Cinnamon Pecan Schnecken
Spruce Confections, 767 Pearl St. and 4684 Broadway, Boulder, spruceconfections.com
On name alone, it’s hard to resist the schnecken. When you consider what it actually is, it’s impossible. Spruce Confection’s take on the schnecken, a pastry made from Danish dough, is filled with cinnamon streusel and crushed pecans. The edges of the pastry are crispy and light, while the inside is moist and chewy. The cinnamon is warm and inviting, while the pecans provide a girthy crunch and flavor. It’s like mixing a croissant with a cinnamon bun — that is, it’s decidedly more eater-friendly (not sticky) than the latter, but like both, it’s best eaten in massive quantities. $3.50.
Sweet and Spicy Porkbelly Sandwich
William Oliver’s Publick House, 201 N. Public Road, Lafayette, williamolivers.com
William Oliver’s in Lafayette boasts the best bacon around. Many places boast the best bacon around. Never is it the best bacon around. Let us tell you: William Oliver’s might just be the best bacon around. It’s thick cut, and we mean what feels like a centimeter, like thicker than two slabs of bologna. It’s not bogged down with additives, instead it’s brûléed pre-cured pork belly, which means more flavor and more tenderness. It’s so crispy on the outside. So crispy it almost feels like Pop Rocks. Heaped on a chewy bun and topped with a tangy and spicy sriracha coleslaw, this is something everyone needs to try. Or not: William Oliver’s entire menu is bacon-centric so if the sweet and spicy sandwich isn’t your bag, try a pork belly banh mi or just a “pint-o-bacon.” $12.
Buddha Thai Cuisine, 2719 Iris Ave., Boulder, buddhathaicuisine.com
If you’re in on the secret of Buddha Thai, good for you. If not, here’s your chance. The North Boulder strip mall shop is a true local’s favorite, and among its menu of dynamite daily specials, noodle and rice dishes, the proof is in the curry. While the green and jungle curries will pop and excite your tongue, the yellow curry is pure comfort. Silky coconut milk and yellow curry paste host onions, carrots, potatoes and choice of meat (chicken here). The vegetables provide a stew-like depth of flavor that marries the thick blanket of a sauce perfectly. Buddha Thai respectfully gives diners the option of spice level — on a scale of five, three seems to be just enough heat, but four will turn that curry dinner into an experience. Five? Good luck. $9.95.
Mateo, 1837 Pearl St., mateorestaurant.com
Mateo in Boulder is fine dining at its finest. Alongside a well-curated food menu and wine selection, the atmosphere is welcoming and the patio is relaxing and casual. It’s the perfect place to spend happy hour, which features a number of impressive, yet affordable, options including the French-inspired plateau provençal. The plate is a perfect snack for two — a mix of charcuterie and three different cheeses provides a well-balanced selection of flavors, and is paired with mixed nuts, dried fruit, olives, homemade jam and thick mustard. The surprise of the plate is whole peppercorns. Slightly spicy and perfectly pungent, adding a peppercorn or two to savory cured ham, electric aged manchego cheese and a little tart and sweet pineapple-mango jam was delightful. Go on a Monday, and enjoy a wood-fired pizza from the restaurant’s new pizza oven on the patio to complete your meal. You might find the tastes and ambiance of happy hour at Mateo so alluring that you’ll stay through dinner service; if that happens, you’re living the good life. $17 (during happy hour).