This Acorn is Definitely Not Squirrel Food

Acorn is at the top of many lists for best restaurants in Denver and a reservation is a definite must.891D1ABB-14F1-4162-9F35-26A46D3C4DCB The road outside the restaurant is under construction but to make up for the inconvenience they do free valet parking. The restaurant is in a big old brick warehouse where several other restaurants and shops also do business. We were taken to the 2nd floor and given a table in the middle of the small space. 0EC90507-8804-409F-BD38-2D67F60E784DThe menu has a section of small plates to share as well as a small section of very large courses to share. We decided on 7 dishes for our table of 4 people and this turned out to be perfect, and left a bit of room for dessert. During the meal our waiters were attentive and their movements seemed like a specially choreographed dance, clearing plates and silverware and bringing new along with the next delightful bit of our meal. The first dish was Pimento cheese and was my absolute favorite. DCF936F2-A8B0-4CC9-963C-3A0C460E2922It came with a small jar of pimento cheese topped with roasted anaheim pepper, bacon jam, and served with insanely delicious grilled bread. The combination of the perfectly toasted bread along with the cheese was heavenly.  The waiters were kind enough to bring more bread when they saw that we’d inhaled the bread yet still had more cheese with nowhere to spread it (perhaps they sensed that I was getting ready to slather it onto my plate and lick it off). The next course was coal roasted beets, basically a beet salad, that was surprisingly tasty, especially considering I’m not normally a fan of beets at all. It had goat cheese, arugula, carmelized dried dates, and radicchio.2B9D7652-14C6-47F2-89BE-07A26EACB409The dressing had just the right amount of tanginess and the veggies were shredded and curled (not sure how just know it gave it a nice texture and the taste was just right). The wood fired baby yams were not as fabulous as I’d hoped since I’m a huge fan of all things yam. This dish came with cashew, sesame, mandarin, sherry, and puréed yams. FF7866A2-9A51-4283-9F02-34F2417759FDThe meatballs were lackluster and tasted like, well, like meatballs. No pizazz, no umph, just meatballs. Pricey ones with uninspiring flavor. BA88E818-9167-4727-B94F-B90A3489890CThere was a clam course which I was not a fan of but then I don’t like clams so I’m not a good judge. 034B8F85-AFCD-4C07-B3DE-24DDF0822663My mother, whose birthday we were celebrating absolutely adored them but she is also very easily pleased (a WONDERFUL characteristic by the way when someone is just as thrilled to go to Red Lobster as they are to go to a Michelin star restaurant). There was a course that had kale and gnocchi  and other ingredients that I no longer remember but what I do remember is that we all gave it a thumbs up.B244E2E0-F70B-416D-B917-BCEA0FB186C1
For dessert we ordered a chocolate semifreddo which had swiss meringue and graham cracker crust and it was okay but sadly not at all impressive.586C4DBC-5AA7-4197-8BA5-403206B4461E The waiter was kind enough to also bring deconstructed s’mores for her complete with birthday candles! These were pretty good but not phenomenal (how phenomenal can one make marshmallows, drizzled chocolate, and graham cracker crumbs taste though?). What I loved the most was the service. It was spot on and spectacular. This restaurant is a well-oiled machine with some very tasty dishes and others that may leave you unimpressed. 7532CE0F-6D01-4455-963E-20C59E72C316The restaurant has a high open ceiling and is not at all cozy or romantic (it was a birthday dinner for my mom so definitely no problem with that, just wanted to let you know it’s not a romantic night out kind of place).

Tacos el Paisa is Numero Uno For Me!

This restaurant got 99 reviews with a 4.8 star out of 5 rating. OMG. I don’t know which fool gave them less than 5 but that fool for sure didn’t have the shredded beef street tacos. Maybe it was because the place looks a little sketchy from the outside and the atmosphere is not the most fantastic and it’s a little small but it’s cute and colorful and very “authentic Mexican.” 26ECA488-B1AA-4CB9-AC23-731334E18A29The smell when I came in was a bit overpowering because it was smokey from something they just made, but I got over that the second I took a bite of the shredded beef, onion, cilantro yumminess with a squeeze of fresh lime and some sliced radish. WOW. These were absolutely the best street tacos I’ve ever had and that’s saying something because I used to go to Mexico pretty frequently when I was 18-20 and living in San Diego. 67BFEC49-EBE5-4977-923C-6642ADF1257FThey also give you a free basket of chips with salsa when you sit down and that was excellent as well. Since they were so good I decided to check out the dessert and got fried ice cream with chocolate and caramel sauce. 79369718-5661-49B9-A842-69283F36AE82It was HUGE and came in a big goblet and the whole thing was topped with whipped cream, and caramel and chocolate sauce were drizzled from the top down over the goblet to the plate underneath. There were two large rectangles of vanilla ice cream covered in a chewy crispy shell with a light cinnamon flavor. A total 5 star dessert. Of all the places I ate in Colorado I’d say El Paisa was the hands down winner. The runner up on the restaurant list was Sassafras but I am deeply madly in love with this unassuming little slice of heaven. B41F6E84-B3FA-4148-8186-963F8FDEE7ABThis place absolutely knocked my socks off and I am tempted to make a trip back to Colorado (all the way from Japan so that’s saying something) just to come back to El Paisa for these superb street tacos and their fantastic fried ice cream.