Chicken en Mole
Casa Alegre, 106 Pine St., Louisville, casaalegremex.com
Cooler weather begs to be paired with certain foods — your stews, your soups, your curries, etc. Warm, rich, creamy and slightly sweet, chicken en mole fits the bill, and there are few better places to get it than Louisville’s Casa Alegre. Their take on the Mexican staple is well-refined and balanced. The thick, brown mole sauce — typically made from dozens of spices, vegetables, broths and other ingredients — is kind of fruity, kind of spicy, kind of savory, kind of chocolaty… the point is, a lot’s going on, but it all coalesces in a singular soul-pleasing experience. The best part is you don’t have to think about what all is in there, you can just enjoy it for its alchemical greatness. The chicken, by the way, is ridiculously tender. Served alongside toasted tortillas, refried beans and rice, the meal is a satisfying way to pass a drizzly fall day. $14.25.
Fish and Chips
Reelfish Fish & Chips, 2770 Arapahoe Rd., Suite 112, Lafayette,
Fish and chips really ought to be sold throughout the County in food trucks and out of little stands. Maybe being away from the ocean doesn’t lend itself well to that model, but the way we ship around fish in this country so quickly, there’s little excuse. Get on it, food scene. Regardless, the few places that do sell fish and chips are Boulder County treasures. Reelfish dedicates itself to the craft, offering a variety of a salt- and freshwater fried (and grilled) goodies. A recent special of walleye was too tempting to resist. The freshwater fish is a staple of Midwestern fish fries and Reelfish does a good job replicating the experience. Two thin strips of walleye are crusted, lightly fried and served with lemon, a citrusy and thick dipping sauce, and crispy fries. $15.50.
Mediterranean Rice Salad
Naked Lunch, 3301 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, nakedlunchcolorado.com
Sometimes all you want is a big salad. Remarkably, it’s not always easy to find a satisfying bowl — the greens are off, it’s not big enough, it’s too bland, whatever the case may be, the pitfalls in the salad game are many. Naked Lunch, though, seems to have nailed a few unique salad varieties that have, at least for us, always delivered. Their Mediterranean rice salad balances a variety of flavors and textures that leaves you feeling full despite the absence of animal-based protein. Mixed greens are tossed with rice, lentils, artichokes, kalamata olives, cucumbers, red onions and tomatoes. It’s all dressed in a simple olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. It’s truly Mediterranean — a little Greek, a little Lebanese, a little Italian. It’s both punchy and acidic from the olives, vinegar and onions, and earthy with the lentils, artichokes and rice. $9.50.
Salvaggio’s Deli, 1335 Broadway; 1397 Pearl St.; 2609 Pearl St., Boulder, salvaggiosdeli.us
We’ve been hitting a lot of sandos recently in the Tasting Menu. Call it an informal search for the best deli subs in Boulder County. Salvaggio’s, few people need to be told, would be a front-runner if we were keeping score. Their East Coast-style subs have fast become a local favorite. Our turkey, Swiss, lettuce, tomato, oil and vinegar was both simple and everything that can be asked for in a deli sandwich. The hoagie roll has a crispy shell and chewy innards; the turkey and cheese are fresh-cut and substantially packed; the toppings are crisp, fresh and do their job to round out the sandwich. $7.59.