Unless you just crawled out of an actual cave, you’ve likely heard about the paleo diet craze. Everyone from celebrities to mommy bloggers to endurance athletes is embracing the high-protein, grain-free, dairy-less movement. Followers of the formula, which is often referred to as the Stone Age or caveman diet, shy away from legumes, grains, dairy products, and sugar and focus on pre-agrarian foods that were hunted or gathered by our prehistoric ancestors. That translates to items such as grass-fed beef, chicken, fish, vegetables, fruit, and tree nuts. Popularized by Colorado State University professor Loren Cordain, Ph.D., the diet promises weight loss, a lowered risk of heart disease, clearer skin, and improved athletic performance. Devotees rave about results, but dining out can be a challenge. However, a few savvy eateries (some of which are owned by paleo enthusiasts) have been showing up around town. The results are impressive.
Executive chef Jessica Emich describes the menu at her Boulder restaurant as “nutritionally inspired comfort food.” Emich doesn’t want her diners to feel deprived, so she focuses on making satisfying, flavorful dishes—for example, making pastas with gluten-free almond flour and swapping cauliflower mashers for traditional mashed potatoes. Droves of paleo fans will find elevated dishes such as crispy chicken confit with seared chard and crispy bacon; pan-seared ruby trout; vegan wild mushroom bisque; and sweet potato fries.
2027 13th St., Boulder, 303-449-0120, shineboulder.com
5280.com Exclusive: Find paleo-friendly recipes from Shine go to 5280.com/paleorecipes.
Jami Fynboh’s “Crack-a-roons”—cookies made of coconut flakes, cocoa, and maple syrup—might bring you through the door at Mmm…Coffee! on Santa Fe Drive, but you’ll stay for the rest of the menu. Fynboh and her husband, Derek, opened the paleo bistro last year, and the two serve a steady crowd hungry for “creamy” tomato chicken soup, granola, bacon-wrapped stuffed dates, and, of course, coffee. The Santa Fe Drive cafe has been so successful that the Fynbohs are in the process of securing a second location.
910 Santa Fe Drive, 720-881-1750, mmm-coffee.com
“Paleo on the go” is the best way to characterize the Caveman Cafeteria mobile trailer. The food stand’s daily tasting menu serves take-away Wagyu sliders, zucchini salads, and smoked chicken legs. With a mission of changing what’s on your plate, owner Will White and his team use only homemade and fresh ingredients, including clarified butter and veal bone stock. Monthly meal subscriptions and catering are also available. (Note: The trailer takes a winter hiatus, so check the website for details.)
On the mall, between 16th and Larimer streets, 855-281-1697, cavemancafeteria.com