Best Big Breakfast for the Bucks
NORTH BOULDER CAFÉ
4479 N. Broadway, 303-449-3663
2716 28th St., 303-449-1323
We couldn’t make up our minds, so we gave them both first place.
Since the beginning, no self-respecting climber would even contemplate heading off to the rock without first loading up at North Boulder Café. It was the home of “lots for less.” It’s been a mainstay since back in the days when North Boulder was pretty much the place where everybody who didn’t cash trust fund checks for a living called home. The area didn’t have NIMBY issues like today because the whole place existed as a collection of all the places and people that were rejected because of NIMBY issues somewhere else. It was a beautiful thing.
And as for Dot’s Diner, where else would Boulderites wait an hour and a half for the opportunity to eat a giant plateful of breakfast at a gas station? Well, the gas station location is only a memory now, but the great breakfast at a reasonable price is still available. If you love good food in good quantity at a good price in the morning, give these places a go. You won’t be disappointed.
Best Block for New Restaurants
13TH STREET BETWEEN PEARL AND SPRUCE STREETS
Looking for a new restaurant downtown but don’t know where to look?
Do we know the block for you. Head on down to 13th Street between Pearl and Spruce! Now, I know you’ve already been to those two restaurants. But have patience! Since 2007, there have been seven (yes, seven!) different restaurants occupying those two spots. They include RedFish, Boulder Draft House, Los Oasis, b.side Lounge and Trilogy. All signs say newcomer Shine is on the path to success. Let’s hope it and whoever moves in next door can buck the trend.
Best Place for a Wisconsin Fish Fry That’s Not in Wisconsin
ROCKY FLATS LOUNGE
11229 Colorado 93, 303-499-4242
Friday night at the Rocky Flats Lounge is the closest thing to a small-town Wisconsin community fish fry you will ever experience without actually being in Wisconsin. We have no idea where all these transplanted cheeseheads come from, but they come out of their hiding places on Friday nights at the RFL to create one of the area’s best-kept secrets.
If you want to have some fun that is most definitely a change of pace, hit the Lounge on a warm Friday night this summer. If you intend to go, here are some helpful hints to ensure you are entertained as opposed to becoming the bar’s source of entertainment. Don’t make jokes about Brett Favre putting his cell phone down his pants for a photo-op. Don’t suggest that they put a Peyton Manning poster over the Favre or Rodgers wall art already on display. Don’t ask what constellation Bart Starr is in. If someone says the word “Nitschke,” they aren’t mispronouncing the philosopher, just down a shot and say, “They don’t make ’em like that anymore.” Don’t ask, “Are you from Boulder?” They aren’t. And finally, if you are wondering if you should call for reservations … Please stay home.
Best Place to Eat Breakfast in Last Night’s Clothes
THE VILLAGE COFFEE SHOP
1605 Folsom St., 303-442-9689
Ever wondered where CU students end up when they finish their walk of shame on a Saturday morning? They all go to The Village Coffee Shop, judging by the mass of bleary-eyed, dolled-up youngsters patronizing said café on any given weekend. “The Village,” as its devotees adoringly call it, is a true gem in Boulder, one of the last true greasy spoon diners in town. Cheap food, sassy waitresses, blazing fast service and to-die-for hashbrowns explain the place’s popularity, and if it’s your first visit, make sure you tell your server. Just trust us.
Best Single-Term Mayor Who Also Owns a Kickass Restaurant
In January, when Longmont Mayor Dennis Coombs stuck his neck out for equality and became the second mayor in the state (Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was the first) to sign on to “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry,” he may well have guaranteed that he won’t be re-elected in a city that has traditionally leaned conservative. But the times, they are a-changing, as evidenced by the Democrat’s victory last fall. We laud him for his stand to support same-sex marriage, and we like the burgers and brews at his Pumphouse pub on Main Street.
Best Culinary Religious Recruiting Operation
THE YELLOW DELI
When we heard the allegations that a local restaurant had been opened by a
fundamentalist Christian cult, we were naturally skeptical. Luckily, when we took a closer look, we found good, God-fearing folk that denied taking radical positions. But their beliefs are controversial, to say the least, and when you dine in this establishment near the corner of Ninth and Pearl, you are enticed to peruse not just the tasty menu items, but pamphlets about their belief system. Enjoy the amazing Reuben sandwiches, even if you don’t digest their version of the father, son and holy toast.
Best Place To Eat Wings Like a Savage
FATTY J’S PIZZA
Wings should be spicy, sloppy and saucy. The more ranch and blue cheese to cool you down, the better. Fatty J’s Pizza has changed ownership and location several times through the years, but one thing has stayed constant, and that is the heavenly deliciousness of its garlic parmesan wings. They’re big, mouthwatering pinnacles of chicken wing perfection. Get some, but don’t eat them in front of anyone you’re trying to impress: Social decorum places a distant second to getting these bad boys into your stomach.
Best Experimental Taproom
AVERY BREWING COMPANY
5763 Arapahoe Ave. #E, 303-440-4324
Going to Avery Brewing Company’s taproom is like hearing a jam session with Sun Ra, King Crimson and Philip Glass. Actually, that sounds pretty cool, which is fitting, because Avery’s taproom is a haven for the avant-garde beer-lover. Avery makes a lot of frankly strange beers that are great once in a while, but you might not want to buy them six bottles at a time. Which is why the taproom is so great. You can get glasses of good-once-a-year beers like The Beast Grand Cru Ale or the 15-percent-ABV Mephistopheles Stout. It’s also a classy joint with warm wood paneling and a cozy atmosphere. So if you like your beer like Ornette Coleman likes his jazz, check Avery out.
Best Coffee Shop Patio
637 S. Broadway, #R, 303-449-2985
Not only do these folks make great coffee, you can enjoy it on the patio with a spectacular and close-up Flatiron view. Equally attractive, Caffè Sole leads a second life when evening rolls around. When the sun moves low behind the Flatirons, the coffee shop transforms into a great jazz venue on Monday nights. Live music can also be heard at the café Thursday through Saturday evenings when, in addition to coffee, a stellar wine list and great food offerings are available. Their website says that Caffè Sole is all about community, and it shows. So grab a table outside and relax.
BOULDER BROKER INN
555 30th St., 303-444-3330
Stepping into the Boulder Broker Inn’s bar is like stepping back in time a few decades. It’s a place where day-drinking and casual alcoholism are not just ignored but tacitly approved. A small, colorful group of regulars fuel some lively conversation should you hop on a stool and order a cheap beer during happy hour. Plus, we happen to know that this was the bar of choice for a certain gonzo journalist named Hunter S. Thompson when he visited our town. Like him or not, the man knew a thing or two about a good bar. So come on down, the people here are gold, Jerry, gold, and the antique ambience of the place can’t be beat.
Best Way to Burn Calories While Bar-Hopping
Picture this, if you haven’t already seen it in downtown Boulder. It’s a big, covered bar car on wheels, with seats for 16. The front end is a bicycle. The catch is, there are 10 seats, five on each side, from which you need to pedal to get the thing to move. You can rent My Handlebar to cruise around downtown Boulder, stopping at restaurants to gain sustenance between cycling sessions. If you’re not near a bar, they can serve brews while parked on private property. The concept is brilliant, especially in Boulder, where we love our libations, food and exercise. If you’re feeling a bit lazy — or you’ve had too much to drink to be trusted to pedal — pick a seat in the back where you can relax and enjoy the ride. Check out www.myhandlebar.com.
Best Local Non-Beer Alcohol Maker
This was a close one, because we are also quite partial to Roundhouse Spirits, which makes a couple of great gins. But we sure like 303’s back story. Distiller Steve Viezbicke found his Polish family’s treasured potato vodka recipe tucked away in his grandfather Pete’s old steamer trunk. Pete’s parents apparently placed the recipe in the lining of the trunk when they sent Pete to America in 1907 to avoid World War I. “Steve tinkered with the recipe until he created a smell he remembered as a child,” according to the 303 website.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
LUCILE’S CREOLE CAFÉ
2124 14th St., 303-442-4743
518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814
THE RIB HOUSE
1801 13th St., Suite 180, 303-442-7427
1920 S. Coffman St., Longmont, 303-772-8264
1235 Pennsylvania Ave., #A, 303-993-8131
Before the battle over who should win best Bloody Mary gets, well, bloody, we decided the best method was to honor all three of our top choices for ways to ease out of your hangover and into your Saturday. Lucile’s has a great, spicy Bloody Mary that gets its own Lucile’s creole spice — a secret formula — around the lip to make the perfect start to your day. Personal touches continue at The Rib House, which uses its own barbeque sauce to add flavor to its Bloody Mary. Café Aion’s is light enough to not feel weird drinking it at night… That’s a direct quote from a Boulder Weekly staffer, but it’s up to you to sort out what it means. We say try them all and you decide.
LEFTHAND BREWING COMPANY’S MILK STOUT NITRO
1265 Boston Ave., Longmont, 303-772-0258
Lefthand’s Milk Stout was already an arrow in every serious beer drinker’s quiver, but what the company has done with this particular beer of late is groundbreaking. You may recall that Guinness made news a few years back when it added a widget to its cans of stout in order to create a more draught-like product. The widgets released nitrogen into the beer instead of carbon dioxide. Enough, Mr. Science.
Nitrogen makes stout taste creamy with an appropriately thick head. Lefthand figured out a process to bottle its Milk Stout Nitro with nitrogen without using a widget. We don’t know or care how they did it (no cows were injured in the process). We care that the results are delicious. Just remember to pour the beer hard for best results.
Best Coffee Liqueur
ROUNDHOUSE SPIRITS’ CORRETO COFFEE LIQUEUR
5311 Western Ave., Suite 180, 303-819-5598
All right, we admit it. We went to the Roundhouse Distillery because we heard the place was producing great gin, and it is. But somewhere along the way we became distracted by the small craft distillery’s Corretto Coffee Liqueur. This stuff is great, as in “the last bottle disappeared in less than 48 hours” great. In fact, we think it is hands-down the best coffee liqueur we’ve ever tasted. Less sugar than the others, more alcohol than the others, better flavor than the others. More alcohol than the others (this can not be overstated). If you haven’t tried this liqueur, you are truly missing out.
Best Not-So-Veiled Trampling of First Amendment
CITY OF BOULDER
This one is easy. When the Occupy movement and the homeless, who seemingly could not be curtailed by the city’s draconian anti-camping ordinance, became an inconvenience, our esteemed city leaders decided to take things into their own hands. They passed a rule closing public areas between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Not that they were targeting anyone, they insisted. Um, who else could be affected? Lost pizza delivery drivers? Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, our sage elders decided to yank our right to jury trial for such offenses. Um, last we checked, the Constitution protects our right to peaceably assemble, and then there was something about being judged by a jury of our peers. On another First Amendment front, CU wins for best censorship due to its poor handling of the 4/20 protest on campus, including asking musician Wyclef Jean to censor himself.
Best Biker Bar for Karaoke
30 S. Main St., Longmont, 303-772-9797
While this may sound like some form of an insult, nothing could be further from the truth. We freaking love this place. Karaoke night at McCarthy’s makes reality TV shows like American Idol, The Voice and America’s Got Talent look like the boring tripe that they are. Stop living vicariously through your cell-phone by voting for people you’ve never seen or heard of via 1-900 numbers. Come to McCarthy’s and vote with your wolf whistles and heckling for people you’ve never seen or heard of.
Don’t let the long row of Harleys outside keep you out. This place is friendly and downright hysterical when the karaoke machine gets turned on. You won’t be able to hold back the tears as one muscled-up, bike-riding crooner after another sings their favorite hair-band ballad. This place rocks. Drop in and have some fun.
Best Local Example of Corporate Personhood
XCEL/TELECOM INDUSTRY (TIE)
Gosh, this was a tough one, so we just called it a draw. Last fall, both Xcel Energy and the Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA) distinguished themselves in this category. Xcel poured thousands of dollars into trying to defeat a City of Boulder measure to explore municipalization of its electric utility. And the CCTA, funded at least in part by Comcast, launched a scare-tactic campaign designed to convince voters that allowing Longmont to use its own fiber-optic system would be wrong. Thankfully, voters in both cities saw the light and elected to distance themselves from corporate interests and place their utilities future in local hands. Power to the people.
Best Fat Guy in a Little Coat
During metal’s heyday in the late ’70s and ’80s, shock and horror and gore ruled the airwaves. Guys like Glenn Danzig of The Misfits and other bands like Slayer and KISS built their careers making dark, heavy, horror-inspired metal. Danzig, in particular, took the testosterone-fueled machismo to a whole new level, appearing in his music videos with goth strippers and making a big deal out of how he got a black belt in Jeet Kune Do. But the years have not been kind to the Evil Elvis. He just hasn’t been the same since he was photographed buying kitty litter while wearing a frickin’ Danzig shirt. Not to mention the viral video of him getting knocked to the ground by a single punch to the face. His attitude (and gut) was on display at the Boulder Theater last May, when he confiscated a camera from an audience member and kicked a photographer out of the photo pit. At least someone’s keeping the shock-jock death-obsessed machismo of the ’80s alive. Keep on rocking, Danzig.
Best Display of Wealth-Enabled Eccentricity
Boulder real estate mogul Stephen Tebo, whose development company owns more than 200 properties, made for some very strange headlines in January 2012 when he purchased the Cadillac hearse used to transport President John F. Kennedy’s dead body for $176,000. The move prompted some speculation as to what he would do with the car. Would he keep it in his private garage? Take it for casual spins? Drive the vehicle in the Frozen Dead Guy parade? But mostly, it just reminded us that there are people in the world who can wake up and think, what should I spend $176,000 on today? Now, Tebo says he intends to open a museum of cars connected to historical events, so we applaud his good intentions. But you can’t help but notice that without massive amounts of wealth, most of us lack the means to express our innermost weirdo. What would your chain-smoking, ex-Marine neighbor buy with unlimited funds? Maybe the world is better off not knowing.
Best Answered Prayer for a Broncos Super Bowl Win
REPLACING TIM TEBOW WITH PEYTON MANNING
When Tim Tebow asked God for Denver to get the team to the Super Bowl, he may have been surprised by the results. Hey, the Tebow era was a nice novelty and all, and was generally good publicity for the team, but let’s be serious. Peyton Manning, even with Frankenstein neck bolts, is head and shoulders above Mr. Tebow when it comes to the quarterback department. It’s like comparing John the Baptist to Jesus. OK, maybe that’s a bad analogy. Forgive us.
Best Advocate for Local Business STAN GARNETT
It’s kind of nice when your local politicians stand up to the big bad federal government. Back in March, Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett sent a strongly worded letter to Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh to back off the marijuana dispensaries. “I can see no legitimate basis in this judicial district to focus the resources of the United States government on the medical marijuana dispensaries that are otherwise compliant with Colorado law or local regulation,” Garnett wrote in the letter. “The people of Boulder County do not need Washington D.C. or the federal government dictating how far dispensaries should be from schools, or other fine points of local land-use law.” Booyah! In your face federal government!
Best Van Down by the River
It was a normal Friday at Boulder Weekly headquarters last fall, all of us laboring to bring you the best local, independent news you can’t buy, until a brightly colored truck and camper shell pulled into our parking lot. A strange man with a wide smile on his face emerged from this vehicle, which was painted with colorful messages like “Smile” and “I am love,” and he gave us a big hug, figuratively, of course, and asked us to pimp his upcoming event. It was Jeffrey “Yahva” Krumholz, and it seemed like he was truly just out to spread the joy. He was throwing a party on 11/11/11, all in the name of love. We haven’t heard from him since, but he made our day, if not our year.
Best Location for a Monitoring Well VALMONT BUTTE
For months now we’ve been explaining all the reasons that we think that the city or Honeywell or the Environmental Protection Agency or the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment or anybody else with the authority to do so needs to drill a monitoring well below the dike dam on its Valmont Butte property. This is the contaminated chunk of land where the old Allied Chemical mill used to operate.
Strangely, we’re not the first ones to think of putting a monitoring well between the dam that holds back the million tons of contaminated tailings and pooling groundwater and the drinking water wells across Valmont Road to the north. The EPA and U.S. Geological Survey both thought it was a good idea at one time or another. The EPA even scheduled the well to be drilled on numerous occasions, only to inexplicably back out at the last minute each time.
If it’s a matter of money, Boulder Weekly will be happy to hold a fundraiser to offset the relatively paltry $9,000 cost for the well. Somehow, we just don’t expect anybody to take us up on our offer. After all, if the well were to find contaminated groundwater in the aquifer north of the dam, somebody might realize that Valmont Butte isn’t a good place to store a million tons of radioactive, lead- and arsenic-contaminated tailings. Besides, what we don’t know can’t hurt us … right?
Best Names of New Climbing Routes
“Supposed Former Grade Inflation Junkie” (5.10) Third Advisor in the Flatirons
“Clyncke Punched a Hippy” (5.11a R) Eldorado Canyon Redgarden Wall
“The Dispensary” (5.10a) Eldorado Canyon Redgarden Wall
“Everybody has an Opinion” (5.8) Third Advisor in the Flatirons
“Unsolicited Advice:” (5.8) Third Advisor in the Flatirons
“Good Advice You Just Didn’t Take” (5.8 PG13) Third Advisor in the Flatirons
“Some Advice Is Hard to Follow” (5.9 PG13) Third Advisor in the Flatirons
“Cleopatra Says Happy Birthday to Anthony” (5.10 PG13) Eldorado Canyon Redgarden South Buttress
Best Way to Exacerbate the Upcoming Drought
March was bone dry, and snowpack in the mountains is pathetic.
The ski season was pretty sad. The conditions are setting up for a summer replete with lawn-watering restrictions like we had a few years ago. So, with water at a premium, the stage is set for a showdown with oil and gas companies, which need hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to perform hydraulic fracturing, the controversial method of extracting energy resources from underneath our feet. The problem is, people near these fracking operations, curiously, are developing health problems. To what extent will our elected officials clamp down on this promise of energy production — and water sales revenues — in the name of public health and safety?
Best Agricultural Fashion Accessory
‘FAIR’ HATS AT GMO MEETING
The alternate title for this was “Best non-existent grassroots movement.” There was quite a change of pace when it came to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Boulder County on Dec. 8, 2011. While previous meetings of a countyappointed group charged with recommending how to deal with Frankenfoods had been largely dominated by those who prefer natural foods, this time Big Ag rallied farmers from all around these here parts to show up to a hearing on the issue, and they were all issued green hats sporting the acronym FAIR, which few knew how to define. Turns out, the fingerprints of outside ag powerhouses like the Farm Bureau were all over this one. Oh, and FAIR stands for Farmers Alliance for Integrated Resources, and it came complete with a tweeted threat from a state legislator to pull county funding if the GMO question didn’t go their way. Turns out it did. Nice.
Best Press Release of the Year
“VALMONT BUTTE SETTLEMENTS REACHED; CLEANUP TO BEGIN”
When this City of Boulder announcement landed in our inbox on Dec. 15, it piqued our interest. Sure, we had heard bits and pieces about the butte’s sordid history, but once we started poking around, it’s safe to say that we uncovered a cesspool. After looking at dozens of aerial photos, historical maps and documents from the feds, state, county and city, we identified strands of a tangled web of mistakes, deceit and denial that boggle the mind. It’s taken us eight installments (so far) in the “Ghosts of Valmont Butte” series to tell the story of what we found. And yet city officials are still repeating their tired old reasons for why their subpar remediation is sufficient, despite the fact that we’ve presented evidence to the contrary. By the way, the alternative title for this one was, “Best place to get cancer in your sweat lodge.”
Best Blended Business
OSKAR BLUES, BREWS & BIKES
Oskar Blues Brewery made a name for itself by daringly bottling crafted microbrews in cans. This bold move was cheered by river-rafters and campers everywhere who could upgrade to bringing Dale’s Pale Ale and Mama’s Little Yella Pils along for the ride, then crush the cans and pack them out. Yay, innovation! Once again, the fellas at Oskar Blues are playing with what you can do with metals. This time, they’re putting it to a use that will have more outdoorsy types excited: They’re making bicycles. It’s a hand-crafted, steel-framed bike with a belt drive and 29-inch wheels big enough to crush your beer cans. All hail the multitasking business.
Best Way to Support the Chinese Economy
The once-strong American economy continues to slide, thanks as always to unions, Obama, health care, gun control and socialism (also those pro-choice people).
And so more and more of Boulder County’s hippie freaks turn to the “buy local” movement. “Shop local,” we hear them drone. “Save the economy and support your community and blah blah.”
We don’t think so. We’ve had enough of this entitlement economy, and supporting our lazy fellow Americans is what got us this recession in the first place — whether they happened to be millionaire bank CEOs is irrelevant. We’re hereby jumping ship to a fast-growing, powerful, robust economy and society that isn’t hung up on silliness like coddling workers with “safe conditions” and “reasonable hours.” We’re on board, China, and we’re doing everything we can to send our dollars your way. That’s why when our mantels need a cheap plastic decoration, or when our pets need a cheap plastic toy, or when our children need a cheap plastic coat, we turn to WalMart.
Best Place to Take Some Fashion Cues
Boulder has a well-documented fashion problem. GQ called it one of the worstdressed cities in the country last year, and we’ve got to say they have a point.
Nobody in Boulder seems to know the first thing about fashion. Which is pretty perplexing, considering the city’s got a few excellent models to follow not far away, and we may be getting one of our own soon. We’re talking about Walmart, of course, where low prices and incredible deals are just the beginning. Walmarts are also widely respected fashion meccas, places to check out your fellow shoppers for the latest style dos and don’ts. This year, sweatpants, Crocs and Taz tees are in — although when are they not? — while it’s a major fashion boo-boo to wear colors that go together or clothes that cover more than 85 percent of your lumpy flesh. Take a tip from your neighbors, Boulder: If it doesn’t say “TAPOUT” or “JUICY” somewhere on it, it had better at least be tie-dyed.
Best Fair Trade Store
1625 Pearl St., 303-440-7744
Shopping at Momentum improves the lives of real people from all around the world. We know it sounds like a brochure, but it’s true. The fair trade movement helps to eliminate the middleman. In other words, when you purchase a beautiful, handcrafted item via fair trade, a much larger portion of your money is going directly to the person who made it. By buying fair trade and creating employment opportunities for people who have been largely left out of, or exploited by, the economies in their home countries, those of us fortunate enough to live in Boulder County can make an enormous difference. Our dollars feed, house and educate people when we eat, drink, wear and gift fair trade. If you haven’t gotten on board with this future of retail yet, now is the time. And kudos to all the shops, from coffee to clothes, that are making fair trade a priorty in their their business decisions.
Best Place to Buy an Out-of-Print Book
RED LETTER SECONDHAND BOOKS
1737 Pearl St., 303-938-1778
Behold, the virtue of a bin of books for $1 — brought to your home without shipping and handling charges.
Boulder boasts plenty of used bookstores, each of which has a special place in our bibliophile hearts for their leftist tendencies or their beat-poetry affinities. But Red Letter Secondhand Books, for its shelves of obscure field guides and a backroom for secretly browsing genre fiction, its array of art books up front and that aforementioned bin of discounted books, wins as the best place to go and browse among dusty shelves and take home a few literary surprises.
Best Camp Coffee
THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT
This group almost got second place for best tent configuration in front of city hall, but with so many boutique coffee shops on Pearl Street, this was just too easy. Granted, the dedicated members of this movement have embraced worthy causes like opposing corporate personhood and the ridiculous local camping ban, but seriously. Are we really to believe that the eight grungy folks who poke their heads out of North Face shelters at the courthouse lawn can’t stroll down to the ATM and pull out $20 for a latte and bagel? This is Boulder, and while we can sympathize with those who are truly in need around the country and world, the real way we can make a difference is to write a check to a reputable charity and vote our conscience. But if things really get bad, we should join them and storm the castle.