Thursday, January 10, 2008


January 10

My cousin Micah Levi’s Bar Mitzvah is on Saturday, so I’m in Denver to go to that, and to take a week to hang out with family. I’m staying in my old room in my parents’ house on 12th and Race (the blue house; you'll know it if you walk by — it has little white gargoyles on the second story balcony and butterflies are painted on the front porch). For breakfast here I pretty much always have an egg fried over easy and served on a bagel with melted cheese. The yolk runs through the hole in the bagel, which is a problem. I tried blocking the hole with the cheese, but it just melted down the hole too. There's a way around this, I know, such as using an English muffin. But I prefer bagels.
Anyway, apart from Micah’s Bar Mitzvah, the main point of the visit is to hang out with nephew Harrison (8) and niece Tahirah (12). I also have a niece Alia, Harrison’s sister, but she’s a year-and-a-half old and, though cute as a button, not a great conversationalist, and I can't really bond with her yet.
Our big outing, at Harrison’s suggestion, was to a place called Monkey Bizness, which is sort of an indoor playground with giant soft slides and obstacle courses and such. Air hockey, too. I did the obstacle course once and was reminded that, despite being a Colorado native, I am no longer acclimated to high altitude. It reminded me of when cousin Joe Levi, Micah’s dad, moved to Denver in the 1970s and would go running and then come back to the house panting and doubled over. It was funny. Silly lowlanders running around like it’s no big deal to be at 5,000 feet.
Joe’s fine now, though.
After Monkey Bizness I took Harrison to Arby’s (he had chicken fingers and curly fries; I had a super roast beef sandwich and potato cakes) and took Tahirah across the parking lot to Subway (she had a turkey sandwich with mayonnaise and assorted vegetables). The kids had never had Arby’s potato cakes before but I convinced them to try them and they agreed that they were a good idea.
Then it was off to Starbucks for a tall double chocolate chip Frappucino for Tahirah, a tall vanilla crème for Harrison, and a short cappuccino for me.
So I’d had dinner, taken the kids home and was hanging out with my folks, having had a full day and realized it was only 8:30 p.m. So I checked out a new restaurant attached to The Tattered Cover on Colfax called Encore where I had a Manhattan. Then I wandered down Colfax to the Satire Lounge. If I'd been hungry I would have had a bowl of their green chili, but instead I drank Newcastle Brown Ale and chatted with a guy named Ray who, from what I could surmise, had just been thrown out of his house in Conifer by his wife and was staying at the Ramada Inn nearby. He'd just been to his first AA meeting. I guess it didn't take as he was drinking beer with me, but he planned on going to seven meetings the following day. Nice guy. A bit troubled.
Then I wandered up to 13th Avenue, to Wyman's, which is conveniently less than a block away from my folks' house. I drank Smithwick's and assorted microbrews and conversed a bit with people who were playing Scrabble with an open dictionary. Friendly group.
Other restaurant meals have included a combination meal at Las Delicias (a burrito, a tostada, a taco, something else — you get the idea), and sushi at Japon with my sister Courtney and her friend Chrissy (I had some some snapper and horse mackerel nigiri sushi and something called a Denver Roll, which had fresh water eel, albacore tuna, cucumber, avocado & flying fish roe.
Last night brother Todd, sister-in-law Helen, their son Harrison and my sister Courtney to nine 75 (Courtney's daughter Tahirah had Hebrew school, my parents stayed home).
Nine 75 is one of the Sullivan Group’s restaurants, whose chef is Troy Guard. Troy and I go back quite a way. You can read about it here if you’re curious, but I don’t like to alert chefs about my arrival because I worry that it implies that I’m asking for free stuff, and I’m not.
As far as I could tell, we got in and out of the restaurant unnoticed. [January 12: We sure did — I just got an e-mail from Troy's wife, Leigh Sullivan-Guard, and it turns out that Troy and Leigh left the Sullivan group in June of last year].
We decided to eat all small plates, except for a chopped salad and a bowl of corn bisque.
Here’s what else we had:
Charred edamame
popcorn shrimp
crunchy calamari
chipotle lobster tacos
bbq pork sliders

And for dessert:
house made cotton candy
rice krispie treats
Belgian waffle with maple custard

I also had an espresso, and Courtney and I split a bottle of Carro Tinto (mostly Tempranillo).

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