Here are some things I know about the Belgians:
They invented French fries and waffles -- two vital food groups -- but the French stole both of them. Every other country in the world has had its national foods co-opted by the French, but for some reason, the Belgians never got over this. I'm fairly sure they fought wars over it it. And if they didn't, they should have. The entire country looks like a film set for some massive historical costume drama. Belgium boasts more castles than any other place on earth and Belgians earn most of their money by charging tourists to walk up those tall towers - and then amuse themselves by making fun of the fat, exhausted bastards. Of course, they once had a king named Clovis, so I'm pretty sure those bastards have been making fun of Belgians for (and other things) forever. One of the funniest movies I've seen in years was filmed in Belgium. The reason In Bruges was so funny? It was full of jokes about Belgium and Belgians. Also, it had angry midgets in it and there's nothing funnier than a pissed off midget.
Belgians make a lot of chocolate. Some people think it is the best chocolate in the world. Those people are idiots.
Belgians make a lot of beer. A lot of beer. And some people think that the Trappist ales coming out of Belgium are the best beers in the world. Those people are not idiots. Unless they also believe the chocolate thing, in which case they are idiots but probably won't buy you beers if you call them such.
Did I mention the french fry thing? Yeah, they're really upset about that. Belgians also invented oil paints, control a large portion of the world diamond trade and have a road system that can be seen from space, but really? It's the french fries that truly put their pantelettes in a bunch.
And here's something I know about the Cheeky Monk, the Belgian cafe that I review this week: If you love beer and you love sausages and you love sauerkraut, I would seriously advise you to move right now to Colfax just to be closer to the Monk.
The place is one of the great, surprising, comfortable spaces along what is not always a wonderful stretch of Denver's main vein. I mean sure, I like the neighborhood, but for all the Buffies and Chets necessary to keep a place like the Monk in the black? They're gonna have to be convinced.
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SHOW ME HOW
Which is precisely what I'm attempting to do this week -- first by making some jokes about Belgians, then telling everyone that they shouldn't feel weird about going for artisan brews and moules et frites in an area better known for its dive bars, tacos, dirt weed and weirdoes. Trust me--one visit to the Monk and you'll be hooked.
But if the whole dive-bars-and-weirdoes thing is more your speed? Well, we've got plenty of that on tap this week, too, with an entire feature dedicated to one of Colfax's famous holes-in-the-wall: the Nob Hill Inn. I also braved last week's snowstorm to get back to the Royal Hilltop for fish fry and beer, mostly because the Hilltop was the first place opened by the couple who now also run the Cheeky Monk.
It's a big week for the boozehounds and Belgians. Be sure not to miss a word.