Colorado Craft Beer Week 2014

Welcome to Colorado Craft Beer Week, going on March 21 – 29, 2014. Check out the calendar and participate in events all around Colorado at favorite breweries, pubs, and restaurants.

Don’t see your favorite brewery, pub, or restaurant on the event page? Check their websites or Facebook pages! Odds are, they’re planning something for you, your family, and friends to enjoy for Craft Beer Week!

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Check out Tommyknocker’s beer flights! Photo Credit: DenverSpeax, 2013

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DenverSpeax enjoys trying out new beers and keeping up with old faves. Photo Credit: DenverSpeax, Mar 2014

 

Tell us your favorite breweries and why – help us out with new places to visit. We have a Michigander coming into town this weekend, and would love to enjoy a new experience alongside him!

 

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Denver Dishcrawl Stop 1: LoHi Steak Bar, A Gathering Place

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Check out the gathering space provided in the private room of LoHi Steak Bar! Click on the pic to be re-directed to the LoHi Steak Bar’s website to check out their menu, specials, and events going on. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

 

A gathering place, LoHi Steak Bar is centrally located on 32nd Ave & Tejon St. – right in the middle of all the LoHi (Lower Highlands Denver, for you newbies) action.

With an easy locale, a welcoming atmosphere, and a killer restaurant and bar menu, it’s easy to see why LoHi Steak Bar is an easy choice in LoHi.

The first stop on our Denver Dishcrawl, LoHi Steak Bar, accommodated our vast group in a private dining area. With name tags on our shirts signaling vegetarian or otherwise, dishes composed of their specialties were placed before us.

On other organized  “crawls”, it’s not uncommon to receive a dish or two crammed onto one, crowded plate; it’s also not uncommon to receive a well-versed speech regarding said crowded dish from some trainee who barely knows the joint.

LoHi sent out their best dishes and friendly, intelligent staff to go over the SEVERAL dishes they created and disbursed. Details of local ingredients and other facts of each dish were provided in advance of each plate devouring.

 

Check out the deliciousness LoHi Steak Bar prepared for the Crawl: 

First, we were provided button mushrooms stuffed with Polidori Sausage (a local Colorado company!). Lemon was provided to be squeezed over the mushrooms, adding an incredibly tangy flavor to the hearty plate. Well done, LoHi… well done. Also pictured is a fantastic Moscow Mule in the proper, copper mug. Just a friendly, DenverSpeax reminder – if it doesn’t come in a copper mug, it’s not real. Write that down.

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We have a weakness for Moscow Mules – it’s true… And, stuffed mushrooms? Let’s just call this photo “Heaven”. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

 

Next, we’re presented with “not your average” Hummus PlateLoHi uses fresh ingredients to concoct a thick, creamy Hummus with olives and red pepper. DenverSpeax feels there’s a fine art in creating your own house Hummus, especially when it tastes as great as their’s (and when you’ve tried countless times at home, each ending in failure…)! Great starter for your table of friends.

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LoHi Steak Bar’s Homemade Hummus. Click on the photo to check out this, and other, menu items. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

Here we go – the pride and joy of Stop #1 at LoHi Steak Bar – the vegetarian Portobello Sandwich (made especially for the Dishcrawl) and the House Ground Chuck Hamburger. Both were exceptionally prepared: juicy, fully dressed, and flavorful. There wasn’t the slightest hint of stuffy or dull – just two classics that delivered nothing short of satisfaction. Oh! Their seasoned, crispy House Frites were fantastic as well, and served as a welcomed and complimenting, over-indulgent side.

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Mmmm…..portobello sandwich. How we love thee! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

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For all of the carnivores out there, this one’s for you. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

As if all of this weren’t enough, LoHi went ahead and dished out creamy, delicious Cheesecake as well! Sorry, this went too fast for the camera to keep up – our sincere apologies.

Please keep in mind that this was only Stop #1 of 4 on the Denver Dishcrawl, folks. We understand that at this time you must REALLY be kicking yourself for not attending. We get it, and luckily there are more Dishcrawls coming up in Denver. Make sure you stop by the Dishcrawl site to check out the next events, and secure you & your friends’ spots. Even though we’re only one stop in to this magical, dish crawl blogging journey, I’m sure you’re understanding the great value and experience Dishcrawl.com is prepared to provide us all.

Not only does Dishcrawl bring us together within our beloved Denver community, it introduces us to great gathering spots, like LoHi Steak Bar. I think Maggie said it best when describing our first stop as a “non-stuffy” place; we agree that LoHi Steak Bar is perfect for relaxing and hanging out with those who mean the most. Check out their events, specials, and menus on their site. Also, make sure you invite us to your food fest – it hasn’t even been a week, but we’re ready for more mushrooms, burgers, and frites!

 

Mardi Gras 2014 in New Orleans, LA

We love visiting New Orleans. Period.
Not only do Steve and I, (Kirsten), get to see a large part of our family, but New Orleans is truly a flexible vacation spot. You can make the trip to NOLA whatever you want it to be.

I know, I know… I must be lying, right? Bourbon street, Bourbon street, Bourbon street…. NO! Honestly, New Orleans is more than just flashing, beads, and obnoxious Bourbon street – it’s like, the holy grail of culturally preserved areas that still remain within the United States. Let’s think about this – the state still follows Civil Code, established by French emperor, Napoleon, in 1804 (see Napoleonic Code), is the birthplace of Jazz (look up Buddy Bolden, born 1877), and has upheld tradition by producing the most delicious “fried fritters”, famously known as beignets, since 1862 at Cafe du Monde.

Because there is so much to do in this fantastic city, you can create a one-of-a-kind trip. Our kind of trip included going out and seeing the sights, staying in and catching up on some quality time with the family, and everything in-between. Check out our 4 night stay in New Orleans below over Mardi Gras, Carnival Season, 2014.

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Colorado Sunrise. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

We took off from DIA at 6:30 am on a plane headed to Houston, TX. Steve and I had found tickets for less than $50 each way, and picked up a rental car for less than $300. We had never driven from Houston to New Orleans before; be aware, driving in on the Friday before Mardi Gras is going to add about 3 hours to your already 6 hour trip. Here’s a tip if you do take this way – as soon as you can get on Airline Highway, or HWY 61, do it!

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The Mississippi River – in all of its dirty glory. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

Aside from using the car for transportation, going between Algiers Point and downtown New Orleans we used the Canal Street Ferry. In order to keep the ferry up and running in good, operating order, this past year a fee has been imposed of $2 each way. Coupons can be purchased in advance of travel that allow admission onto the 15 minute ride across the Mississippi River. Check out the view of downtown at night:

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Downtown New Orleans, all lit up! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

We attended a few parades both downtown and in Metairie. All of the areas we gathered to watch were family-friendly. Downtown, we set up shop in front of the Palace Cafe. Here’s a small taste of the fun:

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AH! Real Monsters! No, not really – but check out the cool costumes worn in one of the parades downtown. Credit: Kristen Ebey, Mar 2014

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Down in Fraggle Rock – a cool float we saw while attending a parade downtown. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

We find the parades just as fun as the kids do – stuffed animals, toys, and snacks are thrown in addition to beads. Our niece and nephew brought bubble guns to play with as well as played catch with a soft football in-between parades rolling. Mardi Gras parades are some serious fun, for grown-ups and kids alike.

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Our niece and her Uncle Steve enjoying a parade downtown on Canal St. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

Because we brought a newbie with us, we had a brief visit to Bourbon Street and explored the French Quarter; kidless, of course! We always make sure to keep our wallets safe, and not leave our drinks unattended. As long as you don’t act like a moron, you can have a really great time in the Quarter.

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The sun setting in the French Quarter. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

Here are a few great places to visit:

  • Pirate’s Alley – an Absinthe house (bar), close to Jackson Square that captures the New Orleans charm. Their Pimm’s Cups and Bloody Mary’s are to die for, and the staff is fast, quirky, and enjoyable.
  • The Original Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter – Grab a chocolate milk or coffee, and beignets at any time – they’re open 24 hours. Be aware, there will most likely be a line… but, it’s so worth it!
  • New Orleans Musical Legends Park – This is a great place to stop, listen to some live music, and grab a delicious bite to eat.
  • The Spice & Tea Exchange – if you love the food of New Orleans, you’ll need to stop by this shop on St. Louis to pick up spices to bring home. Their Cajun Spice and Gumbo File are phenomenal! Don’t pass this place up.
  • The Dry Dock Cafe– a neighborhood bar and grill, this place serves amazing seafood. Our favorite is the seafood platter, or the catfish po’ boy, fully dressed. Situated right across from the ferry in Algiers Point, it’s the best place to stop and get a brew on the way to the ferry, or even on the way home from the parade.

 

New Orleans is a great place to vacation at any time of year; there are actually more festivals than days in the year, meaning there’s always something cool to experience. Also, there are tons of tours you can pay for that will guide you through the haunted areas of New Orleans, swamps, above-ground cemeteries, and more.

Our advice: Set out in the morning, grab some beignets, and just bum around the Quarter and Jackson Square – meet some interesting people, listen to live street music, and take a peak at the amazing artists set up in and around the Square. There’s so much to do that it’ll be hard to leave.

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City at your fingertips! Credit: Jeff Doorn, Mar 2014

It’s a city that dangles fun before your eyes; a city at your fingertips! We can’t wait to go back in a few months and find fun, new and exciting places to go to share with you all!

For more on New Orleans, check out our sister-site, Nolaspeax and stay up to date on what’s good in New Orleans, LA.

 

DenverSpeax takes on OneSpark in Jacksonville

We’re very excited to announce that we will be featured in the Hemming Plaza venue of OneSpark, the world’s crowd-funding festival being held in Jacksonville, FL, this April 9 – 13, 2014. 

What’s OneSpark, you ask? OneSpark is a festival that brings creators from all over the world to one central place, Jacksonville, FL, to showcase their projects in fields like art, technology, innovation, and so forth, for a chance at $310,000 in crowd funds as well as $3.25 million in direct and capital investment. 

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CitySpeax in its initial phases!

We have launched a project called “CitySpeax – Your City, Your Love”, which is the expansion umbrella that sites like DenverSpeax, JaxSpeax, and NolaSpeax will be housed under. This one, central site of CitySpeax will support all of the cities under the umbrella brand, providing a one-site option to see what’s good in multiple cities around the globe. 

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First, there was DenverSpeax.

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Next came JaxSpeax! The low down on what’s good in Jacksonville, FL.

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Our latest site: NolaSpeax! The low down on what’s good in New Orleans, LA.

Why does CitySpeax matter? Good question – one that we have an easy answer for: COMMUNITY.
It strengthens local communities and economies by featuring local businesses, events, and other things to do within the given city / surrounding areas. It provides a place for small business to shine by being featured. It provides advertising that’s aimed at a small business’ budget, not a large corporate spend. It provides tourists and natives alike the access to what’s good in their targeted city with a few clicks of the mouse. 

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DenverSpeax, June 2013 – we’ve grown so much!

Why should you care about OneSpark? Well, because you, the reader, made this possible. Your love and support has provided us with the motivation to spread the good world all over the globe about what’s GOOD. By staying positive, and never focusing on the negative, you’ve provided us with the love and support to keep going, and to dream big. Thanks for having a positive impact on our lives, as we hope we have had on yours. 

 

Over the next month, we will be working hard to draw up plans for our 10 x 10 booth, which will showcase our CitySpeax project. Also, we will be working on free merchandise to give away to those who visit our booth, so make sure you stop by and say hello! We will make sure to keep you updated on our progress, and the results of OneSpark. 

 

Thanks again for being in our court, and providing the unlimited love and support that you have – it’s incredible, and we truly appreciate it. 

 

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24 hrs in San Diego

I’ve been in San Diego since 11 pm pacific time yesterday, 2/26/2014.  For the first time, I experienced the rain there which was a pleasant mist. Check out the shots I took below before moseying on back to the airport to fly home to Denver – a storm is a’brewin’!

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Boats hangin’ and rockin’, waiting for better weather. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

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No room at the inn. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

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Storm’s coming! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

Until next time, San Diego…

Brand Expaaaaand: CitySpeax Brand Picks up New City

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JaxSpeax aims to bring you the low down on what’s good in Jacksonville, Florida – thinking of visiting? Know someone in Jax? Curious about what’s going on and what’s good? Visit the site by clicking the picture above.

This past week, JaxSpeax came into existence to give you the low down on what’s good in Jacksonville, Florida. We have a great group down there ready to deliver the low down, and we’re so exciting to be expanding the CitySpeax brand in 2014.

As always, you will not find any negative reviews on JaxSpeax – just like DenverSpeax, they only want you to know what’s good in the city, and what’s “JaxSpeax approved”!

Follow them on instagram: @jaxspeax

Visit JaxSpeax on the good ol’ FaceBook and show ’em some love.

Twitter? Oh, yeah! @jaxspeax

Where will we go next? Stay tuned, friends…

Weekend Getaways: Seattle, Washington

With Frontier Airlines catering to us Denverites, it’s not uncommon to find plane tickets like we did to Seattle, WA, for $58 each way, per person. This has opened a whole new door to weekend traveling for us, starting with Seattle. Take a look at our trip, a Friday night through Sunday afternoon, two weekends ago!

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12th man! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

We entered the city by taxi from the airport; there is a railway that will bring you from SeaTac to downtown Seattle, however we were on a time crunch. The cab was approximately $40 versus the approximate $5 we would have spent journeying via public transportation. We always suggest taking public transportation when you can, but with an arrival time of 11:30 pm at night and only about 36 hours, we wanted to get downtown as fast as possible!

The weekend we visited, the playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints was taking place – as you can see in the picture to the left, the city was alive with the “12th Man” spirit.

Many office buildings arranged lights in the shape of the numeral “12”, representing Seattle’s fan as being the 12th man on the field. Their stadium was built to accommodate the 12th man’s ridiculously loud spirit, which we heard first hand echoing throughout First Ave that Sunday.

We stayed downtown on Pike street to help accommodate some of the walking for the weekend. Our hotel was a short, walking distance from Pike Place Market allowing us to spend time checking out the tourist attractions we HAD to see.

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View entering the Pike Place Market. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

After a hearty and FREE breakfast at the hotel, we hiked the mile through downtown Seattle to the Pike Place Market. Of course we stopped and watched fish being tossed around by a bunch of funny gentleman. Of course, we creepily eaves-dropped a city tour to hear a few generic facts about Seattle. Then, we simply meandered around! It’s great what you can find when you get lost.

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Steve accompanying a famous resident of Pike Place Market. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014.

We wandered in and out of the market, checking out each vendor on each floor. Outside, we strolled down Post Alley, famous not only for the beautiful street art (pictured directly below), but also for the Seattle Gum Wall (pictured further below).

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Eyes on Post Alley in Seattle, Washington. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

While patrons waited to enter the Market Theatre in the early 1980s, they began sticking their gum on the outside wall upon entry. Tada!, a wall of gum is born. Ranked one of the top 5  germiest places in the world, I found it easy to find simply via smell from quite a distance away! Yuck. A very cool sight, but not for anyone with a weak stomach, just a fore-warning.

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Seattle’s Gum Wall. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

In addition to the Pike Place Market, we also visited First Ave, the avenue leading up to the Seahawks’ stadium that Saturday. The evening was devoted to football, which meant finding a location to cater to New Orleans Saints fans in the city of Seattle. Impossible? Oh, no… not at all! We located The New Orleans, a great restaurant and bar on First Ave, serving delicious food and beer from the South. Check out the creole stew and mouthwatering jambalaya, served with a side of red beans and rice!

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Amazing creole food, just how we like it! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

The food was moderately priced, and worth every penny. I haven’t found another place that can make red beans and rice like my Momo in Metairie, Lousiana… until we visited The New Orleans! Absolutely delicious with a great staff to boot.

 We even saw the sun for a few hours off of the deck of The New Orleans!  The stories are true – Seattle is quite grey, but that doesn’t prevent those who visit from having a great time. Nonetheless, we were ecstatic to see the sun shine down, if even for a little while on our short trip.

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The sun shining on First Ave that Sunday in Seattle, Washington. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

When leaving Sunday afternoon, we provided ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport. Locals advised that traffic can be unpredictable, and with so many people entering the city for the game, there would more than likely be long security lines in addition to traffic on the road. After wandering around the city and seeing the sites, we were on our way back to sunny Denver, Colorado, to begin our work week.

Helpful Tidbits learned on this travel:

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On one of our many walks – the Washington State Convention Center. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

  • Need to buy souvenirs? Buy cool postcards of the city and send them to those you love! Everyone loves getting mail, and this is an inexpensive way to show people what you’re up to.
  • The Pike Place Market is full of interesting things to do year round – try the local’s guide to Pike Place Market and see what events are happening while you’re in town.
  • Seattle is full of microbreweries, many of which formed in the past few years. Take a tour to check a few out! Or, ask the locals to write down a few of their favorites, and you can create your own Seattle Pub Crawl.
  • To lessen expense and ensure a great start to your day, make sure the hotel you stay at serves breakfast. With so little time, it’s important to start the morning off right. Check out the Homewood Suites in Seattle on Pike Street where we stayed – complete with kitchenette, and short walking distance from Pike Place Market.

Watch for the inexpensive flights on Frontier and go visit the Emerald City when you get the chance. The locals are fantastic and providing suggestions of where to visit, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Check out more pictures from our trip on Instagram – @denverspeax
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