Try this week: Polenta con Calabacitas, Cashew Cheesecake and more


Polenta con Calabacitas
Parkway Cafe, 4700 Pearl St., Boulder,

Nobody does breakfast in Boulder like Parkway Cafe. Their weekend specials are stunning, constanty putting creative spins on Mexican and American breakfast standards. The polenta con calabacitas is a case in point. A saucer of creamy and perfectly texured polenta is topped with sautéed Mexican zucchini squash, crispy bacon, roasted poblanos, cotija cheese, chives and two eggs. It’s so good you’d think zucchini polenta has been a morning staple for generations. The bacon and zucchini provide texture, the runny eggs and cotija cheese bring earthy sweetness and the chives and poblanos make each bite pop. As usual with Parkway standards, the serving size is enormous so you’ll find yourself in one of those situations where you’re downing an all-time-record amount of food before 10 a.m. just because you literally cannot stop eating. $11.50

Colorado Burger
Lyons Dairy Bar, 138 E. Main St., Lyons,

After a long day in the sun, traipsing around the St. Vrain, there’s few things as satisfying as a well-made burger. The Lyons Dairy Bar (aka the restaurant that looks like a cow) serves up a variety of summer classics, including a number of unique, fresh and simply made burgers. The Colorado burger is perfect. It starts with a crispy-crusted, tender and unctuous patty simply seasoned with salt and pepper. On top of that is fresh, crisp tomato and lettuce, roasted green chiles, choice of cheese (jack here) and tangy barbecue sauce. The burger brings just a little bit of heat, letting each ingredient do its part. It’s a remarkably clean burger to eat, too, with lean meat and carefully apportioned toppings. $7.50

Long Island Fluke
Emmerson, 1600 Pearl St., Boulder,

Emmerson is opening on Pearl Street in Boulder this week, and it’s coming in with a swagger that hasn’t quite yet existed downtown. That’s due to a culinary and management team yanked from some of New York’s finest restaurants. What they’re bringing is an all-day operation with pastries and a café space in the morning, which slowly morphs into a raw-bar, high cocktail and fine dining experience by night. One thing you might find on the menu is the Long Island fluke. Pulled from the raw bar menu, the fluke is buttery and nearly evanescent, and derives powerful yet carefully mediated flavor from herb oil, black seaweed and oceanic emulsion. The dish is characteristic of much of what will appear on Emmerson’s first dinner menus — coastal cuisine with Japanese influences. Price TBD.

Cashew Cheesecake
Fresh Thymes Eatery, 2500 30th St., Suite 101, Boulder,

There’s no shortage of gluten-free and vegan options to choose from in Boulder County. With a menu replete with fresh, allergen-free foods it’s no surprise that the dessert counter at Fresh Thymes Eatery is chock-full of scrumptious sweet bites that are both wholesome and tasty. The vegan and gluten-free cashew cheesecake is rich, as any cheesecake should be. It has a smooth consistency with a slight nuttiness flavor and a flaky graham-cracker-esque crust. Currently topped with an in-season peach, this is one dessert worth splurging for. $4.25