Denver Eater: Interview with the guys from Lower48

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From the space and location to the cuisine, Lower 48 owners Mario Nocifera and Alex Figura created the restaurant of their dreams. Since opening the doors a year ago, the restaurant which has an American railroad-era theme (there’s a train track installation on one of the walls and menus printed to look like train tickets) has made a name for itself in Denver’s dining scene. Lower48 has received strong reviews from 5280 magazine, Westword, and the Denver Post.

Mario Nocifera and Alex Figura met at Frasca Food and Wine before deciding to team up to bring their restaurant to Denver. Nocifera runs the front of the house and Figura runs the kitchen. He has developed the menu that has a special each section with bite size portions ranging from $2 to $4. Eater talked to them about the fun they have had, ginger beer, and mullet.

The rest of the interview…

The Big Buddha

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A trip to the big buddha at Ngong Ping on Lantau Island is also a must when visiting Hong Kong. Tian Tian Buddha is the proper name for seated bronze buddha that is 112 feet tall. It represents “harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and religion.” It gets the name Tian Tian because the base of the buddha is modeled after the Tian Tian aka Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

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Also near the buddha is the Po Lin Monastery which is an active monastery. There are multiple temples that are are beautiful vibrant colors.

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To get home we took the Ngong Ping 360 home. It was a three and half mile gondola ride to the Tung Chung Terminal.

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Becky was a little nervous…

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Ho Ho Ho

I hope everyone had a good holiday! On Christmas eve we started the evening with crostinis! All the crostinis had a base of whipped ricotta cheese and then a different topping. From left to right we have tomatoes and pesto, strawberries with balsamic vinegar, pomegranate with honey, lemon zest with sea salt, smoked salmon with dill, and sautéed brussel sprouts with cracked black pepper. I am calling it “crostinis for all.”

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For dinner we had our pierogies and borscht and then John added something new with seafood risotto. We finished the night off with a lemon tart.

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‘Tis The Season

As of 6:03 pm ET today, winter is here. With winter solstice comes the longest day of the year so I thought it was fitting to share a winter dessert: red wine poached pear tart.

This recipe comes from the infamous David Lebovitz. The recipe was easy to follow and the flavors were amazing. Only suggestion would be to let the tart cool longer than 15 minutes because my crust didn’t hold up to the hot liquid—this only effected the appearance, not the flavor.

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Fish, Salt, And Stilts

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On our second day in Hong Kong Phil took us outside of the city to Lantau Island. We took a cab to get there and got very lucky with getting one. One way to get to to the island is to take the Ngong Ping 360 which is a gondola. We were a little slow to get up that morning. Why were we slow? It actually wasn’t because of the street beers we had consumed the night before but instead because we had to get a full american breakfast at the Flying Pan and Starbucks. Yep that was us. Becky and I got the Bloody Bull which was a bloody Mary with beef stock so we thought we were being semi cultural with our breakfast? After our cultural breakfast we got to the spot to get on the Ngong Ping 360 and there was a 45 minute wait so we decided to take the bus instead. We got in line for the bus and it was looking like a two hour wait so we said we can splurge and get a cab; by splurge I mean about $4 a person. We got in line for the blue cabs that specifically go to Lantau Island because the red ones do not (little tip). Slowly we noticed that in the 15 minutes that we stood there only one cab came. At this speed and with the amount of people in front of us we could have been in this line for two hours. We decided to go back to the original plan, Ngong Ping 360. We were in line for about five minutes when a blue cab pulled up to drop some people off. Phil hopped the fence and grabbed the cab. Alas we were on our way. Back to my original point, get there early or stick to one line.

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Tai O is a small fishing village known for the traditional stilt houses located on the Western coast of Lantau Island. There is a seafood market selling all things seafood and the traditional shrimp paste. The house style dates back to the 19th century. Tai O used to be one of Hong Kong’s major fishing ports for more than 200 years and also a huge salt industry back in the 30’s and 40’s. It had a population of about 30,000 and now it has about 2,000. Nowadays it is more of a tourist attraction and the actual fishing is not a sustainable as it once was.

The marekt was full of dried and salted fish. I tried the dry shrimp and I hate to ever admit that I don’t like something so all I am going to say is I did not need to have another one. I also had a donut, egg custard tart, barbequed octopus, and salt baked quail eggs. We took a boat ride out to try to get a glimpse of the pink dolphins but we weren’t the lucky ones that day.

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Next stop Tian Tan Buddha!

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This Is Hong Kong!

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Hong Kong was not like what I had excepted. In Asia I had only been to Beijing and by default, though I know Hong Kong is not China, I associated the two. My friend I was visiting, Phil (if you are wondering why that name is familiar it is from previous posts like this one), hates when our friend group does that but it just happens. Since Phil was going to be our tour guide I didn’t do that much research so I did go there with a pretty blank mind. Well my lack of research and pal to lean on paid off becuase I really really liked Hong Kong! Phil lives in Central and really close to Lan Kwai Fong. That was the first place we went since we landed at 8 pm; after dumplings of course (Exclusive DUMPLING/Hong Kong post to come). Everyone is drinking in the streets and the energy is instense. Everyone is just having fun. We bought beers at 7-11 and joined the crowd.

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The next day was a busy day. We first hiked up to Victoria Peak and had lunch up there. We went back to the apartment and changed for the evening and headed to the Ladies Market in Mong Kok by ferry. Before we went to the market we decided to get foot massages. I’m not really a fan of them. It hurt and everytime I tried to explain to the lady that it was painful she just laughed. My friend Becky, who also came to Hong Kong, said it was because she was hitting the liver point in my foot. I opted for back massages the rest of the trip. We went to markets next after more dumplings and it was great. Becky and I also had our palms read. Let’s just say I have some interesting years ahead of myself. Next stop was the Ozone Sky Bar at the Ritz Carlton which is the highest bar in the world. We each had a cocktail up there and enjoyed the lights of the city. Hong Kong is beautiful at night.

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Phil’s apartment comes with a view!

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Longest escalator in the world.

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Path to Victoria Peak

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Dragon Fruit

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Occupy – The Umbrella Revolution

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We ended back at LKF for more street beers. The next day we headed to Tai O (Post to come).

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Denver Eater: Interview with the guys from The Plimoth

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(Photo credit: Adam Larkey)

Getting a lot of attention might have not been the original plan for the three guys behind the Plimoth but whether it was intentional or not they were noticed. In its first year of business, the restaurant located in City Park North made the list of 5280 Magazine’s Best New Restaurants in March and joined the 25 Best Restaurants in October. It received a three star review from the Denver Post, a raving review from Westword, and it was selected among three finalists in the Restaurant of the Year by Eater Denver.

Owner and executive chef Peter Ryan opened the Plimoth on November 16, 2013 along with friends Charles MacDonald, chef de cuisine, and Adam Knickerbocker, general manager and sommelier. Eater sat with trio and discussed renovation, getting back in the restaurant world, and keeping things simple.

The rest of the interview…

Departing for Hong Kong

I am heading to Hong Kong today to visit my friend Phil who moved there a few months ago. I cannot wait for him to show me around! And eat dumplings of course!!! He had a few things he wanted me to bring to him so in my suit case you can find boxed mashed potatoes, gap clothes, homemade cookies from his mom in Washington, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and razors. I hope they don’t have to search my bag…

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