The Tuscan Herb-Fused Olive Oil at Drizzle ‘N’ Dip (Southlands Mall)
6155 S. Main St., Aurora. Call 720-251-8527 or visitshopsouthlands.com.
If you spent the first 11 months of 2016 limiting all things fatty — and by extension all things tasty — head to Southlands and really enjoy the year’s final month. The new Drizzle ‘n Dip shop there boasts an impressive array of tasty extra virgin olive oils and an equally impressive spread of imported pastas. But if you’re looking to splurge, go with that sweet EVOO. Our pick is the Tuscan herb-fused olive oil, a tasty blend of Italian herbs that, while packing a strong flavor, doesn’t over power the naturally indulgent taste of the oil itself. Go ahead for once and fill up on bread. It’s the holidays, after all.
— Brandon Johansson
A four-pack of pints from High Point Creamery
215 S. Holly St., Denver. Call 720-420-9137 or visit www.highpointcreamery.com.
You’re in Colorado now. You eat ice cream all winter. But the holidays are too special for just chocolate or butter brickle. There’s nothing vanilla about High Point Creamery’s handcrafted, sometimes sweet and other times savory, artisan ice creams and sorbets. Owners of this South Holly Street shop take the word “seasonal” seriously, offering unique flavors for both fall and winter. Available now, in time for Stuff Yer Face Day, are Thanksgiving classics like Joan’s Pumpkin Pie, Zucchini Bread and Maple Walnut, as well as more cultivated flavors like Orange Cilantro Sorbet and Coconut Crème Brûlée (both vegan). December brings a din of new holiday-inspired deliciousness, like Banana Bread Pudding, Torrone, Grapefruit Brown Sugar Sorbet or — fan favorite — Dark Chocolate Orange with Marshmallows. Can’t decide? Don’t. Get a four-pack of pints for $30, or try an in-store “flight” of flavors. It’ll be well worth the polar bear plunge.
— Jeremy Johnson
A dozen doughnuts from Glazed & Confuzed
5301 Leetsdale Dr., Denver. Call 303-524-9637 or visit gcdonuts.com.
Hey, fruitcake, put down the fruitcake. Sorry, we don’t mean to totally disparage our loyal reader (Hi Mom!), but separating the American people from the scourge of holiday desserts — yeah, we’re looking at you, fruitcake — necessitates that kind of stern talk. Instead of opting for your umpteenth mass of sugar and candied fruit this year, hop over to Leetsdale Drive in Denver (and soon Dallas Street in northwest Aurora) and grab a box of handcrafted perfection. Baker Josh Schwab has been cranking out unbelievable specialty doughnuts at Glazed & Confuzed since opening the sugary shop in 2012, and they’re ripe for that upcoming holiday party. A native of Los Angeles, Schwab got his desire for desserts from his grandfather, who would regularly bring a dozen doughnuts to family dinners on Sunday nights throughout his childhood. That passion is present is every bite of Schwab’s tasty, not-fruitcake treats. This winter, the shop is featuring an apple cider morsel, as well as a banana bread cake doughnut, both of which are sure to put those wretched, bland memories of dry crusts oozing with fruit and nuts into the distant past.
-— Quincy Snowdon
Longmont Dairy Cinnamon Eggnog
920 Coffman St., Longmont. Call 303-776-8466 or visit longmontdairy.com.
You’re better off not thinking of the thousands of calories you’ll be drinking with any beverage that usually consists of milk and/or cream, sugar and whipped eggs. It’s delicious. Accept it, and then get to Googling all the delicious varieties of eggnog that pop up during the holiday season. And if your search is successful, you should stumble upon the Longmont Dairy, which both classic and cinnamon eggnog — in adorable “holiday designer bottles” -— available through year’s end. You’ll be honoring a tradition that hearkens back to the 14th century, when medieval English folk made posset, a hot drink of milk curdled with wine or ale. The eggnog we know today was popularized by colonists, and U.S. Historical records from the kitchen of Mount Vernon also show the ‘nog was a favorite of the OG, or Original George, President Washington. So cheers to great minds thinking, and drinking so many calories, alike!
Postal Address P.O. Box 998, Longmont, CO. 03-776-8466 or longmontdairy.com
— Rachel Sapin
Bolas de queso Gouda from Areyto
You literally can’t go wrong with any version of fried cheese. Mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, cheese curds — they’re all delicious and, despite the fact they’re all fattening, they all belong in your tummy and you damned well know it. But Areyto Puertorrican Food raises the bar with their Puerto Rican take on the fried cheese appetizer. The bolas de queso Gouda are everything you want from a calorie-rich snack. The fried breading is light and crunchy, the cheese is an ooey-gooey mess and the garlic mayo dipping sauce pairs wonderfully. This food truck is typically located outside breweries around Denver. Check out their page at facebook.com/areytofoodtruck to see where they’ll be located next. Go ahead and chase that cheese — it’ll give your metabolism a head start.
Korean BBQ ‘Combination D’ at Seoul Korean BBQ
2080 S. Havana St., Aurora. Call 303-280-3888 or visit seoulkoreanbbq.com.
You may burn off a few calories through all the moving parts associated with this roll-up-your-sleeves Korean BBQ experience, but chances are most of them will go right back home with you. Step back and take a big-picture look at the banchan (side dishes) and everything else that will load up your table around the grill at Seoul Korean BBQ (2080 S. Havana St. in Aurora), but don’t worry about where it’s all going — just eat. More than 20 Korean BBQ offerings are on the menu, but “Combination D” (which serves five people for $150) gives you a taste of all the finest meats the restaurant has to offer: Kobe beef, Galbi (braised short ribs marinated in house soy sauce), pork belly, marinated beef brisket and pork jowl, along with California rolls, soup and your choice of soju (a Korean spirit made of rice), beer or wine. Once you order, the rest happens at your own pace: the party can cook the food on the grill and mix it with steamed rice, bean sprouts and so many other offerings that make for different flavors and textures with each bite. Skip dessert if you must (or if you feel like you couldn’t put anything else in your mouth), but pay no mind to the calorie count. Just grill and chill.
— Courtney Oakes
Holiday tea at Brown Palace
321 17th Ave., Denver. Call 303-297-3111 or visit brownpalace.com.
No holiday meal is complete without that devilish, deliciously caloric Devonshire cream — or at least it shouldn’t be. Complete with pastries, scones and even that most coveted of clotted cream shipped directly from its namesake county in England, holiday tea at the Brown Palace is a spectacle in and of itself. The immense atrium of one of Denver’s most legendary hotels holds the spirit of many who have sipped their tea in the resplendent space over the past century. And it’s also probably the closest thing to re-living a “Downtown Abbey” moment in Downtown Denver. Reservations are most certainly required during the holiday season, and tickets to tea sell out fast for the available seats — so it’s a best to order them in advance, mate.
321 17th Street, Denver, Colorado. (303) 297-3111 or brownpalace.com
— Rachel Sapin
Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese Summit Collection
1121 Colorado Ave., Longmont. Call 720-494-8714 or visit haystackgoatcheese.com.
This here is the stuff that sweaters were literally made for. OK, maybe they were literally made for warmth, or maybe style, but they also serve as pretty damned effective invisibility cloaks for Protruding Gut Syndrome (see: The Holidays), as well. And with about 364 calories per 100 grams of goat cheese, according to the old Google machine, that Mr. Roger’s pullover that’s been collecting dust in your closet all summer can finally serve a purpose come December. After all that’s what the holidays are all about — the cheese. (Family and friends are nice, but gluttony is way better.) The Summit Collection from Haystack Mountain offers up eight different cheeses — including a pair of chèvres, green chili jack and camembert, among others — a pack of 34 Degree brand crackers, a jar of Highland Honey and a fancy-schmancy cooler bag with a literal picture of a goat on it. Cheesemaker Jackie Chang’s creations are also available at several nearby vendors, including the King Sooper’s in Stapleton, the DTC and Glendale, or Marcyzk’s Fine Foods on 17th or, for intrepid consumers, also on Colfax. Wherever you pick it up from, the Summit Collection is a smart gift for that insatiable monger in your life, also known as your “winter stomach.”
— Quincy Snowdon
Krautburger at Bender’s Brat Haus
700 S. Buckley Rd., Aurora. Call 303-872-3569.
If you’ve ever ventured to Wisconsin, you know the state is hardly a bastion of healthy dining options. Whether it’s beer, cheese or sausages, those Cheeseheads don’t shy away from calories. You can get a taste of that high-calorie goodness here in Aurora, too, at Bender’s Braut Haus. Bender’s has been a staple of Aurora’s dining scene — maybe even the staple — for four decades now. Most people think of their iconic bratwurst sandwiches when they think Bender’s, or maybe that warm German potato salad. But there’s another item on the menu that, if you’ve overlooked it thus far, you will be pleased to find -— unless you really are counting calories: The Krautburger is essentially a pastry jam packed with hamburger, cheese, kraut and onions. We’re not sure what the caloric punch is, and we really don’t care. This time of year, if you’ve added a couple extra cheat days to the diet, use one of them at Bender’s.
— Brandon Johansson
Nutella beignets at D Bar Denver
494 E. 19th Ave., Denver. Call 303-861-4710 or visitdbardenver.com.
Eating the chocolate hazelnut spread Nutella is about as close as many of us Americans get to a European experience, providing a wonderful, welcome escape from the things we have going on here at the moment. We put it on waffles and pancakes, on bread and crackers, and even on our fingers. At D Bar Denver (494 E. 19th Ave.), they use Nutella to an even better end — as the filling for beignets. These French-inspired “fritters” look golden brown on the outside and have a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar on top, but the $6 offering is the favorite of many regulars for just how well the Nutella inside combines with the other flavors. Get somebody else to order the “cake and shake” (a 3-layer chocolate cake with Madagascar frosting or vanilla cake with raspberry jam alongside a small vanilla, chocolate or raspberry milkshake) and offer up one of your beignets (just one) in exchange for a taste. It’ll be otherworldly.
— Courtney Oakes
Jack-n-Grill’s 7-pound breakfast burrito (or any giant burger)
2524 Federal Blvd., Denver. Call 303-964-9544 or visit jackngrill.com.
According to their website, the secret ingredient is “love,” but everybody who knows Jack-n-Grills on North Federal Boulevard knows the real secret ingredient is their green chili, which they spread liberally on Mexican entrées and big, beefy burgers alike. The obvious go-to at J&G’s for real gut-busting action would be the “as-seen-on-TV” 7-pound breakfast burrito challenge, which pits the hapless eater against a carton of eggs and five pounds of hash browns, along with a half-pound each of meat and cheese to go along with peppers, onions and — you guessed it — green (or red) chili. (If you’re really in the holiday spirit, go “Christmas” style and get a red/green blend of chili.) And on the off-chance you’re not into that whole eating-until-cardiac-arrest thing (Health.com in 2010 investigated the caloric intake of the challenge burrito and nobody should have been particularly surprised by the results), try instead one of Jack’s dozen-or-so specialty burgers, which start with a 10 oz. patty and come with lettuce, tomato, onion and more chili, as well as a choice of traditional sesame bun, tortilla or even a split sopapilla. If those single-patty gut-bombs are too dainty for ya, try The “Better Be Hungry” Dez burger, with DOUBLE patties to go along with bacon, green chili and cheese. Save your server the time: Ask for a box beforehand.
— Jeremy Johnson