Tavernetta, 1889 16th St., Denver, tavernettadenver.com
Boulder’s own Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson have been showing up on James Beard Award and other prestigious lists for their efforts at Frasca for years. But last year they opened their latest venture, Tavernetta, near Union Station in Denver, to bring their brand of food, wine and service — all inspired by the region around Fruili, Italy — to a broader swath of people in a more casual setting. We’re happy to report it’s excellent. All the hallmarks and details you’ve come to expect at Frasca show up at Tavernetta, but with a smaller price tag. We tried plenty of dishes — the pastas are out of this world — but the maiale Milanese was a good representation of Tavernetta’s mission: to elevate great, traditional Northern Italian dishes. Breaded Berkshire pork shoulder is pounded flat to make it tender, and given a flavorful, crispy coat. Lemon and capers bring it to life. $24.
Tiffin’s India Cafe, 2416 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, tiffinsindiacafe.com
Tiffin’s is another one of Boulder County’s strip mall gems. If you haven’t stopped by the shop in the Baseline and 28th Street complex, get in your car, or hop on the bus or your bike, and go right now. The food is dynamite. Take the samosa chat, for instance. It’s a simple dish that Tiffin’s makes otherworldly. It’s comprised of two samosas filled with curried potatoes, onions, green chili and cilantro, and smothered in a garbanzo bean and cilantro curry. It’s robust and powerfully spicy, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can scarf it all down. Fresh red onions on top provide crunch and acidity. $9.95.
Matcha Bubble Tea
A Cup of Peace, 3216 Arapahoe Ave., Unit B, Boulder, acupofpeace.com
Is there any drink more fun to consume than bubble tea? If there is, we don’t want to know about it because we’ll probably end up blowing all our money on it. A Cup of Peace serves a variety of Korean food, but it’s the bubble tea that brings us in the door most often. Its matcha variety is creamy and sweet above all, but there’s also just the right touch of earthiness and brine. The tapioca spheres are chewy fun. $5.
Proto’s Pizza, Four locations in Boulder County, protospizza.com
Neapolitan pizza pies are the name of the game at Proto’s Pizza, one of Boulder County’s oldest makers of the wood-fired classic. The pies have an ultra-thin crust, with the perfect amount of char. And the specialty pies build on that foundation, like the Roman. It’s mozzarella, tomato sauce, kalamata olives, capers and roasted red peppers. The olives and capers mellow out and turn a little citrusy in the oven, while the mozzarella brings creaminess, the tomatoes some acidity and the peppers sweetness. $20.