Burgers With a Side of Man Candy for Brunch at Ignite
On a quest to find the perfect post-GABF hangover brunch to cure a serious case of the hangries, we ended up at Ignite Burgers & Lounge, which mostly serves their all-day menu of burgers and salads along with a few egg dishes thrown in for weekend pleasure. Why did we really go there? The bacon. Affectionately called "Man Candy," their signature side is generously incorporated into as many of their menu items as possible. Carb loading? Hell, yes, but oh, so necessary.
Brunch is available Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. With its large, open and airy dining room, we had no problem finding a table (which could also be attributed to football Sunday), whether inside, on the patio or on their spectacular rooftop with killer views of downtown. As schizo as Colorado weather has been lately, Ignite's outdoor seating is a great spot to enjoy one of the last remaining days of al fresco dining for the season.
More known for being a happy hour or dinner spot, Ignite during brunch was surprisingly chill. No blaring music, no pretentious crowds or servers hustling you out; just a nice spot to ease into the day, whether you're there on a date or with group of pals in central LoDo.
Bottomless mimosas for $11 sounded enticing, but we were on a mission to consume bacon in as many forms as humanly possible in all its glory, so we went with the Man Candy Manhattan and the Bacon Bloody, a housemade mix with jalapeño vodka. Strong, spicy and boozy sum up these concoctions that are not for the faint of heart. Definitely one way to wake you up and put some hair on your chest. There were also special flights of beer-fest beers to commemorate the occasion.
Making this a multi-course affair, we started with a side of the aforementioned Man Candy: candied bacon coated in molasses, chili flakes, housemade brown sugar, and salt. Does sugar and spice make everything nice? Hell, yes, again. If you can find a better bacon anywhere in the city, I'm all ears because: damn. The name also inspired a lot of "That's what she said" jokes, so if you're into immature puns, you'll be right in your element.
Not to be outdone, jalapeño deviled eggs, also topped with Man Candy crumbles, and crispy Brussels sprouts flash-fried with truffle, pistachio pieces and a chili-soy sauce were gone in about two seconds flat. All managing to hit sweet, spicy and savory notes, the apps were on point, a build-up which unfortunately left us longing for more of those delectable intense flavor profiles for the rest of the meal.
With only a few true brunch dishes to choose from, we went with the Ignite hash, a skillet of braised short rib (flavorful and juicy meat), poblanos, sweet onion, hollandaise, and an over-easy egg served over a bed of home fries, and also a veggie scramble, a layered work of spinach, mushrooms, tomato, avocado, mozzarella, and potatoes topped with hollandaise sauch. Both were satisfying, but paled in comparison to the appetizers, not nearly as memorable and lacking innovation and punch. It also would have helped to have everything chopped more evenly. Entire mushrooms, cubes of avocados and potatoes, and half grape tomatoes make it really difficult to get that perfect bite. Fun-size pieces next time, we implore you.
For the grand finale, enter the "Hangover Cure" Burger -- a true monstrosity. I don't know how anyone is supposed to fit this in their mouth because it's literally a leaning tower of condiments. With a hash brown patty as the base, more bacon was piled on (not candied this time), along with a fried egg, aged cheddar, beef, and the standard LTO. Did it do its job and soak up the alcohol? From the previous night, yes, but from the morning beverages, not even close.
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