Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, 1770 13th St., Boulder, boulderteahouse.com
A visit to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is welcome any time of the year. The ornate building is a gift from Boulder’s sister city in Tajikistan, and was designed and built in the South Asian country before being dismantled, shipped and reassembled on the bank of Boulder Creek. While visiting recently, we asked for the most traditional Tajik dish on the menu. What came out was the Tajikistan Plov: Perfectly grilled lamb (sometimes it’s beef, according to the menu) is laid atop a traditional rice dish with onion, chickpeas, dried apricots and currants. The housemade naan is thick, with the slightest sourdough taste that is a perfect addition to the rich flavors of the rice and meat. Served with a side of tomato-cucumber salad, the entire dish is lighter than it sounds, perfect as we head into the heat of summer. $14.
The Huckleberry, 700 Main St., Louisville, thehuckleberry.com
If you aren’t from the South or haven’t been to the South or haven’t been to a Southern restaurant, you may have never had fried green tomatoes. If that’s you, you’re missing out. With its unique twist on the classic BLT, The Huckleberry in Louisville knows just how to serve them. Un-ripened (aka green tomatoes) are covered in cornmeal and dipped in buttermilk, then lightly fried, and served between two slices of wheat bread with bacon, lettuce and remoulade (think a Southern aioli). The fried tomatoes add a certain amount of crunch and depth to this American lunch staple. Thanks for bringing the South to us, Huckleberry! $9.50.
Ali Baba Grill, 3033 28th St., Boulder, alibabagrill.com
If you’re hungry — we’re talking post-hike famished — head to Ali Baba Grill for a plate of chicken kabsa that will satisfy even the most ravenous appetite. Hefty cuts of chicken (or lamb) are spiced with black pepper, cloves, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg, and served over a heaping bed of flavorful rice loaded with thick cuts of carrot, potato and bell pepper. Drizzle on some cucumber yogurt sauce to add a bit of creamy texture. If that doesn’t fill you up, the accompanying side of housemade hummus with fresh naan and a side salad should do the trick. $15.95.
Fresh Baked Vegan Muffin
Luna Cafe, 800 Coffman St., Longmont, 303-702-9996
Located in a Victorian house just off Main Street, Luna Cafe provides a quaint and quiet reprieve to enjoy a cup of coffee and a homemade baked good… or two. On a recent sunny afternoon, we stopped in for a pick-me-up: a cappuccino (prepared in the Italian style) and a vegan muffin, made with banana, coconut, applesauce and raisins. Moist on the inside with just a bit of chewiness to the outside (a hallmark of a vegan muffin), this plump treat left us feeling satisfied without feeling overindulgent. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere inside the coffeeshop, where you can peruse a small collection of books to borrow or purchase, or take some sun on the spacious patio. $2.25.