Living in Burger Utopia: A preview of this week's food section

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I believe that a great cheeseburger can change your life. Depending on the circumstances, depending on the time, the place, the company or lack thereof, your age and, most important, depending on the cheeseburger itself, a truly great one can alter your fate, leave you feeling elated and in a rush of love, confident that, at least in one aspect of your life, you have found the best and will forever have a solid base against which to judge all others. Most of us will never drive the greatest car ever made. Most of us will never live in the greatest house, own the greatest diamond, know the greatest men or drink the greatest wine ever decanted. Yes, we can say that the new Hyundai is better than our twelve-year-old Stanza, but we can't compare it in any real sense to that Bugatti or the McLaren F1, can we? We can drink the $200 bottle of Chateau D'Yquem and know that it is good, possibly great, but without independent means, a trust fund, a streak of fiscal suicide in our hearts, we will never be able to compare it to the '47 Cheval Blanc.

Colorado has a lot of great cheeseburgers. And in this week's paper? I think I write about almost all of them.

To start, there's the review of Larkburger -- both the original in Edwards and the new location, opened recently in Boulder. As always, it was an adventure, rendered in graphic detail.

Following that, there's an interview with Tom Ryan -- the man who invented Smashburger and looks to be on track to being Colorado's Next Big Thing. Things have changed quite a bit since he opened his first shop a couple years back. For example, by the end of next year, he plans on having 120 locations up and running. And that's just for starters...

Finally, this week's Second Helping takes me back to The Counter -- a California-based burger chain that found a foothold at Park Meadows and has been dishing out their super-gourmet cheeseburgers ever since.

It's a big week for all the burger-lovers in the crowd. And for you vegetarians? Might I humbly suggest that you head on out to Park Burger (reviewed a few weeks back), order yourselves a nice veggie burger (they serve what I swear might be the best one in the city), read the new paper when it comes out and dream of what life could've been had you just made peace with eating ground cow ...

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