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Five Best Dishes Invented in Denver -- From Fool's Gold Loaf to the Mexican Hamburger

Fool's Gold Loaf at Nick's Cafe.
Fool's Gold Loaf at Nick's Cafe.

From its rolling prairies to its purple mountains majesty, Colorado is full of natural beauty. But this state is also home to many manmade marvels, too: Everything from Coors to Jolly Rancher candies to some of the country's best craft beer has spilled out of this state's culinary creativity. One of these inventions goes big time tomorrow, when Fool's Gold -- a giant peanut butter sandwich invented at the Colorado Mine Company, and beloved by Elvis -- gets a supporting role in What If, a new movie starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan.

Elvis has left the building (and so has the Colorado Mine Company), but the memories -- and dishes -- remain. Keep reading for our top five Colorado culinary inventions: See also: Balls! What Does Colorado Taste Like to You

Original menu at the Colorado Mine Company.
Original menu at the Colorado Mine Company.
Steve Brown

5) Fool's Gold Loaf In What If, two twentysomething hipsters in Toronto start talking about a sandwich that was created in Denver almost forty years ago, when the Colorado Mine Company was the hottest restaurant in Glendale, beloved by athletes, cops...and Elvis. According to legend, the gargantuan Fool's Gold Loaf was cooked up one night in 1976 when the King was in town for a concert and hungry; he'd later send his plane in to pick up an order. You can still get the Fool's Gold Loaf at Nick's Cafe; owner Nick Andurlakis worked at the Colorado Mine Company as a teen.

If you want to recreate this indelicate delicacy at home, it's basically a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with bacon, made with two tablespoons of margarine, one loaf of French bread, one pound of bacon, one jar of peanut butter and one jar of grape jelly. You you take the bread, bathe it in butter on all sides, bake it, gut it and then fill the inside with peanut butter and jelly -- and bacon, sans grease, which you absorb by placing it between two paper towels.

Take that, Daniel Radcliffe!

Five Best Dishes Invented in Denver -- From Fool's Gold Loaf to the Mexican Hamburger

4) Root Beer Float There are several stories about the invention of the root-beer float floating around, but most people credit Frank Wisner with the creation of the popular ice cream drink. He was looking out of his window at Colorado's Cow Mountain, and decided that the snow on top looked like ice cream floating in a dark drink. Yes, that's all it took: The next day he dropped a scoop of ice cream in some root beer, and the famous concoction was born.

Five Best Dishes Invented in Denver -- From Fool's Gold Loaf to the Mexican Hamburger
Courtesy of Post Shredded Wheat Facebook page

3) Shredded Wheat As you start your morning right with a bowl of shredded wheat, you can thank Henry Perkins. He's the Denver man who developed a method of processing wheat into strips, which made the cereal possible.

Birthplace of the cheeseburger -- in north Denver, Colorado.
Birthplace of the cheeseburger -- in north Denver, Colorado.

2) Cheeseburger Although numerous cooks have claimed credit for being the first to put cheese on a burger, Louis Ballast was awarded the "cheeseburger" trademark in 1935. Today a monument stands at 2755 Speer Boulevard, where he once flipped burgers -- and then added cheese -- at his Humpty-Dumpty Drive-In. Keep reading for the greatest food invented in Denver...



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