Eating In: Finding the best market dinners

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For obvious reasons, most of my meals are eaten out. Almost all of them involve me getting up off my indolent backside, putting on trousers, finding my sunglasses, grudgingly leaving the care of my mountain compound to the hundred monkey butlers I employ, finding my way to my autogyro and then descending on the city of Denver to nibble foie gras on toast points and dollops of beluga caviar off the tender fingers of virgins; to be amused by the capering antics of you baseball-hatted hoi polloi cheering the successes of the local sports collective, and then paying for said diversions by scattering thousand-dollar bills upon the floor and watching the liveried serving girls wrestle for their fair portion of my largesse.

But now and again, I find the daily grind of such conspicuous consumption becomes wearying to my gentle poet's soul. Occasionally, I find myself dreading these required excursions to sup with the common man and want nothing more than to remain ensconced within the ivory tower I had specially built at the center of my compound, put my feet up on my gout stool, loosen my sock garters, warm myself before a blazing fire of myrrh-spiced redwood logs and spend a pleasant evening at home polishing my many monocles or playing backgammon with the King of Spain.

You know, like a normal person.

On those occasions, though, I still need some sustenance. One can't expect a man of my corpulent excellence to go without a snack, after all. And while, of course, I have an expansive larder stocked with marinated swallow's livers, imported German blutwurst and only the finest bacons, there are times when even I hunger for something a bit more...pedestrian.

I have found that Denver seems to be oddly lacking in the necessities of fine pre-cooked foods. And while, yes, there are some wonderful markets to be found throughout this city's more "colorful" neighborhoods (or at least, that is what I have been told by the cook's boy who is often sent down into the city in order to secure me my stock of Pocky, tinned anchovies and Violet Crumble chocolate bars), I have not found the wide variety of prepared meals that have been rumored on my frequent trips abroad.

For example, I have been told that there are several markets catering to those immigrants from the mysterious East at which many fantabulous things are done by way of the deconstruction of pigs. I know (or have heard tell) that there are many markets that service the un-ascotted nouveau riche and provide for them passable examples of Old World delicacies at prices massively overinflated by japing shopkeepers.

As a matter of fact, just last week, while entertaining guests at the compound, I found myself forced to kindle the fires of my massive oven in order that I might feed some late-arriving (and famished) potentates. With no easy solution to this gustatory dilemma (and with my cook having been given the evening off in order to have his natural hands replaced with robotic attachments that would allow him to perform his assigned duties with far more speed), I found myself re-warming a container of macaronis and cheeses that the cook's boy had secured from Marczyk Fine Foods.

Now to be sure, I did like the name! And while I found that the contents of the tray served to quell the worst pangs of my guests, it was far from what anyone might call haute cuisine.

Though I have been told that the Marczyk person does keep in his coterie of servants several cooks of some professional standing, I found the macaronis and cheeses with which said meal was prepared to be standard, at best.

And another dish of pasta with sausage? Why, I found the application of fennel so overpowering that I swooned onto one of the several dozen fainting couches in my sitting room and could not be revived without the aid of one of my favorite absinthe-and-Red-Bull cocktails.

So I ask you, good people of Denver: Where is it that you go when you have learned or fabulous guests arriving, have sent away your cook for mangling, and find yourselves in need of a swift and satisfying dinner? To which neighborhood do you hie? To what shopkeep do you address your plaintive cries?

I will accept all and sundry suggestions for the most superlative prepared meals and markets in the comments section below, and I thank you in advance for your indulgence.

I remain...

Your humble literary servant,

Jason Sheehan

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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