Mile High Life

Dog days of the holidays

Penny Parker
Column by Penny Parker
Posted

You can look, but don’t touch those friendly looking police dogs at Denver International Airport. They’re on the job working to protect travelers, and can’t use the distraction.

9News reported last week that DIA has come up with a creative solution to petting police dogs: trading cards.

“Brian Brown, a technician with the Denver Police Department Explosive Detection Unit has worked with his bomb-sniffing partner, Nnikos, for nearly four-and-a-half years,” the 9News report said.  “He says his four-legged co-worker gets a lot of attention, especially from kids.

“We do not let anybody touch the dogs.  Mainly, it’s for liability purposes,” Brown said.  “They’re still working animals. We still have a job to do and … I want my dog to go out and work as hard as he can.  And the best way to do that is not let people touch them.”

In keeping with the “look-don’t-touch” policy, Brown hands out cards to the kids so they can get to know the dogs better without getting too close.

Old Major makes Thrillist top 33 restaurants list

I won’t mince words. My absolute favorite new restaurant this year is Old Major at 3316 Tejon St. I even chose to celebrate my recent milestone birthday for dinner there with On The Town Junior and Mr. On The Town.

I had been to Old Major, a proud nose-to-tail eatery where they butcher 2.5 pigs a week (not sure what happens with the other half of the last pig), a handful of times, but I took a risk (and it was my birthday, after all) and booked a table for three to include the hub and my foodie son who works for much-lauded restaurateur Danny Meyer at Maialino in the Gramercy Park Hotel at 2 Lexington Ave. in NYC.

My son surprised me with his arrival in Denver to celebrate my special day. Both of my “he-men” went nuts for the place and over the food. We ordered an arsenal of appetizers and an entrée each, which included the nose-to-tail dish, roasted duck breast and orcchiette pasta with roasted pork.

Another surprise came last week when Old Major received a national nod via www.thrillistnation.com as being one of the 33 Best New Restaurants in America.

And here’s what Thrillist said about Old Major: “Denver’s LoHi neighborhood is bursting at the seams with new, popular bars and restaurants, but Old Major’s `elevated farmhouse cuisine’ stands out among the pack with exceptional cocktails and decadent, inventive cuisine (think Colorado rib eye with bleu cheese, foie gras butter, and pork fat fries). If you’re smart and/or just understand weekly calendars, swing by on a Wednesday, where you can watch the chef/owner butcher two pigs in-house, you saucy, food-based voyeur! Then you’ll eat the fruits of his labor on the Nose to Tail Plate, which features cuts like braised belly, confit rib, schnitzel, ham, and ears, all accompanied by mustard spaetzle, sauerkraut, and a demi-glace.”

Christmas dinner idea

If you’re stuck in the metro area without Christmas dinner plans, where do you go?

Here are some ideas:

Venice Ristorante, 5946 South Holly Street, Greenwood Village (or its sister restaurants, Chianti, also in Greenwood Village, and Venice Ristorante & Wine bar in LoDo); The Briarwood Inn, 1630 8th St., Golden; Baca, in the Inverness Hotel in Englewood; Kachina Southwestern Grill, 10600 Westminster Blvd., Westminster. And La Cave Wine Bar & Boutique, 360 Union Blvd, Lakewood. Look for menus and reservations for all these and more at www.opentable.com.

With On The Town Junior away for the holidays in New York, Mr. On The Town and I will be dining at an old favorite, the Aurora Summit, on Christmas night.

Buy 88 keys from Swallow Hill

To all my readers in the south metro area, Swallow Hill Music’s grand piano is about to retire, and it could be yours (or yours to give) this holiday season. Thanks to a generous donor, Swallow Hill is receiving a new piano, and will auction off the Nordiska Grand to support its scholarship fund. Bidding on the piano will close on Dec. 20.

The 5-foot 10-inch Nordiska has been the main stage piano for more than 10 years, and has been played by some of the most talented musicians that have come through Swallow Hill Music, including George Winston, Leon Redbone, Suzy Bogguss, Raul Midón, John McCutcheon, Marcia Ball, Alpin Hong and Matt Morris.

Bids for the Nordiska Grand Piano can be submitted to community@swallowhillmusic.org. The winning bidder will be notified on Dec. 20. The approximate retail value is $5,000; the minimum bid accepted is $2,500. Home delivery has been donated by Move and Tune, Inc.

For more information, visit www.swallowhillmusic.org for more information.

Palettes gets nod from Food & Wine

Food & Wine magazine has included Palettes in the Denver Art Museum among the “Best Museum Restaurants in the U.S.”

About Palettes, F&W wrote: “Chef Kevin Taylor opened this museum café in 1997. His new American menu spans from Anaheim chiles rellenos to a silken corn soup with barbecued shrimp (made famous at Zenith, Taylor’s long-gone notable noshery).”

Check out the rest of the best list at www.foodandwine.com.

The Seen

Entrepreneur and gay-rights activist Tim Gill shipping an overnight letter at Mail It! Pack It! Ship It! in Cherry Creek North.

Penny Parker’s “Mile High Life” column gives insights into the best events, restaurants, businesses, parties and people throughout the metro area. Parker also writes for Blacktie-Colorado.com. You can subscribe and read her columns (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) at www.pennyparker.blacktie-colorado.com. She can be reached at penny@blacktie-llc.com or at 303-619-5209.