Aloft's JP Krause on why Casa Bonita rules
Favorite dish on your menu: The fried chicken and polenta cheddar waffles. Not only did they turn out way better than I anticipated, but the number of people who have commented on the dish only solidified that it was a great choice. It's one of those crave type dishes.
Biggest menu bomb: I had this great idea to make an interesting shepherd's pie with leftovers, plus some Okinawa purple potatoes. About ten minutes into service, the color of the stew turned an unappetizing color of gray, so people didn't even try it, because it looked like porridge.
If you only had 24 hours in Denver/Boulder, where would you eat? Casa Bonita. Every kid who grew up in Colorado had to go at least once...even though the food is horrible. The sopapillas, the cave, the magic show and, of course, the gorilla that always got loose -- it's all about the fun and the experience. Every time I went, it felt like a world away -- like you were somewhere really special. That's why I started working in hotels: I love their ability to take you away, even if it's only a mile from where you live. But for a really amazing meal, I'd go to Restaurant 1515, Biker Jim's or Corridor 44.
Favorite cheap eat in Denver/Boulder: Taco House. I guess it's because my mom grew up eating there and always wanted to drag us with her, but they do make a mean "burrada": It's a mix between a burrito and an enchilada, and it's so deliciously simple. Every time I go, I remember my sister's boyfriend being so sick from the rides at Lakeside that he turned green. And then my mom took us all to Taco House, so we got to see this boy's face go from green to white with fear over the menu, which still makes me laugh.
Last meal before you die: Deep-dish Chicago-style pizza. I can't stand the thin pizza: If you can fold it, it's not worth eating. Give me the thick, in-your-face, sauce-down-the-chin pizza.