The Best of Denver 2014 is almost here -- after many calories and lots of sweat

Categories: Best of Denver

Uncle, Best New Restaurant in the Best of Denver 2013.

When I started this job in 2012, former critics wrote in with advice. Number one on John Kessler's list was "Don't sweat your first Best Of." At the time, it seemed like odd advice. Not only was I not sweating Best of Denver, I'm pretty sure that it had never crossed my mind to worry about the annual issue that marks its thirtieth anniversary this week. I had bigger things to sweat, like putting out weekly reviews when I was accustomed to the rhythm of a monthly magazine.

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Best of Denver 2013

Then last winter rolled around, and it was time for my first Best Of. The reality of choosing scores of the Best______ [fill in the blank] hit home, and I started to understand why Kessler had said what he did. So after the hectic publication of last year's issue, I swore I'd listen to my boss, who wisely urged me to keep a running log of potential Best Of winners.

Maybe if Kessler had told me to listen to my boss more, I would've had the presence of mind to heed her words. But I didn't, so when winter rolled around this year I was once again in the same boat, facing the quandary of how to choose the best anything in a year of so many meals eaten out.

After the Cafe Society crew divvied up categories, I went to work, rereading a year's worth of food notes transcribed to my computer, notes taken after every restaurant meal I'd eaten in 2013. It felt a lot like cramming a semester's worth of reading into a few weeks, but it was a lot more fun, because it helped me remember the good, the bad and the ugly. Some categories clicked right away, with a certain dish or restaurant that stood out from the rest. For other categories, I made a short list and revisited potential winners, which meant enough eating to send me into hibernation.

The results will be out tomorrow, and whatever you think of our choices, know that they were the product of much thought. And many, many calories.

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