Another food post by the non-foodie Lauryn (everyone has to eat, right?).
“Will you be eating the cookies soon?” The young cashier asked me as he placed each pastry in a small paper bag. He was wearing an apron like the bakers I had seen in the back with a crisp white shirt but still managed to look casual in that millennial way. I hadn’t paid him much attention until now. We were consuming the cookies shortly, but his question intrigued me.
“Relatively soon. Does it need to be refrigerated?” Like all the pastries at Tokyo premium Bakery, it had been sitting out on the shelves designed for customers to fill their tray themselves before proceeding to the young cashier.
“No, but if you will not these eating it today, I can wrap them plastic. Japanese dough is accustomed to humidity so it’s at risk to dry out.” He explained this in a very understanding tone that suggested he’s done this before….many times. Considering there was no way any of the cookies would last the day, I declined the plastic wrap relieved he wasn’t passing judgement on me for eating these gigantic treats all in one day.
The cookie in question was the Sunrise. Described as a “soft, sweet bread covered with lemon-flavored cookie”, it took me a bite to understand said description. With each doughy bite, complete with a lemon cookie shell, it was nothing short of special.
I found I had to rely on many of the descriptions here to determine what I was purchasing. Specializing in “Japanese-style bread and pastries”, Tokyo Premium Bakery is certainly authentic. While you will recognize some pastries, such as the croissants (delightful), others are not your typical Denver bakery fare. We also tried chocolate cornet, a Japanese cornet- shaped sweet bun filled with chocolate custard. This one came wrapped in plastic so we did not have to worry about your consumption time, but ate it right away just in case.
The same goes for the drink menu. Offering a variety of coffee and lattes, you will also find Japanese specialties such as the Matcha latte and Houjicha (a Japanese green tea I learned) Latte. I chose the Turmeric Ginger Chai, fulfilling my caffeine and antioxidant quota for the day.
One of their specialties we sadly did not try. We learned you need to order their famous bread 24 hours in advance and plan to do so soon. The person behind me was picking up his loaf of bread, called SHOKU-PAN. Available by one-third or a whole loaf, the slices are up to 4 inches thick. Used as sandwich bread, it is described as “soft and fluffy” and makes my typical sandwich bread look like cardboard.
South Pearl Street has long been a hot bed for Japanese food in Denver. Now you can make a day of it, starting at Tokyo Japanese Bakery for breakfast and eating your way through lunch and dinner at the neighboring restaurants. Just be sure to order your SHOKUPAN ahead of time.
Tokyo Premium Bakery is located at 1540 S Pearl street and offers seating for dine-in. For hours (do check as it’s closed Mondays and certain Tuesdays) and more information, visit https://tokyopremiumbakery.com/
Another not so detailed dining post from Anna...
Are you into Mexican wrestling? Or Mexican wrestlers? Or Mexican wrestling dolls? Supermegabien is here to introduce you to the last one. As well as incredible Latin American food.
I've always been a fan of Dim Sum. Carts of delicacies roll by producing a pavlovian response and encouraging the kind of experimentation with flavors that seem risky with an entree.
What is Latin American Dim Sum?
It is Latin American Dim Sum.
Perhaps there a more robust explanation but I ignore the fine print.
When we arrived at 6:00 on a Tuesday (lets pretend the early hour was because we were dining with a three year old and not that I roll into restaurants with the octogenarians) every table was full except the corner booth. The host showed us right to the four top and happily added a fifth setting although he had not yet laid eyes on our pint sized diner. Some restaurants are picky about that, but the staff's attitude matched the vibe...buzzy and upbeat.
The menu featured many dim sum options as well as entrees which come in half and full portions. It is hard to ignore the carts. We tried everything on them including the special...which turns out to be buns on Tuesday. Their doughy wrapping was the closet to the sticky buns of traditional Aisan dim sum, but these were stuff with succulent savory meat rather than strange plum-like paste. My favorite was the curry shrimp soup.
A little game for you: which of the above is the soup?
Despite already feeling satisfied it was time for us to try entrees. We chose the mole lamb wrapped in banana leaf and pork with slaw and home made...lets call them rolls but its possible the description was in the fine print.
Here is another game: Which entree are you looking at? Alternatively: Who can't hold still while using her new iPhone's low-light photography mode?
The slaw was incredible. I asked the server about the acid in it and she said it was lemon juice. Simple. Bright. Cuts through the pork. Wait...I gave away the entree.
After trying bites of things that would have sent me screeching to the bathroom at his age the little guy took to examining the decor. He too seemed uninterested in the tiny type and instead featured a Mexican wrestling doll (you knew we were going to get there) high on a perch. Our server agreed to get him down to play with (lets assume gender here, but maybe I shouldn't because his breasts are a prominent feature.) I thought he looked like a voodoo doll monster but the kid seemed to feel pretty comfortable with him.
The kindness of the server, the interactivity of the place (carts! toys!), and the combination of tastes pushed SMB to the top of my return list.
Another food post by the non-foodie Lauryn (everyone has to eat, right?)
Given the size of the locale, it’s pretty amazing that Vert Kitchen produces the wonderful food that it does. I planned to meet Anna at Overt (the adjoining coffee shop) for some New Year planning, only to realize that there wasn’t just limited seating, but zero seating. Perhaps we should have known since the address is 712 ½? At any rate, we happily went next door to Vert, which I hadn’t eaten at for years and was eager to revisit.
Only slightly larger than Overt, Vert Kitchen has limited seating which is supplemented by the patio on warmer days. We sat by the window and caught up over tea while we waited for our food. Squeezed into the adorable restaurant sipping my latte while I gazed at Pearl street, I almost felt like I was back in a big(ger) city!
While the table was small, the portions were mighty. We were both pleasantly surprised when our food came with full salads (and mine even included a side – I chose the quinoa salad and had to take it home in a box). Since I have zero dietary restrictions (I wish I had the willpower), I had the Fried Eggs and Bacon on Toast. Such a simple name does not accurately describe the meal though. Yes there were fried eggs. Yes there was extremely thick bacon. And yes toast. But this wasn’t your typical fare. Vert touts fresh ingredients and there was no arguing on this meal. The toast, intimidating in color at first, was delightfully covered in tomato butter. I had never tried, or heard of, tomato butter but now I can’t stop thinking about it.
Anna had the butternut squash, kale and brie frittata (and had to remove the butternut squash because she has willpower and exercises it with the Keto diet). When the frittata came on a full bed of salad, Anna was disappointed by the cucumbers. She has such a distaste for them she declared she wasn’t eating the salad. A few bites later after pushing some cucumbers aside, she declared it the best salad she has ever tasted. Ever. Pretty sure it trumped the butternut squash/kale/brie minus butternut squash frittata.
By this point the small eatery was packed and there was a wait for the few coveted tables. After another cup of expensive tea (total pet peeve here, but tea should be free refills like coffee!), we decided we could not monopolize the table anymore with our laptops and packed up our work and leftovers. Really though, I think Anna needed to remove herself from watching me sip the delicious, and free, cucumber water.
Vert Kitchen and Overt are open daily 8am- 8pm. Menus are seasonal and can be found here.
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