I used to hate oysters. But, as I learned with sushi, it’s an acquired taste and let me tell you, I’m in love with oysters in every form! On the half-shell, in pasta, and even as nachos! Seriously.
But one of my favorite varieties is the Blue Point.
So what the heck are they?
According to Edible, New York law dating back to 1903 states: “No person shall sell or offer for sale, any oysters, or label or brand any packages containing oysters for shipment or sale under the name of blue point oysters, other than oysters which have been planted and cultivated at least three months in the waters of Great South Bay.”
The magazine also states that there’s a village on Long Island called Blue Point, which is located on the Great South Bay.
But, that doesn’t mean that they’re the only Blue Point oysters! “Blue Point” has come to mean just about any oyster that comes from the Long Island region.
In fact, oysters as far south as Virginia are sometimes sold as Blue Points, but your quality oyster houses will be happy to let you know where your Blue Points are from. (I’ve never tried “Blue Points” from anywhere other than the Long Island area, so they may be great. Or they may be disappointing.)
If you’re located in a land-locked city, I highly recommend Connecticut Blue Points, which is located along Long Island Sound. Basically, they’re what I eat if I’m not vacationing in Key West or down in New Orleans.
How Do Blue Point Oysters Taste?
Blue Points can be up to four inches in diameter and their shell shape means that they retain a large amount of their “liquor” – and live longer, by the way. They have moderate salinity – not too salty, that is – and are meatier than some of the other oysters I’ve encountered.
While other oysters may be better suited to recipes, Blue Points are fantastic on their own, with a little bit of horseradish and fresh lemon.
Each year, my man and I head out of town for Christmas. It’s just the two of us, so why not take the show on the road, so to speak? This year, we ventured to Denver, Colorado. Let me tell you, this Texas girl was NOT ready for that cold. Luckily I packed well. There’s just something about getting whipped in the face with an icy-cold wind in Downtown Denver that takes your breath away.
That said, it was delightful. And holy guacamole: The. Food. Was. Amazing. Obviously, I had to share.
While this is certainly not a comprehensive list of where to eat in Denver (there are so many places!) these are my favorite stops from the trip.
Where To Eat Breakfast In Denver
Okay so let’s start with the most important meal of the day. For me, when I’m in Denver from now on, I will always make sure to eat at Snooze: An A.M. Eatery. In fact, I’m totally stoked to find that there are two locations right here in Dallas! This gal is happy.
Anyway, we ate at the Union Station location in LoDo (Lower Downtown for us tourists) and it was definitely worth the 30-minute wait to get in.
After we ordered coffee and our meal – I ordered the holiday special, the Sweet Potato Steak Stack, and Mike had the Benny Duo, which is essentially a half-order of two varieties of Eggs Benedict – another server showed up at our table with a platter-sized pancake in hand.
Naturally, I thought it was a mistake, but he told us that our waiter sent us the Cinnamon Roll Pancake as a gift. Can I just tell you, I nearly died it was so good! Apparently it’s not on the menu any longer, but according to our server, it’s always available.
While I was in foodie heaven – this pancake was the fluffiest and somehow also the thickest pancake I’ve ever tasted in my life and was accompanied by crisp-cool cinnamon butter and drizzled with thin, white icing – we sipped great coffee and chatted with some of the locals. Snooze is so laid back and friendly, I highly recommend it to couples, families, or even solo diners if you find yourself in Denver for business.
Here’s my special (you can see our decimated pancake and Mike’s Benny Duo there too):
Holy moly, I’m dead. I want it gain just looking at the photo!
Where To Eat Lunch In Denver
Okay, so we technically ate dinner at Stout Street Social, but when we went in the next day during lunch to retrieve the debit card we accidentally left there the night before, there was still a great vibe going.
We started our meal with Blue Point oysters on the half shell, which were, predictably, amazing! Blue Points are my absolute favorite oyster to eat raw on the half shell.
I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tower, which was very nice, super fresh, and (this is actually a compliment when it comes to sushi!) as I expected. Mike splurged – because vacation – and ordered the Fish & Chips. Our cocktails were top-notch too: A basil and elderberry martini for me and an Old Fashioned made with local bourbon for him.
But what struck me about this place was the atmosphere. The employees – and namely our bartender (who else loves to sit at the bar and eat?!) – were all so happy and it was clear they wanted to be there. We had one of the most engaging conversations with the bartender we’ve had in ages, so good food + good booze + good conversation = highly recommended!
Where To Grab Drinks In Denver
We popped into a few restaurants and bars while walking around town, but two really stuck out as fantastic locations: Sip and Union Lodge No. 1.
Sip | eat + drink
We stumbled upon Sip | eat + drink on our first night in Denver – when it was literally 19 degrees out and we didn’t feel like braving the cold to find something further away. I’m so glad we did, though!
Sip was so delightful that we came back the next night! At Sip, you can eat and drink and it seems like a great place for after-work cocktails or a date too!
The bar features an extensive whiskey selection and ample wine options if that’s more your speed. But the cocktail that really blew me away was the Crystal Clear Old Fashioned.
And it is crystal clear! Just look:
I’m not a huge fan of tequila – which is what makes this Old Fashioned so clear – but this cocktail is a keeper. They also vapor infused simple syrup that adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole experience.
Union Lodge No. 1
Tucked into a building, hiding next to a Mexican food restaurant and adjacent to what I can only assume are office spaces is Union Lodge No. 1. I adore speakeasies and dark bars – Union Lodge No. 1 did not disappoint.
Here, funky bartenders craft imaginative but approachable drinks. If you love an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan, you’re in luck. But if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, there’s certainly something to tickle your fancy. I had my favorite cocktail, a Vieux Carre, and I love their take on it. Anytime I step into a craft cocktail bar, I order this drink and it’s been a little different everywhere I go. It gives me a great impression of the place, though.
After my Vieux Carre, I indulged in a seasonal drink, the “My Morticia.” Served in fluted glass, the cocktail is a devilishly good drink with a little bit of a tart citrusy flavor. My favorite part about the bar was watching the bartenders swiftly craft drinks, seemingly juggle fire, and snap out funny quips between orders.
(I took so many pictures here, but it’s dark enough that all the images came out grainy and low-quality…You’ll just have to visit to see it in all it’s coolness!)
Where To Eat Dinner In Denver
OMG what do I say about Linger other than it was here – in an old mortuary! – that I ate the best food I’ve had in years. Like, I’m getting excited just thinking about the food as I write this.
The Universe was looking out for us because we got two seats at the bar and were able to eat dinner there without a reservation. If you go, make sure to call ahead. The place gets PACKED. Fast.
Since a majority of the plates are small, we ordered four delicious items and shared: Bison Pastrami Reuben Bao Bun, a bao bun with Brussels sprout kraut, Swiss cheese, and bison pastrami; Devils on Horseback, applewood-smoked bacon-wrapped Medjool dates with herbed goat cheese; Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps, with Chinese sausage, crispy bean thread, and a fantastic satay sauce; and my favorite the Colorado Lamb Kabobs, grilled pita with lamb, cucumber salad, tzatziki, and cilantro.
Here are the Kabobs (it was dark here, too!):
Holy crap, I swear, Linger is where you die and go to food heaven!
Plus, I love that my Corpse Reviver was made with some activated charcoal to give it a little more of an edgy vibe:
The menu varies depending on what they’ve recently made – yes, it’s that fresh – but I highly recommend Space Junkie if it’s available. It’s black raspberry ice cream with a marshmallow swirl and chunks of brownie. Or, you know, heaven.
Why “Martinis & BBQ?” Well, because “Coffee & Tacos” was taken. Okay, that, but also because it’s pretty representative of my family and the food that I share with my partner, Mike, and daughter Ems (minus the martinis because she’s 13 – she loves mocktails, though!).
I’ve always loved food. In fact, I believe that in a previous life I was actually a cook. So why not start a blog about it?
I’ve been blogging for ages and yes, I remember when blogs were a new thing. I’ve read Julie & Julia and I know all too well that I’m sending my blogs out into the Internet Universe with tons of other established blogs out there. And I’m OK with this!
How is “Martinis & BBQ” different?
Well, first of all, I’m can be pretty damn funny. I’m unashamed to share mishaps, mistakes, and (without the gory details) medical mishaps a.k.a. getting food poisoning from questionable food while traveling. I’m going to share my favorite kitchen experiments and recipes – we tend to eat pretty low-carb and as gluten-free as possible around my house because we all just feel better when we do.
I’m also going to be sharing my reviews of meals I’ve had – basically the best of the best type of food posts. For instance, you’ll find posts about the best food in Denver, Key West, San Antonio, Dallas, and more. Hey, if I can help you plan where to eat brunch while traveling, I’m happy!
I’ll also share some stories here from my real life. Everything will be food-ish related, but lots of fun!