Time is growing short. Less than a week before I turn my back on the 303 and make for the 206 (which sounds weird just to say), and everywhere I turn, I'm seeing things I'm going to miss. It's no longer just the big things that are getting to me, but the little ones as well -- my view of the mountains as I drive in towards the office, the waitresses at the diner where I've done most of my work for the past five years, the pretty glow of the cop lights on a Friday night as they round up the drunks and face-punchers from the bar across the street...
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I've got no regrets (yet). I'm certainly looking forward to settling into my new home and new scene. But Denver has been good to me. I've had more adventures, seen more weirdness and fun in this town than I have most anywhere else I've ever lived.
On Wednesday night, both at the book-signing and afterward, at Sketch, people kept asking me if I was happy about leaving. And I told them all that yes, I was, but that the seven-plus years I've spent in and around Denver really mean something. Since leaving home, the longest I'd ever stayed in one place before packing up and moving on was four years (Buffalo) and the average had been something closer to nine months -- the amount of time it took me to grow bored and antsy. Longest I ever stayed at one job before giving someone the finger, throwing down my apron and storming out the back door? A little less than a year. Most jobs I held for more like six months. Occasionally, just six hours.
Denver has never bored me, though. And as crazy as it sometimes drove me, this job has never been dull. So, with that in mind, here's a list of some of the other things I'm going to miss while doing time in Fishburg.
--The sun --the "tasty chicken bits" at Oshima Ramen --Federal Boulevard. The entire pho-soaked, hooker-ridden and taco-dotted length of it. --Colfax Avenue. For the same reasons as above. You want to find the best food in any city? The trick is to look for three things: cabbies, ambulances and whores. That's where they hide the good stuff, and that's true of any city out there. --Grits at Venue. Shrimp grits, bacon grits, what-have-you --D bar Desserts. I swore that Denver would never be able to support a dessert bar, mostly because I saw so many of them close over the years. I'm so glad Keegan Gerhard proved me wrong. As is my daughter, who, I believe, would probably trade in both Laura and I for the chance at living in D bar's pantry. --Seeing what Ian Kleinman will do next. I'll be keeping track from afar, but I'll miss being able to be here to see it with my own eyes. --Seeing whether or not Ondo's can survive the winter. I hope it does. Curt and Deicy Steinbecker are good, and they deserve to make it. --Breakfast burritos from Santiagos, regular burritos from Chubby's, everything on the menu at Senor Burrito, 2 a.m. taco plates with red chile sauce from Viva Burrito and being able to stop just about anywhere in this city, throw a rock and smash the front window of some place making Mexican food better than anywhere else in the country. --Los Carboncitos --Double cheeseburgers from Bud's Bar. I hear they have some pretty good burgers in Seattle, but I don't know... --Frasca. Everything on the menu and everything about the place. --Confit of bacon from Table 6. Sweetbreads from Table 6. Having such an easy answer now whenever anyone asks me for my favorite Denver restaurant. --Shumai from Super Star --Breakfast at Pho 79 --Chicken fried steak at Breakfast King --Drinking whiskey at the Fainting Goat --Blue cheese gougeres at Colt & Gray --Osteria Marco in the snow --Troy Guard's ahi tuna tacos --Encore's fries with hot mustard --Always having Boulder to make fun of.