As 5280’s new food editor, there’s something I must confess: I don’t like eggs. It sounds crazy, I know. A food professional who dislikes America’s favorite breakfast fare is akin to a baker who disdains butter or a carpenter with a phobia of splinters. “You’re a freak,” my chef boyfriend (now husband), Bill, declared when he learned of my secret.
This aversion—which took hold at age two when I objected to a rushed breakfast of scrambled eggs and applesauce by, well, reversing the meal—is not my choice. It is, however, my problem, because I love food. My job, for the past 13 years, has been to cook and eat in order to write and edit food stories for magazines and digital publications. Before that, I went to culinary school and worked the line at two white-tablecloth Manhattan restaurants: Blue Hill NYC and Fleur de Sel. I’ve had to prepare—and, begrudgingly, taste—a lot of eggs, from pickled quail specimens and traditional tortilla española to countless Benedicts and a sous-vide Scotch egg mashup. My low point was an assignment to create six recipes for a deviled egg story. (I’m pretty sure I was being hazed at the time.)
But since moving to Denver from Danbury, Connecticut, two years ago, my condition has improved—perhaps because my distaste for eggs is no match for the skillful cooking and delicious offerings of Colorado’s vibrant, ever-expanding dining scene. As evidence, take the original Pizzeria Locale’s Cavolini pizza, which I recently ordered during a daytrip to Boulder. I correctly guessed that the smoky Scamorza cheese, Brussels sprouts, and “ ’nduja” (soft, spicy salami) would cancel out the runny egg in the center of the pie; I wolfed it down, yolky bits and all.
Then there’s Crema Coffee House’s quiche. The first time I was tempted into ordering a slice, it was thanks to its filling of brisket, caramelized onions, and Gruyère. When it arrived, the aroma wafting my way was of buttery pastry and cheese, not eggs—a good sign. I took a small bite, angling to capture some brisket on my fork to offset the inevitable egg overload…which never came. Instead, the custard melted, leaving behind a hint of sweet cream—no sulfuric aftertaste—and the flaky crust shattered. I took another bite, bigger this time. Tender chunks of meat, nutty cheese, and silken egg came together inside that pastry like nothing I’ve ever tasted.
With dishes like this waiting in seemingly every market hall, restaurant, bar, and coffeeshop, I promise to continue pushing my palate to uncover Colorado’s best fare. I’m excited to share my discoveries with you in these pages and on 5280.com, and I hope you’ll let me know if you find a tasty bite or refreshing drink in your travels around the Centennial State. You can reach me at [email protected] or on Twitter and Instagram (@DeniseMickelsen). All recommendations are welcome—even those that might be made over easy, hard-boiled, or deviled.