Colorado Springs Restaurants with Good Decor

One of my major peeves in life is restaurants with bad decor (first-world problem). You can have the best food in the world but if your decor sucks, it’s really hard for me to go. Colorado Springs has a LOT of restaurants that look horrible. Luckily, we also have a few that are awesome.

Amuze at The Fine Arts Center- this restaurant is CLOSED is currently on my shit list- I bought a Deal Of The Day from them and of course forgot about it till the last minute. It expires next Tuesday but since they’re not open during the week I wanted to use it next weekend. No dice, no can do, so sorry, we can’t extend it. Whatevs, that is completely lame. So I called Deal Of The Day and got a refund. Take THAT, Amuze. You just lost $12.50. Ha. Anyhow, The Deco Lounge is the bar and Amuze is the restaurant. Both have lovely art- deco style decor. Amuze is insanely expensive, but the Deco Bar has normal bar prices. Really really pretty inside with lots of natural light so try to go in the evening before it gets dark. It was built in 1936 and has a very interesting history. Also, since it’s a museum, the restaurant and bar have lots of neat art in them.

Deco Bar at The Fine Arts Center, downtown Colorado Springs

Deco Bar at The Fine Arts Center, downtown Colorado Springs

Dale Chihuly glass lamp at The Deco Lounge at The Fine Arts Center.

Dale Chihuly glass lamp at The Deco Lounge at The Fine Arts Center.

My favorite restaurant in the whole city is Shuga’s just south of downtown on Cascade. It’s a bar, it’s a cafe, it’s a resaurant with very unique and delicious food. They’re open everyday except Sundays, until midnight. That is awesome enough. But it’s also so so so pretty inside. A friend of mine mentioned that it seems to be perfect all the time, no matter what season. It can be the middle of a burning summer or a snow covered winter and their decor manages to be just right always. Plus they have live music some nights and they show movies on a big screen, too.

Shuga's, downtown Colorado Springs

Shuga's, downtown Colorado Springs

Shuga's, downtown Colorado Springs

Shuga's, downtown Colorado Springs

Shuga's, downtown Colorado Springs

Shuga's, downtown Colorado Springs

Cafe Latte from Shuga's, downtown Colorado Springs

Cafe Latte from Shuga's, downtown Colorado Springs

Roast beef sandwich and mac-n-cheese from Shuga's, downtown Colorado Springs.

Roast beef sandwich and mac-n-cheese from Shuga's, downtown Colorado Springs.

Another place we really like is Motif in Old Colorado City. It’s open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. They have live jazz every night, lots of wines, fun cocktails and fancy little food. There’s a cozy yet modern indoor space and an outdoor area with a completely different feel. Both are really great places to hang out and have a drink.

The bar at Motif in Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

The bar at Motif in Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

Motif in Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

Motif in Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

Looking inside from the patio at Motif, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

Looking inside from the patio at Motif, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

Evening cocktails at Motif, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

Evening cocktails at Motif, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

Comfy couches on the patio at Motif, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

Comfy couches on the patio at Motif, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

View of the mountains from the patio at Motif, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

View of the mountains from the patio at Motif, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs

There are more nice places around and I’ll post about them soon. Meanwhile, let us know which places are your faves!

Wheel bearings are important, apparently. And tires

The tires on our old trailer looked pretty grim, so I looked into changing them.

Turns out there are special tires made just for trailers. Good to know. The ones we had on there were for passenger cars (probably late 1970s passenger cars). The special trailer tires (marked with a prefix of ST on the tire for “special trailer”) are built differently.

From TrailerTires.com: In general, trailer tires have the same load range (or ply) from bead to bead and are bias ply construction. This allows for a stiffer side wall which provides safer towing by helping to reduce trailer sway problems. The use of “Passenger Car” (P) tires on a trailer is not recommended because their construction, usually radial or bial belted, allows for more flexible side walls. This could lead to increased trailer sway and loss of control.

Add this to the list of things I did not know. Look, I’m not a scientist, and I don’t know how tires are made, but if there’s a tire specifically for trailers, then that’s probably what I ought to have on my trailer.

And while I was changing out the tires, I started reading up on wheel bearings. Did you know that if the wheel bearing is bad, it can somehow weld itself to the spindle and cause the whole thing to either seize up or break off? I didn’t. Some people have even said an entire trailer can flip over. I don’t know about that. I suppose anything’s possible, and so what the hell. You can check your bearings by hoisting up the rig and wiggling the tires and spinning them. If they sound gritty or anything less than smooth and quiet, you might have a problem. Also, if there’s any play, you might have a problem.

In my case, everything seemed fine, but while I’m here, I might as well take everything apart and have a look-see.

Our trailer tire

The first thing you'll want to do is take everything apart. I put it all on a towel in the same order so I could remember how to put it all back together. Removing the bearings is a breeze. Just take off the cap and remove the cotter pin and pull everything out. Done.

 

It's important to have a lug wrench that fits

I thought lug nuts were all the same. Figured the lug wrench from the Jeep would fit the trailer. Why wouldn't it? But no. So I had to take the first of many trips to the hardware store for this handy little guy. This is really something that should be universal. Seriously, what a pain in the ass. Anyway, lesson 1 learned.

 

After removing all the caps, etc.

There's a cotter pin holding all this on, and it's worthwhile to pick up some replacements before you start. That way, you don't have to go to the auto parts store while you're all greasy and stinky. Lesson 2 learned.

 

Cleaning all the parts

When you remove the bearings, etc., you'll want to clean them pretty good before slathering them in new grease and putting them back in. I used CRC Brakleen Brake Parts Cleaner, which works like a dream. Also, I love the smell of solvents. Anyway, it's worthwhile to pick up a couple cans, maybe even three, before you start. Otherwise you'll be headed to the auto parts store (again). Lesson 3 learned.

 

Repacking the bearings

They make these little gadgets that you put the bearings into and it squishes the new grease through them, so you can keep your hands clean. What's the fun of that? Man up and do it by hand. Sheesh. Sure it's dirty. But it's fun. Make sure to inspect the bearings before you coat them in grease again. Make sure they spin freely and are in good shape.

 

Repacking the bearing with fresh grease

People have a lot of strong opinions about grease. Me, I don't have any opinions about it. But once you look at all the different types of grease available, it becomes pretty clear that maybe I should have just trusted this to the professionals. Do some googling and see what people are saying. I saw a lot of good things about Mobil 1 Synthetic Grease in the blue and silver can. It's bright red and a name brand, so that's what I went with. So far so good. The technique is to put some in your palm and rock the bearing onto it until the new grease pushes up through the top. You want that whole thing filled and slathered with slippery red greasy goodness.

 

Repacking the bearings with fresh grease

Keep some towels around for cleaning up your grimey hands. Lesson 4 learned. Also, it helps to wear a fishing hat.

After putting it all back together (in the same order), that’s it. Done. Couple things to keep in mind. If you’re doing this in the front yard, there will be grease and oil and other assorted grime and filth that will absolutely stain the sidewalk. And while your girlfriend might be proud that you were able to do something yourself (she might even bring you a beer while you’re working). She will not, however, approve much of the oil-stained sidewalk in front of the house. You will need to clean it up. I used kitty litter, then Dawn soap. Use a dropcloth. Lesson 5 learned.

There are those who say that this is a job best left for a “professional.” Pshaw. One, it’s expensive. Cheapest I found was about $60 per tire. I’m not Donald Trump, people! My total cost for the whole shebang was about $8 for the grease, $6 for the brake cleaner, $2 for a dumb box of cotter pins (of which I only needed two). That’s it. Next time it’ll be free since I have a lot of the material still left. And since I was slow and learning on the way, it took me a whole afternoon. Next time it’ll take a couple hours max. Worth it.

 

 

Home Cookin’- How to eat healthy for cheap

Some things I’ve recently made.

Chicken parmesan with sauteed spinach.

Chicken parmesan with sauteed spinach.

Grilled caprese sandwich (fresh mozerella, tomatoes, basil), fruit salad, green salad with cucumber, tomato, and parmesan.

Grilled caprese sandwich (fresh mozerella, tomatoes, basil), fruit salad, green salad with cucumber, tomato, and parmesan.

Caprese salad.

Caprese salad.

Blanched asparagus with brown butter and parmesan, sauteed spinach and roasted lima beans, three bean salad.

Blanched asparagus with brown butter and parmesan, sauteed spinach and roasted lima beans, three bean salad.

Salad with corn, celery, tomatoes, avocado, and tortilla chips.

Salad with corn, celery, tomatoes, avocado, and tortilla chips.

Greek salad, spinache quiche, and roasted potatoes.

Greek salad, spinache quiche, and roasted potatoes.

Caprese salad, scrambled eggs, and green salad with white beans and parmesan.

Caprese salad, scrambled eggs, and green salad with white beans and parmesan.

Let me know if you want any more details on any of this stuff. And also let me know what you’ve been making!

Some Southern California Things

Some tasty tacos from Taco Azteca on Verdugo Rd. across the street from Glendale High School in Glendale.

Steak tacos and chicken tacos. Delish!

Steak tacos and chicken tacos. Delish!

One of my faves, Deluca’s Deli in The Americana At Brand.

CousCous salad, caprese salad, and bean and tuna salad. Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

CousCous salad, caprese salad, and bean and tuna salad. Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

Greek salad, tuna and white bean salad, and calamari salad, Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

Greek salad, tuna and white bean salad, and calamari salad, Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

The Oinkster in Eagle Rock:

Little piggies at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

Little piggies at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

Yummy cheeseburger and tasty fries at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

Yummy cheeseburger and tasty fries at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

I spent 4th of July weekend in Laguna Beach.

Waiting to take the trolly downtown.

Waiting to take the trolly downtown.

My brother Chris and his friends getting ready to watch fireworks.

My brother Chris and his friends getting ready to watch fireworks.

We went to the soft opening of Katsuya, which just opened in Laguna.

Fancy cocktail at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

Fancy cocktail at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

Watermelon cocktails and various sushi at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

Watermelon cocktails, excellent chicken salad, and various sushi at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

I love the ginger cocktails at Katsuya at The Americana, but they didn’t have it at the Laguna one. Oh well. The place is really pretty, and fun and airy feeling. I am not really into traditional sushi but the sushi there is very modern with lots of sauces and other things on it so I liked it.

 

My Colorado Garden

Last week I posted some pics from my backyard veggie garden. I’m also growing some herbs and other things in the front yard. The whole yard (front and back) gets tons of sun so things seem to grow well!

Cat grass, various herbs, bell peppers, and jasmine. I'll bring the jasmine inside and try to grow it as a houseplant at the end of the summer.

Arugula, various herbs, bell peppers, and jasmine. I'll bring the jasmine inside and try to grow it as a houseplant at the end of the summer.

Basil that I grew from seeds.

Basil that I grew from seeds.

Oregano, thyme, and pepermint.

Oregano, thyme, and pepermint.

Nasturtiums, basil, pansies, and bell pepper plants.

Nasturtiums, basil, pansies, and bell pepper plants.

The bell pepper plants are small but they both have peppers on them!

The bell pepper plants are small but they both have peppers on them!

I just bought these fuschias so hopefully they'll grow well here.

I just bought these fuschias so hopefully they'll grow well here.

Some of the things we collected from the ice house when they demolished it.

Some of the things we collected from the ice house when they demolished it.

Not sure what we're going to do with these chairs. Maybe fix and paint them or maybe put them togther and make a love seat.

Not sure what we're going to do with these chairs. Maybe fix and paint them or maybe put them togther and make a love seat.

We have sprinklers but they don't work. That's a project for next summer. Meanwhile we have wild purslane all over the front yard. I also planted some sunflower seeds. They're supposed to get to 5 or 6 feet tall, so that will be pretty if it works out.

We have sprinklers but they don't work. That's a project for next summer. Meanwhile we have wild purslane all over the front yard. I also planted some sunflower seeds. They're supposed to get to 5 or 6 feet tall, so that will be pretty if it works out.

More to come!