Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Sakura Square gets that Gion feeling in the gift-laden aisles at the back of Pacific Mercantile Co., where flirty fans, kimonos, Chinese shoes, hair ornaments and bamboo screens entice Japanophiles away from more conventional grocery shopping. The merchandise ranges from practical to playful: Sake and sushi sets, rice makers and workmanlike woks are shelved alongside framed art, lacquer Tokyo-style lunchboxes and elegant imports for dress-up time. For the essential element of the exotic that it injects into LoDo, we give Pacific Mercantile Co. a deep bow.
So you're at a bar, and a certain creepy someone is refusing to leave you alone unless you give him or her your phone number. What to do? Tell the heavy breather in question to call you at 303-575-1696 -- digits that just happen to dial up Denver's Rejection Hotline, a local service of the Web site www.rejectionhotline.com. Although the Hotline's recorded voice is briefly understanding ("I know this sucks, but don't be too devastated"), it's anything but in the long run, hinting that the person being dissed may be "short, fat, ugly, dumb," suffer from "bad breath" or "body odor," give off a "stalker vibe," or is about as much fun as "playing leapfrog with a unicorn." There's no better way to tell that certain unwanted someone to take a hike.
Carousing in LoDo got a whole lot easier -- or at least a bit more sensible -- last New Year's Eve, thanks to the soberRide program underwritten by AT&T Wireless. Folks who'd overdone the bubbly and lacked the means or foresight to book a room downtown for the night were provided free cab rides (up to $50 in value). From 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., chariots awaited, available at cab stands or through a toll-free number. And New Year's revelers got home safely to sleep off their excesses in the comfort of their own beds. But come to think of it, wasn't the name a bit misleading?
Sometimes it seems like DIA doesn't want anyone to leave. Is there some kind of strange force field that sucks the juice from car batteries, flattens tires and disguises vehicles parked in the sprawling economy lots and distant car-parks, rendering their owners powerless to drive far, far away? Perhaps -- but it's no match for the good people at AMPCO System Parking, who scour the premises for infirm autos and offer gratis jump-starts, lock-out assistance, tire inflation and guidance for the hopelessly lost. Armed with a license-plate number, they can locate a car for the weary traveler who's just
plumb forgot where he parked it. AMPCO's attentive employees don't accept tips, so be sure to at least smile and wave as you pull out and motor on.
After over two million hours of air travel, the average American would pull out his or her hair. But Littleton resident E. Larry Beaumont didn't do that. Instead, he wrote a book to help other frequent fliers survive the perils of air travel unscathed. From pre-travel planning, check-in and boarding to flight and arrival, Beaumont takes travelers through the experience with the least amount of pain -- and loads of humor. Included with the advice are humorous stories and suggestions for making travel experiences as enjoyable as possible, often at the expense of others.
It's not easy finding something for nothing at the Cherry Creek Mall. Certainly there are deals to be had, but nothing, not even the free perfume samples, matches the value of the free air compressor behind the mall (near Chevy's). No doubt intended for cyclists passing by on the Cherry Creek Bike Path, the air compressor also beckons to four-wheelers with low tire pressure. So the next time some bohemian friend says, "The Cherry Creek Mall blows, dude," reply "Yes, it does -- for free."
Former Bronco Chris Watson may have been traded to the Buffalo Bills, but his cousin Corey Carver is still rollin' here -- in a Yellow Cab limo. Carver followed the 1999 third-round draft pick from Illinois to Denver, where he started driving a cab and set up a limo business. He sold his company but retained a car, which he now drives for Yellow Cab. The nine-passenger Lincoln, resplendent in red velvet and decked out with TVs and a minibar, prowls the streets of Denver, ready to take fares to the airport or on a tour of all the best after-hours clubs. And if limos aren't your style, Carver also has a 1997 conversion van complete with captain's seats. At a mere 81 cents a mile, it's cheaper than the parking -- or DUI -- tickets you'd have in the morning.
If you're self-indulgent enough to let someone else wash your car, why not take it to the limit? At Evergreen Car Wash, you'll never find yourself idling by the air-freshener display while your car gets the once-over. Instead, you'll enter a calm oasis of a lounge, featuring an espresso bar, leather massager/ recliners and works of high-end original art. Talk about killing time with style! Better yet, when it's over your car will be just as rejuvenated as you are.
How's traffic look today? Denver's city Web site offers computer users a way to find out quickly. The traffic pages feature maps that offer real-time views from cameras located at key intersections, like Broadway and Colfax, and 17th and Welton streets. Also included are links to a Colorado Department of Transportation site that provides access to cameras peeking at sections of I-70 and I-25. Before you drive, click.
Cats and dogs do the darnedest things. They like to eat floorboards, pee on bath towels when a litter box is available and stage passive-aggressive coups against their slumbering masters. Why, why, why do they do it? The staff that mans the Denver Dumb Friends League Animal Behavior Helpline has a few theories -- and they're willing to share with anyone who rings them up. After a telephone consultation (extension 346 for dogs, extension 348 for cats) during which a pet owner spells out the trouble, League workers propose a plan to correct the undesirable activity. If that doesn't work, the owner can call again and again. (The League also offers inexpensive classes on dog and cat behavior.) Phone in your pet peeves, or e-mail email@example.com at any time, and the staff will get back to you during business hours with sage advice. And that's the straight poop. Or the lack of it!
A dog and his owner are both happier when the four-legged one has learned to mind his manners. Even if your corgi seems incorrigible, trainer Terri Desnica can help. Desnica has been training canines for years, and she offers a seven-week basic obedience class at Hounds on the Hill, as well as a puppy kindergarten and advanced courses. With practice, your errant hound could become a well-mannered mutt in just a few weeks. Who knows? Maybe he can fetch a Best in Show award someday.
You don't have to be in the doghouse to visit the yellow house on 6th Avenue. This indie store is packed to the collar with natural food and treats, grooming products, toys and even doggie driver's licenses. Catering mostly to dogs and cats (and their owners), the store also has gear for fish, hamsters and turtles. Pets are welcome in the store -- but watch out for the resident black cat.