Five great dishes for fighting the winter chill

It's been a warm week in the Mile High City, but we're dropping below freezing every night as the days inch toward winter. As I noted in my review of Pho Duy this week, the drop in temperature makes me crave pho, a hot noodle soup perfect for fighting the cold. But that's just one of our five favorite go-to dishes when we want to chase away winter's chill.

Pork Udon: Bones, 701 Grant Street Unable to warm up after watching the Broncos lose at Invesco Field at Mile High a few weeks ago, we made a beeline from the playing field to Frank Bonanno's noodle shop, where we slurped a big bowl of steaming, savory broth filled with thick, chewy noodles and tender chunks of pork and topped with a yolky poached egg. Moments later, we were shedding layers of clothing, settling contentedly into our seats.

Cassoulet: Z Cuisine, 2239 West 30th Avenue Z Cuisine serves this hearty blend of succulent duck confit, tender braised pork shoulder, housemade sausage and earthy white beans year-round, but we don't really crave it until the winter months, when we're apt to feast on the slow-cooked homey concoction until we burst. Or fall into a food coma, thanks to the cozy lull of Z Cuisine's dining room.

Beef Noodle Soup: Lao Wang Noodle House, 945 South Federal Boulevard As I noted in my review of Lao Wang Noodle House, some spicy beef noodle soup -- rich with long rice noodles and chunks of braised beef and enlivened with plenty of five-spice -- would be the ideal remedy to nurse a cold. But pho, because it's so fortifying, is the perfect cure-all to any winter illness.

Mac-n-Cheese, Argyll, 2700 East 3rd Avenue We go through a macaroni-and-cheese bingefest each year, embracing the simple, decadent dish for its comforting qualities. And at least once during that time period, we head to Argyll, where the mac-n-cheese -- rigatoni studded with bacon, peas and shrimp, doused in a rich sauce made from five cheeses, then topped with breadcrumbs and baked -- is a full meal extravaganza, The basement digs of the pub are where we'd opt to wait out a storm, too, sipping beers at the dark bar.

Other favorites? Add them in the comments section.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk