Archive for the ‘diners’ Tag

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.


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.


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.


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


Celebrating National (Cheese)burger Day   Leave a comment

National Cheeseburger Day was this week. The place for burgers, just good old fashioned burgers, is Cy’s Drive-In. It’s an anachronism. Not just because of the carhops, Formica tables, and Elvis and James Dean posters; it’s the food, especially the messy burgers and thick shakes. Cy’s has been serving traditional drive-in fare since 1953.

The menu board features variations on burgers and includes a few items requiring explanation like Texas Toothpicks. Green chile and grill sandwiches such as BLTs and Pork Tenderloin add variety, but the burgers are the way to go. With or without cheese, the “top of the line” beef patties are juicy and substantial; lettuce, tomato and onion, with mustard and catsup, on a standard bun round out the flavors.The fries are just okay. In fact, they’re weakest part of the menu. The shakes, on the otherhand, truly stand out and are made with fruit and whole milk. Bits of bananas, cherries or strawberries clog the straws, so it’s helpful to have a tall spoon ready to scoop out the thick, rich goodness. A variety of other fountain treats includes sundaes, cones and floats.

The dining area is often full, but picnic tables line the exterior, and there’s always that carhop service that started almost 60 years ago. Overall, the simple food’s pretty tasty, which is no small feat for take-out, dine-in or eating in the car. By the way, those Texas Toothpicks are deep-fried thin strips of onions and jalapenos served with Ranch dressing on the side. Who knew?

Cy’s Drive-In Restaurant
Three-and-a-half Plates
1833 W. Unitah St.
Colorado Springs, CO

More Than Five Cents   Leave a comment

The Nickel Diner in downtown Los Angeles is a trendy throwback in more
ways than one. First, its location is marginally sketchy. That’s because it’s sand-
wiched between blocks of ornate historic buildings on which sophisticated rest-
aurants, shops and lofts have taken up residence. Meanwhile, next door to the
diner are facilities for the homeless. Then there’s the food which is true diner fare
with a fun, contemporary twist: maple glazed donuts covered with bacon; home-
made Pop Tarts; scrambled eggs with Fontina cheese, for example.

In true diner fashion, breakfast is served  nearly all day. Even though the mac and
cheese sounded appealing, as did a BLT with  avocado on sourdough, I settled on
one of the egg scrambles: Italian sausage, roasted red peppers and parmesan mix-
ed with what seemed like half a dozen eggs. Creamy, but scrambled hard, the eggs
absorbed the rich flavors of everything else. Most diners offer a choice of sides, at
the Nickel there’s a healthy option of sliced, fresh tomatoes or the less nutritious
home fries. I said tomato, my friend said potato, and both were great. The bacon
donut was a treat; I don’t have to be healthy about everything.

I’ve been to the Nickel twice, and have been fortunate enough to be seated right
away. There have been other times, when driving by, I’ve seen wannabe-diners
outnumbering those needing the services for the indigent. I think it’s worth taking
a chance of snagging a table and mingling with the crowd — inside or out.

The Nickel Diner
Four Plates
524 S. Main St.
Los Angeles

Long Live the King   2 comments

I ordered a quarter portion of The Thing and still couldn’t finish everything on the
plate. Don’t worry, the name isn’t reflective of the unknown. It’s one of several over-
abundant menu items at King’s Chef Diner. The Thing is constructed on a base of
Texas Toast, which I pretty much ignored, covered in a mound of the yin and yang
creamy/crunchy hash browns. Scrambled eggs, bacon, green chile and cheese com-
plete the hodgepodge. The quarter portion did an impressive job of concealing the
dish, but I knew it was there somewhere.

It’s important to know a few things about King’s Chef Diner. First, the green chili:
if this doesn’t make your eyes water like you’re watching a Hallmark card commercial,
nothing will. Of course, the chili is far edgier than it is sentimental. If the servers sus-
pect you are ordering the green chili for the first time, they’ll suggest getting it on the
side rather than having it doused over your breakfast. Be forewarned. It’s also import-
ant to know that most of the entrees, from the Breakfast Burrito to The Grump, a var-
iation of The Thing but smothered in gravy, are Extra Extra Large in size. Some half
and quarter options are available, but even those test the limits of the common appetite.

If by chance everything on the plate is consumed, servers come by to acknowledge your
admittance to The Clean Plate Club. It earns a sticker boasting of the accomplishment,
although a bulging belly does the same thing.

Four Plates
King’s Chef Diner
131 E. Bijou St.
Colorado Springs, CO
Cash Only
Open “7 a.m. to 4 p.m.-ish Everyday”