This is a very special first edition of Denver Eats! Dining Out Paleo.
When I first moved to Denver, I had no idea where to go for a good meal and stuck to the chain restaurants that I knew and loved. I soon figured out that Denver has a wealth of local food that far exceeds any chain restaurant! As I try new restaurants across the vibrant and diverse city of Denver, I write about it for the internets to see.
This is a Special Edition because currently, I’m eating a mostly paleo diet as a 1 month challenge so I’m trying to find a tasty meal that fits into the paleo ‘rules’.
This weekend brought more eating out than normal for me. I ate lunch out on Friday & Saturday afternoons and Friday night.
First up, Chipotle for lunch on Friday.
For those who don’t know, Chipotle is a Denver-based ‘gourmet fast food’ type of restaurant. Chipotle prides itself on it’s commitment to sustainable, healthy and fresh ingredients. Now, it’s easy to go overboard at Chipotle and turn your healthy ingredients into an unhealthy meal (looking at you, sour cream). Eating paleo, however, helps to eliminate the calorie heavy items like the tortilla, taco shells and cheese.
For lunch, I ate a steak salad with fajita veggies, pico de gallo and hot salsa with some guacamole on the side and drank unsweetened tea.
That night, Alex and I ate at a relatively new burger place – and new to us – called Little HBurger. Per the HBurger website:
HBurgerCO, an innovative concept spun from an American classic—a restaurant that celebrates homegrown familiarity without sacrificing a style all its own.
From apps to nightcaps, you’ll find only the highest quality ingredients, like locally sourced Angus beef, ground fresh daily. And of course, there’s plenty to suit the tastes of any palate even if meat isn’t on the agenda: this Garden Burger was no afterthought! And from the create-your-salad menu, the healthy options are limitless.
I liked this restaurant before we even arrived.
HBurger was an interesting test for us – it was the first burger restaurant we’d eaten at this week. We (and Alex especially) love our burgers and fries. As we read through the menu, so many specialty burgers were mouth-watering but all had cheese, which we’ve opted to not eat right now.
We decided to build our own burgers with Bibb lettuce instead of buns. I had fresh jalapenos, guacamole and grilled onions on mine.
We split a side of grilled asparagus and Kickin’ Asian Wings. While wings aren’t necessarily paleo (okay, aren’t at all), we had a birthday celebration to attend after dinner and needed more food in our bellies before drinking any alcohol.
The wings were phenomenal! I usually don’t care for traditional wings because they’re too messy and too much work but I will come back and eat these wings many times over. The sauce was slightly sweet with a kick of heat at the end, each wing was really meaty and fell right off the bone.
Friday night we went downtown to celebrate a friend’s birthday and yes, we drank some alcohol. Yes, it’s not paleo and I’d said I was only going to drink water and tea but I decided to indulge with my friends and I don’t regret it one bit. Instead of a beer, I opted to drink red wine. For me, drinking wine is sipping and savoring where as a beer is much bigger and faster drinks. I’m not which is technically *healthier* or more paleo but my very basic guess is wine is the healthier choice. Anyone know?
**side note: by not eating carbs, I felt the effects of wine a lot quicker than I used to.
On Saturday, while out and about running errands, we had lunch at Garbanzo. Garbanzo is another Denver-based restaurant chain with fresh, fast mediterranean. Very similar to Chipotle –
I’ve heard a rumor that former Chipotle employees actually started Garbanzo? I can’t confirm that though. Per the comments, my friend Morgan set me straight! Garbanzo’s founder came from Panara instead. Read more about him here.
I enjoyed the Garbanzo Greens Salad with chicken and vegetable salad with greek vinagrette and hot sauce on the side and a cup of the Chicken Tagine soup (chicken, sweet potatoes, onions).
I was really surprised by how much I liked the soup! Sweet potatoes aren’t my favorite vegetable but it was the only soup that looked Paleo appropriate. The sweet potato taste is very slight in this soup and the soup is really hearty and filling.
The general principles of paleo eating are really helpful when eating out – it’s a good check to see if you’re eating the most nutritious foods available. At the same time, it’s important to indulge from time to time with wings if you need some more food. I don’t regret those wings or wine I had one bit knowing that the other 99% of the week, I ate as ‘cleanly’ as I could.