Rock City Sliders and Coneys
405 N. Union Blvd., 694-8344
Whether you wandered into Detroit's American Coney Island or Lafayette Coney Island — the two ancient restaurants are literally touching each other — you wandered into the middle of classic culinary history. We may never know the best dog between the two, but we can be part of that heritage by eating at Rock City, a new small joint from Aaron Seller, who also deejays for 92.9 Peak FM.
It's not a Koegel Meats dog being used, and I noticed no snap to my Nathan's Famous, but my coney dog ($2.75) with meat sauce, onions and yellow mustard was still a salve on the soul. A deep-fried bacon-wrapped dog ($2.50) came off like a crunchy, burned log, but some single-patty sliders — $1.50 usually, $2.25 with recommended bacon-laced beef and cheese — were fresh and cheesy. Either way, multiple people walked in referencing previous visits and Michigan roots, so it's all working fine. — Bryce Crawford
Williams & Graham
3160 Tejon St., Denver, 303/997-8886, williamsandgraham.com
About 20 people line the block 30 minutes before opening, and within minutes of that 5 p.m. start time, there's already a two-hour wait list. I'd poke fun at W&G's whole speakeasy show — a faux bookshop front with a door/wall that opens into a back bar that's dark as hell, with Prohibition period dress and furnishings intact — but that'd undermine how damn good the drinks are.
Standouts among ours (each $12 and detailed online): the Bridge to Terebithia, Princess Bride, Blackberry Sage Smash and my favorite, Deadman's Curve. To unpack that last one: It starts with Bols Genever, juniper-flavored but bearing whiskey undertones. Next come two Italian digestivos/aperitifs, Zucca Amaro and Cocchi Barolo Chinato, each kissed with rhubarb and cardamom. Then a quinine-flavored French aperitif, Byrrh, plus Angostura bitters. Botanical beauty and aromatic enjoyment. — Matthew Schniper
Food truck, facebook.com/potatopotatocos
Last Friday's art event at The Machine Shop brought the much-anticipated return of Potato Potato, Kevin Johnson's mobile outlet for hand-crafted spud grub. During his winter hiatus, Johnson upgraded the trailer's plumbing, rebuilt the cabinetry, and converted all lighting to LED. He's trotting out his classics during the first few weeks, but vows that "in April, we're going to get fucking jiggy with it."
In the meantime, we order a vegetarian poutine ($7.50) and some steak and cheese fries ($10). The poutine's gravy starts with a deep stock before morphing into a deep, robust layer of velvet coating each bite. Globs of cheese curds bigger than popcorn kernels are missing the telltale squeak, but offer a creamy milk balance to all the awesome. For the latter, thin shaves of beef from the east side's Carniceria Leonela lie in juicy folds, defying you not to eat it first. Welcome back. — Bryce Crawford