3980 Palmer Park Blvd., 597-4282
I can't get Sharzi Ebra to disclose her soulful chicken seasoning ingredients, but I can guess them based on the knowledge that Ebra bought this business and its recipes 14 months ago from Nik Hashemi, now of Union Boulevard's Golden Gyros. Hashemi told the Indy last May that his olive-oil-rubbed breast meat gets salt, pepper, saffron, onion, garlic, sumac and turmeric. After a lengthy marinade, a nearly 10-minute charbroil inside a covered, tinfoil-wrapped contraption leaves the meat succulent with a mildly zesty, canary yellow exterior.
I order it on chicken salad ($7.49), subbing out the pita for excellent warm dolmas and opting for a faintly tangy cucumber yogurt dressing. Feta crumbles add salt, and a side shaker of extra sumac kicks up citrus notes. Aside from pale tomatoes that'll never live up to our backyards' and the iceberg lettuce being good for nothing but crunch, it's a delightful, light salad. — Matthew Schniper
Rocky Mountain Dogs & Burgers
2907 N. Nevada Ave., 473-2502
So, yeah, Rocky Mountain Dogs & Burgers is a little "off" inside, with greasy smoke from the open kitchen sometimes wafting through the tiny dining room, where most everything you touch might be a little sticky, dusty or both. All the tables and chairs are old, the walls are full of dated posters, and the red-white-and-blue tile could use a wipe-down. But there's something about that kind of atmosphere that makes for good hot-dog eating.
The Super Chicago-Style Dog ($4) is a jumbo version of the classic, done right. Stiff, little hot peppers? Check. Neon-green relish? Check. Celery salt over the top? You know it. Unfortunately, the cushy bun fell apart at the end, but that turned it into le hot-dog déconstruit. The chili-cheese dog ($4) came smothered in a plain, tomato-thick chili, but the juicy quarter-pound burger ($4), on a sesame-seed-encrusted bun, was big and cheap enough to make up for anything. — Bryce Crawford
Renegade Brewing Company
925 W. Ninth Ave., Denver, renegadebrewing.com
Renegade launched in mid-2011 and released its flagship Ryeteous Rye IPA (around $11 for four 16-ounce cans) the following summer. Along with it came the somewhat overly boastful tagline, "offensively delicious." Yes, it's at 7-percent ABV, but it drinks damn near like a session beer, and even with 60 IBUs smacks more of a pale ale than IPA. And though the hops do deliver a pleasant, promised citrus edge, the supposed spice from the rye portion of the grain bill doesn't show up decisively. Altogether, it's more rabble than rebel.
Even Samuel Adams has joined the Rye-P-A game, but I'm largely weighing Renegade's spawn against my old shift-beer favorite from my college days as an Il Vicino server: Tuck's Rye PA, which earned brewer Tucker Mitchell a bronze at the 2002 World Beer Cup. It was dry, crisp and the rye was more prominent, though still in balance with the bitterness. — Matthew Schniper