Think you're not a calamari kind of person? That just might be because you've never had your squid done south-of-the-border style. Jalapeo Mexican grill takes thick-cut rings of squid, rolls them in finely ground herbed breadcrumbs, then sends 'em down for a quick swim in the deep fryer, where they're in the oil just barely long enough to cook through, but not so long that they shrivel and turn rubbery. The tender rings come with creamy buttermilk ranch sauce for wimps who want to cover up the fresh, ever-so-slightly funky seafood taste, but all you really need is a squeeze or two of lime juice to make for some great finger food.
Frank Bonanno and his crew at Mizuna do just about everything pretty darn well, but the one thing they do far and away better than any other kitchen in town is sweetbreads. Thymus glands are devilishly hard to cook right; they require careful handling and perfect timing in the pan. But in expert hands, the result can be a sublime bit of charcuterie that -- like the preparation of foie gras or the proper handling of truffles, both of which Mizuna also does admirably well -- can be held up as a benchmark achievement. Mizuna's sweetbreads are a fine measure of a galley and crew that consistently bring their A-game every night of the week.
Mizuna
Joni Schrantz
Frank Bonanno and his crew at Mizuna do just about everything pretty darn well, but the one thing they do far and away better than any other kitchen in town is sweetbreads. Thymus glands are devilishly hard to cook right; they require careful handling and perfect timing in the pan. But in expert hands, the result can be a sublime bit of charcuterie that -- like the preparation of foie gras or the proper handling of truffles, both of which Mizuna also does admirably well -- can be held up as a benchmark achievement. Mizuna's sweetbreads are a fine measure of a galley and crew that consistently bring their A-game every night of the week.
Twinkies are good. Twinkies drizzled with chocolate sauce and piped with whipped cream are better. Now take that same Twinkie and dunk it in 350-degree fryer oil for a few seconds, and what you have is a dessert so ridiculously sweet and mind-numbingly bad for you that no life can be considered well-lived until you try one. And now,

thanks to restaurateur and certified mad scientist Derrol Moorhead, you can, because he offers them at Wingin' It, his little sports-themed wing joint. Trust us on this one: A deep-fried Twinkie isn't as gross as it sounds. The hot fryer oil crisps the outside by caramelizing the sugars in the yellow-cake shell and turns the cream filling into sweet, white lava; other than that, though, the Twinkie itself is pretty much unchanged. If the deep-fried Twinkie isn't extreme enough for you, Moorhead has recently started serving a full range of battered and deep-fried candy bars as well. And, of course, Wingin' It also puts out a nice spread of chicken wings, with a dozen-odd gourmet sauces that range from just plain hot to sweet mango.

Twinkies are good. Twinkies drizzled with chocolate sauce and piped with whipped cream are better. Now take that same Twinkie and dunk it in 350-degree fryer oil for a few seconds, and what you have is a dessert so ridiculously sweet and mind-numbingly bad for you that no life can be considered well-lived until you try one. And now,

thanks to restaurateur and certified mad scientist Derrol Moorhead, you can, because he offers them at Wingin' It, his little sports-themed wing joint. Trust us on this one: A deep-fried Twinkie isn't as gross as it sounds. The hot fryer oil crisps the outside by caramelizing the sugars in the yellow-cake shell and turns the cream filling into sweet, white lava; other than that, though, the Twinkie itself is pretty much unchanged. If the deep-fried Twinkie isn't extreme enough for you, Moorhead has recently started serving a full range of battered and deep-fried candy bars as well. And, of course, Wingin' It also puts out a nice spread of chicken wings, with a dozen-odd gourmet sauces that range from just plain hot to sweet mango.

Sometimes you just have to go with a classic. Beau Jo's invented the concept of Colorado-style pizza, and since 1973 has been serving mountain pies with its slightly spicy signature sauce, heaps of toppings and fresh braided crusts. You can use those bones to mop up honey, making a slice both a main course and dessert. Whether you're rewarding yourself after a rigorous day at the office or one on the slopes, Beau Jo's pizza is a Colorado staple worthy of its reputation.


Beau Jo's Pizza
Beau Jo's Pizza
Sometimes you just have to go with a classic. Beau Jo's invented the concept of Colorado-style pizza, and since 1973 has been serving mountain pies with its slightly spicy signature sauce, heaps of toppings and fresh braided crusts. You can use those bones to mop up honey, making a slice both a main course and dessert. Whether you're rewarding yourself after a rigorous day at the office or one on the slopes, Beau Jo's pizza is a Colorado staple worthy of its reputation.
For East Coast transplants, there's only one way to do pizza properly -- and that's the way they've been doing it since day one at NY Pizzeria. The hands-down favorite of many ex-pat Big Apple kitchen crews in Denver, this slightly run-down strip-mall pie joint does everything right. The crusts are thin -- a little crispy, but pliable enough to fold. The toppings are basic, but they're the real McCoy -- real shredded mozzarella rather than mozzarella-flavored cheez product, Italian sausage and pepperoni, fresh veggies -- and the sauce is mild, a little sweet and not messed up with a lot of spices or chile powder. Most important, the 'za at NY Pizzeria has the grease: that mysterious orange oil that oozes out the back of every folded slice, burns your hand and ruins your best party shirt as soon as you take a bite.


For East Coast transplants, there's only one way to do pizza properly -- and that's the way they've been doing it since day one at NY Pizzeria. The hands-down favorite of many ex-pat Big Apple kitchen crews in Denver, this slightly run-down strip-mall pie joint does everything right. The crusts are thin -- a little crispy, but pliable enough to fold. The toppings are basic, but they're the real McCoy -- real shredded mozzarella rather than mozzarella-flavored cheez product, Italian sausage and pepperoni, fresh veggies -- and the sauce is mild, a little sweet and not messed up with a lot of spices or chile powder. Most important, the 'za at NY Pizzeria has the grease: that mysterious orange oil that oozes out the back of every folded slice, burns your hand and ruins your best party shirt as soon as you take a bite.
It's tough to find a good taste of the Windy City out here on the wrong side of the Midwest. A decent vendor's-cart hot dog with ballpark mustard and all the trimmings? Good luck. Pepper and sausage (pronounced "sassage") like old Ma used to make? Forget it. But if you're looking for a good Chicago-style deep-dish pizza and aren't quite ready to hop a flight for a real Gino's East double-cheese pie, try Nicolo's Chicago Style Pizza. With a thick, chewy crust loaded deep with toppings, sweet tomato sauce with just a little bite, and fresh ingredients laid on all the way out to the rolled edges, Nicolo's is doing the Second City proud. Plus, Nicolo's offers a margherita (white) pie layered with provolone, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil and tomato; a thirteen-inch EBA (Everything But Anchovy) version for just $13.95; and a whole host of other Italian specialties for those of you who think that man can't live on pizza alone.


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