Best Eggs Benedict 2018 | Hashtag | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Danielle Lirette

Eggs Benedict were almost invented to be messed with. The basic construction of English muffin, Canadian bacon, a poached egg and some Hollandaise sauce cries out for variations; nearly every one of the ingredients — except the egg itself — can be swapped out for an upgrade from the stodgy breakfast-buffet original. Chef/restaurateur Troy Guard gives tradition its due with a properly executed Benny at his new Stapleton breakfast joint, but he also dashes decorum with a lamb-neck Benedict with Latin flair. Shreds of slow-cooked lamb soak up an almost impossible amount of braising liquid, further augmented by a ladleful of green chile. Purists will be pleased at the sight of sunny-yellow Hollandaise, with some greens peeking out for good measure. Guard stuck his (lamb) neck out for something unique, and the risk paid off.

Readers' Choice: Snooze

Denver's artisan bread scene is thriving, with many a boule and baguette coming straight from the oven. But not all of these items rise to the occasion. Bread dough is tricky and temperamental, but baker John Hinman gets it right, especially in burger buns found on some of the city's best burgers. Pie dough is an equally tricky proposition, though, and it's here that Hinman excels, cooking up whole pies and hand pies — both savory and sweet — whose perfect buttery, flaky crusts ensconce and augment fillings that range from a simple yet extraordinary cherry to whiskey pecan to flights of fancy that reference green chile or biscuits and gravy. Whether you track down his baked goods at this hidden Park Hill bakery or at a Front Range farmers' market, Hinman makes every day Pi Day.

Readers' Choice: Grateful Bread Company

Courtesy Raleigh Street Bakery Facebook page

David Kaminer's bakery isn't an efficient, commercial facility with gleaming ovens and mixers, nor is it an artisan storefront in a trendy neighborhood or market hall. Instead, Raleigh Street Bakery is in Kaminer's garage, behind his house on a quiet residential block in northwest Denver. He built his wood-burning oven with the help of friends and family, got approval under Denver's cottage-industry regulations, and in 2014 began turning out some of the city's most beautiful rustic breads. The baker relies on the time-honored pain au levain method to proof his dough naturally over several days, using heritage grains such as einkorn and blue tinge emmer to build layers of flavor. You can track down his crusty baguettes, dense rye loaves and other creations on Raleigh Street every Friday, at Call to Arms Brewing on Mondays, and at select farmers' markets during summer months.

Courtesy Boulangerie Facebook page

Steven Roland, owner of the Boulangerie, is best known for his baguettes and other crusty French and Italian loaves. But leave it to a guy who once worked as a private chef at the British Embassy in Oslo to put out the best scone in town. These golden, fruit-filled treats are so impossibly tender, you know they're filled with plenty of butter, buttermilk and cream. Flavors vary, so you can drop by for blueberry-almond one day and cherry the next. Settle into the sunny space with something to read and a piping hot Americano and be glad that Roland, a recent transplant, chose to make Denver home.

Whether you drop by Hotbox Roasters Cafe for a shot of caffeine or a beer (taps open weekdays at 7 a.m.), you'll definitely want a doughnut with that. This triple-concept cafe, part of Oskar Blues Fooderies, cranks out roughly twenty hand-cut varieties while you're sleeping, so doughnuts are fresh every morning. Don't miss the glazed, a ring of yeast-raised yumminess that takes two hours to make and is full-bodied thanks to high-protein bread flour. And by all means, venture out of your comfort zone with the Earl Grey-lavender (trust us), with a colorful drizzle of naturally flavored frosting. If you're a cake purist, you'll be hot for Hotbox's cake doughnuts, which are tender but never oily. The blueberry is a fan fave, but we can't resist the vanilla-scented old-fashioned and the chocolate glazed. So don't kid yourself when you're at the front of the line: You'll want a box, not a bag, and whichever side of the raised/cake divide you fall on, you can go home with plenty of both.

Readers' Choice: Voodoo Doughnut

Courtesy Logan House Coffee Company Facebook page

Being a new coffee shop inside the Stanley Marketplace has its advantages and disadvantages. You have a captive audience of market-goers and looky-loos venturing into the cavernous space for shopping, dining and satisfying their curiosity; surely some of them will need a caffeine kick. But hanging out in what's essentially a mall (a really cool reinvention of a mall, to be sure) may not be the standard cafe cool cat's idea of a good time. Still, Logan House has won over suburbanites and hipsters alike with one simple thing: great coffee. While not as bright and acidic as some modern city-roast specialists, the beans are just roasty enough to appeal to those who prefer a mellower cup. Enjoy this great coffee in a sunny, inviting shop where you can spread out to study, work or people-watch, an ideal urban, industrial-chic environment — even if it's miles from the city center.

Readers' Choice: Dandy Lion Coffee

Amethyst Coffee Co. isn't just a cool spot to grab a cup of coffee; it's also got all the fixin's of a cocktail bar, including a beer menu. And while there's no specialty cocktail menu to order from, barista-bartenders can whip up anything you desire, including the classics. Our favorite coffee-inspired beverage is "If You Can Dodge a Wrench," made with vodka, fresh orange juice, Dimmi Liquore di Milano and Marble Moonlight Espresso liqueur and topped with a cold-brew float. It combines two of our favorite brunch drinks into one, effectively killing two birds — and hopefully your hangover — with one stone.

Best Coffee Drinks in a Cocktail Bar

Hudson Hill

Danielle Lirette

When you think like a bartender, even your coffee comes out like a mixologist's masterpiece. Hudson Hill owner Jake Soffes applies his skill at blending complementary flavors to a morning menu of espresso drinks that will make you set aside your plain old latte for something a little more uplifting. Starting with beans from Denver's Commonwealth Coffee, Hudson Hill turns out stellar staples — cappuccinos, cortados and macchiatos, for example — and weekly specials in which you'll find rooibos or Earl Grey tea mingling with coffee, a brûléed sugar crust atop your caramel latte, or a shaken iced coffee punctuated with housemade ginger and hawthorn syrups. When life is bitter, Hudson Hill adds just the right hint of sweet.

Overt is the coffee-shop counter sibling of Vert, the sandwich shop just a couple of doors down. Overt doesn't offer any indoor seating, but tucked behind the building is a patio that you'll wish was behind your home. The secluded space is full of benches and tables with umbrellas, and on a nice day, it's the ideal spot to read a book, enjoy your coffee or a cold beverage with a Vert grab-and-go salad, meet a friend or just work on your tan.

Best Non-Coffee Drinks at a Coffee Shop

Joe Maxx Coffee

Courtesy Joe Maxx Coffee Co. Denver Facebook page

Are you meeting a friend for coffee, but aren't a fan of coffee itself? Lots of shops offer alternatives, such as various teas, chai and hot cocoa. But Joe Maxx, right in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe, goes a step further, using housemade syrups to liven up tea lattes. Lavender tea latte is made with Earl Grey and lavender syrup, rose tea latte with English breakfast and rose syrup. There's kombucha on tap, too, or you can just skip the drink altogether and order a slice of crepe pie, fancy toast or quiche.

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