Round two with Dirk Holmberg, exec chef of Cafe 180
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: More Mexican seafood dishes -- that would be a good start. But I'd also like to see more ethnic seafood dishes in general.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: With all the Latin American influence here, I want to see a different overall menu rollout in the ethnic culinary kitchen. Let's see more establishments doing things the way they're done in the kitchens in Mexico, Brazil, Italy and Vietnam -- the real authentic way. That would make me happier.
Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace in Boulder. I had the grilled corn and mushroom ancho chile relleno plate, and it was very rewarding.
Favorite cheap eat in Denver: Waffle House. I like the Southern menu and its history. I also have immense respect for short-order cooks; they're a breed unto themselves, and they have a true God-given gift. It's simply amazing to watch them work, especially when all the orders are called in and nothing is written down. I'm sure there are other kitchens that might be more authentic, but I grew up with Waffle House
If you were visiting Denver and had 24 hours to eat, where would you go? I'd start the day by going to the Egg and I and ordering either the corned beef hash or the sunrise chile rellenos, followed up with a double espresso. From there, I'd hit up Brothers BBQ for the pulled-pork sandwich. I came across Brothers after being given a challenge from a female friend of mine. She had spent some time in Nashville, and wanted to know if I could do a Southern-style pulled pork. I'd had a conversation in the past with some fellow Southern chefs, and they all seemed to agree that anyone born west of the Mississippi doesn't know their way around a grill -- period. But I wanted to impress the Southern belle, so I researched barbecued pulled pork and found that it originated in North Carolina during the settlement of the colonies there. She recommended that I try Brothers BBQ since it was the closest to what she was looking for, and I have to admit that their hot vinegar sauce is worth the travel in and of itself. I'd also have dinner at Jax Fish House, where I'd start out with fresh shucked oysters before moving on to the catfish or shrimp po' boy.
Best thing about cooking in Denver: The fact that everyone seems ready to try something new.