Now that the holidays have passed, we can breathe a sigh of relief at not having to taste another snowman shaped sugar cookie or stomach Aunt Martha’s famous fruitcake for another 12 months. In celebration of a new year, we surveyed our staff for some local hotspots that we haven’t previously profiled. Coming out on top were Il Pastaio, Zo Ma Ma and Taco Junky & Tequila Bar, who graciously hosted us for a sampling of their signature dishes.
Taco Junky & Tequila Bar
The Hill just got much spicier! Taco Junky & Tequila Bar specializes in, fittingly, gourmet style tacos and infused tequilas. Owned by Toula Georgakopoulos, Mike Caravello and Evey Caravello, this 9-month new cozy, modern marvel is contrastingly located adjacent to The Sink (Boulder’s oldest bar). A lively addition to The Hill, Taco Junky is not just for CU students. Offering daily specials and a Friday Flight Night, Taco Junky has all the makings for a true Boulder hotspot. We sampled the Pot-Toc, Bulgogi and Cayman tacos alongside a habanero-infused tequila margarita accompanied by upbeat tunes and an exuberant staff. 1149 13th St. TacoJunky.com
Situated somewhat surprisingly in a strip mall off Arapahoe Avenue just shy of the 29th Street Mall, Il Pastaio recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. An Italian joint with Costa Rican influence, Il Pastaio makes all pastas and sauces in house. Founders Giuseppe and Marta Oreamuno are as much of a staple as the pasta itself, eating meals at the restaurant almost daily. Mariano Oreamuno, second generation of the mom-and-pop founders, cites community as the driving force behind the success of Il Pastaio: “Over the years we’ve made so many friends that now have come to be family to us. It is our pleasure to share the old-world Italian staple of fresh pasta with Boulder.” 3075 Arapahoe Ave. IlPastaioBoulder.com
Zoe Ma Ma
A Boulder staple for un-Americanized Asian street-food sits cozily off Pearl Street’s West End. Zoe Ma Ma was opened by Edwin Zoe six years ago, and would not be possible without ‘ma ma.’ You read that right – THE Zoe Ma Ma (Edwin’s mother) is the inspiration behind Zoe’s organic dishes filled with Asian flavor and “real” ingredients. Potstickers, dumpling and noodle dishes galore grace the menu at both the Boulder and Denver Union Station locations. Perfect for a quick bite in between meetings or an afternoon catch-up, Zoe Ma Ma is a quintessential crowd pleaser. 2010 10th St. ZoeMaMa.com