Please vote for us!

Voting ends on Wednesday August 31st for the CSIndy Best Of The Springs– so go vote and earn a chance to win an iPad! Of course we’d love you to vote for us- Oinkety- as best local blogger, and Pink Kitty Studios for best photographer, best place to buy an over the top gift, and best naughty business. Since you have to vote in at least 15 categories, here are our other faves!

1.Best Wait Staff: Detz Cafe.

2.Best Restaurant for Tourists: Paris Crepe.

3.Best French Restaurant: La Baguette. The one on Chestnut.

4. Best Patio Dining: Shuga’s.

5.Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Taste of Jerusalem.

6.Best Food Truck: Phat Hattie’s.

7.Best Burger: Drifter’s.

8.Best Place for Ice Cream: Dogtooth Cafe.

9.Best Local Beer for Winter: Bristol’s Venetucci Pumpkin Ale, of course good luck getting any.

10.Best Breakfast: Smiley’s.

11.Best Caterer: Blue Sage Catering.

12.Best Place for an Over-the-Top Gift: Pink Kitty Studios.

13.Best Photographer: Pink Kitty Studios.

14.Best Naughty Business: Pink Kitty Studios.

15.Best Local Twitterer: @barelyescape.

16.Best Local Blogger: Oinkety!

Thank you!

Red-light cameras: They’re still on!

Saw a great bumper sticker the other day: I DRIVE TOO FAST TO WORRY ABOUT CHOLESTEROL

Haha. It’s funny because it’s true. Anyway, some months back I warned you all about the red-light cameras Colorado Springs was setting up at the city’s most dangerous profitable intersections.

Well, it was only a matter of time that I was mailed a ticket. I’m surprised, actually, that it’s taken this long. At Platte and Murray, I came to a rolling stop and turned right even though the light was red. In my defense, the light had been red for only 30 or 40 seconds. Who has those kind of reflexes!?

I said before, and I say again, even though losing $75 stings a little, it’s much better than being pulled over by an actual police officer. And I’ll repeat again that getting nabbed by the cameras is half the price of a cop writing you up. A bargain.

So for those of you who might be new to the Springs, or for those of you who might have forgotten about these Sentinels of Safety, here’s a map:
View Colorado Springs red-light traffic cameras in a larger map

Colorado Springs traffic ticket red-light camera

Here I am at the Platte and Murray intersection with my daughter. I am nanoseconds from breaking the law.

 

Colorado Springs traffic enforcement

It's surprising we even survived this kind of reckless driving.

 

Colorado Springs red-light camera

Creeping through the intersection: A crime in progress. I bet this is exactly how Jesse James felt. Exhilarating!

 

 

Why you’re going out of business

Hint: It’s not the homeless. Or parking.

Or any of the other dumb things businesses like to blame. (Some downtown myths and realities)

Downtown today is the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and over the weekend was the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. What this means is downtown is packed. There’s also a farmers market today, a concert — downtown today is essentially a festival. And guess what. We counted at least eight businesses that are closed.

Closed.

Look, we’re going to offer some free business advice: People can’t spend money in your store if you’re closed. Oh, but I’m always closed on Mondays. Fine. Not this Monday. Even one of our favorite places, Smiley’s, is closed today.

What’s the saying, something like: 90 percent of success is just showing up? All these people milling around downtown today have nothing to do but spend money. And they’re not spending it at Smiley’s. Or any of the other stores that can’t be bothered to be open on a weekday.

Simple things, people: Stay open. Accept credit and debit cards. Offer service, convenience and value — every day. And while you’re at it, businesses need websites. Websites with their hours, their contact info, menus, etc. (But this is another post for another time.)

When your store finally goes out of business, you can whine and cry and blame parking (though there’s free parking downtown today); you can blame the homeless; you can blame just about anything you want, but the truth is much, much simpler: You’re going out of business because you don’t really want to be in business.

Sorry, we're closed

Sorry, we can't be bothered to be open on one of the busiest days of the year. You'll have to come back some other time to spend your money. Some other time when it's convenient for me.

More diner burgers, Colorado Springs

Finally another burger post!

First, my fave, Detz. They have awesome breakfasts and their burgers and fries are great, too. They use local beef and they offer mayonaise which is always a plus for me. I love people who understand mayo on a burger.

Cheeseburger from Detz- you can get mayo and grilled onions on the side.

Cheeseburger from Detz- you can get mayo and grilled onions on the side.

Cheeseburger from Detz. Doesn't that look delish?

Cheeseburger from Detz. Doesn't that look delish?

Next up is My Sister’s Kitchen. You’ve probably seen this place at 2416 East
Boulder Street in a funky little strip mall with a pawn shop, next to DAV’s thrift store. It looks like it’s on Platte, but I guess it’s actually on Boulder.

The burgers there were very good and the onion rings were excellent. The fries were unremarkable. They also have pie. But that’s another post. I probably wouldn’t go there just for a burger, but if you’re going there anyway, have one, they’re good! I believe they also use local beef.

Cheeseburger and fries from My Sister's Kitchen

Cheeseburger and fries from My Sister's Kitchen

My Sister's Kitchen

My Sister's Kitchen

Yummy onion rings from My Sister's Kitchen

Yummy onion rings from My Sister's Kitchen

Finally there’s The North End Diner. We’d been before for breakfast and were not impressed with the decor, the service, or the food. But there was a groupon and they were touting their burgers, and they use local beef. And since I’m a burger fiend, of course I wanted to try again.

The place is still filthy (hello, sticky table cloths), the decor is absolutely horrible and everything is worn out, and they blare Fox News on the TV as well as 80’s music on the radio. But the service was decent this time, and I am sad/happy to say the burgers were really good. The buns were nice and soft, but not mushy. The fries were standard school cafeteria issue, but cooked nicely so they were good. The onion rings were excellent- sort of a lighter tempura style batter, rather than a heavily breaded one. I probably won’t go again because the meals were a little pricey and like I said, the ambience is terrible.

Burger and fries from The North End Diner

Burger and fries from The North End Diner

Tempura style onion rings from The North End Diner

Tempura style onion rings from The North End Diner

Mike thought his blue cheese and bacon burger was just ok (the special the day we went). But I think it's just that he doesn't like blue cheese on a burger.

Mike thought his blue cheese and bacon burger was just ok (it was the special the day we went). But I think it's just that he doesn't like blue cheese on a burger.

So, there you go. Three diner burgers. Detz is by far the best, My Sister’s Kitchen was also good, and while The North End Diner is bad in so many ways, their burgers, fries, and onion rings are delicious.

How to eat healthy for cheap

We usually eat a random assortment of items at lunch. Usually a big salad, maybe some fruit, some eggs or chicken, and then one other thing. Here are some of the “other things” I’ve made lately.

Roasted potatoes

Roasted potatoes

Marinated feta

Marinated feta

Baked sweet potatoes are easy and delicious. Just wash them, prick them with a fork, wrap them in aluminum foil, and bake them at 400 degrees. They take at least an hour, depending on how big they are (start checking them after an hour- they’re done when they are soft and easy to squeeze). They get very sweet and soft this way. You can serve them either plain, or with butter, or with butter and honey. Yum!

Baked sweet potato with salad

Baked sweet potato with salad

White bean hummus is another easy and tasty treat. Take a can of white beans (great northerns work better than cannellini beans do) and put it in a food processor with a clove of garlic (you might need to mince or press it first), a couple swirl of olive oil (start with a smallish amount and add more as needed to make the hummus smooth), some salt, some dried herbs ( I usually use an Italian mix but whatever you use should include rosemary), some paprika, and some lemon juice. Whirl it all together till it’s smooth, adjust the seasonings, then serve with a swirl of olive oil on top and some pita triangles along side. I didn’t put any amounts in this recipe because each person has their own taste- so you should do it according to yours.

White bean hummus

White bean hummus

Tzatziki is yet another easy thing to make. Mix together some plain yogurt, some lemon juice or red wine vinegar, some dried dill, some garlic, and some chopped up cucumbers. If you have the time, dump the mixture into a coffee filter lined strainer over a big bowl and let the liquid whey from the yogurt drain out. It gets extra thick and creamy that way. It will take anywhere from 15 minute to an hour, depending on how thick you want it. I like to serve this with toasted pita triangles: cut pita into triangles, put them on a cookie sheet, drizzle them with oilive oil and bake them in the oven at about 350 degrees for maybe 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them and turn them part way through so they cook evenly. Fancy olives also go well with the tzatziki and pita.

Tzatziki with baked pita crisps and olives.

Tzatziki with baked pita crisps and olives.

Quesadillas are easy and can be made with pretty much whatever you have on hand. These were chicken, cheddar, black bean, and avocado.

Chicken, cheddar, black bean, and avocado quesadillas

Chicken, cheddar, black bean, and avocado quesadillas

I make these food posts to give you some ideas for inexpensive, easy, and healthy meals. Not so much as a recipe guide. But as always, if you want more info on anything, just leave me a note in the comments.

What have YOU been eating lately?