During my first year in Denver, I’ve had lots of amazing food I haven’t had a chance to write about yet. Now that the end of the year is here, it’s time to give props to some of those fabulous spots.
First off is my list of the top five best brunch or breakfasts I’ve had in 2016.
#5: Voodoo Doughnut
In a town where it’s a struggle to find a pharmacy open at 3 am, who would have guessed that there’d be a joint where you could reliably get delightful sugary pastry 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Thankfully, the Mile High outpost of Voodoo Doughnuts answers the call of all Denver-based donut emergencies 361 days a year (they are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and the company party day in Feb) as long as you pay in cash (there is an ATM in the store).
Known for their colorfully-named and off-the-wall combinations, a visit to Voodoo is kinda like being a kid from detention hall raiding the candy store.
The Voodoo Doll donut is a yeast doughnut filled impaled with a pretzel stake and filled with raspberry jelly that delightfully squirts out like blood when you chew off its limbs.
The Loop is completely covered with colorful Fruit Loops, hanging on to the donut with the help of vanilla glaze.
Such a fun treat for breakfast (or dessert, or lunch…), with most donuts costing less than $3.
#4: Uber Eats
Not to be confused with the ride-sharing company’s foray into the food delivery space, Uber Eats is a super low-key space in Highlands churns out the yums at an affordable price.
Their classic Breakfast Sandwich is $7 and is delicious. The food is straightforward in the best way possible. No fancy or complicated ingredients, just two eggs over medium, with your choice of maple sausage or bacon (I recommend the maple sausage), finished with a slice of American cheese on a brioche bun. It’s sweet, salty, buttery, and so filling.
A tasty way to start the day off right.
For the ultimate comfort food breakfast, no place does it better than Sassafrass. Their southern-twinged menu always delivers.
Their Chicken Fried Eggs & Buffalo Hash ($13) is completely decadent with a hash made of local buffalo smoked over Pecan wood and topped with a perfectly cooked fried six-minute eggs topped with fresno chilli hollandaise and served with a side of house-made corn bread.
The Stuffed French Toast features sugar-coated pecans and fresh berries, and in the middle of the stack of battered brioche bread is berry-flavored cream. Yum!
#2: Aloy Modern Thai
It’s no secret that I have a thing for Aloy Modern Thai after completely gushing about this Ballpark eatery earlier this year. Just a couple months ago I swung by ATM before the Broncos game to check out their Thai take on brunch. With inspiration coming from some of their most popular dishes on the lunch and dinner time menu, this brunch was unlike any other I’ve had in Denver.
I still dream of the Lemongrass Chicken & Waffle ($13) dish. ATM’s fried lemongrass chicken is absolutely amazing, and for brunch, they paired it with bacon, a house made Belgian waffle, and delightful coconut palm syrup. Such a lovely change from the typical fried chicken ‘n’ waffle dishes you’ll find just about everywhere.
Stanton got the Potato Skillet ($13), a small cast iron serving a hash with potato, carrot, onion, mushroom, sweet pepper, house spicy Thai sausage, swiss cheese, topped with two free range eggs. Thai sausage for breakfast? So genius!
However, I’m so sad to report that the brunch is no more – when we went two weekends ago they informed us that since they changed their weekend hours, they axed the brunch menu. Really sad, but you can still order that incredible lemongrass chicken on the lunch/dinner appetizer menu and maybe Bring Your Own Waffle?
Hands down my favorite brunch of 2016. Over the summer we were looking to pair a bike ride with brunch, so I decided to try out this well-reviewed restaurant for brunch. Duo‘s refined and utterly delicious take on classic brunch dishes took my breath away. This restaurant has been around for several years (you can read an old New York Times review about the restaurant that’s framed in the bathroom) and it is not surprising, because with the top notch kitchen they run, they must constantly get repeat business.
I ordered the Zippy Cake ($12), a beautiful tower of poached eggs topping a rich and flavorful poached chicken grit cake with tomato caper sauce and greens.
Stanton ordered the Egg-in-the-Basket ($13) with eggs baked in challah bread, topped with tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil almond pesto, and a stack of arugula, dressed with sherry gastrique. A side order of cheesy grits was pretty heavenly and Stanton fell in love with their Gin Pickler cocktail ($8) made of Leopold’s gin, fresh lime juice, The Real Deal brine, and soda.
It’s probably one of the most elegant brunches I’ve ever had. Every dish felt like a wonderful culinary present the chef had made just for us. The service was stellar, the vibe unstuffy despite the impeccable food they were serving.