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|October 2-8, 2008
1117 Pearl St., Boulder,
Distinct from other Japanese restaurants, Hapa is where new-style Asian and old-school Hawaiian fare meet. Of course, there’s the expected offerings of sushi, miso soup and rice bowls. But there’s also hipper fare like a rich miso-glazed Black Cod appetizer and unique-to-Hapa sushi rolls. A prime Pearl Street Mall location also makes this a fine spot for people-watching as you tuck into your soft-shell crab spider roll.
Meadow Lark Farm Dinners
Meadow Lark Farm Dinners isn’t like any other dining experience you’ve had. The Meadow Lark crew travels from farm to farm in Boulder County, serving up dinners featuring freshly harvested ingredients and fine wine. A typical menu might include a stellar chilled cucumber soup, followed by a main course of locally raised flank steak sided with a ratatouille-style vegetable casserole with goat cheese. Sound good? It’s one of the best dining experiences in the county.
Leenie’s Southern Café
625 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-776-4195
Come hungry to Leenie’s Southern Café, and you’ll undoubtedly go home satisfied. Specializing in Cajun and Creole cuisine, this is the place for authentic gumbo, po’ boy sandwiches and blackened redfish. Other Southern specialties include Mississippi-fried catfish accompanied by hushpuppies and breakfasts goods like eggs Florentine topped with fried oysters. While the ambience is nothing fancy, it’s still a friendly place to enjoy a taste of Dixie.
4700 Pearl Pkwy., Boulder, 303-447-1833
If fancy and cutting edge cuisine are what you seek, the Parkway Café isn’t for you. It’s a breakfast and lunch joint that’s more Norman, Oklahoma than Boulder, Colorado, and that’s what gives this eatery its considerable charm. Breakfast spans the range from a Spartan meal of a single egg and toast to more extravagant eggs Benedict and complex omelets. Lunchtime brings an array of burgers and classic sandwiches such as hot roast beef and tuna melts. No matter what meal it is, you’ll get your money’s worth.
1710 29th St., Boulder, 303-442-1300
Yet another spot with something for just about everyone, Laudisio continues to draw in local diners with its traditional Italian fare. While the restaurant has forsaken its humble strip mall setting for the tonier climes of 29th Street, the menu still offers up a crowd-pleasing mix of pastas, made-to-order risottos, wood-fired pizzas and entrées from land and sea. Can’t-miss items include the vegetarian pizza margherita and spaghettini puttanesca.
Sun Deli, Pizza & Liquor
2299 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-938-1128
Like something out of a Kevin Smith movie, Sun Deli, Pizza & Liquor is a slacker’s paradise. Enjoy vintage footage of the Dead on the flatscreens while enjoying above-average pizza slices and satisfying cheesesteaks. Crisp entrée salads include spinach, antipasto and Greek variants, and the soup’s noting to sneeze at either.
Jax Fish House
928 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-1811
Marrying a casual atmosphere with near-haute cuisine preparation, Jax Fish House is a premier spot for seafood. Raw bar afficianados will appreciate raw bar specialties such as small but sweet Kunamoto oysters. Those preferring cooked selections will enjoy such entrées as perfectly seared sea scallops atop an imaginative foundation of oyster mushrooms and sensual polenta. For those indifferent to the fruits of the sea, burgers and a buffalo steak are also available.
1701 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-440-0220
Sunflower’s been under new management for about a year, but fans of the old menu have nothing to fear from this organic pioneer’s current offerings. Owner and Chef Jef Forsberg has preserved the restaurant’s commitment to dishing out natural and tasty selections whether it’s at brunch or happy hour. The portabello burger’s a winner, and the salad buffet’s a winner for those who enjoy a hearty yet healthy lunch.
Juanita’s Mexican Food
1043 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-449-5273
Step into Juanita’s Mexican Food, and it feels like you’ve taken a step 50 years into the past. The classic Mexican menu isn’t for culinary thrill-seekers looking for the latest in trendy south-of-the-border cuisine. Instead, this eatery is an oasis for those seeking out classic combination plates, crispy tortilla chips and other reasonably priced fare. The number two combo is truly classic, featuring a burrito, enchilada and a compelling chile relleno.
Bali to Bombay
1630 30th St., Boulder, 303-444-1809
The exotically named from Bali to Bombay is a relative newcomer to the Boulder scene, offering everything from pad Thai to Persian kababs. Vegans and vegetarians will welcome the Indian entrées including curried chickpeas and the classic spinach dish of saag paneer. More off-the-beaten-track selections include halal-certified chicken and lamb and nasi goring, Indonesian fried rice.
Good Times Burgers and Frozen Custard
2050 26th St., Boulder,
Your food snob friends and cardiologist may frown upon it, but Good Times Burgers and Frozen Custard tops the list of culinary guilty pleasures. Crisp real onion rings (not of the abominable chopped and pressed variety), decadent sundaes and burgers made with Coleman natural beef are just some of this Colorado chain’s lip-smacking attractions. Those seeking something a bit healthier might opt for one of the numerous chicken sandwich options, including the slightly vinegary Burnin’ Buffalo, which takes its inspiration from everybody’s favorite winged bar food.
2319 Arapahoe Rd., Boulder, 303-444-8758
An old-school ambience, understated service and a traditional steak and seafood menu give Dolan’s a clubby feel reminiscent of a retro big-city hangout. Crab Louis salads, chicken piccata and parmesan sole are some of the choices available to the culinary classicist. Discriminating imbibers may also derive pleasure from the encyclopedic wine list and after-dinner drink choices.
1710 Pearl St.,Boulder, 303-442-4575
While skeptics may be leery of Bimbamboo’s ambitious menu, it does a remarkably good job of taking Eastern classics and successfully reinterpreting them. A Korean beef rice bowl retains the flavor and tenderness of the original, but it surprises with a blend of exotic grains. While Bimbamboo may not completely capture the finer details of the banh mi, it still gets the flavors of this Vietnamese submarine sandwich absolutely right. The Thai lemonade is a fresh-squeezed revelation, elevated by the addition of both mint and pungent basil.
West End Tavern
926 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-3535
The word tavern connotes a certain heartiness, and the West End Tavern more than lives up to this appellation. Imbibers may delight in the selection of beers on tap along with a formidable assortment of small-batch bourbons. Old-school favorites such as mac and cheese get updating with ingredients such as goat chevre, and the burgers are both ample in flavor and size.
1601 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-449-2887
A perfect summery locale, Leaf is a top spot for meatless cuisine prepared with an eye towards innovation. A small plate winning mushroom pate or a hearty entrée of tempeh prepared in the Jamaican Jerk style and accompanied by black forbidden rice and fruit salsa are but two examples of the ambitious, but ultimately satisfying, choices available here. For the imbiber, Leaf offers a comprehensive selection of sustainable wines and cocktails prepared with locally produced organic vodka.
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