These days, everyone and his brother and their sister are hopping on the low-carb bus, tossing the rice, the tortilla, the pasta, the pastry, the bread and the bun out the window. But Carl's Jr. gives you a little something to hold what's left of your meal -- and your dignity -- together. Its fast-food burger comes neatly wrapped in lettuce, so that you can still experience the carnivorous thrill of eating with your hands, not a fork. Hint: That fellow at the drive-thru next to you is probably Barry Fey.
Don't let the wedding cakes on display fool you: The Cream Puffery isn't just for special occasions. This bakery, bar and cafe has something to satisfy any sweet tooth, whether you're celebrating a marriage, a divorce decree or just the fact that it's Tuesday. Owner and pâtissire Amy DeWitt has forgotten more about baking and pastry and the hard science of whisks and convection than most people will ever know. Leaving her native Miami three years ago, she brought all of this accumulated knowledge to Boulder, where she and her Cuban-born partner, Lourdes Sanchez, opened the Cream Puffery and started turning out beautiful Key lime pies, rich dulce de leche cakes and the best ropa vieja money can buy. There's no place better for a little taste of Big Havana.
Baker Michael Bortz is the very devil that Atkins devotees see when they look over their shoulders. As they lie awake at night, dreaming of chewy sourdough and baguettes hot out of the oven, they hear Bortz's voice whispering, "Go ahead. What could one loaf hurt?" At Paradise Bakery, you walk right into the guts of a working kitchen and order your carbs directly from the guys who've been there since 4 a.m., turning the dough, nursing the starters and babysitting all those racks of warm, fresh goodness. Whether you're dropping in for a couple boules to go with dinner or sneaking in to load up on decadent black-cherry-chocolate miche, it's diet be damned in Paradise.
What makes Sunflower a winner? It's not only a vegetarian restaurant. Although chef Jon Pell has been immersed in the nuts-and-sprouts scene for more than a decade and his restaurant is known nationwide as a destination for itinerant veggie-heads, this bright, cozy cafe does its thing with no politics attached. And while Sunflower may be fawned over by every meatless, wheatless, smoothie-sucking, twig-and-berry devotee who's ever visited Boulder, this is not a vegetarian restaurant. It's a great goddamn regular restaurant that -- along with everything else it does with talent and dedication -- also serves wonderful vegetarian and full-on vegan fare. All of the food is fresh, not frozen; the produce is organic, the meats drug- and hormone-free. And that's all fine, but what matters most is that Sunflower's veggie cuisine is so good, you'll forget halfway through that it's supposed to be good for you, too.
Don't let the wedding cakes on display fool you: The Cream Puffery isn't just for special occasions. This bakery, bar and cafe has something to satisfy any sweet tooth, whether you're celebrating a marriage, a divorce decree or just the fact that it's Tuesday. Owner and ptissire Amy DeWitt has forgotten more about baking and pastry and the hard science of whisks and convection than most people will ever know. Leaving her native Miami three years ago, she brought all of this accumulated knowledge to Boulder, where she and her Cuban-born partner, Lourdes Sanchez, opened the Cream Puffery and started turning out beautiful Key lime pies, rich dulce de leche cakes and the best ropa vieja money can buy. There's no place better for a little taste of Big Havana.
The best way to treat the humble soybean is to leave it pretty much alone, and that's just what Moongate Asian Grill does with its edamame. The pods are steamed, lightly salted, then served hot, sans fuss. You can eat a whole bowl of these addictive little buggers -- nutty in flavor and green as nuclear beer nuts -- and know that you're filling up with one of nature's most perfect foods, packed with all those vitamins, nutrients, oils and good stuff that's so sadly lacking in our drive-thru, fast-food culture. So dig in.


Sunflower's kitchen can cook, there's no doubt about that. Almost everything this crew touches turns to pure culinary gold. So who would suspect a pastry to be the dish that truly shines? Sunflower does a dessert -- a fresh berry shortcake swimming in sweetened tofu cream, of all things -- that's so good it takes our breath away. The berries are fresh, the shortcake sweet and spongy -- and the tofu cream? A true treasure, even if tofu itself is a joke, made from curdled soy milk and therefore a food to be laughed at. It certainly has no business being turned into something this decadently delicious. But when we order the berry shortcake, we're so busy eating that we don't let a snicker escape our lips.
What makes Sunflower a winner? It's not only a vegetarian restaurant. Although chef Jon Pell has been immersed in the nuts-and-sprouts scene for more than a decade and his restaurant is known nationwide as a destination for itinerant veggie-heads, this bright, cozy cafe does its thing with no politics attached. And while Sunflower may be fawned over by every meatless, wheatless, smoothie-sucking, twig-and-berry devotee who's ever visited Boulder, this is not a vegetarian restaurant. It's a great goddamn regular restaurant that -- along with everything else it does with talent and dedication -- also serves wonderful vegetarian and full-on vegan fare. All of the food is fresh, not frozen; the produce is organic, the meats drug- and hormone-free. And that's all fine, but what matters most is that Sunflower's veggie cuisine is so good, you'll forget halfway through that it's supposed to be good for you, too.
On the outside, fresh, hot flatbread, crisp and golden and rich with clarified butter. On the inside, sweet caramelized onions and mashed potatoes, smooth and gently flavored like a warm breeze over the spice market. Sitting at a table at Kabul Kabob with a plain, white plate of bulanee kachalu before you, you can't help but think that this is not just the best starter in town, but the best starter ever. And you can't help but order more. The dish is so basic, so plain, so expertly handled and so delicious that you occasionally wonder if man could live on Afghan turnovers alone.
The best way to treat the humble soybean is to leave it pretty much alone, and that's just what Moongate Asian Grill does with its edamame. The pods are steamed, lightly salted, then served hot, sans fuss. You can eat a whole bowl of these addictive little buggers -- nutty in flavor and green as nuclear beer nuts -- and know that you're filling up with one of nature's most perfect foods, packed with all those vitamins, nutrients, oils and good stuff that's so sadly lacking in our drive-thru, fast-food culture. So dig in.

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