Q: I have lived in Colorado since 1983 and Denver since 1988, but my wife and I will be leaving the sprawl in about six weeks for Bend, Oregon. I was wondering if you could give me a list of your top ten favorite restaurants in the city -- not just the high-end places, but some joints, too, if they deserve it, so that we can hit them all before we go.
A: The best way for me to answer this question was to imagine that I was the one moving -- and I know there are some restaurateurs who'd like to see that happen -- and list the places I'd miss the most. (Sorry, I couldn't be pinned down to just ten.) In no particular order: Mexico City Lounge (2115 Larimer Street, 303-296-0563) at lunch on Wednesday for the steak tacos that'll probably end up on my autopsy report; Aubergine Cafe (225 East Seventh Avenue, 303-832-4778), to tackle the Sunday-night chicken dinner one last time; Mel's Bar and Grill (235 Fillmore Street, 303-333-3979), Papillon (250 Josephine Street, 303-333-7166), Today's Gourmet/ Highland's Garden Cafe (3927 West 32nd Avenue, 303-458-5920) and Tante Louise (4900 East Colfax Avenue, 303-355-4488) for gracious service paired with top-notch wines and stellar food; El Taco de Mexico (714 Santa Fe Drive, 303-623-3926) for burritos and tacos; Damascus (2276 South Colorado Boulevard, 303-757-3515) for the best Middle Eastern food around; and New Saigon (630 South Federal Boulevard, 303-936-4954), Cafe Brazil (3611 Navajo Street, 303-480-1877) and Taste of Thailand (504 East Hampden Avenue in Englewood, 303-762-9112) for Vietnamese, South American and Thai, respectively. And good luck getting a burger like the one at My Brother's Bar (2376 15th Street, 303-455-9991) or the ribs cooked up at M&D's Bar-B-Que and Fish Palace (2004 East 28th Avenue, 303-296-1760) in Bend, Oregon.