Seared Sea Scallops
Urban Farmer, 1659 Wazee St., Denver, urbanfarmerrestaurant.com
After a risque show at Lannie’s Clocktower, or perhaps before you head to one of Larimer Square’s ultra0-hip bars, stop by Urban Farmer for a meal you won’t forget. The new Denver location makes the fourth in this chain of steakhouses, but don’t be fooled; the location in LoDo is true to Colorado, with locally sourced ingredients making up the majority of the menu. It’s got its own in-house butcher to boot, so there’s no question you can have the best steak of your life. But it’s best not to overlook Urban Farmer’s selection of seafood, particularly the seared sea scallops. These are cooked to perfection with that perfect caramel-colored crust on the faces of the scallops, served atop a warm, filling bed of grain risotto, carrot jus and pepita seed. Add one of Urban Farmer’s family-style sides to the mix — the sweet corn polenta is a humble recommendation — and you’ll be dreaming of your next visit to LoDo. $36.
Whole Foods Market, 2905 Pearl St., Boulder, wholefoodsmarket.com
So Amazon has officially taken over Whole Foods. The joke on the street is that prices have been slashed from $4 a banana to $3.50 a banana. But the truth is value can be had at Whole Foods, as before, if you just keep your eyes peeled. That’s been the case for the Beyond Burger since a stall in the dining court dedicated to it popped up last year. The Beyond Burger is made mostly of pea protein and dyed with beet juice so that it “bleeds” when you cook it, and looks like ground beef. What it tastes like — with a chewy bun, crisp lettuce, tomato and pickle, faux cheddar and mustard — is a pretty great, lean burger. The thing’s vegan, soy and gluten-free, too, so it’s hard to have any complaints about the Beyond Burger becoming a trend, unless you or your loved one are peas. $9.
Gastronauts at Gravity Brewing, 1150 Pine St., Unit B, Louisville, thegravitybrewing.com/food-menu
Gastronauts may be Boulder County’s best kept dining secret. Sharing a space with Gravity Brewing, which shares a space with an American Legion outpost, which is located down a side street, over the tracks from Louisville’s downtown, Gastronauts is worth finding. Unique, elevated bar staples rotate through the menu alongside a steady supply of excellent New York-style pizza, wings, salads and daily specials. The crispy broccoli with Sriracha aioli showcases how Gastronauts makes the simple sublime. The fried broccoli, sapped of water, is airy and crispy, while its earthy flavor is concentrated. The aioli is spicy and sweet, and adds necessary lubrication to the broccoli. We’re not sure about the nutrition facts on this one, but it’s broccoli, and that’s a vegetable, so we recommend you indulge with no guilt. $7.
Baja Fish Tacos
Murphy’s, 2731 Iris Ave. and 657 S. Broadway, Boulder, murphysboulder.com
After a long morning (and with an even longer afternoon looming), this flight of tacos needed to be both distracting and invigorating. That it was. The grilled tilapia, cradled in masa tortillas alongside fresh pico de gallo salsa, was accompanied by lime wedges and a bowl of seasoned black beans. Piled on top, the baja honey-lime slaw added a sweet, energizing crunch under a thick blanket of ripe avocado. All four tacos were drizzled with garlic-lime crema — our only complaint was that it wasn’t smothered with this rich, flavorful sauce. $13.50.