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The 20 best restaurants in Denver

Denver locals have the work-hard-play-hard lifestyle nailed – and it's that philosophy which shines through in the explosion of restaurants, things to do, cafes and food hall collectives. Plus, the ongoing revitalization of downtown’s perimeter neighborhoods like Lower Highland (LoHi) and River North (RiNo) continues to attract ambitious new culinary projects, which in turn pushes longtime pioneers to strengthen their commitments to patrons.

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The 10 best brunch restaurants in Denver

If you’re not brunching in Denver, you’re doing the city wrong. In the past few years, the lingering weekend meal has been elevated to an art form in the Mile High City. With the recent residential and dining boom in Lower Highland (LoHi) and the revitalization of the River North (RiNo) warehouse-turned-art district, it’s no surprise that the brunch scene and options for things to do on that buzzy side of the city has followed in a big way. But the cool thing about Denver is that the longtime stalwarts in the quieter city ’hoods continue to thrive, even amid the sea of see-and-be-seen brunch spots across town. What the places on this list have in common is that they know what they do well—and they’re committed to their craft, whether it’s trendy small plates on a gritty-turned-glam block, a lavish champagne spread in a historic hotel or beignets and Bloody’s with mismatched napkins. So decide what you crave, then check out these Denver restaurants to get your brunch game on.

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The 10 best restaurants in Fort Collins

Colorado’s fourth-largest city and the northernmost hub of the Front Range, Fort Collins used to be considered one-part outdoorsy, one part college town, and one part agriculture. Today, it’s got another part: a growing foodie reputation. Buoyed by the exploding craft beer scene—it’s got nearly two dozen breweries that produce almost 70 percent of the state’s craft beer—Fort Collins is home to everything from wallet-friendly gourmet taco shops to historic farmhouses-turned-eateries that plate up the harvests from all those nearby farms and ranches.

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The 10 best restaurants in Boulder

If Boulder is best known for its out-the-back-door access to all things bike, hike, and mountain, a close second is its burgeoning upscale culinary scene. Chefs with the best pedigrees in the business gravitate toward the buzzing town flanked by the Rockies to the west and farms, pastures, and green space in, well, every other direction. It’s a veritable haven for locavores in search of inventive farm-to-table meals, whether served as a five-course artisan tasting menu or a juicy grass-fed burger and a microbrew. No longer a city where the food and drink come second to your list of adventurous things to do, Boulder’s dining scene is the adventure these days.

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Doctoring the Menu: Food as Medicine

Clad in a crisp white apron and chef’s hat, Eric Sharer ’08 zips around a gleaming kitchen setting mixing bowls, utensils and ingredients on the island countertop. Butternut squash, cumin, paprika, chickpeas, kale — the foods and spices pile up beside the cutting board as Sharer consults his recipe. “We’re going to make something really fun today,” he tells his aproned co-chef, “using things you typically have on hand at home.” The scene is straight out of a cooking demo TV spot, but there’s no studio audience, and Sharer’s 40-something co-chef isn’t a morning show host; she’s a patient enrolled in a 12-week weight-loss program at the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine in Delmar, New York, outside of Albany.

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Forage for Wild Mushrooms in Rhode Island

'You might call it something like a treasure hunt: Hiking along a heavily wooded trail in western Rhode Island, Ryan Bouchard and Emily Schmidt keep their eyes low, expertly scanning the forest growth for possible loot. Suddenly, they veer off the path. An otherwise unremarkable tree stump sits in the underbrush, sprouting about a dozen glossy, shelf-like mushrooms up to eight inches wide in hues from gold to rusty red. The reishi mushrooms are edible but tough, used mostly for tea. Bouchard pulls out a pocketknife, and the Southern New England Mushroom Hunters begin to harvest.

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