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Archive for the ‘Manitou Springs’ Tag

Dining as a Respite From Cooking   2 comments

savellisign

When there’s been too much activity in the kitchen, thanks to extra mouths to feed and the excess associated with the holidays, going out to eat is less an opportunity to dine and more a chance to rest. Such was the case on a visit to Savelli’s, which met our criteria for the evening: close to home where we could be seated without having to wait long.

Savelli’s is a neighborhood Italian restaurant, complete with red-checkered tablecloths and a standard menu of pizza, calzones and pasta. It was a good choice, and as the place filled while the evening progressed, it was easy to see why it appealed to young families, couples and large groups. There is, indeed, something for everyone – even if the something is not exceptionally inspiring.

savellichicken

The Chicken Parmesan featured what appeared to be a previously-frozen cutlet bathed in a tangy marinara sauce over a bed of spaghetti. The chicken parm I make is definitely better, but the benchmark this night was based more on convenience than culinary execution. My husband’s Calzone was stuffed with Italian sausage and pepperoni. The large slits not only allowed the air to escape from within the confines of the stuffed, baked turnover, but also much of the filling. Consequently, it was difficult to eat – even with a fork and knife.

savelli

The good news is we were sated, relaxed and didn’t have to spend much. Sometimes that’s more you can hope for.

Savelli’s

Three-and-a-half Plates
301 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO

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Steaks and Ants   Leave a comment

stagecoach

Normally, ants don’t garner much attention, but one dashing across a table where I’ve just finished eating is disconcerting. Ants are for picnics, not restaurants, except, apparently, at the Stagecoach Inn.

The Stagecoach in Manitou Springs is one of those places I walk or drive past more times than I can count. It has a steady stream of diners coming and going; in the summer, the patio, which faces Manitou Avenue, is always filled. There must be some explanation for its longevity. Yet, it’d been years, many years, since I last ate there; I decided it was time to give it another try.

The unwieldy, Western-themed menu, with photos of the food and brief descriptions, features steaks, chicken and fish. We started with Caesar Salads, full of more withered pieces of Romaine than I like.
I opted for the Black and Bleu Steak, sirloin with a blackened crust, comprised mostly of pepper, sea salt and thyme, then topped with bleu cheese crumbles. I always order medium rare. The dead center of the cut was perfectly cooked, but the rest of the steak was overdone. My husband’s New York Strip was fine and he enjoyed the onion rings as much as I liked the baked potato: more than the meat.

stagecoachsteak

We ordered dessert: bland cherry cobbler topped with mushy oat topping. Then came the ant.

My husband and I jokingly argued whether it was 20 or 25 years since our last visit; we agreed we can wait that long again before returning again – if ever.

Stagecoach Inn
Two Plates
702 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO

Morning Meals   1 comment

admsfront-1

Four of the six people having breakfast together at Adams Mountain Café wanted the Planet Burger, a blend of brown rice, roasted nuts, onions and cheese. The only problem was that it’s on the lunch menu. Although we pleaded with our server to ask the kitchen to make this possible, she politely, but unfortunately, recited those all-too-familiar words: “If we make an exception for you, we have to make an exception for everyone.”

Only somewhat reluctantly, we ordered traditional breakfast entrees. Of course, at Adams this is not a problem and our collective disappointment was short-lived. Adams is popular for many reasons. It appeals to runners, hikers, shoppers and friends wanting a comfortable place to eat where the food is reliably fresh and good. It’s not uncommon to wait for a table – especially during breakfast service. It’s worth the time.

yes chef-1

I ordered the omelet special which, on this particular day, was filled with sliced fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh basil, mozzarella and sprinkled with truffle oil. The licorice flavor of the basil mingled well with the decadent truffle oil. Omelets at Adams are made with three farm-fresh eggs and are light, without being full of air. In fact, the menu describes them as being “French style.”

Other fare includes plate-size pancakes, French toast, homemade cinnamon rolls, a variety of egg dishes and oatmeal. Most meals come with fresh fruit or slices of sunflower whole grain toast. Until, the Planet Burger is served before 11 a.m., it’s easy to “settle” for something else.


Adams Mountain Café

Four Plates
934 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, Colo.

Not Tops in Tapas   4 comments


Spice of Life is always one of those reliable go-to places. Well, almost always. Breakfast and lunch standards have been part of the Spice landscape for (20) years. In truth, the food is more than standard, especially considering the small cooking/prep area behind the counter.

This is a popular Manitou Springs hangout. It’s the spot to meet friends, have a cup of coffee or pick up a gourmet food item, including spices. Recently, a beer and wine license was acquired and tapas appeared on the menu. Unfortunately, the tapas fall into the average category.

By definition, tapas are small plates. Although they’ve been around for years, it seems there’s a tapas bandwagon that has recently come into favor in the Colorado Springs area. Without taking anything away from the Spice guys (Michael and Doug) or their establishment, snacks are a more honest description for much of the Tapas menu. Handfuls of olives, cheese, slices of baguette and roasted peppers fall short of a well-rounded tapas identity. Of course, if we had ordered the Caprese Sandwich or Chicken Skewers, something that involved cooking or more preparation, I’d have less to quibble about.

Nonetheless, the appetizers were tasty: a large variety of olives, a tangy caponatta, and a creamy Roule – in this case made with sheep’s milk and rolled in herbs. I’ve always been pleased with the granola pancakes and sandwichs (especially the Vegetarian Delight), I’ll stick to those. Although, when enjoying a glass of wine, it is nice to have a little nosh.

Spice of Life
Three Plates
727 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO.

Flavor Full and Gluten Free   Leave a comment

The words “Gluten Free” are a beacon for those who suffer from allergies or dietary intoler-
ance to wheat or other grains. I’m not among that group, but I had lunch recently with a friend
who is. She was thrilled, she said, that she didn’t have to ask any questions about the menu at
Coquette’s Bistro and Bakery. Instead of being limited to a few items she could eat, the
entire menu was at her bidding – as well as mine.

The lunch menu includes a variety of salads, sandwiches, and at least half a dozen crepes – in
addition to many for dessert. We narrowed our choices to two: the Bada Bing, with Italian saus-
age and ricotta cheese, and the Argentinean (although Coquette’s has a far more creative way of
spelling), with chicken, Basmati rice, green olives and chimichurri. Truffle potatoes or salad are
the available sides. If you’re feeling the need to be healthy go for the salad, otherwise indulge in
the country fried potatoes but much more elegant thanks to the truffle oil. The not-quite-paper-
thin crepes, made with sweet rice and brown rice flours, were light with just the right amount of
the inventive fillings.

Lunch prices are standard: around $9 to $12 per entrée, and we each carried a to-go-box when
we left. Unfortunately, we were too full to even consider dessert, either the crepe version or other-
wise. Coquette’s serves, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The bakery case features breads and sweets.
And, everything is Gluten-free!

Coquette’s Bistro and Bakery           
Four Plates
915 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO

Bar Food and Dessert on Overdrive   2 comments

The Keg Lounge is a bar that’s really a restaurant in disguise. Sure, there’s
lots of beer on tap and liquor bottles filled with every flavor and proof desired.
A jukebox features a range of music genres, TVs placed strategically around the
room are tuned to sports channels. Everything identifies this dark, noisy place
as a drinking establishment; everything, that is, except the food.

Through the years, I’ve ordered burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and the sig-
nature Keg Berry Salad (greens with an array of colorful, mixed berries dressed
with a creamy raspberry honey vinaigrette). My most recent visit was a special
occasion: to celebrate an anniversary. It was also an opportunity to do our part
to help extinguish the economic burn experienced by Manitou Springs following
the Waldo Canyon Fire. (I encourage everyone to try to shop local where ever
you live.) With this in mind, my husband and I ordered steaks.

When the food arrived, the ambiance somehow changed. It didn’t seem as loud
and the lighting was just right. My perfectly-grilled steak was topped with blue
cheese and walnut oil. Sides of garlic mashers and steamed broccoli were excell-
ent complements to the juicy beef.

After dinner, we wandered down the street to The Cliff House at Pikes Peak.
We sat on the veranda where I enjoyed Crème Brulee, our traditional anniversary
dessert. My husband broke with our marital convention by ordering Raspberry
Souffle with White Chocolate Almond Cream Anglaise. He not only still surprises
me, but he shares.

The Keg Lounge
Nearly Four Plates (dinner)
730 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO

The Cliff House at Pikes Peak
Four Plates (dessert)
306 Canon Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO

Middle Eastern Mashup   Leave a comment

A mashup is the best way to describe the vegetarian sandwich at the Heart of Jerusalem
in Manitou Springs. It’s a grilled cheese with salad ingredients wrapped in Zaatar pita. This
sturdy bread is delightfully airy. Zaatar is a Middle Eastern spice combination of thyme,
marjoram and oregano. The spice is added with olive oil and brushed on top of the dough as
it is grilled. Also, the dough is docked. That is, pierced so it doesn’t puff up to create the air
pockets typically associated with pita. Rather than have the food inside the pita pockets, the
bread is wrapped around the filling. This thicker pita provides the perfect grip to embrace the
gooey melted cheddar, hummus, tomatoes, lettuce, pickled turnips and, whether by design or
accident, a few pieces of falafel. The bits of deep-fried ground chickpeas added both texture
and flavor. On my next visit, I’ll have a full serving of falafel. Although they tasted fine, the
turnips have an unusual color more closely associated with a shade of lipstick worn, perhaps,
by circus or prison matrons.

Service is somewhat sketchy. It wasn’t clear if we were to order at the cash register, or if some-
one would come to our table; ultimately a server came to us. The whiney Middle Eastern music
was too loud, but this may have been an effort to establish the right mood in a room with plastic
seat cushions and Formica tabletops. Fortunately, the food wasn’t eclipsed by the mixed-bag
ambiance.

The Heart of Jerusalem
Three-and-a-half Plates
718 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO