Eureka! 1048 Pearl St., Boulder, eurekarestaurantgroup.com
Eureka! is an infectiously fun spot in downtown Boulder, but what keeps the place packed, in addition to the ambiance, is its menu of unique burgers. It’s hard to pin down just one to order — the 28-day dry-aged burger, the bone marrow burger and the Fresno fig all were tempting, but in the mood for something smoky, we chose the Cowboy burger. Shoestring onion rings are piled high atop a grilled patty, thick bacon, sharp Cheddar and a beer barbecue sauce. $15.
Nopalito’s, 2850 Iris Ave., Suite H, Boulder, 720-720-4015
If you’ve ever been to one of those fast-casual, assembly-line-style burrito joints, then Nopalito’s will feel very familiar. The new tenants of a restaurant spot next to the DMV driver’s licence office in the Diagonal Plaza serve quesadillas, flautas, burritos and more with your choice of rice, beans, protein, salsa — you get it. But what’s uncommon is how good every element is. We tested out Nopalito’s burrito by selecting white rice, black and pinto beans, barbacoa, hot salsa, fresh guacamole and a side of fresh green chile. It doesn’t taste like the burritos you get at other fast casual places, let’s put it that way. The barbacoa is deeply flavorful and tender, the rice and beans are well spiced and the salsas are out of this world. $8.50.
Hopped Apple Cider
Stem Ciders, 1380 Horizon Ave., Unit A, Lafayette, stemciders.com
We’re a cider county now, and that’s a good thing. Regional producers are distributing in our stores, our restaurants are putting them on tap, and cideries are popping up all over. Stem Ciders, which has an immaculate taproom in Lafayette (Acreage), is one of the burgeoning scene’s pioneers, and these ciders run the gamut from sweet to herbal to dry. The hopped apple cider is particularly alluring. Comprised of apple juice and a healthy dose of Cascade and Citra hops, you get all the crisp refreshment of cider with just a kick of texture and flavor from the hops. It’s a great drink. Prices vary.
AOI Sushi and Izakaya, 3303 30th St., Boulder, 303-449-5394
AOI Sushi and Izakaya is a new sushi and Japanese restaurant that recently popped up in North Boulder next to the Cork and the banished Walmart. It’s a West Coast-style sushi spot — it feels plucked out of LA or Seattle — with modern décor and inventive sushi rolls and Japanese dishes. We sampled some of the sushi, which was fresh and expertly assembled, but the gyoza was irresistible. Steamed pork dumplings with herbs, served alongside soy sauce, the gyoza were the ideal balance of texture, temperature and flavor. $7.