In no particular order of life-enhancing delight:
The Milk + Cookies at DRAM Apothecary in Silver Plume. This is a place of alchemy and magic, and worth the drive as a destination visit from Denver or Boulder, or a stop to/from the mountains. Imagine this: a white porcelain plate, salad sized, with a freshly baked snickerdoodle cookie – almost the size of the plate itself. On the “side” – in a milk glass mug – this joyous concoction: Toasted pecan bourbon, hazelnut milk and nutmeg simple syrup. Pulling off generous pieces of cookie, and dipping them, is something I will now want to do on a regular basis.
The lobster ramen at Bones is my new steady boyfriend. Made with a beurre blanc broth, and gorgeous, generous chunks of lobster, I don’t want to date anyone else; I fell in love and reverie. It’s difficult to upstage lobster, and it is definitely a big player, but that broth. Perfected over time, no doubt, a flavor like that doesn’t just happen. With shelled edamame and green onion, along with the ramen noodles, it’s all you need in a bowl. And perhaps in life. Ok, let’s not go quite that far.
Lavender Wild Bloom Colorado Raw Honey
Made by a mother-daughter team, these two have a line of wholesome honey, I cannot get enough of. The flavor is so lovely and intense, a little goes a very long way.
The ham biscuits at Old Major. These things are major. Cheddar chive biscuits with house smoked ham and red pepper jam, they hit both sweet and savory notes. Available on their dinner and brunch menus.
La Medina Pomodoraccio Sun Semi-Dried Tomatoes
I had the pleasure of tasting these for the first time during a wine and cheese pairings class at Truffle Table – the outpost of Denver’s beloved Truffle Cheese Shop. I’ve always found sun dried tomatoes too intense in flavor and texture. These solve that problem beautifully. $18. for a 18.7 oz jar, they’re an investment you can dip into for all kinds of recipes and meals. And the infused oil is like liquid gold. A serious added bonus.
The Kale Salad at Oak at Fourteenth. This is like no salad you’ve ever had. Ribbons of kale, thin slices of red apple, togarashi, candied nuts. The lightest dressing and not overdressed, as sadly many salads are. An absolute must eat.
Sweety Drops. These are miniature tear-shaped peppers grown in the Highlands of Peru. Like no pepper you’ve ever tasted. Sweet, and a wonderful addition to tacos, pizza or anywhere else peppers belong in your life. Get them locally at Cheese Importers Warehouse on Main in Longmont. Or order through
The Sabroso sandwich at Spuntino. Roasted sweet potatoes [on a sandwich! yes!] on housemade focaccia, with Haystack Mountain goat cheese, caramelized onions and organic sprouts [opted out on these]. It’s like no other sandwich you’ve ever had, but somehow familiar and comforting too.
The S’more at The Bitter Bar in Boulder. Cinnamon sugar graham crackers with a toasted brown vanilla bean marshmallow and an oversized square of Agostoni chocolate from the Italian chocolatier. A s’more by its very nature is delicious, even with the cheapest ingredients you can find. But made with these high-quality ingredients, it gets taken to a level of s’more happiness you must experience.
The soup dumplings at ChoLon in Denver. A favorite soup of ours – French onion – miraculously and skillfully enclosed in a dumpling. What? I placed this morsel of delight into my mouth and the soft, but substantial outer texture gave way to a small river of soup. I’ve never had anything like it and the flavor combined with the packaging, is such a joy to eat.
The Rice Bowl on the lunch menu at TAG Raw Bar. A glorious layer of black sesame seed studded, cooked right rice [white or brown], topped with avocado, edamame, pea shoots, cucumber, string beans and protein [chicken or 3 kinds of fish, including ahi] with sweet and savory truffled soy.
Cavolini di Bruxelles at Panzano. Fried Brussels sprouts with apple cider reduction [making it more of a syrup than a vinegar], pistachios, rosemary salt and sliced green apple. Who knew Brussels sprouts could be so exciting and delicious?
The Mexican Chocolate Pancakes on the brunch menu [special Sundays only] at Comida Cantina in Longmont. Made with Oaxacan chocolate, topped with slivered almonds and chocolate pieces with a side of cinnamon chile butter and maple syrup – this dish alone is worth a Sunday drive to Longmont.
The chocolate truffle cake from all-natural, Indulge Bakery in Lafayette. Words cannot describe…
Jill’s at the St. Julien’s Bistro Tots
You’ve never had a tot like this. Lightly Crunchy outside, Pillowy-Soft inside + Truffle aioli = Amazement.
Chuao Chocolate (pronounced chew-WOW)
Especially the Spicy Maya chocolate bar. Chew WOW is right.
The caramel-ganache tart at SALT in Boulder. Sprinkled with flaky sea salt, this makes all the difference and a lot of sense at a place named SALT.
The black truffle sea salt, fine Himalayan sea salt, black garlic and dried Geranium flowers from Savory Spice Shop in Boulder. We especially like mixing the black truffle sea salt into butter to use on pasta or toasted bread.
Early Bird Granola from Brooklyn. The best granola we’ve ever had. Hands-down.
The bouillabaisse at Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder. In a word, yum.
The Black Muscat dessert wine – in a can! – from Infinite Monkey Theorem. A cool urban winery in Denver.
Anything at Fruition in Denver.
The 55% cocoa dark chocolate bar from Chocolove. It’s a reverie.