No. 47: Croque Madame from Pierre Michel Organic French Bakery Cafe
Let's get one thing straight: If you snooze, you lose, and I mean that quite literally. Forget what the hours actually say on the website or the door: Pierre Michel Organic French Bakery Cafe, shoehorned into a tight space in a sprawling Highlands Ranch strip mall, often shuts an hour -- sometimes two -- before the posted closing times, thanks to the barrage of bread heads who slither off with a contented smirk, smug in the fact that they've snatched up the French bakery's magnificent fruit pastries, butter croissants, quiches and French baguettes long, long before you've hit the snooze button.
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The bakery is the center of life in Highlands Ranch, a permanent community for families, bread geeks, sugar fiends and egg heads who worship just about everything that escapes from the kitchen, all of which are the creations of owners Eric and Isabelle and their three children. There's nothing here that doesn't emit dreamy sighs and choruses of ooh la la, but the croque madame, thick-sliced ham and melty Swiss stacked between butter-slicked slices of toasted brioche, and throned with two eggs weeping rivers of bright yellow yolk, is the kind of French decadence that seriously alters your mind. Just make sure you arrive early to partake in the morning glory, otherwise you risk being apologetically turned away at the door.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our countdown are linked below:
No. 100: Italian wedding soup from the Squeaky Bean No. 99: American Classic Burger (and fries) from Tarbell's No. 98: E's clam linguini from Mangiamo Pronto No. 97: Queso a la plancha taco from the Pinche Tacos wagon No. 96: Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño poppers from Tony's Market No. 95: Fried chicken from the Pinyon No. 94: Seafood soup from Farro No. 93: Posole from The Porker No. 92: Breakfast Burrito from the Taco Wagon in Lafayette No. 91: Hummus from Shish Kabob Grill No. 90: Albondigas meatballs from Solera No. 89: Lemon-ricotta doughnuts from Olivéa No. 88: Döner kabob from Shondiz No. 87: Roasted cauliflower salad from Euclid Hall No. 86: Beef cheek enchiladas from El Diablo No. 85: Fried Brussels sprouts from Panzano No. 84: Pork osso buco from Osteria Marco No. 83: Cazuela Colombiana from Cafe Brazil No. 82: Chicken potpie from Devil's Food No. 81: Sichuan braised beef noodle soup from Zoe Ma Ma No. 80: Larb nua from Taste of Thailand No. 79: Pork shank from Argyll No. 78: Truffo panino from Shangri-La Cafe No. 77: Pig-snout tacos from Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet No. 76: Speck and maple ice cream from Pizzeria Basta No. 75: Tom yum goong from Thai Flavor No. 74: South African black ruff from TAG No. 73: Gumbo from Bistro One No. 72: New England clam chowder from Bittersweet No. 71: Celery and lime popsicle from Spuntino No. 70: Curried split pea soup from Modmarket No. 69: Mais pizza from Pizzeria Locale No. 68: Risotto frutti di mare from Firenze a Tavola No. 67: Frico caldo from Frasca Food & Wine No. 66: Sea scallop and rock shrimp noodle bowl from Bones No. 65: Luther Burger from Crave No. 64: Chongqing Chicken from East Asia Garden No. 63: Bouillabaisse from Deluxe No. 62: Crue fries from D Bar Desserts No. 61: Chili gobi from Jai Ho No. 60: New Mexican eggs Benedict from DJ's Berkley Cafe No. 59: Lamb vindaloo from Cuisine of the Himalayas No. 58: Gazpacho verde from Zolo Grill No. 57: Hama Hama oyster from Jax Fish House-Denver No. 56: Mixiote de borrego from El Trompito Taqueria No. 55: Samosas from the British Bulldog No. 54: Mole verde with carnitas from Tarasco's No. 53: Pork chop from Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar No. 52: Santa Fe skillet from Hits the Spot Diner No. 51: Pork tenderloin with bread pudding and green split peas from the Wooden Table No. 50: Noodle jelly salad from Thai Street Food No. 49: Telluride jalapeno poppers from Encore No. 48: Carnitas from Araujo's In late 2009, we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- one hundred, to be exact. Now we're back with round two, counting down (in no particular order) a hundred more of our favorite Denver dishes in a list that, by our imperfect calculations, should be wrapped up...sometime this year. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.