Nederland, Colorado is the ultimate winter wonderland, complete with a famous ski resort, ethnic cuisine for days and a frozen dead guy who is celebrated with an annual Frozen Dead Guy Days festival (huh?). I stayed in a Nederland cabin for a month, living out my remote work dreams while making snow angels in the afternoon and roasting marshmallows in our roaring fireplace in the evenings. As a Florida and Phoenix girl, this blast of icy air riddled my bones and went right through my ear drums — a cup of turmeric ginger tea was perpetually glued to my hands and nights were spent cocooned in a down feather comforter.

Luckily for me and my seven roommates, Nederland offered a surprising variety of warm, lip-smacking dishes from steaming Thai noodles to spicy lamb korma. For a sleepy ski town, Nederland had a diverse appetite and made home-cooking way less attractive in the face of dripping barbecue and carnitas tacos. See below for my top 10 restaurant and bar picks in Nederland (essentially all the food establishments in this village of 1,336 people) — and you never know, you might get a glimpse of the dead frozen grandpa!

1. New Moon Bakery & Café

Mackenzie Patel

This lunar bakery is the highlight of the Nederland town square. With celestial imagery and an inclusive menu, including vegan fruit breads and CBD-infused coffee, New Moon is the premier place for a quick snack after hitting Eldora slopes. I was feeling peckish one Saturday, so I ordered the Lorraine quiche and a decaf almond cappuccino with CBD oil (I know, how millennial of me). The quiche was oozing with cheese and wrapped in a brown, flaky crust. The bacon bits scattered throughout lent a delicate crunch while the quiche innards were fluffy yet still undeniably cheesy.

2. Kathmandu Restaurant

chicken, sauce, curry
Eunice Choi

Who would’ve thought a backwater ski town would have fine Nepalese and East Indian dining? This lovely restaurant tucked on East 1st street has a kaleidoscope of delicious Nepalese dishes. I talked with the restaurateur, a slim woman from the Himalaya Mountains who moved to Nederland because her sponsor lived here.

I’ve been here for 30 years,” she said, handing over our lamb korma and garlic-soaked paratha (bread similar to a chapati, roti or naan).

Kathmandu serves meals so authentic and flavor-blasting that your Indian auntie from the subcontinent could’ve cooked them. During my stay in Nederland, my roommates and I ordered a variety of specials from lamb vindaloo and chicken tikka masala to shrimp curry smothered in a spicy red chutney. Our favorite appetizer was the vegetable momos, the Indian version of Chinese dumplings (which makes sense, considering Nepal's proximity to China).

3. Ned’s Diner

Mackenzie Patel

Every modern hamlet includes a diner painted in garish, retro colors reminiscent of Grease or Lilo and Stitch. Nederland’s version is Ned’s, a “classic comfort food” haven for all those skiers ravenous after shredding down double black diamonds. My friend Rob ordered their flagship item, the W.C. burger, which was loaded with cream cheese, jalapenos and the usual American fixins all resting inside a toasted plain bagel. A few bites into this meat maverick and Rob said,

“I’m not sure how I feel about this.”

Okay, so Rob wasn’t the biggest fan of this New York style burger, but Ned’s has a boatload of other breakfast, lunch, appetizer and dinner items. They also have extensive outdoor seating and when we picked up Rob’s dinner, we noticed most guests were filling up on amber ales instead of garb.

4. Crosscut Pizza and Taphouse

Mackenzie Patel

Crosscut is famous for tossing the best pizza in Nederland, so we had to test out this small-town claim for ourselves. The chartreuse building is also located near a rustic trailhead and usually covered in layers of glittering, dreamy snow with the consistency of miso seasoning. My clan of foodies ordered a pizza smorgasbord: cheese with baby kale and mushrooms, frothy Hawaiian, NYC style and Margherita.

The pizza arrived in a haze of pineapple smells and bubbly crusts, the toppings melting into a vegetable symphony. The personal 12” pizzas were miniscule compared to the appetite they inspired in my eager tummy. I gulped down my homemade Hawaiian pie with a thin crust and dusting of red pepper flakes in a matter of minutes - my boyfriend and I were sharing the pizza, and we definitely should’ve ordered two...

5. Salto Coffee Works

Mackenzie Patel

Talk about a homey coffee shop, emanating precious bean fumes with a backdrop of wooden beams crisscrossing the ceiling. Salto Coffee is the beverage place for your average Colorado granolahead toting a pre-roll in their pocket and wearing Birkenstocks when it's above 30 degrees outside. Salto also shares legroom with Tin Shed, an outdoor bike and ski gear store.

I ordered two steaming cups of tea: basic chamomile with a hint of honey and Ella’s, a specialty blend of peppermint, lemon balm, rose petals and chamomile. I was celebrating my boyfriend's work promotion and desperately trying to warm my fingers, which were violet with cold.

6. The Train Cars Coffee and Yogurt Company

Mackenzie Patel

Nederland is a funky, eclectic town from their cabins to their music festivals celebrating frozen Norwegian grandpas - so it only makes sense a refurbished train car in the grocery store parking lot sells mini donuts, Sumatran coffee and $2 copies of The Mountain Ear, Nederland’s local paper. The café features a cozy, wooden interior with tables lining the train car and 1850s décor. Manifest destiny and mining run deep in Colorado!

My friends and I split a half dozen tray of mini donuts - not slimy donut holes but actual miniature donuts with a Polly Pocket-sized hole in the middle. We dressed up our donuts with powdered sugar, caramel, and milk chocolate with sprinkles. The dough was perfectly crisp on the outside and melted like snow in our mouths. The afternoon sunlight was pouring through the stained glass and we were feasting like saloon regulars.

7. Ubon Thai Cuisine

Mackenzie Patel

Nederland is branching out with their ethnic fare! Ubon Thai is a staple restaurant on Boulder Canyon Drive, the main artery that connects Nederland to Boulder. Since I have no self control, I ordered the combination appetizer (egg rolls, fried shrimp, chicken wings and crab rangoons), chicken panang curry and lemongrass stir fry with chicken. The curry was creamy beyond belief and the bell peppers were bathed in a heavenly brown glaze. My experience with Thai food is limited, but Nederland convinced me I need to visit Thailand ASAP and feast for days.

8. Busey Brews Smokehouse & Brewery

Mackenzie Patel

Finding high-quality brisket barbecue and mama’s cornbread was unexpected, to say the least, in this mountainous lumberjack town. My urge for barbecue only waltzes around once a year and Nederland caught me on a good day - Busey Brews is actually one of several BBQ joints in the area and boasts both a craft brewery and smokehouse. We tried their homebrewed Muleshoe Milk Stout (4.2% ABV) and destroyed their brisket BBQ platters, sliders, ribs, mac & cheese, cornbread and dinner salad.

Rob got the meat sweats and my belly swelled with the pearly mac & cheese, but it was worth it - we ended the evening with Ilana’s home-baked banana chocolate muffins and chocolate chip cookies which complimented the savory flavors from Busey Brews.

9. B&F Mountain Market

Mackenzie Patel

B&F is the neighborhood grocery store, but it was easily my most visited food establishment in Nederland. In addition to selling your regular Kroger or Publix foodstuffs, B&F also had an in-house burger counter and a colorful array of Sati CBD sodas. My friends and I sucked down carbonated energy berry, chill ginger and clarity lemon-lime, feeling ~vibey and granola all afternoon. The market is on the shores of a bubbling brook - usually frozen over during the winter - and a trail that winds around to the local playground. The prices weren’t unreasonable for a remote location (except for the fresh fruit prices, which were exorbitant). As my boyfriend described it,

“Small, has everything you need and there’s always snow on the floor from all the ski guys. Their avocados are so cheap!”

10. Tres Gringos

chili, tacos, beef, salsa
Becky Hughes

We ended Friday night with a cocktail of tacos, tequila shots, plantain ice cream sundaes and cerveza. Tres Gringo doesn’t have Al Pastor tacos on their menu (sus), but their vibrant atmosphere and easy ordering cushioned the $50 bill. The carne molida tacos were glorified ground beef with onions and the carnitas were stringy average, but the thick corn tortillas were authentically gritty. I was sucking down a Voodoo Ranger IPA and wincing as we watched Parasite to end the night. Tres Gringos is no Mission taqueria in San Francisco (I miss you Vallartas!), but it’s adequately tasty for Nederland.

Nederland isn’t your typical ski town - it’s got quirky lore, reservoirs that resemble the surface of Mars and a diverse restaurant scene that rivals most middle America cities. I was enchanted by the glittery snow and finally understood the appeal of real fireplaces. My palate was blessed with everything from green chutney on vegetable korma to bubbling CBD delights. I shopped for amethyst crystals in the center of town; my yoga poses mirrored the pine trees rustling outside the windows. The Frozen Dead Guy Days festival was canceled this year due to COVID-19 but I know I’ll return in the future, my belly full on drunken noodles and Bhakti chai.