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From the Hip Photo

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Date Night

We’re Crushing on Bellota and Sherry’s Soda Shoppe. Here’s Why.

Article by Allyson Reedy

Photography by Courtesy of the Restuarants

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

It’s possible that nothing can ignite a spark quite like pork that’s been rubbed with achiote, garlic, cumin and oregano, wrapped tightly in banana leaves and cooked overnight. Or maybe it’s the perfect chile relleno you need to find that loving feeling, lightly crisped with tempura batter and oozing with cotija and Chihuahua cheeses. If all else fails, there’s nothing more romantic than frozen cream and sugar; maybe in the form of a scoop of creamy pistachio ice cream or a boozy vanilla bean shake.

For date night, whether it’s a first fling or a longtime, slow-burn romance, you need food and drink that will inspire. Luckily for those in love (or aspiring to be), Boulder recently got two date night-worthy spots, Bellota and Sherry’s Soda Shoppe. Because the only thing better than eating some of the best regional Mexican food and old-school ice cream is eating it with someone you’d give up the last bite for.

Bellota opened in north Boulder in late June, and it’s been packing its sunny courtyard and bright dining room ever since. From the team behind Boulder’s already beloved Oak at Fourteenth and Corrida, plus the amazingly talented, James Beard semifinalist chef Manny Barella, there’s pretty much no way you can’t have a crush on this restaurant.

Manny, who was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, has also spent time in fine dining kitchens at Frasca and Denver’s Uchi, but Bellota is the culmination of those elevated skills and personal flavors. Take that chile relleno, a tempura battered poblano inspired by his time at Uchi to keep it crispy but light. Or the shrimp taco, where Manny uses techniques learned at Frasca to achieve crustacean perfection in the form of griddled shrimp butter-brushed tortillas stuffed with shrimp, cheese and tomato crema.

But it’s that cochinita pibil, marinated for up to two days before slow cooking overnight, that really inspires passion. Find the pitch-perfect pork in tacos and tortas, and its braising liquid—because you don’t want to waste a drop of that juice—in the red potato appetizer. The bowl of taters is coated in the pibil jus, then topped with cotija and onions.

Keep the charm going by heading to Sherry’s Soda Shoppe, a 1950s-style ice cream parlor that scoops amazing homemade ice cream in flavors like pistachio and strawberry golden Oreo, as well as serving hard-to-find specialty drinks like egg creams and brown cows. The retro soda fountain is from the Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen team, and the same care that has made them Colorado’s favorite bagel is poured into all of the frozen treats.

The original Sherry’s is in Five Points, but the sequel location is on The Hill, and you’ll find sparks flying between high school sweethearts both new and old while waiting in line for the ice cream floats and sundaes. It’s the perfect place to close out date night—or, if you’re lucky, maybe it continues.

Bellota: 4580 Broadway; BoulderBellota.com

Sherry’s Soda Shoppe: 1087 13th St.; SherrysSodaShoppe.com

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