<![CDATA[Boulder - Weekly - Restaurant Review]]> <![CDATA[Make a mess at Ras Kassa’s]]> Their motto is “Eat like you’ve never heard of silverware,” and they aren’t kidding. Everything from farmer’s cheese to lentil stew is served with spongy Ethiopian bread called injera to be used for scooping, and nothing else.]]> <![CDATA[Pizza in the backcountry]]> Spun off from its namesake Nederland predecessor, Boulder’s recently opened Backcountry Pizza and Taphouse ably occupies the gap between chain restaurants and artisan pizzerias. It retains much of the unpretentious charm of its mountain parent, which is an endearingly comfortable spot to visit after hitting the slopes at Eldora. To its credit, Backcountry also exudes enough culinary variety to pique the interest of the foodie set — and offering a selection of more than 50 beers probably doesn’t hurt either.]]> <![CDATA[The Peloton%uFFFDs pizzeria]]> high-end residential developers strive to install an onpremises destination restaurant as an inducement for buyers. Case in point is San Francisco%uFFFDs Millennium Tower, a pricey residential highrise that features the RN74 eatery, operated by Michelin-starred Chef Michael Mina.]]> <![CDATA[An authentic Mexican taqueria]]> Whenever I go back to the Bay Area for family visits, it’s inevitable I stop by San Leandro’s Taqueria Los Pericos with one or both of my brothers. I suspect our visits are equally driven by the quality of the food as well as having us be seen in public for the purpose of establishing an alibi. Regardless, my brothers introduced me to authentic street-style tacos, and I completely understand their loyalty to this proverbial hole-in-the-wall. ]]> <![CDATA[Classic breakfast, without the rush]]> Jeff, an East Coast native, immediately sensed a comforting familiarity about the cafes we stepped inside, noting it possessed the homey ambiance of a Vermont or New Hampshire roadside eatery. Indeed, the sunny yellow walls, farmhouse furniture, and brightly colored original artwork seemed a universe away from his neon-illuminated world of $12.]]> <![CDATA[Won’t you be my neighbor?]]> It’s comfort food that breaks neither the bank nor the belt, and that proves a point I’ve long argued for as a food writer: fine food doesn’t require fine dining. You should be able to get a great meal at a decent price in jeans. The Kitchen Next Door shows there’s no reason you can’t afford — or be let in the door — for a good meal.]]> <![CDATA[Shine on]]> When I first heard the name of Boulder’s new eatery Shine, I was hoping it would feature entertainment by a troubled pianist portrayed by actor Geoffrey Rush. Alas, Shine appears more to refer to notions of maximized self-actualization than David Helfgott, although music is on the menu. The latest venture from the Emich triplets, this gathering space, bar and restaurant is just a few doors down from their former establishment, Trilogy.]]> <![CDATA[Chicken a la antlers]]> The Sunday brunch menu has a few crossover items from the chicken-centric dinner menu, but focuses more on traditional breakfast items like roast beef hash ($11) and a delicious-sounding egg-battered slab of Texas toast dressed up in bourbon apples ($9).]]> <![CDATA[Authentic Mexican Snickers bars]]> But a big part of that melting pot being in America is, of course, the need for there to be a giant, hideous television screen every single place you look.]]> <![CDATA[More than a coffee shop]]> The first impression of downtown Boulder’s Saxy’s Cafe is that of your typical college town coffee shop with a ramshackle, slightly lived-in feel. But a closer look reveals more luxurious trappings epitomized by comfortable sofas and low coffee tables that give the spot a cozy living room ambience. Low-key, if not folksy, music plays on the stereo, deepening the mellow coffeehouse vibe. ]]> <![CDATA[Stars from the ’50s]]> A few years back, a California chain, Ruby’s, attempted to create a ’50s retro diner at Boulder’s Twenty Ninth Street. This space was recently resurrected as a retro eatery under local ownership and a new moniker, the StarLite Diner and Lounge. Like its predecessor, the ambience suggests a trip back in time, with plenty of vinyl banquettes and neon accented by cruiser bicycles and soaked in a golden oldies soundtrack.]]> <![CDATA[Leenie’s Southern Cafe is a bit more cafe than Southern]]> Leenie’s leans more toward being a Southern-influenced diner than it does a full-blown Southern cafe.]]> <![CDATA[Respecting the urban taco’s roots]]> I’ll argue that the most critical determinant of an ethnic restaurant’s success is how much it respects the source cuisine. Go to any ethnic neighborhood in a big city, and you’ll likely chance upon a family-run hole in the wall that’s wildly popular due to its authentic home-style cooking.]]> <![CDATA[Follow your nose]]> The new location is certainly larger, with plenty of natural light and an airy feel set off by brightly painted walls and graphics of such luminaries as JFK and Marilyn Monroe — not together, though. These were among the decorative touches friend Kuvy and I first noticed on a recent Sunday morning.]]> <![CDATA[A palace of taste]]> Nothing screams summertime more than cuisine from warm-weather climes, cool drinks and al fresco dining, all of which are available at Boulder’s Centro Latin Kitchen and Refreshment Palace. Drawing from Central and South American traditions, Centro serves up ceviche, tacos, tortas and platters featuring such specialties as huevos rancheros and enchiladas. Paul, a Chicago transplant, joined me for a weekday lunch on the sun-drenched patio there while things were hopping, although the amiable servers satisfied the crowd’s needs with aplomb.]]> <![CDATA[Solid Italian for a song]]> Il Pastaio%uFFFDs a petite spot situated a stone%uFFFDs throw from the 30th Street King Soopers. While it can be crowded during peak meal times, it retains a cozy, casual, caf%u9B6Cike atmosphere. Lunch-time ordering takes place at the counter, where alreadyprepared courses sit in a steam table, ready to be served on demand.]]> <![CDATA[Some China spice]]> One of my childhood traditions was Friday night family dinner in Oakland’s Chinatown, a ritual both satisfying and inexpensive. This custom lives on, as my sister recently related that she was able to enjoy a three-course special at an East Bay Chinese restaurant for less than $20. Although she did add a dish or two, she was able to feed her family and our parents for a proverbial song, while still having leftovers to bring home.]]> <![CDATA[Zolo withstands the test of time]]> Nowadays Zolo’s lunch menu doesn’t stray too far from the basics of Southwestern cuisine and would still be accessible to the ’90s diner. There’s a certain comforting culinary classicism inherent in a menu showcasing such items as tortilla soup, blue corn fried oysters, rellenos and chicken enchiladas.]]> <![CDATA[Two Spoons gelato shop churns out soups, sandwiches in winter]]> Quickly glancing into its window, it’s easy to dismiss Pearl Street’s Two Spoons as a mere gelato shop. But as the temperature drops, this self-proclaimed “smallbatch kitchen” shifts its focus from frozen treats to a more seasonally appropriate menu of warming soups and panini.]]> <![CDATA[Keeping it hush-hush]]> Groucho Marx famously sent a telegram to the Friars Club, a selective association of entertainers that counted the comedian among its membership. His wire went like this: “Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.]]>