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Daily Slice: Spring Vegetable Flatbread at Rioja, Denver

Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.

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[Photographs: Daniel Zemans]

When I walked into Rioja, by most accounts one of the best restaurants in Denver, I had no intention of ordering pizza. But the intriguing mix of toppings on the Spring Vegetable Flatbread made it irresistible. Chef Jennifer Jasinski's ever-changing menu is heavily focused on local and seasonal ingredients. The pizza, which is no exception, comes with grilled asparagus, fava beans, roasted tomatoes and pine nut pesto, fresh buffalo mozzarella and Manchego cheese, all of which is topped with a pea shoot salad.

With so much going on, I was worried that I would bite into a carnivore's worst nightmare. However, the application of ingredients demonstrated a restraint that allowed every single element to shine. The fava beans and pine nut pesto, in combination with the thick and crunchy crust, make the flatbread a little heavy as an appetizer for one. If you've got someone to share it with, this is a unique pizza that's worth checking out.

Rioja

1433 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80202 (map)
303-820-2282; riojadenver.com

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