Sweet Daphne Confections
2825 Dublin Blvd., 599-7178, sweetdaphneconfections.com
The elegant confections at four-year-old Sweet Daphne constantly rotate under the care of owner Megan Walter, a Pikes Peak Community College grad and former Garden of the Gods Club pastry chef. Her globally inspired creations also grace counter-tops at Colorado Coffee Merchants, Pikes Perk Coffee & Tea House and Stir.
On a recent drop-by for to-go items, I picked up a brownie, blondie, coconut-lime pie (all $2) and chocolate ganache heart ($1.50). Walter's brownies are dense and moist with pecan bits and a tacky, fudge-like top layer, and the hugely sweet blondies are brownie-like, but sporting chocolate chips and maple buttercream for a fun toffee edge. The rich heart consists of a delicate chocolate shortbread shell filled with thick, creamy ganache, and the crumbly pie crust yields to a delicious, light, tart key lime filling under a whipped cream puff garnished with toasted coconut flakes. — Matthew Schniper
Crave Real Burgers
7465 N. Academy Blvd., 264-7919, craverealburgers.com
While I wrestled with a mouthful of meat, trying to figure out how not to drag the entire salty piece of chewy prosciutto from the Wiseguy ($11) burger — the restaurant's winning entry in the 2012 Denver Burger Battle — nearly half its contents fell out the bottom. A hunk of beef browned past request joined a half-disc of fried mozzarella, leaving basil; tomato slices; lightly grilled onions; a dynamic, almost overpowering pesto; and an equally kickin' balsamic drizzle that flared sour tang everywhere you met it. All told, the Wiseguy takes a pretty good burger and mixes it with a deep-fried Caprese salad and excess. I didn't hate eating it, but can't say I'm eager to try it again.
I'd rather stick with the epic, cornmeal-covered pickle chips, served in a mound almost as high as the burger, for $2 more. At least I can eat them one bite at a time. — Bryce Crawford
R&R Coffee Café
11424 Black Forest Road, 494-8300, rnrcoffeecafe.com
R&R had just received its weekly shipment hours before the Black Forest Fire broke out; a full 10-by-10 walk-in cooler spoiled over a five-day closure, which was nothing compared to the loss of co-owner/baker Carla Erick's home. Others who lost everything continue to gather at the recently relocated, vital community hub to console each other and do as they've done for the last five years: drink superior, site-roasted coffee and eat soul-satisfying grub like the ironic Tiny's Burrito ($9), a behemoth named for a not-small, former Black Forest EMT.
View a menu online to see all that R&R jams into the gem, smothered in either an excellent house sausage gravy or green chile (I got both). Pair it with the El Salvadoran decaf pour-over ($2.38/12 ounces) which is complex and creamy sans inputs. Catch an Evacuee Barista Jam at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 27, and a new weekend dinner service soon. — Matthew Schniper