Archive for the ‘colorado springs co’ Tag

Midday Repast   Leave a comment

margchickensalad

It’s been a while since I’ve written about dinner The Margarita at Pine Creek, one of my all-time favorite restaurants. Recently, I was there for lunch, when the choices are fewer and lighter, just right for a summer day. (Dinners are served as three or five course options.) Some things such as service, ambiance and the food are remarkable no matter when you’re there.

A good friend suggested it as the place to celebrate my birthday. He is an accomplished chef and connoisseur of fine foods. I am always happy to dine with him, not just for his good company, but also to get his take on the cuisine.

 

The lunch menu is strong on salads, with a few other selections, but I was immediately drawn to the Sesame Chicken Salad. My host was torn between that and the Duck Confit Salad, so he asked to substitute the duck for the chicken. Even though I was very pleased with my choice, I almost wish I had done the same.

A small loaf of fresh whole wheat bread with a ramekin of pimento cheese arrived at the table. Pimento-spimento you might say. Go ahead because then I could have the creamy, slightly tangy red-flecked spread all to myself.

The salads were large and overloaded with ingredients to augment the greens and roasted chicken/duck confit: fresh vegetables and a lightly-flavored sesame dressing.

margcoffecake
A pecan crumb topping coffee cake was served as dessert. Although it was very good, it’s better suited to breakfast or brunch, something I’ll look forward to.

The Margarita at Pine Creek
Four-and-a-half Plates
7350 Pine Creek Rd.
Colorado Springs, CO

Ugly Food But Great Personality   1 comment

curry

The food at The Curry Leaf Restaurant, says a friend, is the ugliest she’s ever seen. That is no exaggeration. However, she quickly adds that it’s delicious; she’s right on both counts.

Also, the restaurant smells great, although the owner said she can no longer detect it. In fact, the pungent aroma of curry, the blend of multiple spices, welcomes diners; those same flavors of cumin, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and at least a dozen others, along with coconut milk, provide the distinct dishes, typical of Sri Lanka served at The Curry Leaf.

Two in our group ordered the Chicken Curry, identified on the menu as the House Special. This prompted our server to ask if anyone was going to try the Dahl, cooked lentils in a coconut milk and curry sauce. We did – along with the Eggplant Curry, which I think is the real house specialty. I’ve never had anything like it: tender pieces of eggplant that taste as if they’ve been stewed in the creamy coconut milk sauce, but in fact were fried first. It was a combination of savory and slightly sweet flavors. We also tried the Coconut Sambol, a salad, which must be an acquired taste. The texture of freshly grated coconut, chile and curry spices was interesting, but not something I’d have again.

The Curry Leaf has been part of the dining scene in Colorado Springs for several years in a small, out of the way location. Since moving in January, its new digs are much larger and easier to find: downtown.

Four Plates
The Curry Leaf Restaurant
321 N. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Potential for Going South   Leave a comment

southsigntwo
The occasion can just as easily make a dining establishment enjoyable as the food and service can detract. A friend’s recent birthday celebration drew us to 2 South Wine Bar, a fun place to dine but not without some shortcomings. Interestingly, the evening was also our server’s birthday, which he didn’t seem to mind spending serving others, although he wasn’t necessarily exemplary.

One of the most impressive things about 2 South is its wine menu. Once we selected a bottle, it took a while before it arrived at our table. Another long period of time passed before our food order was taken, and in keeping with the delay theme, our entrees were a long time coming. Fortunately, the wait was overshadowed by good conversation.

Southpasta

I must say though, I was completely happy with my order of pasta with Oxtail Bolognese served with pomodoro, basil and baked parmesan chips. The menu identified the pasta as vermicelli, but it was actually a thicker variety. It was beautifully plated, perfectly seasoned but small in quantity. Two friends ordered the Macaroni and Cheese, which has become the comfort food of choice on many menus. While it was tasty, it didn’t stand out and I tried not to be too smug about my not-filling plate of upscale spaghetti.

Since this was a birthday celebration we had to order dessert. We shared S’mores: toasted vanilla bean marshmallow, chocolate, and crushed graham cracker; and the Cardinal, a chocolate raspberry confection. Neither stood out, and we forgot to even sing.

We enjoyed ourselves, but may not be so forgiving next time.

2 South Wine Bar

Three Plates

2 S. 25th Street

Colorado Springs, CO

A Dive By Any Other Name   Leave a comment

Having an open mind and an empty belly are important when dining. I admit I struggled with the former when my family wanted to have breakfast at The Dive. They loved it; I was less enamored. I couldn’t tell how much of my reaction had to do with the name or if I let some minor problems overshadow the meal.

When five of us order and only three get our food at the same time, I take issue. And, toast should be toasted, not simply dry bread. That was the downside – mostly.

divebacon

I confess that, once it arrived, I enjoyed my vegetarian omelet. The onions, green peppers and mushrooms had been sautéed before being added to the eggs. Along with fresh tomatoes, this extra step made for a very flavorful dish. My husband and two of our sons ordered traditional scrambled eggs and bacon – along with the marginally toasted bread. They were pleased with the plentiful serving sizes.

diveomelet

The Dive is open 24 hours and serves breakfast and burgers all day/all night. With this in mind, my youngest son opted for a burger. His nod to the time of day was to have it topped with an egg. His French fries were better than my too-crispy, somewhat oily hash browns.

diveburger

For most of the meal the only other female in the joint besides me was the server. Maybe men don’t care what a place is called as long as the food is good. Maybe I should try to follow their lead.

The Dive
Three Plates
3040 W. Pikes Peak Ave
Colorado Springs, CO

Bon Appetit   Leave a comment

I was in the mood for something special – most likely inspired by the biography of Julia Child I’m reading. Whatever the reason, we landed at La Baguette French Bistro. I’ve written before about La Baguette, known for its French Onion Soup and crusty bread, but the Bistro, while sharing a similar name, is a different family altogether.

This comfortable, unpretentious restaurant has an impressive dinner menu. Yes, French Onion Soup is an available starter, but we opted to begin with the Tomate, Avocado, Mozzarella Salate. It’s an upgraded version of a Caprese Salad; thanks not only to the addition of the avocado, but also the orange-infused olive oil.

The evening special was Salmon Tips in a cream sauce served over quinoa with green beans almondine, which my husband ordered. It’s hard to go wrong with a cream sauce on anything, and the salmon was no disappointment. However, this was one meal where I did not suffer from entrée envy. I was unabashedly smug with my choice of Veal a la Normandie topped with a cream sauce made with applejack brandy, mushrooms and apples. The apples added just the right amount of texture to balance the earthy flavor of the mushrooms. This was a lick-your-plate-clean meal.

An inordinate amount of attention has been paid to the décor with a French village motif. Lighting is dim, the service considerate, but the owners really need to say au revoir to the canned classic rock and roll music coming through the speakers.

La Baguette French Bistro
Four Plates
4440 N. Chestnut St.
Colorado Springs, CO

A Residence of Flavors   2 comments

A simple, colorful sign on the white clapboard siding indicates Shuga’s is not a residential house. Nonetheless, it’s home to good food and comfort. Celebrating a friend’s birthday, we enjoyed a long, better-than-average lunch outside (a few tables are at the entrance, and a larger patio is in back).

The Brazilian Coconut Shrimp Soup is Shuga’s signature dish. It’s available by the bowl or cup. I wish it were sold by the potful. We each ordered soup with two bruschetta. We both had the fresh tomato and mozzarella, but took different directions with the second. She had the tomato, bacon and goat cheese, and I had smoked salmon.

The range of flavors was like sibling rivalry, each vying to top the other. Parents aren’t supposed to play favorites, but as a diner it was easy to choose: the soup. Plump shrimp, a hit of jalapeno spiciness offset by the rich, smooth coconut milk and the suggestion of peanuts completed the bisque. As my friend said, “It’s a series of flavors.”

Thick slices of hard-crusted bread were the base of the bruschetta. One was slathered with aioli then topped with a generous serving of smoked salmon, capers and red onions. The other was a version of Caprese with olive oil, substantial slices of salty cheese and taste-of-summer tomatoes topped with fresh basil. The soup may have overshadowed, but these sides were not family embarrassments.

It’s been years since I was last at Shuga’s. I won’t make the mistake of waiting so long to return.

Shuga’s
Four-and-a-half Plates
702 S. Cascade Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO.

A Personal Favorite   1 comment

Full disclosure: The Margarita at Pine Creek is among my favorite
restaurants. It’s been around since the mid-1970s; I’ve been a fan
many of those years. My love affair is based on exceptional service,
and its approach to seasonal foods (way before it was trendy or the
norm). It’s my special-occasion place; but every now and then, my
husband and I go for the simple, hokey reason it’s a nice place to
enjoy each other’s company.

Many of the servers have long been part of the dining room. The
commitment to unique spins on traditional plates has been constant.
Several years ago, a printed menu and the choice of a three-course
meal, down from the usual five courses, were introduced. Diners can
choose from three of the five courses: appetizer, salad, soup, entrée
and dessert – or all. Each course has two or more items to select
from, and the warm bread is always a treat.

I began with calamari and shrimp in a roasted-tomato bouillabaisse.
Tender pieces of seafood bathed in rich tomato sauce featured bits
of tangy green olives. The parmesan-dressed salad was above-average,
but our server brought the vegetable bisque to sample. After sharing
a bowl, my husband and I were disappointed we hadn’t ordered it. My
Colorado Sea Bass was melt-in-your-mouth tender, topped with chorizo
butter, over jasmine rice and spinach.

Apologizing for the small portion of tiramisu, our server brought an-
other for us to take home. I’m sure we’ll fight over it in the morning.

Five Plates
The Margarita at Pine Creek
7350 Pine Creek
Colorado Springs, CO

Posted February 5, 2012 by bluepagespecial in Restaurants, Reviews

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