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MOUTHING OFF

Jerk-offs: Soda fountains always make me nostalgic for a time I never even lived through (growing up, though, I was enamored of my grandmother's Norman Rockwell print of two nerdly types on a prom date nervously sharing a soda). Denver still has a handful of soda fountains, some of which are meticulous about their historical authenticity, but two of my favorites don't even come close to the old-fashioned ideal. One is the Soda Rock Fountain, at 2217 East Mississippi Avenue, which looks like the kind of place you went for penny candy as a kid; there's that same big counter full of candy here, but you'll need more than pennies to feed your habit. The milkshakes ($2.50) are great--brimming with chocolate syrup flavor--and it's fun to sit at the counter, swinging your feet as you eat a slice of cheap, sloppy pizza ($1.50). Unfortunately, the kids bearing boom boxes blaring Snoop Doggy Dog and the steep candy prices take away some of the old-timey feel.

A little off the beaten path, at 8850 East Maximus Drive in Littleton, Edibles & Beverages is sort of a cross between an old-fashioned fountain and a newfangled 7-Eleven. One half is a convenience store, the other all chrome and white countertops with tall glass straw-holders. Ed & Bev's can quickly whip up a decent sandwich (try the roast beef with mustard, lettuce and tomatoes for $4.50) and also makes a mean cappuccino milkshake ($2.55).

I was in the heart of LoDo, though, when my latest milkshake craving hit, so I walked around the corner to Wazoo's on Wazee, at 1819 Wazee. While I was there slaking my thirst with a big ol' chocolate shake ($2.95), I figured I might as well have something to eat, too. My plain burger ($3.75) was cooked to the precise medium I'd requested and had great flavor; the bun was thick and puffy-fresh. Too bad the kitchen wasn't a bit more generous with the limp lettuce and torn bit of tomato. The helping of curly fries (99 cents) was considerably more substantial, though, and the shake had just the right consistency, with lots of whipped cream. Most important, Wazoo's service--which had been quite a problem in the past--was exceptional. Of course, this was on a slow Monday night, so slow that my original waiter got bumped--but both he and the replacement waitress were top-notch.

Deli-cious: The New York Deli News (for you trivia buffs, this is the deli featured in the original Mork & Mindy show), on the Boulder Mall, has opened a larger version of itself in the Tivoli. Look for the same great matzo-ball soup, as well as blue-plate specials, an expanded dinner menu (including the new vegetarian section just added in Boulder) and soft and hard ice cream. This Deli will deliver, too.

Eggs-cruciating: My favorite purveyor of one of my favorite foods--eggs Benedict--will close its doors August 21. Say goodbye to the Mocha Cafe, at 300 East Third Avenue, one of the last places that still offered real, live hollandaise.

 
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