Boulder ChopHouse & Tavern, 921 Walnut St., Boulder, boulderchophouse.com
The ChopHouse isn’t just for steaks. If you’re looking for a steakhouse experience but want to actually eat something a little more casual, we suggest the ChopHouse’s Pub Burger. A half-pound of tender beef is loaded with peppered bacon, white cheddar, beefsteak tomato, lettuce, pickled red onion and the ChopHouse’s signature pub sauce. The combination of white cheddar and beef is so satisfying it borders on indulgent, and the lightly spiced pepper and tangy pickled red onion keep it balanced. Eat it with your choice of several sides — we opted for a classic baked potato. $17.
Charlotte’s Lil Kitchen food truck, Mobile, Boulder County, facebook.com/charlotteslilkitchen
Charlotte’s Lil Kitchen serves a menu of Mediterranean-inspired plates, with an emphasis on freshness and local sourcing. The gyro features local Buckner Ranch beef and lamb strips, seared and served on a billowy pita with crisp lettuce and fresh tomato, red onion and herbs. It’s lathered in a traditional, creamy tzatziki sauce. The meat is well-seasoned and the juxtaposition of piping hot lamb and beef with cool tzatziki and veggies is ideal. $13.
Aloy Thai Cuisine, 2729 Canyon Blvd., Boulder, aloythai.com
Aloy Thai serves modern Thai food that’s balanced in both taste and texture. The chefs mind the details on every plate, from the noodle dishes to the curries, fried rice entrees and more. We had the sriracha noodles on a recent visit — thin rice noodles are tossed with egg, charred vegetables, choice of meat (pork in this case) and Aloy’s homemade sriracha sauce. The noodles are tender and the veggies are crunchy; the pork is salty and savory, and the sriracha sauce is sweet and spicy. $15.
Cafe Mexicali, 2850 Baseline Road, Boulder, cafemexicali.com
The breakfast burritos at South Boulder’s Cafe Mexicali are big, delicious and quickly made. They’re built on a foundation of eggs, potatoes, cheese and salsa, and the choice of meat changes throughout the week. We chose a bacon burrito, the meat of the day coming in big, savory and salty chunks. Packed in with a moderately spicy green chile, it’s a heck of a way to start the day. $4.29.