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100 Favorite Dishes
By Lori Midson
There are a lot of very cool things about living in Denver. The availability of cheap tacos and Mexican Coca-Cola (see my review of El Coyotito #3). The ready access to excellent sushi and cheeseburgers and pho and menudo and kitfo and Chinese dumplings and tandoori -- sometimes all within the same block.
501 W. Florida Ave.
Denver, CO 80223
Region: Southwest Denver
People who live in New York City (and who, in my opinion, sometimes seem rather desperately proud of living in New York City) will often say something like, "Well, sure, I'm paying $2,600 a month for my studio apartment. And yes, it's in a former crackhouse with a view of the methadone clinic, and I have to pay the neighborhood kids fifty bucks a week not to steal my Vespa, and in the summer, the entire neighborhood smells like hot cheese for three months. But where else but New York can you get Thai food at midnight or have a Korean bodega next door to a Vietnamese electronics store with a Russian restaurant on the corner serving pelmeni just like in the Old Country?"
To which I always reply, "Denver, dumbass. And here, you've only got to throw the neighborhood kids a ten-spot to keep them from boosting your scooter."
I like that driving into the city from Aurora in the morning, I can see mountains rising in the distance rather than New Jersey. I like knowing that if ever things go bad-wrong here in town, I can make the Mexican border in about nine hours of hard driving. And while the profusion of restaurants and strange juxtapositions of foods and cuisines give me the biggest multicultural chubby, I'm also impressed by the innovations I find in the West.
Last week, I was standing outside one of my favorite diners, smoking a cigarette and perusing the newspaper, when I came upon the most brilliant real estate come-on I'd ever seen: 24-hour room service in your condo.
Just think about that for a minute. It's late, and just when you've gotten nice and comfortable on the couch, set the bong aside and found a 3 a.m. showing of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla on TV, it occurs to you that you really need a cheeseburger or a shrimp cocktail or maybe some spaghetti. This isn't some fleeting hunger, this is a need. Without a plate of clams casino or a Caesar salad, you're going to die. So what do you do? Well, if you're the kind of guy who can afford $600,000 for a two-bedroom condo in Westminster, you pick up the phone and dial up your snack.
The Myananda community, currently under development next to the Westin Westminster, is a 68-unit condo complex scheduled to break ground this fall. And while I usually couldn't care less about things like $600,000 condos, community-anything or Westminster in general, the ads for this one really caught my eye because...well, because I was watching Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla just the other night when I suddenly had the urge for a fat, juicy cheeseburger delivered to my door by a guy in a red jacket and pillbox hat.
I just had to find out more about this room-service deal, so I called Julie Spencer, director of sales and marketing for the project, and asked what was up.
"It's a condo-tel," she told me, insisting that "condo-tel" wasn't just a word she'd made up on the spot. "Or rather, it's going to be." The Myananda condos (which start in the high $200s and skyrocket up to about $1.9 million) are part of a new concept in residential design where living spaces, retail, dining and hotel properties are all linked together in a kind of Aldous Huxley, Brave New World-style compound where every conceivable need of the residents is provided for without them ever having to leave the comfort of the landscaped grounds. When the project is completed ("Ski season of '07 or '08," Spencer predicted), there will be footpaths leading to the Westminster Promenade, with access to a dozen restaurants, shopping and a Dave & Buster's. And all the services of the Westin Westminster will be available: The hotel will provide housekeeping, concierge and valet service, meeting rooms, dining. And most important -- at least to the people at Inland Pacific Companies, anyway, who are behind the whole Myananda development -- the condos will essentially be built on top of the Rocky Mountain Chopra Center and Spa, the third location of Dr. Deepak Chopra's ayurvedic and holistic wellness center.
"It's going to be an amazing place," Spencer said, explaining that the center will open to the public around the same time the condos do and offer yoga and meditation, a fitness center, wellness classes, lectures and seventeen treatment rooms not just to residents, but to clients from around the county. "It will be an epicenter for new thought."
Yeah, yeah, whatever. So tell me how this room service thing works again?
"Room service will be facilitated through the Westin," Spencer replied. "And because part of wellness is, of course, eating right, we gave Deepak Chopra's cookbook to the chefs at O's Steakhouse to see what they could do."
But I could still get a steak, right? Just a plain steak? No voodoo sauce. No ayurvedic garnish.
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