Yorkshire native Jessica Avery has created a stark, sunny space that shines in contrast to the ambience of coffeehouses we've become so accustomed to in this town, where folks can find a dark spot to swill caffeine and palaver on nearly every street corner. Her House of Commons is a welcoming space where you chat in hushed tones, though not necessarily with your pinkie extended, as you sip an entirely different kind of caf -- chosen from a variety of aromatic Taylor's of Harrogate teas -- in the descending light. Adding to the makings of a right proper afternoon are Avery's food offerings -- lovely scones with double Devon cream, tiny petit fours, cucumber sandwiches and Parkin, a Yorkshire specialty that involves baking spiced oatmeal with treacle into a chewy, crumbly, sticky, caramelly mess of perfect goodness. Brilliant!


Where once lurked the Cutthroat Cafe, a gruesomely dubbed greasy spoon that took over from the equally gruesomely named Butcher's Block, there now sits the altogether cuddly Monkey Bean, a neighborhood joint for the rapidly improving Ballpark neighborhood. In a city clogged with cafes, Monkey Bean apes no one: Everything from its huge menu to its vibrant decor is full of originality and soul. Ricotta-cheese pancakes? Peanut butter and jelly? Bubble tea laced with chewy pearls of tapioca? It's all here. There are also shelves stocked with board games and an impressive array of books, not to mention free Internet, a cozy patio and virtuoso baristas. Whether you're looking for a quiet, solo midweek break or Sunday brunch with the crew, this Monkey suits everyone.

Where once lurked the Cutthroat Cafe, a gruesomely dubbed greasy spoon that took over from the equally gruesomely named Butcher's Block, there now sits the altogether cuddly Monkey Bean, a neighborhood joint for the rapidly improving Ballpark neighborhood. In a city clogged with cafes, Monkey Bean apes no one: Everything from its huge menu to its vibrant decor is full of originality and soul. Ricotta-cheese pancakes? Peanut butter and jelly? Bubble tea laced with chewy pearls of tapioca? It's all here. There are also shelves stocked with board games and an impressive array of books, not to mention free Internet, a cozy patio and virtuoso baristas. Whether you're looking for a quiet, solo midweek break or Sunday brunch with the crew, this Monkey suits everyone.

The new, improved Colorado Convention Center looks fancy and all, but what if you're planning a confabulation that's a bit more humble? Then Blackberries is your site. Since the sprawling, scrupulously spotless space opened last year, it has hosted a bevy of events: charity fundraisers, writers' workshops, art openings, film screenings and, of course, Denver's perennial spoken-word gala, Cafe Nuba. But this isn't just a great room: Blackberries also offers top-notch coffee and espresso, as well as its own luscious micro-batch ice cream. Add in its central location and convivial service, and you've got an ideal spot for those coffee klatches, power lunches and roundtable nights. Now get out there and meet and greet.

The new, improved Colorado Convention Center looks fancy and all, but what if you're planning a confabulation that's a bit more humble? Then Blackberries is your site. Since the sprawling, scrupulously spotless space opened last year, it has hosted a bevy of events: charity fundraisers, writers' workshops, art openings, film screenings and, of course, Denver's perennial spoken-word gala, Cafe Nuba. But this isn't just a great room: Blackberries also offers top-notch coffee and espresso, as well as its own luscious micro-batch ice cream. Add in its central location and convivial service, and you've got an ideal spot for those coffee klatches, power lunches and roundtable nights. Now get out there and meet and greet.

At Mirepoix, Bryan Moscatello has assembled a roster of pitch-perfect New American dishes that range from jumped-up grilled-cheese finger sandwiches to one of the best high-end burgers in town, the latter coming with a side of the best french fries. The spuds are blanched first, then finished like frites to give the thick fries an excellent crunch, and finally crusted in Parmesan cheese for a flavor that's so good, you might find yourself sticking around for a second helping.

At Mirepoix, Bryan Moscatello has assembled a roster of pitch-perfect New American dishes that range from jumped-up grilled-cheese finger sandwiches to one of the best high-end burgers in town, the latter coming with a side of the best french fries. The spuds are blanched first, then finished like frites to give the thick fries an excellent crunch, and finally crusted in Parmesan cheese for a flavor that's so good, you might find yourself sticking around for a second helping.

Bistro Vendome
Bistro Vendome
At Bistro Vendome, chef Eric Roeder can run a good crew out of a cramped galley; bang out fifty plates of classical trout amandine and faux cassoulet a night with the first one tasting just as perfect as the last; and compete and thrive among some serious culinary contenders on Larimer Square -- even though his space has zero street frontage and no visibility for foot traffic. But the most telling mark of his skills as a chef is in the little things Roeder does better than anyone else. And his frites, which come alongside any of the house's three steak preparations, are by far the best in town.

At Bistro Vendome, chef Eric Roeder can run a good crew out of a cramped galley; bang out fifty plates of classical trout amandine and faux cassoulet a night with the first one tasting just as perfect as the last; and compete and thrive among some serious culinary contenders on Larimer Square -- even though his space has zero street frontage and no visibility for foot traffic. But the most telling mark of his skills as a chef is in the little things Roeder does better than anyone else. And his frites, which come alongside any of the house's three steak preparations, are by far the best in town.

Devil's Food Cookery
Cassandra Kotnik
French fries, home fries, seasoned fries, steak fries, crinkle-cut, waffle-cut and pommes frites: There are as many different varieties of fried potatoes as there are varieties of potatoes themselves. And the shoestring fries at Devil's Food Bakery put all others to shame. This haystack tangle of blanched and fried, super-thin-cut potato comes with the house's steak-frite plate. While fantastic, salty and crunchy on their own, the shoestrings are even better paired with the great flatiron-cut steak, since that blood-thickened Dijon mustard sauce at the bottom of the plate is perfect for dipping.

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