The fires in Colorado reminded me that I needed to post the Boulder Food Marathon that I did last November. Although it skewed towards burgers it also covered some of the town’s favorites.
In total we walked 11 miles and hit 9 restaurants.
Our first stop was Rueben’s Burger Bistro. They have Kwak on tap, served in a glass in a wooden holder. There’s some discussion online as to whether you’re supposed to leave the glass in the holder when drinking or remove it. I held the wooden handle out of sheer laziness.
The Spoke burger was covered in onion rings, bleu cheese and bacon. It was as rich as the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush prospectors that stormed the city in the late 1850’s. (Learning is fun.)
We made a quick stop at a Colorado fast casual chain called Noodles & Company. We really stopped there because Colorado is where fast casual was born. Have you heard of a little unstoppable virus called Chipotle? They’re based in Denver. Forbes’ 2011 Most Promising Company, Smashburger? Denver as well. Noodles, Mad Greens, there are too many restaurants to count. They’re a response to Fast Food Nation and the obesity problem plaguing America. But does Noodle & Co’s 800 calorie Pad Thai with an entire day’s worth of sodium help? No. Does everyone feel better calling it Fast Casual instead of Fast Food? Yes. Marketing department 1, fat Americans 0. (Learning is scary.)
Next up was Illegal Pete’s. This drunken burrito and taco specialist (the patrons are drunk, not the burritos) serves up many meats and vegetables in small or large tortilla vessels.
We had a platter of tacos: chicken, shredded beef, steak and pork carnitas. Doesn’t compete with LA but served as another non-burger stop on the marathon.
Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery was the beer stop on the tour.
They have a fine selection including some nitrogenated beers. That’s beer brewed with nitrogen to allow a better mouthfeel and dense, creamy head… We sampled many, but this place deserves a full afternoon of drinking. Not just a stop on a marathon.
Next was a sub shop called Snarf’s. They make damn good sandwiches and probably will be my first stop when we return to Boulder this Christmas.
We split the artichoke, feta and provolone sub because we’re weak. We wanted to save room for more burgers and I’m getting too old to properly do food marathons. For a non-meat sandwich it was still excellent.
Larkburger was the next stop. This place falls back into the Fast Casual department but with truffle oil.
It’s definitely a good burger and their design/aesthetic is great. I look forward to watching their progress on FastCasual.com
Dark Horse’s burgers aren’t made with care, but they are made on a well-seasoned griddle. Years of alternatingly drunk/hungover/drunk cooks have slaved over this griddle flipping burgers.
Their deep fryers have had as many basket dunks as LeBron, yielding great onion rings.
Before our last burger we tried Ben and Jerry’s Schweddy Balls. Because we couldn’t not. No picture or review is necessary.
Pearl Street Pub provided an excellent burger finale. Bordering on rare and with enough salt to force two extra rounds of beers, Pearl Street makes a simple, solid bar burger.
For dessert, we got cookies from Boulder Baked. And because I’ve made it this whole post without making the easiest Boulder joke you can make, I’ll leave the mental state of their clientele to your imagination. (It’s all in the name). They bake your cookies to order, which is an exercise in patience that can only yield sweet rewards.
For a city supporting a college, Boulder has a lot of the food you’d expect students would like/can afford. This marathon proves that they’re a well-fed bunch.