Veggie Girl: Dazzle happy hour

After work, I often need a drink. Since I've been working at Westword, my after-work watering hole of choice has been Dazzle (930 Lincoln Street) -- which not only offers $4 specialty cocktails during happy hour, but great food options at $5 a pop.

But what really makes Dazzle stand out isn't the cheap deals or the cozy ambience that's perfect for both chatting with girlfriends or catching up with my husband. No, what's truly dazzling is the wide range of vegetarian options on the happy-hour menu. The macaroni and four cheeses is the most decadent, gourmet version of mac and cheese I've had in Denver; the combination of fontina, gouda, smoked cheddar and parmesan gives the dish a nice smoky flavor that makes some people think there's bacon in there, but it's 100 percent vegetarian.

For a good early dinner, I usually go with the French grilled cheese (filled with rich and delicious brie cheese and lingonberry jam) or the Southwestern grilled cheese (a gooey, satisfying combination of pepper jack cheese, green chile strips and a runny fried egg inside nicely toasted white bread). Both come with a good-sized serving of salty, crisp fries.

When I'm at Dazzle with a crowd, we often opt to share all the fun appetizer options. I've tried the grilled avocado, fried green tomatoes, baked brie in puff pastry, jalepeno artichoke casserole dip and parmesan fries -- and they've all been great.

It's hard not to be dazzled by the good service, great food and even greater prices at Dazzle. Dazzle's happy hour runs from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday with an additional short happy half-hour from midnight Saturday until 12:30 a.m. -- Aubrey Shoe

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