On a brisk Friday evening in Denver as I headed out for a solo dining experience, the city was abuzz with the electric energy of the weekend. My mission: To immerse myself in the diverse tapestry of the city’s single life, transforming an ordinary night into a page from a National Lampoon comedy. My plan was simple yet audacious – dine alone and witness the often humorous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally heartwarming tales of Denver’s singles.
My culinary odyssey of solo dining began at Rioja, a beacon of fine dining in Larimer Square that serves locally-driven Mediterranean fare. As I indulged in the exquisite artichoke tortelloni, a couple next to me engaged in a debate as intense as it was absurd – whether their poodle preferred Mozart or Miles Davis. Their passionate argument, interspersed with terms like ‘sonic canine preferences,’ was a scene straight out of a quirky sitcom.
Next I headed to Linger, Edible Beats’ LoHi hot spot where the atmosphere buzzed with diners and imbibers. Here I met Linda, a vibrant character with fiery red hair and a laugh that could be heard across the room. She regaled us with a story about a date who, in an astonishing lack of judgment, brought his taxidermy collection to dinner.
“Nothing says ‘romantic evening’ like dining under the glassy stare of stuffed squirrels,” she quipped, eyes twinkling with mischief.
Adjacent to Linda was Tom, a ruggedly handsome man displaying a dry wit. He talked about a date he had with a self-proclaimed psychic, who spent the entire evening consulting her tarot cards.
“The Death card never looked so ominous until it predicted the end of our date,” he said with a smirk.
The pièce de résistance of the evening was yet to come. At a table not far from mine, a first date was unfolding – or, more accurately, unraveling. The couple seemed mismatched from the start. She was a picture of elegance in a sleek black dress, and he was a bundle of nerves in an ill-fitting suit.
Their conversation was stilted, punctuated by awkward silences and forced laughter. The climax arrived with the dessert, a chocolate fondue, which he accidentally tipped over, sending a cascade of warm chocolate onto her lap. The mortified look on his face was matched only by the horror on hers. It was a first-date catastrophe, a scene so painfully comedic that it almost seemed scripted.
My night commenced at Little Man Ice Cream, where the night’s escapades crystallized into a moment of sweet satisfaction. As I enjoyed a cone of salted Oreo ice cream, I overheard a snippet of conversation from a couple nearby. Animatedly they discussed their joint venture into veganism, only to realize midway that the ice cream they were thoroughly enjoying was decidedly non-vegan. Their expressions of comedic dismay were the cherry on top of an eventful night.
Walking back through Denver’s lively streets, I reflected on the colorful characters I had met and the stories I had witnessed. Each encounter was a reminder that the city’s heartbeat was not just in its landmarks or cuisine but in the lives and experiences of the people. From bizarre debates to disastrous dates to psychic encounters, the night was a testament to the unpredictable, often humorous journey of single life, enhanced by the joy of eating around town.