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Wood-fire action at Cart-Driver. Photo by Sarah Boyum

What Our Food Editors Are Eating, April 2020

Wood-fired pies and fresh seafood, inventive pub grub, and Persian bites are all on the menu this month.

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Editor’s note: The April 2020 issue went to print prior to governor Polis’ March 16 suspension of all on-site dining and drinking in Colorado. So, while Rosebud Cafe is sadly closed until at least May 11, you can get takeout from Cart-Driver and Misfit Snackbar (below). Also consider purchasing a gift card from any of these restaurants for use later. You can find a living list of restaurants and bars offering takeout and delivery during the coronavirus shutdown here.

Pizza (& Oyster) Palace

Cart-Driver | 2239 West 30th Ave, LoHi

Compared to Cart-Driver’s tiny shipping-container location in RiNo, its four-month-old LoHi outpost is more like a cargo ship. Set in two adjacent spaces that once housed Z Cuisine and À Côté, the warm wood- and tile-adorned restaurant makes ingenious use of its second home, with plenty of seating in separate bar and dining areas and the action around the wood-fire pizza oven on full display. Cart-Driver fans can get comfortable and linger over platters of fresh oysters, impeccable pies, and South Italian–inspired small plates—not to mention on-tap Prosecco, still wines from small producers, and amaro-forward cocktails. New to the LoHi food roster are a rich pizza topped with mortadella, ricotta, and arugula and several snacky dishes, from roasted carrots with prosciutto, fennel, orange, and spicy honey to charred Brussels sprouts with high-end tinned sardines and tangy Calabrian chiles. Sometimes, more is more.

Persian Sips & Snacks

Rosebud Cafe | 90 Pennsylvania St, Speer 

Good luck choosing what to order from Rosebud Cafe’s concise breakfast-and-lunch menu—owner Homeira Chaichian loves it all, and so do we. The offerings at her sunny, three-year-old, early-day destination are fresh and homey, from house-made breakfast burritos and turkey sandwiches to plates that pay homage to Chaichian’s Iranian heritage. Try the Persian breakfast plate, served with warm flatbread, creamy feta, walnuts, olives, cucumber, and eggs however you like them, or get a bagel (made by Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen) topped with house-made basil-walnut pesto, tomato, feta, walnuts, and cucumbers. Eschew coffee for one of Chaichian’s 20 or so custom tea blends; she travels to Iran every year to source the fragrant combinations. Our pick: Rosebud’s namesake, a floral, pink brew redolent of rose hips, trifoliate orange, verbena, lavender, and hibiscus.

Misfit Snackbar’s tempura broccoli. Photo by Sarah Boyum

Not Your Mama’s Pub Grub

Misfit Snackbar | 3401 E. Colfax Ave, City Park

Hot wings and popcorn are always welcome edible companions for an adult beverage, but at four-month-old Misfit Snackbar, located inside Middleman, a cocktail-centric bar on East Colfax Avenue, you won’t find a single such boring bar snack. Former Rebel Restaurant chef Bohdan Porytko is the mastermind cooking inside the 120-square-foot walk-up kitchen, where he adds imaginative pizzazz to a small but mighty menu of familiar dishes: chipotle chicken meatloaf tortas; tacos made with marble rye shells and filled with short-rib pastrami, sauerkraut, and 1000 Island Swiss pimento cheese; and secret-menu (shh!) kimchi rice croquettes topped with finely grated Spam. His tempura broccoli—a whole head—is marinated in gochujang buttermilk before it’s fried and garnished with furikake and house-made sweet chile sauce. Order it with Middleman’s Betelgeuse, a blend of apple-pear brandy and cinnamon- and wild-cherry-infused liqueurs, and you’ll never go back to beer and bar nuts.

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