Burrito Fanatic Eats 250 Burritos in Two Years, Still Loses Illegal Pete's Eating Contest

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Michael Odbert
Michael Odbert, on the left, at the Riot Fest Burrito Eating Contest.

Coloradans love burritos; both Chipotle and Illegal Pete's started their burrito empires here for good reason. But few people love them like Michael Odbert, burrito enthusiast, amateur burrito photographer -- he chronicles his love affair on an Instagram account dedicated to his burrito-filled meals -- and occasional competitive eater. Last night, for the second year running, he entered the Riot Fest burrito-eating contest hosted by Illegal Pete's.

See also: 100 Favorite Dishes: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico


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In Season: Three Colorado Peach Dishes in Denver

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Juliet Wittman
Nothing better than a fresh peach from a market stall.
The best way to eat a Colorado peach is straight off the tree or from a roadside stand, still warm from the sun. Just dust off the skin, take a bite and let the juice run down your chin as you savor the sweetness. After that, the pros can have a go at capturing that flavor in their own culinary creations. Restaurants around town are bringing in peaches by the crate for salads, cobblers and crisps; here are a few samples of some great peach plates from Lower48 Kitchen, Spruce in the Hotel Boulderado and Flagstaff House -- plus a recipe for Flagstaff House's baked peaches in brioche.

See also: The top ten doughnuts in Denver

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Patio of the Week: Enjoy a Mexican Staycation at El Noa Noa

Categories: Cafe Society

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Kristin Pazulski
Share El Noa Noa's shady patio and Mexican fare with your friends.
The first time I visited El Noa Noa Mexican Restaurant, I had no expectations. It was my initiation into the ritual of strolling along Santa Fe for its First Friday art walk, which was, I found, more about being seen than seeing the art. We wanted to escape the sidewalk crowd and grab a bite and beverage, and stumbled upon this little Mexican oasis.

See also: Patio of the Week: Adrift at a South Broadway Tiki Bar/a>

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Five Ways Restaurants Screw Their Employees

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The news lately has been full of restaurant fuck-ups that create headaches for customers...and hardships for employees. While the restaurant industry as a whole serves a very useful purpose -- it sells prepared meals to people who need and want them, provides a flow of tax money to communities, and offers wage employment without requiring a ton of experience or higher-learning qualifications -- a few bad apples can leave a very bad taste.

Here's a list of five ways that restaurants screw their employees. The least they could do is buy their workers dinner first....

See also: Slackers, drama kings and the overly entitled: The top three restaurant employees who suck


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Photos: Lena Is Heating Up Broadway

Categories: Cafe Society

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Danielle Lirette
Leña opened quietly last week -- so quietly that its phones still weren't hooked up yesterday -- but word-of-mouth is already strong on this restaurant, a concept cooked up by Jimmy Callahan, the owner of Prohibition, and chef Toby Prout. The space on Broadway, a former antique store, was gutted over the past few months, adding a bar and kitchen with a white oak-fired wood grill (Leña is Spanish for "firewood"), and restoring the stunning tin ceiling and brick walls. "It was a great canvas to work with," says general manager Jen Mattioni.

See also: Lena, a Latin restaurant from the owners of Prohibition, will open on Broadway

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Meow! Former Litigator Hopes to Open Denver's First Cat Cafe

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Sana Hamelin and her cat Little One
Sana Hamelin used to be a corporate litigator. Now she's an entrepreneur looking to create Denver's first cat cafe. Cats, coffee, books and art would all be featured at the Denver Cat Company -- if Hamelin can just raise the money to open her place. Currently her crowdfunding campaign is far from the $50,000 goal, and the deadline is just days away.

See also: Photos of Going to the Dogs at Bark Bar

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The Cupcakes Keep on Coming: Smallcakes to Open a Second Colorado Location

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Smallcakes Lone Tree Facebook
Cupcakes from Smallcakes Cupcakery
Some dessert devotees may be hailing the end of the cupcake, which seems to have wormed its way into every strip mall (and TV channel) in America by now, but that certainly isn't stopping the bakers behind them. After our recent story on cupcake chain Sweet Arleen's Bakery looking to dip its toes into the Denver market, reader response ranged from excitement over more of the frosting-topped treat in the Mile High City to mere boredom with cupcakes: one reader commented, "sorry girl, everyone over here is still tweaking over voodoo doughnuts."

Despite potential sugar saturation in Denver's cupcake market, Arleen wasn't scared. And it seems neither is Heidi Hamilton, the co-owner of Smallcakes Cupcakery in Lone Tree. She's set to open up a second location of the bakery in the Belmar district of Lakewood this September.

See also: The top ten doughnuts in Denver


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P.F. Chang's Announces Credit Card Data Stolen From 33 Restaurants

Categories: Cafe Society

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This morning, P.F. Chang's CEO Rick Federico released a statement indicating that the U.S. Secret Service had alerted the company to a credit card security breach on June 10 involving data theft from as many as 33 of its North American locations, but that the company was safely processing cards again as early as June 11. This may be of interest to Denverites who have dined and used credit cards at the Lakewood P.F. Chang's, which the company says "may have been compromised."

But the revelation isn't exactly new information; news sources and electronic-security blogs have been including the incident in lists of the biggest credit-card data breaches of all time, while Info Security Magazine reported the theft of customer data the same day that P.F Chang's says they were initially informed.

See also: The top ten doughnuts in Denver

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Fridays at The Kitchen Next Door: a second helping of Cafe Society, July 28-August 1

Categories: Cafe Society

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Danielle Lirette
Is The Kitchen Next Door the next TGI Fridays?
This week in Cafe Society, Gretchen Kurtz visited the latest outpost of The Kitchen -- The Kitchen Next Door Glendale -- and realized it could be the next TGI Fridays...in spirit, if not execution. We also talked about building sandwiches and a life in Colorado with Stack Subs owner Rick Koerner in Chef and Tell.

See also: State of the Union: A second helping of Cafe Society, July 21-25

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Over forty new spots join the Denver dining scene: Our Restaurant Roll Call for July

Categories: Cafe Society

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Jake Shane
Snooze opened this month in the renovated Union Station.
June might have been a record-breaking month for restaurant openings, but July has already stolen the crown, with over forty new spots making an appearance -- everything from the stylish Stoic & Genuine in the renovated Union Station to the eclectic Syntax Physic Opera on South Broadway. Keep reading for a summary of all the action in our Restaurant Roll Call for July.

See also: Our Restaurant Roll Call for June

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