'Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal.' - Jules
The last couple of years I have noticed an abundance of praise and love being expressed for pigs. Celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain gush about its deliciousness. Great book titles like The 2007 Report on Pork Rind Pellets and Pork Cracklings Made in Slaughtering Plants: World Market Segmentation by City (available on Amazon.com for a mere $795) or Pig Perfect: Encounters With Remarkable Swine and Some Great Ways to Cook Them have hit the shelves in bunches. With that kind of coverage, what more could I tell you about pork that has not already been written or said? Maybe this: Hog makes a tasty beverage.
The Berkshire, a Stapleton restaurant that could be better described as a pig pleasure palace, offers a variety of martini called the bacon-tini. Normally The Berk wouldn't warrant mention in a blog about dives, but there was something about a cocktail-meat combo that got my attention. I like a martini now and again, and I enjoy a breakfast with hog, so why not? The bartender laid out the details for me: It's a dirty vodka martini with a couple olives. Key is the Svedka vodka that has been 'infused' with Daily's premium bacon, fancy speak for throwing some bacon in your vodka and letting it sit around for a couple days. I liken it to infusing the milk in your cereal bowl with cocoa crispies. Same principal. You can do this at home.
My Bacon-tini arrives and I promptly spill a quarter of it all over the bar. It takes a bit of restraint not to start sucking up martini off the bar, but I persevere. That's 2 bucks in a puddle! I further persevere and have a drink: it's got the warmth of a regular martini, but more depth and a fantastic peppery smokiness that could only come from the bacon. Pretty nice. The bacon really works. And I am not typically one for a dirty martini and the olive that comes with, but I even managed to choke that down.
Jules speaks many truths, and a pig may indeed be a filthy animal. However, perhaps the cocktail is the perfect hog delivery: If you drink enough bacon-tinis, who cares how filthy the pig was?
The Berkshire is located at 7352 E. 29th Avenue. The bacon-tini will burn a hole in your wallet at $8 a pop, but it's probably worth a go.
I decided long ago that the monotony of my daily routines weren't going to cut it long term. Sure, I still float through with some routine (wake up, shower, shave, clothes, hair, dog, food, boy), but I try to bust out whenever possible. Shake things up a bit. I'm not talking about anything transcendental, or finding Jesus or any nonsense like that, just exploring my surroundings a little bit and jumping out of the comfort of the routine. That's where dives come in. Denver is full of them. Places you can go that get your senses humming and make you feel maybe a little uncomfortable. There's that bar that serves a mean pizza and sits across from the holding facility for the county jail. There's that restaurant where you can order up a Head taco, if you can scrape together a little Spanish. When you see these places, you usually find yourself thinking, 'Who goes there?'. I do.