‘Some of the best things in life come in pairs’. Trite as it may be, we are all familiar with the phrases and sayings that revolve around twos:
- Two is better than one
- Goody two-shoes
- It takes two to tango
- Two peas in a pod
- Two sides of the same coin
- Lesser of two evils
- Two places at once
*Jen & Jennie hit the urban scene!*
My Ski Town Life partner, Jen Baker, and I were the brunch duo at the 5280 Brunch Event in March 2019 hosted at The Jacquard Hotel & Rooftop in Denver. I on my morning drive down from Vail and she on her trek from Crested Butte, anxiously awaiting some noshing and nibbling – two partners-in-crime meeting to enjoy pairings of food and drink. Well, that makes just two of us in attendance. The other attendees, which I would garner a guess would have been 90% girl groups and the odd-man-out (a preferred ratio for Jen and me as we raise 5 boys between us with our husbands, to boot). These ladies who brunch were emanating the cosmopolitan feel – women were turned out in striped jumpsuits, full hot pink pantsuits, velvet pants, ripped jeans, fringe booties and cold shoulder tops. We’re not in Kansas (insert “Vail” or “Crested Butte”) anymore! This sold-out event was radiating vibrancy galore!
Upon entering the energetic event, the design-your-own Bloody Mary bar beckoned. Yet, this was just the beginning of the cocktail extravaganza as a mimosa bar was set-up directly beside. Of course the classic mimosa was offered, but we also sampled pineapple mimosas with mint and grapefruit mimosas with basil.
*Mixing up my favorite Bloody Mary!*
The mini Monte Christo by Occasions Catering was both sweet and savory in each bite, a perfect pairing for a brunch dish. These sugar-glazed biscuit doughnuts were craftily made into sandwiches with ham, gruyere cheese and raspberry coulis. The sweet and savory combination is definitely a matching pair to be celebrated. We also sampled pretty and perfect beignets by Syrup that left a reminiscent coat of powdered sugar on my lips. Not that it needed to be rinsed off immediately, but alas, another cocktail creation called my name. “there …” is a watering hole in Denver that showcases clever cocktails such as the grapefruit martini I sampled. Roxor Artisan Gin, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime and grapefruit juices and lime zest provided a pucker-up feeling and energized me for more nibbling!
*Pineapple Mimosa with fresh mint*
Early Bird’s Crème Brulee French Toast with dark chocolate and dulce de leche was as decadent as it sounds, so when offered the second dish featured by Early Bird (the maple nut granola with honey yogurt), it was not apt for me to waste the stomach room on a yogurt parfait. No offense! Better to use that room for another splurge-worthy bourbon lemonade cocktail with Bear Creek bourbon, lemon juice and honey and garnished with a lemon.
Revelry Kitchen produced a celebratory Northside Ranchero with chile rojo, refritos, asadero, crema, black beans, a deliciously crisp and refreshing corn salsa with eggs on a corn tortilla. They also presented their churro doughnuts that are featured on their mainstay menu. HashTag, a play on brunch hash and TAG (another restaurant masterpiece by Troy Guard), provided a deliciously rich and layered pastrami hash with the hash made of potatoes, sautéed onions, baby kale and topped with a tangy mustard aioli. After a couple of savory dishes, a dessert taste would be a good juxtaposition, I supposed. Shall we eat the dessert craving with Annette’s ginger biscuits with grapefruit sugar or drink the craving with a RumChata root beer float? Both!
Side bar, if I may: I am not embarrassed to say that this was my first experience with RumChata, and I will assuredly have a repeat. Whether it is a RumChata rootbeer float or a couple of drinks that I scrounged on the World Wide Web, my next sample may be a Hot-a-Chata that mixes RumChata with freshly brewed hot coffee, a Hot RumChata with hot water, a dash of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick, a Buttered RumChata, or a RumChata Hot Chocolate with a caramel coated rim. I can only imagine the list of RumChata-inspired possibilities is endless.
*Steuben's Lox & Latkes * The Kitchen's Mushrooms & Eggs * Steuben's Avocado Goddess Toast*
Steuben’s served Lox and Latkes with tzatziki sauce. The latkes were perfectly crisp and seasoned to perfection with salt and pepper – a gorgeous platform for the salmon and the fresh and springy tzatziki. Steuben’s also gave us a herbaceous Avocado Goddess Toast that highlighted avocado slices, shaved radishes, green goddess schmear and fresh herbs. I LOVE a green goddess dressing and maybe its retro 1920s taste will come back in style, as what goes around comes around! The Kitchen offered earthy Hazel Dell mushrooms, braised red kale, soft boilled eggs, and ricotta salata on brioche bread. These fresh notes were ultimate tastes of foraging in springtime. Not to mention the delectable Fresco Martini with watermelon juice with rosé vodka, simple syrup, lime juice and finished with a sprig of mint. Refreshing at its finest!
In English refinement, we sampled Wendell’s silver dollar pancakes with homemade berry compote and a generous dollop of English clotted cream. From one of my favorite bruncheries in Denver, we sampled the Snooze offerings: OMG French Toast and Huevos Rancheros. I have personally inhaled a full portion of OMG French Toast at the restaurant; it is brioche bread stuffed with mascarpone cheese topped with salted caramel vanilla crème anglaise, fresh strawberries and toasted coconut. Yes, it is in fact a dessert masquerading as a brunch dish! The Huevos Rancheros combined green chili, crema, tortilla chips, black beans, cotija cheese and pickled vegetables with smoked cured egg yolk. This very unique addition of pickled vegetables provides a welcome zing to the hearty ingredients.
Finally, Briar Common’s Chicken and Waffle contribution had a sturdy waffle bite with a perfect balance of sweetness to support the generous portion of chicken salad on top. I absolutely loved the idea of serving a different take on fried chicken and waffle with a chicken salad that was creamy, hearty and savory. Briar Common’s, I commend your creativity on this one! I mean, just drop the mic now!
While two-somes are popular in phrases, threes are visually impacting in groups. ‘Three is beauty, three is symmetry, three is design’! So, coming Fall 2019, Ski Town Life will package three cookbooks together in a visually-appealing box set: Ski Town Soups, Ski Town Après Ski and the newest cookbook Ski Town Brunch. These beautiful cookbooks will be available online or at your local bookstore or specialty retailer. And, while no two things are alike, Ski Town Brunch has many recipes that simulate the same mouth pleasures as the recipes that were featured at the 5280 Brunch Event: hashes, cocktails, Huevos Rancheros, potato pancakes, avocado toasts, stuffed French toasts and even beignets.
I must sign-off, because after my brunch coma, a nap calls my name. And, it may have to be a 2-hour rest …
***Cover photo courtesy of Erica Natal***