Denver Delights

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Friends in pie, Aaron and I spent the last week in Denver scoping out potential pie neighborhoods, searching for the ultimate green chile, and imagining a life lived in Denver. Needless to say it was delightful. We began the week in the vibrant neighborhood of Sunnyside. It’s just north of the insanely expensive hugely popular Highlands and seems to hold it’s own with a multitude of adorable houses, interesting shops, and delicious restaurants. It’s a neighborhood with major pie shop potential.

Before I really get into the details of our city visit, please allow me a moment of indulgence to wax poetic about green chile. Green chile is one of those delicious, magical things that I didn’t understand and therefore never took advantage of while I lived a whole life in Colorado and I consider it to be one of the more terrible and ridiculous mistakes of my youth because it’s SO GOOD. Unless I make it myself there’s zero chance of my getting decent green chile anywhere in the east/midwest so I pine for it when I’m not in the west and tend to go a bit crazy when I am. It’s the perfect combination of savory gravy and spicy salsa. If made correctly it has immense depth of flavor and a slow burn that hooks you right in the soul part of your heart and I can’t believe I wasted eighteen years of my life not eating it. I am the worst kind of fool. But back to Sunnyside where my gargantuan breakfast consisting of mostly green chile did not disappoint.

We brunched at Sunny’s where both Aaron and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of breakfast. Their ‘made-in-house’ green chile was the perfect start to our Sunday. After we ate we walked through the neighborhood, admired the surrounding shops, supported the local farmer’s market with a purchase of Palisade peaches and spent the remainder of the afternoon posted up at a lively beer garden (Recess) in the Highlands with friends and family.

Our second morning in Sunnyside was a workday so naturally we checked out two separate coffee shops to suss out whether the neighborhood could support our delicious coffee requirements. Both Huckleberry Coffee and Common Grounds passed with flying colors, although it should be noted that Common Grounds had pie in their display case and therefore must be seen as the competition.

Later in the day we moved to our new neighborhood, appropriately named Baker and situated ourselves at a killer happy hour to assess what we had discovered so far. First, two out of two green chile experiences had been altogether excellent. Second, while we weren’t quite hip enough to be hipsters in either of our potential neighborhoods we also weren’t quite overly fit and sporty to fit in either, so we came to the conclusion that we might have to start lifting bro in order to find our place in the Denver vibe. Third, Baker was just as nice a neighborhood as Sunnyside with a slightly livelier vibe. Whereas in Sunnyside the shops and the residential parts of the neighborhood blended nicely together, in Baker all of the shops, restaurants, and stores were all on one main thoroughfare. Broadway is a major street that runs north to south through the city and the eclectic and hip retail of Baker line either side. The houses to the East and West of Broadway are gorgeous and rather whimsical, single storey victorians, interspersed with nice but efficient duplexes and connected houses.

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Our two days in Baker were lovely. We found our favorite coffee shop of the week (Metropolis Coffee), had a phenomenal anniversary dinner worthy enough to kick off our third year of marriage (Cho77), and we were close enough to the train tracks to hear the idyllic blast of the train horn from our breezy front porch.

The rest of the week was spent with friends and family, driving to different Denver neighborhoods, discussing the merits of moving there, and searching out enough green chille to tide me over until our next trip. On our last day in town we put on our wigs, dusted off our fake accents, and scoped out the one, true competitor, Humble Pie. They have a beautiful shop just off of West Colfax and their  menu is extensive as well as seasonal. They share a building with both a budding brewery and a trendy restaurant that both offer Humble pies on their menus. It seems to be a super smart and thriving business and to top it all off, they serve delicious pie and coffee. If we do choose denver the competition will be fierce.

Now is the time to ruminate and make the choice that’s best for the three of us (even though Ladybird wasn’t able to visit Denver we took plenty of pictures of various parks and sticks that she was able to peruse upon our arrival home). I still owe you all a Cincy post, so keep an eye out for that and I’ll definitely keep you posted as we let all these potential decisions churn through our brains over the next few weeks. Life is quite the adventure and it’s been entirely lovely spending the summer weighing our choices. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to show off their cities, we really appreciate you making this decision super tough. More to come.

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Happy Homecoming

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My baby brother was in town this weekend and I knew I had no choice but to bake him a sour cherry pie. We grew up in a pie household. Every holiday, major accomplishment, summertime picnic, and birthday was celebrated with a delicious, homemade pie baked by our mom. She was the one who helped me roll out my first crust, gifted me my first rolling pin and taught me the secret to making the best pie in the world. Since we were kids my brother and I have both been obsessed with one pie and one pie only; sour cherry. I make a lot of pie and I care very deeply about creating and successfully executing wonderful and whimsical flavors, but nothing holds my heart quite like the tart yet sweet deliciousness that is sour cherry pie. Knowing it was a family favorite, my mom grew her very own sour cherries on large bushes in the backyard, bribing my brother and I into being her own personal pickers and pitters with promises of bright cherries suspended in their own vibrant juice and tucked into an impossibly flaky crust. I’ve spent my lady-baker life chasing the perfection of that pie and having my brother come to town meant that it was time to start baking.

We’re too far south for locally grown sour cherries, despite my hopeful scouring of the sweet produce at our local farmer’s market this past weekend, and I’d already used up my personal stash that I’d thoughtfully frozen last summer earlier this year, so I had to settle for canned cherries, which should have made me sad but somehow didn’t because at the end of the day I still got to make my favorite pie. I pulled the secret family recipe together from memory and in no time I had the perfect pie with which to welcome my brother to Kentucky.

Yesterday we all feasted on decadent slices of pie and slowly sipped pipping hot coffee. My brother and I grinned at each other after the first bite; it tasted like home.

This weekend Aaron and I are headed to Colorado to check out the next potential city on our list. We’ve a few specific neighborhoods on our list to check out (Baker is one of the said neighborhoods, which feels entirely appropriate), fun restaurants to eat at, meetings to take, pie competition to scope out, and family to do it all with. I can’t wait. If you have any Denver recommendations to make I would love to hear them or if you know any ridiculously wealthy pie-lovers who are looking to invest in the best darn pie shop that will ever be, feel free to make an introduction. I’m super excited for my happy homecoming!