Longform

FOOD & DRINK

part 3 of 5
Best Pie Made by a CIA Graduate
Granny Scott's Pie Shop
3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd.

You won't find any granny here. Instead, behind the counter is Scott Meyerson, Culinary Institute of America graduate and pie-maker extraordinaire. Realizing that the art of pie-making was getting lost in the shuffle of flourless chocolate cakes and creme brulees, Meyerson decided to do something about it. Of course, when he says he's making pies just like grandma used to make, he's talking about one who went to the Cordon Bleu school of cooking. Each pie sports a top that looks like a view across the Rockies, all meringue and soft, flaky crust. The fillings are equally spectacular; for example, the nut and brandy pie, made from an old New Orleans recipe, mixes macadamias, pecans, walnuts, pistachios and peanuts with white chocolate. And it only looks like some matron gave up her dining-room furniture in order to turn Granny Scott's from a sterile mall space into a cozy, comfortable dining parlor perfect for a cup of coffee and a warm slice of pie.

Best Pie Not Made by a CIA Graduate
Pete's Kitchen
1962 E. Colfax Ave.

Pete's son Dean makes the pies, and these look more like something your average grandmother would cook up--lard-crusted, tooth-achingly sweet and oh-so-good with a big glass of milk. The offerings vary, but the fruits--cherry, peach, apple, blueberry--are almost always available, along with one or two unusual models such as German chocolate, peanut-butter chocolate and chocolate chocolate chip. Get a wedge to finish off a meal that started with one of Pete's bodacious burgers, or call a day ahead to get the whole humble pie. And if the craving for pie hits late, Pete's is open round the clock on the weekend.

Best Sweet Potato Pie
M&D's Fish & Bar-B-Q Palace
2004 E. 28th Ave.

Once you've polished off one of M&D's huge, Best of Denver-winning platters of barbecued ribs or buttery battered fish, cozied up to side dishes of potato salad, greens or sugary baked beans and washed everything down with Mason jars filled with sugary lemonade, who's counting calories? When you're that close to heaven, why not just amble right on through the gates? M&D's sweet-potato pie will show you the way. This dessert belongs at the end of a hearty meal, especially when the lightly blackened edges of its unshowy crust give away the human touch that's so essential to the M&D's experience. If you ask us, heaven is definitely a sweet, slightly juicy, burnt-orange color.

Best Pecan Pie
Bourbon Street Original Pizza Bar
5139 S. Yosemite St., Greenwood Village

What kind of nut would order pecan pie in a pizza place? A nut who knows that Bourbon Street's pecan pie is the chewy-gooey-ooeyest around, four inches tall and chockfull of pecans, corn syrup, eggs and a generous splash of bourbon. And it's all crammed into a crust as smooth and flaky as a French Quarter shoeshine man.

Best Chocolates
Cocoloco
1525 15th St.

If you're just after chocolate, pick up a Hershey Bar. But if you want to revel in an experience that's both tasteful and tasty, head to Cocoloco. The LoDo shop and eatery's logo--a naked woman lounging before a bouquet of cocoa leaves--perfectly captures the ambience. Quotidian cares are easily doffed when indulging in Cocoloco's seductive confections (the Denver Nuggets feature a splash of Jack Daniel's) and gourmet selection of coffees, liqueurs and desserts.

Best Cookies
Colorado Cookie Company
1525 Market St.

Chewy and fresh--because they're made right here in downtown Denver--these cookies are a great deal at 65 cents each or three for $1.75. You can choose from old standbys like peanut butter, oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip, but even better are the awesome soft sugar cookies, oatmeal chocolate-chip coconut, chocolate peanut-butter swirl and chocolate chocolate-chip walnut cookies. The Colorado Cookie Company also sells brownies, big frosted cookie "cakes" and decorative gift packages. And special punch-card holders can buy eleven cookies and get the twelfth one free. As though we needed the incentive!

Best Ice Cream
Cucina Leone
763 S. University Blvd.

We all scream for the kind of ice cream that Cucina Leone's makes--rich, creamy, not too soft or hard, filled with toothsome tidbits and laden with calories. Cucina answers our call with banana-bourbon-cinnamon, white raspberry brownie, chocolate peanut butter and espresso, all made with as much cream and eggs as can be packed into an ice-cream maker. For the calorie-conscious, there's an equally (believe it!) scrumptious low-fat French chocolate, as well as a chocolate sorbet and a slew of fruit sorbets packed with fresh flavor. Yell for more.

Best Carrot Cake
Pete's Fruit and Vegetables
5600 E. Cedar Ave.

Past the fresh produce spilling out onto the sidewalk, past the arborio rice and the pine nuts, past the dried pasta and the mascarpone cheese, Pete's has tucked away a modest bakery that's responsible for making the best carrot cake in town. Not only is it the richest, densest, butteriest carrot cake imaginable, it's also topped with the cream-cheesiest of icings. Baker Marilyn Callender uses freshly grated cloves and nutmeg, which gives the cake its intense flavor, and she grates the carrots fine to let the butter--and there's a lot of it, to be sure--take over the batter. The only "What's up, doc?" here is when you get your cholesterol checked after your fortieth piece.

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