Posted on January 17, 2017
Looks good right? I could have stayed here all afternoon and sipped on cocktails but we had places to be and more food to sample! The nice thing about the tour is there is A LOT of food you get to try. Everything is small bites, not like full blown dinners, but it’s filling. I promise. Plus, after each restaurant, you get to walk to the next place, as your guide talks about the history and city around you. You’re getting to learn, burn off some calories, and eat all at the same time. It’s pretty fantastical.
Our next stop was Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen. The building itself is rich with history. As Chamae told us all about the building we got to sample their house made Beef Short Rib Kielbasa as well as their house-made mustards and kraut. True story, all the meat from here comes from Colorado animals. They make and cure almost all their meat. They also have a wonderful drink selection. We got a coupon for a free drink and we used it! We came back and sampled some more food and drinks later that evening and it was worth it.
We left Euclid Hall to be greeted by Christmas carolers dressed to the nines in 1920s garb and makeup/hair. The city really goes all out during the holidays and everywhere was decorated beautifully. Chamae continued to tell us about the history of many of the buildings and city as we made our way to our next stop, Little Owl Coffee, a cute little coffee shop with baristas who know their stuff and do some killer coffee art. The hot beverage on a chilly day, was a perfect break before we started in on some more food. I had a macchiato, while Kate opted for a hot chocolate, and Chamae had a latte.
After warming up we headed to our favorite stop. And no, it’s not what you would think. And trust me, everything we had was awesome, so this was a hard decision buutttt after much discussion we both agreed EVOO Marketplace was our favorite stop. Not your usual food tour stop either, which was why it was so memorable. It’s a family run shop and the brainchild of a husband and wife team, Mick and Carolyn Major. The whole store is based on the concept of ‘taste before you buy.’ And taste we did. All their olive oil and balsamic oils are the highest quality you can buy. From pressed and infused oils to a HUGE variety of white and balsamic vinegars. It was so much fun and Carolyn gave us a wonderful lesson before tasting about the processes of their different products. Then the sampling began, you take a little cup and pour yourself a little oil or vinegar and taste away. So many flavors all in one place, we couldn’t get enough! We loved it so much I got a whole case of different varieties for Christmas gifts.
These aren’t your ‘everyday’ oils and vinegars. I fell in love with their Sage and Wild Mushroom Olive Oil. Kate leaned more towards white vinegars while I loved the darks. All the vinegars are aged in barrels and are either infused or pressed (either aged with the product, or pressed into it in the beginning). We loved the Cara Cara Vanilla Barrel Aged Balsamic as well as the Grilled Pineapple Balsamic.
After EVOO, we headed out again! This time, Chamae took us into some historic buildings and bars before we headed to our next destination. Seriously, aren’t some of these places stunning?
Where ‘pearl’ buttons were first invented for cowboy-ware was in Denver, this is their store now.
Next on the docket was Zoe Ma Ma – Super Yummy Street Food. And yummy food it was! The owner, Ma Ma, was on hand to talk to about her food. It’s some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever had. And it’s all handmade with recipes from Ma Ma herself. It’s high quality ingredients include fresh homemade organic noodles, cage-free eggs, and all-natural meats. Not to mention the ‘sauce bar’ they have where you can mix and match different sauces to top all your food with. We got to indulge in Za Jiang Mian. It’s a Classic Northern noodle dish with fresh egg noodles, ground pork sauce, and julienned veggies. Kate and I almost licked the bowls clean. Plus, the vibe of the whole place was wonderful. It was like you were stepping into a little restaurant in China. I wish we had a few weeks in Denver because I would be back here every week just to try different dishes.
Ma Ma and our guide, Chamae.
Following happy bellies full of noodles, we headed off to Mercantile. It’s kind of like an open air market that specializes in cheeses and meats. They also have a wide variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, and pastries. It’s one of those places you’d want to come study or read a book so you can keep going back and getting little snacks all day. It was lovely. I wish we had time to sample everything, because let’s be honest, cheese is quite frankly one of the greatest foods in the entire world. We got to try Sheep’s Milk Ricotta from Fruition Farms, it came with little crackers and house-made jam. It was super yummy.
Our last stop (sadly) was Union Station which was a plethora of different food shops. We ended with dessert at the Milkbox Ice Creamery. It was pretty good in the ice cream front. It’s gmo free, 100% natural, and all sourced from local farms. I had salted caramel pb cup while Kate had Mocha Chip.
And with that, it was the end of our food tour. Sad day. Chamae was nice enough to walk us back to EVOO so we could continue to taste test. But what a great experience! Tons of good foods and off the beaten path food stops. Literally the cat’s meow of foodie tours. If you’re in Denver look up Taste of Denver. They do all sorts of food tours too! So you can pick and choose what works best for you.
Following our full bellies and food coma, we headed to the Parade of Lights! What a wonderful holiday tradition! The city is all lit up and the whole parade is filled with lights! They have lights on horses, dogs, even Santa! You name it and it most likely has a glow stick or lights attached. A fun little excursion that day and a cool thing to see in the city! It happens every year and even if you miss the Parade, the city itself is all lit up and is lined with little shops all decked out in holiday gear so that’s a pretty photographic experience too!
Now aside from the food tour, Kate and I seriously ate like queens for honestly, really cheap. We probably didn’t spend over $50 a day for three square meals and that’s pretty freaking awesome. We had three favorite places. Cafe Paprika was seriously the best. It’s a little hole in the wall and as soon as you pull up you’re hit with the wonderful smells of Mediterranean food wafting in the parking lot. Mediterranean food and me is like white on rice. I’m still thinking about the gryo meat (house-made) and mint tea that they pour from authentic teapots wwaayy up in the air. We also tried a dish called Bastilla which is like nothing I’ve ever had (which is rare). It’s layers of puffed pastry filled with spiced shredded chicken, nuts, savory herbs and topped with powdered sugar and more spices. Now sounds crazy right? But honestly, it was soo good. If you’re here in Denver and you have a love affair with Mediterranean food like I do, go here. You certainly won’t be disappointed!
Next on our list was the the The Denver Biscuit Company. Confession. This was the only place we ate at twice. The biscuits were that good. They have appeared all over various tv shows, probably most notably Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The biscuits are almost the size of your head and literally melt in your mouth. The sausage gravy would have any Southern Grandma begging for the recipe and the jams and butters will make you want to get another biscuit just to use them. If you looked up biscuit in the dictionary, The Denver Biscuit Company’s photo should be there. They’re that good.
Yes, be jealous of that biscuit. I’m jealous and I already ate there. Excuse me while I lick the screen. Last, but not least, on our list was the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. We went here during our day trip to Boulder. Starting off we drove Boulder Canyon, which is stunning in itself and has great hiking/biking trails as well as a number of pull offs to stop and absorb the beauty around you. If you have a few hours to spare, take the drive up Boulder Canyon and stop off and hike a bit.
The Dashanbe Teahouse is kind of a combo food, drink, architecture and artwork visit. The building is breathtaking. The whole building was created by 40+ artisans from several cities of Tajikistan. They created the decorative elements the Teahouse, including its hand-carved and hand-painted ceiling, tables, stools, columns, and exterior ceramic panels. It’s absolutely stunning. I’d recommend going here even if you’re not hungry. The craftsmanship of this building is so unbelievable. But we did eat there. And drink there. They offer unlimited chai. YES. YOU HEARD RIGHT. UNLIMITED CHAI. You empty your coffee mug and they REFILL IT. FOR FREE. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. We were in hog heaven. Add that to the artistry around us and the yummy small plates we had of hummus and veggies and a little sampler plate. People come here for tea (obviously) and the tea sandwich sit down experience. You have to have reservations for that, so plan in advance people!
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is and I’m the one writing this! But, in all fairness, I also got to eat all this deliciousness too. Hopefully that was a good little food tour of Denver. You can eat like kings and queens for cheap. Plus, there is soooo much to see! The scenery is breathtaking, the locals are wonderful, and there are more craft breweries and wineries then I could count! But go to Denver! Seriously. You won’t be disappointed. Especially if you’re a crunchy granola foodie like me! Until next time! -Alysha
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Category: Alysha Yoder Photography, food photography, recipe, Travel, www.alyshayoderphoto.com Tagged: alysha yoder photography, ayoderphoto, balsamic vinegar, biscuit, blogger, boulder, boulder colorado, boulder dashanbe teahouse, cafe paprika, cheese, colorado, denver, denver biscuit company, denver food, denver food scene, denver food tours, dushanbe teahouse, euclid hall, evoo, food, food of colorado, food of denver, foodie, gyro, holiday, kielbasa, lights, little owl coffee, meat, mediterranean, mercantile, milk and honey, milkbox ice creamer, mustard, olive oil, olive oil tasting, parade, parade of lights, sister, taste of denver, teahouse, the denver biscuit company, Travel, travel blog, travel guide, travel photography, traveling, veggies, vinegar tasting, zoe ma ma
Posted on August 29, 2016
I know, I know what you’re thinking. Holy cow, you guys actually got to Lima without any problems. Yes, yes we did. I’ll tell you what though, we actually made an under-over bet in the terminal if our Lima guide would actually be at the airport. We had a moment of panic when we stepped off and no one was there, but we just got off the plane a wee bit early. Shortly after, our guide arrived and led us to our transportation. The airport in Lima is situated a good 45 minutes from the city center so we were lucky enough to get a scenic drive alongside the Pacific Ocean. The water was loaded with surfers, as it’s rough surf with lots of waves (apparently people come all over to surf here).
Ironically, though right by the ocean, Lima is actually pretty much a desert. If it wasn’t for the watering of the trees and wildlife in the area, it would actually be quite dry. Now unlike most places we stayed, Lima is actually a modern urban city. This does however come with lots of traffic, but also a plethora of yummy food destinations. Lima is actually a bit of a foodie mecca. So this post will of course feature RECIPES!!! Get excited!! I know that’s why you all stopped by today anyway!! Those promises of recipes are finally coming to fruition! The dishes they are most well known for are ceviche, pisco sours, and guinea pig (or cuy in Spanish). While I am a very adventurous, guinea pig was a bit much for me, especially as it usually comes out fried with a little veggie or fruit ‘hat.’ When you grow up with that as a pet, it’s a little hard to stomach eating one of them.
Getting to Lima later, we got settled in the adorable B&B, Quinta Miraflores Boutique Hotel, where we were staying and headed to Amaz for a truly spectacular dinner. If you’re ever in town, I’d highly recommend it. It has different dishes for just about any kind of eater. Plus, the Pisco Sours are to die for.
Something we booked ahead of time (as we both enjoy different culture’s foods) was a guided food tour of Lima. We started our tour with a brief stroll in the city and some great info from our guide while walking across Lima’s famous Bridge of Sighs. Legend has it that a wealthy man’s daughter was forbidden to see the man she loved because he was a street sweeper. Heartbroken, she would stand by her window and sigh within earshot of those who crossed the bridge, hence the name. Tradition states that when you walk across, you hold your breath, and make a wish. If you can make it the other side without taking a breath, your wish will come true. It’s also good luck for lovers to hold hands and hold their breath as they walk over. Pretty cool right? The bridge has a pretty cool view of some art work as well as a beautiful garden next to it with statues of famous Peruvians.
Our first food stop was a little coffee shop called, La Marzocco. It’s a funky little eclectic shop that is a hub for artists, writers, and coffee lovers. They actually get their coffee straight from the rainforest and they hand sort and roast the beans right on the premises. We got to choose from a wide variety of coffee drinks, espressos, macchiatos, lattes, americanos, etc. which were served with little biscotti and sweet potato bread (think pumpkin bread and delicious). The hubs and I went with an espresso and latte. Everyone in our group tried something a bit different but the consensus was positive. Loved the vibe of this place, you could just tell the owner loved the arts!
Coffee beans growing on the back patio. Even though they don’t grow well in this area (it’s too dry and cool) the owners wanted to at least try to grow some.
Filled with some caffeine, our next stop took us to a little brunch place where we got to try a fruit smoothie. And no, not like smoothies here. This was made from the fruit called Lucuma. It actually kind of looks like an avocado and a mango had a baby. The inside is orange and has a texture kind of like a semi-cooked sweet potato. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, rich in antioxidants, and low on the glycemic index. However, truthfully, I thought it tasted like mango flavored Pepto Bismol. It was very chalky. Our group seemed to be split 50/50 with likes vs dislikes.
Our next stop was, eeekk, a local Peruvian market. Filled with allll sorts of goodies. We went to one of the best fruit and veggies stands in the market that is known throughout the region for the quality of the owner’s goods. There, our guide told us about all the local fruits and we got to try about 15 different kinds! Custard apples were Sean’s favorite while the mango (I know.. boorrring) was my fav. Seriously one of the most juicy and sweetest mangos I’ve ever had! We also go to try a smaller avocado that doesn’t have seeds?! Imagine that? But seriously, how pretty is all this produce!
In the same market, we headed to the seafood stand. The fish in Lima is soo fresh every day that Peruvians joke that you can’t have ceviche for dinner because the ‘fish isn’t fresh.’ Such a variety from octopus to shrimp, even scallops and oysters. How fantastic is that octopus?! Photo shoot idea… maybe?
From the market, we headed to our recipe spot! We pulled up to Embarcadero 41 Fusion and headed inside to learn from the restaurant’s chef and bartender how to make both pisco sours and ceviche! You’re getting excited aren’t you? Well you should be! It was amazing! First on the lesson plan was pisco sours. Now a little bit about the main ingredient, pisco. Pisco is a white brandy made in Peru from muscat grapes. Pisco was developed by 16th century Spanish settlers as an alternative to orujo (their traditional brandy). There are a TON of different piscos in Peru, from different grades and processing to a huge variety of flavors. A lot of places will soak pisco with different foods like passion fruit or peppers. Each pisco variety helps make the house’s ‘specialty drinks.’ We were given straight pisco and then pisco flavored with peppers to taste the difference. Now be careful, this is a STRONG drink and it doesn’t taste like it’s strong. The pisco sour in it’s most simple form consists of five ingredients, pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, raw egg whites, and bitters. It’s a very similar flavor to margarita with just a little more sour. It’s delicious. The hubs and I couldn’t get enough pisco sours on this trip. But enough talking, grab your shakers and let’s learn to make pisco sours!
Traditional Pisco Sours
Measure and pour first four ingredients into your shaker. Fill with ice, make sure you have a good seal and shake away. You’ll need to shake for 1-2 minutes to ensure you get good foam on the top of your drink. The rule is that the foam on the top of the drink should be at least as thick as your thumb. Once shaken, pour half the drink in your chilled glass. Now, carefully, without spilling any (it’s bad luck), slowly swirl the remaining liquid in the shaker. This ensures you get all the foam that has settled on the sides of the shaker. After you have collected all the foam, slowly pour the remaining liquid into your glass. At this point you should have a nice foamy top. Sprinkle top with 3-5 drops of bitters and ahhh enjoy this nice, cold, refreshing beverage. Yuuuum!
So you pumped? You enjoying your drink? Next on our game plan was to learn how to make ceviche from one of the restaurant’s chefs. I’m not even a fish person and this was delicious. They even let me make mine with mushrooms, which is not only an awesome option for non-seafood people like me, but also all the vegetarians and vegans! Now the fish they recommend is very fresh white fish. Like sea bass or sole. No fatty, crappy fish here. The fresher the better! Almost every restaurant you go to will have a different ‘sauce’ they add to theirs. The one we went to called theirs ‘tiger milk.’ It did contain some ingredients that aren’t available here in the states, so I’ve mixed it up to make it my own. The tiger milk recipe will follow. Also, Peru, unlike a lot of ceviches in the world, traditionally serves theirs with their local large corn kernels and boiled sweet potatoes (they boil them in a ton of spices like cinnamon, all spice and chilis). This is not a ‘must,’ but adds a unique Peruvian twist on your every day ceviche! Now onto recipe two, let’s get crazy!
Traditional Peruvian Ceviche for 2!
Cut up fish into small bite sized pieces. Place in bowl and season with salt (don’t worry you can add more later so don’t get crazy), stir and then pour in lime juice. Add tiger’s milk and stir until fish is well coated. Add cilantro and finely chopped peppers to taste (this can be very spicy or mild, chef’s choice!). After combined, slowly stir in most of the thinly sliced onions (save some for garnish). Now, taste the ‘sauce.’ This is where you can add more salt, seasoning, or peppers. Spoon ceviche on plate, make sure it has a little rim as there will be a lot of ‘juice.’ Once plated, top with saved onions, a few peppers or a spring of cilantro. Place sweet potatoes on one side and corn on the other. Serve and enjoy! Traditionally, you take a small piece of the sweet potato, corn and ceviche. The sweet, salty, and savory combination is what makes this ceviche unique! Make sure to get a lot of that yummy ceviche broth too! Enjoy!
Place all above ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Great for a marinade as well! Will also freeze very well or keep in fridge for up to a week.
Mmmm, now aren’t you licking your chops? Seriously, this is sooo good. The flavors are unbelievable and the freshness is unmatched! Now you’re thinking; wow, you ate so well! You’re right, seriously but WAIT, we’re not done yet! Our last stop was one of the most well-known restaurants in Lima. Many celebrities stop here when in Lima and their photos are all over the wall. It’s known as Restaurant Huaca Pucllana and is built right next to Inca ruins. Known for it’s great adobe and clay pyramid, as you dine you get to look out and see the ruins as well as some of Lima’s skyline. It was a treat. They brought us out so many different dishes, I couldn’t even begin to tell you my favorite.
The national dish of Peru Lomo Saltado (we had two versions, the traditional version made with beef, but also the vegetarian version made with mushrooms.)
And whew, that’s a wrap folks! I hope you enjoyed this three part series on Peru. It’s such a wonderful country and there are truly sooo many things to see, learn, and eat. We did it on a whirlwind tour in 8 days but you could easily spend months here. Hopefully this gives you a little idea of the country! Until next time and another recipe, cheers!
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Category: Wedding Photography Tagged: aji peppers, alysha yoder photography, alyshayoderphoto.com, amaz, art, bridge of sighs, ceviche, ceviche recipe, ceviches, coffee, coffee beans, corn, cuy, Embarcadero 41 Fusion, espresso, fish, food market, fruit, guinea pig, Huaca Pucllana, La Marzocco, latte, lima, lima market, octopus, peru, peru market, pisco, pisco sour, pisco sour recipe, pisco sours, Quinta Miraflores Boutique Hotel, sea bass, seabass, seafood, sweet potatoes, Travel, travel blog, travel photography, vegetables, white fish, www.alyshayoderphoto.com
Posted on March 27, 2016
So let me start off my saying… what a freaking 24 hours the hubs and myself have had. If I can give advice to anyone, it would be that you should never.. ever.. EVER… even if the price is awesome… fly with Allegiant Airways. Not only did we drive three hours to get to Pittsburgh, but upon arrival, got delayed, sat in the terminal for 2 hours and then were told our flight was cancelled. No apparent reason was given, and we were given a crappy $8 voucher for food (which is like… half a beer at an airport) and a hotel room for the night. We lost out on a whole 24 hours with my sister (who I only get to see twice a year), a corporate world vacation day, and all the money we had spent on a fancy hotel room. It all sucked. The whole situation. And in talking to the customer service line at the airport, they didn’t even know the flight was cancelled. I’ve never dealt with a more incompetent business.
That being said, lessoned learned with Allegiant. We did make the best of the whole situation and tried to remedy the night. Being an ex-Pittsburgh native, I got to show the hubs a little of the city I love. We got to go to the Andy Warhol Museum and a great restaurant called Butcher and the Rye. It did turn out ok in the end but we’re still bummed about what we missed.
We did make a lot of friends and comrades sharing in our misery at the airport. I’m pretty sure we all would have rented a bus and pulled a 16 hour drive today if they had cancelled our flight again. This picture says it all… we’re finally getting to board a plane.. the hubs still questioning whether we’re going to actually take off and me… happy that we’re on our way.
Buutttt we finally made it! 24 hours later then expected, but here! Kate picked us up at the airport with a list of restaurant suggestions in hand. These are moments when Yoder genes come out strong with our love of food and it’s wonderful! Now, I’ve been here three times and New Orleans is just one of those destinations that you look forward to your eating. Kate’s top pick and recommendation was K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen and man, I don’t know how anyone could be disappointed with a meal here. I’m seriously still in a delicious food coma. We had the most wonderful waitress named Sheila. She gave recommendations (Kate asked her to pick her favorites and surprise her with dinner), showed us how the chef wanted us to eat meals and made the whole dining experience amazing. Every time a new round of food came, forks were passed around with little bites of everyone’s dish. I’m pretty sure we would have licked the plates if it wasn’t frowned upon.
If you had a gun to my head, I still probably couldn’t decide what I liked the best here. The decision making process to even pick an item on the menu was hard enough. See this intense pondering?
K-Paul’s is this wonderful mix of a little bit eclectic and a little bit classy. It still has that Southern Charm too. I loved all these illustrated recipes both framed on the wall and on the tablecloths.
So what did you finally decide on you ask?? Here was our lineup:
Our wonderful waitress, Sheila, showing us how the chef recommends eating these meals. She was without a doubt one of the best waitresses I’ve ever had in my life.
A few of you might ask, “Why the lemon rind?” Well, I have an answer for you on that. In America, serving Espresso with a lemon rind is often seen as a “classy addition” as well as a means to dampen it’s bitterness. It is served this way in North America and sometimes in France, but never in Italy. Outside of Italy, this is called an “Espresso Romano.” It actually does seriously alter the espresso flavor. I haven’t decided if I love it one way or another.
Dinner was followed by a good stroll through the French Quarter. Street performers, Pat O’Brians, people watching, and weddings.. yes, even weddings. I can’t escape them, even on vacation. What a lovely bride and groom though! I loved their umbrellas, especially the ring bearers lol.
Here’s some New Orleans trivia for you. Wedding and funerals typically have a “second line.” This refers to the brass brand parades held for these events. The “main line” or “first line” is the main section of the parade, or the members of the actual club with the parading permit as well as the brass band. Those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the “second line.” The second line’s style of traditional dance, in which participants walk and sometimes twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air, is called “second lining.” (source: Wikipedia)
Pretty cool right? Pat O’Brian’s was, of course, a place we always stop (and the husband’s personal fav), so we swing by to grab drinks before we continued our walking tour of the Quarter.
We stumbled across a street performer we had seen the last time we were in New Orleans. This wonderful older gentleman who plays songs by request on various sized glasses. He even got Kate in on the action, letting her play one and showing us how you can ‘see’ the tone of the glass in the water. Certainly one of the more unique performers, but New Orleans is loaded with them. There is no city like it and being a photographer, walking around taking photos at night, is a dream.
Our journey continues tomorrow! We have high hopes that the rain will hold off and we’ll get to see one of the Easter Day parades here. Fingers crossed! I’ll then be taking a hiatus for a week, as we’ll be out of the country cruising. So clients, have no fear! I’ll get back to you as soon as I have internet access. Until then, cheers from The Big Easy. – Alysha
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Category: Alysha Yoder Photography, Travel, www.alyshayoderphoto.com Tagged: allegiant, allegiant airline, allegiant airways, alysha yoder photography, butcher and the rye, family, husband, louisiana, new orleans, nola, photography, pittsburgh, sister, terrible customer service, Travel, travel photography, www.alyshayoderphoto.com
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