Steuben’s Food Service – A Classic Denver Eatery

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Outside signage on the side of the Steuben’s building – just added a touch of colors. Click on the picture to visit their Facebook page, and of course – like ’em! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

A few weeks ago on a Saturday night, my friends and I were jonesin’ for a place with great food where we could sit, relax, eat dinner, and be merry. Up until this point, I’m not quite sure how many people had looked at me in horror, and with a high-pitched voice exclaimed, “WHAT? You haven’t been to Steuben’s???!!??” No more of that – I have visited and endured the famous, comfort-food eatery that is Steuben’s Food Service.

Steuben’s is situated at 523 E. 17th in Denver, on the corner of 17th and Pearl in an old auto-garage turned restaurant. The restaurant sports many areas to park (and lock up) both your bike and your car; however, with the popularity of this place I’d hands down suggest riding your bike. It can be tricky to find a spot to park on the weekend when everyone has the same idea as you to visit!

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Simple and beautiful table arrangements with a filling, great-tasting menu. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

What’s great about the Steuben’s experience is the fact that there’s something for everyone (kids included!). The menu is so diverse and does a great job of including new and old American comfort food favorites. Capturing regional influences, dishes are re-created from fan favorites all over the country, and provided for a moderate price here in Denver at Steuben’s. Favorites include shrimp and grits, mac n’ cheese, fried chicken, and (my extremely satisfying choice) a cayenne etouffee. For starters, we ordered up some steubie snacks – little fried pieces of meat topped with powdered sugar, paired with a delicious sauce that actually off-set the sweetness of the powdered sugar. Simply genius, fellas – simply. genius.

We sat inside, and unfortunately with the lighting, the pictures I took of our food were reluctant to provide real insight into Steuben’s awesome offerings; thus, I left them out. By the way, in addition to having indoor seating and bar seating, Steuben’s also provides a great patio, perfect for the weather we’ve been experiencing here in Denver. The ambience where we sat was nice, calming, home-like, and welcoming. I could definitely sit back, relax, and enjoy some great food – just what we were hoping for!

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Walking into Steuben’s to get some good eats! Click on the pic to visit Steuben’s Official Website Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

Don’t really have time to sit down and eat? No worries – they offer a take-out menu, food truck, and sell a Vesta cookbook! Not really hungry, but interested? Look up their episode on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives and see for yourself before you try it out.

Another awesome place to visit in Denver; go check it out this weekend when you have a hankering for something new. Quite sure you won’t be disappointed!

Need something to do? Check out 16th St. Mall

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Looking at the 16th Street Mall from the median. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I took my new friend Jeff (also a Michigander – we’re everywhere) to the 16th Street Mall to walk around, as he had never been. As he had just moved to Denver a week prior to our mall excursion, I felt it necessary for him to see it in all of its glory! It’s a mall in the sense of the British term, so more related to a boulevard. Shops, banks, and other businesses line the street on either side, and free pedestrian buses drive up and down. There are multiple stops along 16th street, collecting and dropping off the tons of people that inhabit the area each day. Not only are the free buses a great way to get to one end or the other in a timely manner, they can also be a savior when your feet are disagreeing with your choice of walking shoes.

In addition to the commercial shops of the mall, art pops up everywhere – different sculptures of wood, metal, and everything in between line the 16th St. Mall, making it THAT much cooler to get out and walk both sides. Along the middle, or median, of the 16th street mall, brightly-painted pianos reside, ready for anyone and everyone to stop and play. These were placed by the Downtown Denver Partnership in a launch lovingly referred to as “Your Keys to the City” in 2011. All pianos are painted by local artists, using their own particular inspirations.

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Jeff found a new friend on the 16th St. Mall! Pictured: Jeff Doorn. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2013

Whether you stop in at H&M, have a burger at Johnny Rockets, or just lolly-gag around, there’s plenty of things to do and see on the 16th St. Mall. Pick up a sweet Colorado shirt from one of the many tourist shops along with a few rad postcards to send to your friends and family. Make sure to take in all of the interesting and entertaining people watching and street performers. A robot street performer named RoboMike, pictured below, is an expert at making passers jump, laugh, and smile – make sure you say, “Hey” when you see him!

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RoboMike is an awesomely funny performer that is guaranteed to crack you up – give him a shout the next time you’re on the Mall! Pictured: Jeff Doorn (left) and RoboMike (right). Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2013

Have a great time visiting the 16th St. Mall – definitely one of my favorite places to hang out in Denver!

Ace Eat Serve- Asian Comfort Food & Ping Pong

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Ace Restaurant, situated at 501 E 17th Ave in Denver, CO. This shot doesn’t come close to doing the incredible porch justice, but you can make out the mist pretty well! Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

You heard it right – Asian comfort food AND a dedicated Ping Pong (or Table Tennis) Hall reside at Ace Eat Serve Restaurant in Denver, CO. Add a bar and spacious outdoor patio with mist ducts along the rooftop edges, and you’ve got a feature-packed restaurant that’s perfect for numerous occasions such as hanging out, lunch with the family, or drinks after work.

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With so many faves, it’s so hard to choose just one! Or, two… or five. Click on the pic for Ace’s menu! Shawna Jones, pictured. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

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Pictured is the drink Ms. Shawna Jones ordered: Ace’s blackcherry soda and vodka. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

My friend, Shawna Jones, and I biked the 5 miles (roundtrip) to Ace on one of the hottest days we’ve had this summer, and sat out on the patio for lunch. First thing on our mind: cooling off. The falling mist was glorious, and checked that issue right off our list. Second thing on our mind: cocktails – that bike ride in the heat kind of wore us out, so in addition to water, we thought it best to order a tasty adult beverage.

While Shawna ordered a Vodka and ACE Blackcherry Soda (delicious, by the way- pictured right), I grabbed a Shiner Ruby, my favorite summer seasonal brewski that mixes grapefruit with ginger; also, what a great beer pairing for our upcoming feast.

The menu features a ton of Asian-style food favorites – dumplings, pork ramen, bibimbap, you name it. There are so many favorites listed that both Shawna and I ordered a total of five items to share – it’s THAT HARD TO CHOOSE. I had been to Ace one time previously and had an idea from that experience of what I just had to order: steamed vegetables (only $3 bucks for a heaping plateful of garlic- and ginger-infused, steamed veggies – that’s a steal!) and a Pork Bao Bun. Shawna ordered the Kalbi (Korean BBQ short beef ribs) and chicken dumplings. We both decided that since we were there, we really needed to just go for it, and ordered the vegetable potstickers as well – it was necessary. So, as mentioned earlier, a feast was had.

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Table sauces pictured: Black Bean Sauce (left) and Crisp Chili Oil (right). Click on the picture for a link to Ace’s Menu! Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

We waited probably about 20 minutes, which is such great timing. Although Ace‘s dishes appear to be so simple, each dish has crazy, complex flavor. Paired with their two signature table sauces, you can’t go wrong: the Crisp Chili Oil sauce (my favorite – I dump it on everything) consists of dried red chilies, sesame oil, and textured vegetable Protein while the Black Bean Sauce consists fermented soy beans, chilies, dark soy, and garlic (info gathered from Ace’s Official Website).

Pictured top, and clockwise: Veggie potstickers, steamed veggies, and Pork Bao Bun. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

Of everything we ordered, I honestly can’t pick a favorite – everything was amazing, and adding the Crisp Chili Oil sauce adds a whole new twist, bringing out flavors of the dish you would not otherwise notice as well as serving as a great enhancement for very lightly marinated, steamed veggies. If I had to guess though, I would think that the short ribs have found an irreplaceable spot in Shawna’s heart. In addition to the amazing food, the ambience is so incredible – there’s a very large hall within the restaurant dedicated for Ping Pong enthusiasts everywhere. On their website, you can view the rules of the game, as well as spot openings for when you and your friend can grab a table. The outside patio is perfect for these summer months, with the cool mist making it incredibly refreshing and comfortable to sit in the partial sun. The menu is built for all ages – kids menu, drink menu with happy hour specials, dessert menu, and juice bar in addition to the lunch and dinner menus, of course. There’s no way to peg what type of person to bring, and for what type of occasion – Ace Restaurant is so versatile yet welcoming that it’s the perfect location for business lunches as well as a stop during your night on the town.

Pictured above: Korean Short Ribs (left) and Chicken Dumplings (right). Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

There are plenty of places to park on the street, as well as bike racks available (remember your Ulock!). An extra bonus is being able to see your bike from the patio!

I hope you have the opportunity to stop and check out this great place; Ace Eat Serve is such a cool place to eat and hang out, and I can’t wait to go for my third time! There are so many places to eat in Denver, but sometimes you just find places that really resonate with you – Ace is definitely one of them. Go check them out! NOW.

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The amazing menu of Ace Restaurant. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013 Click the picture to be taken to Ace’s menu!

 

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Tacos, Tequila, and Whiskey – Yes, please!

Honestly, I ask you – what else do you need from a modern, Mexican eatery? Not only is the food outrageously good, the wait staff is incredible within this dim, but welcoming, restaurant.

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Lengua (left) and Pollo (right) street tacos served at the restaurant. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

Inspired by “comida de la calle” or, Mexican Street Food, Pinche Tacos brings the street taco to a whole new level, serving up perfectly portioned favorites like pollo (chicken), carne (beef), carnita (pork), and new faves, like lengua (beef tongue). Served on two small tortillas, the tacos are ordered from what looks like a tapas-inspred menu, complete with appetizers like the mouth-watering queso fundido con tequila (see picture below).

Personally, working in the Food & Beverage industry, I have my eyes peeled for a few things: righteously-flavored food with a presentation, a waitstaff that could either be my new best friend or I barely notice (depends on the scale of restaurant being visited), and a cool ambience. Pinche’s Tacos (yes, for all of my Spanish-speaking friends, that’s the real name) delivers all three, and makes it look effortless.

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Queso Dip at Pinche Tacos – credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

Because of this (and building / seating constraints), wait times can, and most likely will, exceed 45 minutes during peak times (weekends, dinner); this should NOT stop you from visiting either the Highlands location, or the Capital Hill location on York. Grab a drink at the bar! There is an indoor dining area complete with bar in addition to outdoor patio seating featured at the York location (closest to where I live – have not checked out Highlands yet). Also, for all of our bike lovers here in Denver, there are ample, secure places to lock up your bike (again, I speak for York). Don’t feel like stopping by and sitting down? No worries – they have their own food truck! Hunt them down.

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Pinche Limeade credit: Kirsten Ebey – May 2013

If you’re concerned about who to bring – don’t be. Pinche Tacos is appropriate for all ages. The 21+ crowd will definitely enjoy the Happy Hour menu. I strongly recommend the Pinche Limeade, and look forward to trying their other signature drinks. Shouldn’t be too difficult as members of the DenverSpeax crew roll into Pinche’s every week.

Hope to see you there! Cheers and Happy Eats.

 

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