Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cookie Dough Pie, Burger King

I've always liked cookie dough choc-chip ice-cream, so when I saw this on the dollar menu at Burger King (that's Hungry Jack's for my mates down under), I thought to myself, "Why not?".

Well, it turned out to be a sweet and creamy mess. It wasn't really bad actually, just that maybe I expected something richer and thicker, it was more like mousse that had melted a bit. I did like the crust though, tasted like it was made of chocolate graham cookies.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs, Denver, Colorado

I came across this cart along the 16th street mall and apparently Biker Jim's is somewhat of an icon. Now having tons of hotdog carts in New York, I've found them a decent bite on the go but never really anything that special. However, the menu at Biker Jim's proved interesting enough for me to give it a shot.

I've always been a fan of wild meats or game. Some may be put off by the "game" flavor or scent but I guess that's really the lure which make game lovers such as myself seek out such fare.

I remembered ordering three different dogs but to be honest, I can't remember which one was which! I'm quite sure this is the elk jalapeno cheddar dog because it had a hint of spiciness in it.
Bottom-line is all the dogs were cooked fresh, tasted extremely meaty and were good enough for me to down three.

Here's the second one.

And the third. All the dogs were different but none of them were wrong. It's worth trying out the rest on the menu one day. There's also a whole range of condiments and sauces on the side like relish, cheese sauce, mustard, horse-radish etc. One interesting thing to note is that his grilled onions are grilled with "Coca-cola", something I'm sure to try out at my next bbq.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Cheesecake Factory, Denver, Colorado

The Cheesecake Factory is not really native to Denver, actually it's a chain that started from Beverly Hills, California. I first tasted a slice of their cheesecake in Chicago about four years ago and remembered it pretty good (it helps that I'm quite fond of cheesecake to begin with), so when I chanced upon this one along the 16th street mall, I decided to hop in for a little arvo snack.

We started off with a slice of their popular strawberry cheesecake. Rich and creamy cheesecake with the tart contrast of the glazed strawberries. This was as good as I remembered it to be. The freshly whipped cream on the side had that hint of vanilla which was most welcomed as well.

The hot chocolate was pretty decent. But being a rather warm day, I guess I just didn't appreciate it that much. I also felt it was a little too sweet as I prefer my hot choc slightly bitter.

The Godiva chocolate cheesecake tasted pretty good at the start as it was extremely rich but halfway we got quite tired of it quite frankly. The chocolate seemed to be overpowering the cheese flavor and it was just a tad bit too heavy for us to finish. I still prefer the subtlety and balance of flavors in their strawberry cheesecake.

Wow, if I thought the hot chocolate was too sweet, I guess I wasn't ready for their caramel latte. This stuff will induce hyperglycemia. None of us could finish this bummer of a beverage. I guess, in the end, their conventional cheesecakes are really what they are good for. Hence, the name.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chopsticks China Bistro, Denver, Colorado

Chopsticks was another highly recommended place to try in Denver. Located at 2990 W Mississippi Ave (tel: (303) 936-1506), they were able to stand strong despite the fierce competition from the high density of Asian restaurants in the vicinity. What I found rather interesting was that although on their sign, they're touted as being somewhat Shanghainese, the owners are actually Taiwanese and Hakka in origin. To the utter delight of two of my Taiwanese-Hakka colleagues, there were some Taiwanese-Hakka dishes on the menu. Well as long as the food tastes good, I'm there.

The first appetizer were deep fried pig large intestines. Most readers will know that I'm quite fond of these delicious crispy entrails. Needless to say, I was rather thrilled to find them here.

The xiao long paus (soup dumplings) were a big let-down. I know Denver was having a slight drought but that's no excuse for these juiceless, dry paus.

Sour and spicy soup was up next. Never really a diehard fan of this soup, but it did help whet our appetites abit.

The Chongqing chicken was really good. Despite coming with the bone, the spicy Sichuan peppers and dried chilies ensured a decent kick of flavor.

Apparently a "hard-to-find" Hakka dish, the stewed pig intestines in vinegar and ginger was surprisingly quite nice. I don't really have a penchant for sour foods entirely but this had a nice savory balance as well which made it quite tasty indeed.

I don't really recall the name of this dish. It was some mixed-up Hakka stirfry of sorts. I don't remember it being foul though, so I guess it must have been fairly decent.

Whoa, cashew nut chicken. This was definitely a pick from the pseudo Chinese foods list but nevertheless, who is not guilty of enjoying even a General Tso's chicken every now and then.

Some fresh vegetables stirfried with garlic. Fresh and crisp with a nice refreshing flavor.

Lastly we had a Taiwanese fried vermicelli which was a pretty nice way to end the meal. It had sufficient smokiness and flavor but most importantly enough grease to prevent the vermicelli from clumping together. Not bad, Chopsticks definitely was a nice breakaway from all the Western fare we had over the past few days. Funny as this may sound, the only let-down dish was Shanghainese, so it may be wise to just stick to the Taiwanese and Taiwanese-Hakka fare.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sam's No.3, Denver, Colorado

Sam's No.3 is a popular joint not just with tourists but also the locals. In fact, a big group of workmen having a late breakfast here was further affirmation of how this joint is still keeping it real.

The chicken enchilada was a big greasy, cheesy mess. But what a tasty mess this was. The salty cheese was balanced nicely with the generous topping of salsa and the chicken bits were seasoned just right. Although I know it does not look the most beautiful of dishes, its flavor surely surpassed its cover.

Steak plus eggs equals pure genius. That's all I can say. Whoever thought of this "traditional" American breakfast deserves a Nobel prize. A medium rare 16oz ribeye and 2 eggs, both done medium (that's right baby, even the eggs were done medium); this is what I call breakfast!

After all those savory portions we needed something sweet to cleanse the palate. These fluffy butter milk pancakes doused with ample butter, whipped cream and maple syrup sure did the job.

Just to be on the safe side, I had to order one of these mega chocolate shakes haha. Well, what was it they said again? Breakfast like a King, lunch like a King, Dinner like a King? Do pardon my selective hearing impairment.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Le Central, Denver, Colorado

I've never been a big fan of French cuisine, come to think of it, this is probably my first post on French food. Somehow, the idea of dining French conjures an image of undersized and overpriced portions and flavors too subtle for my liking. However, this place was highly recommended so I decided to drop by whilst I was in Denver.

We started off with some refreshing wine.

The first starter was a salad with smoked duck breast. The nutty flavor of olive oil infused with a slight citrus and tangy dressing paired well with the salty smoked duck. The salad leaves were also crisp and fresh with gave a nice textural contrast.

Steamed mussels in white wine and spicy chorizo were next. A dish that can't really go wrong provided your mussels are fresh. Fortunately, these were fresh and plump. The sauce was great for bread dipping.

The escargots served in a mini brioche on a creamy saffron sauce were also pretty good despite the smaller portions compared to the rest of the appetizers.

Baked fish with a blended salsa dressing. Not sure how this is really French but it tasted pretty decent and the fish was sizable chunk.

The baked lobster was a bit of a let down though, I'm not sure if this crustacean wasn't exactly fresh or if it was overcooked but the flesh was more mushy than firm.

The crispy roasted duck leg was actually pretty good despite being drowned in a sauce that was way too overpowering in flavor and saltiness. Once you scrap off some of the sauce and savor the flesh of the duck, it wasn't too bad.

Since Thursday is souffle night, we had to try some. The chocolate souffle was executed beautifully. Light and fluffy in texture with enough chocolate richness.

The citrus souffle was just as good. In fact, I actually preferred this over the chocolate as it had a lighter and more refreshing taste.

We also ordered a slice of their chocolate cake which was really only average. Well all in all, there were some hits and misses here for sure. The biggest let-downs seem to be the mains, the appetizers (especially the mussels with the free flow of shoestring fries) and the desserts were their redeeming factors.