Down and Out in Denver

Parallel 17

Posted in denver, fashion, food, tv, Uncategorized, weather, wine by Blake on April 24, 2010

Where is my post evaluating the season finale of Project Runway, you might be asking yourself. Where indeed?  I had to attend an odious work function on Thursday night and so missed what I had thought was only going to be a reunion show.  I was wrong.  It was the finale.  And it’s still not on the Lifetime website.  Of course I know who the winner is and I’ve watched the brief clips of the collections, but I have yet to see the actual episode or the reunion episode that apparently aired in the MotR slot.  Dear reader, I am without a DVR.  So I await Lifetime’s decision to include the finale on

In the meantime, I can share with you the dinner that Alastair and I had last night.  We ventured out in the wind and the rain to one of our longtime faves, Parallel 17, the Vietnamese restaurant named for the line of latitude that once separated North from South Vietnam and presumably for the fact that it’s on 17th Avenue (at Franklin).  We haven’t been to P17 in a while and the menu has changed somewhat; it seems like there are more appetizers but perhaps fewer entrées.  That said, there seemed to be a number of specials we overheard servers telling their tables about; we were not informed of these ourselves (!).  No great loss, as our meal was very tasty!  We began with the calamari, which P17 serves with deep-fried slices of jalapeños, oranges, and other citrus fruits as well as a salad of watercress and a tangy dressing.  Delicious.  We followed that up with an order of the steamed pork buns, themselves served with a spicy cilantro and cabbage slaw.  These appetizers, it must be said, are not small.

Braised Short Ribs with Chinese Broccoli, Potatoes, and Onion Rings

We would have been fine splitting just one entrée but of course we had already ordered two.  And they, too, were generous.  This was the rare moment where your DOD boys were unable to clean their plates (or, in my case, cutting board).  Alastair ordered the coffee-braised short ribs, which he’d had before.  They come with a potato purée, onion rings, and Chinese broccoli that looked very green and very tasty.

Duck Four Wraps

I ordered the “Duck Four Wraps”: duck prepared four ways (rillette, mousse pâté, pan seared, and confit) and about a million other things (pickled onions, radishes, garlic; scallions, jicama, basil, and on and on).  All of this one wraps up in four pancakes.  So. Much. Food.  All of it very good indeed, particularly the confit (skin so crispy!) and the pâté, which was so rich I couldn’t finish it. Alastair and I paired our meals with two different glasses of dry Italian white chosen from P17’s good selection of wines by the glass.

P17 was awarded Westword’s Best Nouvelle Vietnamese in 2008; I wonder of course whether or not Denver actually provides much competition in this category. Regardless, the food is delicious, the service is friendly (even if only certain diners get told about the specials), and the ambiance — save the TV featuring the basketball game (why do ALL Denver restaurants have TVs for showing sports? The subject for another post) — is warm and pleasant.  Especially on an evening of gusting winds and occasional rain.


4 Responses

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  1. Alastair said, on April 24, 2010 at 11:57 am

    The service IS friendly (even if only certain diners receive direct eye contact from their waitperson.) I’m still having trouble over this one… can you tell?? I totally feel like going back and pulling a Kenny Craig, the obnoxious, stage hypnotist from Little Britian. Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don’t look around my eyes, look into my eyes.

    • Blake said, on April 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      Oh Alastair, I’m sorry that it pained you that the server only had eyes for Yours Truly. Maybe it’s your lazy eye that makes people turn away…

  2. Ink said, on April 26, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    That happened to me last year, missing the finale. I wonder if the PR website has it up now, or if it might be on Hulu yet? In any case, I look forward to your review post.

    And wow, those short ribs look like stacks of yum.

    • Blake said, on April 27, 2010 at 7:15 am

      Ink — It is now posted at and I watched it the day before yesterday. Post coming soon….

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