It doesn't take a late-night raid of leftover Halloween candy to make you feel like a kid again. At the District, which I review this week, you can relive your lunchbox days with a better peanut-butter-and-jelly than Mom ever packed. This Uptown eatery serves the sandwich beer-battered and fried, with a side of housemade berry jam standing in for grape jelly.
Other restaurants have also found a sweet spot in catering to kids and kids at heart. Here are five favorites: See also: Review of the District, Which Is Making a Course Correction
5) Devil's Food Bakery & Cookery 1020 South Gaylord Street Devil's Food makes a gussied-up version of Rice Krispies treats with a blend of housemade and store-bought marshmallows, sprinkles and "more butter than you normally do," says pastry chef Lauren Seibert, who has a hard time keeping them in stock during the after-school rush. 4) Mercantile Dining & Provision 1701 Wynkoop Street At Mercantile Dining & Provision, another retro treat flies off the shelves: LCO cookies, aka housemade Oreos. "My favorite cookie is the Oreo," says pastry chef Lonne Cunningham, who moved to Denver this summer after working for award-winning chef James Lewis in Birmingham. As with other chefs who have put their mark on this childhood staple, Cunningham experiments with the fillings, stuffing them with everything from white chocolate-Grand Marnier to Valrhona chocolate ganache, depending on the day. And while that may disappoint purists who think the only thing to sandwich between cookie wafers -- chocolate, of course -- is vanilla crème, don't pass judgment until you try one.
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3) The Kitchen Next Door 1701 Wynkoop Street For a shake to go with your cookie, wander through Union Station to The Kitchen Next Door. Bar manager Kristi Johnson whips up a mean vanilla shake, thick but not so thick you can't slurp it through a straw. Just don't let the kids sneak a sip; the boozy version contains an ounce and a half of whiskey, your choice of well or premium. 2) Elway's Cherry Creek 2500 East First Avenue For a dessert the whole family can enjoy, try Elway's Cherry Creek, where you can make s'mores like you used to do around the campfire, toasting marshmallows over a mini tableside flame until they're as golden or as black as you like. Here, though, the s'mores are even better than you remember: The chocolate is ganache, and there's no smoke to get in your eyes. The dessert has been on the menu from the beginning, and it's easy for culinary director Tyler Wiard to see why. "It's fun to have those old-school, comforting desserts," says Wiard. "[Guests] had them as a kid camping and don't get to have them very often." 1) The District 1320 East 17th Avenue The beer-battered, deep-fried peanut butter sandwich makes a sweet end to a meal at the District.