Friday, August 26, 2016

Liks Ice Cream

We Lyke Liks...

After our dinner at The Africana Café, we decided to try one of Colorado's most iconic ice cream parlors, Liks Ice Cream Shop.

Liks opened their doors in 1976 and have served gourmet ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet ever since.  Judging by the line that spilled out the door and went down the street, their popularity has not wavered since the age of disco.

In addition to a constant rotation of flavors and varieties of delicious frozen treats, they offer shakes, malts, and banana splits.  In fact, they offer a Piggy Split for $22 that includes seven scoops of ice cream and like a cluster of bananas or something ridiculous like that.  This would be awesome for a group of friends on a summer night.

Sure the prices are a little higher, but it's all about quality and supporting local businesses, right?  Their ice cream is amazing.  No soft serve, chemical based, fake products here, just homemade, unadulterated deliciousness.  We didn't even mind the brain freeze.

Liks is located in the Cheesman Park area at York and 13th Avenue.  The only parking available is street parking and they do have both indoor and outdoor seating areas.  This is a definite must try when you are looking for something sweet and creamy.  We award Liks a fork..

Thanks to the staff of Liks for a fun evening!  We will see you guys soon.
Liks Ice Cream Parlor Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Africana Cafe

Tena Yistilign, Ethiopia!

(Amharic for, Hello)

We here at MenuManiacs HQ have been looking forward to trying one of Colorado's many Ethiopian restaurants for a while now.  Over the last few years, we have noticed an increase in this type of cuisine, and we were ecstatic to try the winner of The A List's City of Denver Best Ethiopian Restaurant for 2012. 

The Africana Café is located in the South Park Hill Area near the corner of Colorado Boulevard and East Colfax Avenue.  It is a quaint, open space with no fussy decor, and they can accommodate both small and larger parties.

The food at The Africana Café was served traditionally which means it was with ourhands.  The Ethiopian people are known for feeding each other by a process called Gurshal.  The more they love a person, the more they feed them.  Well, apparently they absolutely ADORED us.  We had a lot of delicious food and it was an absolute treat to learn about this wonderful culture from the equally wonderful staff who moved to Colorado directly from Ethiopia.

They offer a full bar including several Ethiopian beers.  We did partake of their Honey Wine, or Tej, the national drink of Ethiopia.  Dating back to the fourth century, it is more of a mead than a true wine, it is incredibly sweet.

The menu includes Appetizers, Breakfast, Lunch/Dinner, and Vegetarian dishes.  Ethiopian cuisine is known for being very healthy and mainly consists of sautéed meats and stews. 

For appetizers, we tried the Sambusa, a fried pastry stuffed with lentils and served with fresh honey.  The pastry was  delicate and the sweetness of the honey mixed with the mealy texture of the lentils.

Chechebsa is one of the few Ethiopian dishes that is traditionally eaten using a fork or spoon.  It is a special African bread seasoned with spicy butter and red pepper then topped with sour cream.  This was an interesting dish that had a kick to it.  It tasted  like battered, spicy, potato chips. 

Luckily, Africana had a couple combo meals on the menu that allowed us to try small portions of a few dishes.  The first was the Banatu Special.  This contained Quanta Firfir, Kitfo, Gomen, rice, and Ibe - a homemade cottage cheese.  Quant Firfir are jerky beef bits cooked with onions, garlic, hot spicy pepper and butter and mixed with Injera bits.  Gomen is a vegetarian combination of cabbage, carrots, onions, and turmeric.  Kitfo is freshly chopped tenderloin beef cooked with herbal butter and spices.  It is traditionally served raw; however, they will cook the meat if you prefer.  We were not emotionally ready to eat raw meat at this time so we wimped out and had it cooked. 

The Meat Combination was the other choice of the evening.  This was a combination of Doro Wot (chicken stew), Zigni (Beef with spices), and Yebeg Alicha (lamb stew).

Both dishes were served on a large, family style platter and covered with what our server called a Masob or handmade wicker cover.  The meal is served with Injera which is a spongy, textured, sourdough bread that is made from teft flour.  The texture of the bread was similar to a pancake. Ethiopians use this bread as a way to scoop up the ingredients from the platter.

The Africana Café does not offer desserts but they do offer a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.  This is a tableside preparation where the raw coffee beans are roasted tableside, brewed and then strained into an adorable clay pot.  It was presented to the table after incense was ignited and coffee poured.  The final result is a pleasant espresso with an almost flowery taste.  It was delightful.

Coffee Ceremony
We left The Africana Café with a greater understanding of both the culture and the people of Ethiopia.  We award The Africana Café a fork.  Thank you for all your knowledge and assistance with the menu.  You guys are awesome!

Africana Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - 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, August 7, 2016

2nd Anniversary - the plimoth

the plimoth rocks on…

July 2016 marked the second anniversary of the MenuManiacs blog.  Can you believe that?  It seems like just yesterday we were riding in our car talking about writing a blog about a restaurant a month, sort of like the restaurant reserves.  After several unfortunate name changes and writing styles we have finally hit our groove, and as a result we are happy and well fed here at MenuManiacs Headquarters

The maniacs
When we started thinking about places to celebrate our anniversary dinner, we immediately decided on one of our favorite restaurants, the plimoth.  We have literally been trying to revisit the plimoth for two years ever since our first visit back in December of 2014. We have tried to secure reservations several times during the last two years for birthdays, holidays, or just a routine meal, but due to the popularity of the restaurant, we were unable to get a table. Luckily, we were finally able to get in and coincidentally it just so happened to be on our anniversary. We love it when a plan comes together...A-Team style.

The drinks
We were happy to learn that the plimoth purchased the adjoining property and will soon be expanding their space to allow for more tables.  This will mean an easier time to secure a reservation.  Good news for all!

The eats
MenuManiacs would like to thank the plimoth for their hospitality and kindness in helping us celebrate our second year. They were very generous by providing us with a complimentary champagne toast and appetizer of chicken liver pate. This was completely unexpected and we appreciate this more than they know.  Also, thank you to Carrera, one of our Maniacs from Seattle, for participating in our anniversary celebration.  We were happy you could make it!

the plimoth's menu is constantly  changing depending on the availability of local ingredients; however, they do have items that are staples.  If you try only one thing from the plimoth's menu, be sure it is the cracklin' chicken.  For a full write up of the plimoth, check out our blog entry from our first visit.

The sweets
Our server, Mitch, was astounding.  We gave both Mitch and the chefs free reign to feed us so appetizers, main dishes, and desserts were their choice.  We loved each and every dish we tried.  This restaurant is one of Denver's best, if not THE best. 

For the second time, we awarded the coveted golden spoon to the plimoth.  They are our first and only double spoon. Yes, we just made that phrase up, and we dig it.
The past two yeas have been filled with so much fun and we look forward to another year of food, friends, and frivolity while celebrating Colorado eateries.  Thank you all for your support of MenuManiacs!  Here comes year three!
Great server, Mitch!

The Plimoth Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - 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.