklet that guarantees you’ll get one on the house.
Oysters from Cart Driver
Where: 2500 Larimer St, Denver
Why you gotta try it: Over the last two years there’s been a major oyster boom in Denver. In addition to Jax (which has been shuckin’ its signature seafood for almost 20 years now), places like Humboldt, Stoic & Genuine, and now Cart-Driver have all popped up with this beloved bivalve taking center stage on their menus. And while you can head to any of these establishments for a superb taste of the seaside (all of which you can read about here), we particularly enjoy Cart-Driver in the summer due to its more relaxed atmosphere. Even if you stop in post bike ride (clips-in and all, if that’s your thing), you can still feel completely at ease while enjoying the finer things in life. And knowing how lax our CO style can be — especially in the warmer months — we feel that’s something plenty of Coloradans can appreciate.
Mockery’s Japanese Green Tea Beer
Where: 3501 Delgany St., Denver
Why you gotta try it: There’s seemingly a million beers one can try in Denver this summer and quite frankly, this deserves an entire list unto itself. However, for this round-up’s sake, we decided to include one beer we know to be deliciously refreshing. Mockery Brewing, located on the edge of the RiNo neighborhood, recently began brewing a selection of tea infused beers. From a red rooibos to a smoked pine, this industrial themed brewery has infused its beers with the delicate subtleties of tea for a truly balanced beverage. And while the Japanese extra pale ale with green tea might not blow you away with big bold flavors, it’ll be what you’ll gravitate towards on a hot summer’s day. Because when you’re sweating bullets, a heavily hoppy IPA or a super sweet shandy isn’t going to satisfy your need for a crisp, refreshing brew. So when that urge hits, don’t opt for a Bud Light. Instead, go local and check out Mockery Brewing for something a little more unexpected.