Light streams in from floor-to-ceiling windows inside Fire + Spice, pouring over cozy leather chairs, curved booths, and a sleek wooden bar. But the interior of this comfortable yet upscale restaurant isn’t the only picturesque element in the place. Southwestern fare, inspired by Mexican spices, is painstakingly prepared and arranged into edible works of art, much like Picasso’s canvases during his stew period. Notable menu items include chipotle chicken enchiladas, shrimp tacos, and Alamosa striped bass with crispy yucca root.
The sun has set on the town of Denver, but the neon sign on Winchell’s Donut House is still aglow. The familiar smell of baking donuts wafts out from the 24-hour establishment's door, drawing night owls in for steaming cups of coffee and french crullers, jelly donuts, and moist chocolate muffins. A shift change occurs come daytime; breakfasters replace nocturnal dwellers, chatting over freshly made bagels, spicy egg sandwiches, and meaty burritos before the lunch crowd shows up. The donut shop also offers delivery services throughout the local area, transporting freshly made pastries directly to a home, office, or secret rendezvous point at an all-vegetable convention.
At first glance, The Grubbery might seem like just another breakfast-loving diner, but the truth is not as simple, nor as boring. Although chefs start with traditional diner staples?french toast, eggs benedict, turkey club sandwiches?they add an artful flair to create dishes that are not only more inventive, but also more delicious. Their multigrain pancakes, for instance, hold together through every bite and misguided juggling attempt with a spread of peanut butter and jelly, and that turkey club shows its beachy inspiration with cilantro and sliced avocado. The chefs also fry up traditional eggs, which they then use to top their breakfast pizzas.
When dinner rolls around, the kitchen takes its playbook from the mothers of the South, whipping up comfort food with a twist: chicken-fried steaks and house-made meatloaf with honey-glazed carrots. And at any time of day, meals pair with pours of Starbucks brand coffee, which baristas customize with steamed milk and syrups.
The protein enthusiasts at Good Eatin' Premium Meats vacuum seal natural, antibiotic- and hormone-free meats and seafood to preserve freshness and maximize quality. Good Eatin' procures its meaty masterpieces from local ranchers and suppliers when possible, ensuring that cuts such as the 12-ounce Black Angus new york strip steak ($19.99) woos taste buds with tenderness, rather than jet lag. Two racks of blue-ribbon pork spareribs ($35) await the opportunity to fire-walk across the grill, as breast-meat chicken nuggets ($38 for 10 lbs.) unsuccessfully challenge perch fillets ($44.95) to a game of Go Fish. The protein emporium also specializes in portion-controlled meats for clients with specialized diets, and 10% of the shop's revenue swims like a finned roll of quarters into the piggy banks of community organizations.
The cooks at Napoli Tom's Pasta may seem like magicians, but they only need durum wheat, semolina flour, water, and a touch of sea salt to create their bewitchingly delicious pasta. It serves as the starting ingredient for most of the carryout eatery's from-scratch Italian specialties, including ravioli, spaghetti, and manicotti?all made from family recipes. The lasagna features five layers of handmade pasta carefully placed between layers of five cheeses, a choice of Italian sausage, ground beef, or spinach, and handmade marinara sauce. Like the marinara, Napoli Tom Pasta's Bolognese sauce is cooked for three hours, though each Bolognese gallon receives an extra kick from two pounds of Italian sausage.
Savory and sugary scents envelop customers when they walk inside Winchell's Donut House. That's because the shop specializes in 70 varieties of fresh cakey donuts and breakfast baked goods. Inside every dozen, staff sneak in 14 jelly donuts, crullers, long johns, and twists, with each available in a range of flavors and icings. Just as they pack their "dozen" with 14 donuts, they pack the individual donuts with fruity fillings such as strawberry, lemon, or raspberry. Then, they complement those flavors with cinnamon crumb topping, a dusting of donut sugar, or bittersweet chocolate icing. While they might use these same fruity flavors in their croissants, the bakers impart more savory flavors in their fresh bagels and sandwiches. To complement either type of breakfast food, the team brews Arabica coffee into flavors that evoke the season like a scarecrow, a snowman, or a scarecrow in snow pants and ski goggles. Impressively, Winchell's Donut House traces its roots back to 1948, no doubt because of its ability to unite savory with sweet on the menu.