Why does Denver have such shitty Chinese food?
Excellent question. Unlike many Western cities of its size, Denver does not have a historical Chinatown, or even any REALLY good, authentic Chinese restaurants. You may think this is strange, because of Denver’s history as a rail hub, and because, as we all know, plenty of Chinese immigrants worked on those railroads.
The reasons why there isn’t an established Chinese neighborhood in, and why Chinese food sucks in Denver? Racism, and a lack of ladies.
In the 1860s and 70s, there was a Chinatown by what is now the area near Coors Field. In the Wild West days, the area was known as “Hop Alley” due to its high density of opium dens. Denver didn’t draw families of immigrants like San Francisco did. It attracted single men, or men with families still in China. So, there were few “family businesses” and even fewer second-generation Chinese to establish themselves in the community.
In 1880, violent race riots resulted in lynchings in Chinatown. Though a handful of Chinese immigrants stuck around, the population experienced decline beginning with the riots and continuing through the early 20th century. By 1940, Hop Alley was bulldozed for redevelopment and most of the few remaining Chinese citizens relocated to West Denver (South Federal area). You can find some decent Chinese food down there, but the Vietnamese food is WAY better. Pick a Pho place with a number that means something to you… it’s like takeout roulette!
When you do order “Chinese” in Denver, you’ll notice that almost every menu features Thai or Vietnamese food as well. This is because the restaurants are likely owned by Southeast Asians, who throw Americanized favorites like General Tso on there to attract a broader customer base. My advice: stick to the Pad Thai and save anything Szechuan for when you’re back home or visting LA, San Francisco or Chicago. It’s just not worth it.
OH MY FUCKING GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY SKIN/HAIR/NAILS?!
Hi, and welcome to the high desert!
Oh… you didn’t know that Colorado was a desert? You were going on the climatological education you got from every John Denver Muppets Christmas special and thought that Colorado would be like Norway?
Well… let me reiterate. Welcome to the DESERT.
Denver was established due to the confluence of two bodies of water: the Cherry Creek and South Platte rivers. This was valuable to settlers because the rest of Colorado is very, very dry. In fact, there wasn’t even any real cultivation of most of Colorado’s Eastern plains until the advent of mechanized irrigation… it was too dry to grow anything until they could use a sprinkler system of some kind.
So yeah. Denver’s really fucking dry. If you come from virtually anyplace else in this country to live here, get use to the realities of lip balm, moisturizers and exfoliation. Also, consider this the answer to the other FAQ: “Why doesn’t it stay snowy here all winter long?” and “Why are the mountains still so far away?” I’m sorry to tell you, but you’ve been mislead. Take it up with John Denver.
What is that horrible smell?
Well, that depends. Is it cold out? Do you think it’s about to snow? Does the sky have that heavy, gray, foreboding look to it like something out of Mordor?
Then what you’re smelling is probably Greeley, a city to the Northeast that happens to be where almost every cow you’ve ever eaten has probably come from. No, really. And when it smells like Greeley, it means the wind is coming from the cold North, which means we’re in for a snowstorm. When I was a kid, I kind of just thought that snow in Colorado just smelled like cow shit. And then I’d wish we still lived in Minneapolis, where snow smelled like snow, or Albuquerque, where snow smelled like A DAY OFF SCHOOL BECAUSE NOBODY IN ABQ CAN HANDLE SNOW, BITCHES!
If you’re smelling something a bit more like processed meat and grain, it’s probably the Purina smell. The Land O Lakes/Purina plant in Commerce City makes animal feed and dog food. So, lucky you, you get to smell that cattle feed coming AND going here in D-Town! This usually coincides with a cooling in the weather, too, since that plant is a bit to the North of the city, too.
If you’re downtown, near where the financial district fades into Five Points, that horrible smell might also be the
stables where the staging areas where carriage ride operators park the trailers for their horses for the 16th St. carriage rides. I actually don’t mind that smell as much.
You’re from here. Why don’t you ski/snowboard/mountain bike/hike/climb mountains/rock-climb/kayak?
Look, the mountains are great, but there’s a big difference between those of us who are here by no real choice of our own and those who decided to sell everything they own and move here from New York, Texas, California and Iowa. You came here because mountains. There’s nothing wrong with that. And yeah, lots of us who grew up here still like to do mountainy stuff. But we didn’t choose to come here for that, it’s just what’s always been around. And for people like me, who decided that the cartilage in their kneecaps was better than sweet, sweet air off of a half-pipe, we just enjoy the mountains in different ways. Like, from a patio. With a cocktail. So lay off.
Why can’t I find a boyfriend/girlfriend in Denver?
Well, sweetie, look at the previous answer. Because mountains. People don’t move to Denver to find a life partner or to realize ambitious career goals. They move here to ski, snowboard, mountain bike, skateboard, jump off of things or out of things and otherwise defer responsibility for as long as possible. Don’t expect your chances to improve much when Amendment 64 comes into full effect, either.
I’m not saying that all transplants in Denver are stoner slackers who don’t have jobs. But I am willing to bet our stoner/slacker population is only rivaled by Portland and Austin. A dating top tip: remove “outdoorsy” from your online profile and if you’re lucky, you’ll snag a native.
Why am I so drunk right now?
Altitude, baby! Don’t worry, when you get used to it, you’ll be a CHAMP back home.
Any other questions? Ask away in the comments.