36-Hour Brisket Banh Mi
Daikon, 1805 29th St., Suite 1138, Boulder, daikonbanhmi.com
If you’re in the market for a fast casual lunch or dinner, you may stop into Daikon, the 29th Street Mall’s newest food establishment. Banh mi — sandwiches and bowls — are the name of the game, and Daikon serves the Vietnamese classic with your choice of 36-hour brisket, pork, teriyaki chicken, braised jackfruit, smoked salmon, lemongrass tofu or umami mushroom. They place that on a baguette that’s crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and load it up with cucumber, house-pickled carrot, daikon radish, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, mint and spicy sambal mayo. We opted for the 36-hour brisket, which would likely get lost in all that flavor if it weren’t such a satisfying, meaty slab. If you’re craving that unique combination of textures and flavors that is the banh mi, Daikon’s a good place to start. $11.80.
Mt. Everest Cuisine, 4800 Baseline, Unit A 107, Boulder, mounteverestcuisine.com
With its rich flavors, welcoming vibes and unique, comforting cuisine, there is no shortage of Indian and Nepali options in Boulder County. The Lunch Buffet at Mt. Everest Cuisine is stand-out, all set in an unassuming but comfortable strip mall location. Featuring a wide variety of classic Indian dishes, Nepali favorites and a few unique offerings, it’s hard to know where to stop. Served with naan bread, we recently chose the sweet potato masala over rice, with some saag paneer and a vegetable samosa. The rich flavors of the sauce paired well with the soft, cubed sweet potato, as each bite literally melted in the mouth. For dessert, we sampled the banana pakora: slices of banana, fried in chickpea flower and sprinkled with sugar. It was just enough sweetness to balance out the warm meal on a cold day. $9.95.
East Simpson Coffee Company, 414 E. Simpson St., Lafayette,
At East Simpson Coffee Company, coffee is the means by which the community gathers. Since 2014, these folks have been helping revitalize Lafayette’s East Simpson Street by focusing on building community, providing great service and offering a modern coffee menu, including the house special honey latte. On a recent afternoon visit, however, we went with the smaller cortado. Espresso is cut with an equal amount of textured steamed milk, less dairy than a cappuccino or latte but slightly more than a traditional macchiato, featuring only a dollop of frothed milk. Typically served in a 4-ounce glass, the milk-espresso ratio highlights the unique flavor profile of the coffee, while also smoothing out the natural acidity of an espresso shot. East Simpson Coffee Company serves it up perfectly, in a delightful space in Old Town Lafayette. $2.75
Chicken Masala Curry
Tiffins India Cafe, 2416 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, tiffinsindiacafe.com
Simply put, Tiffins is one of the best Indian restaurants on the Front Range. The quintessential strip mall gem, Tiffins prepares classic curries, biryanis and tandoori plates with an eye on flavor. Take the chicken masala curry — a dish we’ve likely all had, but that Tiffins perfects, with a tomato and cream curry that is rich, deep and buttery. The chicken is tender and smoky, and the rice has perfect texture. $13.95.