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!

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.