Denver, CO

I spent this week in Denver. Quite a few surprises:

Denver, the mile high city, is a weird mix of hipsters, hippies, and rednecks. The first impression was surprise over the number of young people in general. There were a huge number of twenty-somethings in the downtown area. This may account for the large amount of happy hour/brew pubs on the 16th street mall. It is quite a bustling downtown that seem to retain the working crowd after 5:00. The restaurants on the 16th St mall were many. The first night I went to Earl’s, a little happy hour joint with a terrace out front. When discussing the gluten situation with the waitress, she informed me that they have a gluten free menu. This usually is a great thing, but the menu (that said: “gluten free menu” at the top) included things like Kung Pao stir fry. When I asked to make sure that the Kung Pao was safe to eat, she came back from the kitchen and said that it wasn’t. There were other questionable items that I decided it was probably best to avoid. I opted for the mini taco appetizer that was good and safe. Great meal, just a little sketchy to have a gluten filled gluten free menu.

The next night I ate at a restaurant half a block off of the mall. It was an Indian restaurant called “Little India”. It was fantastic. They clarified that all the food was cooked with chickpea flour (except the naan, of course) and it was gluten free. I ate the Sikh kabob with a side of masala. Fantastic food! I don’t know how to describe it any better than that. I went back the third night and did it over again.

Denver brings the nightlife/dinner scene. If you are looking to have something to do after work, there are no shortages of gluten free happenings.

Biggest surprise: there are a number of painted upright pianos along the mall. As far as I can tell, the city leaves these out to encourage artistic expression, but I couldn’t confirm that. I found this a little strange. Most cities try to discourage panhandling, but Denver seems to give the panhandlers the means to continue. This probably explains the large numbers of young homeless people around.

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