part 4 of 4

Best Dessert Fondue
La Bonne Soupe
Writer Square

The word fondue is French for melted, which doesn't even begin to describe what La Bonne Soupe does to good-quality Swiss chocolate once it starts adding the Cognac and honey. The rich, sweet brew arrives in a big pewter crock suspended over a flame and surrounded by sliced bananas, strawberries and cubes of the restaurant's incredible lemon poppyseed cake. Dip it all in there--watch out for your tie--and get a glimpse of nirvana. Now think about that fondue set you received for a wedding present twenty years ago. Getting any ideas?

Best Chocolate Cake
Rocky Mountain Diner
800 18th St.

If you eat your cake first and save the frosting for last, you'll have a lot to look forward to after dinner at the Diner. Adorned with walnuts and presented as more of a slab than a slice, the five-layer offering made on the Rocky Mountain Diner's premises can easily feed two--and best of all, it's topped off with a two-inch-thick coat of butter-cream frosting sure to strike mortal fear into calorie-counters. Not to worry. At a mere $2.95 per serving, you'll have plenty left over for your Weight Watchers dues.

Best Brownies
850 Bannock St.

Racine's takes an everyday indulgence and moves it to a higher plane. Using such ingredients as white chocolate and raspberries, coconut and cream or peanut butter and chocolate chips, the in-house bakery pumps out five or six kinds of brownies daily. When the kids feel neglected or you've been bad and need to make amends, stop by Racine's and pick up a few big blocks of bliss. All is quickly forgiven.

Best Carrot Cake
Star Market Deli
2357 E. Evans Ave.

What's up, Doc? If carrots make you smarter, the cook here must have eaten a whole truckload, because for twenty years the Star Market has been baking the moistest carrot cake around. Head straight for the back deli bin, where you'll find fat squares of it for a buck. Leave it in your fridge or out on the counter for a week--it'll still taste fresh.

Best Cheesecake
Romano's Cheesecake
1842 S. Parker Rd.

Smile and say cheese. That's what you'll do at Romano's, where the town's creamiest, densest, lightest, fluffiest, cheesiest cheesecake is made. Although we keep coming back for the Bailey's Irish Cream and Black Forest models, the plain is anything but. Randy and Linda Romano usually have about ten types available by the slice for those mild cravings, and whole cakes of five or six flavors; they'll also bake to order (call the day before) from a far more extensive list.

Best Desserts
Pour La France!
730 S. University Blvd.
1001 Pearl St., Boulder

This bistro serves an internationally inspired menu noted for its emphasis on light fare with sauces made from vinaigrettes instead of butter and cream. But Pour La France! also boasts quite a dessert selection for which no ingredient is too rich or sinful. No fewer than twelve ways to blow your diet are made fresh daily, with such tempting titles as brownie cheesecake, lemon Charlotte, chocolate truffle cake and kiwi tart. The kitchen also puts out a heavenly baklava cheesecake and plenty of pastries filled with all sorts of mousses. Readers' choice: Strings

Best Dessert
Chocolate Truffle
Zenith American Grill
1750 Lawrence St.

Executive chef Kevin Taylor has proven his talents time and time again on everything from soups to appetizers to entrees. With dessert, though, he shows that his mastery of complex combinations is second to none. The warm chocolate goo housed inside delicate sheaves of phyllo and served with pistachio custard sauce makes for the kind of stomach sensations normally only associated with love at first sight. This dessert takes fifteen minutes to come out of the kitchen, but you can prepare yourself by jogging around the parking garage.

Best Chips and Salsa
Las Brisas
6787 S. Clinton St., Englewood

Although Las Brisas' chips are the standard just-fried, corn-tortilla type, the salsa makes this duo something special. Always fresh, the pureed-to-chunky combination of tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, scallions, a touch of garlic and (not too much) cilantro is a dipping delight.

Best Red Chile
Curtis Park Creamery
908 30th Ave.

Given the neighborhood, your senses are already tingling before you step inside the Creamery, a tiny combination market/kitchen at the edge of Curtis Park. Now add to the rush with an order of the chile--over a taco, a homemade tamale or just on its own. A tastebud-singeing blend of chiles, onions, garlic and assorted other spices, its mere memory has us still seeing red.

Readers' choice: Benny's Cantina

Best Green Chile
Mexico City Lounge
2115 Larimer St.

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