Archive for the ‘downtown Colorado Springs’ Tag

Happy Morning Faces   Leave a comment

smileyinterior

As I stood in line reading the menu boards, I couldn’t help asking myself why I’d never visited Smiley’s Bakery and Café before. While enjoying my breakfast, that question re-surfaced. In the past few weeks several friends have mentioned Smiley’s; up ’til then it wasn’t on my radar. I understand why some may have been keeping it a secret but am grateful I know about it now.

Although the menu features traditional breakfast fare such pancakes, eggs, French toast, and freshly-baked goods, it doesn’t stop there. Specials include Shrimp and Sausage Grits, Buttermilk Biscuits with Gravy, and Crawfish and Andoulle Sausage Etoufee. Even the standard items get special attention. Consider Spinach Walnut Pesto with Scrambled Eggs or the Cajun Crabcake Omelette, which evoked effusive – and loud – praise from the man at the next table.

smileyspancake

Several items caught my eye, but I couldn’t resist the Sweet Potato Pancakes. I ordered a single because most plate-size cakes are more than I can eat in one sitting. Smiley’s pancake was certainly filling, and I would have been sorely tempted to eat more thanks to the flavor depth of the sweet potato with its whisper of nutmeg. A side of bacon created the right balance of sweet with savory. The homefries on my husband’s plate were inconsistently cooked: some crunchy with no soft middle and some perfectly executed. His was otherwise satisfied with his meal of eggs and sausage.

Smileysign

While I have no excuse for the past, I plan on returning to Smiley’s to make up for missed meals.

Smiley’s Bakery and Café
Four+ Plates
323 N. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, CO

Au revoir   Leave a comment

crepeexterior On Oct. 31, La Creperie will officially end its 35-year reign as the crepe queen of downtown Colorado Springs. Although, I suspect the crown has been slipping a bit in recent years. A friend asked that we celebrate his birthday with lunch at the bistro. We both admitted that it had been years since either of us had dined there. We’d had no official falling out, nor could we explain why we’d allowed so much time to elapse between meals there. It made sense to enjoy a swan song repast before La Creperie’s doors closed for good. crepepotate I would have fared better to have let the restaurant fade away in my memory. My recollections overshadowed the quality of the food served, so I was disappointed. The highlight of the meal was the Gratin De Pommes De Terre. The tender slices of potatoes were decadently rich thanks to béchamel sauce and cheese in which they were baked. I had to exercise extreme self-control not to eat the entire serving on my friend’s plate. crepechicken The chicken with mushrooms and almonds crepe was topped with Hollandaise sauce. The filling, when mixed with the sauce, was satisfactory, but not exceptional. The real disappointment was the crepe itself, which was dense and bland. I picked my way through the filling leaving a shambles of the crepe’s former identity on my plate. My companion did the same. I’m opting not to rate the meal since La Creperie will only be open a few weeks longer.

La Creperie
204 N. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, CO

Il Vicino Pizza   Leave a comment

ilvicinopizza

Typically, I have plenty of time to study the menu on the wall at Il Vicino. That’s because the line is long enough that I can read through the descriptions of pizzas and other offerings while waiting to place my order at the counter. Recently, however, there was no line, so even though there was no pressure to make a quick decision, I felt uneasy. I worried that people aren’t frequenting this gourmet pizza place like they should.

The small eatery offers more than dozen types of pizza, several calzones and Panini, salads and a few pasta dishes. From a traditional Margherita to pies with roasted chicken, tuna, even spicy shrimp. It’s often difficult to decide. Even with no one in line behind us I was torn.

ilvicinospinach

We eventually settled on two salad/pizza combinations. The Pizza al Pesto is embellished with fresh pesto, sun-dried and fresh tomatoes, pine nuts and mozzarella. The bread-like crust was thick with wood-smoked flavor. The Spinach Salad was the perfect complement with a fresh pesto dressing, roasted red peppers, red onions, pine nuts and Gorgonzola cheese over a bed of spinach. The other combination included the Campagnola: a traditional marinara, sausage, mushrooms, and, instead of goat cheese, Asiago cheese. The sausage stood out in the crowd of ingredients. The beautifully-plated Insalata Il Vicino was a rift on a Cobb Salad with rows of chopped roasted chicken, diced egg, Gorgonzola, artichoke hearts and walnuts.

ilviconosalad

While leaving, the line in front of the menu board began to back up. Whew!

Il Vicino
Four Plates
11 S. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, CO