"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.

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.

Best place to drink a latte while eavesdropping on state legislators

Penn Street Perk

Just two blocks from the State Capitol, Penn Street Perk is the perfect place to get the inside scoop on upcoming legislation. It's where Democratic representative Tom Plant goes to read bills when he wants to escape the bustle of the Statehouse, and it's across the street from Hays Hays & Wilson, the biggest lobbying firm in town. But it's also a great neighborhood hangout. The style is eclectic living room (plush couch, comfy chairs, exposed brick walls, Christmas lights in the shapes of gingerbread men, horses, cows, chili peppers and cacti, and Titanic posters, in honor of the nearby Molly Brown house), and the coffee is more powerful than a lobbyist's checkbook. You can also order off of a list of cold drinks that includes the granita, an orange-flavored slushy; the icebergaccino (a fancy name for a cold cappuccino); and the orange dream, basically an orange julius without the egg. For all this and more, Penn Street Perk gets our vote.

Best place to drink a latte while eavesdropping on state legislators

Penn Street Perk

Just two blocks from the State Capitol, Penn Street Perk is the perfect place to get the inside scoop on upcoming legislation. It's where Democratic representative Tom Plant goes to read bills when he wants to escape the bustle of the Statehouse, and it's across the street from Hays Hays & Wilson, the biggest lobbying firm in town. But it's also a great neighborhood hangout. The style is eclectic living room (plush couch, comfy chairs, exposed brick walls, Christmas lights in the shapes of gingerbread men, horses, cows, chili peppers and cacti, and Titanic posters, in honor of the nearby Molly Brown house), and the coffee is more powerful than a lobbyist's checkbook. You can also order off of a list of cold drinks that includes the granita, an orange-flavored slushy; the icebergaccino (a fancy name for a cold cappuccino); and the orange dream, basically an orange julius without the egg. For all this and more, Penn Street Perk gets our vote.

St. Mark's Coffeehouse
Cassandra Kotnik
Once upon a time, the coffeehouse was where you went to drink your fill of an authentic, big-city experience. You might be served by someone sporting a nose ring and tattoos, and you could eavesdrop on the couple with matching purple hair sitting near you or brood in the corner and write poetry for hours. Then came the corporate cloning of the coffee experience, and suddenly even Rotarians in Littleton were slurping cappuccinos on their way to the mall. Thankfully, St. Mark's -- both the LoDo original and its slightly less big-city sibling -- keeps serving up true coffeehouse flavor. The staff is reliably eccentric but always manages to put the right amount of foam into the lattes. The work of local artists adorns the walls, and at the Market Street spot, many of the tables and chairs are themselves works of art. The 17th Avenue location has huge picture windows that open onto a sidewalk patio, and the outdoor action never disappoints. (Your cup will soon be even fuller on 17th, since this St. Mark's is expanding into the space next door, adding a bar and more food choices.) All of which goes to show that when it comes to character, locally owned places like St. Mark's will always trump chains run by corporate coffee-bean counters.

Once upon a time, the coffeehouse was where you went to drink your fill of an authentic, big-city experience. You might be served by someone sporting a nose ring and tattoos, and you could eavesdrop on the couple with matching purple hair sitting near you or brood in the corner and write poetry for hours. Then came the corporate cloning of the coffee experience, and suddenly even Rotarians in Littleton were slurping cappuccinos on their way to the mall. Thankfully, St. Mark's -- both the LoDo original and its slightly less big-city sibling -- keeps serving up true coffeehouse flavor. The staff is reliably eccentric but always manages to put the right amount of foam into the lattes. The work of local artists adorns the walls, and at the Market Street spot, many of the tables and chairs are themselves works of art. The 17th Avenue location has huge picture windows that open onto a sidewalk patio, and the outdoor action never disappoints. (Your cup will soon be even fuller on 17th, since this St. Mark's is expanding into the space next door, adding a bar and more food choices.) All of which goes to show that when it comes to character, locally owned places like St. Mark's will always trump chains run by corporate coffee-bean counters.

Tea-drinking turns over a new leaf at Gemini Tea Emporium. Owners Brad Cavender and Abdulkadir Omar get extra credit for opening their ultra-hip shop in the heart of Five Points on Welton Street. Gemini is a sign of faith in the neighborhood's capacity for revival, but this shop would be equally welcome in any other part of town. The chic, airy interior is full of plants and richly colored in purple, yellow, lime and red; the atmosphere is as conducive to conversation as it is to contemplation. Or poetry: On Friday nights, Gemini hosts Cafe Nuba, a poetry and spoken-word set from 9 p.m. to midnight. And then, of course, there's the tea -- more than 160 varieties from spots around the world, including China, Japan, Brazil and India. Drink a cup here, or take some leaves to go; either way, Gemini has tea-drinking in the bag.

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