As you might have guessed from the name, icy cold treats dominate the menu at Snow Dessert. Shaved ice?available in flavors like mango, strawberry, and margarita?is served Hawaiian style, soaked in syrup and topped with fresh fruits, rainbow jelly, and sweet beans. Meanwhile, creamy scoops of gelato crown sugar cones or banana splits, while little pearls of tapioca give boba tea drinks an added pop. Those who want to warm up after all that chilly sweetness can lead a conga line around the clean, minimalist dining room, or stay seated to enjoy one of the kitchen's savory teriyaki rice or udon noodle bowls.
Brazil?s flag hangs proudly under the front counter at Little Brazil. The flag??vibrant green, yellow, and blue??reveals the eatery?s menu: flavorful and authentic Brazilian food. Chefs simmer pots full of black beans, smoked sausage, pork sirloin, bacon, and Brazilian dried beef. They blanket chicken cutlets in a sauce crafted from cream, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and mustard. The chefs? sweet and savory pastries??with such fillings as chicken and Brazilian cream cheese, or cinnamon and banana??are deep-fried or shellacked at patrons? request.
When Denver Westword critic Jason Sheehan visited Cracovia Restaurant and Bar, his summation of the meal ended up sounding less like a restaurant review and more like an Alice in Wonderland?style memoir dripping with passion and faux nostalgia. At one point, he recalled a desire to tackle a waiter who had walked by with a plate of cabbage rolls, so that he could "grab the golabki with [his] teeth and drink the tomato-mushroom gravy straight from the tureen." Later in the meal, he and his wife felt so connected to the food, they almost felt Polish themselves: "If our mothers had been Polish ? this would've been what we ate growing up, " Jason said, "This tastes like home cooking in the best possible way, tastes of time and care and experience and love."
Love is probably the key word here: it's not surprising that Jason and his wife were so enamored with their meal, considering Cracovia is a labor of love for husband-wife team Lester and Marie Rodzen. They named the restaurant after a Krakow hotel where they honeymooned more than a quarter-century ago, and they pour this affection for their home country into each of the from-scratch Polish dishes they create, which is part of the reason they were named ?Best German/Eastern European Restaurant Denver 2014? by Denver Westword. The aforementioned golabki?cabbage rolls stuffed with pork and rice?is one of the Rodzens' signature dishes, as are the homemade kielbasa and pierogi stuffed with meat, cabbage, cheese, or blueberries, all purchased at local farmers markets. In the spirit of its romantic inspiration, Cracovia is a perfect date-night restaurant?every Friday and Saturday night, live singers croon as couples make their way to the dining room's dance floor or three-legged racing area.
The chefs at Cafe Brazil use ingredients such as coconut milk, chili oil, and lime to flavor fresh seafood and cuts of meat, creating dishes that transport diners' taste buds to the far-off continent of South America. But their menu isn't solely Brazilian—they describe it instead as "Novo Latino," drawing upon the cuisines of Colombia, Argentina, and Chile, as well as more-far flung influences such as Spain, Italy, and France. This makes for a varied menu; the seafood Copacabana, for example, includes shrimp, scallops, and coconut milk accented with Italian parsley and parmesan cheese. Keeping it more traditional, the feijoada completa—Brazil's national dish—consists of a black-bean stew with smoked meats. More than 75 varieties of rum await visitors in the brightly tiled Rum Room, where the alcohol can be sipped neat or mixed into a mojito. Non-rum options abound as well, including the caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail made with cachaça liquor and lime. The restaurant offers complimentary tapas in the Rum Room, giving drinkers something to nibble on while toasting. For those opting to eat in the dining room, reservations are recommended, as the casual, vibrantly colored space can get quite crowded.
All of Hash's organic, gluten-free hashes arrive at tables with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients such as mushrooms, sweet yams or corned beef. Its bevy of breakfast plates include everything from flaky croissants to hearty breakfast tacos. Along with its namesake dish, the breakfast joint specializes in sweet and savory breakfast crepes, some even mimicking burritos with shredded pork and green chilies. Locally roasted NOVO Coffee, juices, and speciality coffee drinks complement the day’s first meal.
When 5280 magazine ran a feature on local chefs’ upscale versions of oatmeal, DJ's 9th Avenue Cafe was the first eatery mentioned. Unlike his peers’ signature concoctions, Chef Devin Stallings’s version pairs a plain portion of organic, irish steel-cut oats with servings of pistachios, dried dates, cranberries, brown sugar, and milk, which diners can add however they see fit. The laid-back, collaborative approach to cuisine is emblematic of Devin’s work at DJ's, which the Denver Post praises for “simple, thoughtfully prepared and relatively wholesome food.”
At breakfast, those wholesome dishes include crab-cake benedicts and french toast stuffed with peanut butter and jelly; a weekend brunch menu expands upon those offerings with housemade chicken pot pie. For lunch, Devin and his team smoke pork in-house before adding it to Cuban-style sandwiches with dijon mustard and sliced pickles, as well as grill half-pound, handmade burgers that diners can crown with their choice of toppings.