Sunday, April 30, 2017
City O' City
Last summer I stopped by City O' City after an interview to reward myself for a job well done and to get lunch before heading to work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. It was the best interview I've ever had--which is odd since the interview I recently had for my new position in the same department was the worst interview I've ever had, but more on that later. I ordered a red wine & cola drink called the strummer. It was delicious. I tried to recreate it at the MCA Cafe & Bar later that night with no such luck. We must not have had the right kind of red wine. I had heard of this drink before from a friend who spent some time living in Spain. I now dream of someday sitting outside of a cafe on a sunny street in Madrid, sipping a kalimotxo with Brian and our dog, Kiki.
City O' City is a vegetarian restaurant with kombucha on tap. It strikes me as the type of place that even a strict meat eater would enjoy--as long as they could let go of that need for meat long enough to embrace the creative and varied menu. One of my favorite things to order is the City O' burger with sauteed mushrooms and onion rings on the side. They have the best onion rings that I have ever had. They're the perfect amount of crispy with just the right amount of grease. Every time I order this, I forget how much food it really is and remind myself to just order the onion rings or the burger with a side salad the next time I'm there. There's a lot on the menu that I still want to try. They have noodle dishes, waffles with fried "chicken", kimchi stew, a cheese plate, and much more.
City O' City is often very busy at night and on the weekends, as you would expect from a popular restaurant in a booming city. However, it is sometimes uncomfortably busy. It's still worth going, just expect a wait and be prepared for it. If you are with five or more people, make a reservation. City O' City has a certain amount of quirkiness and people are drawn to that. The front part of the restaurant feels more like a diner with futuristic lighting features and an impressive window shelf full of plants. To the right of the entrance there's a seating area with a grungy old couch and armchairs that could have been plucked from a dumpster down the street. The back of the restaurant is reminiscent of an old-timey dive bar. We've found quite a few restaurants with a good atmosphere that we enjoy so far in Denver, and we're looking forward to finding more in the future.
One thing that I appreciate about City O' City is that it supports the local art scene by hosting monthly art shows. Some of the art has been great and some has been fairly terrible. As someone who tries to make art from time to time, I can appreciate the effort and have often called my own art terrible in the past. I am inspired by anyone who pursues their interests and passions and actually has the gumption to just make art. I had my art in a solo show at a vegan cafe in Seoul two years ago. I haven't made much art since then--the move to the US has been stressful and chaotic enough to make me question whether I have any art left to make. Maybe it's time to start again. We'll see. I didn't take any pictures of the art on the walls while I was at City O' City, but I did appreciate the colorful graffiti in the bathroom. It reminds me of the bathrooms at the park in Hongdae, Seoul which were just as covered in graffiti, but way less clean.