Help me eat in Denver
June 1, 2011 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Visiting Denver soon, and looking for a few things to eat and do while I'm there. Help!

Things I need include:

1. Green chile. I love green chile. Hot is good.

2. A mall. What malls are interesting these days? I don't want to buy things, just revel in mall-ness. Is Cherry Creek and the surrounding area still worth a visit? And where to eat?

3. Restaurant in/near LoDo that is interesting but will still have food for my bland-loving mother-in-law.

4. A good day trip, preferably with a scenic drive guessed it...a good restaurant. I was thinking Idaho Springs but I don't really know how long it takes to get there or any good places to eat.

Thank you!
posted by the young rope-rider to Travel & Transportation around Denver, CO (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Well, don't miss the airport with its satanic art and phallic horse.
posted by jph at 10:56 AM on June 1, 2011

Response by poster: Is there...any good food in the airport? Satanic/phallic influences acceptable.

(I might be really pregnant right now)
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:58 AM on June 1, 2011

Well, there's food. Whether it is good is another thing entirely. Starbucks looks like your most satanic option.
posted by jph at 11:05 AM on June 1, 2011

Do they have a Wolfgang Puck express at the airport? I think that's the best airport food and I do think there is one in Denver. Yes, according to the map there is. Get the soup. Yum.
posted by bquarters at 11:21 AM on June 1, 2011

Here's a day trip that's mostly driving:
Drive north from Denver to Loveland,
Turn west and go up the Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park.
Visit Rocky Mountain National Park, the Stanley Hotel and the Estes Park Hydropower Musuem.
Drive to Nedeland Via the Peak to Peak Highway.
Once in Nedeland visit the Carousel of Happiness.
Head to Boulder down Boulder Canyon.
From Boulder go back to Denver with a stop at Flatirons Mall.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:31 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

go to sam's no. 3 (downtown on curtis, they have liks ice cream for dessert, get the graham cracker if available). the bf loves their green chile (i am not a fan of green chile, so i can't help you there) and plenty of salads, burgers and stuff for your mom-in-law. cherry creek mall is still pretty good, and in the area is duffy's cherry cricket, which also has (again, from the bf) good green chile and some of my favorite burgers.
posted by koroshiya at 11:50 AM on June 1, 2011

Tattered Cover still has its Cherry Creek store too.
posted by nat at 12:12 PM on June 1, 2011

I just wanted to point out that Tattered Cover does NOT have a Cherry Creek store anymore. There's the LoDo store off the 16th St. Mall and the recently (a few years ago) opened store on Colfax & Elizabeth which is the closest store to the original (now long gone) Cherry Creek store.
posted by shornco at 12:34 PM on June 1, 2011

For a day trip, try this route, which is similar to that proposed by Confess, Fletch. It will also take you by the flatirons mall, as noted. You could grab food in Estes or Boulder, either place should be easy to find something good. If you go to Boulder, head to the Pearl Street Mall. There's tons of food down there; some local favorites include the Med, Mountain Sun, and West End Tavern.

Can't help on the green chili; I have yet to find THE mexican food restaurant in this area. Blue Bonnet on Broadway might be decent, though.
posted by angab at 12:41 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Sam's No. 3. If you go for breakfast, they also serve good grits.
posted by willbaude at 1:26 PM on June 1, 2011

"Visiting Denver soon, and looking for a few things......Green chile. I love green chile....A mall...[a] Restaurant...that is interesting"

Warning: If you google those terms, you will likely end up with a place that spookily looks like the perfect fit for you: a famously interesting Denver restaurant that specializes in monster green chile burrito platters & is located right next to a shopping mall!

This is the "celebrated" 1,000-seater Casa Bonita at 6715 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood: it's a long-running Mexican theme park restaurant, boasting indoor cliff divers (meaning: shivering lads jumping off a papier mache tower into a tank surrounded by grubby fake rocks) and live music (meaning: the most lackluster mariachi combo imaginable, playing for a few miserable minutes each hour among the plastic cacti).

Don't go there. Denver's Casa Bonita is just dire. We took our young sons as a treat during a Denver layover & a decade later they still remember their bitter disappointment & the awesomely hideous food.
(Typically disgruntled tripadvisor review: "If you have a colonic scheduled and don't want to drink the cleansing drink, just stop by this dump...")
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:36 PM on June 1, 2011

1. Brewery Bar II has good (and hot) green chile. Warning: it is a dive, I don't know if that bothers you.

2. I don't even understand this. What mall is interesting? Aren't they all about the same -- a mall is a mall? Cherry Creek is a mall certainly.

3. Rioja in Larimer Square is good. Kinda spendy for me, maybe not for you.

4. 2nding or 3rding driving up to Estes Park. You can go through Boulder (loads of good food) and Lyons. Oh, and Boulder has Pearl Street (an outdoor walking mall which is actually more interesting - just by virtue of it being outside - than any other mall I can think of). In Estes Park eat at Sweet Basilico. Or, if you just want an awesome big greasy sandwich go to Chicago's Best.

If you come back down by taking the Peak-to-Peak highway south from Estes then down the canyon from Nederland - you could stop at Meadow Mountain Cafe in Allenspark (awesome breakfast) or the Millsite (bar with pizza) in Ward. Both Meadow Mountain and the Millsite will show you some local flavor.
posted by fieldtrip at 1:38 PM on June 1, 2011

The route I was talking about is the route that angab mapped (which is similar to Confess, Fletch's recommendation).
posted by fieldtrip at 1:45 PM on June 1, 2011

Here's my trip as a Google maps link
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:08 PM on June 1, 2011

Green chile in Denver? Um, I'd take your day trip to NM and get some proper green chile there.

As for a restaurant in LoDo: Wazee Supper Club for the pub variety gut busting food. TAG for a higher end experience.

Is the Cherry Creek Mall still worth it? I don't know of any mall that is worth the time and effort, but if that's the experience you really want then that's the only proper mall I know of in Denver.
posted by FlamingBore at 3:41 PM on June 1, 2011

If you're going later in the summer (not sure how soon is "soon") you should definitely go see a show by PHAMALy (the Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actors League). This summer they're doing How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. They are amazing, and not to be missed.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:18 PM on June 1, 2011

Almost everything I've eaten at has been outstanding. I hear the green chile is pretty good, but I have not personally tried it. Awesome carnitas and chorizo.
posted by 4Lnqvv at 10:36 AM on July 1, 2011

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