Black Diamond Restaurant and Tap House , 103 N. Public Road, Unit C, Lafayette, blackdiamondrestaurant.com
Black Diamond is becoming an increasingly popular spot for brunch in East County. Its menu of American staples honors the motif of the restaurant, which alludes to Colorado’s mining history. We could certainly imagine a hungry miner diving into the Paramount “DiGiacomo,” a five-ounce New York strip paired with chunky home fries and eggs cooked to your desire. The steak is seared to perfection, creating a smoky, peppery crust that envelopes the tender meat. Tack on a house bloody mary or mimosa during brunch hours and you’ll be ready to pick up your ax and dig for silver. $14.95.
Visualize Whirled Peas Toast
Huckleberry Coffee, 4301 Pecos St., Denver, huckleberryroasters.com
Artisanal toast made headlines back in 2014, as the San Francisco craze spread throughout the country. But perhaps unlike other fads, this one has stuck around. At Huckleberry, the sprawling toast menu provides a hearty alternative to the usual coffee shop bakery fare. In this iteration, hummus is heavily gooped on a thick piece of premium wheat toast. Shredded carrots and arugula sit atop, with a lemon tahini dressing that adds just a bit of tanginess to balance out the heat from sprinkled chili flakes. And it pairs surprisingly well with a hot cup of Huckleberry’s washed Kershe Inche Ethiopian blend. $7.50.
Chocolaterie Stam, 103 N. Public Road, Unit B, Lafayette, 303-800-8201
Our reaction upon entering Lafayette’s Chocolaterie Stam — oohs and aahs — is the same as everybody’s, we’re told. It’s at once an early 20th-century European parlor and an old-timey Western saloon. You half expect a dusty cowboy to be playing jazz piano and sipping a Stam latte. But the real eye-grabber is the long display of bonbons, chocolate candies and gelato. We tried a selection of five Stam chocolates: pistachio cream, Italian cherry, marzipan, amaretto and Champagne. Each were coated in a thick, welcoming layer of chocolate (most are offered in dark and milk chocolate). The marzipan and Italian cherry were big winners — the former tasting like nearly tart almond and possessing an airy, creamy texture; the latter punching with cherry sweetness. $1.95 each, or five or more by weight.
Le Frigo Sandwich
Le Frigo, 5360 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, lefrigoboulder.com
Le Frigo offers a variety of European grocery items — from mustards to jarred lobster stew to cookies — to complement their selection of meats, cheese and sandwiches. If you haven’t been yet, you’re going to have a tough time leaving without something in your hand. And if that something is Le Frigo’s eponymous sandwich, congratulations. What you’ll have is a classic, simple Parisian sandwich built on a sturdy-crusted, chewy-fleshed and olive-oil-scented baguette. Inside is a layer of sweet butter, choice of meat (Paris ham, saucisson, prosciutto, mortdalleo or rilletes) and tangy cornichons. It’s perfectly simple and simply perfect. $8.99.