Sunday, July 18, 2010

Brunch at Denver's Parallel 17

I went to Parallel 17 for the first time a few weeks ago for brunch armed with my wife's DINR cards. When I later sat down to write about it I became interested in knowing more about the head chef, Mary Nguyen. While perusing the standard online resources (that is, I Googled her name) I found myself re-reading her two-part interview in the Westword from November 2009.

As I read the interview for the second time, I remember thinking the same thing that I thought the first time I read it but had since forgotten (such is the novelty of poor memory): she seemed as down-to-earth and unpretentious as many of Denver's finest chefs. I agreed with a lot of her answers, like when asked about current Denver culinary genius, she gave a shout to the poorly represented, "...hole-in-the-wall places that serve amazing ethnic food." Exactly. She even went further to say that her favorite restaurant is Shish Kabob Grill on Colfax and Grant, citing her admiration for the hard-working family running the place.  "[I]mmigrant dreams and hard work," she says, "It's what this country is built on." Couldn't agree more.

Then I re-read the part about her toothpaste tube full of duck-liver mousse that her European husband has smuggled in on a regular basis. It's not the illicit transport of perishable non-FDA approved food items that excited me--though I do admire it--but the fact that I have long dreamed of portable pȃté in toothpaste form. In fact, I wrote about it after a trip last year to Toronto, where I had a divine chicken liver and foie gras mousse at Cava that I thought should immediately be available in toothpaste form (and if it was I would be equally as well-stocked as Chef Nguyen). The fact that Chef Nguyen and her family keep a supply of toothpaste tube pȃté handy-- in fact they can't live without it -- can only lead to the conclusion that they have discriminating taste and are upstanding citizens of high moral fiber. Or, at least, they really like pȃté.

My wife and I also really like pȃté. And we also really like Vietnamese food. For this latter reason I was very excited to try Parallel 17.


I went with a large group of people that we can loosely refer to as the Asian crew. We were able to order a lot of items from the brunch menu, and among them was a plain plate of scrambled eggs, potatoes and fruit--or what is known as a "choke order" in a restaurant like this (I think he was hungover to be fair). But besides the uninspiring egg plate we were otherwise surprised, pleased, happy, satiated, enamored.

Banh Mi sliders started us off and we were pleasantly surprised with this creative take on the classic Vietnamese sandwich. Fresh baked soft, mushy buns hid a lovely basil pesto along with other, more traditional Banh Mi veggies. We had the pork and the beef, both excellent, but both sadly lacking a spread of pate.


I then ordered the Pho. Nervously, I admit, because I know many places to get good Pho in Denver, and with all the other interesting options on the menu, I was hoping not to make another "choke order". Of course it wasn't, and if I had remembered anything from that aforementioned Westword article about her proud Vietnamese heritage, I wouldn't have been surprised at how good it was. It was a wonderfully rich broth with tender beef that oozed comfort and home-cooked love. And as a bonus alongside the traditional Hoisin and Sarrachi sauces was, according to our server, a homemade "onion marmalade" made by Chef Ngyuen's mom.


I also tasted some of these perfectly poached eggs. On the left they are served over halves of buttermilk biscuits and topped with a chorizo gravy. On the right they are resting on top of salmon cakes and covered in a Thai basil hollandaise sauce. The chorizo gravy was hearty and the hollandaise sauce was bright and creamy. And both were as good as they sound. The home fries also had a nice deep-fried crisp to them. The only critique was the heavy hand with the salt on these two plates.


I didn't get a taste of these "tuna tacos" served over an avocado mousse, but look at the picture. There is no way that could be bad.


And then there was the Blueberry Stuffed French Toast. This dish was the group favorite, and with reason; it was a slice of blissful food erotica. The blueberry-stuffed thick-sliced bread was coated in walnuts and then-- here is the best part-- it was deep-fried. Or at least it tasted that way. It was crispy on the outside and sensually soft on the inside. It was topped with a tasty blueberry sauce, fresh whipped cream, a fried mint leaf and a five spice crème anglaise. By the end of the meal I think everyone ordered his or her own side of the stuff, as sharing this was really not an option... For a mere $4, it is a great brunch deal.


Chef Nguyen, in that same Westword interview said that her proudest moments as a chef are hearing from guests that they've had a great dining experience. Well, Chef, we had exactly that. It was a diverse and delicious brunch, and for what it's worth, the Asian crew approved (though for Pho, to be clear, would stick with South Federal's finest). Unfortunately, in the post-meal stupor that I often put myself in, I actually forgot to break out the DINR deck, so we didn't get our $10 discount. Fortunately, P-17 showed so much promise with its excellent brunch that is a great excuse to go back for dinner. Stay tuned.

Parallel Seventeen on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

  1. Good support for Shish kabob grill on Colfax. I hammer the gyros plate there weekley for lunch. BJS

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Immigrant dreams and hard work is what this country is built on."

    Damn right.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Definitely a fan of the brunch, this place is a nice saturday am walk and a perfect way to spend a morning on the patio.

    Blueberry french toast knocked my socks off as well- and they have a pretty spicy B Mary. Always a boost for me.

    ReplyDelete

Labels

11N (1) A Federal Case (1) A Taste of the Philippines (1) Acapulco Tacos (1) Ace Eat Serve (1) adobo (1) Adrian Miller (1) aguas frescas (2) Al Lado (1) Al's Beef (1) alambre (4) Ali Baba Grill (1) All-V's (1) arepas (4) Argentina (2) art (1) asada (2) Aurora (5) authentic (1) Award (1) bacon (1) bagel (1) Bailey (1) bakery (1) baklava (1) baleadas (2) Ban Thai (1) barbacoa (3) baseball (5) Basil Doc's (1) BBQ (2) beer (2) bibimbob (1) Biker Jim (1) birria (1) biscuit (2) Bistro Vendome (1) Bonnie Brae Tavern (1) books (1) Boulder (3) Boulder International Film Festival (1) Bourdain (1) breakfast (3) breakfast for dinner (1) breakfast tacos (1) brunch (2) Brussels sprouts (1) Buffalo wings (2) buffet (1) Bun Hanoi (1) burger (3) burrito (7) Bánh mì (2) cabeza (2) Cafe de Tacuba (1) Cafe La Habana (1) Cafe San Juan (1) camping (1) Canada (1) Carl Sandburg (1) carne en su jugo (2) carne seca (1) carnitas (2) Cava (1) cecina (1) ceviche (1) change (1) charal (1) chica morada (1) Chicago (9) Chicago Louie's (1) Chicago Style (1) chicarron (3) chicharron (2) chicken skin (1) chilaquiles (4) Chile (3) chiles en nogada (1) Chili Verde (1) chimbolo (1) Chinese (2) Chinese New Year (1) chorizo (4) chorrillana (1) Christmas (1) churros (2) cinco de mayo (2) CLOSED (6) coffee (3) Colorado Springs (1) Colt and Grey (1) Coney Island (1) contest (8) crab (1) crawfish (1) crispchon (1) Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria (1) Cuban sandwich (7) cupcakes (1) curry (1) Cypress Hill (1) Dancing Noodle (1) deep dish (1) deli (1) Deluxe (4) Denveater (7) Denver Biscuit Company (1) Denver County Fair (2) dessert (2) Dim Sum (1) diner (1) DINR (7) discada (1) dolmades (1) Domo (1) donuts (1) dreams (1) duck curry (1) dumplings (2) durian (1) EatDenver (2) El Boricua (1) El Camaron Loco (1) El Costeno (1) El Diablo (2) El Divino (1) El Fogon (1) el guero tortero (1) El Olvido (2) El Paisa (3) El Pariaso (1) El Rico Dicho (1) El Salvador (2) El Taco Rey (1) El Tamarindo (1) El Tizoncito (1) elote (1) Emapanda Express Grill (1) Empanada Express Grill (1) empanadas (7) enchiladas (1) enchiladas mineras (1) Encore (1) epicurious (1) Ernie's Bar (1) Euclid Hall (1) event (1) Evergreen (1) falafel (1) Filipino (7) film (6) fire (1) First Friday (1) fish tacos (2) flan (1) flyfishing (1) food truck (7) food cart (6) football (2) French (2) fried chicken (2) fried tacos (1) frijoles charros (1) Frijoles Colorado (1) Fritangas (1) frito pie (5) frybread (1) G6 (1) gallo pinto (1) garnachas (1) Gastro Cart (1) Gaudalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet (1) Globeville (1) Golden (1) good Mexican food (10) good signs (5) gorditas (1) Grandma's Korean BBQ (2) Greek (1) Greek Town (1) green chile (12) gyro (4) Halo-Halo (1) Harvest Week (1) Hi Rise (1) Honduran food (1) hot dog (5) huarache (4) Huerfano Cafe (1) Hush (1) Hutch and Spoon (1) Ian Kleinman (3) ice cream (1) Indian taco (1) itacates (1) Italian beef (5) Italian-American (2) Jabo's (1) Jack-n-Grill (1) James Mazzio (2) Japanese (1) Jax (1) Jiutepec (1) Jollibee (1) Jonsey's Eat Bar (1) kabob (1) Kaladi (1) Kavkaz Bakery (1) kids (2) King's Land (1) Korean BBQ (3) La Cascada (1) La Chapina (1) La Flor de Michoacan (1) La Loncheria Mexicana (1) La Mexicana Taqueria (1) lamb (2) Lao Wang Noodle House (1) Las Torgtugas (2) Las Tortas (1) Laughing Ladies (1) LDP (2) Le Trompeau (1) Leandro Cristobal (1) lechón (5) lengua (1) Leobardo's (1) LoHi (1) lonchera (7) longaniza (2) Los Angeles (1) Los Carboncitos (1) Los Farolitos (2) Los Gallitos (1) Los Toritos (1) Lou Malnati's (1) lox (1) lumpia (2) lunch (2) machaca (1) Mama D's (1) Mama Tere (1) mango (1) Map (1) Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria (1) mariachi (1) Martin Rios (1) Masterpiece Deli (1) Maxwell Street (1) mayonnaise (1) Mexican Canoli (1) Mexican hot dog (1) Mexico City (8) Mexico City Restaurant and Lounge (1) michelada (2) Middle Eastern (6) Mile High Vienna Beef (1) molcajete (1) mole (8) Monte Vista (1) Motulenos (1) Mulli (1) Museo de las Americas (2) mushrooms (1) mussels (1) Navajo taco (1) New Mexican (3) New Siagon (1) Nicaragua (2) nitrogen (1) Nonna's (1) NOT CLOSED (1) old school (1) Ondo's (1) Operation Front Line (2) Orange Crunch (1) Oscar's (1) Osteria Marco (1) oysters (1) paleta (1) pan dulce (5) Panaderia Rosales (1) pancit (2) Parallel 17 (1) Park Burger (1) pastries (1) Patricia Quintana (1) Patriotic Independence Gathering (1) pepper and egg (1) Peruvian (1) Philippines (3) pho (3) Pho 77 (1) Pho Duy II (1) Phoenician Kabob (2) Piccolo's (1) Pinche Tacos (2) Pinche Taqueria (1) pizza (9) Planet Barbecue (1) poblano (1) pollo a las brasas (2) Pomfreet (1) pork (3) poutine (2) pozole (1) pronunciation (1) Puebla (1) Puerto Rico (1) pupusa (5) quesillo (1) recipe (6) Recovery Room (1) Red Tango (1) rice and beans (3) Richard Sandoval (1) Riki Takaoka (1) Rise and Shine (1) roast pig (2) Rosca de Reyes (1) Route 40 (1) Russia (1) Sabor de Mexico (1) Salida (3) salty lemonade (1) Santa Fe (1) sausage (5) seafood (4) Seattle (1) shawarma (2) shrimp cocktail (1) Silla (1) Simpsons (1) smothered (7) sope (1) South American (1) southern colorado (8) Starz Denver Film Festival (3) Steven Raichlen (1) Stevo's (1) street food (9) strip malls (1) Studio F (2) stuffed (1) suadero (1) Sub sandwich (1) Sue of Siam (1) summer food truck boom (3) Sunburst Grill (1) sushi (1) sweets (2) Table 6 (3) taco al pastor list (2) taco arabe (1) taco truck (8) taco vampiro (1) Taco Veloz (2) TacoMex (1) tacos al pastor (34) tacos al vapor (4) Tacos Copacabana (1) tacos de canasta (1) tacos de trompa (1) tacos dorados (1) Tacos el Chorizo (1) Tacos El Gordo (2) Tacos El Sampa (1) Tacos Junior (2) Tacos Tijuana (1) Tacos y Salsas (2) Taiwanese (1) tamales (3) Tambien (3) tapas (2) Taqueria el Valle Aurora (1) Taqueria el Valle Denver (1) tarta (1) Taste of Chicago (1) Taste of the Nation (2) Teleras (1) Telluride (1) Tepotzlan (1) teriyaki (1) Thai (5) Thai Avenue (1) Thai Flavor (1) The Bagel Deli (1) The Berkshire (1) The Biscuit Bus (1) The Corner Office (1) The Inventing Room (1) The Red Claw (1) Thornton (1) Ticorito (1) Tin Star Cafe Donut Haus (1) Tocabe (1) Toluca (1) Toluca Mexican Restaurant (3) tongue (1) torta (5) torta ahogada (2) torta Cubana (1) torta de tamal (1) Torta Grill (2) torta poblana (1) tortilla (1) Tortisimas (1) travel (14) Tres Pupusas (1) truffle fries (1) Turtux (1) Udi's (2) US Thai (1) Utah scones (1) Venezuelan (2) Victoria (1) Vietnamese (3) vietnamese sandwich (1) vigaron (1) Walsenburg (1) Westword Best Food Blog (1) whiskey (2) Willy's Buffalo Style Hot Wings (1) Xiao Long Bao (2) yuca (1) zombies (1) Zorbas (1)