The advantage that food trucks have over full-fledged restaurants is their ability to explore untapped creative territory in street-food form. Chef Blaine Baggao is a former New Mexico resident whose family hails from the Philippines, and he puts his background to fine use on his food truck's menu. New Mexico-style green chile punched up with smoked pork carnitas struts its stuff atop fries, in breakfast burritos and on tacos; the chicken adobo, slow cooked in vinegar and soy sauce, is a Filipino recipe from Baggao's grandmother; and roasty carne adobada comes straight from the Land of Enchantment. Recent collaborative dinners with chef Penelope Wong have extended Adobo's brand of fusion into pan-Asian dumplings in fried and steamed format, further proving the versatility of Baggao's culinary heritage.

720-480-5898

adobodenver.com

Readers' Choice: Radical Sasquatch Dumpling Company

Brandon Becker has been around the block, cooking in a number of kitchens around Denver. But now, along with partner John Lugovich, he's got his own kitchen on wheels, so that he can bring his food to your favorite brewery or a special event where guests will find something a little more serious than simple street food. Becker offers a different menu of world cuisine each month or so, giving customers a taste of Moroccan or Venezuelan, Japanese or German; recent collaborations with chef Samantha New of Éclat Culinary have treated Cirque fans to a whole new range of flavors. Bring your own white tablecloths and candles to go with the gourmet grub.

720-833-8122

cirquekitchen.com

Crush Pizza + Tap
Mark Antonation

Jason McGovern loves pizza, and when the opportunity came up to rebrand his Denver Deep Dish and add pies that differed from the Chicago versions he grew up with, he gladly embraced the Sicilian style. Unlike the buttery, thick crust of his other popular option, the Sicilian's crust is fluffy —dense, but light — and comes loaded with just enough toppings to satisfy cravings without weighing it down. McGovern spent a lot of time researching before coming up with a formula he considers spot-on — and we're the happy recipients.

Readers' Choice: Blue Pan Pizza

Famous Original J's Pizza
Mark Antonation

New York pizza is one of the better-known thin-crust pie styles, so it should come as no surprise that this East Coast-influenced newcomer rises to the top. Helmed by Josh Pollack, owner of Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen and Lou's Italian Specialties, Famous Original J's speaks to Pollack's heritage and childhood. Order it by the slice or get a whole heaping pie to go, choosing from such classic toppings as pepperoni, onions, sausage, ricotta, mushrooms and olives. Or you can go completely vegan. Any way you slice it, this is great thin-crust pizza.

Readers' Choice: Marco's Coal-Fired

Blue Pan Pizza
Paul Joyner

Ever since Jeff Smokevitch and Giles Flanagin opened their first Blue Pan in West Highland in summer 2015, they've served up consistently good pizzas, whether you go for the Chicago thin crust, classic Italian or cheese-crusted Detroit style, which really put Blue Pan on the local pizza map. The pair opened a second location in Congress Park two years later, and it was another fast hit. As a bonus, kids can make their own pies at Blue Pan, topping them with quality cheese or any of the tasty accoutrements, including natural-casing pepperoni, hand-pinched Italian sausage, fennel, New York ricotta and more. Denver is on a Blue streak.

Readers' Choice: Pizzeria Lui

Leven Deli Co.
Mark Antonation

If the pastrami is good, the rest of the sandwich is sure to follow. And at Leven Deli, chef Luke Hendricks makes pastrami from scratch, starting with whole beef brisket that's cured for more than ten days before being smoked. The result is tender, flavorful meat that stacks into sandwiches so tasty you don't need much else to make you happy. Rye bread forms the base of the straight-up pastrami sandwich; a little pickled cabbage, Jarlsberg, house sauce and mustard combine in Leven's Reuben. If you're craving something lighter, this Golden Triangle deli serves a savory salmon-salad sandwich, a summery sub stuffed with tomatoes and burrata, and a housemade sourdough flatbread stuffed with mashed-chickpea salad. Unlike at old-school delis, you won't find twenty different sandwiches here, but what's offered is done right, making Leven a truly special specialist.

Readers' Choice: Stack Subs

Pony Up
Mark Antonation

Chef Sheamus Feeley knows how to make a solid French dip, a specialty at this LoDo spot. While Pony Up offers many versions of the classic sandwich — even a pho style — we go for a more traditional option. Dubbed the Alameda Street Classic, it comprises shaved beef, rosemary and mayonnaise on springy French bread, and is served with a cup of velvety beef jus so good you could easily sip it like soup rather than use it as a dip.

Roaming Buffalo Bar-B-Que
Danielle Lirette

The smokehouse competition has gotten fierce in Denver in recent years, with a whole new truckload of pit masters bringing their distinct styles to town. But none stands out quite so much as Coy and Rachael Webb's four-year-old joint, where the meats seldom last beyond lunchtime. The reason is Roaming Buffalo's dedication to Colorado meats and cooking traditions combined with Coy's Texas upbringing. Locally raised lamb shanks and bison ribs and sausage are among the daily selections, but there's almost always something special coming from the smoker, so frequent stops are encouraged. And just when we think we've had our fill, the Webbs roll out something new, like mouthwatering brisket tamales just right for dunking in the eatery's Ragin Buffalo barbecue sauce. Just follow the smoke signals to south Denver.

Readers' Choice: Roaming Buffalo Bar-B-Que

Rolling Smoke Bar-B-Que
Danielle Lirette

Oklahoman Terry Walsh brought his brand of 'cue to the streets of Denver in 2014, perfuming the air with slow-cooked pork shoulder and other meats for three years before settling in at Stanley Marketplace, where two enormous outdoor smokers give a hint of the flavors awaiting at the walk-up counter inside. In spring 2018, Rolling Smoke became a duo, with a second outpost in Centennial. Whichever one you choose, be ready to stuff yourself with sliced brisket, burnt ends, pork spare ribs, turkey or hot links. Since the mark of any great barbecue is a stupid-big sandwich, you'll want to fast for a day or two before clamping your jaws around El Jefe, a monster layered with slaw, beans and three kinds of meat.

Smok
Linnea Covington

Yes, this RiNo hotspot is known for its really good barbecue, but it also serves some mean deviled eggs. To make the classic dish, chef Bill Espiricueta whips creamy egg yolks with puréed pickles, imparting a tangy green and slightly salty essence. Each batch gets piped into egg-white cups to order, so the appetizer never comes out rubbery and always tastes fresh. A slice of pickled jalapeño on top adds crunchy heat to each bite, making the best even better.

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