BBQ Jackfruit Sliders
The Vegetable Express, Mobile, Boulder County
Careful now, or this Nederland-based vegan food truck will steal your heart. With a menu full of vegan twists on classic comfort dishes (think: Philly seitan sub, lion’s mane roll, French onion soup, BBQ sliders), it’s hard to pick just one of the intriguing things to eat. We went with the BBQ jackfruit sliders, which come in a pair, plus your choice of fries or carrot strips. Tender pulled jackfruit, seasoned and tossed in the house BBQ sauce, is sandwiched between two soft slider buns. The kale, red onion and grilled pineapple toppings add texture and a delightful freshness. Pair the plate with a made-from-scratch ginger latte, and you’ve got yourself a wholesome, cozy winter picnic. $12.
The Nickel at Hotel Teatro, 1100 14th St., Denver, thenickeldenver.com
We found ourselves in downtown Denver recently, in want of a cocktail after a night at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. And lucky for us, The Nickel sits just a block away from the arts complex in the lobby of the boutique Hotel Teatro. The Nickel Negroni was sublime. Served in a beaker to minimize dilution, barrel-aged Jackelope gin, Dolin Rouge vermouth and Campari were perfectly balanced, making the smoothest Negroni we’ve ever had. Poured over a custom ice-cube imprinted with a signature “5” and garnished with an orange peel, we couldn’t help ordering two. $14.
Osaka’s, 2460 Canyon Blvd., Unit 1, Boulder, osakasrestaurant.com
The newly opened Osaka’s claims to offer “a new way to eat Japanese.” That’s true, but it also offers a new way to eat a burger. The signature Osaka burger is served on okonomiyaki, a savory cabbage pancake from Osaka. In between the pillowy, robustly flavored pancakes: sliced meat, noodles and lettuce. We opted for the buttobi modern, comprised of sliced pork and noodles slathered in a spicy sauce. It’s powerfully flavored, with pleasant, floral cinnamon coating over the palate. The pork was tender and rich in umami. Osaka’s, let us tell you, is a great addition to the Boulder County food scene. $13.
The Village Coffee Shop, 1605 Folsom St., Boulder, bouldervillagecoffeeshop.com
The Village Coffee Shop really is 890 square feet of reality surrounded by Boulder. Here the French fries flow like snow from the mountaintops in spring. There is no guilt at The Village Coffee Shop, only another cup of coffee. We can’t say what it’ll do for you, but the Village Club transported us back to the very first time we ate a club sandwich, that perfectly browned toast holding together thinly sliced turkey, thick-cut bacon, crisp lettuce, tomato and mayo in three layers. Served with old-fashioned potato salad, this is a dish of nostalgia. $8.50.