The Ten Best Dog-Friendly Patios in Denver

The sign on Racine's dog-friendly patio

Summer is coming to an end, but it's far from the end of patio season in Denver, as the weather will surely fluctuate between hot and snow for the next month or two. There's now even more reason to take advantage of every warm day before winter since Denver passed an ordinance July 1, allowing restaurant owners who want to turn part of the patio into a dog-friendly to do so, with some guidelines. Since Denver patios now belong to the dogs (or at least some do), we rounded up the ten best dog-friendly patios for you and your four-legged best friend.

See also: Denver Patios Are Going to the Dogs!

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Three Healthy, Fast-Casual Lunch Options

Danielle Lirette
Let there be light at LYFE Kitchen.
These days, healthy fast-casuals are sprouting faster than chia seeds. So if you want a quick, healthy meal and you're tired of brown-bagging it, there's no need to fight I-25 traffic to eat at LYFE Kitchen in Park Meadows, which I just reviewed. I recently popped in for lunch at three more centrally-located healthy fast-casual competitors, and here's what I found.

See also: LYFE Kitchen Has Good Intentions, But Needs More

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Hunting for the Elusive North Alabama White Barbecue Sauce in Denver

Mark Antonation
Many of Denver's barbecue joints line up sauce bottles like they're craft beer taps, offering an array of house blends to suit the palates of transplants from every meat smoking region of the South. Sweet Kansas City sauce, in hot or mild, and tangy Memphis style compete for attention against sharp and spicy Eastern North Carolina sauce or a South Carolina mustard-based blend. Even if fans of a particular regional style don't want to even look at a sauce from another state, its a great way for Coloradans to partake in their own mini culinary tours of America's most distinctive cuisine. But missing on that tour is the rare unicorn of sauces: the North Alabama white barbecue sauce. Missing until now, that is, thanks to Manneken Frites, an Arvada purveyor of Belgian frites, beers and other Flemish street food.

See also: Author and Barbecue Judge Adrian Miller Shares His Rib Tips

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In a Pickle at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts

Mark Antonation
Class is about to begin at Cook Street.
In this week's Chef & Tell, I mentioned that I had taken a pickling and preserving class at the Cook Street School of Culinary Arts, through the school's program for home cooks. Cook Street offers a wide range of instruction for amateurs, ranging from classes in basic knife skills, wine and food pairing and international cuisine, to more advanced subjects like artisan bread, pastry and, my choice: the trendy art of preserving things in jars. With the help of Tyler DuBois, co-owner of the Real Dill, and chef instructor Erin Boyle, I was able to learn just enough to become a dangerous home canner. (Christmas spoiler: friends, relatives and co-workers now know what they're getting for Christmas.)

See also: Miller Farms' Fall Harvest Festival is Golden Agritourism

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The Landmark Gears Up for New Tenants, Including Espresso American

East West Partners took over the beleaguered Landmark project in Greenwood Village late last year, and it's starting to make moves. Espresso American Coffee, a Central American company that has 165 stores internationally, will open its first U.S. locations in the Denver area this fall -- one of them in the Landmark. This is the first new retail tenant at the Landmark since East West Partners took over. "When we began talking to the Landmark residents about what retail they hoped to see in the community, a coffee shop was at the very top of the list," says Amy Cara, managing partner at East West Partners overseeing the development.

See also: Espresso American, a Central American Coffee Chain, Will Open First U.S. Spots in Denver.

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Yes or No on GMO Labeling Proposal? Citizens' Review Releases Study

For several days this week, a panel of twenty Colorado voters gathered at the University of Colorado Denver to conduct the first Colorado Citizens' Initiative Review of a ballot proposal -- Proposition 105, which would require product labeling for GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. And yesterday they delivered a one-page Citizen's Statement that could prove useful for other Colorado voters trying to come to grips with the controversial proposal.

See also: GMO Labeling Initiative Will Get a Healthy Study from Citizen's Initiative

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Photos: The Dishes of DISH

Danielle Lirette
Need an eye-opener this morning? You might if you'd joined the throngs at DISH, Westword's twentieth anniversary of the Denver dining scene, which yesterday filled Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex with booths featuring signature dishes from forty of our favorite local eateries -- with Bloody Marys from Deep Eddy and the Real Dill to wash it all down. Photographer Danielle Lirette was there to capture the event; keep reading for a taste of DISH.

See also: The People of DISH 2014

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Marley Coffee Cranks Up Bicycle Caffes Around Denver

Mark Antonation
You may have seen a black-and-gold bicycle-trailer contraption peddling coffee and other treats on the 16th Street Mall at Larimer Street; it's been setting up shop there since January. Now Marley Coffee, the brainchild of chairman Rohan Marley (son of reggae legend Bob), is expanding its bicycle caffe program into office buildings, special events and other locations in an attempt to penetrate deeper into the Denver market since setting up headquarters here just over a year ago.

See also: Marley Coffee Is High on Denver

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Couscous With Vegetables -- Comfort Food on a Cool Day

It's not always easy to get a plate of couscous in this town.
After eating Jon Robbins' inspired French-North African fare at Bistro Barb├Ęs, I was hungry for more. Not just more of his upscale fusion, but more dishes such as the tagines and harira I came to love in Morocco, Algeria and France, a second home to many North African immigrants. Yesterday I couldn't stand it any longer, so I dropped everything and went in search of one of my favorites: couscous with vegetables.

See also: Review of Bistro Barbes, a Tiny Place That Cooks Up Big Flavors

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Five Behind-the-Scenes Takes on Being a Restaurant Critic, After 100 Reviews

Danielle Lirette
Bacon Jam flatbread from Range

When people find out what I do for a living, they always ask two things: 1) What's your favorite restaurant? And 2) What's it like to be a critic? I'll save the answer to the first question for our 31st edition of Best Of Denver next spring.

But with one more week to go before my hundredth review, now is a great time to peel back the curtain on this wild and wonderful job.

See also: Six Tidbits About Dining in Denver Collected Over 100 Reviews

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