Snack Attack

Published on: September 20th, 2010

Morning, noon and night, you never know when hunger will show her alluring visage and tempt you…Cookies? No? Something savory? Pupusas? Empanadas? How about a piece of pie? Ohhhh, Buffalo wings! Here, 16 ways to snack in Boulder County.

Morning Snacks
The second most important meal of the day

Doughnuts at Salt, Boulder
In a town without doughnut shops, Salt’s bistro-made doughnuts are a snack worth celebrating. They arrive warm from the fryer, five perfect dough rings to a plate, set in a thin puddle of sugar glaze. With some crunch around a soft interior and homemade flavor, they’re a separate species from those heavily frosted, filled and fried units sitting on supermarket shelves. But wait, there’s more! The small doughnuts come with a small cup of wonderfully rich cinnamon-laced warm liquid chocolate for dunking and sipping. This is a true snack because it concludes with finger-licking, plate scraping and, in extreme cases, plate-licking. The only problem: they’re only listed on chef Bradford Heap’s weekend brunch menu. We suggest they get added to the dessert menu too. Don’t make us quote Homer Simpson.—JL

Smoothies at Maiberry or Cefiore, Boulder
Smoothies are all the rage right now, with even the Golden Arches getting in on the game. They’re supposed to be virtuous; they’re supposed to be liquid nutrition fortified with bee pollen and wheat grass and antioxidants. But unless they actually taste good, they can be just a milkshake in disguise. For the real deal, head to Maiberry or Cefiore in downtown Boulder. Both boast fresh ingredients and delicious tangy yogurt, and each has its own particular smoothie flair. Whether you try a pineapple mango coconut concoction from Cefiore or the Berry Bad Boy from Maiberry, you’re sure to get the power packed pick-me-up you need.—LB

Breakfast apps at Centro, Boulder
Occasionally, a hankering hits: I’m in need of a brunch feast. Diner fare won’t do; no omelet will satisfy. It must be something with multiple, palette-pleasing courses. It’s a hunger to lounge in the sun, sip mimosas and down a whole heap of yumminess. Centro is calling. Once there, before our main courses arrive, we share coconut fried bananas with a heavenly vanilla anglaise, burnt grapefruit, breakfast tacos—creamy egg balanced with the pertness of candied onion—or maybe a bowl of sopa azteca filled with tender pulled chicken. It’s a foretaste to temper the hunger pangs of a late morning meal served in the sexy, vibrant energy of Centro’s busy dining room and happy patio, and it’s a precursor to more delicious things.—AC

Beignets or Biscuits at Lucile’s, Boulder & Longmont
As my husband and I enjoyed a leisurely Sunday breakfast at Lucile’s I asked his opinion: which would make a better snack, a beignet or a biscuit? “That depends on your audience,” he told me. For a business person, a couple of friends having coffee, or a mom running errands, he thought a beignet would be the better choice as a sweet treat with coffee; for someone looking for energy and fuel, he thought a biscuit would be best, paired with jam or sausage gravy and not requiring a cup of joe. I decided that I’m pretty lucky to have such a thoughtful dining companion.—LB

Mid-Day Snacks
Like an afternoon nap for your belly

Pie and coffee at Huckleberry, Louisville

“Just around the corner, there’s a rainbow in the sky. So let’s have another cup o’ coffee, and let’s have another piece o’ pie.” Back then pie was ubiquitous on America’s menus, but now it can be tough to find a café dishing tender crust and good coffee. Whether it’s mid-morning, mid-afternoon or mid-evening, we know we can enjoy the classic combo at the ever-cozy Huckleberry in Louisville. We love the blackberry pie full of tart fruit and the same butter-enriched crust that forms and crispy golden lattice on the sour cherry pie that’s blissfully absent the usual red goo. When the need for sweets strikes, an intense wedge of chocolate bourbon pecan and a perfect double espresso fills the bill and cuts the fog.—JL

Empanadas and Ceviche at Aji, Boulder
After hours of walking and shopping in downtown Boulder, I needed sustenance. I needed a place to rest and recharge and maybe sip a large and delicious ginger lemonade. I found it at the bar of Aji. Plied with a plate of hot and crispy poblano empanadas and a bowl of cool tilapia ceviche, marinated in fresh citrus juices, I began to feel my energy returning. The empanadas were a pleasant riff on chile rellanos—but with pie crust, which tends to make everything better—and the ceviche went down cool and fresh, a burst of protein to keep me going. Bring it on.—LB

Mortadella Sandwich at Café Aion, Boulder
While Oscar Meyer would still have us spelling b-o-l-o-g-n-a, the fact is they have nothing on Café Aion’s mortadella. This beautifully fatty, perfectly spicy mortadella, a cold cut similar to bologna, makes its way into a house-made baguette with arugula and pickled onions to create one of the best lunch-time snacks ever. Served with a side of hot-smoked paprika chips, you might just keep snacking and order yourself another.—AD

Pupusas Louisville Cart
First, it’s important to know what a pupusa is not. It’s not a taco or cornpone or polenta or fried mush, although it’s related to all of them. Rather, it’s a hand-formed disk of corn dough that’s filled and then griddled on both sides. It’s got a crunch that yields to a hot, soft interior. One of the few places you can sample the real deal is at a little red cart located at the corner of 95th Street and South Boulder Road in Louisville. Salvadoran natives Mario Ramirez and his mom, Elsie—she does the cooking—have worked hard to introduce this delicacy. Each is served with curtido, a tart, spicy Salvadorian-style coleslaw that’s the perfect foil for the griddle-fried richness. There’s no seating but most of the devoted following never go anywhere—you can see them munching away in the drivers’ seats.—JL

Pre-Dinner Snacks
Don’t worry. You won’t ruin your appetite.

Sophisticated Fare at The Kitchen, Boulder
If you happen to be on Pearl Street and in need of a little something around happy hour, may we suggest you slip into something chic, namely, The Kitchen. Each weekday from 3–5:30pm is Community Hour with a menu of sips and nibbles designed for snacking and sharing. The selection includes veggies, meats, cheeses and sweets as well as a selection of adult beverages including a cocktail du jour. We noshed on the hummus, wood roasted vegetables and pork terrine, which turned out to be plenty for a light meal for two. Sophisticated tastes for moments when you crave a bit of sophistication.—LB

Pork Belly Sliders at Jax, Boulder
Jax has jumped on the pork belly wagon with these sliders. Served on a soft bun, topped with pickled vegetables and hoisin, these pork belly sliders are four bites of delicious. Sweet and sour, fatty and tangy, a flavorful and balanced snack for your pork needs.—AD

Bao at Zoe Ma Ma, Boulder
Later in the evening in downtown Boulder you’ll notice a steady stream of folks ducking around the corner at 10th and Pearl streets. They’ve got a jones that can only be sated with the Asian street food chef Edwin Zoe and his mom, Anna, are delivering at their new little eatery. Frankly, we’re hooked on Zoe Ma Ma’s bao, fluffy white rice dough centered with mildly seasoned barbecue pork and steamed. It’s pure comfort we’ve enjoyed as dim sum fare at Chinese eateries, but we didn’t know just how good bao could be when made from scratch. Sometimes we mix it up with the satisfying zong zi: sticky rice, pork belly, mushrooms, and lotus seeds steamed in a bamboo leaf wrapping, or the light vegan (not to mention gluten-less) potsticker stuffed with tofu, shitakes and garlic chives.—JL

Seasonal Small Plates at Sugarbeet, Longmont
One of the best appetizers I’ve had in a long time was also one of the simplest: slices of fresh Colorado peaches and basil leaves wrapped in proscuitto. I remember telling my husband as the juices dripped down my chin, “I could do this.” But the point is that I don’t have to, because Sugarbeet in Longmont does it for me. Their ever-changing happy hour menu of seasonal specialties is always a treat, and right now includes crispy fennel and artichokes with English Stilton, grilled asparagus with Haystack Mountain chevre, and Dooley Farms heirloom tomatoes with fresh burrata and crispy capers. If that lineup doesn’t get your mouth watering, you don’t deserve to call yourself a foodie.—LB

Late Night Snacks
Wings and So, So Much More

My guilty pleasure—or “diet breakers,” as I like to call them—is Buffalo wings. They are the all-time perfect snacks: Pick one up with your hands, dip, eat. And repeat. Here are a few of my local favorites:

West End Tavern, Boulder
These are the wings that took down Man vs Food. Adam Richman couldn’t beat the wing challenge, and really, who would want to? Richer than your average wing, these babies are served in a buttery, medium-spiced sauce that is both delicious and well-rounded. The Tavern’s meaty wings are not the type that one downs by the dozen; instead, a handful can satiate any craving. In the battle of life, these wings always win.

Pumphouse, Longmont

In this downtown Longmont institution, the wings are plump and never over-sauced and always on point. Pumphouse always pleasantly surprises me with food that comes to my table delicious, house-crafted and way above par. The wings are no different. Try them with Buffalo sauce, fiery habanero-chipotle, barbecue, Jamaican jerk spice or the crave-worthy spicy ginger-chili.

Buffalo Wild Wings Longmont & Broomfield
Yes, it’s a chain restaurant and a sports bar, but it’s also wing heaven. There’s no lack of options here: traditional, boneless (fried crispy), Asian zing, spicy barbecue, mild Buffalo, ranch, blue cheese and so on. Wings here are crisp-skinned, a bit smaller than at local restaurants but still meaty. At B-Dub-Dubs, the emphasis is on the saucy options. Feeling wild? Try the Caribbean jerk or the mango habanero.—AC

Tapas at The Med, Boulder
There’s a reason something becomes a classic, and the tapas menu at The Med is no exception. Sure, the restaurant is convenient and huge, able to seat seemingly hundreds of hungry tourists on a Friday night. But it’s also reliably delicious and a decent value. Get the hummus or the fried artichoke hearts and a bowl of olives if you’re just feeling munchy. Opt for the bisteca or the meatballs if you desire something a little more substantial. And do not leave under any circumstances without an order of the bacon-wrapped dates. Better make that two; you’re not likely to want to share.—LB

Atomic Poppers at Waterloo, Louisville
Poppers are a Super Bowl Sunday-type snack. Bite-sized and fried, they are practically made for people who don’t have the wherewithal to deal with fork or plate. But at Waterloo, these spicy little nuggets take on superior form: fire-roasted jalapeños filled with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. No greasy batter or tasteless peppers, these snacks are pure flavor and all heat, only mitigated by the cream cheese and a side of homemade ranch. And the bacon does what bacon does best: making these true snacks more delicious and worthy of a second helping.—AC

Fried Cheesy Stuff at Cheeky Monk, Westminster
We all get those moments when all you want is cheese and a basket of fries. Maybe it’s after a long week—or maybe after one too many beers—but it will always lead you to the Cheeky Monk. Recently, I slid into a large booth to sample all things fried and cheesy. With glasses of Belgium beer at our side, we dug into frites with aioli (lemon garlic and chipotle), cheese croquettes and moules frites…yes, frites and more frites. The croquettes, discs of fried Gouda, Fontina and Swiss, were stunning, perfectly salty and served with aioli and a berry sauce. The shoestring fries were crisp and well seasoned. The nontraditional bacon and blue mussels bathed in a creamy, rich broth that smelled like bacon and tasted like heaven. It was not the healthiest snack ever—a guilt-inducing splurge if I’ve ever had one—but worth every calorie.—AC

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