The Liquid Diet

This Week in The Liquid Diet: the “super secret stoner food not-on-the-menu” menu aka Fair Fare unleashed itself upon Denver (so don’t tell anyone because, well, it’s a secret).  A beer that had been waiting patiently since the year of movies like Wedding Crashers and Pride & Prejudice as well as songs like “Holla Back Girl” and “Gold Digger” finally saw the bottom of my belly. Then two things that go together like steak and beer…steak and beer.

Wednesday September 14, 2011 at 10:22 PM MST:

Liquid Diet

I know I rambled on about how cool those jerks at ROW 14 think they are last week and it probably bored you to death, but just a little more to endure, I promise (kinda).  Wednesday September 14, 2011 is a day that will live in infamy, at least for a couple weeks.  Row 14 threw a Service Industry party in conjunction with Fernet Branca for Assistant GM Justin Russell, as well as to unveil a showcase of the new late-night secret menu.  For those of you who live under Gibraltar, Fernet is one of those spirits that is a rite of passage, a handshake, if you will, among bartenders.  It’s hodge-podge Amaro (bitter) with ingredients including myrrh, aloe, chamomile, rhubarb and cardamom.  It tastes like black licorice flavored Listerine.

We decided that it would be a good idea to put Fernet on tap and filled a keg full of 4 cases of the stuff (think Boston’s Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar).  Then, threw a party for our comrades in the food world with free Fernet and stoner food!  Sounds like a harmless evening, right?!  Let me get a quick food mention out of the way and get back to the boozy debauchery… Liquid Diet

We offered 19 dishes all free of the primping, teasing, and pruning of food to which we chefs are so accustomed. This was just pure drunk, hangover, fat kid, stoner, 3am-in-your-underwear-hunched-over-the-fridge food.  Again, it’s a secret menu, but a couple dishes included Smores Potstickers, Grilled Cheese n Cheese, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed M&M Cookies, Philly Cheesesteak Empanadas and The Meatloaf.  The Meatloaf is a homestyle beef and pork meatloaf atop mac n cheese with foie gras torchon, Worcestershire “gravy” and an egg fried in bone marrow fat.  If you are in to any of these mutant-type creations, stop by ROW 14 any night of the week from 10pm-midnight and ask “what’s not on the menu?” and you may stumble upon these and more.  Okay, that’s really all I can say before someone gets their knee caps busted.

A little factoid for you: Fernet  was also a tonic prescribed to cure all sorts of ailments including cholera, just in case you find yourself in need.  But no major injuries to report, just some broken hearts, some teeth stained black and the usual bruised livers.

Thursday September 15, 2011 at 10:09 PM MST:

Liquid Diet

A much more quiet evening than the one prior, but worth mentioning.  A quick night-cap at the Bull n Bush and I got sucked in by their vintage list and had to partake in some dankness.  One beer in particular jumped out at me this evening because, as I mentioned earlier, it was made in such an amazing year in American cinema and music history… 2005!  This year in the sleepy little town of Belgium, a brewery who produces my favorite beer in its style (another beer, another story, another time) conjured up an instant classic.  The brewery is Drie Fontenein and this beer was their Oude Kriek, a Lambic beer flavored with sour cherries (pits, stems and all).  If you had teeth made of steel, like that dude in Moonraker (not made in 2005), and you ate a sour cherry right off the branch stems, seeds, even the bugs crawling on the tree, that’s what this beer tastes like (well, that and beer).  It doesn’t taste like someone poured snow cone syrup into your beer.  The flavor is intense, yet not overbearing and the funky sour stylings of the Lambic really shine.  It still has such nice tight bubbles and the color looks like the tidal wave of blood down the halls of the hotel in The Shining.  Please introduce this beer to your mouth for all our sakes!

Sunday September 18, 2011 at 12:47 AM MST:

Beer and food

I know Sunday brunch in Cherry Creek is not where you expect to find me enjoying one of the most historical and primal parings of booze and food, but sometimes you just got to let it happen.  I pretend to be evolved and refined when I can, but you put a steak and a beer in front of me and I can’t help but start speaking mono-syllabically and grunting as I attempt to continue to use my silverware rather than my hands to devour my kill.   I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as I bite into my chunk of beef tenderloin and then sip my Deschutes Inversion IPA like a classy gentleman.  The Inversion, an American style India Pale Ale, which sounds strangely backwards, has really become a class all its own. The nice 6.8% ABV 80 IBU ale is perfect for a light brunch or a feast fit for a King.  The intense, pine-tree flavor and aroma of the Oregon hops is such a great palate re-aligner (aka palate cleanser) with the richness of the herb crusted tenderloin.  I managed to behave myself throughout my meal, but I’m telling you that there is something about a great IPA and a hunk of meat that does something to a man!

The lessons of the week are stoner food is good even if you are not a stoner, or if you are; Time heals all wounds, and if you are an awesome beer, time makes you awesome; steak and beer go together like steak and beer.

Quite a week in the life of The Liquid Diet…what will this week hold in store…stay tuned!

About Jensen Cummings

Jensen Cummings (@JensenDCummings) is the Executive Chef at Row 14 in downtown Denver. He calls his food "Pangean Cuisine" and his teaching style "Fortune Cookie Philosophy" so you know he's a little off his rocker! His side passion project is to collaborate with brewers on chef/food inspired beers meant to be paired with high end cuisine. Jensen is an avid beer collector, student of spirits, soon to be Certified Cicerone and a sommelier in training. Basically, he is just really into adult beverages and super geeky!