Friday, August 22, 2008

Found while walking in Denver . . .

Liliana's Cart

There will be even more food vendors on the 16th Street mall to accommodate the crowds during the Democratic Convention, but Liliana, who hails from Bosnia and has been a presence on the mall for a dozen years, is worth seeking out. I had my first meal in Denver at her cart, which was the first food source I saw on the two block walk from our hotel. Its menu offered meat and cheese paninis, as well as hot dogs, ice cream, and lemonade, but envisioning a week of major meating eating, I craved vegetables. For $4, Liliana made me a veggie panini that included cooked broccoli and carrots.

For a few moments I was her only customer, so while she cooked, we talked about life and literature. Liliana expressed the opinion that you don't get a lot out of reading works in translation unless you're familiar with the country's culture and history, but thanks to her, Ivo Andric, is on my reading list.

Patriotic Plantings

At Grant St. Plaza and 18th St.,, across from the Warwick Hotel, there's a big bronze planter in the shape of a U.S. map, sculpted by Edgar Britten in 1955, filled with greenery.

Political Improv

Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to actually see anything there, but delegates who'd like some comic relief from convention speechifying might want to hie themselves to the Avenue Theater and catch "Convention?" which features a new party called The Patriots seeking the 2008 presidency (Tuesday nights through August; 7:30; $10 including a free drink). Friday-Saturday, there's "Free Gas" (7:30; $15). 439 E. 17th St., 303-321-5925 ,

24-hour Eating Place

Delegates, will you feel wired and hungry when you leave the convention at midnight or the bar in the wee hours? Leila's, at 820 15th St., serves $6 omelets, $7 panini, and Mighty Leaf tea 24 hours a day. I didn't eat there, but my accomplice, Jim, liked it. We wondered what the serious sound system gets used for. 303-534-2255.

In the Colorado Convention Center

For the first time at a Democratic National Convention, caucus and committee meetings will be open to the public (advance tickets required). To get to the meeting rooms, when Jim and I were in Denver, you walked by at least two big ads on metal legs urging you to "indulge your senses" at "Denver's finest gentlemen's clubs." Will they have taken them down for the Democrats? Or added something for the ladies. . .?

Conveniently near Coors Field . . .

1. Irish bar with music

Scruffy Murphy's, 2030 Larimer, offers traditional Irish music sessions Wednesdays and Sundays at 7 pm, when it's $10 for Smithwick ale and bangers and mash or shepherd's pie. Open mike on Thursday at 8 pm; performances Friday and Saturday at 9. 303-291-6992;

2. Historic imbibing

The home of the Whiskey Bar (you can guess what they specialize in) is the red brick Barclay building, 2205 Larimer, on the National Register of Historic Places. 303-297-0303;

Meditation anyone?

At the Avalokiteshvara Buddhist Center, 1081 Marion St. in Capitol Hill,
you can join a free 30-minute noontime meditation session on Tuesday or Wednesday. Wednesday evenings, 7:00-8:30 pm, the Center offers a drop-in class in meditation for $10, refreshments included. 303-813-9551;

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