Fried Pork Egg Roll Bún
Black Pepper Pho, 2770 Pearl St., Boulder, phoboulder.com
Black Pepper Pho may be known, rightly, for its pho, but their limited menu of rice and noodle bowls is worth checking out. We sampled the fried egg roll bún, which consists of perfectly crisped pork (or veggie, if you choose) egg rolls cut and served atop rice noodles, bean sprouts, daikon radish, shallots, cilantro and mint. The mint is a unique edition, and its herbaceous flavor permeates the dish without overpowering it. The pork in the egg rolls, by the way, is moist, tender and deeply savory. $10.98 regular, $12.98 large.
Superfood Vegan Wrap
Protein Bar & Kitchen, 1855 29th St., Boulder, theproteinbar.com
The Protein Bar is a small fast-casual chain that serves up clean, nutritional food. Don’t let the industrial-sized containers of powdered proteins behind the counter fool you — Protein Bar manages to pack big flavor in their healthful meals. Take the superfood vegan wrap. It’s a wheat wrap loaded with roasted tofu, chickpeas, avocado, spinach, kale, pickled onion, carrots, celery, organic quinoa, a hemp seed blend and house-made creamy chia dressing. It all miraculously works, and it feels both refreshing and stomach-satisfying. The textures are many and delightful, and the creamy chia dressing is bright and irresistible. $8.99.
Odd13 Brewing, 301 E. Simpson St., Lafayette, odd13brewing.com
Odd13 brews beer you simply can’t get anywhere else. Our socks are always knocked off by their tap and can list, which ranges from a double milkshake IPA to a hop-bursted Brett beer to a hazy golden ale. It’s that last one, Jetman Jimmy, that you might overlook with all the spectacular options on Odd13’s beer list, but do yourself a favor and buy a pint or a six-pack. It’s lightly hopped and brewed with oats, so the mouthfeel is super silky and the flavor is of bright citrus. Such magic is performed in the brewing process that you might think fruit juice had to have been added to it, but you’d be wrong. It’s just a classic golden ale, with a twist, that’s supremely refreshing. Prices vary.
Super Mega Bien, 1260 25th St., Denver, supermegabien.com
Drinks and large plates ordered, we waited for the brightly colored cart with a horn to make its rounds at Super Mega Bien, in RiNo’s relatively new Ramble Hotel. Billed as “Latin American Dim Sum” the newest restaurant from chef Dana Rodriguez of Work & Class, the cart offered up an array of ever-changing small plates for the picking — everything from shrimp and octopus ceviche to cauliflower fritters to Latin spring rolls. Among others, we gladly accepted a bowl of ropa vieja, a Cuban staple of shredded beef and fried plantains. The beef had been marinated in pungent spiced juices, and the perfectly fried thick plantains were adorned with large salt crystals that drew out their flavor. $7.