Vegan Southern-Fried Chicken and Waffles
Native Foods Café, 1675 29th St., Boulder, nativefoods.com
We heard somewhere the fastest growing sector in the food industry today is fast casual vegan food. That’s great news. Luckily, we’ve had a go-to spot of that nature for a while in Native Foods Café. The creations here make you forget why you ever ate meat in the fist place. Take its Southern-fried chicken and waffles. Two sweet and herby waffles are paired with Native’s faux chicken, made of a blend of veggie proteins, and served alongside steamed kale, caramelized onions and a dynamite sriracha maple syrup. It tastes as indulgent as the “real” thing, but you feel a lot better about yourself after eating the whole tray. $11.50.
French Dip Slider
Brasserie Ten Ten, 1011 Walnut St., Boulder, www.brasserietenten.com
It’s no secret that Brasserie Ten Ten serves exquisite food; the French-inspired cuisine has won awards and accolades before. But its Happy Hour may be one of the best kept secrets in town. Served from 3-6:30 p.m., we could spend hours enjoying the wealth of dishes on the menu, while sipping on a slew of cocktails, wines and/or brews on tap, all without breaking the bank. The French dip slider came with a healthy portion of roast beef, melted, earthy Gruyère cheese, and the slightest hint of horseradish crème. The sesame-seed-topped brioche bun was perfectly toasted, and the au jus was plentiful. $3.95.
Bison Mussamun Curry
Aloy Thai Cuisine, 2720 Canyon Blvd., Boulder, aloythai.com
Aloy Thai has made a name for itself by serving exciting, unique Thai cuisine that we just can’t seem to get sick of. Aloy offers endless combinations of noodle dishes, wok fries, soups and fried rice concoctions. The curries, though, are something to behold. The mussamun curry welcomes you like a long lost friend, with a rich and creamy coconut base, potato, onion, red bell pepper and peanuts. The bison was our choice of meat, and Aloy gives you three hulking tips that fall apart into tender goodness with a little pressure. $19.
Blistered & Spiced Vegetables
Tupelo Honey, 1650 Wewatta St., Denver, tupelohoneycafe.com/location/denver/
Venturing outside of the South for the first time, Tupelo Honey brings its revival of classic Southern cuisine to Union Station in Denver. Straight from the Carolina mountains, the flavorful and soulful menu changes with the seasons and all of the food is responsibly sourced from local purveyors. The blistered & spiced vegetables are the perfect way to start a meal here. Okra, sugar snap peas and tri-color baby carrots are cooked but not overdone. Each bite has a nice crunch, as well as bite, sprinkled with the creole spices and served with a harissa yogurt dipping sauce. $8.