Sunday, October 30, 2016

Choctoberfest 2016

Whole Lotta Choco-Latta...


This is truly one of our favorite festivals.  Seriously, we fast for two days.  It's that awesome.  We really love it.  There's chocolate everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  Ahh, Choctoberfest.

This year, the third annual Choctoberfest was held at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds.  We really liked the new location because there was a lot more space and a lot more chocolate.

Did we mention the chocolate?

Our good friends at Satchi Fudge, Stewart's Crumpets and Confections, and Goufrais were there again this year and we were introduced to several new companies such as The Chocolate Lab and The Animas Chocolate Company.

As always, Choctoberfest was a huge hit and seemed to be a great success for the vendors.  Seeing so many Colorado companies in one building made our hearts happy.  We were just so giddy with joy, or sugar, or a little bit of both.

There are several Chocolate festivals throughout the year here in Colorado, the next being the Holiday Chocolate Festival at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs on December 2nd and 3rd.  Be sure to check their website for more details about this exciting event.

As usual, in addition to vendor booths, there were chocolate pudding eating contests, wine and chocolate pairings, beer and chocolate pairings, and cider and chocolate pairings. The latter being paired with Stewart's Highland Crème (you know we love you guys). 

Cider and Chocolate Pairing
Choctoberfest is a must for anybody with a sweet tooth.  If you are interested, be sure to like Colorado Chocolate Festival's Facebook page for the most up to date information on events and all things chocolate throughout the year.

To all our friends at Choctoberfest both new and old, it was great to see you all and we are so happy for all of you.  We wish you nothing but success and we will see you all next year!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mustard's Last Stand

Good Dog!  Such a Good Dog!

Mustard's Last Stand has been celebrating their love of Chicago style hot dogs for over 30 years.  They have two locations, one in Denver and one in Boulder.  For this outing, we visited the Denver location at 2081 S. University Boulevard.

Mustard's offers a lot more than just hot dogs.  Their menu is packed full of other items like hamburgers, sandwiches, Italian fare, vegetarian options, a gluten free menu, kids meals, and The Ditka 1/3 lb. Monster Polish.

Our favorite thing about the restaurant was that they offered three sizes of French fries:  taste, small, and large.  So many times we order a sandwich only to face a huge pile of fries.  We here at MenuManiacs have a strict, no fry left behind policy so the fact that we can choose the amount of fries we consume was a great find.

Another thing that impressed us about Mustard's was the fact that each order is cooked fresh.  A lot of hot dog eateries have the dogs pre-cooked in a tub of hot water.  They don't do that type of thing here and you can taste the difference.

Although Mustard's Last Stand celebrates all things Chicago, it is very loyal to the state of Colorado.  They use many local companies such as Steele's Meats in Lafayette, Continental Sausages in Denver, Boulder's Breadworks, and Udi's Gluten Free products.  We love that!

We ordered the Polish sausage with tomatoes and cheese as well as a Chile cheese dog.  The Polish sausage was cooked to perfection.  It was juicy on the inside, crispy and charred on the outside.  Delicious!  The Chili Cheese dog was excellent and the chili was flavorful without being overly spicy.

There is a seating area inside and a large patio outside.  They have a small parking lot and street parking is available if you can find it.  The restaurant is a diner setting so if you are looking for a delicious, quick meal, Mustard's Last Stand is a good place to go.  Also, if you can't make it to the actual restaurant, Mustard's can be ordered through GrubHub.

Sometimes, you just need a good dog.  When the mood strikes you, try Mustard's Last Stand because they are worth the trip.  For all the good food and service, we give Mustard's a fork.  Thank you to the entire staff for a fun afternoon.

Mustard's Last Stand 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 good. We’ll take another stab at it.
Didn’t make the cut.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Sew, Sartos Will Tailor Make A Meal For You...

The first thing we noticed when walking into Sartos was the very large, sewing needles that served as handles on their front door.  Because we don't research our locations before we visit them, we were just a little bit confused.

The first question we asked our server was what Sartos actually means.  We were told that it was an occupational name meaning "tailor" in Italian, from the Latin sartus "to mend".   Well, that made a lot of sense.  It explained the door handles and the schematics of sewing machines as well as the actual antique sewing machines found throughout the restaurant.  The bathrooms are lined up in a hallway and are labeled "fitting rooms" and a there is a three way mirror at the end of the hallway which was a nice touch.  Plaster casts of scissors and other items used in sewing are hung on the walls as well.  The "tailor" theme is carried through all parts of the restaurant.  You see, the owner's name is Taylor which is why this theme was chosen.  Very cute, Sartos.  We like it.

The restaurant itself is beautiful.  With tons of natural light and large windows, it is a clean and pristine white with a beautiful patio area that also serves as a mini garden.  The restaurant grows things like tomatoes and rosemary to be used in their dishes.  They offer a pantry area where customers can purchase soups and sandwiches for lunch and buy food such as pastas and sauces to go.  They also sell boquets of flowers for six dollars. 
For our Maniacs with gluten issues, never fear!  Sartos offers gluten free options on their menu.

Brunch is offered on Saturday and Sunday and dinner starts at 5pm.

One of the unique offerings Sartos has is a chef's counter option.  This costs $60 per person with an optional wine pairing for an additional $30.  It consists of a "tailor made" (see what we did there?) five course meal made especially for you and depending on any limitations you give them, it can be quite the experience.  We had a few food allergies to worry about and they excelled at working around those issues.

We actually arrived quite a bit early so we tried some cocktails before dinner.  We would like to compliment, Josh, our wonderful bartender who made custom drinks on the fly based on our distinct tastes.  He was a master of beverages that night creating both alcoholic and virgin cocktails that were all very delicious.  He was knowledgeable and knew exactly where each glass of wine came from.  He gave accurate and detailed descriptions of each for those people who chose to add the wine pairing.  Thank you, Josh, for helping to make the evening a great one.

As we have said before, we love writing this blog.  Without it, we would not try a lot of the food we have in the last few years.  Some food we have liked and some food we have not, but  we tried it and that is what counts.  For instance, the first course included salmon, oko tuna from Hawaii, scallops, compressed melon, catfish caviar, fresh basil, oranges, and arugula puree.  These were all served on a block of pure, pink Himalayan salt which "cooked" the fish and added a delicious saltiness that paired with the sweetness of the fruit.  This is one of those things we would not try...ever.  All in all, it wasn't that bad.

From there we were served a fresh salad of seasonal veggies and pickled plums served over a creamy, fluffy goat cheese.  All produce, aside from what they grow on their patio, is sourced from Colorado farms. The night's produce was supplied by Leffler Family Farms in Evans, Colorado.  Farm to table is truly one of our favorite things.  The difference in taste and freshness is just amazing.

One of the more unique dishes was a risotto type dish made from huitlacoche.  Pronounced whee-tla-KO-cheh, it is also known as corn mushroom, corn smut, or Mexican truffle. It is a fungus, which randomly grows on organic corn (not sprayed with any fungicide) and was topped with fresh sweet corn.  Man, we learned so much that night!  So much fun!!!

The first main course was Oko tuna with a red onion ash, and forbidden black rice (rice that was only served to Chinese emperors),  Although we are not huge fans of fish, this was quite good and the ash coating tasted a little bit like coffee.

For desert we had a fabulous tiramisu which is always a favorite.

Thank you to Reggie, our talented chef, for a wonderful meal.  You were a lot of fun and we appreciate you putting up with all our questions.

On this outing, we were lucky enough to be joined by one of our Maniacs and budding photographer, Rio Rivera.  The photos on this blog entry are just a few examples of the extent of Rio's talent.  She has taken photos of our pets as well and they are simply phenomenal.  She has a real gift.  If you are in need of a photographer, please contact Rio at

Overall, Santos was a very good restaurant.  The staff was amazing, knowledgeable, and friendly.  We were given a tour of the restaurant, we met the Manager, and the atmosphere was fun and light.  The chef's counter is definitely the way to go.  It is a wonderful way to learn all about new food and to try something unique.  For all these reasons, we give Sartos a fork.

As they say in Italy, Grazie a tutto il personale Sartos per l'ospitalità e cibo eccellente. Ci vediamo presto!

Thanks again!
Sarto's 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 good. We’ll take another stab at it.
Didn’t make the cut.