If you’ve read and followed my blog for a while (in all its previous iterations), you know I write often about two things: being in Colorado and food, whether it’s dining out or cooking at home.  With more than a few posts, I’ve combined the two, mostly with top five lists from Denver...and a Christmas-themed one from last week.

Of course, writing about Denver is easy.  It’s one of the major metro areas in the country, and over the last few years it’s gained a more stellar culinary reputation.  Admittedly, I’ve only gone to the more dive-y places versus the latest trendy place.  That’s because RAS would much rather go to the dives and save a few bucks than head to the fancier establishments and keel over from the check at meal’s end.

An overhead view of wintery Golden, Colorado, from South Table Mountain

The best food in my hometown

But one thing I haven’t done yet is let you know about the best things to eat in my hometown of Golden, which is insider knowledge that I’ve cultivated over nearly 20 years.  And Golden itself is destination for visitors to Denver, as well as locals, so it’s important to know where to eat and get the most memorable meals.

Note: Most of these photos are not my own. My time schedule didn't allow for me to take them in time for this blog entry.  While I've tried nearly all of the dishes here, I've tried to illustrate these dishes with other photos taken from other photographers and give them due credit.

This may not be the purist's idea of poutine, but this Colorado version is pretty darn tasty (photo courtesy of u/Superbroom)

Colorado Poutine – Buffalo Rose

Alright, I know you purists (especially those from Canada and Quebec in particular) would blanch at the thought of having nothing but poutine with gravy, cheese curds and fries.  But this version only differs in the gravy.  It’s just a little spiced up with Pueblo green chile, which is a very Colorado thing to do.  Pair it with a cold draft beer or one of the Rose’s signature mixed drinks, and it makes for a fantastic mini-meal.

Irresistible comfort food, Nepalese-style: shyakpa (photo courtesy of the Gundruk)

Shyakpa – Sherpa House

This would easily be considered Nepalese comfort food, because it’s essentially a spiced hearty stew made with vegetables, beans and protein.  The most traditional is yak, and Sherpa House offers that option.  If you want something more conventional, choose chicken, lamb, combination or go vegetarian.  You’ll also get a side of puffy yet slightly crispy naan to dip and soak up that irresistible sauce.  I haven't tried this one, but several acquaintances have assured me this is one fantastic  meal.

Another great comfort food option - pollo borracho from El Dorado (photo courtesy of Coachella Valley Weekly)

Pollo Borracho – El Dorado Mexican Restaurant

With a name that translates to “drunk chicken,” that’s enough to be intriguing to some people.  The chicken is marinated in wine and likely tequila, but you won’t taste it too strongly.  El Dorado’s version also includes cheese, mushrooms, peppers, onions and spinach, so you can feel good you’re also getting your daily serving of veggies (sort of).  With rice and beans and a nice cold margarita and beer, it’s almost as good as being in a Mexican family’s own kitchen.

You can't forget dessert - but with beignets, you can pretty much eat them anytime

Beignets – Sassafras

I must confess…I have a weakness for fried dough anything.  That essentially means if you put a plate of sopapillas or fry bread, donuts, or empanadas in front of me, my willpower crumbles to nothing.  Sassafras, which is a Creole breakfast and brunch place on the banks of Clear Creek, just happens to serve the New Orleans fried treat that crisp on the outside, airy on the inside and dusted with the right amount of powdered sugar. They just happen to be irresistible, too.

The most popular pizza in Golden: Woody's honey BBQ chicken and bacon

Honey BBQ Chicken and Bacon Pizza and Beer Cheddar Soup – Woody’s

I have written about Woody’s before, which is probably just about everyone’s favorite pizza in Golden.  There’s actually another kind I almost included, but the chicken BBQ and bacon beat it out. I think the secret is in the sauce, created with Colorado honey and the right amount of smoky tanginess. And I would be extremely negligent if I didn’t include the indulgent beer cheddar soup, which is a comfort food must, especially on a cold wintery day.