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With fall just around the corner, I’m all too aware that the bountiful produce at Colorado’s farmers’ markets is short-lived. For that reason, I find myself madly cooking with purple eggplants, golden ears of corn, colorful carrots—all late-summer flavors and textures—in hopes that the memories will carry me through the winter. I have the same taste-the-season-to-its-fullest mission when I’m dining out. Which leads me to the vegetarian platter (pictured) at Boulder’s Arugula Bar & Ristorante.
In this abundant dish, chef-owner Alec Schuler champions the farm-fresh flavors I seek: Crisp, lightly dressed greens are tossed with olives, radish, cucumber, tomato, and zucchini. Haystack Mountain chèvre sits on top of the salad, ultimately brightening the creamy polenta, the seasoned sweet corn, the herbed eggplant, the quinoa with root vegetables, and the black beluga lentils with Romesco sauce. Lastly, salted nuts and vinegary house-pickled veggies add the ideal crunch and contrast in one of the metro area’s most interesting and varied vegetarian dishes.
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