The project that has consumed every waking minute of my life since late August is finally behind me: The Food Lover’s Guide to Denver & Boulder will be released by Globe Pequot Press next spring. Details to follow as the pub date nears.

In the past 3-plus months I’ve made mincemeat of 100s of dishes at 100s of area eateries—and the experience only further confirmed my long-held belief that we’ve got it going on around here. Which doesn’t mean that all that face-stuffing was always fun; at times, I yearned for nothing more than a can of green beans and a daybed on which to sleep it off for the next 3 days. That some eats wowed me in even those jaded moments is all the more testament to their excellence. To commemorate my pain/your gain, behold, in no particular order, my Top 10.

Black Cat Bistro’s appetizer tasting with truffled white-radish soup, carrot terrine & pork rillettes in oven-roasted tomato “taco shell”

Trillium’s foie gras mousse with pickled chanterelles & cloudberry preserves on rieska

twelve restaurant’s puff-pastry flatbread with autumn produce

Queen of Sheba’s kitfo

CoraFaye’s Cafe’s pork necks

Satchel’s on 6th’s bacon-crusted pork chop with Sriracha risotto 

Jabo Bar-Be-Q’s honey-maple baked beans & Utah scone

À Côté’s petit boisé in walnut leaves with house accompaniments

Thai Flavor’s omelet-topped eggplant salad

Las Tortugas’ torta

Bonus entry: though I kept the camera off during an extraordinary meal at Izakaya Amu, not a one of the 10 or so I tried didn’t fill me with delight.