Alexandra used to dole out advice on local brews and bar deals in the Colorado Daily. She has since set out for Asia — and shares those experiences every other Tuesday in her column The China Monologues.
Wanted: College students who, despite single digits in their bank statements, cling to hopes of jet-setting the moment the tassel flips. Those with walls covered in world maps and drunken selfies. Whose passports and gym cards are gathering dust next to textbooks and empty bottles of 5-Hour Energy.
We have here a solution to your financially strapped travel goals.
We know university life is about as glamorous as a five-star restaurant's dumpster, a depleted bank account as inspiring as a cold shower. So we have a plan, for your palates at least, that can help satisfy that travel bug of yours. Wanderlust sated by foreign flavors that soak the tongue and shock even the most sturdy colons.
Allow us to introduce the international feast that is Boulder's dining scene.
Never fear, McDonalds will still be there. Trust us, there really is a Starbucks on every corner ... everywhere. (We've done the leg work.) But if you dare, take a chance on menus more diverse than super-sized grease traps.
It's as simple as walking out your door.
With a quick flick of the chopsticks, you're chomping on steamed buns as filling as they are in Asia. Fresh noodles slither through ground pork and strips of vegetables. Tofu and shitake mushrooms embrace in the tight hug of a well-packed dumpling. You may not chase it with China's infamous baijiu, but that's probably for the best. A cold glass of green tea will do just fine.
Your tongue may stumble over saying "kik alecha" but will soon be swirling that Ethiopian split-pea stew with delight. Or perhaps it's in shock from jhasa shaptak — Tibetan chili chicken that's been fraternizing with spicy tomato, onions, peppers and a side of tingmo. Just the smell of an Indian specialty like shrimp vindaloo is likely to knock you on your ass, soothed only by the smooth stylings of a mango lassi.
You'll be swimming in seaside flavors with a heaping bowl of paella, imagining Spanish shores with every bite of carnaroli saffron rice. Drift further south with every bite of orange-coriander braised lamb shank. The Mediterranean will be breezing through as tabbouleh and tzatziki slip from your spoon.
To those still unsure — "But what about my strict dietary needs?" — we assure you Boulder's culinary craftsmen are eager to help. From gluten-free pizza crusts to meat-free restaurants, there's no reason you shouldn't prance, equally stuffed and satisfied, with the rest of those slurping up all the city's dining scene has to offer.
In lieu of plane tickets and guide books, we hope you'll set out for these international dishes. Never fear: Distant shores and exotic lands will be there when your wallets allow. And by the time you arrive, you'll know just how to order.