Biker Jim's, Rioja and Table 6 all on the national radar

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While y'all already know that Westword's Cafe Society blog is far and away the best place to digest all your local food and restaurant news, it just so happens that three of our favorite food places -- Rioja, Table 6 and Biker Jim's -- got some well-deserved love and ink from Bon Appetit and Maxim magazines recently.

The nod to Jim Pettinger and his insanely amazing dogs was part of Maxim's 2009 Food Awards, in which 77 restaurants listed in categories like "holiest cow" (the bone-in fillet at Indianapolis's St. Elmo) or "hottest sausagefest" (the Brat House in Milwaukee), occupy nine pages in a magazine usually more preoccupied with the size of a women's tits than the size of a steak.

So imagine my shock when the editor of Maxim got in touch with me several months ago to ask, not if I would bare my breasts, but if I'd contribute to a story about food, which is how Pettinger ended up in the mag:

From 16th and Arapahoe in downtown Denver, bandanna-clad Biker Jim (a former repo man) offers a smoked elk bratwurst smothered with marinated jalapenos, cream cheese and Sriracha sauce. Quell the fire with a fat tire beer.

I actually didn't recommend the Fat Tire, but whatever. A few names that you'd actually recognize -- Tony Bourdain, for example -- also weighed in with their favorites: Bourdain recommends the "sushi extravaganza" at Masa (NYC); Mario Batali calls New Orleans the "most important gastronomic destination in America," outing Commander's Palace, Domilise's and Emeril's as his top picks; and Grant Achatz gets all hot over Chicago's Schwa, a restaurant, says Achatz, that's "an incredibly unique blend of two identities, which are 'fuck convention - this is what I got, take it or leave it,' and highly refined, creative tasting menus."

By the way, none of this stuff is available on Maxim's web site, so if you want to learn how to roll a Mission burrito, how to peel 'n' scarf crawfish or where to find the best BBQ joints in the country, you need to head to your nearest bookstore.

Which is where you'll also find the September issue of Bon Appetit, in which the chicken pot pie with chanterelles at Table 6 (609 Corona Street) is named a top ten chicken recipe (page 88), while the  pan-roasted chicken with morel creme fraiche sauce at Rioja (1433 Larimer Street),is featured in the R.S.V.P. section, where readers -- in this case, Boulder's Elvira Marlow-Dunne -- beg for their favorite restaurant recipes.

I've tried begging for recipes before, too, without much luck. Then again, my name isn't Elvira.


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