Hey, Tony? You gonna drink all that yourself?
Hey, Tony? You gonna drink all that yourself?

Picking a winner for the "Win a Dream Date with Anthony Bourdain" contest

Here's what you've all been waiting for--the winning entry in our "win a dream date with Tony B" contest!

After several days and 55 entries (most of which actually stuck to the rules for a change), we have chosen our favorite. The mission was to provide three places for Denver-hating Tony Bourdain to go when he hits town on Wednesday, November 18.

Nathan? You're our guy. And even though you managed to semantically stick a fourth restaurant into the list of three, they were all good suggestions. Here's a replay of the winning entry:

1) Beer is our thing. We brew it well, we serve it well, and we drink it with passion! So, a trip to one of our beer Meccas is essential. He could hit the Vine Street for the wonderful Mountain Sun beers or the tasting room/bar at Dry Dock, which just won small brewery of the year at the Great American Beer Festival. But, I gotta vote for Falling Rock, where he could get his buzz on while working through the forest of taps featuring the best of Colorado, national, and international beers.

2) One of the stops has to be to enjoy the great ethnic food Denver has to offer. No reason to go for fancy or obscure here, just send him out for a plate of tacos. Al Pastor, buche, cabeza, barbacoa, its all so damn good here, a perfect simple meal. Lets keep things simple, send him to a taco truck. Pancho's, located just behind the Whole Foods off Colorado Blvd and Kentucky in the parking lot of the little Mexican market, is a personal favorite and really hard to beat. Grab a spot at the picnic table, load on some fiery salsa and pickled carrots, and enjoy a sunny Colorado fall afternoon!

3) Denver has more than its share of great chefs and restaurants. Its hard to choose which one. I want to say Fruition, where the food is amazing and the atmosphere is classic Denver, comfortable and filled with people that love food. But, I don't see any lamb on the menu right now, and hell, he has to have some Colorado lamb. So, how about Colt and Grey? A plate of chacurtrie and a main course "Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Glazed Lamb Belly, Minted Peas & Mascarpone Polenta." My god that sounds good to me! If that can't break through Anthony's cold, dark, New York-sceptic heart, he is a lost cause.

Hell, I think I just described MY perfect day! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Bonus prize! We managed to score a second set of tickets (these are just for the lecture), and they're going to Ian, mostly because he didn't just pick three good restaurants, but also wrote a nice essay (accidentally tagged Anonymous) about the history of the Denver dining scene. Granted, he used the phrasing "myriad of," which drives me nuts, and went a little weird with the time frame, but he managed to sneak in a joke about Brazilian midget porn, and that more than made up for it. Style counts, folks. Particularly with me.

Ian's choices were nicely in line with many of the other comments. He chose:

1-Super Star Asian: Uncommonly good Asian food in a town not known for authentic Chinese.

2-El Taco de Mexico: Real Mexican food made by real Mexican ladies who'd make Bourdain soil his trousers with their skills.

3-Fruition: A "fine" dining place in Denver that actually makes money, good food and without gimmicks.

So that's the ballgame, friends. Nathan and Ian, send an e-mail to cafe@westword.com and we'll get you the details about your tickets. And thanks to everyone for playing along.

I'll be going through everyone's suggestions again and use them to put together a perfect-day dining guide for the next time some beloved culinary celebrity comes to town with a hunger for pho and tacos, or starts spouting off on TV, thinking they know something about our town.

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