Each year, the editors of Yellow Scene spend countless hours consuming amazing food. This is a collection of the meals, dishes and drinks that satisfied, surprised and stunned our palates. Broken down by breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner and dessert, it’s always time for one of these delicious dishes.
Tangerine > Boulder
So many places try to improve upon the traditional eggs Benedict. Some go too far, with weird ingredients that don’t play well together; others don’t go far enough, resulting in a dish that’s more mediocre than meteoric. Tangerine has hit on the perfect update with a Benedict stacked with Prosciutto di Parma, a bright, sunny walnut pesto sauce and heavenly melted brie with two perfectly poached eggs and tasty home fried potatoes. We do so love it, Sam I-Am; we do so love green eggs and ham. 2777 Iris Ave
Snooze > Boulder
It’s a dilemma made even more difficult by the hour of the morning (or perhaps the strength of your hangover): what to order for breakfast? Snooze AM Eatery has made the decision a tiny bit simpler by offering a pancake flight. Any three pancakes from their creative list, including pineapple upside down pancakes, sweet potato pancakes, red-eye velvet pancakes and Ichabod Crane’s pancakes—not to mention their pancake of the day. Order a flight for the table in addition to whatever else you might like to try and experience the best of all possible breakfasts. 1617 Pearl St.
The Cup > Boulder
Saunter into The Cup while wandering down Pearl Street, and you’ll realize fairly quickly that this isn’t your typical grab-and-go coffee joint. Laminated pages lying around educate you on every aspect of the coffee you’re about to drink, but you don’t need any fancy terminology to know this is one fine brew. Conscious Coffee supplies the beans, and they were named North American Roaster of the Year in 2011. Order an espresso in a real ceramic cup and enjoy it sip by sip, not gulp by gulp. 1521 Pearl St., # B
503 Café > Lafayette
When breakfast goes gourmet without blowing the ol’ budget, it happens in the form of a heavenly mushroom omelet. This truffle-oil drizzled, parmesan-stuffed beauty lays tantalizing over a bed of to-die-for breakfast potatoes just waiting to be devoured. It’s the basil pesto folded up in this bad boy that takes it from delicious to divine in bites that beg to be devoured. Skip the salt, pepper and Ketchup abominations Americans are so fond of: Eat this omelet unadulterated and let its sexiness speak for itself. 103.5 North Public Rd.
Two Dog Diner > Prospect
It’s a very special breakfast when oysters are served. At Two Dog Diner, where diner classics take a modern turn, the Hangtown Fry makes an appearance only occasionally. Originally created as a luxury dish, Two Dog’s Hangtown Fry is a scramble of eggs, spinach, onion and bacon topped with crispy-fried oysters and served with potatoes on the side. With a touch of Tabasco, the dish comes together with supreme balance. But don’t be fooled by thoughts of bacon and eggs, the oysters steal this show. 645 Tenacity Dr. #A
Pickled Lemon > Boulder
This fast-casual concept by the Udi family (of Udi’s breads) had us at the house-made pickles on their condiments bar and the fluffy, Israeli-style pita bread, but the lamb kebobs sealed the deal. Lusciously spiced meats serve as the perfect building blocks for whatever creativity your mind can devise among endless combinations of side dishes and condiments. Order as a plate or a pita, you can’t go wrong. 1155 13th St.
Arabesque > Boulder
You know that old chestnut, “You don’t know what you’re missing?” If you’ve never had chicken shawarma, it couldn’t be more apt. And if you’ve never had the chicken shawarma at Arabesque, you don’t know that you’re missing the most delectably savory, intricately spicy, slow-roasted chicken filling for a pita bread that exists. Order it on a plate, in a sandwich or as part of their excellent Mid-East sample platter for a taste of a lot of other delectable delicacies you don’t want to miss. 1634 Walnut St. #101
Pizzeria Locale > Boulder
Shoved into the corner stool, snuggling up closely to my neighbor, during a busy lunchtime service within the first month of Pizzeria Locale’s Christ-like rise: That’s how I first became acquainted with the eatery’s heavenly mais pizza. After getting a tutorial on my knife, the dish arrived in subtle glory. But the luscious profundity and richness is far from understated. Sweet corn, crème fraiche, prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella cover a lovely little cloud of dough—a tad chewy and a tad crispy and totally delicious. God’s gift to pizza lovers? I think so. 1730 Pearl St.
Sous Vide Pork Sandwich
Pizzeria Basta > Boulder
Sous vide cooking, meaning simply “under vacuum” in French, is a technique of cooking foods, often meat, in a sealed plastic bag under water at a very low temperature for a very long time. The result is juicier meat with better texture, as the outside gets done around the same time as the inside. Sound tasty? Try this excellent example at Pizzeria Basta, where slices of deliciously salty pork are served with caramelized onions and mustard on a fluffy wood-oven baked roll. An excellent choice if you can stand not ordering the pizza. 3601 Arapahoe Ave.
Braised Boneless Short Ribs
Colterra > Niwot
Colterra does hearty dishes with elegance and grace, like a lumberjack who loves opera and wines from Bordeaux. Their “Never Ever Short Ribs,” served last spring with seasonal, local veggies, are a testament to this caviar-meets-corduroy refinement: thick, boneless short ribs braised for seven hours and served with crispy polenta, garlic-seared local chard and Parmigiano. It’s savory in every meaning of the word, warming, heavy but not inundating, and full of flavor and balance. It’s perfect for opera fans, Bordeaux fans and any wandering lumberjacks.
210 Franklin St.
Southwest Blackbean Burger
Foolish Craig’s > Boulder
Of all the veggie, Boca, tofu and otherwise non-beef burgers we’ve had (and we’ve had more than we’d like to admit), the best by far is Foolish Craig’s southwest black bean burger. The made-in-house patties boast just a bit of tofu and a few veggies, but stand strong on a platform of black beans, spices and panko breadcrumbs. They keep it simple with the usual fixings: tomato, lettuce, onion but add house-made guacamole for a burger even non-veg-heads can love.
1611 Pearl St.
Café Aion > Boulder
Café Aion’s charcuterie is not your grandma’s cold-cut plate. The dish is a selection of house-cured deliciousness, including chicharones, porchettea de testa, lomo, cured chorizo and chicken liver pate (all from Colorado farms). Then there are house-pickled vegetables—dillied green beans, sweet coriander carrots, onions—and olives marinated with preserved lemon and rosemary. It’s all served with a sourdough baguette, which, you guessed it, is baked fresh in-house everyday. 1235 Pennsylvania Ave #A
Duck Carnitas Taco
Tahona > Boulder
I once had a book that was simply a list of some tens of thousands of things to be happy about, one of which was, “the angle of your head while biting into a taco.” Add to that the amazing slow roasted duck carnitas tacos at Tahona, served with chile-spiked apple butter, peanuts and goat cheese in a perfect crispy container. Note the angle of your head as you bite and you’ll experience the elusive double happy. 1035 Pearl St.
Zoe Ma Ma > Boulder
Last year, I went through a potsticker phase. I ordered them every chance I got, in every establishment that would sell them to me. But the best, by far, was the original “secret family recipe” at Zoe Ma Ma. The delicate wrapper, never gooey or chewy, hides a mélange of pork, shrimp, garlic chives and vegetables. Honestly, only pride prevents me from ordering a dozen of these darlings and downing them at a single sitting. The excellent dipping sauces available at the counter don’t help the situation one bit, making everything even more delicious than before. 2010 10th St.
Crispy Polenta & Parmigiano
Salt The Bistro, Boulder
At the bottom of the menu at Salt Bistro, shy, unassuming, listed as a small bite, sits a gem. A plate of crispy polenta and Parmigiano arrives as two wedges of gold, and they are perfectly toasted on the outside, dusted with fine shavings of cheese. Bite in and discover a world of creamy, decadent polenta offset by the crispy, salty exterior. Alongside a salad, a sip of soup or just an ice cold cocktail, this is the sort of plate that the term “comfort food” was designed for. 1047 Pearl St.
The Kitchen [Next Door] > Boulder
The kale chips at The Kitchen [Next Door] are the comfort food you never saw coming: crisp, salty and so thin it’s impossible to get enough. Leave it to the guys at The Kitchen to skip the saucy fries, guac and yam variations and make a raw food favorite into gourmet gluttony. These lovely snacks are deep fried, delicious and sold to share, but it’s best to just get your own and just go to town: If French fries and pizza count as vegetables, these little bits of deep-green, salty goodness can’t be wrong. 1039 Pearl St.
Terroir > Longmont
Every rare once in a while, I find myself at a table where the food has been elevated to art. Such was the case at a sunset-dappled table on a farm in Hygiene last summer where I got to taste the gorgeous squash blossom tart prepared by Tim Payne of Terroir. The delicate taste mimicked the equally delicate appearance with a fine butter and herb crust, mild cheese and ethereal blossom spread like a butterfly wing across the plate. Absolutely transcendent. 246 Main St.
Lulu’s > Louisville
A plate at Lulu’s Barbecue is crammed full of Southern charm and smoky flavor (the fellas here love to stick various items in their smoker, creating dishes like smoked barbecue gumbo and smoked Ruebens). But the star of this show is certainly the smoked brisket. It’s juicy and tender, smoky and full of meaty goodness. The brisket is wonderful paired with some sweet-potato tater-tots and the simple mac and cheese—don’t forget a few dashes of Lulu’s spicy barbecue sauce. 701 B Main St.
Green Bean Casserole
Georgia Boys > Longmont
I’m from the South with a bona fide Georgia pedigree, and I know from casserole. But the green bean casserole that the Georgia Boys dish up out of their shack in Longmont knocked my socks off. Fresh green beans, rich mushroom cream sauce, and caramelized onions take this side way beyond the realm of condensed soup. 237 Collyer St.
Frasca Food and Wine > Boulder
Sometimes the best dishes are the most surprising ones. And this creamy cauliflower soup was a complete and total revelation: At the bottom of the bowl, crunchy almonds, raisins and capers soaked in the luxurious broth, waiting to be scooped up for a surprisingly earthy, balanced bite. Sweet, salty and savory, the soup changes from one bite to the next, becoming an intriguing, intellectualized dish to push and pull your palate. 1738 Pearl St.
Pho Duy > Broomfield
Sometimes the occasion calls for soup. Not just any soup: soul-satisfying, innard-warming, sinus-clearing pho. While you may think of big bowls served by Vietnamese street vendors, I think of a Broomfield shopping center. Pho Duy sits in a busy strip mall in walking distance of about five other pho restaurants, but out of them all, this is my favorite. The large bowl (comes in small, medium and large…even the medium is more than enough) comes out steaming, filled with rice noodles, the beef of your choice and a beautiful, deep broth. On the table, you find Thai basil, limes, jalapeños, beans sprouts, sriracha, hoisin and other condiments. 6600 W 120th Ave., Unit B
Bitter Bar > Boulder
The Bitter Bar is so hip and trendy, I felt a little conspicuous and even old walking into the place on a Friday night, but the kind staff and ridiculously tempting menu cast aside any reservations I might have had: This is a foodie’s place, and on realizing it, I suddenly felt at home. The gingerbread is a perfect example of this; dark and dense, the cake is balanced with the rich, creamy cold scoop of ice cream and topped with a fluffy, crispy pile of candied bacon popcorn. Simply sublime and worth every second of self-doubt. 835 Walnut St.
Sweet Cow > Louisville
Sweet Cow is a happy place. Here, children giggle and squeal as melted ice cream coats fingers, faces and clothing, and joy is thick in the air. Adults sometimes feign caloric guilt—though their cones quickly disappear—while others just cheerily chow down. Sweet Cow scoops up happiness in the form of the tastiest, creamiest, smoothest ice cream in town. It could be Dr. Pepper or peanut butter banana or something made of cereal. Pick your flavor, but all roads lead to bliss. 637 Front St.
Café Brulot Cake
Kim & Jake’s Cakes > Boulder
I’m a sucker for the devilishly good treats Kim and Jake turn out; their moist cakes aren’t cloyingly sweet or covered in marshmallow goo. My favorite of their concoctions—so far—is the café brulot cake. Modeled on the New Orleans drink, it begins with a chocolate spice cake flecked with orange zest then doused in coffee, brandy and Grand Marnier and finished with a chocolate buttercream. It made an appearance on their holiday menu, but I hope it’s here to stay. 641 S. Broadway
Piece, Love and Chocolate > Boulder
At the far west end of Pearl Street, a bit beyond the hubbub of the pedestrian mall, duck into the comfy confines of Piece, Love and Chocolate and stave off the winter chill with a cup of their ridiculously decadent sipping chocolate. Basically, it’s a cup of pure melted chocolate and cream. This is well beyond any hot cocoa you may have fancied in your past. Definitely order the sipping chocolate spiked with a hint of chili to warm you from the inside out. 805 Pearl St.