Best of Boulder 2024: Staff picks

Bagels. Blizzards. Bands.


Best restaurant that started as a food truck

La Choza
2500 47th St. #3 and 4457 Broadway, Boulder

When it comes to tacos, I’m a simple girl. Keep your rainbow chard and fried onions: Give me juicy meat slapped on a fresh tortilla and served with a slice of lime, and I’m good to go. The best tacos I’ve ever had were from a gas station-adjacent food truck in Houston, Texas. The best tacos I’ve ever had in Boulder are from La Choza, back when they were parked at a gas station on the Diagonal. That has since been turned into apartments, and La Choza has moved into more permanent digs, but they still serve ’em just the way I like. 

Shay Castle, editor in chief

Best place to restore your faith in humanity

Carousel of Happiness
20 Lakeview Dr., Nederland

Of all the must-do things in Boulder County, this is my top. I bring every visitor, family member and newly minted Boulderite here. Vietnam vet Scott Harrison rescued an abandoned 1917 carousel and spent decades carving the animals. It opened in 2010 after a massive community fundraising effort by the people of Nederland. Staffed mostly by volunteers, there are little touches everywhere that add whimsy and magic, from hand-painted koi fish on the floor to the topper: Twirling Girl, the embodiment of joy that Harrison was inspired to create after seeing her picture on the front page of the Daily Camera. To borrow one of the quotes posted on the building’s walls: “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” (William Shakespeare)

Shay Castle

Best dispensary for picking up the latest Boulder Weekly 

Emerald Fields
5190 S. Boulder Road, Boulder

If friendly budtenders and a rotating selection of flower, edibles and concentrates from your own backyard weren’t enough, Emerald Fields in South Boulder is also a great place to support local journalism. It always does my heart good to see a stack of our latest issue on the check-in desk when I walk through the door at my neighborhood weed store, where reefer and reporting go hand in hand. 

Jezy J. Gray, arts and culture editor

Best jam band that’s not a jam band  


Left to right: Stefan Beck (guitar), Jeremy Erwin (keys) and Tyler Wilcox (bass) of Prairiewolf

When I called up local cosmic country asskickers Prairiewolf in the lead-up to their self-titled debut last spring, I asked the trio how they saw themselves fitting (or not) in the jam-band tradition of Colorado music. Guitarist Stefan Beck — whom you might know from his other spaced-out solo project, Golden Brown — offered an important distinction: “We’re a band that jams.” 

The ambient Americana outfit tweaks the formula driving much of the region’s improv-heavy guitar music, swapping barn-burner solos and tricked-out trap kits for splashy pools of ambience and the chirping thump of vintage drum machines, carving space for something more patient, subtle and uniquely thrilling. Considering that I once saw a too-high reveler get gurneyed out of their Paradise Found in-store performance during Dead & Co. weekend, perhaps Prairiewolf is a jam band after all. 

Jezy J. Gray

Best sweet treat

Dairy Queen Blizzard 
Multiple locations

Few things in this world are as cherished to me as the DQ Blizzard. When, on a recent weekend, one of my friends told me they had never heard of the iconic blended sugar blast, our mutual trust fractured slightly. That is why, dear readers, I am spreading the good word here today. You may rightfully point out that Dairy Queen is a national brand that serves sub-par ice cream. But, for a just-fine price, iconic flavors and a cup of joy flipped upside down before your eyes, it’s worth it all. Plus, the DQ in Longmont has been operating on Main Street since 1949, making it the oldest in the state.     

Will Matuska, reporter

Courtesy: Decent Bagel

Best place to grab a (slightly overpriced) bagel on your way to the mountains 

Decent Bagel 
95 E 1st St, Nederland, CO

I like to be well-fueled up before hitting the slopes or the trails, because no one likes a hangry hiker. If you’re passing through Nederland on your way to Eldora or the Indian Peaks Wilderness, there’s no better place to stop than Decent Bagel. Sure, a sausage, egg and cheese bagel will run you a whopping $12, but it’s delicious, and somehow I’m willing to spend it every time. I highly recommend adding a hashbrown and/or cream cheese to your sammy. Bring on the upcharges.

– Kaylee Harter, reporter


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