The Denver Adventurous Eaters Club may be calling it quits, but there are still plenty of places for adventurous eating in Denver. From the pho houses of Federal to the fine dining establishments offering offal in many forms, the variety and quality of unusual eats has never been better in Denver. P17's chef and owner Mary Nguyen put together a globe-trotting menu of animal parts, insects and unusual produce to give the club and its founder, Project Angel Heart executive chef Jon Emanuel, a dazzling send-off last night.
Emanuel isn't leaving Denver, but his full-time responsibilities at Project Angel Heart and other projects no longer give him time to run the club. He says he's shutting it down because while he will miss the members, he also feels that the Denver restaurant scene has come a long way since the club was founded. "The first meeting was me and one other guy at a table at JJ Chinese," he recalls. Since then, more than 800 people have attended adventurous eating events over the years. They've eaten balut (boiled duck eggs with the embryo intact), durian, lutefisk, various insects and yards of intestine and other innards, all while making new friends and learning about the world's cultures through food.
Nguyen's menu spanned Mexico, Spain, France, Australia and Vietnam, offering tastes of huitlacoche (corn fungus), andouillette (a sausage made from coarse-ground pig intestine and colon), lamb heart, kangaroo, pig snout and Vietnamese whiskey with a whole snake and a scorpion in the bottle. Emanuel's favorite was the andouillette, but he said that every dish was amazing.
Cocktails, other than a snake and scorpion whiskey Sazerac, were inventive but not bizarre and included a smoked-red-wine sangria, a prosecco spritzer with fresh cucumber juice, a beer cocktail with O'dell Levity Ale and lemongrass tea, and a maple-bacon Manhattan with a bacon sugar rim. Dessert featured a whole fried cricket embedded in a shortbread cookie and an aloe vera-topped chocolate cake made with pig blood and filled with a layer of pig blood panna cotta.
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Keep reading for more photos from the Denver Adventurous Eaters Club at P17.