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Holy Fucking Encore
cap, captain miss america

So I spent the night tonight at my friend Paul’s restaurant in Denver.

Paul and I were born four months apart. His mother is my godmother. We grew up together. I still remember when we were toddlers and he was so very proud to show me that he had learned how to take off and put on his pants by himself. Yeah. We go back that far.

There is one thing that Paul somehow inherited from my mother. And that is his amazing intuitive ability in the kitchen. Seriously, Paul is the first person who ever fed me bone marrow, which has got to be on the list of my top ten favorite foods. Paul is now the chef and owner of one of the top restaurants in Denver, Encore. His little sister, Aileen, who is also a dear friend of mine, is now the manager, and she’s really gotten the place completely and totally on the right track since the last time I was there. Freaking amazing.

I just spent seven hours there. Literally.

This is pretty much standard for when we come out here. Encore has this amazing kitchen that turns out stuff you wouldn’t have anywhere else, but they also make kickass burgers and pizzas, and most of the clientele come for the burgers and pizzas. So we come, and Paul whips out the most amazing small dishes ever.

He’s also got a new bartender, Adam, who is freaking awesome. He just got into Root about the same time I did, and he’s mixing two cocktails with it now. He also made me one of the best Manhattans I’ve ever had in my life, and a really really fine martini for my mom with a local gin called Rob’s, which I’ve now been promised a bottle of.

That’s the Discrepancy Theory, Adam’s twist on a Vieux Carre, which is Old Overholt Rye, Root, and Benedictine. And my mom’s martini in the background.

Crab with cherry tomatoes and pickled ramps. PICKLED RAMPS. I wouldn’t have needed anything else on this dish. Pickled ramps! Paul also has a giant jar of pickled fiddlehead ferns. Genius!

Oh my god. This ravioli. LAMB BELLY RAVIOLI.

Pork belly over homemade kimchi.

Cassoulet with wild mushrooms and duck liver sausage.

Softshell crab over polenta with broccoli greens

Yellow beet salad.

Duck leg confit. Oh my god. All I have to say is that I had one of the most perfect bites of duck fat I have ever eaten in my life. Everyone should have one before they die.

The duck breast had some awesome things with it, like some asparagus and goat cheese ravioli and some peaches, but honestly, I mostly remember the fat.

This is the gnocchi. They are cooked the traditional way and then sauteed which is why they are all crispy. Yum!

Donuts! Paul’s specialty from the very very beginning of his career have been donuts, and he usually has a donut on his menu. The donuts were really the first thing that got him noticed, when they were featured on the cover of a magazine a few years ago.

Okay, this? This is porn. When I told Paul about the perfect duck fat on my duck, his eyes lit up and he brought me out this. Do you see what it is? It’s POPCORN POPPED IN DUCK FAT. Covered in salted caramel and with hazelnuts mixed it. POPCORN. POPPED. IN. DUCK FAT. Holy crap. Who does that?!

Anyway, if any of you are from the Denver area, Paul is going to have that popcorn plus a gin punch Adam is making on Sunday at the Eat Denver event. Adam brought us a glass of the punch, it was very nice.

I also got to try two amazing local gins, Jackalope and Rob’s. Rob’s made one of the best martinis I have ever had. And I had some Avery’s Maharaja IPA, one of the hoppiest, most incredible IPAs I think I’ve ever had.

All in all, awesome night. So much food. A++ Would nom again. And I’m not only saying it because Paul is one of the most awesome people I know. Tomorrow, I get to meet his daughter, Gracie! Eeeeee.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

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oh dear gods above and below, I never knew this amazing place was in MY OWN CITY!

oh, and welcome back to the MetroPlex. Hope the weather stays nice for you, it's been raining a bit lately.

Wow, I now want to experience duckfatpopcornOMG. Sadly, I am doing Tarot readings at work on Sunday. Have a drink for me and some OMGDuckPorn as well, eh?

Travel Safe!

Oh geez! Go there, ask for Aileen or Paul, and tell them that you know their cousin Tea. It is freaking awesome, they are freaking awesome, and you will have an awesome time!

The weather has been just as bad in New York, so I'm delighted by the weather here today.

And aww, that is so sad! I won't be at the event as I have to fly home that day, but maybe they will start sneaking the duck popcorn onto the happy hour menu?

oh damn. Well, have a safe trip and I will surely try to get there and drop your name and hope for OMGduckpopcorn! I hope you have a great time while you are here!

Yes, I told Paul that one of my LJ friends might stop by. He was very excited!

I'm sending a friend of mine who's in Denver for the next few months--looks like amazing food.

It is amazing food! Hooray, yes, tell everyone!

i wish he'd been there when i was going to school! XD;;

i used to live near the molly brown house in a building called Gotham City.


oh woooow. have always wanted to try duck confit (also, popping corn in duck fat = ACE. makes duck fat fries look pedestrian). it's why i keep being tempted over to the hudson valley website, just for the bucket of duck fat.

also both the cassoulet and the crab look amazing. gah. am now hungry.

You need to try duck confit. It's one of my favorite foods ever in ever.

Where is this bucket of duck fat? I want to seee!

It was all amazing. The ridiculous part is that Paul says they have trouble selling soft shell crabs. Meanwhile, I eat at least one a week in the summer.

My mom is friends with the guy who owns this amazing local fish market on Long Island. He saves softshells for us every week and sells them to us for way too little money. I think I was born with a culinary fairy watching over me.

Also, omfg, I want to eat that website.

Edited at 2011-05-22 08:26 pm (UTC)

Colorado should not be so far away.

You would have loved the popcorn so so much.

If I make it to Denver at some point, I'll be contacting you for the address of this place. YUM!

Crispy gnocchi?? And omg everything else, but crispy gnocchi?! OMG.

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