Need a variety of recs in Colorado, very last minute....
Hi chowhounders, a chower from Philly needs some help. I am attending a conference (very last minute) in Boulder next week, but I will be in Denver and Colorado Springs area beforehand. All in all I will be in Colorado for a week and while I am very excited about this, I HATE not having food plans before a trip. I trolled the boards for a while and have some good eats listed, but I would love to see what else I can jar loose. I don't need lengthy descriptions if you don't have the time, just restaurant names (and relative locations) so I have somewhere to focus my Yelp efforts. Long descriptions are of course appreciated if you have the time..... :)
Anyway - I love all food (really), but I like to eat regional specialties when I am visiting places. I know Colorado has good mexican, but what is the game meat situation like? What are good vegetarian, locally sourced options? I'd imagine that there are a lot of red meat fanatics and a lot of earthy folk (and any combination of the two) there, so where do these types make the best food? If I have overlooked a strong niche, please let me knwo that too...Philly is notably weak on Thai, so if there are any great Thai joints in that part of the world, can you please pass it along too?
Also - this trip comes at a bad time for me in one way, my 9-ball amateur pool team is playing in a fairly large tournament the weekend I come back from CO. While I am in Boulder, I would love to stay sharp. Any good bars with good food, good beer and a pool table in town (where the locals won't mind a girl beatin them ;) )? I will have a rental car, but it would be better for sobriety's sake if I could just walk there (or is a short cab ride away). I will be staying on the north side of UC Boulder's campus.
Thank you all for your help!!! If you ever come to Philly, hit us up!
Downtown bars that have pool tables are the Foundry, the Sundowner, the Walrus, and the Attic (there may be more but these jump to mind). I don't go to the first 3 very often if ever (though the Foundry has a great rooftop bar and the Sundowner is a classic divey bar), but the Attic is low key and also has good bar food. The Lazy Dog may also have a couple of tables, it's a sports bar with bar food. All of these are downtown so should be walkable from your location.
For "regional", I'd go with Zolo Grill, an upscale southwestern place. As for vegetarian and locally sourced, lots of places in Boulder fit the bill, do you have a limit on price? The Sunflower has a lot of veggie options, Leaf is all veggie, but almost any restaurant in Boulder will have a number of veggie options (except perhaps the bbq place ;-). There is no great Thai food in Boulder, I doubt if it is any better than Philly. There are some decent places, Khow Thai is probably very close to where you are staying (it's just north of CU on Broadway), give that a shot.
Other good and fairly reasonable restaurants are Chez Thuy (Vietnamese/Asian), The Med, the Corner Bar, but there are plenty of others too.
Everyone's taste buds are different, and perhaps my visits were just off days, but I found the food at Khow Thai to be so sweet that it was inedible. The place was packed, though. So far, I've found edible Thai (elsewhere) in Colorado, but I haven't yet found a place I would recommend.
I do enjoy Chez Thuy. And am a big fan of Pupusas, in north Boulder.
re: miss louella
I am actually not a huge fan of Khow Thai either, though I would not say that my experiences included the words "inedible", ouch! Nevertheless, it does seem to win best of Boulder repeatedly and is probably very close to where mazza3 is staying, so I mentioned it because it may be worth a try for her.
I have been to US Thai once and while it was definitely better than Khow Thai, and probably one of the best around here, I wouldn't call it great either. But then, I once lived in Seattle where the number of great Thai places is off the charts, so I'm somewhat harsh on local places.
Ouch is right... and yes, the best of Boulder is what drew me in... but the two times I tried Khow Thai, the Pad Kee Mao was almost syrupy sweet. I have the urge to brush my teeth just thinking about it. So mazza3, if you try it, I'd avoid the pad kee mao.
I hail from the SF bay area, so I too have been spoiled in terms of Thai food, but I'm still gonna give US Thai a try. I'm heading back to CA for a visit soon and perhaps US Thai will make it so my Thai hankerings aren't so demanding that I crave Thai for breakfast lunch AND dinner. (perhaps)
I wonder why I can more easily tolerate mediocre Chinese than I can mediocre Thai? Maybe because I was raised with mediocre to crummy Chinese food and I never tasted Thai until my tastebuds (and my deep appreciation for really good food) had already been developed? who knows.
Colorado Springs is a varitable food wasteland. But, La Baguette is great for lunch - great french onion soup. quiche, etc. Very french, but without the attitude. :-) if you are looking to go expensive, The Summit restaurant (expensive) or Penrose room (also expensive) are good. But, I really like the Golden Bee at the Broadmoor - pretty good pub food but the live piano player and group singing is hilarious. Not much for breakfast in the Springs - the Omelette parlour is pretty good, not outstanding, but tasty. You would have better foodie luck driving over to Manitou Springs....
In Denver, I LOVE Sushi Den. They fly their fish in every day and even Zagat's says it is some of the best sushi in the country. Good wine list too. But, if you want the local meat scene, people seem to love Elway's . I like the Fort (I know people will hate me for bringing it up since it is a little cliche) but it is an institution - great views, great buffalo and elk, and if you are a Bizarre Foods fan, you can always get Rocky Mountain Oysters there (yech!).
A couple of suggestions for Colorado Springs. For breakfast, try Smiley's, located downtown. Also for breakfast, if you like vegetarian fare, Adam's Mountain Cafe, in Manitou Springs. For game meats, the best (and only, that I really know of) is the Craftwood Inn, also in Manitou Springs. A very good place for lunch, located just a couple of doors down from Smiley's, is Flavors. Across the street from Flavors is Poor Richard's, a downtown Colorado Springs fixture since the mid-'70s. A great place to people watch (and this is the place for your 'earthy folks'). They feature thin-crust pizza, and a variety of other vegetarian and non-vegetarian lunch and dinner options. Two doors down from Poor Richard's is Rico's, a nice wine and beer bar (they also specialize in coffees and teas), with live, local music most evenings.
Good mexican can be found at Vallejo's, just east of the central downtown district (not quite walking distance). They don't have a liquor license, though. Also, The Loop, in Manitou Springs, is a great place to hang out. I can't speak, necessarily, to the authenticity of the food (it is good), but I can speak to the quality of the margaritas....
A fun place with a decently authentic atmosphere (for Colorado Springs) is Jack Quinn's Irish Pub, downtown. Live irish music most nights, good food and good beer.
If you want huge slabs of beef, check out The Famous (downtown). And a new thai place I just found is Na Rai (www.narai-thai.com), located northwest of downtown. The Pad Thai, and Yellow Curry were both very good.
Hope this helps. Have a great trip!
thank you all!!! everything sounds right up my alley. and a special thanks for the bars with pool table recs. :)