Although it seems like Benny Armas, owner of Benny's Restaurante & Cantina, has been around forever (he started in the kitchen at the late, great Oak Alley Inn twenty years ago, and today his namesake place has lines out the door), his chips are always fresh and his salsa always sassy. A second after you reply "yes" to what are often the server's only words of English -- "chips and salsa?" -- a basket lands on your table, full of freshly fried and lightly salted tortilla chips, accompanied by a bowl of tongue-tinglingly spicy salsa. We'd willingly pay for this starter -- and, in fact, Benny's used to charge $1.50 for chips and salsa -- but today it's given out gratis. Gracias.
Although it seems like Benny Armas, owner of Benny's Restaurante & Cantina, has been around forever (he started in the kitchen at the late, great Oak Alley Inn twenty years ago, and today his namesake place has lines out the door), his chips are always fresh and his salsa always sassy. A second after you reply "yes" to what are often the server's only words of English -- "chips and salsa?" -- a basket lands on your table, full of freshly fried and lightly salted tortilla chips, accompanied by a bowl of tongue-tinglingly spicy salsa. We'd willingly pay for this starter -- and, in fact, Benny's used to charge $1.50 for chips and salsa -- but today it's given out gratis. Gracias.
The Burrito Company
If you have a big hunger and not much time, head for the Burrito Co. All day long, people keep pulling up to this takeout-only spot on Santa Fe. They get in line, choose from dozens of possible orders (our favorites all involve the succulent shredded beef), wait about two minutes -- and then collect their orders at the handy service window. Each burrito comes individually, and tightly, wrapped in foil, letting off a puff of steam when it's undone and consumed -- often in the parking lot, usually within seconds. Remember to pack out your garbage.

If you have a big hunger and not much time, head for the Burrito Co. All day long, people keep pulling up to this takeout-only spot on Santa Fe. They get in line, choose from dozens of possible orders (our favorites all involve the succulent shredded beef), wait about two minutes -- and then collect their orders at the handy service window. Each burrito comes individually, and tightly, wrapped in foil, letting off a puff of steam when it's undone and consumed -- often in the parking lot, usually within seconds. Remember to pack out your garbage.

Paul Sandoval is the masa of his domains, since his two spots -- La Casita and La Casa de Tamales -- still serve up the best tamales in town. These little corn-husk-covered delicacies -- at once soft, moist, mealy and chewy -- come red (chile mixed with pork), green (chile with cheese) and vegetarian (with jalapeos, tomatoes, corn and onions). A dozen will set you back less than $8 and fill you up for days.
Paul Sandoval is the masa of his domains, since his two spots -- La Casita and La Casa de Tamales -- still serve up the best tamales in town. These little corn-husk-covered delicacies -- at once soft, moist, mealy and chewy -- come red (chile mixed with pork), green (chile with cheese) and vegetarian (with jalapeños, tomatoes, corn and onions). A dozen will set you back less than $8 and fill you up for days.
Julia Blackbird's, a charming little eatery that stands in northwest Denver but has its heart in New Mexico, makes a red sauce that's as multi-layered, deeply colored and earthy as red-rock country. Made from chiles grown in Chimayo, a town about 25 miles north of Santa Fe, this sauce benefits mightily from the chiles' rich flavor and slight heat. Try it as part of the "three sisters" entree: three enchiladas accompanied by Julia's trio of chiles.

Julia Blackbird's, a charming little eatery that stands in northwest Denver but has its heart in New Mexico, makes a red sauce that's as multi-layered, deeply colored and earthy as red-rock country. Made from chiles grown in Chimayo, a town about 25 miles north of Santa Fe, this sauce benefits mightily from the chiles' rich flavor and slight heat. Try it as part of the "three sisters" entree: three enchiladas accompanied by Julia's trio of chiles.

At night, the Rialto Cafe is one of the snazziest restaurants around, offering both live jazz and some of the most decadent desserts imaginable. But in the morning, starting at an eye-popping 5:30 a.m., the Rialto gets down to business -- serious business. This discreet, dimly lit space is just the place for the solo salesman to get his thoughts together for that big meeting, or for local power-mongers to lay out their plans for taking over the world -- or at least that block out by Lowry. The Rialto's kitchen does its bit by serving up serious power food: omelettes made from smoked salmon; roasted-red-pepper cream cheese and artichoke hearts; chorizo-stuffed breakfast burritos; and, for the heavy-hitters going light, fresh juice and homemade pastries.
At night, the Rialto Cafe is one of the snazziest restaurants around, offering both live jazz and some of the most decadent desserts imaginable. But in the morning, starting at an eye-popping 5:30 a.m., the Rialto gets down to business -- serious business. This discreet, dimly lit space is just the place for the solo salesman to get his thoughts together for that big meeting, or for local power-mongers to lay out their plans for taking over the world -- or at least that block out by Lowry. The Rialto's kitchen does its bit by serving up serious power food: omelettes made from smoked salmon; roasted-red-pepper cream cheese and artichoke hearts; chorizo-stuffed breakfast burritos; and, for the heavy-hitters going light, fresh juice and homemade pastries.

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