Vero, 2525 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, eatvero.com
Andrea Frizzi grew up in Milan working in his family’s salumeria. His dad hoped he’d take over the family business, but the younger Frizzi needed to venture out to fine-tune his culinary skills. Lucky for us he landed in Denver, where he dishes out classic Northern Italian fare at the posh Il Posto and its more casual sister restaurant, Vero. Now Boulder gets in on the action with our very own Vero, located in the former location of Pizzeria Du Lupo.The Boulder location focuses on appetizers and wood-fired pizzas, keeping the menu small and the quality high. Order one of Vero’s generous pours of wine and nosh on an appetizer of burrata while you wait for your pie. Topped simply with cracked black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, the chilled cheese — made in-house — relents effortlessly to a knife. Be prepared to scoop up the creamy inner cheese with a piece of crostini and a sliver of roasted red pepper and a ribbon of basil. You can even get the burrata on a pizza with San Marzano tomatoes and kalamata olives. Vero also offers an artisan Italian dry goods market, where you can get culinary delights straight from Italy. $15.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
El Jefe, 2450 W. 44th Ave., Denver, eljefedenver.com
If there’s one thing you wouldn’t expect to find on the menu of a Mexican restaurant, it’d be gnocchi. But that hasn’t stopped the relatively new farm-to-table El Jefe restaurant in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood. The folks here take the traditionally Italian dish and give it a Mexican flare. Sweet potato dumplings are served in a bowl of black bean puree and verde brown butter sauce. Cotija cheese crumbles add to the creaminess of the dish, while pepitas provide just the right amount of crunch. Served as part of El Jefe’s shared plates menu, this dish was so good on a recent snowy night, our party of three ordered two. $10.
Glorious Morning Smoothie
Red Frog Coffee, 15 Ken Pratt Blvd., Unit 200, Longmont, redfrogcoffee.com
If you’re heading out to I-25 or spending time in East Longmont, Red Frog Coffee is a comfortable place to grab a drink or light bite. Their fresh smoothies are worth seeking out, though, both for their no-frills construction and reasonably low prices. Their glorious morning smoothie is chock-full of strawberries, but bananas add structure, orange juice brings acid and milk binds it all together. Also try their unique coffee creations if caffeine’s your need. $4.65.
Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House, 637 Front St., Louisville; 7916 Niwot Road, Niwot, luckypiepizza.com
Lucky Pie’s Neapolitan pies are only outdone, maybe, by the restaurants’ atmospheres. The Louisville spot is a renowned family hang, while the Niwot nook is cozy and inviting. Yet, pizza’s in the name of the place and it’s put on a pedestal at Lukcy Pie. Their selection of white and red pizzas spans various styles, but their prosciutto pie rises to the top. Olive oil, sea salt, arugula, grana padano Parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes comprise the foundation for salty and rich prosciutto ham. The arugula is fresh and peppery, and the olive oil brings everything together. It’s a chewier crust than most, which is fine by us. $17.