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.
AFTER A WORKOUT
It's no secret that the Front Range is a health-minded wonderland overrun with endurance athletes and exercise junkies. But at the end of a hard run (or hike, or ride, or race) sometimes we shun the Power Bar in favor of a fat-laden reward.
So it might not meet a trainer's ideal balance of fat, protein, and carbs, but Racines Restaurant's prime rib French dip sandwich has gotta be close. Choose the crusty ciabatta bread over the Kaiser roll, and find that this sandwich comes stuffed with thinly sliced prime rib and served au jus. What the heck, eat the whole thing and redeem yourself by ordering a side of fruit. 650 Sherman St., 303-595-0418, www.racinesrestaurant.com
If you like sweet potato pie or sweet potato fries, don't miss Snooze's sweet "patata" pancakes. These fluffy flapjacks will derail any exercise regimen with the promise of bourbon-pecan-caramel glaze and a dollop of cozy ginger butter (of course you can pour on the maple syrup too). 2262 Larimer St., 303-297-0700, www.snoozedenver.com
On your way out of the gym, stop by the Denver Athletic Club's cafe for a homemade blueberry muffin. Consider this carbo loading at its best: The top and outside crust are browned just enough to caramelize the dough and seal in the flavor, and the sweet crumb inside comes jammed with blueberries. Bakers whip up these goodies each day. 1325 Glenarm Place, 303-534-1211, www.denverathleticclub.com
Skip the long wait (your legs are tired enough from this morning's ride) and seat yourself at Potager's bar. Order the salt-cod fritter. Part French brandade—a purée of fish, olive oil, garlic, milk, and cream—and part crab cake, chef Teri Rippeto's rendition comes crisped to a golden brown with a velvety cod mixture inside. The briney tapanade of chopped olives, capers, and anchovies adds just enough oomph to satisfy your salt craving. 1109 Ogden St., 303-832-5788