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Friday, April 25,2014

food

Susan France
Matthew Perez, pizzaiolo for Pizzeria Locale

American Restaurant 

THE KITCHEN 

1039 Pearl St., 303-554-5973

Second Place: Mountain Sun/Southern Sun

Third Place: Oak at fourteenth 

Fourth Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill 

Fifth Place: SALT

Contemporary American cuisine is a deceptively tricky genre. Foods that get at the American heart often have a reputation for targeting the deep fryer and thus the arteries. But we’re increasingly attune to filling our plates with foods that cycle with the seasons, retain a palate that includes their natural flavors and satiate our need to feel healthy as well as full-bellied.

For all of these reasons, we’re so glad to have The Kitchen in Boulder — and apparently, so are a lot of people, as the restaurant is continuing to add restaurants across the Front Range.

They do what we love most about the current American food scene: highlight what’s growing here and now, working with local farmers to plate seasonal fare that never fails to get your mouth watering. From the stalwart salads and sandwiches on the lunch menu to dinner options that rotate through vegetarian dishes, drawing from quinoa and lentils to lamb, duck, steak and scallops, we can’t say enough. The one thing the folks at the kitchen don’t know how to do is disappoint.

Appetizers/ Tapas 

THE MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT 

1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335 

Second Place: Brasserie Ten Ten 

Third Place: Boulder Café 

Fourth Place: The Kitchen 

Fifth Place: Aji Latin American Restaurant

With more than two dozen hot and cold tapas to choose from, it’s no wonder Boulderites look to The Mediterranean Restaurant when they’re looking to get their appetizer on like Donkey Kong. From carnivorous chow like bacon-wrapped dates, to vegetarian-friendly vittles like falafel, to gluten-free treats like griddled shrimp, The Med’s got something for everyone. If the weather’s fine, enjoy your tasty tapas (and some fine people watching) on the umbrellashaded patio. Over 21? Congratulations! Go ahead and top off your meal of scrumptious snacks with an adult beverage during happy hour, every day from 3-6:30 p.m.

Breakfast 

LUCILE’S 

2124 14th St., 303-442-4743 518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814 

Second Place: Snooze, an A.M. Eatery 

Third Place: The Buff Restaurant 

Fourth Place: Walnut Café/Southside Walnut Café 

Fifth Place: Tangerine

Since 1980, Lucile’s has brought southern flair to breakfast. Where else can you get Louisiana-style chicory coffee and powdered-sugar beignets with your eggs Benedict or three-cheese omelet? Well, if you answered Longmont (or Denver or Fort Collins or Littleton), that’s only true because those are also Lucile’s locations. But don’t think chain — especially in Boulder. Each restaurant is a labor of love, often located in a Victorian house. They are tied together by the culinary direction of Chef Mickey Samuels, who has developed both the breakfast and lunch menus behind the scenes and always favors fresh produce and meat. No wonder customers like The Little Women Band have taken to song, titled, simply enough, “Breakfast at Lucille’s.”

Asian Fusion 

CHEZ THUY 

2655 28th St., 303-442-1700 

Second Place: Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar 

Third Place: Sushi Zanmai 

Fourth Place: Zoe Ma Ma 

Fifth Place: Japango

Chez Thuy may be known as a Vietnamese restaurant, but upon closer inspection you’ll soon find touches of French, Chinese, Thai and Indonesian cuisine. Chez Thuy has won Best of Boulder before — and it’s no surprise why. With an affordable and diverse menu — gluten free, anyone? — Chez Thuy is not a puritanically traditional Vietnamese experience. Instead, think of it as the place that has a little something for everyone, from pho to egg drop soup to soft-shell crab. On the side: A Thai ice tea or maybe one of those really sweet Vietnamese coffees.

Bagel 

MOE’S BROADWAY BAGEL 

3075 Arapahoe Ave., 303-442-4427 2650 Broadway St., 303-444-3252 3267 28th St., 720-406-9000

Second Place: Einstein Brothers Bagels 

Third Place: Big Daddy Bagels 

Fourth Place: Panera Bread 

Fifth Place: Mickey C’s Bagels

While donuts are in the middle of a renaissance of general wackiness, their dour, unsweetened cousin in ringed bread, the bagel, remains serious business. And not just for the lack of sugar. Bagels are cultural history, with the story of Jewish immigration baked into a delectable ring and topped off with a spritz of Yiddish. You try to meet someone for business over donuts, expect the deal to go south. Meet them for bagels, game on. You’re about to be a millionaire, ’cause everyone knows, “BAGELS ARE FOR CLOSERS!” [Editor’s note: isn’t that coffee?] [Writer’s note: Ssssssshhhhhh…] But here in Boulder, the mid-nation strategic bagel reserve, the choice becomes problematic. With high-end bagels out the genectogozoink, you have to be sure to choose the right one. But which is it? Well, once again this year, the people have spoken and proclaimed Moe’s Broadway Bagel king amongst unsweetened ringed breads. Now set up a business breakfast and make your fortune.

Bakery 

BREADWORKS BAKERY AND CAFE 

2644 Broadway St., 303-444-5667 

Second Place: Spruce Confections 

Third Place: Great Harvest Bread Co. 

Fourth Place: Lucky’s Bakehouse and Creamery 

Fifth Place: Boulder Baked

When Breadworks opened nearly 20 years ago, it was just one guy with a willingness to come into work at the wee morning hours, bake bread and then sell it to customers all day. But he’d hit a nerve in the local community — production doubled within weeks from 1,000 pounds to 2,000 pounds. Husband and wife team of Larry Domnitz and Colleen Doran still oversee this establishment, which has expanded from bread-baking to include pastries and a full café. While the menu includes plenty of pastries and baked goods to choose from, along with an array of soups and sandwiches to make for a full meal, the core of their operations is still in those freshly baked loaves coming out of the oven each day.

Barbecue 

KT’S REAL GOOD BBQ

2675 13th St., 303-442-3717 7464 Arapahoe Road, 303-786-7608 

Second Place: Moe’s Original BBQ 

Third Place: Georgia Boys BBQ Company 

Fourth Place: West End Tavern 

Fifth Place: LuLu’s BBQ

A great barbecue joint keeps it simple —meat, potatoes, beans and, of course, juicy meats smothered in delicious sauce. No wonder our readers love this place. Like it sweet? Savory? Vinegary? KT’s Real Good BBQ has the sauce bases covered, and a short menu that lets them deliver quality over quantity. Eat like The King and get a heaping helping of slaw atop your BBQ sammich when you order it “Elvis style.” And let’s be real: Elvis wouldn’t stop after eating KT’s bestselling sandwich, “The Pig Pile.” He’d satisfy his sweet tooth with a mini key lime pie or brownie.

Brunch 

LUCILE’S 

2124 14th St., 303-442-4743 518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814 

Second Place: Snooze, an A.M. Eatery 

Third Place: Brasserie Ten Ten 

Fourth Place: Tangerine 

Fifth Place: Walnut Café/Southside Walnut Café

A young BB King almost died rushing into a burning building to save his guitar. From that day forward, he called his guitar Lucille, after a woman who died in that fire, to remind himself never to do anything foolish again. But the only foolish thing Mr. King could do in Boulder would be to not eat at Lucile’s. The creole delights waiting inside range from the scrumptious to the delicious. Cornbread. Grits. Don’t fear the gravy, Mr. King. Run into the downtown Boulder building that is aflame with flavors like the Cajun breakfast, eggs sardou or Creole omelet.

And don’t forget there’s a Lucile’s location in Longmont as well. Your choice.

Burger 

LARKBURGER 

2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-444-1487 

Second Place: Mountain Sun/ Southern Sun 

Third Place: Smashburger 

Fourth Place: Rueben’s Burger Bistro 

Fifth Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill

We here at Boulder Weekly love when Best of rolls around because it’s basically mandated that for “research,” we go investigate the answer to life’s key questions, like, “Just how good is the burger at Larkburger that our readers picked as best?” Oh yeah. That good. We’ll begin by stating the obvious:

Larkburger’s establishment is a testament to the glory that is truffle oil. Get it on your burger, get it on your fries, and you’re pretty much set for life. Pair with that the all-natural ingredients — no preservatives or additives, in-house sauces and dressings and Black Angus beef and you’re pretty well on your way to a mouth-watering burger. Their operations also source eco-friendly options including utensils made from potato and corn starch, biodegradable containers, 100 percent wind-energy power and canola oil that goes on to power cars. Go ahead. Give it a try. We all know a good cheeseburger can be good for your soul, but this burger can be good to the planet, too.

Mexican 

EFRAIN’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT AND CANTINA 

451 S. Pratt Pkwy., Longmont, 720-494- 0777 1630 N. 63rd St., Boulder, 303-440-4045 101 E. Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666- 7544 

Second Place: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant 

Third Place: Agave Mexican Bistro & Tequila House 

Fourth Place: Zolo Grill 

Fifth Place: Casa Alvarez

The cooking of spicy dishes at Efrain’s starts at 6 a.m. each morning, which seems a little early to us for green chili — but then again, breakfast burritos can be awfully tasty. So we’ll go with it. The locally owned restaurant has been plating up Northern Chihuahua-style Mexican food for more than 30 years, and now has locations throughout the county, so you are never too far from a good chimichanga.

Business Lunch 

THE MEDITERREAN RESTAURANT 

1002 Walnut St. 303-444-5335 

Second Place: The Kitchen 

Third Place: Brasserie Ten Ten 

Fourth Place: Boulder Cork 

Fifth Place: Oak at fourteenth

The Med is an unusually surprising collection of Mediterranean dishes — paella, tapas, veggie kebabs, wood-fired pizzas, pasta and beloved olive bread. It’s no wonder: This local mainstay draws inspiration from Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Morocco and Lebanon. Locally owned, The Med has, for more than 20 years, been a perfect place for the local business set, relaxed and always pleasant. It’s got a great central location, bright patio and, if you’re running late, a good happy hour, every day, from 3-6:30 p.m.

Catering 

A SPICE OF LIFE CATERING & EVENTS 

5541 Central Ave., Suite 272, 303-443-4049 %u2028 

Second Place: Dish Gourmet 

Third Place: Three Leaf Catering 

Fourth Place: Savory Cuisines 

Fifth Place: Sage & Savory Catering

So you’re getting married, eh? Well, don’t screw it up. You don’t want to have everyone you know and love and admire and respect and who you want to parade your love in front of to show up and mutter something about the chicken being a little dry because you chose, gasp, the wrong caterer! Might as well throw yourself into a volcano right there ’cause the rest of your marriage will clearly be doomed. Instead, just go with Spice of Life, as the people of Boulder have democratically chosen them as the most likely to take the meh out of the menu on your special day, wedding or otherwise. 

Burrito 

ILLEGAL PETE’S 

1320 College Ave., 303-444-3055 1447 Pearl St., 303-444-3955 

Second Place: Chipotle Mexican Grill 

Third Place: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina 

Fourth Place: Santiago’s Mexican Restaurant 

Fifth Place: Big City Burrito

This is Boulder, Colo., dagnabbit: We don’t want no stinkin’ hormones or antibiotics in our meats. We need fresh veggies and preservative-free breads. That’s why our readers love Illegal Pete’s burritos. We’ve all been to an assembly-line burrito joint and been disappointed to find that every bite is different — Illegal Pete’s stirs your ingredients to ensure that you enjoy rice, beans, meat, cheese, guac, salsa or whatever else you had them put in this behemoth burrito with every bite. Got 99 problems, one of which is a gluten-intolerance? Illegal Pete’s has got you covered with gluten-free options as well.

Chinese 

CHINA GOURMET 

3970 Broadway, Suite 102, 303- 440-3500 1345 Dry Creek Drive Suite A, Longmont, 303-776-6930 

Second Place: Zoe Ma Ma 

Third Place: Golden Lotus 

Fourth Place: Moongate Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar 

Fifth Place: Five Spice Asian Cuisine

What we love about Chinese menus: They can be so selfexplanatory. What’s in the cashew shrimp? Cashews and shrimp. The chicken with broccoli? Chicken and broccoli. Throw in the occasional Mu Shu Vegetables for a point of interest — and we’re still guessing you’re getting a plateful of vegetables in some spicy sauce. It’s tough to get lost.

Which is nice, because when you open China Gourmet’s menu, it could be easy to get overwhelmed. Column after column of delectable menu items look back at you — and only your belly will know best. So let it guide you to the best of the best Chinese food in town, whether you’re wanting Szechwan with your fish or Kung Pao with your chicken.

We’ll go ahead and give a shout out to the street-café feel and tasty noodle bowls at runner up Zoe Ma Ma, as well.

Chocolatier

PIECE, LOVE & CHOCOLATE 

805 Pearl St., 303-449-4804 

Second Place: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory 

Third Place: Chocolove 

Fourth Place: Robin Chocolates 

Fifth Place: Ritual Chocolate

Historians believe that chocolate has been prepared as a drink since man discovered the cocoa bean. A container found at an archaeological site on the Gulf Coast of Veracruz, Mexico, dates chocolatey beverage preparation back 3,750 years.

Humankind has a pretty profound love affair with chocolate. Sarah Amorese, founder and owner of Piece, Love & Chocolate, makes it her personal mission to “enchant and entertain” patrons with display cases filled with chocolate pastries, cakes, tortes, truffles and confections to spoil even the most refined palate. PLC even offers chococentric gifts — books, clothing, cocoa butter-based beauty products and more. Enjoy chocolate cakes and tortes in a spectrum of traditional and surprising flavors, from Peaches ’n Cream to Left Hand Milk Stout. Cheesecake, whoopee pies, cannoli, cookies, chocroissants, brownies … It’s the stuff of your chocolatiest dreams.

East County Restaurant 

EFRAIN’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT & CANTINA 

101 E Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666- 7544 

Second Place: Colterra

Third Place: Lucky Pie 

Fourth Place: The Huckleberry 

Fifth Place: Sugarbeet

If you’re looking for great Mexican food, Efrain’s has been a mainstay in Boulder County for more than three decades. But forget Mexican for a second. This restaurant is tops when it comes to Best East County Restaurant. It makes sense. There are three locations — Efrain’s I in Lafayette, Efrain’s II (1630 N. 63rd St. in Boulder) and Efrain’s III (451 S. Pratt Pkwy. in Longmont) — and, though individually managed, they’re all great. Dishes like chimichangas, fajitas and the chili verde are prepared in the style of Northern Chihuahua, meaning the chilies are fiery and everything is fresh. The cooking starts at 6 a.m. though the restaurants don’t open until 11 a.m.

Fine Dining 

FLAGSTAFF HOUSE RESTAURANT 

1138 Flagstaff Road, 303-442-4640 

Second Place: Frasca Food and Wine T

hird Place: The Kitchen 

Fourth Place: Oak at fourteenth 

Fifth Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

The French-American menu at the internationally recognized Flagstaff House has been devised by Executive Chef Mark Monette and was one of the driving forces that helped transform Boulder’s food scene into the envy of the nation. A visit to Flagstaff House includes access to one of the finest wine selections in the state. And its amazing mountaintop view overlooking Boulder creates an unmatched dining experience. This restauraunt has a rotating menu of culinary delights. If there’s a better 12-hour braised Berkshire “bacon” with roasted banana puree, cilantro and coconut broth in the city, BW readers certainly don’t know about it. Enjoy.

Food Delivery 

SNARF’S SUB SHOP 

5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-444-3404 2128 Pearl St., 303-444-7766 645 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-774-1441 2130 Mountain View Ave., Longmont, 303-702-1111 

Second Place: Cosmo’s Pizza 

Third Place: Abo’s Pizza 

Fourth Place: Boulder Baked 

Fifth Place: Jimmy John’s

How can you tell you’re in Boulder? Because unlike the rest of the world, where delivery options consist solely of pizza and Chinese food, you can get some of the best sandwiches in town brought right to you from Snarf’s Sub Shop. You can call or fax in an order form and they’ll bring your pastrami and Swiss straight to you. It’s true, we here in Boulder County are some of the luckiest in the world because when our special sandwich supply runs short, we can just call the sandwich-makers to send us some more. Life is good thanks to you food delivery people. May your tips be large.

Food on the Hill 

THE SINK 

1165 13th St., 303-444-7465 

Second Place: Café Aion 

Third Place: Illegal Pete’s 

Fourth Place: Half Fast Subs 

Fifth Place: Cosmo’s Pizza

Pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, oh my! The Sink has been a staple on the University of Colorado Boulder’s student stomping ground The Hill since 1923. (History tidbit: The Sink was originally a European-style restaurant named Summer’s Sunken Gardens, where a sunken fountain in the center of the dining room caused patrons to lovingly call the establishment “The Sink.”) The Sink offers more than just good food, funky art, a colorful history (you’ve heard it: Robert Redford was once the janitor) and cold (local!) brews: in 2006, the restaurant committed to running on 100 percent wind power. It’s pretty much the most Boulder thing in Boulder.

Ice Cream 

GLACIER HOMEMADE ICE CREAM & GELATO 

4760 Baseline Road, 303- 499-4760 3133 28th St., 303-440- 6542 1387 South Boulder Road, Louisville, 720-890-5992 

Second Place: Sweet Cow Ice Cream 

Third Place: Boulder Ice Cream 

Fourth Place: Ben & Jerry’s 

Fifth Place: Cold Stone Creamery

A spoonful of ice cream can transport you back to childhood. Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato helps Boulderites relive simpler times with homemade ice cream, often made from fresh, local ingredients. You can customize any flavor to suit your ice cream needs, or choose from Glacier’s more than 800 premade flavors. Feeling extra childlike? Add some rainbow sprinkles, gummi bears, Oreos, cherries or caramel sauce to your ice cream at the sundae bar. Frozen yogurt and sorbet offer alternatives for those looking to sate the sweet tooth but not break the caloric bank.

Gluten-Free Menu 

SHINE RESTAURANT AND GATHERING PLACE 

2027 13th St., 303-449-0120 

Second Place: Modmarket 

Third Place: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant 

Fourth Place: Turley’s Kitchen 

Fifth Place: Julia’s Kitchen

Shine’s gluten-free ravioli could set an Italophile’s heart on fire, which is OK, because they also have gluten-free Liberation Ale for extinguishing said fires. No wonder our readers chose Shine Restaurant and Gathering place their favorite destination for gluten-free dining.

The Blissful Sisters, formerly of Trilogy, started Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place as a center for living and eating well, and their menus focus on presenting balanced, healthy options, whether your dining restriction is for wheat or for meat. And in a world where the gluten-free and gluten conscious diners have increasing purchasing power, Shine is as pleasant a spot as they come for pleasing those palates while keeping everyone else in your dinner party happy and well satisfied.

Continue to part II

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