Harissa Chicken Sandwich
Caffè Sole, 637R, S. Broadway, Boulder, caffesole.com
South Boulder watering hole Caffè Sole is known for its great coffee, live jazz shows and community atmosphere. But it also serves an extensive menu full of surprises. On a recent lunch we opted for the Harissa Chicken Sandwich. Harissa hails from North Africa where it is generally a combination of smoked hot peppers and other spices such as garlic, coriander, cumin and caraway. At Caffè Sole, chicken confit is smothered with a bright harissa sauce that definitely gives off some heat. It is then topped with tzatziki along with grape tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese and arugula, all enveloped in a thick slice of pita bread. The creaminess of the tzatziki and feta neutralizes some, but not all, of the heat from the Harissa. The fresh vegetables gives the entire dish a bit of a crunch. $10.50.
Farmers Cheese Toast
Arcana, 909 Walnut St., Boulder, arcanarestaruant.com
Arcana’s happy hour is hard to beat: served 4-6 p.m. every day of the week (yes, that includes weekends), and featuring some of the restaurant’s signature dishes like the Farmers Cheese Toast. The staples — house-made anadama bread and soft farmer’s cheese — stay the same, but the toppings vary often from visit to visit. The evening we went, thick, fluffy bread was spread with cheese and topped with an ample serving of chocolate ganache, pickled radishes, pomegranate arils and chili flakes. The bite of the chili and radish balanced out the sweetness of the ganache and pomegranate, creating a well-balanced cacophony of flavor in every bite. The dish is well-worth it, even if you arrive after happy hour. $11 ($8 for Happy Hour) .
Dan Dan Noodles
Hot Pot Noodle House, 4800 Baseline Road, Boulder, noodlehouseboulder.com
Few things satisfy as much as a bowl of noodles. Served piping hot, the dan dan noodles at the new Hot Pot Noodle House come with tender ground pork, slivered cucumber, peanuts, steamed and peppery mustard greens and spicy red chile paste. It’s a dish steeped in umami, with savory and salty pork, spicy chile and earthy greens coming together in flavor harmony. $12.99.
Walls of the Cave Latte
Cannon Mine Coffee, 210 S. Public Road, Lafayette, cannonmine.com
Though you’ll find a solid lineup of local beer and a menu of fresh snacks, sandwiches and pastries, it’s live music and coffee that sets Lafayette’s Cannon Mine Coffee apart. Celebrate the two with the Walls of the Cave latte, named after the classic Phish jam and imbued with cinnamon and almond for a slightly sweet and wholly satisfying beverage. Cannon Mine was inspired by the late great Penny Lane coffee shop in Boulder, a dearly missed spot that celebrated local arts, music and community. Its legacy lives on in the cozy community space Cannon Mine has built. $5.68 for 12 oz.