In the Loop | The Denver Christmas Market Scene

What’s not to love about buying gifts directly from the maker, shaking their hands, smiling broadly and knowing you’re walking away with a killer product. To me that’s what holiday markets embody. So here is the best of, in my humble opinion, around Denver.

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Denver Handmade Homemade Market: this market will include more then 60 vendors all selling their uniquely made wares. The HAHO market will be open both Saturday the 14th and Sunday the 15th from 1pm to 7pm at 734 Sante Fe Drive. There will be live music both days and treats to satiate the palate. An all around warm, homely way to search for your perfect holiday gifts.

Handmade at the Hall: This holiday market takes place at The EXDO Hall on Larimer Square. The 65 crafters, artisans, and small businesses making an appearance at this market will help tick off the last of your gift list. The pleasant holiday atmosphere will invite you to browse and admire the time and effort each artist put into their work, not to mention there will be nibbles to nosh on while you stroll. Don’t miss out next Saturday, December 14th from 10am to 5pm.

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Horseshoe Market: If you don’t find something at this market then you’re out of luck. Seriously, just give up because you’re never going to find a gift for your loved ones. I say this because the tagline is “Denver’s official home for lucky finds,” so they obviously know what they’re doing in organizing a holiday market extravaganza. Okay, regardless, this is going to be a great market with many, many vendors, which will hopefully inspire you and leave you with your arms full of local, artisinal gifts. Plus, they’ve partnered up with Whole Foods which is cool? Hit up the Denver Pavilions next Saturday the 14th from 10am to 4pm. Hooray!

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Colorado Makers Holiday Market: There’s this really cool association called the Colorado Makers. It’s a contingency of local artisans working to promote other artisans, craft makers and small business owners. This very week they will be hosting a Holiday Market at The Source. If you haven’t made it to The Source yet then this is the trip for you. Really, not only is it a cool space, but the market will include some really impressive local makers. So, head over to The Source for this inviting market next Saturday the 14th from 12pm to 8pm and Sunday the 15th 11am to 5pm for a good time.

Here’s to keeping you in the loop!

Cheers.

In the Loop | What’s up around Denver

Sometimes the best experience comes from stepping out of your comfort zone and checking out some fresh venues to meet up with your friends.

If you’re like most people you find yourself heading to the same place on the weekends out of convenience. But Denver’s food/coffee scene is blowing up with new innovation. So here are some places to hit up if you live in the Denver area and if you don’t well that’s just your luck isn’t it. You’d better start looking at flights asap.

Here are three for this week, to which I’ll add more each Sunday:

Happy Coffee CO:

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These folks pull a mean espresso shot. But it’s not necessarily the dark, dark espresso of the old days. As they describe it, they pull 2 shots with a 3 shot basket to lose the bitter, unrefined flavors that are left. Happy Coffee first opened within Salvagetti Bike shop. It began as a bike thru window, but has since moved to a new location on South Broadway. This inviting little spot is worth shot. (no pun intended…)

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Black Eye Coffee Shop:

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This hip little coffee oasis is located in the Highlands at 3408 Navajo Street. It has some of the best coffee in Denver, using Box Car Coffee as their primary roaster—a pretty darn good choice. The renovated space has a rustic, industrial vibe with refurbished vintage furniture and high exposed ceilings. They take their coffee seriously, which means each drink is made with quality beans and machines. Stop by next time you’re looking for a spot to read your morning paper.

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Old Major:

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When you walk into Old Major, you feel like you might want to pick a table or a bar seat and hole up for the night. The farmhouse style design is inviting and soft on the eyes. But, naturally once through the door, we’re here for the food, which is nothing but phenomenal. The chefs take part in conscious cooking, by which I mean they are aware of the origins of most if not all of the ingredients they use as well as the farmers who grew them. Their in-house butchering and curing is certainly a big draw, but their whole menu is amazing. Plus, you’d hope they’d be churning out delicious food with a kitchen that costs around 200,000 dollars. As they say of their style, “It’s an honest approach to doing food right.”

Note: They have an amazing happy hour from 3pm to 6pm everyday. Which.is.awesome.

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If you don’t already frequent these places fit one or two into your routine this week. You won’t be disappointed.

In the Loop: Chocolate Spokes

ChocolatespokesI bought a chocolate bar at a bike shop last week and let me tell you it was an amazing one. But, why would I be buying an artisan chocolate bar at a bike shop? You got it. They sell them there.

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Gregory, the proprietor of Chocolate Spokes, has incorporated two of his passions into his business: Bikes and Chocolate. The small shop is located in an up and coming neighborhood of Denver called Five Points. Not only does Gregory fix bikes and build custom bike frames he also has a well-chosen selection of artisan chocolate bars. Most of them are single origin bars highlighting the flavor of the region the cacao beans originate from. The bar I bought was made by Dick Taylor out of San Fran and it had black figs! The flavors were wild! Here’s the block print design on the bar:

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Courtesy of the Dick Taylor Site

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Courtesy of the Dick Taylor Site

I enjoyed chatting to Gregory about his business, which will soon be expanding into the next space over. You can tell he’s very interested in the growth of his neighborhood and providing a high quality product/service that everyone can afford. This video talks more about his ambition.

Screen shot 2013-08-26 at 5.12.51 PMHe is also very knowledgeable about chocolate, which makes sense because his chocolate bar selection has caliber worth paying for. If you live in the Denver region, that’s awesome, because you can stop by. If you don’t, you can feel that loss and know what you’re missing. I’m sure you’ll mope about for the rest of the day. Or you could book your flight here!

Gregory sent me down the street towards Winter Sessions, where a small crew are crafting goods using leather and canvas. More on that later!

Well, cheers! Happy Monday.Screen shot 2013-08-26 at 4.56.01 PM