These days it seems like everyone's trying to remake the classics, and while there's nothing wrong with adding the occasional hip twist to a perennial favorite, sometimes you just want good, old-fashioned mac 'n' cheese. And when you do, Cracker Barrel still makes the best. No Gruyère, no truffles, no bell-pepper brunoise or anything else weird: This simple, savory side dish consists of nothing trickier than a gooey yellow cheese sauce over soft elbows. Sure, Cracker Barrel is a chain, but it's a chain that does nothing but try to cook like grandma used to - so it's bound to get something right once in a while.


Cracker Barrel
These days it seems like everyone's trying to remake the classics, and while there's nothing wrong with adding the occasional hip twist to a perennial favorite, sometimes you just want good, old-fashioned mac 'n' cheese. And when you do, Cracker Barrel still makes the best. No Gruyère, no truffles, no bell-pepper brunoise or anything else weird: This simple, savory side dish consists of nothing trickier than a gooey yellow cheese sauce over soft elbows. Sure, Cracker Barrel is a chain, but it's a chain that does nothing but try to cook like grandma used to - so it's bound to get something right once in a while.
We don't even want to know how many grams of fat might be in Bob's Favorite, a gigantic, creamy-cheesy-buttery mess of a culinary masterpiece, but with a taste this good, who cares? The thick cream sauce (made with American, real mozzarella and shaved parmesan cheese) is the kind you want to mop up with your fingers before they take away your plate. If it makes you feel better, pretend you ordered Bob's Favorite for the two chicken breasts and asparagus spears that happen to come with the sauce. But whatever you do, don't let those despicable dietetic dictators keep you from enjoying this dish. Eat well and be happy...like Bob.


Cafe Jordano
We don't even want to know how many grams of fat might be in Bob's Favorite, a gigantic, creamy-cheesy-buttery mess of a culinary masterpiece, but with a taste this good, who cares? The thick cream sauce (made with American, real mozzarella and shaved parmesan cheese) is the kind you want to mop up with your fingers before they take away your plate. If it makes you feel better, pretend you ordered Bob's Favorite for the two chicken breasts and asparagus spears that happen to come with the sauce. But whatever you do, don't let those despicable dietetic dictators keep you from enjoying this dish. Eat well and be happy...like Bob.
There are only two ways to do mashed potatoes: the right way and the wrong way. Most people think theirs are done the right way, and -- sorry to say -- most people are wrong. Potatoes, butter, cream and salt: These are the only necessary elements in making proper mashers, and at Astoria Restaurant -- an unbelievably authentic Eastern Russian joint -- proper mashers are what's being served on nearly every plate of good, solid Russian comfort food. There may be a place for Maytag bleu, chives and bacon, but a mound of spuds sitting beside a simple rack of lamb or thick, meaty stroganoff is not that place. So in praise of simple pleasures, this year the Oscar goes to Astoria for its uncomplicated 'taters: thick, lumpy, warm and filling, folded in with cold butter and nothing else.
There are only two ways to do mashed potatoes: the right way and the wrong way. Most people think theirs are done the right way, and -- sorry to say -- most people are wrong. Potatoes, butter, cream and salt: These are the only necessary elements in making proper mashers, and at Astoria Restaurant -- an unbelievably authentic Eastern Russian joint -- proper mashers are what's being served on nearly every plate of good, solid Russian comfort food. There may be a place for Maytag bleu, chives and bacon, but a mound of spuds sitting beside a simple rack of lamb or thick, meaty stroganoff is not that place. So in praise of simple pleasures, this year the Oscar goes to Astoria for its uncomplicated 'taters: thick, lumpy, warm and filling, folded in with cold butter and nothing else.
Not too heavy and not too light, the meatloaf at Kathy and Bill's Diner will satisfy your loaf lust. A perfect blend of meat, bread and tiny, harmless veggies -- a smattering of mushrooms, onions and peppers that enhances the experience without threatening to upset the balance -- is crowned with a tomato glaze, then blanketed with brown gravy. Accompanied by its only proper neighbor -- homemade, lumpy mashers -- meatloaf doesn't get any better than this. Neither does lunch.


Not too heavy and not too light, the meatloaf at Kathy and Bill's Diner will satisfy your loaf lust. A perfect blend of meat, bread and tiny, harmless veggies -- a smattering of mushrooms, onions and peppers that enhances the experience without threatening to upset the balance -- is crowned with a tomato glaze, then blanketed with brown gravy. Accompanied by its only proper neighbor -- homemade, lumpy mashers -- meatloaf doesn't get any better than this. Neither does lunch.
Bruce Harrison, the owner of Sweet Bob's, is a man on a mission. Single-handledly, he's going to reverse the curse on his doomed storefront location on Broadway by introducing his brand of BBQ to the world. Although he has dreams of nationwide franchises, for now we can be thankful that he started his first joint right here in central Denver, where he serves up the best 'cue this side of Kansas City. Harrison fruit-smokes his meats with cherry, apple, kiwi and what have you, finishes them in the shop on a rotisserie, and can have your order bagged and ready at the counter in a minute flat on a good day. But be warned: The addictive potential of his sauce and sides is high. Try them once and you may never look at another rack of ribs the same way again.


Bruce Harrison, the owner of Sweet Bob's, is a man on a mission. Single-handledly, he's going to reverse the curse on his doomed storefront location on Broadway by introducing his brand of BBQ to the world. Although he has dreams of nationwide franchises, for now we can be thankful that he started his first joint right here in central Denver, where he serves up the best 'cue this side of Kansas City. Harrison fruit-smokes his meats with cherry, apple, kiwi and what have you, finishes them in the shop on a rotisserie, and can have your order bagged and ready at the counter in a minute flat on a good day. But be warned: The addictive potential of his sauce and sides is high. Try them once and you may never look at another rack of ribs the same way again.

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