Almost every time I’ve had a chance to hang with my sister the past couple of years, we find ourselves at this lovely little place in downtown Denver – City o’ City is the name. We both have worked a great deal in the restaurant industry and we appreciate good, simple and creative food. The establishment is flanked by vintage clothing stores and a body piercing parlor. Stepping inside, there will be a waitress or two whose tattoos your feel obligated to compliment, and the bathroom has been intentionally decorated by a cozy army of graffiti artists armed with Sharpie markers in all colors, and lots of things to say with them. But none of these are my favorite parts.
Oddly, and despite a great love for butter, and a general detestation of soy products masquerading as other foods, and the chic status that veganism and gluten- free preferences are enjoying lately, I love that this hip little spot does it all; they won’t shun you for refusing bacon, you can substitute tofu for your eggs, and they have sticky bun options for all eaters…even if you need your but to be dairy, gluten- and allergy free. It is in this was that I feel this little spot is completely of the moment, and not at all pretentious. It’s just good.
On this last visit, I had the Savory Steel Cut Oats; be still my little heart. Winter squash, kale, mushrooms, slivered toasted almonds and an over easy egg on top of a pile of creamy, herby oats. This, I would have to try at home.
Winter is starting to wane and so your choice of squashes readily available could be dwindling – don’t fear; the City o’ City version had butternut squash, but I really like delicata roasted to creamy, crunchy perfection. I bet you could sprinkle a little cheese in here (sorry vegans) and it would be that much more over the top. A few other substitutions to play with; no kale? Try broccolini. Instead of butternut, try kabocha, or even zucchini as they start to pop out. And, if you’re looking for something quick for dinner, substitute the farro for the oats. A whole new beast all together…enjoy! xo – L
- steel cut oats or rolled oats
- 1/2 winter squash, roasted (butternut is my favorite here) chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 8 oz of mixed mushrooms
- 1 big bunch of curly or lacinato kale, destemmed and chopped
- 1 big handful of sliced, toasted almonds
- olive oil
- flaky sea salt
- fresh parmesan or pecorino
- sunny side or over-easy eggs - one per serving (optional)
- as adapted from Penny de Los Santos' "Sexed Up Oatmeal" recipe
- Follow directions for making oats: bring 2 cups of water to a raging boil, add 1 cup of steel cut oats and lower heat to low. Cook slowly for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The oats are done when they are soft unless you prefer them more "al dente."
- While the oats are cooking, prepare the mushrooms. In a small saute pan, add a dab of butter and the chopped shallot, cooking until translucent. Next, add the mushrooms and a bit of salt and pepper, stirring all the while and cooking until the mushrooms are just soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Once the oats are cooked, add in the kale, squash and mushrooms. The ambient heat of the oats should warm the squash and wilt the kale. Dish the oatmeal into bowls an top with remaining ingredients to your liking. I like to sprinkle each bowl with toasted almonds, a drizzle of olive oil, a healthy handful of cheese and a sunny side up egg. Maybe a couple of little twists of fresh sea salt and black pepper too. Mix it all together and enjoy!