Being a foodie is fun. You get to eat all of the best food the city of Denver has to offer and tell people about it. And, to your peers you hold coveted information about the universal interest of food. So, how do you become a foodie exactly? Whether you’re looking to influence diners across the city or just be the go-to expert amongst your group of friends, here are three simple ways to find yourself in foodie form before your next meal!
1) Talk to the people at the restaurant.
In the digital age we live in, one of the simplest ways to become a respected holder of food knowledge is to engage with those that are serving you. Be personable right from the start. While you are trying to be the expert people listen to, the real experts are the ones handing you the menu. Ask them what they recommend, and what they would tell their friends or family to order if they came to visit the restaurant. It’s almost impossible to go wrong with a restaurant recommendation, especially if you’re dabbling in a food genre that is for the most part unfamiliar.
2) Order with the intention of sharing
I always find it strange when people go to a restaurant – especially a restaurant of an unfamiliar culture – and only order one dish with the hope that that plate will tell them everything they need to know about the unfamiliar cuisine of another country. Which is why, during dinner outings intended to be an experience different from the norm, people should always order with the intention of sharing. Rather than trying only one dish, you can try five or six. If two things look equally appealing, you can try both and decide for yourself which you like best. And, perhaps most importantly, you have the connective experience of not just sharing the table, but also the plates with those eating with you. After all, food is the most connective when we all eat from the same plate.
3) Be culturally cognizant
To be clear, it’s always important to be a respectful restaurant patron. And, when participating in a cultural dinner outing (like the ones offered by The Same Plate) it’s especially important to be culturally cognizant. What do I mean by that exactly? A couple of months ago we went to a Korean restaurant that had pig’s feet on the menu; I made sure I expressed delight at having the option to order such an eccentric dinner item, rather than disgust at something so unfamiliar. Or, at Domo Japanese restaurant downtown, there is a zen garden outside that requests guests are a part of the garden rather than intruding on it. In other words, patrons dining in the garden need to be sensitive to that fact that they are in a garden and not talking loudly with friends at a bar. This respects not only other guests, but also the authentic Japanese culture the restaurant is intent on creating.
Being a cultural foodie around the city of Denver offers so much opportunity to explore and “travel local.” An element of cultural dining that rings true, regardless of the culture or setting, is to be open to the experience no matter what happens. Early this year, I was in Israel for a couple of weeks, and for our last meal in Tel Aviv we visited a restaurant that happened to have a lot of internal organ meat options on the menu. Feeling adventurous, I ordered the ox testicles, and those eating with me got the chicken liver and chicken hearts. I got to try all three, and wasn’t able to stomach any of them. My meal ultimately ended up consisting of the grape leaf and pita appetizers brought to us upon our arrival. But even though I didn’t like any of the dishes that we decided to share that evening, I would never not recommend the restaurant to someone as the service was great and the experience itself what I was looking for; after all, I went there with the intention to try something new.
Now It’s Your Turn
Denver has a lot of hidden cultural gems that people don’t know about. What is one restaurant that has piqued your curry-osity? Share it with our community in the comments!
Stay hungry, Kayla