If you've eaten in any of the better restaurants around town, chances are you've already had Bluepoint's desserts, pastries and breads. For nearly a decade, the husband-and-wife team of Mary Clark and Fred Bramhall has been supplying Denver's finest with some of their own finery: luscious cakes, perfect pies and crusty rolls. Although the cooking couple used to have a retail operation, they closed it a few years back in order to concentrate on producing as many baked goods as possible, all distributed daily throughout the metro area. We'd call that a fair trade.

Best bakery for folks who don't like desserts

Vinh Xuong Bakery

Vinh Xuong Bakery
In general, Asian cuisines aren't known for their desserts -- and when they do go the sweet route, most of their creations tend to avoid the usual Western trappings of chocolate and refined sugar. As a result, the toothsome tidbits at Vinh Xuong, where no one speaks much English but everyone knows the language of food, are usually more refreshing than cloying. This tiny bakery in the Far East Center, along with its sister store on West Alameda, makes cute little cookies and cupcakes, most flavored with coconut, almonds and lemon, as well as interesting Asian-style dumplings that involve bean curd and sesame seeds. Point to your selections and the staff will bag them up with a big smile -- which should be matched by your own grin after your first taste of these unusual goodies.

Best bakery for folks who don't like desserts

Vinh Xuong Bakery

In general, Asian cuisines aren't known for their desserts -- and when they do go the sweet route, most of their creations tend to avoid the usual Western trappings of chocolate and refined sugar. As a result, the toothsome tidbits at Vinh Xuong, where no one speaks much English but everyone knows the language of food, are usually more refreshing than cloying. This tiny bakery in the Far East Center, along with its sister store on West Alameda, makes cute little cookies and cupcakes, most flavored with coconut, almonds and lemon, as well as interesting Asian-style dumplings that involve bean curd and sesame seeds. Point to your selections and the staff will bag them up with a big smile -- which should be matched by your own grin after your first taste of these unusual goodies.

Best restaurant when you're sugar-bustin'

Petra's

Since gourmet meal plans were developed for the revolutionary! groundbreaking! Sugar Busters! diet by twelve of New Orleans's top restaurants, Denverites looking to "determine which glycemic levels work for them" and "discover which foods to eat at what time of the day" should head straight to the town's best New Orleans-style eatery -- where they'll immediately bust any and all dietary restrictions. At Petra's, every meal is a Mardi Gras party in the making. The decor puts whimsy on parade with cutouts of musicians and vibrant murals depicting New Orleans scenes, the cheerful service lets the good times roll, and the food is a lagniappe of luxurious flavors. The gumbo (including a killer smoked-duck-and-wild-mushroom version) has a real bite; the crawfish cakes are all about the succulent little suckers, not filler; the sweet-potato fries are as sweet a side as you'll find; the po' boys overflow with batter-dipped crawfish and oysters; and the blackened chicken would make Paul Prudhomme purple, gold and green with envy. Finish off your dinner with a slice of toothsome pecan pie -- it'll put so much sugar into your system, you'll be busted for a month.

Best restaurant when you're sugar-bustin'

Petra's

Since gourmet meal plans were developed for the revolutionary! groundbreaking! Sugar Busters! diet by twelve of New Orleans's top restaurants, Denverites looking to "determine which glycemic levels work for them" and "discover which foods to eat at what time of the day" should head straight to the town's best New Orleans-style eatery -- where they'll immediately bust any and all dietary restrictions. At Petra's, every meal is a Mardi Gras party in the making. The decor puts whimsy on parade with cutouts of musicians and vibrant murals depicting New Orleans scenes, the cheerful service lets the good times roll, and the food is a lagniappe of luxurious flavors. The gumbo (including a killer smoked-duck-and-wild-mushroom version) has a real bite; the crawfish cakes are all about the succulent little suckers, not filler; the sweet-potato fries are as sweet a side as you'll find; the po' boys overflow with batter-dipped crawfish and oysters; and the blackened chicken would make Paul Prudhomme purple, gold and green with envy. Finish off your dinner with a slice of toothsome pecan pie -- it'll put so much sugar into your system, you'll be busted for a month.

Tired of waiting for gâteaux? Check out the display cases at La Pâtisserie Française. This little spot tucked into an Arvada shopping center does big things with butter, sugar, flour and chocolate. From tarte Tatin to langues du chat, or cat's tongues (long, narrow cookies made into little dessert sandwiches stuffed with ganache and buttercream), La Patisserie makes the most beautiful, delicate pastries around, as well as meringue pies, exquisite fruit tarts, housemade chocolates and a fabulous French baguette.
Tired of waiting for gâteaux? Check out the display cases at La Pâtisserie Française. This little spot tucked into an Arvada shopping center does big things with butter, sugar, flour and chocolate. From tarte Tatin to langues du chat, or cat's tongues (long, narrow cookies made into little dessert sandwiches stuffed with ganache and buttercream), La Patisserie makes the most beautiful, delicate pastries around, as well as meringue pies, exquisite fruit tarts, housemade chocolates and a fabulous French baguette.
Once an Italian bakery, El Alamo still features a few Italian specialties, such as cookies, rum cakes and an excellent Italian bread. But it's the Mexican baked goods that really grab us: The raspberry-filled flautas are crunchy tubes of delight, and the polvorones wedding cookies are the best in town. El Alamo also makes a wicked cheesecake, as well as bolillos, the semi-sweet Mexican bread, and conchas, horn-shaped pastries that crumble when you bite into them and then melt in your mouth. But don't be so distracted by all this sweetness that you forget the spice of life, too: El Alamo also stocks a wide variety of Mexican seasonings, most cheaper than you'll find in a grocery store.

Once an Italian bakery, El Alamo still features a few Italian specialties, such as cookies, rum cakes and an excellent Italian bread. But it's the Mexican baked goods that really grab us: The raspberry-filled flautas are crunchy tubes of delight, and the polvorones wedding cookies are the best in town. El Alamo also makes a wicked cheesecake, as well as bolillos, the semi-sweet Mexican bread, and conchas, horn-shaped pastries that crumble when you bite into them and then melt in your mouth. But don't be so distracted by all this sweetness that you forget the spice of life, too: El Alamo also stocks a wide variety of Mexican seasonings, most cheaper than you'll find in a grocery store.

"Let them eat cake!" says pastry chef Barkley Eberline. In truth, though, his custom, one-of-a-kind cakes aren't just cakes: They're certified works of edible art, from a topsy-turvy, four-story Alice in Wonderland model to a traditional bell-topped tower festooned with frosting leaves and grapes so fluffy they look like a chenille bedspread. And then it's what's inside that really counts: Eberline's fillings go by names like Godiva Temptation, Tiramisu, Death by Chocolate, Lemon Raspberry and Grand Marnier Crème Brûlée. This is true love at first bite.

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