There are times when we look for more than just nourishment from our meals—we seek a spoonful of relief, a bowl of love, a slice of solace. Be it Denver's most decadent mashed potatoes, pancakes doused in syrup, or smothered fries, this is where we go to find a little culinary consolation.
Nurse a Broken Heart
It may not be medically proven, but a feel-good meal is sure to be balm for the soul. Bonus: All four of these dishes can be ordered to go so you can dine in the dark, on the couch, a box of Kleenex within reach.
Tuck into Highland Pacific's homey shrimp and grits, a dish that chef Ed Kammerer gussies up with a golden-crusted grit cake and shrimp poached in a just-spicy-enough Creole sauce. The best part: This entrée, though rich, is judiciously portioned so afterward you won't curse yourself for indulging. 3934 W. 32nd Ave., 303-477-6644, www.highlandpacific.net
When Rioja chef-owner Jennifer Jasinski first created this chocolate-peanut-butter dessert she herself was smarting from a relationship gone bad. In the years since, Jasinski has fine-tuned the recipe so that it mingles cozy chocolate cheesecake, peanut-butter sponge cake, caramelized bananas, and banana-caramel sauce into one heavenly torte. 1413 Larimer St., 303-820-2282, www.riojadenver.com
So what if flavored mashers are somewhat passé—the Denver ChopHouse & Brewery's white cheddar mashed spuds remain some of the best comfort food we know. Buttery, dense, and flavored with cheese— why bother with a main course? 1735 19th St., 303-296-0800, www.rockbottomrestaurants-inc.com
A couple bites into Parallel 17's coconut-ginger-encrusted calamari and you might find yourself a bit happier. Maybe it's the zing of lightly battered citrus slices, jalapeño rings, squid, and sweet chile sauce. Or it could be the frosty ale and P17's jumping vibe that's at work on your spirits. 1600 E. 17th Ave., 303-399-0988, www.parallel17.com