Willie G's Seafood & Steaks
Craving oysters in Denver is like needing a tomato in Siberia. Although the freshness will always be suspect, sometimes there's nothing you can do about an oyster urge but take a chance and eat one -- or a dozen. As LoDo has grown, plenty of oyster eateries have sprung up, but none offers the deal that Willie G's does. From 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can slurp your fill of cold, raw oysters for just 50 cents each. Although the price is good, the quality is better: These are some of the freshest, plumpest viscous vittles in town.
Craving oysters in Denver is like needing a tomato in Siberia. Although the freshness will always be suspect, sometimes there's nothing you can do about an oyster urge but take a chance and eat one -- or a dozen. As LoDo has grown, plenty of oyster eateries have sprung up, but none offers the deal that Willie G's does. From 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can slurp your fill of cold, raw oysters for just 50 cents each. Although the price is good, the quality is better: These are some of the freshest, plumpest viscous vittles in town.
Vendors come and go quickly on the 16th Street Mall as they discover that rents outweigh earnings. Sure, there's a hot dog stand every other block, two popcorn purveyors, a baked-goods venue and a bento-box spot -- but the pickings often seem very slim. That's when it's time to head over to the Philadelphia Filly, where Sally Rock and Dale Goin, who used to own the Philadelphia Filly on South Pearl Street, have taken it to the streets. In summer they serve up cheese-gooey, steak-packed cheesesteaks; in winter, steamy, flavorful soups. While Goin expedites -- "I need a dubba dubba and a du jour," he barks, calling for a cheesesteak with double meat and double cheese and one with mushroom and green pepper -- Rock rocks on the grill and out of the crock, with all of the food coming quick and fast. Just look for the old-fashioned quilted-metal diner-looking cart, and be prepared to eat your filly for about five bucks.

Readers' choice: Tristan the hotdog guy

Vendors come and go quickly on the 16th Street Mall as they discover that rents outweigh earnings. Sure, there's a hot dog stand every other block, two popcorn purveyors, a baked-goods venue and a bento-box spot -- but the pickings often seem very slim. That's when it's time to head over to the Philadelphia Filly, where Sally Rock and Dale Goin, who used to own the Philadelphia Filly on South Pearl Street, have taken it to the streets. In summer they serve up cheese-gooey, steak-packed cheesesteaks; in winter, steamy, flavorful soups. While Goin expedites -- "I need a dubba dubba and a du jour," he barks, calling for a cheesesteak with double meat and double cheese and one with mushroom and green pepper -- Rock rocks on the grill and out of the crock, with all of the food coming quick and fast. Just look for the old-fashioned quilted-metal diner-looking cart, and be prepared to eat your filly for about five bucks.

Readers' choice: Tristan the hotdog guy

Devil's Food Cookery
Cassandra Kotnik
Although baker/owner Gerald Shorey has been making a name for himself as a pastry chef for several restaurants around town, his true talents are on display at Devil's Food, his little bake shop on South Gaylord. In the wrong hands, the humble scone can be a hockey puck from hell; when Shorey's doing the baking, it's carbs from heaven. Shorey's scones are thick but light disks of flaky dough that melt in your mouth, bundles of goodness that make for a filling breakfast, a quick lunch or an ideal midday snack. Shorey varies the flavors -- some days it's hazelnut or raisin, others it's blueberry or cranberry -- but always offers scone-buyers their choice of butter, homemade jam (the blueberry is divine) or his lemon curd, a custardy substance made from butter, sugar and eggs that's always found on the finest tables at high tea. Which is exactly where Shorey's scones belong. Let he who is without dietary guilt cast the first scone.

Although baker/owner Gerald Shorey has been making a name for himself as a pastry chef for several restaurants around town, his true talents are on display at Devil's Food, his little bake shop on South Gaylord. In the wrong hands, the humble scone can be a hockey puck from hell; when Shorey's doing the baking, it's carbs from heaven. Shorey's scones are thick but light disks of flaky dough that melt in your mouth, bundles of goodness that make for a filling breakfast, a quick lunch or an ideal midday snack. Shorey varies the flavors -- some days it's hazelnut or raisin, others it's blueberry or cranberry -- but always offers scone-buyers their choice of butter, homemade jam (the blueberry is divine) or his lemon curd, a custardy substance made from butter, sugar and eggs that's always found on the finest tables at high tea. Which is exactly where Shorey's scones belong. Let he who is without dietary guilt cast the first scone.

When Schlomo Ravid opened the first Falafel King on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall in 1981, he couldn't have known that subsequent owners Avner and Amon Gilady would turn it into a food-court staple across town. Now Falafel King offers four ways to get good food fast: at the original Boulder site, in the Tabor Center and Republic Plaza on the 16th Street Mall, and in a strip mall on Colorado Boulevard. The food-court outlets are particularly welcome: In a land of Sbarros and Chik-Fil-A, Falafel King looks like a desert oasis. Not only is falafel's primary component, the garbanzo bean, healthy -- it's high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol-free -- but it's also tasty when fried in little balls and jammed inside a fresh pita along with tomatoes and cucumber. One of those basic beauties runs about $3.50, and you can side it with one of the $1.50 options: tabbouli, baba ghanouj or a small salad. Every ingredient is absolutely fresh, and the whole package comes out faster than you can say "half-hour for lunch." Among food court vendors, Falafel King reigns supreme.

Readers' choice: Falafel King

When Schlomo Ravid opened the first Falafel King on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall in 1981, he couldn't have known that subsequent owners Avner and Amon Gilady would turn it into a food-court staple across town. Now Falafel King offers four ways to get good food fast: at the original Boulder site, in the Tabor Center and Republic Plaza on the 16th Street Mall, and in a strip mall on Colorado Boulevard. The food-court outlets are particularly welcome: In a land of Sbarros and Chik-Fil-A, Falafel King looks like a desert oasis. Not only is falafel's primary component, the garbanzo bean, healthy -- it's high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol-free -- but it's also tasty when fried in little balls and jammed inside a fresh pita along with tomatoes and cucumber. One of those basic beauties runs about $3.50, and you can side it with one of the $1.50 options: tabbouli, baba ghanouj or a small salad. Every ingredient is absolutely fresh, and the whole package comes out faster than you can say "half-hour for lunch." Among food court vendors, Falafel King reigns supreme.

Readers' choice: Falafel King

At the foot of the Boulder Flatirons sits a restaurant with a lot of room and a view. The Chautauqua Dining Hall occupies a historic 1898 building that once was open only in the summer but now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner year-round. And in the kitchen of that building is Bradford Heap, a James Beard Foundation nominee as one of America's best chefs in the Southwest region (he's owned Boulder's Full Moon Grill with partner Richard Stein since 1995). Heap added Chautauqua to his roster more than a year ago, and the results are stunning. He cooks New American dishes with flair, using lots of local produce; the best place to sample that fare is on the gorgeous wraparound porch that offers a drop-dead view of the Flatirons, especially at sunset.

At the foot of the Boulder Flatirons sits a restaurant with a lot of room and a view. The Chautauqua Dining Hall occupies a historic 1898 building that once was open only in the summer but now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner year-round. And in the kitchen of that building is Bradford Heap, a James Beard Foundation nominee as one of America's best chefs in the Southwest region (he's owned Boulder's Full Moon Grill with partner Richard Stein since 1995). Heap added Chautauqua to his roster more than a year ago, and the results are stunning. He cooks New American dishes with flair, using lots of local produce; the best place to sample that fare is on the gorgeous wraparound porch that offers a drop-dead view of the Flatirons, especially at sunset.

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