Taking a bite on the wild side

Strange cuisine from Colorado and abroad

Don Tartaglione | Boulder Weekly

Going out to eat can be an adventure, if it’s done right.

We’ve evolved far enough that eating means more than gaining sustenance. That’s the reason the ambience of a restaurant is so important. Dining out is not just about the food. It’s about the feeling that surrounds you every time you step into a restaurant.

When you choose to put something new on your dish, you can take the experience even further. We’re not just talking about a different entrée than the usual plate of pasta or burger, but a meal that is truly unusual.

Here in Colorado, there are a few dishes that push the boundaries of what can be defined as ordinary. Most are takes on the game meats that are available in the area, but others venture into uncharted territory.

Locally, the most common cuisine that pushes boundaries is the famous Rocky Mountain Oysters. A favored practical joke to play on visiting family members, these deep-fried bull testicles make for a great appetizer, if you can keep your head clear of what you’re actually putting in your mouth.

While it’s not as common as Rocky Mountain Oysters, rattlesnake has slithered its way onto a plate in the form of a cake. Think of a crab cake, but with rattlesnake. Available at the Red Lion Restaurant, this spicy appetizer is a favorite among diners who want to push the ordinary.

If you don’t mind taking a trip down U.S. 36, Denver has its share of bizarre cuisine. Given the huge selection of game meat at famous restaurants like the Buckhorn Exchange, which offers rattlesnake and ostrich, many Coloradans may be used to these selections by now.

More difficult to find in Denver are dishes like the Pad Thai Pig Ears available at Euclid Hall, located at 1317 14th St.

The dish isn’t simply pad thai with pig ears, it’s pad thai in which the noodles are replaced with pig ears. Quite a mouthful, but reviews have diners reveling at its deliciousness.

Super Star Asian Cuisine, at 2200 W. Alameda Ave. in Denver, offers a dim sum that includes spicy jellyfish. Dim sum consists of small dishes that are perfect for mixing and matching a variety of tastes, making it possible to try the spicy jellyfish in small portions. Taste it with more common dishes that are guaranteed winners to the palate, because the jellyfish is a lot less of a commitment when more familiar plates surround it.

If you’re about to take a trip and not just push boundaries but cross them, there are variety of destinations where the local food options will require more courage than curiosity to taste.

The Daily Meal (thedailymeal.com) has compiled a list of 27 unexpected delicacies from around the world that push culinary limits.

If you’re heading east, Far East, the city of Omachi, Japan, offers a chance for anyone that has ever been stung by a wasp to get revenge, no Raid required.

The little buggers have already been put out of their misery. They’ve been caught, boiled, dried and infused into a crispy wasp cracker.

The wasps are clearly visible, and each cracker offers a plentiful number of wasps, ensuring that each bite is not lacking in a crispy crunch, whether it’s from the cracker or the wasps.

Mexico offers an exotic getaway a bit closer to home with its own distinctive array of cuisine, so it may be useful to know what you’re putting on your tacos.

The agave plant is commonly known as a key component in tequila, but the ant larvae from around its roots is another delicacy. Known as escamoles, these ant larvae are traditionally used as a topping for tacos.

With their buttery, nutty flavor, escamoles may be worth a try. But their consistency, like cottage cheese, might be enough to throw even the most committed daring diners off the trail.

If a vacation isn’t in the upcoming itinerary, there are plenty of ways you can push your culinary limits to new highs, or lows, depending on how you think about it, without leaving the home.

A simple Google search for “brief jerky instructions” will lead you to instructables.com and the Brief Jerky, 100 percent edible beef jerky underwear. Not sold in any store, this product is available to anyone willing to follow the instructions.

A Google search, curiosity, creativity and an X-acto knife are the only things keeping you from releasing your inner carnivore. Rawr.

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