I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the dining scene in Denver is weird. Not so much ethnically ambiguous as “creative license” likely inspired by one too many tokes, there’s fusion, and then there are these – everything but the kitchen sink in a weird mishmash of dishes and deep-fried goodness. Here are the most unique food combinations I’ve come across in the city affectionately known as Mile “High.”
Pop Rocks Sushi – TAG
Technically a haute dining space, the flash seared Hawaiian kampachi at Tag includes yuzo, jalapenos, white soy, baby tatsoi, myoga, and yes, pop rocks. A party in your mouth, while it may sound off-putting, somehow it just works, adding more depth to an already interesting flavor profile. Chef Troy Guard likes playing with sensations and one of his other restaurants, Los Chingones, always includes one cocktail option that’s also made with pop rocks, currently a Tequila, Mexican coke mix.
Deep-Fried Tacos – Mexico City
Sounding more like state fair food gone wrong than a permanent menu item, as if regular tacos weren’t satiable enough, Mexico City in downtown Denver has beef, chicken or steak tacos that are indeed deep-fried. As if that wasn’t gluttonous enough, also on order is a Mexican hamburger that sounds like McDonald’s and Taco Bell’s love child. A beef patty and beans smothered in green chili that’s served in a tortilla, viva American Mexican food.
Deep Fried Oreos with Nutella Dipping Sauce – TAG Burger Bar
One of my favorite desserts in Denver, deep fried Oreos with Nutella dipping sauce are almost surpassed by their their appetizer of Goldfish and Cheez-it mac and cheese that combine three of my favorite snack foods. Rich, cheesy and completely ridiculous, that’s just a precursor to a salad topped with Cheetos if you’re feeling “healthy.” Yeah, the entire menu at TAG Burger Bar is for the munchies.
Steubie Snacks – Steuben’s Food Service
Bite-size pieces of deep fried braised pork shoulder that are dredged in powdered sugar and served with a chili garlic aioli dipping sauce, Steuben’s signature app is a playful twist on Scooby snacks that’s completely random. I’m personally not a fan, but most people say they go down like candy.
Granted they’re from Portland, but Voodoo has been blowing up ever since they entered the Denver market. Nothing epitomizes stoner food quite like donuts in the shape of blunts with the tip dipped in maple frosting and red sprinkle embers to actually look like it’s ablaze. If that’s not weird enough, there’s the penis-shaped Cock-N-Balls doughnut (cream filled, of course), or the Rapper’s delight, a three pack for $4.20 (yes, really), that includes the blunt, an Old Dirty Bastard (chocolate frosting, Oreo’s™ and peanut butter), and a Marshall Mathers (M & M’s, obviously).
Need a drink to wash those down? Check out my followup on the most ridiculous drinks in Denver.