Out on the road to find inspiring, less-well-known nabes devoted to the fresh, the local, the sustainable—and the drinkable. Produced by Cindy Hatcher
Southwest: The Intersection of Federal Boulevard & Alameda Avenue in Denver
Denver is, in its own stealth way, an international city, a culinary mash-up where Little Odessas share borders with a dozen tiny Juarez del Nortes and one canfind borscht, pho, tortas, and sashimi in a single strip mall. The intersection of Federal Boulevard and Alameda Avenue, and the roads running off in the four cardinal directions, marks the place where the city’s miniature versions of Hanoi, Guangdong, and the Distrito Federal all touch.
From the T-Wa Inn (Denver’s first Vietnamese restaurant) out to the Empress, 88 Asian Market, and the carnival-colored Tacos Y Salsas (where you can often catch white-jacketed kitchen crews enjoying post-shift tacos), the energy flows outward to Alameda Square. Here, the city’s best dim sum joint (Super Star Asian, pictured) draws crowds of dedicated gastronauts willing to wait an hour for fluffy pork buns and chicken feet, while some of Denver’s best cooks stalk the aisles at Pacific Ocean International Supermarket looking to score barbecued ducks, durian, cheap knives, Hello Kitty chopsticks, and other killer buys from distant latitudes. —Jason Sheehan