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Food w/ Friends- D Bar Halloween Treats with Vanessa Samuel

Trick or Treat! Treat it is. For this round of Food w/ Friends, fashion blogger Vanessa Samuel from Vanessaland and I decided to satisfy our Halloween sweet tooth with candy corn! I am, of course, kidding. Although I'm on the rarely populated fence of people who don't think candy corn is abominable (yes it's waxy but black licorice wins the title of candy from hell for me). Instead, Vanessa and I set out to one of the tastiest dessert places in town: D Bar Denver.  If you're familiar with Food Network Celebrities, you'll be ecstatic to know Chef Keegan Gerhard (of the tv show Food Network Challenge) spearheads this local gem and his team brings you seasonally inspired upscale comfort food and award winning desserts.

I walked up to D Bar and waved at Vanessa, dressed all in black with her leather skirt and black long sleeve. I wore a faded black denim jacket with patches and pins, black skinnies, and my ever present black Chelsea boots.

"Ready to eat?" I asked.

"Yes! Thanks for inviting me, I'm excited to see what they have." She replied. 

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I met Vanessa back in early 2016 at a "Mix n Mingle" that Denver Style Magazine was throwing for local fashion bloggers. When Vanessa and I meet up, there's no shortage of laughter. Whether it's getting lost on the subway in New York for Fashion Week or poking fun at a friend who's guestroom wall vibrates because she lives next to a night club, loud cackling ensues. She says the name for her blog, Vanessaland, comes from coworkers making fun of her and saying "there goes Vanessa into Vanessaland," whenever she'd shout out random ideas. After choosing our table, we got ready for the first treats. A skeleton sugar cookie and a Halloween-colored seasonal brownie.

"So what's your favorite dessert?" I asked.

"Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse. Anything with chocolate."

Perfect timing as we each commented on how moist the brownie was and how creamy the brown and orange topping was. Biting into the skeleton cookie brought back a random but interesting taste, that of Abuelita hot chocolate from when I was a kid. Abuelita, which I can guarantee has been stocked in every Hispanic kitchen at some point, are packaged chocolate tablets that you use when making hot chocolate. I bit into the round tablets once and it was a blend of dark chocolate flavor and powdery cocoa. That's what the cookie reminded of. I loved it.

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"Why do you like Halloween?"

"It's my favorite holiday because you get to dress up. Halloween should be celebrated twice a year. I love dressing up as princesses, warriors, and mermaids. This year I'm dressing up as Nubia from Wonder Woman."

"What's your favorite Halloween movie?"

"Definitely Hocus Pocus."

Hocus Pocus is one of my favorites as well. It just reminds me of everything I love about Fall and Halloween. Pumpkin everything is a major staple of both Fall and Halloween. Of course, we couldn't skip out on D Bar's seasonal offering: Oh My Gourd! A cognac pumpkin cheesecake with toffee popcorn, spiced dulcey ganache, gingerbread crumble, brown butter powder, and pumpkin ice cream. Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin not included. Yes, that sounds like a whole lot of pumpkin, but the different textures and tastes keep the treat on its toes. If it's any indication, Vanessa is not a pumpkin fan and she enjoyed it. 

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To finish off, we sampled D Bar's classic three layer chocolate cake with Madagascar chocolate frosting. Not Halloween-esque per se, but for the holiday's sake, let's pretend the chocolate is graveyard dirt. Too much? Regardless, the cake is rich in flavor and the perfect amount of sweetness. It made for a memorable finish to an impressive selection of desserts.

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Halloween is nine days away, which means you have over a week to grab a friend and indulge in these seasonal goodies before they're gone again. Wearing coordinated black outfits not required, but it never hurts.

Photos by Vanessa Samuel

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