South Side Walnut Cafe, 673 S. Broadway, Boulder, walnutcade.com/south-boulder
South Side Walnut Cafe, and the satellite Walnut Cafe’s throughout the County, provide a remarkable service: cozy, no-frills, delicious diner food that accommodates all dietary restrictions. The vegan Boulder melt proves that a non-dairy, non-meat sandwich can be indulgent and wholly satisfying. Sautéed and chopped tofu is mixed in with mushrooms, tomatoes and green peppers, and then smothered in melty soy Cheddar cheese. Two pieces of crunchy sourdough toast keep it all together. $8.
Curry N Kebob, 3050 28th St., Boulder, currynkebob.com
Curry N Kebob has long been Boulder County’s quintessential strip mall gem: it’s in the most non-descript strip mall on the most unremarkable stretch of 28th Street, and yet it’s constantly packed. That’s because it serves a wide variety of Northern Indian and Bangladeshi food at insanely affordable prices, and it’s consistently fantastic. Though it’s tempting to dive into the “exotic” specials — sometimes goat, sometimes duck — the navaratan korma, packed with nine different vegetables, really lets the magic of the sauce-work shine. It’s got as much kick as you want, and coconut milk can be substituted in to make it vegan, but it also makes it fruity and nutty. The vegetables include everything from cauliflower to green beans to peppers to carrots, and they offer varying textures, temperatures, colors and flavors. Pillowy jasmine rice soaks it all up, and you’ll be wanting more as soon as the plate is empty. It’s a feast for the eyes and palate, and happens to go alongside samosas pretty well. $9.95.
Devils on Horseback
Timberline Steaks and Grille, Denver International Airport, Terminal C, dia-food.com/timberline-steaks-grille
With some time to spare at DIA over the holidays, (thanks TSA for making security easy this time around), we found ourselves at Timberline Steaks and Grille in Terminal C for a little pre-flight snack and drink, and the Devils on Horseback fit the bill. Sweet, plump dates are filled with Boulder County’s own Haystack Mountain creamy goat cheese. The dates are then wrapped in Peachwood smoked bacon and drizzled with tangy chipotle honey. Each bite is decadent and delicious. The busy holiday travel season may be over, but that doesn’t mean we all won’t find ourselves at DIA again soon. $11.
Brooklyn Pizza, 1647 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, brooklynpizzaboulder.com
Puttanesca sauce — made of, typically, olives, anchovies and capers — is a classic Italian pasta-topper. The folks at Brooklyn Pizza in Boulder had the bright idea to put it on pizza, and we’re glad they did. Meaty chunks of black olives and thin, electric slices of anchovies dot the top of the pizza, while bright, briny capers lie underneath cheese. The cheese itself is a well-proportioned, high-Parmesan blend. The real stars are the fresh, acidic tomato sauce and the crispy-edged, chewy-innard crust, which is carefully seasoned and flavorful. If anchovies aren’t your thing, Brooklyn Pizza’s got a bunch of other specialty and classic pies. And cannoli. $14-$18.