100 Favorite Dishes: chocolate caramel sea salt tart from Spuntino

Suffice it to say that I eat out more than the general population, unless, of course, the general population can catalog more than 450 restaurant meals in a year -- which is about the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners that I stomached in 2012. Pathetic, isn't it? But all those food dates are worth the gluttony, because it allows us to tell you where you should eat, a little favor that we started in late 2009, when we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- 100, to be exact. Now we're back with round three, counting down (in no particular order) 100 more of our favorite dishes in Denver (and Boulder). If there's something particular that you think we need to try, reveal it in the comments section below, or shoot me an e-mail at lori.midson@westword.com.

No. 98: chocolate caramel sea salt tart from Spuntino

There are people -- lots of people -- who will swear to you, from the depths of their sinful souls, that chocolate is the nearest thing to heaven for humans. And, who knows? They may very well be right. I'm not a dessert fiend, and, when it comes to chocolate, I'm annoyingly dismissive. But there's one dessert, where chocolate is front and center, that I absolutely love, and it often makes a guest appearance in my culinary dreams. It's the devil that squats on my shoulder, reminding me, with a wicked smirk, that chocolate is worth the fanfare.

That dessert, which really needs no introduction, is the chocolate caramel sea salt tart from Spuntino, the charming restaurant in Highland that parades the prowess of pastry empress Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, whose husband, John Broening, is the equally talented chef. It's a dessert that I'm so enamored with, that I'm not ashamed to admit that it sinks me to my knees, and there have been times -- several, actually -- when I've eaten one, and ordered a second to protect for later. The tart is an irresistible showstopper, a decadent, luxurious confection that benefits from the use of high quality chocolate, a buttery, beautiful crust, the sweet eruption of creamy caramel and crunchy crystals of sea salt. This is a dessert that will never die, but when I do, I hope that wherever I go (it most definitely won't be be heaven), this is the welcoming gift at the gate.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2013 countdown are linked below:

No. 100: Foie gras oysters from Sushi Sasa No. 99: Porchetta from Parisi

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