The heat has taken a toll on my appetite, rendering it both small and indecisive. But a recent dinner at Arugula Bar e Ristorante, Boulder chef Alec Schuler’s ode to modern Italian, was just the meal I was looking for. Two items, both seasonally inspired specials, made lasting impressions.

I began with Schuler’s Burrata, a creamy and rich, mozzarella-style cheese that I spread across grilled bread and topped with roasted tomato-caper vinaigrette. To follow, I ordered the strawberry salad (a dish that finds its way onto the menu every few weeks). The tangle of ripe berries, local lettuces, salty strips of prosciutto, and toasted hazelnuts tasted of summer distilled. Both dishes were satisfying because they were so simple and of the moment—something I always appreciate about Schuler’s cooking.

Tip: Both starters paired well with a chilled glass of Scarpetta Pinot Grigio.

2785 Iris Ave., Boulder, 303-443-5100