According to lore that has been passed down through the Lucio clan, one of the family progenitors was kidnapped from her native Chihuahua after Pancho Villa tasted her food and decided he needed her as his chef. That distant matron’s culinary wizardry trickled down the family tree and currently informs the cooking of her great-great-grandchildren at Armadillo Restaurants. Chefs at the restaurants use those generations-old recipes while gently patting cornhusks into place around meal and shredded pork or simmering red-chili sauce for enchiladas. Since the Lucios converted the first Armadillo Restaurant from a tough-guy bar into a restaurant in 1972, they’ve opened six additional locations in the Front Range.
Ever since Baskin-Robbins began its dessert fashion show in 1953, more than 1,000 original flavors have sauntered across the nation's tongue runways, 31 at a time. With the ice creamery's iconic pink sampling spoons as your guide, taste-test as many as you like until you find the flavor that gives your soul a back rub, whether it's a classic flavor such as rocky road single scoop ($2.39) or a seasonal serving of Love Potion #31—white chocolate and raspberry ice cream loaded with raspberry-filled chocolate hearts—and America's Birthday Cake. Otherwise, keep it simple and bury your face within the flavor of the month—a chocolate and Swiss chocolate blend, brimming with pieces of chocolate ganache cake and chocolate chunks. The ice alchemists at Baskin-Robbins can also transmute their ice cream and sherbet into drinkable desserts such as floats, freezes, and shakes ($3.99–$5.99).
Cold Stone's ice cream inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings, as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as granola and black licorice. Choose your favorite ice cream from among dozens of silky flavors, such as Irish cream and butter pecan. Then make certain no one will try and steal a taste by topping it protectively with brownies, gumballs, and cherry pie filling. Whatever Frankencream you create, it'll be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Cold Stone's ice cream and toppings vary between seasons and location, and they also offer sorbet and an array of lighter toppings such as fruit and honey. Ice-cream creations run between $4 and $6, depending on size.
Big Daddy Bagels' friendly staff mixes, boils, and bakes more than 15 New York–style bagels ($0.85 each) and concocts 17 cream cheese varietals ($2.35–$3.25) daily. The New Yorker piles on plain cream cheese, lox, capers, red onion, and tomato ($6.99), and the Boulderite Wrap houses black bean hummus, avocado, red onion, cucumber, tomato, and sprouts ($6.50) in a culinary inn. Freshly baked muffins ($1.75), cinnamon rolls ($2.25), and jumbo cookies ($1.75) support a cast of custom smoothies ($2.99), packed with a choice of two fruits, a juice, and optional protein powder ($.99). The chronically fatigued can boost brain waves or steam open envelopes at Big Daddy's full espresso bar, which serves an Americano ($1 for 12 oz.), cappuccino, ($2.25 for 12 oz.), and iced mocha ($3.25).
After spending years working for Dominos Pizza, Vince Schmuhl decided that he could do a better job of preparing and delivering quality pies to people's homes. He challenged the nationwide chain's dominance in the region by founding the first Blackjack Pizza on June 29, 1983.
Although delivering oven-fresh pies within 30 minutes was still a major goal for Schmuhl, he emphasized the importance of quality ingredients using sauce made from freshly packed tomatoes as well as hand-tossed dough that never sees the inside of a freezer or cryogenic chamber. This dedication to quality and speedy service allowed Blackjack Pizza to not only survive, but also thrive over the decades. The chain now includes more than 40 stores operating in four different states.
In addition to offering seven signature pies, Blackjack Pizza also allows customers to build their own order from crust to toppings. A choice of up to four savory, tangy, and piquant sauces form the base, topped with any of the 3 available cheeses, 7 meats, and 10 freshly diced vegetables. Regardless of the toppings, Blackjack Pizza respects the potential danger of food allergies by ensuring that none of its pies ever contain traces of MSG, peanuts, or peanut oil.
Much like its siblings Thai Kitchens 1 and 2, Thai Kitchen 3 can be identified by the distinctive aroma of sizzling garlic and fresh basil that wafts out through its door. In the kitchen, chefs fold fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables into savory curries, nutty noodle dishes, and fiery stir-fries. All meals are made by adhering to time-honored traditional Thai recipes, which favor spicy chili peppers, creamy coconut milk, and tangy ginger root. Servers bring plates of noodles and bowls of soup into the dining room, where guests await their meals as they sip on Thai iced coffee in cushy booths amid warm red and yellow walls. Other diners sit perched on tall red bar stools as they order a cocktail or demonstrate how many times they can twirl around in a circle without even getting dizzy.