Foods plain & fancy in River North.
A few days ago, my friend Julia Joun and I took ourselves on our own food tour in River North (RiNo), an emerging neighborhood in Denver. Her foodie credentials are solid. She she runs the Flatirons Food Film Festival. At this point, my credentials reside mainly on this blog, which I’m proud to say has won several awards. We left Boulder at 9:30 a.m. and didn’t return until almost 6 p.m. What a great and delicious day.
We actually started at Rosenberg’s Bagels in Five Points, near enough to RiNo to count. A couple of years ago, when bagel shop and deli were a bright gleam in Josh Pollack’s eye, he stopped by and dropped off a bag of New York-style bagels. Were they ever good! Read my post here.
The Welton Street light-rail stop is directly in front of Rosenberg’s door, while some customers, like us, come in the back way from Clarkson. The gal from one of the city’s Whole Foods came in that way too, to pick up the morning order. Whole Foods is fussy about its sourcing, so this is a testimonial to the quality, taste and authenticity. Knowing that we had a long day of eating ahead, we shared an everything bagel with salmon cream cheese.
Babette’s Bakery at The Source
If one baked item for breakfast is good, two are better, so Julia and I proceeded to The Source, a renovated, repurposed and totally cool 1880s foundry that now houses restaurants, retailers, watering holes and other semi-related businesses.
We made a beeline for Babette’s Bakery, which initially became known for its fabulous artisainal French country breads. The pastries fall in the to-die-for category too. We split one, bought things to take home — Julie snagged some bread to take home, and I bought a ham and cheese croissant for my husband.
Sadly, I never made it to Jeff Osaka’s highly praised Twelve Restaurant, but after it closed and chef Osaka opened his namesake Osaka Ramen restaurant, I was determined not to let it slip by. It became our lunch stop. We descended to the basement to a restaurant with an open kitchen, a ramen bar and tables of various sizes.
We hadn’t planned to stop at the Rackhouse, mainly because we had not heard of it, but then we passed by and saw the sign for Lager, Cider, Food. This enormous industrial space, once a book bindery, features production facilities for Bierstadt Lager and C Squared Ciders — and an old yellow trolley car used, perhaps, as an office. Upstairs is the restaurant with a big bar, lots of tables and some antique equipment from the bindery days. It well past lunch, but we saw a few loaded plates brought to customers. The bartender gave us cider tastings (Alma, Ginger, Lila, Ella and Nona from light to potent — perhaps like the ladies after whom they were named). Enlightening.
Not to be confused with The Pressery, a chain specializing in fresh juices and drinkable vinegars, the brand new Preservery, Obe and Whitney Ariss’s multi-faceted enterprise — a seasonal restaurant, an artisinal bakery, a carefully curated little market and a music venue that includes all manner of music, from classical to contemporary.