By Joel Hillan

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Denver Restaurant week starts Feb. 21, and now is the time to figure out where you would like to go. One Restaurant Week enthusiast shares how she makes her choices.

“I use this as time to be a little more adventurous than normal,” said Amanda Phetchamphone.

Amanda looks forward to Denver Restaurant every year.

(credit: CBS)

“I feel like restaurant week is for the chefs where they can really build their own menus and kind of showcase their craft and you get to try out their creation,” she said.

Amanda credits her mother with inspiring her love of cooking.

“She was always cooking and she always cooks these elaborate meals. She cooks a bunch of different dishes, and it’s out on the table, and we all sit around, and we all eat whatever we want off the table, and that was always dinnertime for us.”

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Amanda creates elaborate meals of her own.

“I’ll make the appetizers to the entrees to the dessert, and then I sit there and I wait and I say, ‘So, what do you think?'”

Amanda Phetchamphone (credit: CBS)

She brings that passion into her search for the perfect restaurant to explore during restaurant week. Scouring every menu before narrowing down the choices for her and her sister.

“I always narrow the restaurants down to maybe three or four choices and then we decide on the final one together.”

And for that one night, this wife, mother and student gets to escape with her sister and explore her passion.

(credit: Amanda Phetchamphone)

“We get to have just that adult time, where it’s no kids and no stress and we’re just enjoying good food and good company, and it’s nice to just have that moment.”

Here are some tips to remember from the people behind the popular event, now in its 16th year:

  1. Choose your spend. Each restaurant will be offering ONE of the three price points – $25, $35 or $45 – so be sure to look at what the price is for the restaurants you are interested in.
  2. Get inspired by menus. All participating restaurants are listed on the website by neighborhood, cuisine and price. Plus, new restaurants are added to the list up until the beginning of Denver Restaurant Week, so be sure to check back for the latest info.
  3. Make reservations. Tables fill up fast during Denver Restaurant Week, so make your plans soon. Be flexible and try some earlier or later seatings, too – or even some Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday options. And be sure to cancel any reservations you don’t use!
  4. Head to more than one place. Denver Restaurant Week is the perfect time to revisit some classic Denver favorites and try new hotspots.
  5. Splurge! Many restaurants offer affordable wines, additions and special desserts. At these prices, you can afford to order some extras.
  6. Pay it forward. The delicious menus these restaurants have prepared are also great deals. Be sure to tip your servers generously.

Visit Denver spokeswoman Ashley Geisheker said Denver Restaurant Week originally started 16 years ago “to make people aware of what a great culinary scene we had” and the event has grown significantly in the years since then.

“It now celebrates all the things we have going on,” Geisheker said. “We have hundreds of restaurants opening every year. We have countless awards coming our way, which is wonderful. Now it’s just really a great celebration!”

LINK: Denver Restaurant Week

Joel Hillan


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