Steep Coffee and Tea – Much Needed Modern Relaxation

Steep Coffee and Tea, 4100 E 8th Ave, Denver, CO 80220. Credit: Kirsten Ebey

 

While waiting for a haircut appointment, Steven and I decided to take a walk down 8th St, a neighborhood we haven’t really explored yet. This is when we stumbled upon a coffee and tea shop that looked long established, and fixated within the community. Oddly enough, Steep Coffee and Tea only came into existence 3 ½ months ago!

As cliche as it may sound, as you walk into the store, you can’t help but exhale a sigh of relief. Honestly, the relaxing, neat and simple-yet-orderly interior provides a familiar welcome of home. It’s definitely a place you can let your hair down while finishing up some work utilizing free wifi, reading a good book, or just catching up with a friend.

We were greeted at the counter with free samples of delicious blends of tea, cream, coffee, lemonade, and beyond – sometimes all at once. I thought I was some sort of self-created tea connoisseur before visiting Steep – nope, wrong. I had never had blends like Steep had created effortlessly – earl grey tea mixed with a vanilla cream, served chilled. Why didn’t I ever think of that? What an amazing combination! So of course, I order this new-found love of my life, and Steven ordered a strawberry Tea-monade, a mixture of strawberry, lemonade, and tea, also chilled – a super refreshing drink that is perfect for these summer months. Bonus: All tea varieties are gluten free and all signature drinks can be created Vegan. 

 

Of course, we couldn’t stop at just the drinks – Steep offers an assortment of baked goods (collaborating with another 8th Ave business, Leaf & Crumb) and panini’s. Their small, creative food menu is perfect for hanging out and having a snack, or on the go lunch. A small cooler area at the counter holds numerous Naked juices, Izze’s, and other on-the-go beverages.

Earl Grey Vanilla Cream (left) and Strawberry Tea-Monade (right). Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

 

While Steven ordered the Pesto Chicken Panini, I took a stab at the Chicken Tuscan. Our entire order – two fairly large beverages and two panini’s – was under $20. As you all know, it can be very difficult to get a good lunch for two under $20 in this city, and even MORE difficult to be completely ecstatic about what you received! I was so pleased that this beautifully modern, creative establishment had such affordable and delicious food. I’ll say it – I judged the book by its cover; I thought for sure our small lunch would cost closer to $30. Everything that we ordered was above and beyond my initial judgment – the food is affordable; the staff is easy going and polite; the owner, Dan Cohen, is a cool, down-to-Earth guy that is right there in the action behind the counter; the value is definitely apparent in visiting Steep.

 

Mmmm Chicken Tuscan “sammich”, as Steven and I say. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

After speaking with owner, Dan Cohen, we got the feeling that he was really aimed at bettering the community with his shop. For example, the napkins and cup containers are all biodegradable and / or recyclable, which is such a huge plus in lessening our footprint. He supports local artists by providing his shop’s walls as a place to display original artwork for sale. He worked relentlessly (with local design assistance) to get the ambience and atmosphere of Steep just right, and totally nailed it. Classes are held, discussing and educating the community on the world of tea and all of its benefits. The interest is so far from becoming the “Next Big Thing”, or another stuffy, materialistic tea and coffee shop, which we thank him for. If I wanted to go to a commercial chain coffee shop, I would have – there are more than enough readily available on 8th, and in Denver in general.

Steven Mercer enjoying his Pesto Chicken Panini. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

Steven Mercer enjoying his Pesto Chicken Panini. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

 

Visiting Steep can be done by car or bike – there’s plenty of free parking as well as street parking available. Opportunity exists in numerous areas around the shop to lock up your bike.

 

Definitely stop by and watch the patio come to life – Steep hopes to have this project completed next month, providing more seating and the ability to relax and enjoy outside. Additional pluses about Steep are the other product offerings within the shop. They have a plethora of tea paraphernalia like steepers, mugs, and pots (to name just a few) inside, available and ready for purchase.

 

For more information about Steep, be sure to click the links within this DenverSpeax’s feature and head to their Facebook page. I especially love all of the pictures they have reaffirming how awesome they are. Check it out!

It’s Wednesday!! – Denver Bike Night – Denver Cruisers

It’s that time again! Each Wednesday, a theme is chosen and Denver bikers meet in one of three locations, disclosed by Denver Cruisers. This week, the theme is Bible Belt and Panties. What does that mean? What do you wear? Hell if I know, this is only my second time attending… but one thing I can guarantee is that it’s going to be awesome. Here are some pics from last week: 

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Download the DBN To-Go app to find out more about tonight’s meet-up location; Denver Bike Night website is also available for further info. I hope to have a more informative write up for you all tomorrow after I join my second Bike Night tonight! Keep your eyes peeled for info regarding the after party as well. Can’t wait to see you there! 

More Top Ciders Served At Beer and Wine Festivals

Awesome news regarding the upcoming Epic Beer Festival – June 28 – 29th, 2013, right here in Denver!

Cider Nation

Bounty of the Hudson Wine Festival 2013

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Via Facebook – Warwick Valley Wine And Distillery will be serving Doc’s Draft Hard Cider

Mark your calendars for July 27th & 28th if you are planning on being in the Gardner area for Bounty of the Hudson!   Warwick will be there with our Doc’s Draft Hard Cider plus!  Tickets can be purchased at http://bounty2013.eventbrite.com/

Taste the wines from all wineries on the Shawangunk Wine Trail as well as several others from around the Hudson Valley region in the year’s largest gathering of wineries and producers!

Enjoy tastes and dishes from area restaurants, epicurean delights, farm fresh produce, and LIVE MUSIC!

Festival Hours:

12 noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Tickets are good for one day only.

Advance Ticket Sales End Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 11 p.m.  FOR MORE INFORMATION

Epic Beer Festival – June 28-29 in Denver, Colorado

Cider from…

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Make Music Denver! – FREE event – Friday, June 21st

Make Music Denver! - FREE event - Friday, June 21st

(Credit: Make Music Denver Official Website, June 2013.)
Make Music Denver is making their 2nd Annual showing this Friday, June 21st, presented by the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Downtown Business Improvement District. Per the website (click on picture), downtown Denver will support musicians from 520 cities and 106 countries at varies venues from 8 AM to 8 PM. This event is FREE and for ALL AGES. Take a peak at the site for venue and additional info. Also, check out Make Music Denver’s Facebook page, and like ‘em. Support local events, local artist, and local movements. See you there!

Watercourse Foods – Making Bellies Smile

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Watercourse Foods Menu (click picture for link) Credit: Kirsten Ebey May 2013

Let’s get something straight right off the bat: I am not a Vegetarian, but a self-proclaimed foodie. I love meat, and all the benefits / consequences it has to offer. I just don’t see myself crossing over to the Vegetarian world any time soon.

With that said, let me introduce you to one of my favorite restaurants in Denver: Watercourse Foods, a 100% Vegetarian Restaurant situated at 837 E. 17th Ave. Over the past decade, Watercourse Foods has grown from a breakfast and lunch only operation to a full blown restaurant (including breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and bakery, open 7 days per week. With a beer and wine license, Watercourse has the ability to run wicked drink specials you can pair with your meal, anytime – my favorite being their signature mimosa. Delicious!

Watercourse Foods includes indoor and outdoor seating, and provides plenty of opportunity to lock up your bike. Street parking is also available surrounding the restaurant, and usually isn’t too difficult to locate.

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Watercourse Food’s Portobello Po Boy with lemon caper aioli, french fries, and quinoa salad. Credit: Kirsten Ebey May 2013

My ultimate dish at Watercourse is the Portobello Po Boy. A native of Louisiana, I know my Po Boys, and let me tell you: this Vegetarian style Po Boy is the whip. Topped with cole-slaw and lemon or chipotle caper aioli on a kaiser roll, how can you go wrong? If that’s not enough, no worries – two sides of your choice complete the meal. To be honest, I clap every time it’s presented to me. it’s like Christmas.

Another favorite of mine is their Ho Ho Cupcake. I apologize for not having a picture to include because it’s the most glorious cupcake I’ve seen in a while. Chocolate genoche atop  a chocolate cupcake filled with cream. So simple, yet so much flavor. It took 3 of us and 5 minutes to tackle this monster.

Portioning of all plates, regardless of appetizer or meal, are fit for sharing. So, share the love of your delicious menu choices with your friends or family you bring to the restaurant, as everything is amazing. There is definitely no skimping on portions at Watercourse Foods!

Although it has been busy each time I’ve visited (late afternoon lunch, every time) and the restaurant is packed, I’ve never had to wait. I’m unsure of the wait times in the evening and morning, but would assume it would be quick due their vast seating arrangements (numerous table tops, outside seating, and the bar), their swift, attentive wait staff, and the magical way your food disappears from your plate minutes after receiving.

The ambience is cool and welcoming, which the wait staff compliments very well. The appearance of the food is amazing – I often find myself looking around at everyone’s plates, and wondering what they ordered so I can get it next time! For the time and energy Watercourse Foods puts into every dish, including utilizing fresh ingredients, I can’t believe that it is still affordable – everything is priced very well, which is great for such a unique, creative establishment.

Is your mouth watering yet? Need a late afternoon snack? Head on down. 🙂 Support local restaurants, and make your belly smile.

Westword Music Showcase – Are you ready?

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Denver’s Most Popular Music Festival – Credit: Westword Music Festival’s Official Site (click photo to visit!)

This Saturday, June 22nd, Denver hosts 150+ bands on 12 (or 13 – the website says both) stages, filling the Golden Triangle Neighborhood and beyond with sound from multiple genres. Taking place from 12 pm to 10 pm on Acoma Street in between 11th and 12th, Tickets range between $30 – $100 and are non-refundable as this is a rain or shine event. Please keep in mind that while the main, outdoor stage IS all ages, other stages may be restricted to 21+ and 18+. Check the website for further details regarding restrictions.

Denver is well known for its talented local music scene. Home to great venues like the Ogden, the Fillmore, and the Bluebird, it’s no sweat for a festival such as the Westword Music Showcase to pick 150 local bands out of the Denver music crowd. Even better, Denver has so many great locations outdoors that, paired with the amazing summer weather, create incredible concert venues.

A few things to keep in mind regarding this show:

  • Chairs are not allowed, but blankets are totally fine.
  • You are unable to BYOB & snacks, but there will be plenty of restaurant sponsors available as well as alcohol for sale. All cash basis – ATM’s will be scattered.
  • You can ride your bike, but it can’t come in with you. Make sure to bring your Ulock and lock that baby up outside.
  • Your four-legged friend will need to have a nice, quiet night. No animals allowed, unless they’re service animals.
  • Leave your toy / squirt guns at home. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • It’s going to be a hot one! Bring your suncreen, a floppy hat, and empty camelpack or large water bottle. Stay hydrated.

With that said, let’s get down to the music. A few bands really caught my attention:

The Mowgli's in Kansas City - Credit: Mowgli's Facebook Page Photos

The Mowgli’s in Kansas City – Credit: Mowgli’s Facebook Page Photos

The Mowgli’s
No, it’s not just because my dog’s name is Moguly. I’ve heard this San Fran-based band on Denver’s Modern Rock Channel 93.3 since I’ve been in town, and love their fun, upbeat tempo. Also, for some reason, their music brings me back to freshman year of college, hanging out in my best friend’s dorm room at MSU listening to The Polyphonic Spree… with a handful of folk. The two bands have similar positive, group vocals that really pick you up, which is probably why I made such a crazy reference. Either way, the Mowgli’s musical definition of spreading joy, love, and unity totally bursts out of each song I’ve heard; what else can you expect from an 8-piece band whose lives have been intertwined since childhood? Looking forward to seeing these guys on the Main Stage at 3:05 pm this Saturday.

BLKHRTS - Gothic Rap group based out of Denver, CO.

BLKHRTS – Gothic Rap group based out of Denver, CO. Credit: BLKHRTS Facebook Photos.

BLKHRTS
Powerful. This gothic rap group’s music is so incredibly mood-influencing, and full of power not only due to their smooth-running voices, but also due to the steadily building beats the tracks are laid on. Denver’s own BLKHRTS, influenced by Sex, Drugs, Violence, Money, Death and LOVE (per their facebook page), is so hard to pinpoint a musical influence due to their originality. Their music, website, and entire presence screams contagious creativity that I can’t wait to see on Saturday. BLKHRTS will be at the City Hall Amphitheater at 5:15 pm.

Fresh Breath Committee
Classically smooth beats with mindful rhymes describes this hip-hop / rap genre group, Fresh Breath Committee. A distant reminder of Tribe Called Quest, this 7-member group consists of 5 talented MC’s, all featured on their own self-titled record label, Fresh Breath Committee LLC. This is definitely a group I’ll be considering for my own personal summer soundtrack while chilling in City Park. Take a peak at their Facebook page to check out their songs before the show Saturday; they’ll be at the City Hall Street Level stage at 6 pm.

There’s a few to get you started. Again, check out the schedule, scope out some band’s pages, and prepare yourself for a Saturday of awesome music in our most awesome city. Hope you have a great time, and we’ll see you there!

Come find DenverSpeax at the Westword Music Showcase this Saturday, June 22nd.

Come find DenverSpeax at the Westword Music Showcase this Saturday, June 22nd.

Riot Fest – Denver, CO – September 2013

Riot Fest - Denver, CO - September 2013

The Riot Fest line-up looks sick this upcoming September. Make sure you tell your boss that weekend is BOOKED. Credit: (Denver) Riot Fest

Although two tiers of the 2-day Riot Fest Show (Saturday, September 21st – Sunday, September 22nd) have already been sold out, DenverSpeax is totally committed to 8+ tickets to this incredible line up in Byers, Colorado. If you haven’t checked out the line-up yet, I urge you to click click click. Bad Religion? Blink 182? Devotchka? Yes, please!

Camping is yet to be announced, but we’ll be snatching up some spots for a little adult-friendly camping time.

Hope to see you there – grab your tickets quick.

It’s All About Community – City Park Jazz

Pavillion within City Park Credit: Kirsten Ebey May 2013

A relaxing Sunday afternoon approaches us, filled with sunshine, yard games, friends and family, and, yes – Jazz in the Park. I’m referring to City Park Jazz in Denver, which happens only 10 times each summer, specifically on Sundays from 6 – 8 pm MST. Free concerts consisting of mostly jazz, salsa, and blues genres bring the community of all ages together drawing on a tradition that actually began 130 years ago.

City Park Jazz, a charity that is community-based and supported, consists of numerous volunteers that collect donations during the free show and help with the upkeep of the park before, during, and after. Many groups show their support and love for Denver, but not quite like this organization; honestly, nothing shows love for Denver like collecting over 80,000 fans in a single City Park Jazz season (2011 – Credit: City Park Jazz).

What’s so cool about sitting in a random park on a Sunday listening to music? Oh, I’ll tell you, my friends:

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Lynz visiting from LA May 2013 Credit: Kirsten Ebey

Atmosphere
The park boasts 317 acres of raw, beautiful landscape including Ferril Lake, the infamous boathouse, ponds, paths, wide-open grassy areas, and trees new and old. The sounds from City Park Jazz only enhance the surrounding beauty.

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Moguls on a walk in City Park May 2013 Credit: Kirsten Ebey

Dog Watching
You can bring your dog (on a leash)! Many people do, which calls for a pretty eclectic mix of Denver’s canines. My friend Shawna is very good at pointing out specific breeds of dogs and filling me in, which is super interesting! We’ve seen some pretty cool, rare breeds that I doubt I’ll be able to see again (anywhere short of watching Animal Planet). If you bring your four-legged friend, please remember bags for their business, and keep in mind that 100’s of dogs will be in the surrounding area. Trust me, it’s not made for everyone.

People Watching
Do I need to explain? You have thousands of individuals in one area of Denver. Entertaining is an understatement.

Food
You can make and bring your own, or hit up a few of Denver’s finest Food Trucks. Note your wait time will be long unless you visit the trucks early.

Hanging out at City Park Jazz May 2013 Credit: Some dude nice enough to take the picture for us. Thanks!

Friends and Family Time
I hope I don’t only speak for myself when I say that I absolutely love being with my friends and family, hanging out, drinking a few beers (you can bring that, too!), and playing yard games, like LadderBall. At City Park Jazz, you can do all of these things in the presence of those who are most awesome in your life, while listening to music for free. Pack up some snacks and a cooler of beer, and scope out / secure a spot early before the show starts. There’s plenty of room, but depending on your viewing preferences, or yard games being hauled along (badminton requires a little more space, just saying), get there before 4 pm MST to secure your epic location. You don’t want to be stuck next to the smelly guy and the screaming child, do you? Also, if parking close to the park, you’re going to need to leave EXTRA early. If you can walk or bike there, that’s your best bet.

So there you have it – the rundown on City Park Jazz. It’s such a cool experience that this great city offers and should definitely not be passed up this summer. Check out the schedule of acts booked, and scam the website for additional information on how to get involved with the organization.