Every day we see the posts: #foodie #foodporn #instafood… We know what it means. A very human desire to eat well intersects with social media culture + ubiquitous cell phone camera shutterbugging and combine to create awe inspiring, mouth watering, eyeball popping posts, which, as they should, tell us the best spots to pop into for a badass brunch or a desirable dinner. Here, your favorite Yellow Scene editor goes into the wilds, into the pandemic to forage for food that is identifiably indulgent. We picked our fave fooderies (that’s definitely a word) and we asked: “What do you and your staff think is the most indulgent dish on the menu?” And then I ate it. I know, it’s hard work. You’re welcome. These are the things we do for our loyal readers. So strap on that bib and get ready to drool as I tell you about the savory, the sweet, the succulent, seductive, and the spicy goodness awaiting your palette at these local spots. Then go eat.
Ok first, what a gorgeous presentation. You wouldn’t expect to describe a burger as gorgeous. Maybe mouthwatering. But this is beautiful. Given the burger description you expect the flavors to be as indulgent as unexpected: “an elegant and refined flavor profile from the combination of provolone cheese, arugula, crispy onion straws, and house made truffle honey” drizzled on top. My first taste was literally just pulling off a single piece of the crispy onion straws. I’m not even a fan of fried onions but the honey truffle drizzled over the top was insane and I knew this was going to destroy my face. Set yourself up for greatness by going extra indulgent with the sweet potato fries instead of standard cajun. Not that I fancy myself a lady’s man, but the Casanova is definitely a deliciously indulgent and sexy way to someone’s heart. Specifically mine. Wow.
When you think Indulgence, you might not think of a bagel. Actually, you definitely don’t think of a bagel unless you’re a bagel fanatic or lived in the NorthEast. And people that live in the area might not think of having a bagel at Your Butcher Frank, given the sheer size and deliciousness of all of their butcher offerings and sandwich selection. You pull into their Longmont parking lot and wander in. You get the scent of fresh meat, then you notice the deli counter to the right. You walk over and decide to be a foodie minimalist so the red apron clad magician behind the counter puts together an excruciatingly elegant toasted bagel with lox (opt for the tomatoes and red onion) that is to die for. I sat on a bench on Main devouring it. You can put this in my face any day.
Here’s a hands down indisputable fact: Arabesque is glorious. From it’s off Pearl location with tons of street parking to its (currently limited seating because of Covid) cozy interior, with a perfect patio for pandemic palettes seeking participation in public life, to the warmth and charismatic charm of its owner, Manal, whose dizzying energy and lighthearted banter make any day better, this place has everything. We asked for a dish – one dish, just a dish – repeatedly, but Manal couldn’t accept that. We received the Dajaj plate – a spread of chicken in spices with potatoes – and hummus, naan, homemade spiced chai teas, lemonade with cucumber, and iced tea with oranges and mint, which Manal made me chew, calling it the toothbrush of the food world. Indulgent? Without question. Every bite, seat, sound…an exercise in opulence, an excursion through excellence. Your world, your life, your stomach would be better if you popped in.
Pancakes are classic Americana, exactly what the child in you yearns for: memories of mom flipping Flapjacks and Dad drowning your plate in syrup, or vice versa. And Village Coffee knows about the children in all of us, having served generations of Boulderites at the only sane place in town. Their blueberry pancakes are perfect – just sloppy enough, and delicious – and it only took the VC dynamic duo 5 minutes to decide they were the most indulgent item on the menu. Honestly, I’m not even a pancake person. I prefer waffles, but these pancakes had me waffling between my normal taste temperaments and palette preferences and the impossibility of the goodness I was enjoying. Make sure that you’re raising your kids in the Boulderest way possible, by bringing them through Village Coffee because, as we all know, it definitely takes a village. And a side of Blueberry pancakes.
My time at Sherpa’s was quite possibly the closest I’ll ever get to ascending Mt. Everest. I don’t say that jokingly. I’ll probably never make that climb, it’s not in me, and Sherpa’s only hires staff from the region of Nepal where Sherpas come from. The chef who made my chicken tikka masala has ascended Mount Everest ten times, and never with the aid of oxygen. I’ve had a lot of tikka masala in my life, from LA to New York to Amsterdam, and I can tell you without doubt, this Tikka Masala holds the high ground. Was that an accidental Star Wars joke? I don’t know. But this food is out of this world, and it might be because it come from out of this country, and is made here in Boulder in the most authentic and seriously delicious ways possible. Gorgeous decor, excellent staff, and not on Pearl. I’m in.
I asked Ross Hagan what the most indulgent dish on the menu was and, absent chef Phil’s opinion, we had a hard time deciding. I reviewed the menu and narrowed it down to the Scottish salmon, the Mediterranean Portobello sandwich, and the Kentucky pork, all specialty offerings and hard to find in the region. Ross settled on the Scottish salmon, but surprised by walking out with the salmon and the Mediterranean Portobello sandwich. Both are absolutely killer dishes, indulgent for a Colorado palette more used to Burgers and steaks. The Portobello mushroom was succulent, with layers of flavor and textures you discovere with each bite. I’m not a big fish fan but the salmon is delectable, perfectly cooked, plated with care. In the course of this assignment, this is the one time I felt like I was under threat of finishing the dishes instead of just sampling and leaving. Highly recommend both.
A large crab cake paired with pan-seared scallops, served over parmesan dusted fingerling potatoes and accompanied by grilled, green beans accented by a lemon anchovy aioli is exactly what foodie heaven tastes like. Quite possibly the best potatoes I’ve had in East County, the dish, the service, and the environment make this one of the most indulgent things you can do in Longmont. Impressively located in an converted old house – not sure if anyone still lives there – converted for modern kitchen purposes, and with a spacious patio and exterior yard fronting the street, you feel wondrously transported out of the more commonly urban feeling Longmont landscape. Patio lights glow on warm evenings, impeccable service reminds you that there’s a divine drink pairing awaiting your palette, and perfect kitchen execution make Martini’s Bistro – recently taken over by new restaurateur, Sarah Morgan – a must-do for elegance, indulgence, and impressive dates.
Here’s a new thing for my life. Apparently I like New England clams. No big deal, just a huge taste bud transformation. I had no idea that was a thing that I like. You know who knew? Pam Proto of Proto’s Pizza. I popped into Proto’s off 287 in Lafayette and asked, “what’s your most indulgent pizza”, and the manager smiled and said… “I got you”. They served up a personal pan size pizza divided in half between the garlic olive oil infused bread with green peppers and clams, with the other side served casino-style with jalapenos, bacon, and red onion, and I’m definitely hooked. I literally had to pull off pieces of clam to taste separately just to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind. It’s definitely clams. But these are clams marinated in white wine, parsley, and shallot, then baked on a perfect thin crust pie: absolute perfection.
Ting’s is a Yellow Scene house favorite. When I brought home leftovers, our publisher, Shavonne Blades, went for Ting’s Place first. Why? They have been serving up masterful Asian delicacies since 1988, specializing in Chinese, Taiwanese, Malaysian, and Southeast Asian cuisines. That’s an incredible feat. Most of us go to a Chinese or a Vietnamese spot, or what have you, because we know it’s incredibly rare that one location can do so many types of food so well. Ting’s Place gets it done. I was blessed with the scallops in garlic sauce, which I took home after a few in-house photos and chewing the head off of the swan sculpture made out of a tomato. They’re currently not doing dine in service because of Covid,. Everything about this place is indulgent, from the excellent and authentic Asian decor to the savory, spicy, and sweet dishes ready for you to sample.
I would not normally be a fan of using the word tomahawk, but I get that this is called a tomahawk because of the shape, which actually makes perfect sense. So we’re good. Also good: the tomahawk pork chop, which is something I definitely am a fan of. In fact, of the numerous leftovers I brought home after dish sampling, this was the first one that I personally ate. As delicious warmed up as when it was first served, this Irish whiskey glaze topped, served with mashed potatoes and maple carrots dish is absolutely in keeping with the great Colorado meat traditions, but gussied up with a hint of indulgence given the whiskey glaze and plating. I’ve eaten at Mike O’Shays before but never had this and this is officially my favorite dish. I’m all for canceling the “tomahawk chop” and the Chiefs, but the Tomahawk Porkchop is a must keep.
What’s more wonderful than an authentic – and local – NOLA style vibe? New Orleans style jazz wiggles and slaps through the air as you walk into the original Lucile’s restaurant – yes, the original location is in Boulder, Colorado- and it’s housed in a small Victorian house painted their signature pale yellow. Old timey, nostalgia inducing (if you’ve spent any reasonable amount of time in NOLA) photos and paintings line the walls and everything feels like a slower, more delicious place and time. The staff recommended Eggs New Orleans: fried eggplant slices with creole sauce, poached eggs, and hollandaise, served with grits or potatoes and a buttermilk biscuit, are brought out with a side of beignets and four kinds of marmalade. I’m transported, alternately between heaven and Louisiana’s deep south, hurriedly switching between the sides of grits and Chef Mickey’s red beans. Casual indulgence is – in my well considered opinion – the best indulgence.
When I arrived at Foolish Craig’s, sometime after breakfast and before lunch, in that sacred brunch hour, I’m told there are more guests than expected. It’s a welcome sign for a slowed down cuisine scene. I stand by the counter for a few minutes until a couple, casually consuming coffees, has left and the table is ready. I tell my waiter, “after careful consideration, your staff has chosen the Whole Things Crepes for me to sample”. This is crepes filled and topped with caramelized walnuts and bananas, Nutella, brown sugar, cinnamon, and whipped creme. I can’t remember the last time I had crepes for breakfast. Whenever I hit a brunch spot I opt for steak and eggs, Chicken and Waffles, or coffee and Tylenol, depending on the night before. This crepe glory is exactly what brunch is made for. Side with a coffee and mimosa, and your breakfast indulgence is served.
Longs Peak Pub is the newest sibling to the Mountain Sun family which includes Mountain sun, Southern Sun, Vine Street, and Under The Sun, spread out between Denver and Longmont Boulder. At this Longmont location, we bit directly into goodness with the Date Night burger that comes with roasted poblano peppers, hickory smoked bacon, melted goat cheese, and a date purée. After what I can only assume was a weird looking, sunny patio located, very public and sloppy investigation of the burger and random sampling of pieces of everything, a waiter asked if everything was ok. “It’s wonderful,” I replied, a finger full of date purée at the end of my pointer finger. “I, uh, I had to taste it by itself to understand how it works with the peppers and the bacon so well…” This job is awesome. Pop in on Date Night for this very aptly named, indulgent burger.
Eggplant, wood ear mushrooms and bamboo stir-fried in a spicy garlic sauce meld in savory unison in this decadent dish, available in hot and spice, gluten free, and, of course, with rice should one wish to truly fill up. Nestled snugly between NOBO Arts District and that post-Iris Broadway stretch before Pearl, perfectly placed in the same lot as the Nomad Playhouse – where I’ve seen Boulder Opera perform – this Chinese restaurant has all glass windows, mirrors, and a few patio seats for the Covid concerned. Delicious take out is ready to go, but you want this dish. Eggplant perfection, important as a high-fiber, low-calorie food that is rich in nutrients and comes with many potential health benefits, from reducing the risk of heart disease to helping with blood sugar control and weight loss, and drowned in a spicy garlic sauce, this is incredibly delicious and worth the trip.
Peanut butter, bacon, and provolone cheese. I know what you’re thinking. Huh? My first peanut butter burger (yes, this is a thing) was in one of those tiny LA cities that get subsumed in the magnitude and referred to just as LA…but I digress. My point is, it wasn’t good. My date and I didn’t like it. I never thought I’d have one ever again. But Tanner, over at Dark Horse, laughed when he saw me sitting in an empty corner, after a string of calls and emails, and said, “ok, let’s get you a Jiffy. It’s a local favorite”. In a jiffy, I thought he said. Ok, whatever you’re bringing works. The jiffy is delicious and surprising. The PB balances the onions such that I didn’t realize they were in there till I reviewed my pictures. It’s sweet and meaty and perfect. Get yourself one today.
They call it “traditional” but it’s dressed up like a Boulder baller on Tebo’s birthday night (see you at Boulder Theater, y’all…). This beautifully blended bowl of elbow pasta – a little healthier variety than mom used to make out of those cardboard Kraft boxes *shudders* – red Leicester, cheddar, parmesan, bechamel, and breadcrumbs, with added bacon and house-made bourbon pickled jalapeños turn this family staple into spicy sticky cheesy epic indulgence. There I was, the only only eating in the upstairs parlor, watching the masked (and maskless!) ambling about, nibbling on the Pearl street patios, enjoying the sunshine, when BOOM! a bowl of magic is delivered. At first I was scared, I was petrified…it was my first meal of the day and here was a bowl of cheese and jalapenos. My goodness, the goodness. This is officially, swear-to-jeebus, the only Mac-and-Cheese I know I can, and will, eat. Count me in.
Coming to your table with double the meat (pastrami and corned beef), swiss cheese, mayo, mustard, lettuce, and pickle means the Big Fat Snarf is one of the thickest, meat indulgent sandwiches you can find locally. I was told to have mine with the peppers (good call). And suddenly there I was, perched on the patio of the Table Mesa Shopping Center Snarf’s location, wondering how exactly to fit this in my mouth. I considered unhinging my jaw to make more room, but opted for squeezing the goodness as compact as possible and taking the best bite I could. It’s worth it. I’m an italian sub lover, and this was next level. Word on the streets is this sandwich is not at every location, so maybe call ahead and ask. Or hit up this one, since I can guarantee they are ready to help shove this meaty madness in your face.
High on a hill – okay not that high, but still on a hill – sits the famously tipsy Burns Pub. This quaint little, all English everything, pub is tucked into the side of Hilltop Inn, with views of the Rocky Mountains to the West, a distant Denver to the East, and airplanes above, as it’s situated a stone’s throw distance to Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, in Broomfield. I arrived and was greeted by staff who remembered me and asked, “didn’t you cover us last year?” I did. Last year I had the shepherd’s pie and it was amazing. This time I had the fish and chips which may not sound as indulgent to you as it could be, but that’s only because you haven’t had fish and chips at Burns Pub and Restaurant. They won best fish & chips in colorado. I don’t even eat cod and I scarfed it down. Trust this one.
Mateos feels like the place you wanted to go to after watching all those super sexy romantic date movies as a teenager: upscale modern, nondescript facade, open floor plan interior, bright and airy, the clear hint of dressed down chic in the air. And it makes sense because you’re adventuring into a wonderland of cuisine and we’re here to tell you what we found indulgent: Steak Fries plate, because it sounds exactly like what we’d get at an excellent Mexican spot after a night out, but this is scaled up. The steak is cooked to a perfectly tender medium-rare and is accompanied by bearnaise sauce, blanched frites, and a petite salad. As a whole the dish provides the body with a full meal leaving you walking out of the restaurant smiling. Importantly, the fries were not over seasoned. And the steak was juicy. And the environment is gorgeous. We’re indulged.
Gondolier is known greatness, spanning the length of the county with multiple locations, we’d love an actual gondolier ride from one to the next while sipping excellent wine and enjoying the goodness on offer. The spaghetti they serve really is top notch, giving any Italian restaurant in driving distance a run for it’s marinara stained money. Speaking of which, it’s really great marinara; not heavily salty, and honestly had a touch of sweetness to it. Indulgent, we think, as we splatter little red splotches on our top. Classic us when we’re enjoying greatness. Their traditional spaghetti will take you back in time to old time Italy – for those who have been; for the rest of you, just imagine. The sauce is sweet and tangy, never overpowering, and it pairs with the mozzarella cheese flawlessly. Because we could, we also tried the Fettucini Alfredo, which is light and airy and perfect. Really, try anything. It’s pure indulgence.