Chicken and Shiitake Ramen
OAK at fourteenth, 1400 Pearl St., Boulder, oakatfourteenth.com
Only at OAK can you have a lunch that starts with fried pickles, moves on to steaming ramen and ends with a glazed cherry doughnut. And not only can you get all that variety, but it’s affordably priced and expertly executed. Take the ramen, for instance. Two hulking cuts of pork belly rest atop a powerfully flavored broth, filled with steamed bok choy and some pretty unbelievable maitake mushrooms. The pork belly is unctuous and savory, the mushrooms are earthy and rich in umami, the bok choy is pleasantly bitter, the broth is salty, and the house-made sriracha brought just enough acid, heat and sweetness. A great dish. $15.
Roast Duck Wonton Noodle Soup
Zoe Ma Ma, 2010 10th St., Boulder, zoemama.com
A trip to Zoe Ma Ma is a treat any time of the year, but the chill of winter makes the Chinese street food at this intimate noodle house something extra special. If you happen to drop in on a Friday, try Zoe Ma Ma’s daily special, the roast duck wonton noodle soup. Chunks of crispy-skinned sweet and savory roast duck create the perfect foil for delicate pork wonton dumplings and rice noodles, all marinating in a rich duck broth. Bok choy adds a mildly peppery flavor and a bit of texture. A perfect soup for a perfect winter day. $14.71.
The Med, 1002 Walnut St., Boulder. themedboulder.com
The Med is known for its long list of Mediterranean tapas, enjoyed as appetizers or combined to create a full meal. A classic go-to, the spanakopita comes as an individual triangle of zesty Greek flavors. Warm, flaky phyllo dough is filled with tangy feta and fresh spinach. It’s best with fresh lemon squeezed on top and dipped in the accompanying tzatziki, a Greek yogurt dip with garlic, cucumber and, well, more lemon. Whether you want a pre-dinner treat, or a combo meal with The Med’s falafel, olives, tabbouleh and hummus, get the spanakopita. $4.95.
Spruce Tip IPA
Upslope Brewing Company, 1898 S. Flatiron Court and 1501 Lee Hill Drive, Boulder, upslopebrewing.com
Oh, you have to try this beer. Where other brewers cheekily add in spruce tips to dense IPAs and holiday beers, Upslope puts the piney treats on a pedestal. The spruce tips are hand-picked in Colorado and added fresh to a brew loaded with American malt, Cascade and Simcoe hops. It’s the Simcoe hops that help amplify the piney flavor, the Cascade that brings a pleasant amount of citrus, and the malt that helps marry those flavors into something you’ll actually enjoy. Prices vary.