In the tradition of authentic Thai cooking, the chefs at Sri Thai blend sweet, spicy, and sour flavors in careful proportions to bring out the essence of each dish—efforts not overlooked by food reviewer Kristin Mastre of Feasting Fort Collins, who awarded it four out of four stars. Both the lunch and dinner menus wax lengthy, listing curries with coconut milk and peanuts as well as fried rice and noodle dishes. A vast selection of dishes is also available gluten-free or vegetarian, and the entire menu is MSG-free, a particular boon to vowel appreciators.
Named after the famed surfing destination in Australia, Bondi Beach Bar brings the laid-back atmosphere and casual fare of Down Under to Fort Collins. Chefs fire up the grill to prepare shrimp, scallops, and fish fillets, spearing them on skewers or serving them alongside a dunk-worthy side of sweet chili sauce. You can pair the menu’s surf and turf offerings with local microbrews from New Belgium and Equinox or refreshing glasses of Australian wine.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a can of vegetables, a bag of sliced bread, or a box of instant cake mix in The Backporch Cafe kitchen. The chefs are wary of the premade foods, bottled sauces, and magic beans found in grocery stores, preferring to whip up all their dishes from scratch. So they bake fresh apple pies, bran raisin muffins, and buttermilk biscuits each morning, along with from-scratch loaves of rye, wheat, and cheddar sourdough bread. As a yawning breakfast crowd begins to wander in, the chefs turn their attention to three-egg omelets, chorizo burritos, and lightly grilled french toast. Come lunchtime, they’ll layer housemade bread with house-smoked chicken, turkey, and ham before plating the sandwiches alongside handfuls of fries and scoops of potato salad.
Complementing all of this homestyle cooking is a beverage list that includes coffee, juice, bloody marys, screwdrivers, and Manmosas—orange juice mixed with Easy Street wheat beer from the nearby Odell Brewing Company. When the weather's nice, diners can lounge beneath magenta umbrellas on the patio.
The sandwich artists at Silver Mine Subs take a no grilling or frying approach to designing bread-bound eats, putting the spotlight on fresh, crisp ingredients. Browse the menu in search of the Steam Engine, a warm hoagie stuffed with meatballs, marinara sauce, and provolone (5", $4.19), or the turkey-and-avocado-packed Caribou (8", $5.79). For a more flavorful punch than a chocolate-dipped boxing glove, patrons can aggravate the Mother Lode's layers of roast beef, turkey, ham, and salami (11", $9.79). Complement subs with a piping-hot cup of broccoli-cheese soup ($2.99) or a garden salad sprinkled with fat-free ranch dressing ($3.99).
Mary's Mountain Cookies traces its origins to the kitchens of Cherokee Park Dude Ranch, where head chef Mary whipped up three square meals a day for hungry guests and packed her popular homemade cookies in their horses' saddlebags. The "mountain-style" treats were sturdy enough to remain in one piece during horseback-riding trips, but soft enough to maintain an irresistibly chewy texture. Guests never failed to request the recipe, coworkers raved over the sweets, and horses raided the freezers for leftovers overnight—all persuading Mary to set out and start selling homemade cookies on her own.
Today, loyal customers enjoy over 100 varieties of quarter-pound mountain cookies, from the classic chocolate chip, to sugar-dusted snickerdoodles and salty-sweet peanut butter. Shoppers with cravings for more substantial treats can stock up on cream-cheese brownies, 12-inch cookie cakes, and frosting-filled cookie sandwiches.