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.
"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.
For nearly two decades, the Omonoia Bakery has been a Sunday must-stop for the area's Greek Orthodox practitioners, who pick up a traditional church cake to share with other members after services. And who are we to argue with tradition? But once a week is not enough for enjoying all of Omonoia's other specialties: sticky, honey-saturated baklava; kourambiedes, rosewater-sprinkled butter cookies similar to Mexican wedding cookies; or a few dozen other Greek pastries. Owner/baker Dino Karas also makes six or seven different breads -- including a wonderful French baguette and fruit-filled loaves that resemble huge hot cross buns -- as well as moist cakes, which he'll custom-bake. But since Omonoia is also a coffee shop, you don't have to get everything to go. You can also linger, savoring all this goodness over a cup of joe.

For nearly two decades, the Omonoia Bakery has been a Sunday must-stop for the area's Greek Orthodox practitioners, who pick up a traditional church cake to share with other members after services. And who are we to argue with tradition? But once a week is not enough for enjoying all of Omonoia's other specialties: sticky, honey-saturated baklava; kourambiedes, rosewater-sprinkled butter cookies similar to Mexican wedding cookies; or a few dozen other Greek pastries. Owner/baker Dino Karas also makes six or seven different breads -- including a wonderful French baguette and fruit-filled loaves that resemble huge hot cross buns -- as well as moist cakes, which he'll custom-bake. But since Omonoia is also a coffee shop, you don't have to get everything to go. You can also linger, savoring all this goodness over a cup of joe.

After a long, hard day on the slopes -- or an even harder day hitting the Silverthorne outlet shops -- the Inxpot is the perfect place to relax. Located in the middle of Keystone's River Run "neighborhood" at the base of the gondola, the coffee shop is filled with cushy couches and other invitations to relax over that cup of warm cocoa (or something harder). There are also shelves of books, tables topped with board games, and the endless amusement provided by people-watching: first-time skiers tripping over their boots; women in school-bus-yellow ski ensembles; boarders who you pray are never above you on the hill.

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