Via Perla, 901 Pearl St., Boulder, viaperla.com
There’s much to like in Via Perla’s burrata. First, the burrata itself — a mound of herbaceous, fresh mozzarella filled with a buttery cream and curd solution. It oozes on each knifing, making it easy to apply to the other ingredients on the plate. Via Perla chooses to use fritelle — non-sweet fried doughnut sticks topped with herbs and spices (think funnel cake or savory, thin sopapillas) — instead of breadsticks, but the crispy shells provide good texture and richness. Prosciutto di Parma is heaped on top of the fritelle; the cured ham slices are tender, unctuous and almost silky, while their flavor activates salt, savory and umami senses. Drizzled on top is Bonamini 2016 olive oil from Veneto in northeastern Italy. It’s dry and peppery, with a funky hit of fresh grass, and provides the glue with which the fritelle, meat and cheese bind. $14
Crawfish and Shrimp Étoufée
Oskar Blues Grill and Brew, 303 Main St., Lyons, oskarbluesfooderies.com
The original Oskar Blues restaurant, located in Lyons, rotates classic Southern dishes throughout the week. On Fridays, it’s the New Orleans classic dish, étoufée. It all starts (and some would say ends) with a thick, brown roux — perfectly weighted, and imbued with some blend of dark spices that stays the focus of the dish. A bed of firm white rice sits beneath, and peppers and onions add consistent, deep flavor throughout. The bits of crawfish and shrimp are fresh and snappy, with a pleasant mildness. Add in Deviant Dale’s mega hot melegura sauce — just a splash’ll do — and the St. Vrain will start to look an awful lot like Lake Pontchartrain. $12. Fridays only.
U Turn BBQ, 599 Crossing Drive, Lafayette, uturnbbq.com
Fans of bark on barbecue will love U Turn BBQ’s approach to ribs. About a half-centimeter thick, the bark is blackened, not too chewy and rich in the flavors of smoke, red spices and salt. Underneath the bark, red and tender chunks of pork fall off the bone. Together, and added with one of U Turn’s signature sauces, it’s a style you won’t quite get elsewhere in Boulder County. With cheap, good beer brewed in-house and a number of sides, you’ll want to make the U-turn if you miss it from the highway. $12 quarter rack, $14 half rack, $25 full rack.
Spicy Icy Hot Chocolate
Piece, Love & Chocolate, 805 Pearl St., Boulder, pieceloveandchocolate.com
There are a few places you can go if you want a cold chocolate drink. Convenience stores and drive-up coffee shops, sure, but if you want the good stuff, Piece, Love & Chocolate should be at the top of your list. The icy hot chocolate combines its signature sipping chocolate (85 percent dark chocolate with spices) with choice of milk and add-ins. The spicy icy hot chocolate brings in thrilling chili heat that hits the back of the tongue, while the chocolate drink itself coats the entire palate in indulgent goodness. Whipped cream actually thins the drink out a little bit, which makes it better on scorching days. It is, no doubt, too good to be a novelty, and you’ll certainly get your sweet fix by the bottom of one of these. $5.50.