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WOODY’S WINGS N THINGS
You might not expect Cambodian and Laotian specialties at a suburban joint called Woody’s Wings N Things. But for more than a decade, this eclectic Westminster haunt (no relation to Woody’s Wings in Aurora) has been serving exactly that—plus Thai, Chinese, and American food—to crowds of loyal customers. Sure, it has wings, but our favorites on the lengthy menu are the dishes influenced by the owners’—and most of the staff’s—native Cambodia. We always order the stubby, chewy, stir-fried rice noodles (called “lort cha”) with shrimp and bean sprouts. Another tasty option on a cold day is a steaming hot bowl of Laotian soup, or “khao piak sen.” Its thick tapioca noodles are cooked in the broth for a creamy consistency. Snappy garnishes of cilantro, fried garlic, and chiles add spice and texture that you won’t find at most other eateries with “wings” in the name. 6817 Lowell Blvd., Westminster, 303-427-0302
The “less is more” maxim is on display at this unassuming strip-mall sushi spot in Englewood, where you’ll discover a concise menu of just eight to 10 hand rolls and seating exclusively around a U-shaped bar. Settle in with a glass of Japanese whisky from the well-curated list—which includes the coveted Kavalan ex-Bourbon—and watch as chefs craft the house-specialty temaki to order. If you choose the three-temaki combo, the chef will present you with one cylindrical roll at a time so that the seaweed encasing the rice and fillings, which range from blue crab to spicy tuna, remains crisp. It’s that attention to detail—not to mention the freshness of the fish—that makes this year-old, stripped-down Japanese restaurant greater than the sum of its (delicious) parts. 1400 E. Hampden Ave., Suite 110, Englewood, 303-761-1559
POST OAK HALL
Helliemae’s Ellen Daehnick has been satisfying Coloradans’ caramel cravings for five years, but she lacked a brick-and-mortar home in which to welcome her devoted customers. No more. This past November, Ellen and her contractor husband, Chris, transformed the front of their Wheat Ridge caramel factory into Post Oak Hall, a cheerful, shiplap-appointed eatery and retail store. (The name is a tribute to a beloved tree variety from Ellen’s native Texas.) For now the restaurant is open only for carryout on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Get there early to score the only savory offering: meaty, buttery, chow-chow-stuffed, Houston-style po’ boys. If they sell out, don’t worry: You can still take home peach “kolaches” (yeasted pastries with fresh fruit and crumble topping), plate-size cookies, delectable lemon and banana icebox puddings, and, of course, Helliemae’s caramels and sauces. 6195 W. 44th Ave., Wheat Ridge, 303-834-7048