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Archive for the ‘old colorado city’ Tag

Good Times for Breakfast   2 comments

bontonsign

A friend, who is only slightly younger than me, remembered going to Bon Ton’s Café when she was a child with her grandmother. Although it wasn’t my recollection, I smiled at the idea of a restaurant and its food evoking a fond memory. Bon Ton’s, on the corner of Colorado Avenue and 26th Street in Old Colorado City, has been serving food for years (and years), and plating up some memories in the process.

Bon Ton’s is like a favorite sweater. It’s comfortable, dependable and, if frayed around the edges, familiar. Of course, it helps that the food is consistent. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch, so the menu, printed like a newspaper, features all the offerings. For breakfast, standard egg dishes, pancakes, French toast and several Southwestern items, identified by the presence of green chile, are available. Traditional lunch fare includes burgers and sandwiches.

bontonpancake

I’ve enjoyed the Vegetable Scrambler in the past as much for the fresh vegies cooked with scrambled eggs as for the crunchy hash browns also on the plate. I was tempted by the thought of the hash browns  — a yin and yang of crispy and creamy shredded potatoes, — but I really wanted a pancake. My friend offered to give me her spuds because she said she wouldn’t be able to eat everything she ordered. She was in the holiday spirit.

My plate-size, golden pancake with maple syrup was exactly what I wanted, as were the hash browns. They’re the stuff of memories.

Bon Ton’s Café
Four Plates
2601 W. Colorado Ave.
Colorado Springs

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A Book Blind Date   Leave a comment

libraryii

As I was leaving my neighborhood library, the Old Colorado City Branch of the Pikes Peak Library District, two shelves with books wrapped in newspaper caught my eye. They were near the backdoor in what seemed an out of the way location for a holiday display, although I realized it’s far too early to be in that mindset. Then I saw the sign: “Blind Date With A Book.”

blinddatebooks

The concept is to check out a wrapped book without knowing its title. I was intrigued. I picked up a couple of books/packages in much the same way I’d consider which gift to open first on my birthday or Christmas. Did I really want to commit to something I knew absolutely nothing about? What if it was one I’d already read?  Yet, in a way, starting a book is very similar to a blind date anyway; there’s always a sense of the unknown, of possibilities and disappointments.

I considered another blind date. It’s how I met my husband, and that’s turned out very well. So, I decided to take my chances.  I was paired with Now and Forever by Ray Bradbury. I haven’t read anything by Bradbury since my high school days, but this book contains two previously unpublished novellas: Somewhere a Band is Playing and Leviathian ’99.

I laughed when I opened book. It was dedicated to two women, which didn’t strike me as a very auspicious way to begin a date.

I’ll review the date, I mean, the novellas in a separate post.

Gourmet on the Go   Leave a comment

Beginning as a small outlet for seasonings, Garden of the Gods Gourmet has a long local history. It’s evolved as a local catering favorite and as a place to purchase upscale meals-to-go. Also, it has emerged as small, out-of-the-way lunch, and occasional dinner, spot. That latter point is precipitating an upcoming move to a larger, more visible location.

Sometime this fall, according to the market manager, it will relocate to the corner of U.S. Highway 24 and 26th Street. That will allow for longer business hours for the catering side and a bigger restaurant space. The new site should also include better ventilation.

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Although it was a hot day on a recent visit, the limited shade in the patio area was far more comfortable than the stifling temperature inside. Fortunately, the soup of the day was a cold, refreshing roasted red pepper and corn which highlighted each ingredient. Along with a cup of soup, I had half of the Beef Banh Mi. Traditionally served with thinly-sliced pork, this roast beef version also featured pickled carrots, cucumbers, radishes and fresh cilantro on a baguette baked in-house. Because of the heat, and the inability to resist, we ordered the raspberry-lemon gelato. Neither flavor overwhelmed the other.

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Garden of the Gods has successfully managed to remain a catering, epicurean market and restaurant with a cohesiveness that doesn’t make it feel like an establishment with multiple personalities. Its new locale is likely to better showcase its strengths.

Garden of the Gods Gourmet Café and Market
Four Plates
2528 W. Cucharras Ave.
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Ethiopian Cuisine in Old Colorado City   Leave a comment

ethiopia

Under the right circumstances, even a restaurant in a strip mall can feel like home. It may have nothing to do with the food, but everything to do with the friendliness of the staff. In the case of Uchenna, an Ethiopian restaurant, very little on the menu was familiar. Yet, the owner made my companion and me feel as if we were long lost family members. Actually, she did this to everyone who walked in.

We were treated to small cups of tea with rose water and lemonade. Neither one appealed to me, although my friend particularly enjoyed the tea.

Having no real clue what to order, the combination plate seemed like a great way to sample several different tastes. It featured red lentils in a mild spice mix, and green lentils in a traditional berbere sauce, which is a blend of garlic, red pepper, cardamom, coriander and other spices. Also on the plate were green beans and carrots in a spicy tomato sauce along with cabbage in a briny garlic and onion sauce. Everything was served over injera, the traditional Ethiopian thin, sponge-like bread. Rolls of injera lined the plate.

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The owner instructed me to push up my sleeves, tear off a piece of bread to use as a scoop. She suggested trying each item separately to get a sense of each flavor.

Eating without silverware slows down the process resulting in an experience more than a meal. It was far from what I knew, but surprisingly close to my heart.

ethiopianmenu
Uchenna

Four Plates
2501 W. Colorado Ave.
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

Almost Home Cooking   2 comments

frontrangebbq

Beef brisket is one of the toughest cuts of meat around. In the right hands, it’s rendered fork-tender and full of flavor. Of course, it takes several hours to get that way, but Front Range Barbeque has both the touch and the time to get the right results.

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The restaurant, in a modified bungalow in Old Colorado City, has several small, crowded rooms and a large outdoor dining area. The latter is enclosed and heated for year-round seating. It’s a comfortable setting for live music. Front Range is homey, busy and is a place to make friends with the people at nearby tables – because these are such cramped quarters. Servers maneuver through the small maze of diners, and everyone keeps their elbows close.

Once the food arrives, it’s easy to forget the jam-packed conditions and enjoy the meal. Besides the fall-apart-beef, Front Range knows how to do sides. The baked beans are thick with molasses and bits of shredded pork. Coleslaw is creamy, but not excessively so. The platters also feature mini-cornbread muffins and thinly-sliced onion rings.

The cooked-to-perfection meat takes center stage with its charred coat. It’s served dry, but three sauces, made in-house, provide the opportunity to enhance the taste. There’s Original Tangy, Sweet n’ Spicy, Mustard Wine. The latter is an unusual combination of Dijon mustard and white wine. It complemented the French fries better than it did the meat. The tangy has too much vinegar, while the sweet and spicy is just the right yin-yang combination.

Front Range Barbeque

Almost-Four Plates

2330 W. Colorado Ave.

Colorado Springs, CO