Food doesn't always have to be fancy or fussed over to be great. Sometimes it just needs to be the right dish at the right time. In cold and blustery weather, when stumbling into a cafe steamy with vapors from coffee and big pots of whatever's simmering in the kitchen, the criteria veers toward hearty and warming first, with only a vague thought of visual appeal. DJ's 9th Avenue Cafe — the younger sibling of the original DJ's Berkeley Cafe — dishes up some worthy breakfast dishes in the tradition of diners throughout the city, but the kitchen's chorizo breakfast stew stands out as a cold-weather classic, a brimming bowl of meat and veggies to warm the belly and the soul.
See also: 100 Favorite Dishes of 2014
Don't expect Mexican flavors though; other than the chorizo, this dish stays well north of the border. And even the chorizo, crumbled and interspersed among thick coins of potato and smaller half-moons of stewed carrot, doesn't intrude with much heat or spice.
The stew itself is actually more of a soup, with an unthickened broth heavy with chunks of tomato and the flavor of dried herbs. Two expertly poached eggs — with firm whites and soft yolks — sit atop a raft of crunchy baguette ovals, giving the dish the right eggy balance to qualify as a breakfast meal — but it's just as good and warming at lunchtime. A sprinkling of gremolata gives just the right amount of brightness from lemon zest and parsley.
With so many omelets, pancakes, Benedicts and scrambles available throughout Denver, it's easy enough to find a traditional breakfast any day of the week. But when the weather dips into the single digits, DJ's is there for you with a morning meal to keep you toasty all day.
In advance of the Best of Denver 2015, we're loading our plates with contenders for the best dishes in the city. And over the next few months, we'll be sharing many of them with you, counting down (in no particular order) one hundred of our favorite dishes before the the Best of Denver 2015 hits the streets on March 26. In the meantime, if there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
No. 100: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta No. 99: Gurage Kitfo at Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant No. 98: Cochinita Pibil at Work & Class No. 97: The Greggers Tongue Sandwich at Olive & Finch No 96: Baum Cakes at Glaze by Sasa No. 95: Goat hot pot from Viet's No 94: Head cheese from Beast + Bottle No. 93: Kettle Chips from Amerigo Delicatus No. 92: Pork Belly Confit at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar No. 91: Tacos Campechanos from La Calle Taqueria No. 90: Biscuits from Denver Biscuit Co. No. 89: Clams and Chorizo at Gozo No. 88: Aburi Sushi at Sushi Den and Izakaya Den No. 87: Kimchi and Sausage Torta at City, O' City No. 86: Mar y Tierra Molcajete at Paxia No. 85: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top No. 84: Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall No. 83: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico No. 82: Scallop Crudo at Stoic & Genuine No. 81: Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana No. 80: The Lambada Torta at La Torteria No. 79: Pork Bulgogi at Dae Gee No. 78: the Pulled Pork Pig Pen Sandwich at Boney's No. 77: IPA Mac & Cheese at Hops & Pie No. 76: Chiles en Nogada at Chili Verde No. 75: Udon Noodle Bowl at Bones No. 74: Cinnamon Rolls at the Duffeyroll Cafe No. 73: Smoked Turkey Croque-Madame at Acorn No. 72: Pickled Lake Michigan Perch at Trillium No. 71: Oysters at Jax Fish House Glendale No. 70: Venezuelan Tostadas at Empanada Express Grill No. 69: Tahini Cauliflower from Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs No. 68: The Ham and Cheese Tartita from Maria Empanada No. 67: Ronnie's Favorite from Rosenberg's Bagels and Deli No. 66: Shoo-fly Pie from the Long i Pie Shop No. 65: Czech Potato Pancakes at Sobo 151 No. 64: Fried Chicken at the Post Brewing Co. No. 63: Braised Brisket Sandwich at Masterpiece Delicatessen No. 62: The Scotch Egg from Argyll Whisky Beer No. 61: Butternut Squash Ravioli at DiFranco's No. 60: Sesame Balls at Vinh Xuong Bakery No. 59: Curry Puffs at Suvipa Thai Food No. 58: Diavola Pizza at Pizzeria Locale
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