Best Of :: Food & Drink
The Swanky Spank Me, a lethal combination of Everclear, triple sec, blue Curaçao, pineapple and orange juices, and margarita mix, is something special any night of the week; its sole reason for existence appears to be offering the server a chance to ask, "Do you wanna Spank Me?" On Wednesday night, though, Swanky's has a less liquid special that hurts so good: a crawfish boil. The kitchen sends out a steaming bucket filled with lots of little crawdads, boiled potatoes, corn on the cob and a big, greasy sausage -- everything liberally seasoned with Old Bay seasonings -- for just $11.25, which buys more than enough food to feed two. Suck out the innards of those mini crustaceans, sip on a couple of Coronas, and watch folks spanked by that drink begin acting like crawfish just about to hit boiling water.
Want the real thing? Go to the source. Or as close as we get in Denver, which is the restaurant run by Florence native Simone Parisi and his wife, Christine, who's originally from Boulder. Christine met Simone in Italy, they fell in love, and she convinced him that Denver needed a really good pizzeria. She was right. Their love Italian-style is evidenced in Parisi's offerings: More than just a pizzeria, this is an Italian market where Parisi makes his own mozzarella-like fior di latte. He smokes some of it into scarmorza, the cheese that he puts on his medium-thick, crackly-crunchy-edged crust, then tops with Parisi's sauce, which isn't really a sauce at all -- it's more like a bunch of tomatoes melted down with garlic. Not content to offer just traditional pizzeria pies such as rustica and vegetariana, Parisi also takes advantage of the current abundance of white truffles by piling them on a sinfully delicious, oil-drizzled pizza, which fills the shop with musky perfume for days. Now, that's amore.
Readers' choice: Beau Jo's