Kimchi rice bowl
The Stone Cup, 442 High St., Lyons, thestonecup.com
The Stone Cup is a big reason why you can’t beat a weekend morning in Lyons. Whether it’s a capper to your hike, a stop on your bike ride or just a spot to grab brunch, you’d do worse than spending an hour or two here eating fresh dishes, sipping coffee and listening to live music. The brunch menu includes a rotating rice bowl, which this week was packed with kimchi, nori squares, sesame seeds and scallions. Each bite carries little gravity on the tongue, but the flavor consumes the palate. Kimchi is earthy, spicy and imbued with smoked red spice, the nori bits bring pops of briney freshness, the scallions keep the tongue on its toes and the sesame seeds provide a toasty consistency. The best part is that after you eat the bowl, you feel satisfied without being overstuffed. The rest of the menu of toasts, hashes and other breakfast staples all follow the fresh-and-filling model, too. $9.50.
Samples World Bistro, 370 Main St., Longmont, sampleslongmont.com
Like all alt-weekly writers, we do anything Guy Fieri tells us to do. There’s nothing more alternative that enthusiastically watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives for 15 hours straight and unironically bleaching your hair and putting on your sunglasses backwards. Truth is, Fieri gets a bad rap, maybe the worst rap, and it obscures the fact that the dude actually finds pretty great, unheralded food places across the country and gives them a positive national spotlight. Longmont’s Samples recently got this treatment, and even though we wouldn’t classify the gastropub as a diner, drive-in or dive, its poutine burger is certainly injected with the comfort of food you might get at those places. A hulking beef patty is literally smothered in beer-infused demi-glace, which tastes like pure umami gravy, and topped with fried, wonderful cheese curds and beer pickles. A brioche bun manages to keep it all in. This is, as they say, Flavor Town. $15.
Pulled Pork and Brisket
KT’s BBQ, 2660 Broadway and 7464 Arapahoe Road, Boulder, ktsbbq.com
For some reason, barbecue often gets lumped in as a summer treat —maybe it’s because not everyone has an indoor smoker. Well, that’s all the more reason to check out places that do, like the Boulder staple KT’s BBQ. Its pulled pork and brisket offerings are particularly worth diving into. The pulled pork is ridiculously tender, well-seasoned and ready for tangy BBQ sauce. The smoked brisket is chopped coarsely, giving it substantial texture. Slop either of those on a bun next to slaw, beans and potatoes. Price varies.
Super Combo Pizza
Abo’s Pizza, Locations throughout Boulder County, abos-pizza.com
When a hankering for New York-style pizza hits, folks across Boulder County tend to reach for Abo’s, and for good reason. Its pies are made well and quickly, and the toppings-sauce-crust ratio is spot-on. Why not go for the gold with the super combo pizza? It is: mushrooms, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, onion, green peppers, black olives and extra cheese. What you’ll notice is the toppings are remarkably fresh and the crust manages to support everything, two feats worthy of praise. $18.50-$24.85.