Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tocabe - Greenwood Village

Tocabe 2

One Year Later....

Like the song says, "Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?" 
Well, in our world, the answer is always, LET'S GO EAT!

Hey guys, we did it.  Today's restaurant was a celebration of MenuManiac's one year anniversary.  A year really does fly by when you are doing something you love.  In fact, the year went by so fast that admittedly we almost forgot about the anniversary!  However, when it came time to choose the restaurant for our celebration, we didn't even have to think about it.  We would go back to the restaurant that started it all, Tocabe, An American Indian Eatery

Although this is technically a repeat for us, it was like a brand new experience.  During the last year, Tocabe has opened a second location in Greenwood Village and we couldn't be happier for them.

The new restaurant is just as wonderful as the original location.  In many ways it is identical; however, there are enough differences between the two to make this visit just as new and exciting as our original trip was a year ago. 

Tocabe 2 carried over many of the decorative touches from the original restaurant.  For example, the textured wallpaper that represents the prairie grass covering the lands inhabited by the Osage tribe, the same colors decorate the walls, and the food line and great service is all the same.  They still offer bison ribs, fried bread tacos, and medicine wheel nachos, all with your choice of ground beef, chicken, ground bison with sage, or shredded buffalo.  All the wonderful salsa's are there including our favorite hominy and cranberry salsa. You must try the hominy salsa, it sounds weird but it is awesome! 

The biggest difference is the absence of the stuffed frybread taco and the addition of the grilled bannock taco.  Bannock is a type of grilled bread and is served on the side instead of beneath the taco ingredients itself.  They also have a bad hunter salad which includes Arcadia salad mix and up to five choices of seasonal toppings including nuts, grains, beans, vegetables, and house made dressings - our favorite being the maple vinaigrette.  The maple syrup used in this salad dressing comes from a Native tribe in Minnesota.  But never fear, the stuffed frybread taco is still available at Tocabe's original location.

On this visit, the side served with the bison ribs was squash and potatoes which were sprinkled with brown sugar.  This was incredible.  Simple yet flavorful, like most of our favorite things.

For dessert, we ordered frybread sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar as well as an order of frybread nuggets dusted with powdered sugar.  Both were fresh out of the oven and just phenomenal.  We recommend ordering a side of Wojapi sauce to dip the frybread in.  It is a mixture of fresh blueberries and strawberries. 

John, one of the owners, came by our table.  He spent a lot of time with us explaining the philosophy of the restaurant and letting us know of upcoming projects and ideas they have regarding Tocabe.  As you may remember from our first blog entry a year ago, Tocabe was brought to our attention after watching Diners, Drive In's, and Dives.  During our first visit to the original location on West 44th in Denver, we were impressed by the way they use local ingredients and how they strive to keep the culture and Native influence alive through their food and restaurants.  In true Tocabe style, John impressed us even further by informing us that they have been working in conjunction with the USDA to create DVD's demonstrating how to make meals from the ingredients found in the commodity packages for people living on reservations.  He also informed us that the motto regarding their restaurant's procurement of ingredients is, "Native first and local second."  We absolutely love and respect this idea.  He also reiterated the fact that all items on the menu, with the exception of the chipotle sauce, is made fresh in house and is preservative free.  In addition, he informed us about their future plans.  Tocabe is looking to expand and open more locations (Northern Colorado, John.  Northern Colorado!).  They have intentions to work with Fiddler's Green to help promote both the concerts and their food by coming up with a way to cater to the crowd as they are on their way to the venue.

Tocabe is still the most unique restaurant we have visited since starting this blog.  It continues to surprise and delight us with both wonderful food and wonderful service to their community, heritage, and culture.

Of course we awarded Tocabe, John, and the entire staff of Tocabe the coveted Golden Spoon.

Please review our original blog entry from a year ago as well.  We want to thank all our Maniacs for their continued support.  We look forward to year two and hope to have many group events and outings for many years to come!

Click to add a blog post for Tocabe on Zomato

The Officially Unofficial Voting Legend
Take it with a grain of salt, we're not professionals.
Awesome place, we’ll shovel more food in our face!
It was okay. Not our favorite, but we’ll take another stab at it.
Didn’t make the cut.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Beatrice and Woodsley

Eating Outside...Indoors

This restaurant's theme is based on the love story of Beatrice & Woodsley. 

According to their website, the story goes...

"A room that mirrors the story of two lovebirds: Beatrice, the life-loving daughter of a French wine making family who relocated to California in the 1800’s to create a small vineyard. And Woodsley, the handsome and crafty son of Lumberjacks-turned-Coopers who provided barrels for the fledging wine producers. Upon first sight Beatrice & Woodsley fell in love and quickly married.
Stirred by his new bride, Woodsley built a remote cabin amid the woods of the Colorado Mountains. Built with skilled and loving hands, Woodsley constructed a strong abode complete with the day’s amenities and a large wine cellar between the roots of the aspens… Life was lived with appreciation amongst the forest birdsong, and the snow-capped peaks… happily ever after."

Beatrice and Woodsley is located at 38 South Broadway in the Washington Park area.  There is no parking lot; however, there is free street parking if you can find it, metered parking, and after a certain time, you can park for free in a credit union parking lot across the street from the restaurant.  There is no large sign outside the establishment so it is a good idea to utilize GPS when visiting for the first time.

The atmosphere of Beatrice and Woodsley is magnificent.  It is built around an urban aspen grove and has large lounging booths with flowing fabric separating each seating area.  The woodland theme and low lighting is calming and relaxing.  Below the main level is a dining area for large parties.  The room is covered with live moss and is part of their extensive wine cellar.  Bathrooms are kept behind hidden doors and the sinks are more art pieces than vanities.  The tables are large slabs of reclaimed wood and the bar is made out of the mantles of fireplaces and metal.  It is industrial yet woodsy and is absolutely beautiful.  Reservations are suggested; however, counter seating is available without reservations.

As always, we started
our meal with drinks that were

suggested by our server.  One of us, recovering from a cold, ordered hot tea which was served in a French Press.  Beatrice and Woodsley serves Tea Trulia, a fine purveyor of herbal teas.  Our server also suggested a nice red wine which was excellent.

Appetizers included the Daily Restorative - a creamy and delicious Potato Leak Soup with Cauliflower, Sea Salt, and Asparagus;  Crawfish Beingnets which were crispy, spicy, and flavorful.

We also ordered the Cheese Plate which was a combination of both cow and sheep cheese.

The most adventurous dish of the night was the Rabbit Ravioli.  The pasta itself was cooked well, browned in butter with orange, rosemary, and fennel.  The rabbit was braised as well as the vegetables and arugula.  The rabbit meat had an unusual texture which we were not expecting but overall this was a tasty dish.

For dinner we started off with the Duck, Duck, Jus.  Served with spatzle, sprouts, and carrots.  The spatzle was what really stood out having a wonderful texture and flavor.  Beatrice and Woodsley also has an extensive vegetarian menu so in addition to the duck and some great braised short ribs, we also picked a cauliflower, barley risotto.  Barley doesn't cook the same as arborio rice, but they somehow managed to create a delicious, creamy, and silky dish.

We were celebrating a birthday so when it came to dessert, we just had to order some of everything. The most captivating item on the menu had be the Sweet Pea Crème Brûlée. We know, we know.  Peas and crème brûlée... how is that possible?  Served deconstructed with candied lemon zest and crisp sugar wedges, the crème was sweet and creamy just as a good brûlée should be but it also had a subtle taste of sweet peas and somehow it just worked!  We also ordered their rich and dark chocolate cake, the beautifully sweet raspberry tart severed with ice cream.  The desserts were all so wonderful but we kept coming back to the crème brûlée.  It was so unique and delicious.  Hats off to B&W for an outstanding and unexpected dessert.

Summing Up

Our wonderful server, Aaron was excellent.  He offered suggestions and steered us away from options he thought we would not enjoy.  He asked if any of us had any food allergies which was a really nice touch and didn't give us any attitude about sharing food or asking for small plates.  So, so many small plates.  Beatrice & Woodsley is a gem!  Not just beautiful visually but absolutely delicious, offering an amazingly well executed menu.  We happily presented Beatrice & Woodsley with the coveted Golden Spoon.

Always happening:
"Beatrice's Scrumptiliitious Brunch" Service: 10am until 2pm, Saturday & Sunday
"Coffee Tea & Woodsley" -Tea Service: By special reservation only.
"Nosh & 'Tails": 5pm until 6:30pm, Monday through Friday; featuring weekly changing tasty bites, $6 specialty cocktails, $7 select pet wines and select $4 draft specials.
Dinner Service: Nightly, 5pm until the crowd thins...

Click to add a blog post for Beatrice & Woodsley on Zomato

The Officially Unofficial Voting Legend
Take it with a grain of salt, we're not professionals.
Awesome place, we’ll shovel more food in our face!
It was okay. Not our favorite, but we’ll take another stab at it.
Didn’t make the cut.

Monday, July 6, 2015

White Fence Farm

And on this farm they had some chicken...

To be honest, we have been waiting for this restaurant to be picked for a while.  Surrounded by a white picket fence and located smack dab in the middle of Lakewood, locals have loved this place for decades and out of town visitors are always amazed by the atmosphere and attractions that it has to offer.  Our June excursion was like traveling back in time.  We left with our bellies full and our souls happy from spending time at a restaurant that celebrates a time when people were kinder, where things didn't move at such a fast place, and where families spent quality time together without staring at a phone or computer screen.  We are of course referring to the wonderful and always entertaining White Fence Farm.

Our youngest diner, Diana
enjoying a delicious meal
One of the maniacs (or followers of our blog as we affectionately call them) came all the way from California with her kids to visit and go with us on our blog outing.  It was a great way to experience White Fence Farm from several different people's perspective. 

We got there early with the hopes of beating the crowd, and we did a pretty good job with only a twenty minute wait for eight people.  As we were eating, it occurred to us that it wouldn't have been a bad thing to wait longer as they have lots to do to occupy your time. 

Horse- drawn carriage
rides of the property
One of the things we liked best about The White Fence Farm is that it's more than just a restaurant. Yes, the food was tasty and the dining service excellent, but after the delicious dinner there were play and discovery spaces for everyone.  In addition to the restaurant, they have a petting zoo, aviary, and a duck and koi pond. 
Children and adults alike can feed goats, sheep, pigs, fish, ducks, and chickens for twenty five cents a pop.  They have several items for sale throughout the complex including jellies and jams, clothing, decorations, soaps, and lotions.  Out front they have a large tree house and playground for the kids and right next to it is a large gazebo where parents can sit in the shade and watch their children play while enjoying a calming water fountain.  There is also an old fashioned candy store offering homemade fudge and candy.  They have a carriage house museum and The Americana Barn houses a full bar and the pig shoot slide that is opened the first 15 minutes of every hour for the kids. Upstairs there is a small arcade and play room for the kids.  After a while, we split into different groups and we went inside to
enjoy the old-time country music of a live local band and some well deserved libations.  White Fence Farm offers horse drawn carriage rides for a minimal extra charge that will take you in a circle around the grounds and the kiddos absolutely love to pet the horse.

Award winning fried chicken
The restaurant itself is decorated like an old farmhouse.  The wait staff wears stockings and old fashioned aprons to add to the atmosphere.  For larger groups of fifteen or more, they have a separate room in the library that can be reserved for parties, family reunions, or graduations.  They also offer the Fireside Room which is a seating area for adults only - no children allowed.  This is a nice touch for those people who want a quiet meal with good conversation. 

All you can eat sides!
You must try the corn fritters
We ordered fried shrimp, pork chops and fried cod.  All were tasty and all our plates were left empty.  However, one does not go to The White Fence Farm without ordering their classic fried chicken.  It is moist and delicious with a succulent light and crispy breading.  Aside from the main course and side of potato which are ordered on an individual basis, all sides are served family style and unlimited refills are offered.  Sides include beets, cottage cheese, bean salad, and their mythical corn fritters.  They are all wonderful and we had several servings of each.  For dessert we tried the peach cobbler, key lime pie, and lemon meringue pie.  They offer seasonal pies and desserts and all are excellent!

Duck and koi pond
White Fence Farm is all about family.  In fact, children are encouraged to bring their report cards with them.  If they have all "A's" they are given a free dinner and dessert.  For "A's" and "B's" they score a free dessert.  That was just one of the many little touches that make White Fence Farm so special.

Also, we heard rumors that they will be opening a storefront at The Pepsi Center and they will be expanding into catering in the near future.

All in all we spent four and a half hours at The White Fence Farm with not one child uttering, "I want to go home." or "I'm bored."  The adults in the group left relaxed, full, and toting some rather large bags of candy and homemade fudge.  It was an extremely wonderful day with wonderful people.  We are definitely going to make a return trip to the Farm and will bring another large group with us.  Maybe a winter excursion so we can partake in the hay rides that are offered during the holiday season.

For an excellent day, meal, and courteous staff.  We award The White Fence Farm a fork.  Be sure to like our facebook page for more picks and upcoming events.

Click to add a blog post for White Fence Farm on Zomato
The Officially Unofficial Voting Legend
Take it with a grain of salt, we're not professionals.
Awesome place, we’ll shovel more food in our face!
It was okay. Not our favorite, but we’ll take another stab at it.
Didn’t make the cut.