Grapefruit and Fennel
Emmerson, 1600 Pearl St., Suite 100, Boulder, emmersonrestaurant.com
This week, Michelin released its always anticipated annual ranking of New York restaurants. Among the five restaurants receiving the maximum three stars were Per Se, Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin. That’s relevant (and good news) for us in Boulder because Emmerson pastry chef Jeb Breakell honed his culinary chops while working in all three of those kitchens before recently coming westward. Exemplary of the “exceptional cuisine worth a special journey” that earns an establishment three Michelin stars is Breakell’s deconstructed grapefruit and fennel plate. It’s sensational, and there’s no real place to begin. Two dollops of sorbet, one grapefruit and one fennel, are then arranged with a menagerie of elements from flash frozen fennel fronds to paper thin apple crisps, to even thinner candy glass, to celery both candied and foamed. It’s aesthetically stunning and gustatorily electric. And to think it’s the product of Breakell’s attempt to convert a smoothie recipe from famed chef Charlie Trotter into his own concoction. $13.
Cured, 1825 Pearl St. and 2019 10th St., Boulder, curedboulder.com
In the sandwich game, it all starts with the bread. Cured nails this with a crazy-good artisan baguette. Its crust snaps like a thick cracker, yielding to a chewy, moist and buttery flesh, with beautiful aeration. It’s an ideal foundation for the simple and perfect Spicy Frenchman. Fresh-cut French ham is met with earthy and perfumed thick-cut brie to create a formidable and time-tested flavor combination. Cured adds the classic accompaniment of butter and then elevates the whole thing with a helping of sweet and spicy peach-jalapeño jam. You’ll want more of this; the flavors don’t fatigue and the texture of crispy bread and relenting filling is wholly satisfying. $9.95.
House Sausage Pizza
Rosalee’s Pizzeria, 461 Main St., Longmont, rosaleespizzeria.com
In our book, if you have not one, but two framed photos of New Haven, Connecticut’s, iconic Frank Pepe Pizzzeria Napoletana, hands-down the best pizza place in the world, then you’re already a winner. Rosalee’s does their best to pay homage to the crisp-crust style of East Coast pizza, with a tasty cracker-like crust, tomato-forward and pleasantly present sauce, and a restrained, tasteful amount of cheese (mozzarella and pecorino). Their sausage pie is loaded with chunks of herbaceous and savory house-made sausage, whose flavor is refined and won’t hoard your taste buds. The pies at Rosalee’s are righteously gigantic, and it’s hard to have a bad time when you’re eating good East Coast pizza in their lively Main Street shop. $21.
Wapos Mexican Cocina, 4929 N. Broadway, Unit A, Boulder, waposboulder.com
If you haven’t been to Wapos in a while, as we hadn’t, you should check it out. The place is booming. Given the unfortunate closure of Pupusa’s, Wapos is North Boulder’s only sit-down place for classic Mexican dishes and margaritas, and they’ve shined in this new role. A bustling staff ships sizzling fajita plates and bowls of fresh salsa to patrons in the cozy interior and renovated back patio. It all puts you in the mood to relax and indulge, which you can do with the aptly named OMG Burrito. A 10-inch flour tortilla is filled to the brim with rice, cheese and carnitas, and it’s then smothered in green chile. The carnitas is as tender as melted chocolate, and as flavorful, too. The green chile is powerfully spiced and a little hot, but a margarita or two makes it alright. $11.75.