Navajo Fry Bread
Santo, 1265 Alpine Ave., Boulder, santoboulder.com
Blackbelly’s Hosea Rosenberg opened Santo recently as an homage to his hometown (and state) of Taos, New Mexico. To Santo, Rosenberg brings his unique ability to marry electric flavors and textures in classic dishes, as evidenced in the Navajo fry bread. A crisp-shelled, chewy-on-the-inside slab of fry bread is piled high with pork adovada, chorizo, refried beans, crema, slaw and choice of chile (we chose Christmas, because… it’s Christmas.) The fry bread is as good as it sounds; the pork adovada is tender, and its red coating is smoky, chocolaty, deeply fruity and slightly spicy. The chorizo and crema add counterpoints of spice and sweet; while the slaw brings fresh crunch. The chile on top, by the way, is irresistible. There’s much to try at Santo, including blue corn enchiladas, fisherman’s stew and apple and green chile pie. Don’t be afraid to dive into the unique cocktail list, either. $18.
Boulder Beer, 2880 Wilderness Place, Boulder, boulderbeer.com/pub
You can never have too much bacon, which is perhaps why Boulder Beer puts it on the menu twice at its Wilderness Place Pub. A mixture of savory and sweet, three strips of crisp, smoky bacon are drizzled with a brown sugar glaze. This unique dish is served either as an appetizer or a dessert, and if you really want to get fancy, make it a sundae for $2 more. $4.
Tempura Fried Fish Sandwich
OAK at fourteenth, 1400 Pearl St., Boulder, oakatfourteenth.com
There have been so many opportunities for OAK to be corrupted, and yet it remains a great, accessible restaurant. The service is unparalleled, the food is unique, well-made and priced right, and the atmosphere is as good as it gets on Pearl Street. The rotating menu keeps guests coming back, and one such item includes the tempura fried fish sandwich. After frying, a meaty slab of cod is delicately encased by a paper-thin, yet crunchy and well-flavored crust. On a chewy, sweet bun, the fish is topped with local cabbage slaw, an orange-miso vinaigrette and charred scallion aioli. It’s an exercise in refinement; just when you think taste is going to overwhelm your palate, everything melds together into one satisfying bite. Top that off with a house-made donut or banana fritters and you’ll be feeling alright. $14.50.
Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey, 3300 W. 32nd Ave. and 1514 York St., Denver, tacostequilawhiskey.com
Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey may be known for its award-winning street tacos and diverse list of cocktails, but the weekend-only pozole is the hidden gem on the menu. The traditional Mexican stew is made verde style with tomatillos, cilantro and green chilies that give it a kick. Each cup is full of tasty hominy and tender shredded chicken. Fresh shredded cabbage and radish sprinkled on top add just a bit of spicy crunch to each bite. And the cotija helps balance the dish. It’s served with a healthy side of “just made chips.” Order a large as your meal or a small as a side, you won’t be disappointed. Served Friday-Sunday. $3.50 small, $5.50 large.