Tangerine Restaurant Review

Written by Robyn Portlock

If you are looking for a delicious restaurant to eat brunch at in Lafayette, Tangerine is the place! I really enjoyed my experience at Tangerine in Old Town Lafayette. One of my family’s favorite pastimes is trying out different brunch places on Sundays, so I consider myself a fairly good brunch critic.  Tangerine is owned by Chef Alec Schuler, who also owned Arugula in Boulder, and opened its doors in Lafayette in 2018. 

Written by Robyn Portlock

If you are looking for a delicious restaurant to eat brunch at in Lafayette, Tangerine is the place! I really enjoyed my experience at Tangerine in Old Town Lafayette. One of my family’s favorite pastimes is trying out different brunch places on Sundays, so I consider myself a fairly good brunch critic.  Tangerine is owned by Chef Alec Schuler, who also owned Arugula in Boulder, and opened its doors in Lafayette in 2018. 

The interior of Tangerine is very clean, bright, and, happy, with lots of tangerine orange accents and hip, modern fixtures.  This new Old Town Lafayette location is the second of three Tangerines located in Colorado. We were given the option of sitting on the patio (which looked lovely) or inside, but decided on the latter, because it was still a little chilly outside. 

We visited the restaurant on a Sunday morning and expected to have a wait, but were pleasantly surprised when we were seated within five minutes of arriving.  Our waitress, Laura, was very friendly and attentive, without being obtrusive. 

Myself, my daughter, Hannah, and her fiancé, Nick, chose to order two mochas ($4.65) and a dirty chai ($4.95). The drinks were prepared by a barista who delivered the drinks to our table with a beautiful flower design on top. The frothy mochas were devine, with little sprinkles of chocolate on top. The dirty chai was just the right amount of spicy, with cinnamon wafting in the air. We all agreed that the drinks were delectable and piping hot. 

The menu had a multitude of options including gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian. I ordered the asparagus and mushrooms ($11.95) from the Poached, Fried & Scrambled section. The eggs were poached perfectly on top of roasted local Hazel Dell (a Fort Collins fungus farm) mushrooms, soft polenta, fried asparagus, and pecorino romano cheese. I enjoyed everything except for the polenta, which I found to be mushy and flavorless. I probably should have upgraded to the Yukon gold home fries ($2), but hindsight is 20/20 right?  I also ordered the sour dough bread and heaped on the sweet, delightful, homemade blueberry and strawberry jam on it. (I’m a sucker for homemade jams.) All of the flavors blended well, and I would order it again.

Hannah ordered The Vegan (($12.25) under the Tangerine House Specialties and included tempeh, spicy guacamole, fresh arugula, sautéed spinach, eggplant caponata, pinto beans, almond romesco sauce, tangy walnut pesto, fresh lemon and two eggs. She was underwhelmed with the dish, feeling there were a lot of ingredients in the dish that were just thrown in, but it wasn’t very cohesive. She also thought it was a lot of work to eat, because she wanted just the right mix in every bite. She said that she wouldn’t order it again but was glad that she tried it. 

Nick ordered corned beef hash ($12.95), under the Tangerine House Specialties, as well, but opted for the veggie option which was made with tempeh in place of the corned beef and bacon. The dish included tempeh, crispy sweet potatoes with a house spice blend, eggs, and house-made butter pickles. He enjoyed the crunchy pickles and thought the whole dish was delicious. 

Overall, I enjoyed the Tangerine experience and would definitely eat there again. The check for three people was $59.47, which is pretty consistent with other brunch restaurants I have visited before.  I did find the portions somewhat less than other places, but the dishes did fill everyone up.  I also liked that most of the ingredients, including the coffee, were locally sourced and fresh. I would most definitely recommend Tangerine to anyone asking for a fun, tasty brunch in Lafayette and feel that it deserves a B.

 

TANGERINE

Grade: B

Where: 300 S. Public Rd, Lafayette, CO 80026

Hours: Open Daily 7am to 2:30pm 

Food: Breakfast/Brunch

How much: $6-$16

Information: (303) 443-5100

April 28, 2019

Porco Rosso, An Exciting and Solemn Adventure (Spoilers review)

By Madison Otten

 Porco Rosso is a high-flying adventure from Studio Ghibli and Hayao Misazaki, who also created and directed other works such as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro. Porco Rosso premiered in 1992 and earned $59 million while on a ¥9.2 million budget ($85,836 USD). Featuring voice talents such as Micheal Keaton, Susan Eagon, Brad Garrett, and Cary Ewles to help bring the multilayered and charming characters to life. This film is often overlooked for it’s ‘odd’ premise, but if you can move past the cover, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning and heartfelt film with a grand adventure that has been sorely lacking in modern cinema. Beware, spoilers are ahead, so I encourage you to watch this movie any way you can.

By Madison Otten

 Porco Rosso is a high-flying adventure from Studio Ghibli and Hayao Misazaki, who also created and directed other works such as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro. Porco Rosso premiered in 1992 and earned $59 million while on a ¥9.2 million budget ($85,836 USD). Featuring voice talents such as Micheal Keaton, Susan Eagon, Brad Garrett, and Cary Ewles to help bring the multilayered and charming characters to life. This film is often overlooked for it’s ‘odd’ premise, but if you can move past the cover, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning and heartfelt film with a grand adventure that has been sorely lacking in modern cinema. Beware, spoilers are ahead, so I encourage you to watch this movie any way you can.

Beware, spoilers for the film are ahead. If you haven’t watched it, I sincerely recommend it. 

 Set in 1930’s Italy, we follow the story of one Marco Pagot, a renegade former Italian air-force pilot turned air pirate pursuing the bounty hunter who goes by the moniker ‘Porco Rosso’ or Crimson Pig. At some point after he left the air force and before becoming a bounty hunter, Marco was cursed with the face of a pig, and from that point he declared himself a pig. Hence the name, Crimson Pig. By day he hunts air pirates, but by night he spends time with his old friend (and unrequited love), Madame Gina, who runs the Hotel Adriano. All is well until a cocky American pilot / screenwriter / actor by the name of Donald Curtis shoots down Porco’s plane in a bid to win Gina’s affection. 

The story picks up as Porco travels to Milan in order to get his plane fixed by his trusted engineer, Mr. Piccolo, who has his niece, Fio Piccolo, aid in redesigning and improving it. Porco returns home with his new plane and Fio who insists to be brought along both for the adventure and to badger Porco about his hefty bill, ionly to be immediately challenged by Curtis in a duel. The bet consists of Curtis taking Fio’s hand in marriage if Porco loses, against Curtis paying the (very high) bill for Porco’s new plane if Porco wins. The competition itself is a good, old fashioned, one on one, dogfight; last man standing. The bet is facilitated and hosted by the very band of air pirates that Porco hunts. 

The battle ensues against two equally skilled pilots as they try to down the other plane; the battle moves from air to sea after both of their guns jam simultaneously, and the two duke it out in an old fashioned boxing match. The fight ends when Gina arrives informing the fighters and the crowd that the Italian air force is on its way, and Porco wins by being the first one up after a knock out hit. The movie ends with Curtis upholding his end of the bargain then going on to be a Hollywood star, and Fio becoming a full-fledged airplane engineer, inheriting the family business. It’s to be assumed that Porco and Gina got their happily-ever-after together, though the scene is cut in the English dub of the movie.

Porco Rosso is not a sweeping epic, nor is it a serious, gritty thriller. It’s a short glimpse into someone’s life. All of the characters have a certain feeling to them: old, like they’ve seen much of what life has to offer. This becomes especially evident when Porco shares the screen with Fio and Curtis, assumably the youngest of our cast of characters. When Porco’s with Gina or Piccolo, people he’s known for years, you can feel their history; he’s more open and relaxed, whereas with Fio and Curtis, it’s a completely different story. 

Curtis and Porco don’t share much screen time, but we can see that Curtis is a young upstart with big dreams and bigger ambitions. He flies in the sun to avoid being seen by his prey. His only reputation is his nationality, the hot-shot American pilot with a Hollywood dream, and everything else we know of Curtis comes from his own mouth. Nobody really gives him the time of day, so he has to interject himself into scenes to be acknowledged. 

Porco’s almost the exact opposite: he’s notorious, well respected but feared. His feats of honor and valor are known amongst the pirates, so they and people around speak of his deeds, whereas Porco, himself, never really says anything about his past, aside from his talk with Fio on the beach. Even that wasn’t about great deeds, if anything it was his greatest shame, being the sole survivor of his fleet, and what would ultimately trigger his evidently self inflicted curse. You become what you perceive yourself to be. 

(A small side note, if anyone has seen Miyazaki’s other film, Howl’s Moving Castle, based on the book by Dianne Wynne Jones, you can definitely see some parallels between Sophie’s and Porco’s curse; they’re both based upon self-perception. When Porco isn’t thinking about himself or at least is lost in thought, his face returns to that of man’s, as seen within the movie.)

Fio is like Curtis in some regards, an aspiring airplane engineer who is relatively unknown. Fio is a young engineer in a man’s world, Porco even turns his nose up at her when she offers to design his plane. But by using her wit and charm, she not only gains respect from the pirates after giving them a thorough tongue lashing but also gets an essential verbal letter of recommendation from Porco on her skills as an engineer. Unlike Curtis, she doesn’t need to fight to be acknowledged, her presence demands it. The pirates maintain distance upon first encounter while they dogpile Porco, Porco is caught off guard by her guile and is convinced to let her design his new plane, and Curtis is immediately smitten with her and agrees upon a gentleman’s agreement with her, not Porco, who would be the actual participant. 

With these characters, the past and the future are constantly in play, with the old and new pilots duking it out, the old enginers pasing down their craft to the next generation, it’s a transitional period between the worlds of the old and new. Which can be said for literally any movie, but I feel that Porco Rosso handles it in a more interesting manner. As I said earlier, it’s not a gritty serious war movie; it’s just a fun, and at times, silly adventure movie that’s made with the characters’ integrity in mind. Porco is not a fun, dumb, annoying animal sidekick whose sole purpose is to make bank on that sweet, sweet merchandising money; Fio is not a Strong Independent Woman™, who occasionally says something trite and contrived to make sure the audience knows she is a SIW™; Curtis is no typical hero. Hell, this movie doesn’t even really follow the traditional hero’s journey (which, might I say, is as refreshing as a glass of water in the desert). All the characters are human; they have substance, history, flaws, and an overall sense of life. They feel like characters from old movies like Casabalnca or even some of the old Westerns. They feel real. And it’s something that’s sorely lacking in modern media.   

Porco Rosso is a fantastic story and is often overlooked. I would recommend it to anyone who likes adventure and is looking for something made with love and dedication.

Renegade Burrito Review

Written by Ricky Valadez

Illustration by Madison Otten

New to Colorado or looking for a new little secret burrito place to try out? Check out Renegade Burrito, established in 2017 by a Colorado native originally in Westminster, CO. Renegade is looking to provide the highest quality fast-casual Mexican Food in a trendy environment. 

Written by Ricky Valadez

Illustration by Madison Otten

New to Colorado or looking for a new little secret burrito place to try out? Check out Renegade Burrito, established in 2017 by a Colorado native originally in Westminster, CO. Renegade is looking to provide the highest quality fast-casual Mexican Food in a trendy environment. 

Upon arriving at the location, you are welcomed with a quiet, comfortable environment. Comparisons could be made to other trendy businesses, such as Starbucks, Chipotle, and Qdoba. Lighting is at a somewhat dim level, perfect for those late night dine outs, or even a place to do some school work. The furniture is modern and gives a comfy feel towards the customer. Now, the two times I have visited Renegade Burrito, there weren’t any people. So, take note that your experience may be different. 

Now to get an idea of the menu, here are your breakfast protein options: chorizo, sausage, bacon, or eggs. Each of these come with potatoes cheese, and two toppings. The price for these will range anywhere between $4.99 to $5.99. The toppings are the basics: sour cream, hot sauces, salsa, cheese, lettuce, and fajita veggies. If the breakfast options are not your thing, then try out their other choices: veggie, chicken, renegade chicken, chile verde, carnitas, or steak guisado. These do come with the choice of two fillings: seasoned potatoes, pinto beans, black beans, cilantro lime rice, and Spanish rice. The price for these alternatives can range anywhere between $6.79 to $7.99.

My first time there, I decided to order a chorizo breakfast burrito. I could taste the well-seasoned and tenderness of the potatoes, which, by far, were my favorite thing about the burrito. The eggs were soft and gave off a radiant yellow look, and the chorizo was well cooked; the toppings that came along gave the flavor a nice touch. However, the salsa was loose, making the burrito a bit messy. (I’d advise not wearing light jeans or white shirts.) The burrito was a filler for its size, which was nice. 

My second visit, I took my family, and we ordered about five different burritos. They all had the same toppings but the protein portion of each gave me a different perspective about the food. The chile verde was the best among the ones we ordered; it gave my mouth a punch of spicy flavors that give Renegade Burrito the Mexican feel. The chicken renegade, carnitas, chicken, and steak guisado were all bland. They could’ve been cooked a bit longer and seasoned more, nullifying the plain taste. The salsas were all hot, which did help with the bland taste of the proteins. However, I would recommend going for the breakfast options, since they’re freshly made in the morning, though they do serve breakfast all day. 

When ordering, the process is similar to that of Chipotle and Qdoba which is simple and quick. This can be a great place if anyone is in a rush to grab something on the run, or if you need to order takeout/catering; these are other great options this small business has as well. 

Renegade Burrito also has a reward system for those junkies that love earning points. Work your way up to 100 points, and you’ll get a free full-sized burrito! And just in case you become a fan of the place, they even provide gift cards and apparel. You can send them an email for more information.

Burrito Renegade is a small secret place that some people may not know about. Its modern comfy interior and variety of food is a good combination that attracts customers. While my experience has been pleasant, it still needs some tweaks on their menu in order to get to that next level. Although the business is fairly new, there’s no doubt in my mind that Renegade Burrito will become something very tremendous in the future. 

Renegade Burrito Information (Based on the two places I went)

Grade: B+
Where: Thornton (A), and Westminster (B)

Hours:

-A) 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Opened all week

-B) 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Opened all week

Food: American/Mexican

How Much: $5~$25

Of note: Relaxed counter-served spot for California-style burritos with diverse fillings and other Mexican fare

Information:

-A) (303) 280-7052

-B) (303) 287-7486

More Online: https://www.renegadeburrito.com/

 

Column: Study Habits It’s always a good time to start a personal budget

Written by Lori Robinson

Illustration by Madison Otten

If Super Bowl LIV and other wintertime festivities blew your dietary New Year’s resolutions out of the water, I’m here to help you get your house back in order. Why, you say? Because I want to get my own house in order by establishing a personal budget and could use a forum in which to compare ideas with my fellow students. What’s more I hope to show others, who may be as averse as I once was to the world of low math, that budgeting is good for us; it helps us examine what we are doing, set goals, and figure out how to get where we want to go. 

Written by Lori Robinson

Illustration by Madison Otten

If Super Bowl LIV and other wintertime festivities blew your dietary New Year’s resolutions out of the water, I’m here to help you get your house back in order. Why, you say? Because I want to get my own house in order by establishing a personal budget and could use a forum in which to compare ideas with my fellow students. What’s more I hope to show others, who may be as averse as I once was to the world of low math, that budgeting is good for us; it helps us examine what we are doing, set goals, and figure out how to get where we want to go. 

In the next few months, I plan on launching an independent business, so I had better get used to handling the budget. I can process a new business launch because I’ve done it before — and failed — mostly because I didn’t know how to keep the books. But success is built on failure and my online studies for certificates in bookkeeping and tax preparation from Front Range just might set me straight. 

Here’s a way to get the ball rolling: consider the idea that a budget is a living document. It changes from day to day, just as do our diets. That, to me, is good news. Once upon a time, I thought that because I budgeted a certain amount for a certain expense, the sky would fall if I changed that amount based on actual usage. I saw that what I budgeted and what I spent did not match so I got discouraged easily, gave up, and ran around feeling bad about myself because of it. The moral of this paragraph? Like diet and exercise, I need to adjust the budget and keep paying attention to what I make (or eat when it comes to diet) and what I spend (or work off with exercise). 

Example: It’s the beginning of the month. I just got paid. One minor interjection, however. Last semester a brilliant professor bestowed upon my classmates and me this elegant advice: Start where you are. Simple genius! I extrapolated on this wisdom because I’m a hedonistic procrastinator, but not to the point of complete self destruction, luckily. My extrapolation is to start where you are when it’s a good time to start. For example: I was going to start my budget Jan. 1. I was on vacation Jan. 1 through Jan. 8. My youngest son and I had a spending budget of $100 a day. We nailed it! Came in under budget. Excellent. Do I typically spend $100 daily in my normal daily life? Absolutely not. More like $100 every two weeks after my regular income less fixed expenses. 

Let’s take a look at what the numbers are like when I’m not on vacation.

budget

A sound budget is built on actual income and expenditures so the first step in budgeting is tracking those items. We do this in the general journal, which is the book of original entry and reads chronologically through time. I made my own form on my computer and printed it out so I could keep my journal by hand. 

My goal was to have approximately $100 left over after weekend grocery expenditures. I came out two cents shy of my target budget — pretty much on point. 

I want to mention housing expenses for a moment because I have set an important goal of getting a place of my own — no roommates. Therefore, I have to work more and spend more on my fixed expenses of rent and utilities. But that’s where budgeting helps! This is exciting news. That small business I’m launching soon has to generate enough supplemental income to help me afford my own place. In the meantime, for the next few weeks, I’m going to track my income and expenditures because those are going to generate my personal budget. 

Let’s connect in March! I look forward to sharing my budding fiscal adventures with you. Also if you have any observations of your own to share, please do in the comments below. Best wishes for happy finances until we meet again.

p.s. Want to get your diet back on track after Super Bowl Sunday and other wintertime indulgences? Think of calories as dollars except do all you can to ‘spend’ on exercise and daily chores everything you’ve taken in. Do well!

The Acreage (Stem Ciders) Restaurant Review

Written by Grey Zander  

Illustration by Madison Otten

A specialty restaurant is going to be better than your uncle Joey buying a slab of ground beef and throwing it on the grill, right? Well, not always. It is hard to run a restaurant. However, when some restaurants do it right, you’re in for some of the best food you’ll ever taste. The restaurant I’ll be evaluating is called Acreage, owned by Stem Ciders. It was founded in 2013 by Eric Foster and Phil Kao. I chose this place because it’s near my home. The criteria I’ll be comparing  it to are these: atmosphere, service, food quality, and beverages.

Written by Grey Zander  

Illustration by Madison Otten

A specialty restaurant is going to be better than your uncle Joey buying a slab of ground beef and throwing it on the grill, right? Well, not always. It is hard to run a restaurant. However, when some restaurants do it right, you’re in for some of the best food you’ll ever taste. The restaurant I’ll be evaluating is called Acreage, owned by Stem Ciders. It was founded in 2013 by Eric Foster and Phil Kao. I chose this place because it’s near my home. The criteria I’ll be comparing  it to are these: atmosphere, service, food quality, and beverages.

We went in at 3 p.m on Friday, and even though it just opened, customers were already there. When you walk into this restaurant, it has a warm, rustic feel, with wooden tables and the smell of wood-burning ovens and meat on the grill that hits you when you walk in. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, each of them great. You’re greeted with the sounds of families playing lawn games. The outdoor area has picnic tables, fireplaces for colder days and bean bag toss, if the weather is fitting. The Acreage has the overall feel of friends and small-town community, an important draw for customers to consider when deciding on a restaurant.

The two complaints I have were the music and the bathrooms. While the bathrooms were nice for the most part, the sinks were scratched but still high quality, and the floor was clean, the complaint I have was about the urinals: there weren’t any. When I walked into the men’s room, I thought, “Am I in the right restroom?” and then realized I was. 

However, the biggest complaint I have about this restaurant is the music. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever heard, but it sounded like some weird mix of country and folk music. The best way I can describe it is this: imagine a failing farm trying to get back into business and their one idea to save it is to make an inspirational video about how they can give you some fresh beets. This would have been the music used in that video. It was unappealing and a distraction from the friendly atmosphere in the restaurant.

The service, overall, was good. Getting a table was very fast and easy, and it didn’t take long to get our first drinks. We had a friendly waitress, but we had to ask for refills. The nicest thing about the service was the wait time. Within seven minutes of ordering our appetizers and 15 minutes of ordering our entrees, they arrived. The speed of preparing the dishes did not affect their taste at all.

Besides a few small complaints, the taste and the quality of the food was great. We started with the Acreage fries and the Basque fries. The Acreage fries were more traditional style fries; they were crispy, but not dry. They tasted fresh and came with a side of a sweet tangy dip. The Basque fries were not my favorite. The flavor they were tossed in had a bit too much lemon, with parmesan cheese on top. Another appetizer we got was the Salami Platter. The seasoning was good and spicy, but there was almost too much of it. The bread had a sweet flavor to it, as did the pickled vegetables.

The entrees we ordered were the pork chops, bratwurst, and burger. The pork chops by themselves were plain and needed seasoning but came with a sweet and spicy dip. The bratwurst was well flavored, marinated in cider and had a very particular taste. The burger was good, had high quality flavor and was very juicy. The only complaint I had about the burger was that it was messy; the bread was just a tiny bit soggy from all that juice. 

The dessert we had afterward were doughnuts, with a nice consistency and had a funnel cake personality.

One thing the Acreage is very proud of and even sells at a small store next to the kitchen is their beverages, and, more specifically, their hard cider. Before I go into that, let’s talk about nonalcoholic options. There is soda, but it’s not the chain soda like Coca-Cola; it has a higher quality taste than normal. The kombucha I ordered was nice and had a peach-like flavor. Although it had a small bite to it, it wasn’t nearly as much as I’d usually like in that kind of drink.

The cider is held as their signature drink. Half of the restaurant, is in fact, a cidery. And even though I can’t drink, (since I’m underage), I brought two people with me who could try it. One of their favorite ciders is the Chilean Guava, and according to them, it “has a nice balance between dry and sweet, has just a touch of spice.” Another cider is the Jalapeno, which has “a subtle pear taste, but packs a little more heat than the Chilean Guava.”

Overall, my evaluation of the place is good, besides a few complaints. It’s a great place for a big family to go out and have a good time, especially if they are coming in from out of town and want to see the mountains. Keep in mind the in-house music could use some work, and that the bathrooms need some getting used to, but besides that, a great place for a night out.

INFOBOX

The Acreage

  Rating: 7.5/10

 Address: 1380 Horizon Ave, Lafayette, CO 80026

 Hours: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday,  noon to 9 p.m. Sunday

 Food: Comfort Food, Small Plates

 How much: $4-$14 appetizers; $7-$17 entrees; $8 desserts

  How loud: moderate

 Reservations: parties of 10 or more

 Information: (303) 227-3243

Sugarfire’s Stalemate, Restaurant Review

 Written by Griffin Seeley 

Illustration by Madison Otten

Sugarfire Smokehouse, originated in St. Louis, Mo., has multiple locations in the Midwest, including one Colorado location in Westminster. I ended up choosing this restaurant to review because of its close proximity and how well it seemed to be recommended on Google, Yelp, and by friends. I went into this restaurant with four criteria in mind: the customer service, atmosphere/cleanliness, entree, and dessert. 

 Written by Griffin Seeley 

Illustration by Madison Otten

Sugarfire Smokehouse, originated in St. Louis, Mo., has multiple locations in the Midwest, including one Colorado location in Westminster. I ended up choosing this restaurant to review because of its close proximity and how well it seemed to be recommended on Google, Yelp, and by friends. I went into this restaurant with four criteria in mind: the customer service, atmosphere/cleanliness, entree, and dessert. 

The atmosphere and cleanliness were the first things I noticed in the restaurant. The dining room seemed to be pretty clean, with BBQ sauce bottles on all of the tables, and a neat bar set up on the other side of the room. Reviews adorned the walls, and a big blue cow sat on top of the bar with a sign accompanying it that read, “C-Brisket,” which I took to be the cow’s name. A red sanitizer bucket sat on one of the tables, presumably forgotten. Two garage doors sat behind the bar, leading out to the patio, closed for the season. Nobody seemed to be in the restaurant, given that it was 4 p.m. on a Monday. 

When I went into the restroom, there were shreds of paper towel on the floor, and the sink had weird specks of something in it. The combined washer/dryer in the faucet was very interesting though. The lack of attention both inside the bathrooms and in the restaurant was clearly felt.  

While we were studying the menu, I looked at the line where we would be getting served, but nobody was behind the counter waiting for us. I assumed they would show up while we were deciding, but that wasn’t the case, and when we decided what we wanted to order nobody was behind the line still.

We looked down the line to the bar at the end, and wouldn’t you know it, a couple of men wearing Sugarfire shirts were sitting at the bar, just chatting. One of the more assertive people I came with walked over there and talked to them. With poorly hidden disgruntled looks, they entered the line and put on black rubber gloves.

One of the men had an angry vibe about him, and he instantly made me feel uncomfortable. He brusquely said, “What would you like?” The friend who confronted them put in his order. While the two men were making the order, I kept a wary eye on the scary man and what he was doing with that foot-long knife. Luckily, all he did was slice portions of brisket and ribs. 

The other two friends were able to leave the line with their orders. I was not. Since mine had fried food in it, they needed more time to prepare it. The cashier, who had appeared out of nowhere, helped us out with a big smile on her face, before promptly disappearing into the back of the restaurant again. We went and sat down at a table without a sanitizer bucket. Soon after, the scary man brought my order out, plopped it down, and left without a word. He had me wondering if death by brisket nuggets was slow.

Now for the food itself. I had ordered the brisket nuggets, which was the special. Like the name sounds, it was breaded brisket, deep fried, and served with drizzled BBQ sauce.

While they looked dark, the nuggets were nice and tender, and when consumed, they melted in my mouth with bursts of brisket, plus fried, flavor. The special came with one side, and I chose the mac and cheese. While tasty, it definitely needed salt. Consistency or the texture was also missing.

My friends got the ribs/brisket combo plate and the brisket cheesesteak sandwich, respectively. They reported that the ribs were dry, tough, and lacked flavor, but the cheesesteak was nicely done. After looking at our check, the friend who got the cheesesteak determined that it was overpriced for what it was.

We decided to get dessert. Since they had shakes, cookies, and pies, we decided to get one of each. A chocolate shake and a smoked chocolate-chip cookie were decided right away, but we couldn’t decide what kind of pie we should try. The woman very adamantly suggested their signature Sugarfire pie, saying it was very popular, and telling us what it was, which seemed to be molasses and brown sugar with a wafer crust. We ended up choosing that pie to try.

We brought the pie and the cookie back to the table, with the woman saying she would bring out the shake shortly. The pie was actually very good, and as was the soft, salted cookie. When our shake came, there were chunks of vanilla ice cream still unmixed, but the flavor was nice.

Overall, this restaurant gets a B-, grade-wise. While the customer service was lacking with the people actually making our meals, the cashier did provide good service. The food was between good and bad as well, but more on the positive side. I may return, but if I do, I’m going to come back on a day when that scary man is not there.

Infobox

Sugarfire Smokehouse

Grade: B-

Address: 14375 Orchard Pkwy Suite 100, Westminster, CO 80023

Hours: 11 a.m to 10 p.m/Sold Out

Food: BBQ

How Much: Pricey

How Loud: Moderate

Reservations: No

Take-Out/Delivery: Yes

Information: (720) 639-4903

The Wing Cave & Grill Review

 

Written by Legend Jones

Illustration by Madison Otten

This spring my friends and I made plans to go see the new Avengers movie. Obviously, we had to plan everything a whole month in advance because of the hype. We nearly had it all together: the number of people going, how much each ticket was, who was driving, what snacks were being brought… of course, there is always the battle of where to eat before the main event. We wanted The Wing Cave and Grill, which has been in Northglenn for 25 years. With over 25 different wing sauces and just off 104th Avenue, it was an obvious choice. Everyone was all for it, except for one guy who wanted Buffalo Wild Wings. We felt so disrespected.

It was about 6:30 in the evening, and there was a beautiful sunset when we pulled up to the lot. We saw a few of our friends and went inside to wait for the rest. Normally, it’s not a lively place during the time of day, but they turned on all seven flat screens posted on the walls with different games and sports; they even opened the bar since it was picking up, especially because it was the weekend. There were banners and flags for football and basketball posted up along the walls, with some pictures of boxers, basketball players, and footballs that had autographs (I can’t be sure that they were legit though). The floors and tables were decent and clean. I hardly saw any trash lying about, meaning the cleaning crew was doing their job well. 

Soon the rest of the gang showed up, and we got in line to place our orders. The service was very laid back and kind, so the line moved quickly. Because I am a picky eater and I can’t handle spicy food, I ordered a seven-piece combo of mild wings and some celery with ranch ($8.71).  They also had water cups at the counter if anyone needed one. 

Next, we sat at the last largest table available. Not even two minutes after we got settled and started talking, my friend’s order was already out. There was a two to three-minute wait time for our orders, each on their separate tray in a rectangular paper plate, and a smaller plate holding about four half-cut celery sticks and a plastic cup of ranch. Some of the orders came at the same time, totaling to about 10 minutes for our whole gang.

Now it was time to eat. All together, we took the paper covers off the wings and instantly got blasted with throwback feelings and thoughts to our old days from the aroma. “Dilly dilly!” we shouted, and bit into the wing. It was a little tender around the ends to chew off, but there was a good chunk of meat. My wings were overcooked by a few minutes, which I could tell from the crunchy ends. I thought the wings were spicy, and the sauce was hot in temperature too. I tried my friend’s garlic parmesan boneless wings ($8.71). The meat was somewhat dry but smothered in enough garlic sauce for  a dip for chips. Nonetheless, it was pretty good (after you wipe off some of the sauce). After trying them and taking a sip of Sprite ($1.79), I went for the celery but instantly regretted it, as it was warm and soggy. I do not suggest it unless they feel cold, or you’ve gone off the deep end with hot wings.

An hour had passed, and we were pretty much set to go. We cleaned up and walked out. There was no greeting between us as we came in and come out, but I wasn’t too concerned with that. Considering it’s near a high school, they’ve got some young workers there who do a good job of taking orders and serving food. But if you’re looking for an energetic worker who loves smiling and satisfying customers, then I’d recommend Red Lobster just adjacent to them. Overall, we had our wings, some good laughs and intriguing discussions, and there were essentially no problems that I had in the restaurant. My rating would be about three and a half out of five stars. The only issue that I could see were the wings being slightly overcooked, but the atmosphere and service are pretty good. So, if you are looking for a nice evening restaurant with a relaxed, casual environment, then Wing Cave is the place for fun and bonding with friends and family!

 

Name: The Wing Cave & Grill

Location:  1450 W. 104th Ave, Denver CO

Food: Wings, fries, chicken nuggets, celery, hot dogs, cookies

Drinks: Sodas, alcohol, tea, water, juice

Price: $3.99 ~ $13.99

Contact Information: (303) 242-5996

Other Information: http://www.thewingcaveandgrill.com

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Lighthouse Review

Written by Samantha Wolfe

“Keeping secrets, are ye?”

Since its premiere at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, The Lighthouse has been generating conversation across film fans and critics alike. Coming four years after director Robert Eggers’ feature length debut, The Witch, his sophomore feature engulfs viewers in a time long forgotten, using excellent cinematography, a smart script and a minimal but excellent cast to transport audiences along to the lighthouse with them.

Written by Samantha Wolfe

“Keeping secrets, are ye?”

Since its premiere at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, The Lighthouse has been generating conversation across film fans and critics alike. Coming four years after director Robert Eggers’ feature length debut, The Witch, his sophomore feature engulfs viewers in a time long forgotten, using excellent cinematography, a smart script and a minimal but excellent cast to transport audiences along to the lighthouse with them.

The film centers around Ephraim (Robert Pattinson) a drifter looking for work. He gets hired to assist Thomas (Willem Dafoe) an expert in keeping the lighthouse. The film follows the two as they bond the only way they know how—by getting drunk and sharing their darkest secrets, both of which they regret in the morning.

If that description seems oversimplified, it’s because that’s all the movie is. There’s no real plot; instead, it’s an opportunity to glimpse into the lives of two men slowly going mad together. They do their everyday chores, keep the lighthouse in order, eat dinner together; yet the entire time, something feels off. One is waiting for something—or someone—to finally snap.

Though the plot may not be very loaded, the themes that the film explores covers more than enough. Gradually exploring themes such as masculinity, homosexuality, and loneliness, one is left afterwards with a mountain of subtext to unravel.

With career-high performances from both Dafoe and Pattinson, there’s never an opportunity to be bored. Listening to their sailor-speak is entertaining enough, and when paired with the gorgeous black and white cinematography, it’s obvious that there is no filmmaker doing it as well as Eggers. Using vintage equipment from the ‘20s and ‘40s, the nearly square, seldom used 1.19:1 aspect ratio further creates a mood unlike any other. 

Films like The Lighthouse are few and far between. Oftentimes, films made today sacrifice originality and risk for crowd-pleasing blockbusters that are sure to cater to as many people as possible. While this isn’t always a bad thing, it’s refreshing to see a movie as unique and odd as The Lighthouse. It doesn’t ask general audiences to immediately enjoy it, rather it invites the audience to sit tight and give something new a chance. Even after the movie ends, one is left with more questions than answers, mainly, “What did I just watch?”

5280 Burger Bar Review

Written by Jennifer Cadena

Illustration by Madison Otten

5280, a clever nod to the city’s topographic distance above sea-level, has received much deserved praise from local publications like the Westword, Drink Denver, and Fox31 Denver. First opened in the Denver Pavillions in 2014, business has been so good that, in 2017, a second location has graced the northern Westminster marketplace. 

Written by Jennifer Cadena

Illustration by Madison Otten

5280, a clever nod to the city’s topographic distance above sea-level, has received much deserved praise from local publications like the Westword, Drink Denver, and Fox31 Denver. First opened in the Denver Pavillions in 2014, business has been so good that, in 2017, a second location has graced the northern Westminster marketplace. 

If you care about where your food comes from, 5280 boasts their “Never Ever” motto, with a promise that all ingredients are hormone and antibiotic free, locally sourced and fresh made in-house every day.  Need a sweet treat after a salty burger?

The 5280 Ice Cream parlor is smartly joined to the restaurant’s waiting area, and patrons can easily gain access to all the fresh flavors also made in-house.   

On a quiet Thursday evening, my family and I rolled into the 5280 Burger Bar in Westminster.  Two hostesses greeted us warmly and handed us a square, blinking buzzer with the promise of only 20 short minutes until we could be guided to our table.  I glanced around the restaurant, and all the tables were indeed occupied, with additional chairs squeezed into the crowded little tables.

Even the bar, boasting 12 local Colorado beers on tap, was tightly packed with smiling, flushed-faced patrons.  TVs were mounted in every corner broadcasting baseball games and hockey matches. When the buzzer alerted us to our table just five minutes later, my stomach growled in approval.   

The staff was busy flitting about the tight, neat space, bringing food to the tables.  Glancing around, I noticed the soda fountains were pristinely clean, a rarity among burger joints.  The delightful smell of freshly grilled burgers wafted our way. I swear I could almost taste the grilled perfection already. 

The waitress greeted us at our table and informed us that all items on the menu were made fresh daily and sourced with local ingredients, from the daily baked buns, to the sauces, to the beef and lamb in the burgers.  The key to a good burger is a proper bun. I was determined to put their bun to the test.

We sang our order to the waitress, two classic burgers, dubbed “The 5280,” ($8.99 each) 2 kids meals with hot dogs ($4.99, each) for the littles, and all the fries we could eat (not bottomless, but a plentiful amount for a table of four, $4.99).   My personal standard is to stick to the classic American-style burger. Sometimes the fancy fixings can betray your senses and disguise a mediocre burger. 

Not 15 minutes later, a food runner rounded the corner, large tray in hand, eyes fixed on our table.  He swung the tray around, expertly lowering plates down to our table. The perfect burgers were perched high, buns fluffed, with a garland of sauce threatening to spill from the sides. 

Crisp, green lettuce, check. Juicy, perfectly ripe tomato, check. Melty American cheese encasing a perfectly formed patty, double check. And finally, the bun: lightly toasted with a thin smear of fatty mayo on one side and a puffed top dimpled with sesame seeds on the other.   I took a huge bite of the extraordinary burger. The meat was cooked and expertly seasoned to a beautiful medium with just the right amount of juice. The bun was indeed baked fresh and had a slight, grilled golden toast and the fixings crunched.  

While there was nothing particularly amazing about the fries, the homemade ketchup had me double dipping.  With a confident peppery tang, several little ramekins encircled our one-size-fits-all basket of crispy fries.  The ketchup, not to be outdone by the burger was definitely a star contender and also freshly prepared that morning.  No store-bought condiments here, Folks! 

Our kindly waitress stopped by our table and tempted us with homemade ice cream ($2.99 per scoop) from the ice cream parlor, impressing us with her knowledge of all dozen flavors of the day, to which our full stomachs had to regretfully decline.  She presented our check, assured us there was no rush and left us to digest. I glanced at the check, exactly $52.80 – a bit curious, but a decent price for a family of four. 

5280 claims to have the best burger in Denver and does not disappoint.  The hungry and impatient customer will appreciate the cleanliness and prompt service as well as the fantastic burgers, not to mention their under-recognized homemade ketchup.  5280 has set the bar of excellence for the simple, classic American burger. The vast selection of burgers will likely impress even the pickiest of burger connoisseurs.   

 

5280 Burger Bar 

4301 Main Street 

Westminster, CO 80031

Phone: (720) 887-5970

5280burger.com 

Hours:  Sun – Thurs 11am – 9pm; Fri – Sat 11am – 10pm 

Price Range $11- $30

Score  A+