Crema Coffee House
Crema, a haven for RiNo’s coffee-swilling hipsters, doesn’t stray far from the original combination, but a few thoughtful tweaks make all the difference. The kitchen replaces plain old peanut butter with a blend of two nut butters—almond and peanut—and house-made date balsamic jam stands in for grape jelly. The two are spread on a small baguette with creamy chèvre, and the sandwich is toasted and crispy. The result? A perfect complement to your strong cup of expertly roasted joe.
2862 Larimer St., 720-284-9648, cremacoffeehouse.net
At first glance, Euclid Hall’s PB&J dessert has little in common with the lunchtime staple, but one bite proves otherwise. The “PB” comes in the form of three soft cubes of peanut butter mousse; the “J” is a firm strawberry gelée. Two triangles of peanut brittle–encrusted shortbread stand between the two, creating a modern art–like arrangement. Tiny sprigs of lemon balm add citrusy bitterness. Form a careful forkful with all the components, and voilà: a subtly sweet and highly addictive take on the classic.
1317 14th St., 303-595-4255, euclidhall.com
DJ’s Berkeley Café
Peanut butter and jelly for breakfast? We applaud DJ’s for not confining this classic and versatile sandwich to the midday meal. For DJ’s PB&J French toast, the popular brunch spot cuts an Italian baguette into five pieces and then slices a hole into each hunk, stuffing peanut butter and strawberry jam inside. Finally, the hefty wedges are battered and griddled to chewy perfection. If your tooth is as sweet as ours, dip (or, better yet, douse) each bite in maple syrup and enjoy.
3838 Tennyson St., 303-482-1841; 865 Lincoln St., 303-386-3375, djscafe.biz
Hey PB&J’s food truck serves 10 riffs on the timeless combo. Although you can’t go wrong with the Barcelona (almond butter, date jam, Manchego cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, and sherry onions), the most creative combo is the Thai. The base of this sandwich is a generous swath of spicy, house-made peanut butter topped with zesty orange marmalade, coconut shavings, fresh basil, and crushed peanuts. More pad thai than sandwich, this messy, heavenly combo redefines the childhood treat. heypbandj.com