Road Trips

The Best Thing I Ate in Denver

Someone needs to bring the savory French toast dish to Houston.

By Katharine Shilcutt June 23, 2014

The pancake flight (rear) was delicious, but mostly ignored in the face of the Santa Fe French toast masterpiece.

First, a confession: the best thing I ate while on a mini-vacation to Denver—which recently became a seriously fun food town—wasn't actually in Denver. It was in Littleton, the suburb to the south of the city which is perhaps best known for being home to Columbine High School. It is also home to my friend Jody, with whom I was traveling, though she hadn't been back to her sleepy suburb in 20 years. And she certainly didn't remember Littleton having anything like Toast, the breakfast-and-lunch-only spot we stumbled upon on the way to visit her old stomping grounds, Heritage High School (notable alumni: Matt Stone of South Park fame).

We were just on the hunt for a solid breakfast and a good cup of coffee at Toast. We did not expect to find a menu of creative pancakes—and a pancake flight, for god's sake—nor Novo coffee on tap (arguably the best roaster in Colorado). And though we ordered and loved the pancake flight—how could we not?—it was the Santa Fe French toast that blew us both away.

What made it so good is how horribly wrong the French toast dish could have gone, a kitchen sink combo of savory custard seasoned with chipotle coating the thick slices of country-style white bread, topped with chorizo, roasted poblano peppers, pico de gallo, a creamy salsa verde, queso añejo, and two poached eggs. In the wrong proportion or combination, the French toast could have been wet and soggy or, alternately, the thick bread not given enough on the plate to soak up. As it was, the dish was brilliant, a manic display of excess that was just restrained enough.

I wasn't anticipating eating such brilliant food while in Littleton, so naturally I didn't have my camera; excuse the terrible iPhone photo above, as it doesn't do the Santa Fe French toast justice. I would love to see this dish replicated in Houston—god knows we have all of the perfect ingredients, as well as the appetite—not only to take a better photo, but so I can have this masterpiece every weekend for the rest of my life. It'll be a shortened one, but my lord will it be worth it. 


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