Cafe Max: Bringing Europe & the US Coasts to Denver

Flourless chocolate cake with raspberry coulis
Flourless chocolate cake with raspberry coulis

I first discovered Cafe Max back in mid-March on my way to get a pedicure. I do not remember what was there before the cafe; I just know I walked by and looked up and realized the cafe was there. I went on to my pedicure and asked the staff if they knew of anything about their new neighbor next door. “Oh, it’s a nice place; they have sandwiches, coffee, and other things.”

After the pedicure, I decided to scope out Cafe Max…and the rest is history (haha). I met Max on that first visit, and since then, we’ve become close friends along with his partner, Yuki. There was a period of time in late summer/early fall where I was at the cafe nearly every evening, doing work or keeping company with Max and his employees. I have joked that I am Cafe Max’s “biggest investor” because of the cash I have spent on the cafe’s offerings.

View of Cafe Max from the back table.
View of Cafe Max from the back table.

When people first walk into Cafe Max, they immediately feel transported to another place in the world: I have heard patrons call Cafe Max a “European-style cafe”, or “This reminds me of San Francisco/New York City.” Max will take any of the above: he wanted to bring a different concept of a cafe to Denver. Raised in the Bronx, Max has lived all over the country doing public relations and working at restaurants, so he has experienced a lot of different business environments. Cafe Max’s mission is to “provide nourishment and inspiration, inside a stylish environment that balances eclectic worldliness, with a welcoming sense of place. ”

At Cafe Max, patrons experience a cozy, almost “living room”-like environment: there are magazines and books available to peruse while patrons wait for their food or drink. The menu itself is different from what folks would expect in Denver: instead of the same ol’ pastries, Max has all unique desserts, either made in his kitchen or from local businesses (e.g., Humble Pie). In addition, Cafe Max’s menu has breakfast items (served all day!–my favorite!), continental plates, and coffee products (French Press, Cappucino, *authentic Cafe con Leche, and strong, bold cold coffee from La Colombe). If coffee isn’t your preference, there are also teas from all over the world to choose from; both caffeinated and herbal teas are available. Cold drinks include San Pellegrino sodas and sparkling water, organic juices, and unique offerings of beer and wine.

prezzolini prosecco at Cafe Max; what a cute little glass!
prezzolini prosecco at Cafe Max; what a cute little glass!

Cafe Max’s menu items are also accommodating to those with a gluten intolerance, having dishes and desserts gluten-free. Some items are also lactose-free.

I have practically eaten my way through the whole menu over the course of the past nine months: my favorite dishes are the Frittata w/organic greens, the Organic Salad w/goat cheese, and the Prosciutto Panini (also served with organic greens). The entrees are light and prepared to order. Cafe Max is not a place to grab-n-go quickly; Max and Yuki want patrons to linger, take some downtime at the cafe between business meetings, errands, etc.

Cafe Max is open on Mondays thru Saturdays from 8:30am to 10pm. On Sundays, the cafe closes at 6pm.

When you get the chance, Denver, come visit Cafe Max and experience the place firsthand. If you are lucky, you will have a chance to meet Max; he is very approachable and kind with an interesting sense of humor. You can visit the cafe on the corner of East Colfax Avenue and Josephine Street: 2412 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver 80206.

Pressed Juice Daily: Denver’s Juice Source

 

Colorful bottles of delicious juices.
Colorful bottles of delicious juices.

Remember that post I wrote about my 3-day cleanse? That only happened several weeks ago; anyway, yes, I got all my juices, chlorophyll water, aloe water, and DELICIOUS raw almond milk from Pressed Juice Daily.

Pressed Juice Daily opened its doors in Denver on September 20th; the kiosk/store is located on the 16th Street Mall at Court (near the World Trade Center). I had only heard of PJD from their following me on Twitter; I was intrigued by the name and the concept. So I began following their Twitter account and pounced on the chance to check PJD out on opening day.

I was promised that I could sign a $1 bill for being the first to arrive; alas, I was second to arrive, but that was okay. The owners, Adam Cianciola and Christian Davis, are both so kind and accommodating. They make the juices daily (heck, apparently they did not get much sleep the hours before their grand opening; they were bottling and pressing their juices for the big day!) They let passersby sample some juice before they buy; kids and adults love the various kinds of juice. Sure, a bottle averages about $8 each, but I can imagine pressing so many juices daily takes a lot of time, energy, and money (especially for organic, natural fruits and vegetables).

Raw Almond Milk & Clarity 2
Raw Almond Milk & Clarity 2

Now, with the 3-day cleanse, I got 27 bottles of all the different juices (you can see what the cleanse includes on their page). At first I didn’t believe I could be successful with the cleanse (ah, my darn mind & its limitations). But throughout the first day, I found that I was not missing solid food. It helped that I was keeping track of my hours to space out the juices evenly throughout the day.

My favorites out of all the juices? Energy 2, Detox 1-2, and Clarity 2. One of the juices I had during the cleanse was seasonal: it had watermelon in it as well (I think that was in one of the Clarity bottles). Of course, I cannot stop raving about their raw almond milk; SO creamy and delicious. I could hardly believe that the milk was not sweetened with sugar, but with nature’s goodness. At the end of each day of my cleanse, I savored the raw almond milk, sipping slowly and mumbling “Mmmm” each time. Yes, it’s THAT good.

I succeeded in completing my cleanse by the end of that weekend; so thankful that I had PJD to guide me along with what to drink and when. Definitely felt cleaned out and ready to reset my diet.

While I know I can easily buy juices from national brands at Whole Foods, or hit up a well-established juice bar in town, I prefer the trip downtown to get cold pressed juice from PJD. I am all about supporting local, and I can see that the owners and their staff work hard to get the products out daily!

Check Pressed Juice Daily out when you’re wandering around on 16th Street Mall!

(Oh, and by the way, they do deliveries!)

Another gem: a store of tea!

No thanks to my friend here in San Francisco, I find myself becoming obsessed with tea more and more. Today I tagged along with her to go to the Lupicia store in the mall downtown. When we first walked in, we were offered free samples of some iced teas they had. Delicious, just the right amount of flavor. Then, we proceeded to peruse through the store. My friend was trying to find a gift for her friends, so I just poked around and browsed the small store.

There were different displays for featured teas; I found the “Matcha” display with some information on the tea ceremony in Japan and different products featured. Apparently, if a customer purchased at least $10 worth of the green tea products, a free tea whisk was included in the order! I couldn’t pass this offer, so I bought three bags of green tea powder (in small packets, even!) and got my free tea whisk. I also went ahead and bought some tea bags of the “Sakuranbo”/Cherry flavored teas. Yum, yum.

I never thought I could feel so excited about tea before…

Tapioca Tea at Golden Deer Restaurant.

In my epic quest to find the best tapioca tea out here in San Francisco/California, today my sister and I stopped in at a Vietnamese restaurant called Golden Deer in the Richmond district.

They had tapioca tea of course, and I decided I would try their red bean flavor. The tea came in a cute parfait glass with shredded ice on top; the bottom half of the drink was still warm (I’m guessing from the machine).

At first taste, I liked the red bean flavor, but after drinking the whole glass, I realized the tea was a bit too sweet. My sister tried the coconut flavor; it had a very authentic coconut flavor, but it too was a bit too sweet for us.

I guess if I were to give the tea/the restaurant a rating, I would say it was a 3/5. Not horrible, but not the best either.

Craving for Tea; Mindless Eating.

I had a random craving for tea today, so I ended up buying two boxes of tea while grocery shopping. I find the craving “random” since it had not occurred before…

Anyway, lately I have been reading the book Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, Ph.D. I had been meaning to read this book for the past two years since I kept reading reviews/excerpts about it through all my health magazines. After finally getting the chance to crack the book open, I find it to be an interesting and somewhat startling read. A lot of the information I had already known before from the two years of healthy habits I have been practicing (watch portion sizes, put away tempting snacks from visible view, etc.). Yet, there have also been other facts/tidbits that I did not know about until I read it in the book.

For example, today I finished reading a portion about how iced water actually helps the human body burn calories due to the body working harder to regulate the iced water when it enters into the body. Hm! I decided today that I would start drinking more iced water in my apartment. More calorie burn, the better.

And I finally have figured out the term to use when it comes to “organic foods” or any “organic/healthy” restaurants out there: the “healthy halo” effect. So very true: seems most people automatically assume that just because a place serves supposedly healthy foods that they can pile up on the food inside and still stay “healthy”. It may be true to an extent, but not when these people end up piling on other not-so-healthy items on their foods (i.e., cream dressings, etc.).

After I finish the book, I hope to use the re-engineering strategies inside to change a few bad habits in my lifestyle.