100 Favorite Dishes: masala dosa from Chai & Chai
Suffice it to say that I eat out more than the general population, unless, of course, the general population can catalogue more than 450 restaurant meals in a year -- which is about the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners that I stomached over the past year. Pathetic, isn't it? But all those food dates are worth the gluttony, because it allows us to tell you where you should eat, a little favor that we started in late 2009, when we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- 100, to be exact. Now we're back with round three, counting down (in no particular order) 100 more of our favorite dishes in Denver (and Boulder). If there's something in particular that you think we need to try, reveal it in the comments section below, or shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.
No. 76: Masala dosa from Chai & Chai
A proper dosa, the wafer-thin, honey-hued, crisped, crackly crepe that's made from finely ground rice and black lentils and served as a staple in Southern India, overhangs the plate by several inches, or, in some cases, feet. A small table, one that seats two, for example, would never justify the enormity of a dosa -- at least not at Chai & Chai, an off-the-beaten-path sleeper in Aurora that's tucked away in a hidden row of restaurants on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Here, at this quirky cafe that doles out dual cuisines -- Indian and Arabic -- a dosa spans across the plate in feet, at least two, quite possibly three. That's not an exaggeration.
See also: Ten best Indian restaurants in Denver
The dosai at Chai & Chai are only available Thursday through Sunday, and the chef who griddles and folds them originally cooked at Masalaa, one of the few restaurants, along with Chai & Chai, that has a trained dosa chef. And his dosai are terrific concoctions, large as manholes, rolled into unstuffed tubes that are sidekicked by a bowl of mildly spiced curried potatoes and a trio of chutneys that you smear inside the hollowed cave: a red chile chutney that breathes fire; a pale, mellow coconut sauce; and a mint chutney that pops with acidity. One dosa feeds two, but if you're anything like me, you won't have any desire to share.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2013 countdown are linked below:
No. 100: Foie gras oysters from Sushi Sasa No. 99: Porchetta from Parisi No. 98: chocolate caramel sea salt tart from Spuntino No. 97: Nachos from the Pioneer No. 96: Fried pickles from TAG Burger Bar No. 95: Breakfast burrito from Jalapeños Mexican restaurant No. 94: Jajangmyeon from Yong Gung Dragon Palace Chinese Restaurant No 93: French fries from Jonesy's EatBar No. 92: Fried rice from Benihana No. 91: Lobster macaroni and cheese from Mizuna No. 90: Schezuan beef in numbing chile oil from Chef Liu's Authentic Chinese Cuisine No. 89: lamb tartare from Epernay No. 88: Reuben from the Bagel Deli No 87: Wood-fired chicken from Pizzeria Basta No. 86: Watermelon and frisee salad from EDGE No. 85: Chicken-fried eggs and smoked buffalo hash from Sassafras No. 84: English pea agnolotti from Harman's Eat & Drink No. 83: Sushi - any sushi - from Land of Sushi No. 82: Sopressata pizza from Kaos No. 81: Philly Phanatic from Large Marge's No. 80: Migas tacos from Moontower Tacos No. 79: 100 Favorite Dishes: Pozole from La California Panaderia No. 78: 100 Favorite Dishes: Dan dan noodles from Euclid Hall No. 77: 100 Favorite Dishes: Hot pot from China Jade
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.