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.

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.


Sam's No. 3
Courtesy of Sam's No. 3
An order of chili-cheese fries is not something you leave to an amateur, to someone uneducated in the tricky chemistry of the combination of potatoes, chili and cheese. You want to go to a pro, and that's why you go to Sam's No. 3, where the kitchen has been pumping out Coney Island-style fries slathered in beans-and-meat chili and melted generic yellow cheese product for decades. These guys know that the fries must be kept in the oil a little bit longer in order to give them a good caramelized crust that's strong enough to withstand the weight and moisture of the chili. They understand that while sometimes less might be more, this isn't one of those times, and so they smother the fries with their tasty chili and enough cheese that pretty soon you're going to need a fork. This side dish is worth the center of the plate.

An order of chili-cheese fries is not something you leave to an amateur, to someone uneducated in the tricky chemistry of the combination of potatoes, chili and cheese. You want to go to a pro, and that's why you go to Sam's No. 3, where the kitchen has been pumping out Coney Island-style fries slathered in beans-and-meat chili and melted generic yellow cheese product for decades. These guys know that the fries must be kept in the oil a little bit longer in order to give them a good caramelized crust that's strong enough to withstand the weight and moisture of the chili. They understand that while sometimes less might be more, this isn't one of those times, and so they smother the fries with their tasty chili and enough cheese that pretty soon you're going to need a fork. This side dish is worth the center of the plate.


Maggiano's Little Italy
When you want fried cheese, you want a lot of fried cheese. And Maggiano's Little Italy delivers. This giant Italian joint has the temerity, the cheek, the unabashed audacity to offer as an appetizer a brick of pure-white mozzarella, breaded, fried, and topped with...more cheese, then set afloat in a sea of marinara sauce like some cholesterol iceberg. Ahoy, cardiology clinic! More cheese, please!

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