Come Play in the Sandbox With Me

53361408-0682-4025-A36D-D42F03CB868CI found this place on Okinawa Foodies page on Facebook and with all the rave reviews knew I had to try the place. My only fear in writing this review is that I’ll never get back in here due to the flocks of people hungry for a great burger that are bound to descend upon this place once they discover it. That’s the selfish part of me talking. The share the wealth of knowledge of deliciousness part of me caved in and has decided to share despite my fears.01D3513F-10F3-40BA-9D69-A677F1A3935B

The place is in the Chatan area a few steps from my favorite taco spot in Okinawa – Tacos Ya (review for that restaurant will be coming soonish) and across the street from a shopping complex with a San A grocery store, Chinese food restaurant, and Toyota U-Car shop. It’s a right turn from the street that curves into the sea wall just before it curves around to the water. The restaurant is on the second floor and is wood floors,tables,benches, and is open with natural light flowing in through the windows. 70B69D40-8DCD-4899-9F3E-F3EAE0C4B0ABIt had modern hanging bare lights, some huge lights that look like those old school hair dryers that ladies would sit under with curlers in their hair. 8EE51866-A1C4-48CF-941B-7EC817C315D0There’s a rustic wooden bar with 7 stools and yes, they serve alcohol for those in need of a libation. There’s free Wi-Fi as well.079E446A-DDC6-4724-A61F-02192DF9674A

The burgers are ¥1380 yen and include fries and unlimited soft drinks. The kids meal is only ¥780 and includes a cookie. I got the Sandbox burger which had cheese bacon avocado, fried and lightly breaded onions, and their special sauce which tasted slightly vinegarish with a slight chili flavor. The burger was thick and incredibly fresh. A4320DCA-8D71-4D28-B3C8-91F304E74A1EAnd the homemade grilled brioche bun was delicious, that alone would’ve been enough to make me swoon. The only downside was that it was so soft that the bottom got a tad soggy. The burgers are served with shoestring fries that were a homemade version of my shameful favorite secret addiction (McDonalds fries). I could only eat about half the burger and ⅓ of rhe fries because it was wonderfully rich and filled me up. 6ECC0DED-E21C-4DD1-B639-E8A4DD6C1E7EAlso, if I’m going to be honest here, I was saving room for one of their desserts. Hey it wouldn’t really be right for me to go to the trouble of reviewing this place and not try the dessert… I’m looking out for YOU here – it’s a purely selfless act.6DE5F4FB-D150-4770-B9F5-92AF9C38E5FA I was torn between the brownie and ice cream and the coconuts lemon tart (¥390). On the recommendation of the owner I went with the coconut lemon tart (though he did look torn, noting sadly that the tart didn’t come with ice cream). 29B0E878-34B5-4A58-B703-C1A7ABFB8958It was phenomenal just sweet enough with a beautiful lightly sweetened crust, sweet and tart lemon filling, and a thick coconut cake/crust base. Definitely the right recommendation, though I will have to return to test the brownie and ice cream as well as the umami burger with truffle oil, mushrooms, Parmesan, and Gorgonzola cheese.46D695DF-6502-4FD4-826D-2AA22F6DFE16

This place is simple yet beautiful, plays chill music (Nora Jones was serenading us in the background), has Wi-Fi for those who can’t bear to go offline, has a small but tasty menu, caters to burger lovers, fries aficionados, alcohol enthusiasts, soda swillers, and the dessert desperate and gets my two enthusiastic thumbs up.C2CC47C1-5E38-4E60-8937-224B039AD1F6

Open Tuesday – Thursday 1100-1500 and 1800-2400  Friday & Saturday 1100-1500 and 1800-0100                              Sunday 1100-1500                                                                         Closed Monday                                                                   Phone# 0989891883                                                      Facebook: Sandbox Burgers (for map/directions)                    Visa, American Express, Master Card and ¥ accepted





This Acorn is Definitely Not Squirrel Food


Acorn is at the top of many lists for best restaurants in Denver and a reservation is a definite must.891D1ABB-14F1-4162-9F35-26A46D3C4DCB The road outside the restaurant is under construction but to make up for the inconvenience they do free valet parking. The restaurant is in a big old brick warehouse where several other restaurants and shops also do business. We were taken to the 2nd floor and given a table in the middle of the small space. 0EC90507-8804-409F-BD38-2D67F60E784DThe menu has a section of small plates to share as well as a small section of very large courses to share. We decided on 7 dishes for our table of 4 people and this turned out to be perfect, and left a bit of room for dessert. During the meal our waiters were attentive and their movements seemed like a specially choreographed dance, clearing plates and silverware and bringing new along with the next delightful bit of our meal. The first dish was Pimento cheese and was my absolute favorite. DCF936F2-A8B0-4CC9-963C-3A0C460E2922It came with a small jar of pimento cheese topped with roasted anaheim pepper, bacon jam, and served with insanely delicious grilled bread. The combination of the perfectly toasted bread along with the cheese was heavenly.  The waiters were kind enough to bring more bread when they saw that we’d inhaled the bread yet still had more cheese with nowhere to spread it (perhaps they sensed that I was getting ready to slather it onto my plate and lick it off). The next course was coal roasted beets, basically a beet salad, that was surprisingly tasty, especially considering I’m not normally a fan of beets at all. It had goat cheese, arugula, carmelized dried dates, and radicchio.2B9D7652-14C6-47F2-89BE-07A26EACB409The dressing had just the right amount of tanginess and the veggies were shredded and curled (not sure how just know it gave it a nice texture and the taste was just right). The wood fired baby yams were not as fabulous as I’d hoped since I’m a huge fan of all things yam. This dish came with cashew, sesame, mandarin, sherry, and puréed yams. FF7866A2-9A51-4283-9F02-34F2417759FDThe meatballs were lackluster and tasted like, well, like meatballs. No pizazz, no umph, just meatballs. Pricey ones with uninspiring flavor. BA88E818-9167-4727-B94F-B90A3489890CThere was a clam course which I was not a fan of but then I don’t like clams so I’m not a good judge. 034B8F85-AFCD-4C07-B3DE-24DDF0822663My mother, whose birthday we were celebrating absolutely adored them but she is also very easily pleased (a WONDERFUL characteristic by the way when someone is just as thrilled to go to Red Lobster as they are to go to a Michelin star restaurant). There was a course that had kale and gnocchi  and other ingredients that I no longer remember but what I do remember is that we all gave it a thumbs up.B244E2E0-F70B-416D-B917-BCEA0FB186C1
For dessert we ordered a chocolate semifreddo which had swiss meringue and graham cracker crust and it was okay but sadly not at all impressive.586C4DBC-5AA7-4197-8BA5-403206B4461E The waiter was kind enough to also bring deconstructed s’mores for her complete with birthday candles! These were pretty good but not phenomenal (how phenomenal can one make marshmallows, drizzled chocolate, and graham cracker crumbs taste though?). What I loved the most was the service. It was spot on and spectacular. This restaurant is a well-oiled machine with some very tasty dishes and others that may leave you unimpressed. 7532CE0F-6D01-4455-963E-20C59E72C316The restaurant has a high open ceiling and is not at all cozy or romantic (it was a birthday dinner for my mom so definitely no problem with that, just wanted to let you know it’s not a romantic night out kind of place).

They’d Like to Collectively Wish You a Good Morning

Walking in on a cold icy morning, Morning Collective seemed warm but unimpressive, sort of like the kind of restaurant I went to with my parents in the 70’s. Very casual and generic looking. Despite the “meh” atmosphere, the menu contained a variety of delectable looking items, with several kinds of eggs Benedict to include coffee braised short rib Benedict (heartily recommended by the waiter) that apparently included bone marrow infused potato, carrot and leek base bacon hollandaise, ham Benedict advertised as made from TENDER BELLY ham (yes, all in caps), and veggie Benedict. multiple flavors of French toast to include stuffed Tres Leches (YES please – this one is fantastic and was recommended by my waiter – not too sweet but delightfully decadent topped with perfect slivers of strawberry), stuffed banana hazelnut, stuffed strawberry cheesecake, seasonal (which was a tasty apple crumble), and of course traditional for those afraid of a bit of adventure (AKA French toast purists). 08E8536A-E9A7-4CC2-A8F1-62AD1E55FAD3.jpegYou can mix and match the flavors which is perfect for those of us (me) who can’t decide. Plus the menu included a variety of normal breakfast fare like scrambles, flapjacks, and since it’s Colorado, a “wake and bake” burrito. I went with a cafe mocha (good but not mind blowing good like the one I had at Snooze), the tres leches French toast (perfect) and apple crumble French toast (a tad sweet for my liking) with an added order of TENDER BELLY (yes, all caps again) coffee braised bacon (sounded a bit like a hipster spa treatment) and house made “tater tots” (NOT tater tots) with a bacon aioli.5FD71D8A-7EC1-49F0-85F7-27611FAAE1A3.jpeg The tots were little pillow like potato puffs but were a tad unpleasant due to the grease factor. The bacon was fine but didn’t live up to the hype I’d created for it in my mind while reading the description. I’ll take full credit for the disappointment… the bacon tasted like bacon. Quality bacon but not mind blowing call your mother and tell her about it bacon. I haven’t yet found the mind blowing call my mother kind of bacon as of yet, but it is a personal quest of mine. I’d go back to try the short ribs Benedict and to have another dose of the tres leches French toast but I’d definitely avoid the grease tots.

Would You Prefer Crepes or Crepes?

Crepe places abound in Denver. There was Crepes n Crepes with three branches – Cherry Creek as well as downtown in Writers Square and Highlands at 30th and Zuni (this was where we ate) and billed as an authentic french creperie. There was also Euro Crepes and Boba & Crepes. We were having a hard time deciding so picked the one closest to the place we were staying. So grateful we ended up with Crepes n Crepes because it was superb.E48145FD-011E-4BC4-ABCA-0A4BEF29A01C
Since my sister and I (my sister is artfully posing in the photo above) were having trouble deciding since we both wanted savory AND sweet crepes, the waitress suggested we get one of each and share. Luckily we were able to agree on both and had the crepe Florentine ($12.95) which had Canadian bacon, creamed spinach, hollandaise sauce, and 2 eggs (you can order them fried or scrambled). We also ordered Heathers Favorite Strawberries with Strawberries (obviously), lemon juice, cream cheese and brown sugar in a butter crisped crepe ($12.95). I can definitely see why it’s Heather’s favorite… I could’ve eaten 5 of these (not because they were small but because they were THAT delicious). 5C53E40D-747D-4423-9795-9CBEB1E37575
The place was relaxed and if you didn’t know you were in Denver you might think you were in a cafe in France. DB8B19D5-8AAC-4295-879C-300612721B06The waitress was attentive and had great suggestions, giving us the best of each side of the menu. This is on my favorites list so next time I’m in Denver I’ll be back for more crepes!28D95EE9-D575-41D4-ADA9-3285DBF15FBA

Stowaways Welcome!

The Stowaway Coffee + Kitchen was recommended by a friend who lives in Denver and it did not disappoint. D036E056-C782-47D6-8E2F-ABCC067AEAD1Parking is tough since it’s downtown, but once you find your spot you will be pleased you made the effort. 7DEF2833-8A5D-4610-9C61-AFC85B3307DFThe cafe has a high ceiling and whitewashed textured walls with wooden floors and wooden tables and chairs scattered throughout the space. I found a table next to a garage door that had been artfully fashioned into a window that could be raised like, you guessed it, a garage door. A573616D-8708-45DD-BE29-FA2D521935F0The menu looked tasty and had small bites and normal sized meals. I started with a cafe mocha which was good but not a stand out, a cherry chocolate chip cookie which was homemade, thick, but sort of bland except for the tasty little tart cherry pieces I picked out of it.F9C0D9B6-B7C1-4E92-9FBC-1969756AAA39 I went for the mushroom tartine which was vegetarian (I’m not but I’m not opposed to eating my veggies). It had sautéed mushrooms, spinach with beetroot hummus, goat cheese, almond dukkah (no idea what that is) and a poached egg on sourdough bread. A54A772D-039A-4693-95F7-BECA4C124591The flavors were absolutely fantastic. It was tangy from the goat cheese, with a bit of sour, a bit of sweet, and a lot of fabulous. I was extremely happy with my meal and my friend has just moved one place higher up on the friend list for such a stellar recommendation.