Chris Tomasso

Grapefruit and Feta Tartine

Call, Denver

A perfect example of how a small, nondescript restaurant that is doing something truly special can break through the clutter and shine. I visited this tiny 900-square-foot restaurant—which seats only 17 inside and another 20 or so on the patio—last year, and it was evident that it was adored by locals. Now however, the secret is out—Bon Appetit magazine recently named Call as one of America’s Best New Restaurants 2018. The all-day snacking menu features toasts, tartines, sandwiches and salads along with an impressive selection of in-house baked goods. Everything we tried was amazing, but we had heard the most about the Grapefruit and Feta Tartine, and it didn’t disappoint. Fresh grapefruit wedges and airy feta cheese sit atop rustic toast garnished with dill and mint. The grapefruit provides a bright refresh to the rich, creamy cheese while the toast delivers a nice crunch. The dill and mint are subtle but add to the overall depth of the dish.

Bialy Egg Sandwich

Gjelina Take Away, Venice, Calif.

Proof that not all breakfast sandwiches are created equally, Gjelina’s Bialy Egg Sandwich is an absolute flavor bomb, with fried egg, arugula, harissa ketchup and Gruyere cheese on a perfectly toasted sesame bialy. The menu states that adding bacon or pork belly for $2 more is an option, which I find entertaining. Of course I am going to add pork belly! Again, a simple dish done exceptionally well. Gjelina Take Away is a sister concept to the famous Gjelina, which was recently described in a review as “muscular dude-food meets healthy eating, with an Italian accent and American ingredients.”

cart driver pizza

Cart-Driver pizza

Cart-Driver, Denver

Who would have thought that you could enjoy a casual, inspired meal in a retrofitted 640- square-foot shipping container? That’s what you find at Cart-Driver in the heart of Denver's RiNo neighborhood. On a recent market inspiration tour with our culinary team, we happened upon this unique restaurant, and the food really impressed us. The wood-fired pizzas were all memorable, but the one that stood out was the namesake Cart-Driver pizza. For me, it’s the crust that makes the pizza, and Cart-Driver’s perfectly charred yet tender wood-fired crust is the perfect vessel for its unique toppings. This particular pizza includes sausage, kale, mozzarella and chili flakes. The sweetness of the sauce paired with the heat of the chili flakes makes this one delicious.