If you want something done right, sometimes you just have to do it yourself. And some mornings, nothing is more right than the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar at Piscos. For $3.50 every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can doctor your vodka -- and your hangover -- with everything from the standard Tabasco, Worcestershire and horseradish to enough peppers and celery sticks to make your drink look like a salad. Those seeking more substantial fare, though, should consider taking on one of Piscos' South American dishes or making a run at an overflowing intercontinental buffet of cold cuts, cheeses, pastries and fresh fruit.

Best French Toast in a French Restaurant

Bistro Vendome

Nothing gets a morning started like a lovely pain perdu, the French version of French toast. At Bistro Vendome -- a comfy, bright spot tucked down an alley behind Larimer Square -- the brunch-menu fave is made from a single piece of soft, center-cut bread, perfectly browned, then sprinkled with confectioners' sugar. The strong citrus honey this pain is served with can be overpowering, but that's why it comes on the side -- so that you can add a little, add a lot, or just ignore it entirely and dig into the bare toast, which is ideal on its own.


Best French Toast -- Freedom Toast Division

Dozens

There's a fine distinction between the classic egg-batter-and-French-bread breakfast most people think of as French toast, and the slices of pure American ingenuity dished up at Dozens. The Aurora eatery (which also does some lunches, but only until 3 p.m.) has a way with eggs, with hash, with everything a man could need to get up and going in the morning. But what this kitchen does with true distinction is French toast -- cranking up the calories and pumping up the pleasure by slathering a couple of thick slices of battered and grilled bread with raspberry cream cheese, then serving the whole thing with a good-sized portion of fresh fruit. Only trouble is, our favorite part of French toast is the syrup. And after all this, doesn't syrup seem like overkill?
The happy-hour menu at McCormick's, the bar that fronts the seafood restaurant in the Oxford Hotel, is a perennial favorite. From 3 to 6 p.m. every day of the week and from 9 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, McCormick's bar menu features over a dozen $2 dishes, an unbelievably diverse spread of everything from sashimi-quality tuna rolls to crab cakes to respectable cheeseburgers with fries. Although McCormick's wood-accented and well-windowed bar is popular at all times, what's known as cheap time has become an incredible draw. And now a good deal has gotten even better: On Sundays, parking in LoDo is free, courtesy of Mayor John Hickenlooper, a McCormick's neighbor. So put those quarters to good use -- you can buy another burger rather than two hours of time. Respect the Sabbath and keep it yummy.
Talk about bang for your buck! These days, five dollars won't go far in most places. But most places aren't the Diamond Cabaret, where lusty lunchers can dive into a lavish, all-you-can-eat buffet for only $4.95. And the scenery is free! While lovely ladies prowl the stage -- albeit a tad less enthusiastically than during the evening hours -- diners down heaping plates of smoked turkey or juicy prime rib, with a salad and maybe a cup of tomato-basil soup on the side, as well as cake and cookies. Offered Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., this steal of a deal attracts a lot of testosterone-rich men, who use their leftover lunch money to "tip" the friendly staff. But be prepared for a shock when you leave: In this deliciously dark den, you can forget that it's only mid-afternoon and your cubicle awaits.

Best French Toast in a French Restaurant

Bistro Vendome

Bistro Vendome
Bistro Vendome
Nothing gets a morning started like a lovely pain perdu, the French version of French toast. At Bistro Vendome -- a comfy, bright spot tucked down an alley behind Larimer Square -- the brunch-menu fave is made from a single piece of soft, center-cut bread, perfectly browned, then sprinkled with confectioners' sugar. The strong citrus honey this pain is served with can be overpowering, but that's why it comes on the side -- so that you can add a little, add a lot, or just ignore it entirely and dig into the bare toast, which is ideal on its own.

Best French Toast -- Freedom Toast Division

Dozens

Dozens
There's a fine distinction between the classic egg-batter-and-French-bread breakfast most people think of as French toast, and the slices of pure American ingenuity dished up at Dozens. The Aurora eatery (which also does some lunches, but only until 3 p.m.) has a way with eggs, with hash, with everything a man could need to get up and going in the morning. But what this kitchen does with true distinction is French toast -- cranking up the calories and pumping up the pleasure by slathering a couple of thick slices of battered and grilled bread with raspberry cream cheese, then serving the whole thing with a good-sized portion of fresh fruit. Only trouble is, our favorite part of French toast is the syrup. And after all this, doesn't syrup seem like overkill?
More deals per square inch are made in this place than anywhere else in the city. One reason, of course, is that the Capital Grille is so crowded. Amid the dark wood, red leather, polished mirrors and trophy heads, business is taken care of, futures are made and broken, and -- through it all -- a fantastic lunch is served. The Grille specializes in steaks, but the menu is also full of classic steakhouse extras. There are burgers, including one made of lobster and crab; half-chickens roasted on the bone; great mashed potatoes; shrimp cocktails; and the best lobster bisque in the city, all doled out by a staff of waitresses, managers and floormen who are second to none. If you consider yourself one of the city's power elite, you'd better put a few Grille lunches in your Blackberry, because that's where business is getting done these days. And if you don't, you might want to spend your next lunch hour polishing up that resumé.


Diamond Cabaret & Steakhouse
Talk about bang for your buck! These days, five dollars won't go far in most places. But most places aren't the Diamond Cabaret, where lusty lunchers can dive into a lavish, all-you-can-eat buffet for only $4.95. And the scenery is free! While lovely ladies prowl the stage -- albeit a tad less enthusiastically than during the evening hours -- diners down heaping plates of smoked turkey or juicy prime rib, with a salad and maybe a cup of tomato-basil soup on the side, as well as cake and cookies. Offered Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., this steal of a deal attracts a lot of testosterone-rich men, who use their leftover lunch money to "tip" the friendly staff. But be prepared for a shock when you leave: In this deliciously dark den, you can forget that it's only mid-afternoon and your cubicle awaits.
When you want to meat and greet, you go to the Palm. When you want to get down to serious business, you go to Morton's of Chicago. From the moment you step through the barely marked door on Wynkoop Street into this intimate, almost cave-like steakhouse, you feel as though you're in the most important, secret club in the world -- one where the service is white-linen elegant yet chummy; the conversations are hushed, perhaps in homage to the amounts of money being discussed; and the deals are as big as the 48-ounce porterhouse -- and just as bloody rare. From the martinis huge enough to quench the most powerful thirst, to the still-squirming lobster that just went by on the morgue-like cart that displays your eating options, to the late-night liqueurs brought out for special customers, dinner at Morton's is a very big deal.


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