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Ivywild School, Thai Basil, Maco's Tacos

Dine & Dash

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  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Ivywild School

Ivywild School

1604 S. Cascade Ave., 368-6111,

Technically, my Laughing Lab bratwurst ($9.95) comes from two businesses, three if the Bristol-brewed beer used in the Meat Locker-made sausage counts. But I'm not buying the bread from one counter and the sausage from another; I order, I sit, I eat. Back to the meal, the Old School Bakery's spent-grain hoagie provides a good bread-to-meat ratio with the brat, fluffy but still substantial. Between the red pepper jam and pickle relish, more sweetness than tartness plays counterpoint to the sausage's fat and pepper. For sides, cheese curds are less of a cardiologist's nightmare than they sound — they're not fried. But folks who don't fancy eating bite-sized cheese can rely on the sweet potato waffle fries.

The pork green chile ($3.95/cup) is pure Tex-Mex and damn pleasant. Earthy chilies, plenty of cumin and diced green onion keep it light and lively. Pork comes shredded, grounding the soup's flavor without adding big chunks to the little bowl. — GS

  • Matthew Schniper
  • Thai Basil

Thai Basil

7882 N. Academy Blvd., 268-1688,

It's been seven years since Thai Basil expanded from Denver to open this satellite, a pretty space marked by an array of glowing ceiling lanterns, Asian stylized wooden chairs and dark bench seats against lime green walls. Even dishware strikes a decorative chord, with my soft-shell crab in karee (yellow) curry arriving on a large, leaf-shaped plate terminating in a dramatic point.

The dish is actually called One Night in Bangkok ($15.25), an alluring title that hints at a really racy story. But overall, it's fairly tame, with the predominant flavors being a heavy tempura-style battering and the yellow curry, less dynamic than its red and green cousins. Still, it crunches delightfully and a salad with jicama sticks, bell peppers and onions balances out the fried forwardness, picking up the thin coconut milk curry drippings as a warm dressing. White rice is just there, as is a table-talker pushing four American cakes for dessert, an odd disconnect from the Thai theme. — MS

  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Macos Tacos

Macos Tacos

Various locations, 460-7163,

Going for lunch at Curbside Cuisine is always a bit of a gamble. Management hasn't tweeted since mid-January, and the Facebook page hasn't been updated since early November. But even on President's Day, when no other trucks are open, Macos Tacos has me covered. Soft tacos ($1.50 each) come simply dressed with chicken, pork or steak, white onion and cilantro, plus a lime wedge and salsa verde. My chicken comes out a touch overcooked in its bite-sized crumbles, but it's seasoned well enough. The tacos go down fresh and refreshing, especially with the lime and salsa.

Any torta ($7.99) satisfies with size alone, before the giant cheese skirt enters the picture. But bread toasted to dryness doesn't help the scant avocado moisten-up and overall-dry bite, though the flavor is there. Green and red salsa on my steak torta does wonders, though, and the red packs a decent punch heat-wise. Bottom line, it's good, cheap, reliable food. — GSl

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