Remember, time is money -- and the truly powerful don't like to waste either. They don't have time to dawdle at some chi-chi breakfast place, and even though they've got plenty of cash, they don't want to waste it on a frou-frou repast. That's why the smart money is on the Village Inn in Cherry Creek as the most powerful breakfast spot in town. It's centrally located, the staff is discreet and diplomatic, and the food is darn good. On any given morning, you'll spot dozens of Denver's most influential folks interrupting their important a.m. meetings for even more important cell-phone calls, inking contracts over plates of pancakes and bacon and eggs, and washing down deals with lots of coffee. Want the story? Follow the money -- and if it takes you to Village Inn, don't be surprised.

Readers' choice: Racines

Remember, time is money -- and the truly powerful don't like to waste either. They don't have time to dawdle at some chi-chi breakfast place, and even though they've got plenty of cash, they don't want to waste it on a frou-frou repast. That's why the smart money is on the Village Inn in Cherry Creek as the most powerful breakfast spot in town. It's centrally located, the staff is discreet and diplomatic, and the food is darn good. On any given morning, you'll spot dozens of Denver's most influential folks interrupting their important a.m. meetings for even more important cell-phone calls, inking contracts over plates of pancakes and bacon and eggs, and washing down deals with lots of coffee. Want the story? Follow the money -- and if it takes you to Village Inn, don't be surprised.

Readers' choice: Racines

If you're on a power trip, chances are you've found your way to Bistro Adde Brewster. But be warned: You'd better plan on doing your business in person, because if that cell phone rings, owner Adde Bjorklund may take it away from you. ("Behave and you'll get it back at the end of lunch," he often admonishes.) Apparently the in crowd likes to be spanked, because lunch at this Cherry Creek institution often looks like a crowd scene from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Folks from all walks of affluent life gather to check out each other's dining companions, outfits and expense accounts. And the food coming out of the kitchen is just right for this trendy but tough crowd: no sissy salads or ladies' lunch petit fours here. Instead, the lettuce comes topped with soy-seared tuna or grilled chicken, and entrees like calf's liver or Wiener schnitzel will put hair on your chest. But since big deals will be going down while you're deep in your tuna tartar, remember to talk softly and carry your big shtick in your pocket -- or Bjorklund will take that away from you, too.

Readers' choice: The Palm

If you're on a power trip, chances are you've found your way to Bistro Adde Brewster. But be warned: You'd better plan on doing your business in person, because if that cell phone rings, owner Adde Bjorklund may take it away from you. ("Behave and you'll get it back at the end of lunch," he often admonishes.) Apparently the in crowd likes to be spanked, because lunch at this Cherry Creek institution often looks like a crowd scene from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Folks from all walks of affluent life gather to check out each other's dining companions, outfits and expense accounts. And the food coming out of the kitchen is just right for this trendy but tough crowd: no sissy salads or ladies' lunch petit fours here. Instead, the lettuce comes topped with soy-seared tuna or grilled chicken, and entrees like calf's liver or Wiener schnitzel will put hair on your chest. But since big deals will be going down while you're deep in your tuna tartar, remember to talk softly and carry your big shtick in your pocket -- or Bjorklund will take that away from you, too.

Readers' choice: The Palm

Best power lunch -- non-power-trip division

La Fiesta Supper Club

Those truly in the know realize that there's no supper at La Fiesta. The place is open for weekday lunch only -- but that's okay, because most diners will have made their dime before the close of the business day. For decades, the town's true power brokers -- everyone from lawyers to cops to insurance brokers to journalists -- have flocked to the cavernous confines of La Fiesta, where they dig into baskets of chips accompanied by a sense-singeing salsa, plates covered with crispy chiles rellenos filled with molten cheese, and such daily specials as chile Caribe. The talk is fast, the service faster. Like the green chile, this place is hot.

Best power lunch -- non-power-trip division

La Fiesta Supper Club

Those truly in the know realize that there's no supper at La Fiesta. The place is open for weekday lunch only -- but that's okay, because most diners will have made their dime before the close of the business day. For decades, the town's true power brokers -- everyone from lawyers to cops to insurance brokers to journalists -- have flocked to the cavernous confines of La Fiesta, where they dig into baskets of chips accompanied by a sense-singeing salsa, plates covered with crispy chiles rellenos filled with molten cheese, and such daily specials as chile Caribe. The talk is fast, the service faster. Like the green chile, this place is hot.

Dinner at Sambuca Jazz Café is sexy enough, but there's something about the low-lit dining rooms filled with faux-leopard cushions and soft, pillowy ceiling fabrics that makes us want to be here when we shouldn't be -- and with someone we shouldn't be with. Say, at lunch, with the boss's significant other. He or she is bound to appreciate the sensuous zebra pasta pocket filled with creamy lobster; or the carnal steak frit, a hefty grilled hangar steak that comes on a bed of fried potatoes, all drenched in a strong peppercorn sauce. And then there's that thick, whipped-cream-consistency tiramisu to really whip things into a frenzy. Spring for a bottle of Italian sparkling, and put the Palm Pilot on autopilot. The order of the day may be business, but from here on out, it's all monkey business.

Dinner at Sambuca Jazz Café is sexy enough, but there's something about the low-lit dining rooms filled with faux-leopard cushions and soft, pillowy ceiling fabrics that makes us want to be here when we shouldn't be -- and with someone we shouldn't be with. Say, at lunch, with the boss's significant other. He or she is bound to appreciate the sensuous zebra pasta pocket filled with creamy lobster; or the carnal steak frit, a hefty grilled hangar steak that comes on a bed of fried potatoes, all drenched in a strong peppercorn sauce. And then there's that thick, whipped-cream-consistency tiramisu to really whip things into a frenzy. Spring for a bottle of Italian sparkling, and put the Palm Pilot on autopilot. The order of the day may be business, but from here on out, it's all monkey business.

Best restaurant when you're on the doughnut diet

Chuck's Do-Nuts

What goes round comes round. "Quality Donuts Since 1948," the sign promises, and Chuck's Do-Nuts delivers. Each and every day, Chuck's bakers cook up two dozen kinds of doughnuts, and then charismatic owner Dan Imo presides over the day's purchases. He gets a little help from his peanut gallery of regulars who perch at the low counter and drink coffee -- the regular kind, of course, not some newfangled flavored swill. Since the day the storefront opened over fifty years ago, Chuck's most popular doughnut has been the raised glazed, and with good reason: It's raised high and light, with a soft, spongy texture and little pockets of air for fluffiness, and it's glazed with a sugar mixture done right. But that doughnut only scratches the surface of Chuck's delights. The glazed chocolate cake doughnut is like a breakfast brownie; the custard-filled Bismarck tastes like a Boston cream pie; and the chocolate icing on the plain cake is better than some of them fancy French ganaches. Doughnuts may be all the rage these days, but Chuck's proves that with age comes wisdom -- and the best doughnuts in town.

Best restaurant when you're on the doughnut diet

Chuck's Do-Nuts

What goes round comes round. "Quality Donuts Since 1948," the sign promises, and Chuck's Do-Nuts delivers. Each and every day, Chuck's bakers cook up two dozen kinds of doughnuts, and then charismatic owner Dan Imo presides over the day's purchases. He gets a little help from his peanut gallery of regulars who perch at the low counter and drink coffee -- the regular kind, of course, not some newfangled flavored swill. Since the day the storefront opened over fifty years ago, Chuck's most popular doughnut has been the raised glazed, and with good reason: It's raised high and light, with a soft, spongy texture and little pockets of air for fluffiness, and it's glazed with a sugar mixture done right. But that doughnut only scratches the surface of Chuck's delights. The glazed chocolate cake doughnut is like a breakfast brownie; the custard-filled Bismarck tastes like a Boston cream pie; and the chocolate icing on the plain cake is better than some of them fancy French ganaches. Doughnuts may be all the rage these days, but Chuck's proves that with age comes wisdom -- and the best doughnuts in town.

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