Bites 2013: Pad Thai Woon Sen
Here's a superstar plate for the gluten-free crowd, still a treat to non-restricted eaters. Rather than the wide rice noodles you're used to on standard Pad Thai, the Woon Sen is built on a base of thin "bean thread" noodles. They get the same stir-fry treatment with a rich peanut flavor, and though egg adds some protein, it's well worth the upcharge for soft prawns to contrast the bean sprouts' crunch. Heat level's up to your better judgment. ($6.80/$2.50 extra for shrimp)
Best Of 2013: Place to Eat Local/Sustainable
Best Of 2013: Restaurant for Herbivores
Best Of 2013: Neighborhood Restaurant: Manitou
Farley McDonough can joke about it now. When told that her restaurant, Adam's Mountain Café, is up for several Best Of awards, she asks, "In what category? The Restaurant Most Likely to Be Evacuated?" But it wasn't funny when the Aug. 9 flood plowed into Adam's, forcing weeks of cleanup, repairs and revenue loss. "I have to admit that, the night it happened, my mindset was that we would never open again," she says. "But it became apparent, very quickly, that there were so many people out there who love the café, love our food, love our staff, and wanted us to ride this out." Volunteers kept coming, bestowing an "incredible gift" to McDonough, her family and staff. Merely saying "thank you" isn't enough for her, so she promises that diners will always find food, service and atmosphere that meets or exceeds pre-flood levels of excellence. And that's pretty damn good. — Rhonda Van Pelt
Bites 2013: Christmas Mountain Falls
Yeah, the menu says Green or Red Mountain Falls, but locals know you can mix them to dramatic effect. Onto a bed of toasted polenta (yup — 'dem ITALian corn grits) capped in cheddar cheese come the vegetarian chilies garnished with scallions and tomatoes and cooled slightly by a dollop of sour cream. Get the added eggs your style (over medium, perhaps?) because the yolk adds another pleasing dimension. There you have it: Christmas year-round. ($7/$10.25 with two eggs).Click here for Adam's Mountain Cafe's Indian Braised Romanesco Recipe!