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The jerk chicken plate from Jamaican Mini Grille. Photo by Sarah Boyum

Where Our Food Editors Are Eating Right Now, September 2020

On the menu this month: jerk chicken, lamb neck tacos made from food scraps, and ramen in Boulder.

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Island Flavor

Jamaican Mini Grille and International Jerk Market | 8580 W. Colfax Ave, Lakewood

West Colfax Avenue got a little more tropical this summer, thanks to Tammy Braziel and Randal Whyte’s three-month-old Jamaican Mini Grille and International Jerk Market. At the petite grocery store, you can find ground spices (curry powders and jerk seasoning) and pantry items (ginger extract and saltfish fritter batter) imported from the Caribbean island nation and beyond. But don’t head back to your own kitchen until you’ve ordered takeout from the market’s walk-up window. Braziel and Whyte, who also own six-year-old Jamaican Grille in Lincoln Park, serve their juicy jerk chicken, rich oxtail stew, fried catfish, and other family recipes with the help of their son Antonio and daughter Royalty. The bone-in jerk chicken, beautifully charred and fragrant from its run through a smoker (situated in a closet-size room behind the market counter), is drenched in a vibrant, fiery sauce studded with chunks of Scotch bonnet chiles that will warm you from the inside out, just as temps outside begin to drop.

Zero-Waste Cafe

Sullivan Scrap Kitchen | 1740 E 17th Ave, City Park West

Creating special-event-worthy vegetable risottos and asparagus vichyssoise for his catering company, TBD Foods, doesn’t leave chef-owner Terence Rogers enough opportunity to use the less photogenic bits and bobs of produce he often has left over. So, two months ago, he created a home for them: Sullivan Scrap Kitchen on East 17th Avenue. In the tiny, tile-walled cafe, Rogers transforms fresh carrot, beet, and kohlrabi tops into salads; flavors butter with fermented apple cores; and infuses lemonade with ginger, beet, and pineapple peels. He complements his own salvaged goods with ingredients sourced from local producers, including Triple M Bar Ranch, Mile High Fungi, and Aspen Moon Farm. The sustainable result is a daytime menu of thoughtful, nourishing dishes—like tacos made with smoky braised lamb neck or sandwiches stuffed with grilled morels, chanterelle stems, asparagus, and honey-herb goat cheese—that make you feel as good as they taste.

Soup & A Sandwich

Chimera Ramen, Pho Mi | 2014 10th St, Boulder

Edwin Zoe. Photo by Sarah Boyum

Chef-owner Edwin Zoe—the son of Anna Zoe, the mastermind behind Zoe Ma Ma’s Denver and Boulder outposts—ate his way through the street-food stalls of Vietnam, Singapore, and Japan in January to glean inspiration for a new project: the reinvention of two-year-old Chimera, also in Boulder, into two adjoining fast-casual restaurants. On one side, Chimera Ramen has been serving from-scratch noodles in umami-rich broths since June; try the Miso Happy version, which has a broth flavored with miso, katsuobushi (dried, smoked bonito flakes), and imported, sustainably farmed Japanese kombu (kelp). Next door, Pho Mi, which is slated to open this fall, will feature soulful Vietnamese noodle soups and banh mi stuffed with the likes of slow-roasted pork belly and house-pickled veggies. Something they have in common? Zoe’s customary quality and careful execution.

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