Sarah and Sara – Besties in Boulder!

picture of Sarah and Sara

The Sara(h)s… about to show Boulder who’s boss…

Did somebody say Girls’ Weekend in Tropical Boulder? In March? Hells yeah. S&S are hitting the town, and I’m just sayin’… these are the places most loved by locals, so check ’em out. Have fun!

When money is no object

Black Cat
Frasca
L’Atelier
Pizzeria Locale

Most hoppin‘ & happenin’

The Med

For my favorite brunch

Brasserie Ten Ten

Vegetarian/vegan

Leaf

Best cocktails

Salt
Bitter Bar

Largest cocktails

Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace

Best sushi

Kasa Japanese Grill

Off Pearl Street, but not too far by cab or designated driver

Radda
Agave (happy hour in the upstairs bar from 7-10 p.m.)

All-day happy hour on Sunday

Aji Latin American Restaurant (food *and* drinks)

Boulder restaurant women seem to love most

Dushanbe Tea House

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

Fonseca 'bin 27' ruby porto, Taylor Fladgate 20-year tawny port, and Taylor Fladgate, 10-year tawny port... consumed right to left.

Fonseca ‘bin 27’ ruby porto, Taylor Fladgate 20-year tawny port, and Taylor Fladgate, 10-year tawny port… consumed right to left.

Who knew the best place to taste test port in Boulder was at a fish house? This isn’t the world’s best photo, but if you drink enough port, it won’t matter. Full review to come…

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Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

If you’re craving vegan or vegetarian fare, Leaf should definitely be one of your top choices for a romance-y dinner in Boulder.

portobello mushroom steak at Leaf in Boulder

Jedi Mind Trick from Leaf in Boulder: this looks like a giant steak, but it’s actually a portobello mushroom

I recommend starting with the Raw Wrap (rainbow chard, pea shoots, mixed sprouts, carrots, basil almond pâté, cashew “ricotta”) and following it up with the Vegetable Wellington (mushroom, onion, tomato, spinach & fontina in puff pastry, bordelaise, twice baked potato, sautéed greens, endive) entree. There’s a fair chance you won’t be able to finish the Wellington because it’s huge and awesome. The puff pastry and accompanying sauce are incredible.

It turns out it’s probably just as well you don’t finish the Wellington as Leaf features a prix fixe option where you choose three of one small plate, one salad, one entree, and one dessert. It’s a great deal for a boatload of high quality food.

Leaf vegan blueberry cheesecake

We inhaled the Leaf vegan blueberry cheesecake in less than 90 seconds.

As an aside, Leaf is owned by Aji Latin American Restaurant, which has one of the best happy hours deals in town on Sundays because it lasts for six hours – food and drink. Go get some.

Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant in Boulder

What Leaf has, Aji has, and vice versa

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BNI Boulder – get your happy hour on!

BNI Boulder group concensus on where to gather for happy hour

BNI Boulder group consensus on where to gather for happy hour

Everyone knows Boulder loves happy hour. Here are a few tried-and-true locales to consider for your monthly after-work gatherings. I’m not a happy hour expert yet, but God knows I’m practicing! Here’s the list…

Avery Brewing Company

This is obviously an easy one… Avery has long, high-top tables, $2-ish beer tasters, great pub food in “sharing” sizes – including pizza – and a friendly staff. It’s not the largest dining/sipping area, but that just makes networking easier. And you’ve gotta hand it to them for building a patio in an office park.

Bitter Bar

Cocktail artistry and creativity is not dead! Particularly not at the Bitter Bar on Walnut.
Hint: When a place serves a drink called That Green Drink, you don’t think about it – you just order it. Their food is certainly on the rich side, and that’s generally a good thing if you’re enjoying a Bitter Original Cocktail. Did I mention they serve S’mores? Another no-brainer on the ordering front…

Rueben’s Burger Bistro

I can think of at least six reasons to go to Rueben’s for happy hour:

45+ Belgian beers and microbrews on tap
– Premium cocktails, wine, and draft beer are half off from 3-6 p.m.
– Appetizers are half off from 3-6 p.m.
– Rueben’s has a large bar area with plenty of seats and standing room.
– It’s a block from Pearl Street.
– You can order jr.-size cheeseburgers for $1.25 each.

Brasserie Ten Ten

The Brasserie doesn’t boast the largest bar area in Boulder, but it makes up for its modest size with one of the best kitchens – and a French wine selection that would influence even those most ardent supporters of “freedom fries” to order a glass or two. You can happily stuff yourself on small-plate appetizers ranging from $1-5, and beer/wine/cocktails are around $3/each. Plus, they have a 17-inch TV in the bar!* Woo hoo!

*Yes, a 17-inch TV. That’s not a typo.

The Med

I love recommending the Med, and I hate recommending the Med. I love it because they appear to have the best happy hour of any Boulder restaurant. I hate recommending it because everyone knows this, and they all usually get there before I do. So… if you get to the Med by 4 p.m., you’ll probably have a great experience. If you get there at 5, you’ll still have a great experience, but you may have to wait an hour or more to enjoy that great time. Regardless, the Med should be at the top of your Boulder happy hour list.

Jill’s Restaurant and Bistro (at St. Julien)

I hate to get too geeky here, but allow me to describe Jill’s special dining room (which may technically be part of the St. Julien Hotel, to which it’s attached). It’s a circular area next to the bar with low lighting and a giant, circular (of course), wrap-around booth. I’m saying I dig the ambiance. I also dig the half-price appetizers. And yes, to answer your question: they serve tater tots. The tots are on the fancy side, but they’re still tots, and they rule. Happy hour food is half price from 4:30 – 6:00, and if you’re lucky, you might catch some Latin dance on the patio outside. Maybe not in March, but you never know.

Bistro Tots at Jill’s Restaurant in Boulder

Delectable Bistro Tots at Jill’s Restaurant in Boulder with truffle aioli & reggiano cheese. Tot Heaven.

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If this isn’t quite enough light reading, you can find more Boulder happy hour ideas here: Happy Hour Boulder.

Root Down

Full review coming soon!

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Centro Latin Kitchen and Refreshment Palace

Full review coming soon!

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Centro Boulder menu

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Frasca Food and Wine

 

Frasca cheese plate

I saved my cheese plate for dessert. It was amazing, and the folks at Frasca were good enough to roll me out on a forklift.

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Frasca Food and Wine menu

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Riffs Urban Fare

Riffs Brussels sprouts appetizer

Brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, brown butter + shallots at Riffs in Boulder

Riffs is giving The Med a solid run for Boulder’s best tapas. Try the macadamia Brussels sprouts and wash them down with the Firestone-Walker Union Jack IPA or the Unibroue Maudite. Look for Riffs right next to the Boulder Bookstore.

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Riffs Boulder menu

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Vesta Dipping Grill

Full review coming soon!

Vesta is certainly hip, but not so hip that you don’t feel comfortable eating there. I’m planning a warm Spring evening of dining at Vesta soon, so stay tuned!

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Vesta Grill menu

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Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House

Bacon Peanut Brittle appetizer at Lucky Pie in Louisville

Bacon Peanut Brittle appetizer / dessert / snack / teeth puller at Lucky Pie

Pizza margherita from Lucky Pie

Lucky Pie’s version of the pizza margherita with fresh basil

Lucky Pie IPA sampler

Lucky Pie IPA sampler – single, black, and imperial (Local two on the right: Odell Mountain Standard Double Black IPA and Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s)

Lucky Pie Colorado Stout sampler

Lucky Pie Colorado Stout sampler, L-R (Lefthand Nitro Milk Stout, Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide, and Avery Czar)

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AJI Latin American Restaurant

Full review coming soon, but here’s what you need to know for the moment:

– Aji has all-day happy hour every Sunday, which means $2 taquitos, cheap empanadas, and discounted ceviche (scallop, shrimp, or lobster) in addition to specials on beer, wine, cocktails, and five different kinds of mojitos. Go get it!

Also, the bartender’s name is Norm (although he looks like a more youthful, less-tanned George Hamilton). You now have zero reasons *not* to go there.

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The Med (The Mediterranean)

Insalata Caprese at the Med in Boulder

Insalata Caprese at the Med in Boulder – House-made mozzarella, cluster tomatoes, basil, black pepper, and Las Brisas olive oil

Hummus Trio at the Med in Boulder

Hummus Trio at the Med in Boulder – is this hummus or ice cream? Either way, it’s tasty and pairs well with beer.

Spiedo di Pollo at The Med in Boulder

Spiedo di Pollo – not *that* kind of Speedo – Grilled chicken, Calabrian dijon + pita bread

Bistecca Genovese at the Med in Boulder

Bistecca Genovese at the Med in Boulder – hanger steak, tomatoes + Black River bleu cheese

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