|City O City, Brief Review|
|Location: 206 E. 13th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
|Recommended Dish: La Michelle Pizza|
|Hours: Mon – Fri 7am – 2am, Sat & Sun 8am – 2am
||Times Visited: 1|
The Stumptown Vegans Travel!
If you have visited WaterCourse in Denver, CO, you’ve probably heard of City O City, a sister vegetarian restaurant. City O City has more than great coffee and baked goods from this little storefront; they have a full menu including pizza, sandwiches, and other American foods. But that’s only half the menu: the other half, another four pages, contains a long list of beer, wine, and other alcohol drinks.
The cafe portion of City O City is a small, standing room only, cafe with baked goods displayed in refrigerated cases and a full service espresso bar. The restaurant and bar area is a large, dimly lit space filled with free-standing tables, some with booths and bar seating.
City O City is probably best known for 3 three things: the baked goods, the pizza, and the seitan wings. Most items on the all vegetarian menu can be made vegan including the pizzas. Their housemade vegan cheese is a simple cashew cheese, which is more like sauce.
I started with the $8 Seitan Wings, from the “To Start” section of the menu, choosing a split plate of both the Buffalo and Teryaki with ranch dipping sauce. The tender strips of seitan were fried before being generously coated in their respective sauces. The Buffalo sauce made its presence known before being consumed. A whiff of cayenne and vinegar entered my nasal passage and I’d be a liar if I said my eyes didn’t water! I braced myself and bit in. Frying the seitan didn’t have the crunch I was expecting, but rather, it helped to firm the tender finger-length strips of wheat meat. As for the heat, it wasn’t as bad as I expected, it was the vinegar that made my eyes water. In fact, I would imagine those who love spicy foods might want to add additional hot sauce, which is available on the table. This isn’t to say my lips weren’t burning, but a plate of the Buffalo wings alone would be too much for this spice wimp. The Teryaki sauce was the favorite of the two. It had a little bit of heat, but the sweet and salty flavors were both mild in spice and bold in combination.
Next up was The Sherman, an $8.50 sandwich from the “Hand Held” menu. This is a dry rub tofu sandwich topped with coleslaw on a house made sweet potato bun. The frozen, then thawed tofu had a nice crust of Carolina dry rub BBQ seasoning. The blend of spices can only be described as tasting like a Bar-B-Que picnic. Combined with a green chili relish, crunchy purple cabbage slaw, and a fresh-baked sweet potato roll, I couldn’t help but think of a summer time back yard BBQ meal. This sandwich was sweet, savory, smooth, and crunchy – all in one.
The City O City offers pizzas ranging from a vegetarian ‘meat lovers’, called Animal Lovers, to a ranch and spinach pizza. The 10″ pizzas range from $9-11. Of course, you can choose your own from a wide variety of sauces, cheeses, and toppings. I opted for an unique pizza – La Michelle, with a fig base topped with sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and rosemary. The fig base didn’t bring the sweetness I expected. Instead, the tangy capers paired with the sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary, melded together with the house made cashew cheese sauce to touch each taste bud on my tongue. The crust was thin, cooked enough to hold up the minimal toppings, but not enough to provide a crunch that would have worked well the “pop” of the capers and the creaminess of the cashew cheese.
All of their beautiful baked goods are made by WaterCourse Bakery. It was hard to resist one, so I went with th HoHo. When I think of Ho Hos, I think of a rolled cake with cream filling coated with ganche. Their Ho Ho Cupcake is a large chocolate cupcake with the top cut off spread with a vanilla cream layer, and dark chocolate ganache on top. Not the same, but still very good. The chocolate cake was dense, but moist, without much crumb, and brownie-like in taste. The vanilla filling was light and fluffy without too much sweetness. I enjoyed the mild sweetness of the frosting because it allowed the sweetness of the chocolate cake to come though. I only wish I had tried more of their baked goods.
My two favorite things about City O City are that they support local and organic farmers and that they are not afraid of unique combinations to bring bold flavors to their menu options. While I typically opt for a simple dish of greens, garlic, and Braggs – City O City helps me reach out to combine sweet, salty, savory, bitter, and sour for an amazing combination of tastes.
Next time you’re in Denver, do not choose between City O City and WaterCouse, or another vegetarian restaurant, find a way to visit both of these delicious restaurants.