Reviews by Andrea Tritschler, Sarah Golden, Melody McGinnis, and Johnathen De La Vaca
Chicago Italian Beef
This longtime favorite of the magazine is known for their incredible pizza, however their Chicago Italian Beef sandwich really won me over as a favorite dish. The sandwich was made on perfectly crunchy, cheesy bread with exactly the right portion of beef and just a bit of giardiniera. And while I might have put my love of pizza aside, you can’t go wrong with any of their signature pizzas. Try newcomer ‘The 606’ and get your daily veggies in too.
Woon Sen Pad Thai
Busaba is one of my favorite places to get Thai food around the Boulder. It’s undoubtedly one of the best. There are two dishes I have to get whenever I come in. The Woon Sen Pad Thai is a delicious traditional Pad Thai using Woon Sen (bean noodles) instead of rice noodles. This kind of noodle soaks in the sauce, which makes the Pad Thai taste even better. My other favorite dish? The Green curry fried rice. I love fried rice and a good curry and this combo is just mind blowing: saucy, decadent and delicious.
The Dajal Plate
Named for a ballet move, the chef and former ballerina of Arabesque creates some really stunning and delicious food. The Thursday special, the Dajal Plate, which consists of chicken and potatoes in a bright orange spiced sauce, is absolutely divine. The chicken is tender and juicy and the potatoes are boiled perfectly, but the sauce is what makes the dish. There’s a bit of citrus, rich savory spices, and just a bit of heat. Honestly it’s worth coming everyday in hopes of eating this dish again.
Tucked away in a central Boulder strip mall, this Mediterranean restaurant serves up some great food. The veggie plate is one of our favorites. It consists of falafel, spanakopita, greek salad, hummus, babaganoush, pita, tabbouleh salad, veggie dolmas and tzatziki sauce you’ll want to drink by the bottle. The combination of different flavors and textures makes this a perfect dish for when you don’t really know what you want, except that you want everything. If you are looking for something a bit meatier, you can’t go wrong with their shawarma or gyros – both are great, saucy and filled with veggies.
Vegan. Organic. Raw. Thrive covers all of the health food bases, and it’s damn good too. Their Tacno Salad is one of the best salads I’ve had all year. Lying on a bed of organic mixed greens there is faux taco meat, cashew sour cream, salsa, guacamole, and fresh crunchy cucumbers. The salad has great spice to it, and is so filling, I couldn’t finish all of it. It’s creamy, wet and full of texture and flavor. I’ll definitely be back for that and for one of their amazing smoothies.
Crispy Chicken Confit
Shine is a southern inspired restaurant with a majestic spin. And while we have many favorites, the Local Crispy Chicken Confit with coconut creamed kale, yucca Fries, and house pickled peppers from their dinner menu steals the show. The chicken is both crispy (as its name implies) and tender, and the coconut creamed kale is sweet yet earthy. Also I want to know their secret to the just spicy enough pickled peppers because I could put those on everything. Shine is the perfect place for those who are health conscious but don’t want to give up decadence.
Turkey and Bacon Jam
All of the sandwiches here are so good it’s hard to choose which is best. That being said, the Turkey and Bacon Jam is definitely at the top. With roasted turkey and a house made bacon jam, which is just the perfect balance of sweet and smoky, the sandwich also has tomato, romaine and avocado aioli all served on a pretzel loaf. I’m always wary of a dry sandwich, but between the jam and the avocado aioli (which is seriously delicious, it’s two of my favorite things) the sandwich strikes the perfect balance. Vegetarians – try the spicy veggie!
It’s been easy for me to avoid a Wellington for most of my life, given most menus have bad photos or uninspiring descriptions. The Burns Beef Wellington – a traditional British dish of mushroom pate, breaded, and wrapped around a medium rare top sirloin (using traditional highland cattle through the Brighton-based American Highland Cattle Association. -, is incredibly nuanced, lighter than expected, and delicious. With a mash bowl filled with gravy and greens on the side, you’re guaranteed an excellent, filling, and time-honored meal. Given that they have an actual snug and the fact that many of the recipes were passed down from the founders mother and grandmother, this a truly diverse and European vibing establishment.
In the great tradition of Latin American finger foods eaten off a small plate in a nondescript building, Gaucho’s empanadas burst with flavor and, not unlike the great Argentinian literature, are filled with nuance. It would be easy to scarf down a half dozen of the traditional beef, chicken, or mushroom filled delectables in a single sitting. Offering Colorado fan favorites like mac and cheese and chorizo and egg, Gaucho stands out for the simplicity, the time-honored tradition, including importing empanada wraps directly from Argentina, and the community vibe.
Jutta has been in America for 30 years, trained in Germany, and is now the chef at Cracovia. This “Best European Restaurant” award winner has been open for eleven years; Jutta has been here for four. The recipes may be the owners, but her cooking is outstanding. Ethnic Cuisine is important and it’s lovely that there’s an area where you can find Polish food made so elegantly. I have a housemate who loves pierogies but the pierogies here – house-made cheese and house-made pierogi dough, served the traditional way with a ball of sour cream and grilled onions as toppings – was outstanding. Alternate stylings include fried or steamed, and with a bacon option. I highly recommend stopping in and saying hi, even if only for the bar, stocked with hundreds of flavored vodkas.
I never thought of myself as the kind of person that would eat a vegetarian hamburger. Spoke too soon. Eating a Quinoa Burger was strange, but it was also enlightening. The fact is, if all we eat is meat, the planet is doomed. Luckily, Chef Osaka at Empire is whipping up epic vegetarian burgers that, if so needed, can be dressed up with different types of cheese, avocado, and, yes, bacon. I did have all three added to mine. Because why not? It was terrific. Complemented by perfectly crispy steak fries, lightly salted salted, and one of the specialty house cocktails. Perfection. My life is amazing. Make sure to stop by and try out this healthy option.
Chez Thuy Combination Appetizer
Reveiw: When I asked what was the most traditional dish on the menu, given that they cater to American palates with things like Kung Pao chicken, I was happy to be served a massive, and miraculous, appetizer. Most places I’ve been gave me a serious dish and at first I thought, appetizer? With four main items (soft-shell crab, vietnamesse egg rolls, fish cakes, and chicken), rice paper that you soak, then wrap with fresh vegetables to make spring rolls, this is an appetizer that can truly be dinner for two or three. The preparation, the freshness, the presentation, but mostly the taste, are why you need to try this.
Sudado de Pescado (mahi-Mahi), Tallarin Verde (steak and linguine), and Ceviche (tilapia)
Rosario’s went much harder than expected, presenting a three-dish platter, as Peruvians are wont to do. The Mahi-Mahi was drowned in the most gorgeous, nuanced sauce; the steak was laid on a bed of Peruvian style pesto linguine, and a lime splashed tilapia ceviche, the combination of which, all three of which, were miraculous. Let me be clear that, while I eat some sushi because I’ve gotten used to it, I am not a fan of fish in general. I started with the mahi-mahi expecting to dislike it and move onto the aspects of the plate I would like. I ended up taking the mahi-mahi home with me. Excellence.
Kachina is an interesting place. There aren’t many restaurants, even Southwest Grills like Kachina, that hold space can for Native American cuisine. The Navajo Tacos here, named for the Southwest tribe,though Indian tacos are common across Indian country, are some of the first that I’ve seen in a restaurant, especially one tucked into a high-end hotel like the Westminster Westin. Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the texture of the taco, the puffiness, the durability, and the mix of gorgeous flavors across the tacos, from vegetarian (the Sonoran) to beef (Texan), from tequila carnitas (Pueblo) to duck confit (Mojave), to the Gulf shrimp (the Maricopa). The food here is wondrous and the decor takes you right out of the hotel and transports you to an actual Southwest location. Perfection.
We’ve covered a lot in our diverse cuisine experiences, so this was a nice chance to bring it home and eat some American food. The New York strip steak at Samples on Main Street in Longmont is an absolute gem. When we sampled it, it was only a week old on the menu. This is the same place with two items recommended by Guy Fieri, of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives Fame. This NY Strip iteration is a three-in-one feast. That is, a New York strip served grilled to perfection – I had mine medium rare as god intended – with just the right amount of pepper and salt. Take that and throw the blue cheese compote butter on top, and you have a second. Take the two and dip them in the roasted red pepper cream sauce and you have a third. Mix and match to vary flavors, enjoy with a baked potato (because I don’t think they’ve perfected the vegetable skewers quite yet) and any of the dozens of Colorado beers on tap, and you’re set.
Let’s keep it real. If you don’t love a good gyro, do you even really like good food? This classic dish prepared in their Lafayette location by Hiam – who learned her craft in the scenic mountains of Lebanon – the Jamell family have been making excellent Mediterranean cuisine that transports you with each bit. My gyro entree was absolutely devoured…and the extra Baba Ghanoug adn Baklava (it’s not on the menu, but they have it) made my experience stellar. Served with a quip – “it doesn’t matter if it’s for a magazine, we always serve the same way” – told me all I need to know. You will get excellent food, every time, all the time, here at Mumtaz.
New England Cod
The mouth-watering New England Cod is pan-seared and garnished with fresh tomatoes, capers, and a creamy lemon burr blanc. The delicious cod sits on top of locally-grown, fresh, seasonal vegetables such as carrots, asparagus, mushrooms, and squash. Carefully laid out and prepared with a multitude of appealing colors – reds, yellows, greens, oranges, creams, etc. – this dish will immediately catch the diner’s eye. The light dish has a mild, creamy, delicious flavor that anyone can enjoy.
Charcuterie and Fromage
These two authentically French appetizers are bursting with flavor. Charcuterie consists of artisan cured meats such as Spanish Chorizo, Coppa Salumi, Prosciutto di Parma, and Chicken Liver Pate, a house mustard, olives, and curried nuts. This savory appetizer has several different strong flavors that are not well-suited for weak taste buds. Fromage includes artisan cheeses such as Brie and Midnight Moon cheese (made from sheep’s milk from Holland), a seasonal house confiture (in this case made with peaches and apricots), seasonal fruits such a pickled blackberries, and curried nuts. This sweeter appetizer has several strong, unique flavors that complement each other very well. Both appetizers are carefully and beautifully laid out, and are appealing both to the eye and to the taste buds.
The delicious egg burrito consists of two scrambled eggs, cheese, and onions, and is wrapped in a flour tortilla and smothered with pork green chili. The burrito is served with award-winning golden hash browns. It’s no wonder the hash browns won an award from 5280 magazine. They’re perfectly crispy and seasoned. The chili is not overwhelmingly spicy, but it has a good kick to it that’ll make your mouth water just thinking about it. Both the tortilla and eggs are light and fluffy and make your mouth feel like it’s eating a cloud. The onions are fresh, sweet, and crisp. The burrito has a great combination of several different complementary flavors. It’s filling and tasty – a perfect savory breakfast meal.
Naan & Chutney, Chicken Hariyali Lazzatdar, & Lamb Saag
These three different kinds of naan each have unique flavors and textures. The regular naan is light and fluffy, the garlic naan has a strong taste, and the papad (gluten free) is light and crispy. The three chutneys are also incredibly different. The white chutney is cucumber yogurt and has a light, refreshing, and creamy taste to it. The red one is a red pepper chutney that has a good, strong kick to it. The green chutney is a mint chutney that is fresh, sweet, and flavorful. The orange dish is cilantro marinated chicken morsels with aromatic cashew sauce. The chicken is perfectly cooked and very tender. The fresh cilantro on top really freshens it up and complements the light, bright cashew sauce. The Saag sauce is made with Spinach, herbs, and Fenugreek. The Lamb is very tender and juicy. This dish is a bit heavier than the other, but it has a really good, strong flavor. Overall, the layout has a lot of greens, oranges, and yellows. They’re all beautifully and carefully prepared and laid out and adorned with flowers and/or herbs that make them look even more appealing.
Penne Tricolore consists of Bufala Mozzarella, mushrooms, basil, and vodka sauce. The fresh Mozzarella is imported from Italy, and made with buffalo milk rather than cow or goat milk. As a result, it’s incredibly creamy and thick. The mushrooms come from a local supplier and have a fresh, earthy taste. The sauce is a mix between white and red sauce. It is mild and creamy but also tangy. Penne Tricolore is the perfect Italian comfort food.
The Legend Burrito Discada Style
This hefty burrito has house carne asada, chorizo, pork carnitas, beans, rice, and pico de gallo in a grilled flour tortilla. Topped with melted jack cheese and green chili, white queso, and red enchilada sauces. As soon as the burrito enters your mouth, your taste buds sing with flavor. The meat is tender and flavorful. The green chili sauce has a tangy, spicy flavor. The queso is creamy and ultra cheesy. The red enchilada sauce has a spicy kick to it. The burrito is laid out beautifully. The layout of the sauce brings the image of the Mexican flag to the dish. The burrito is a great traditional Mexican dish. It brings a little bit of Mexico to your taste buds.
A locally own casual eatery in Longmont brings the tastes of Greece to life with this authentic Greek cuisine loaded with fresh veggies, tangy red pepper hummus, tapenade, fried chick peas and dripping with a tarty tzatziki sauce. They also offer your choice of protein including vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options to satisfy all customers taste buds. For a state that’s happy with green bowls of all kinds, this Greek Bowl is exactly the daily goodness you need to sate muchies, stay healthy, and keep it diverse.
Red Velvet Cake
Slice of red velvet cake, topped with a rich cream cheese frosting and a sweet, tangy filling. This signature flavor is a standout option at Old Town Lafayette’s Mon Cheri bakery with its fluffy and moist texture. It’s everything you need to make a bad day good…or a good day magical. Head to the bakery counter to find even more freshly baked goods, ranging from assorted croissants with jam to sugar cookies drizzled with frosting.
Pork Shank Pibil
As a brown person who loves cooking, it’s not often I’m introduced to new terms and ingredients at a Mexican restaurant. Not the case with TeoCalli, the newest entry in the best Mexican food in Boulder County category, based in Lafayette. The Pork Shank Pibil, a brilliant expression from Johnny Carrillo and Chef Jose, is one of the most tender and flavorful dishes I’ve had the pleasure of tasting at a local Mexican restaurant. The X-Ni-Pek (proncounced Shnee-Pek, meaning Dog Nose, from the Yucatan) with the habanero base is not nearly as spicy as it sounds, but adds a perfect amount of warmth. It should be pointed out that TeoCalli is a Nahuatl word that means “God-house”. This is definitely a place to come to worship at the altar of nourishment and excellent foods.