Downtown Colorado Springs Wrap-up Round-up

We love living in Chicago now. We appreciate all the things that big cities have to offer, including the progressive attitudes of the citizens and the people in charge. But Colorado Springs has its charms, and it was really hard to leave. The downtown area is very pretty with lots of trees and flowers (when the city can find it in the budget to water them) and beautiful historic homes and buildings (for now anyway). There are lots of little shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars, a couple of cute parks, a public library, some art galleries, and two museums. It’s flat so it’s easy to walk or bike around, and the views of the mountains are stunning.  Here are some of the things we loved about living in downtown Colorado Springs (along with some of our gripes, as usual).

You can walk or bike all over the place. It's flat and the drivers are cautious.

You can walk or bike all over the place. It's flat and the drivers are usually pretty cautious.

Smiley's was just a couple blocks from our house, and we went there many weekends for breakfast.

Smiley's was just a couple blocks from our house, and we went there many weekends for breakfast. Click this pic for their website.

Homespun handwritten menu at Smiley's

Homespun handwritten menu at Smiley's

Breakfast at Smiley's is delicious!

Breakfast at Smiley's is delicious! Probably the best bacon in the COS.

Tejon St. Music has been around a long time. Great place for all your guitar needs. Click this pic for their website.

Tejon Street Music has been around a long time. Great place for all your guitar needs. Click this pic for their website.

Pretty residential street in downtown Colorado Springs

Pretty residential street in downtown Colorado Springs

Our old apartment downtown. It's since been sold and the new owners "remodeled" it, basically ruining all its old history. Still, it's got pretty neighbors.

Our old apartment downtown. It's since been sold and the new owners "remodeled" it, basically ruining all its old history. Still, it's got pretty neighbors.

Lunch on the patio at Poor Richards. Best pizza in town! Click this pic for their website.

Lunch on the patio at Poor Richard's. Best pizza in town! Click this pic for their website.

Cocktails and coffee at Poor Richards.

Cocktails and coffee at Poor Richard's.

Paris Crepe- one of our all-time faves. Click this pic for their website.

Paris Crepe -- one of our all-time faves. Click this pic for their website.

The best crepes are at Paris Crepe. Don't they look delish?

The best crepes are at Paris Crepe. Don't they look delish?

Paris Crepe is across the street from Acacia Park and it's nice to spend a summer evening eating crepes on their sidewalk cafe.

Paris Crepe is across the street from Acacia Park and it's nice to spend a summer evening eating crepes on their sidewalk cafe.

The weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning from downtown.

The weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning from downtown.

In the summer there are free concerts in Acacia Park on Saturday evenings.

In the summer there are free concerts in Acacia Park on Saturday evenings.

There's also a farmers market there on Mondays.

There's also a farmers market there on Mondays.

Acacia Park and Monument Valley Park are fun places to sit and have a picnic.

Acacia Park and Monument Valley Park are relaxing places to sit and have a picnic.

You can walk everywhere downtown.

You can walk everywhere downtown.

 

Terra Verde and Sparrowhawk Cookware are little locally owned shops with neat items for sale. Click this pic for Terra Verde's website.

Terra Verde and Sparrowhawk Cookware are great locally owned shops with neat items for sale. Click this pic for Terra Verde's website.

The Rodeo Days parade takes place every July down Tejon St. There's also  St. Patrick's Day parade, and a Christmas parade.

The Rodeo Days parade takes place every July down Tejon St. There's also St. Patrick's Day parade, and a Christmas parade.

Tony's Bar. The bar we love to hate. Click the pic for Tony's website.

Tony's Bar. The bar we love to hate. Click the pic for Tony's website.

Zeezo's is the place for all things magic and costume. Click this pic for their website.

Zeezo's is the place for all things magic and costume. Click this pic for their website.

If you're young and preferably in the military, you'll love weekends at downtown's pseudo honkeytonk, Cowboys. They also have bowling upstairs.

If you're young and preferably in the military, you'll love weekends at downtown's faux honkeytonk, Cowboys. They also have bowling upstairs.

The sidewalk cafes at Il Vicino, The Ritz, and Jack Quinns are nice places to have a meal.

The sidewalk cafes at Il Vicino, The Ritz, The Olive Branch, and Jack Quinns are nice places to have a meal.

Catch a movie at The Peak (but be aware they don't take credit or debit cards). They also have a small bar where you can grab a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer to take into the theatre.

Catch a movie at The Peak (but be aware that they don't take credit or debit cards). They also have a small bar where you can grab a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer to take into the theatre.

Then go over to the nightclub compound on Tejon St. and have a drink at the bar with the fire on the roof.

Then go over to the nightclub compound on Tejon St. and have a drink at the bar with the fire on the roof.

La Baguette has delicious french fare. Click this pic for their website.

La Baguette has delicious french fare. Click this pic for their website.

A brewpub whose building was saved from the wrecking ball by Governor Hickenlooper (way before he was governor), Phantom Canyon.

A brewpub whose building was saved from the wrecking ball by Governor Hickenlooper (way before he was governor), Phantom Canyon.

The Pioneers Museum is a neat place to spend an afternoon.

The Pioneers Museum is a neat place to spend an afternoon.

Labor Day weekend is the Balloon Festival, we could see them from our bedroom.

Labor Day weekend is the Balloon Festival, we could see them from our bedroom.

Slightly north of downtown is the well-stocked nursery, The Good Earth Garden Center. Click this pic for their website.

Slightly north of downtown is the well-stocked nursery, The Good Earth Garden Center. Click this pic for their website.

The Good Earth Garden Center is a nice place to walk around or pick something out from their vast selection of plants and garden art.

The Good Earth Garden Center is a nice place to walk around or pick something out from their vast selection of plants and garden art.

Slightly south of downtown is Bristol Brewing. They make their own beer and have a tasting room. Click this pic for their website.

Slightly south of downtown is Bristol Brewing. They make their own beer and have a tasting room. Click this pic for their website.

Beer flight at Bristol Brewing.

Beer flight at Bristol Brewing.

 

We’ve devoted a lot of space on this blog to downtown, and this post is not at all comprehensive (we didn’t even mention Shuga’s!). So please check out our other posts for tons more things to do. And be sure to let us know what your favorite downtown things are and when new shops and restaurants open up! We might not live there anymore, but we still care. And of course we’ll be back at some point. Hell, maybe we’ll even come back and get that coffee truck we’ve been dreaming about rolling.

 

Oinkety Fave: Paravicini’s

Paravicini’s always wins all the prizes for the best Italian food in Colorado Springs. It’s delicious! I recently took the photos for their website and one of my best friends, Janel, works there. But I’m not biased, I’ve been going there forever as you can see by these camera phone pics!

Delicious house salad with fancy bread. And of course a glass of wine!

Delicious house salad with fancy bread. And of course a glass of wine!

Fresh bruschetta at Paravicini's.

Fresh bruschetta at Paravicini's.

Penne pasta lunch special

Penne pasta lunch special

Spaghetti lunch special

Spaghetti lunch special

 

The best cannoli in town!

The best cannoli in town!

Special seasonal pumpkin tiramisu

Special seasonal pumpkin tiramisu.

The bar at Paravicini's Colorado Springs

The bar at Paravicini's Colorado Springs

Chef Franco also conducts cooking classes at the restaurant.

Chef Franco also conducts cooking classes at the restaurant.

Caprese salad, my fave!

Caprese salad, my fave!

Antipasto Plate

Antipasto Plate

Tortellini Carbonara

Tortellini Carbonara

Prettier picture of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs.

Prettier picture of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs.

Calamari plate

Calamari plate

Excellent tiramisu- everyone's favorite!

Excellent tiramisu- everyone's favorite!

An art shot I took for the website

An art shot I took for the website

Let's end this post with a cappucino

Let's end this post with a cappucino

Oinkety fave: La Baguette French Bistro, Colorado Springs

Every time I go to one of the La Baguette locations I say it’s my favorite. The downtown one was the first I went to, then I went to the one in Old Colorado City, and finally, we went to the one on Chestnut St.

The Chestnut St. location is open for dinner. It’s a really authentic French Bistro. But unlike a lot of French restaurants, it’s super affordable.

Cute French decor at La Baguette

Cute French decor at La Baguette

I had a Pastis, a very French licorice flavored drink, at La Baguette

I had a Pastis, a very French licorice flavored drink, at La Baguette

 

We’ve actually been there a couple times. Once for lunch and one for dinner. It was delightful both times.

Crocque Madame sandwich with fries for lunch. Ham, cheese, and a fried egg on delicious bread.

Crocque Madame sandwich with fries for lunch. Ham, cheese, and a fried egg on delicious bread.

Another view of the Crocque Madame.

Another view of the Crocque Madame.

The special steak lunch entree.

The special steak lunch entree.

When we went for dinner I had this awesome salad.

When we went for dinner I had this awesome salad.

 

Mike had the Boeuf Bourguignon, which he said was fabulous

Mike had the Boeuf Bourguignon, which he said was fabulous.

Mike's mom had the special veggie rice entree.

Mike's mom had the special veggie orzo entree.

For dessert we had a creamy cheesecake.

For dessert we had a creamy cheesecake.

And the cream puff, which was a delicious as it looks.

And the cream puff, which was a delicious as it looks.

 

La Baguette French Bistro is a great place for an authentic but affordable French meal with great service and fabulous food right in Colorado Springs. Check it out! Let us know what you think.

 

Oinkety fave: Montague’s Parlour Colorado Springs

Montague’s Parlour at 1019 South Tejon Street deserves its own post because it is so charming and has the best cake in the city, maybe even in the state. Plus they have really good hours and stay open late most days.

The decor is full-on granny old lady tea parlour, which I didn’t like at first, but it eventually grew on me. Think mismatched antique tables and chairs and vintage china.

Linda, Tori, and Mike at Montague's Parlour

Linda, Tori, and Mike at Montague's Parlour

They serve lots of different soups, salads, sandwiches and daily quiches. They have a decent vegetarian selection and breakfast on the weekends.

Cream of Broccoli soup at Montague's Parlour

Cream of Broccoli soup at Montague's Parlour

Pot pie and chili from Montegue's Parlour

Pot pie and chili from Montague's Parlour

Delicious turkey on croissant at Montague's Parlour

Delicious turkey on croissant at Montague's Parlour

These are the best cakes in the state!

These are the best cakes in the state!

The most fabulous coconut cake- you have to try this cake

The most fabulous coconut cake — you have to try this cake. This particular cake is the best cake on earth.

They also have breakfast pastries like croissants, scones, danish, etc.

They also have breakfast pastries like croissants, scones, danishes, etc.

Lots of different drinks, too. This is an Italian cream soda.

Lots of different drinks, too. This is an Italian cream soda.

Many many different kinds of tea, both hot and iced.

Many many different kinds of tea, both hot and iced.

Assorted espressos, teas, and snacks. Something for everyone at Montague's.

Assorted espressos, teas, and snacks. Something for everyone at Montague's.

If you haven’t been to Montague’s, you should go. You’ll like it.

Our favorite Colorado Springs Tacos Wrap-up

We were super into Rancho Liborio’s tacos — they were so authentically good and so cheap. But sadly, Rancho Liborio recently closed. We also loved Cafe El Paso and Blue Agave’s tacos.  But, they closed, too. Still, there are a few other decent taco places around. We never found any fancy taco places with exotic ingredients like we have in Chicago , but if we just missed them, please tell us about them!

Here are our favorite Colorado Springs tacos, in order.

1. Monica’s Taco Shop. It took us 4 years to go here, and then, when we did we were unhappy that we didn’t go earlier. So, if you’ve seen this place and never gone in, just do it already! Crunchy taco shells with tasty filling. But the thing that really elevates the tacos here is the sauce. I am not usually into lots of hot sauce or salsa or whatever but this stuff is awesome. Seriously makes it.

Taco plate from Monica's Taco Shop

Taco plate from Monica's Taco Shop- pre sauce.

Mike likes the burritos but I will for sure stick with the tacos, they are just too delicious to switch.

Mike likes the burritos but I will for sure stick with the tacos, they are just too delicious to switch.

Monica's Taco Shop on Filmore at Nevada. There's another location over by Powers, too.

Monica's Taco Shop on Filmore at Nevada. There's another location over by Powers, too.

2. La Perla Tapatia: We went when it was over by Garden of the Gods but they’ve since moved. One of the most delicious thing in the taco world is potato tacos.  And the only place I’ve seen them in Colorado Springs is at La Perla. But I don’t see them on the new menu on their website now. Maybe you should just ask when you go in. The rest of their menu is also good — the most unique taco place in COS, I think.

Potato Tacos at La Perla Tapatia

Potato Tacos at La Perla Tapatia

Of course Mike had the burrito at La Perla Tapatia

Of course Mike had the burrito at La Perla Tapatia along with a Mexican Coke

 

3. El Poblano: We’ve talked about this place before because they have pupusas – the only place in town that does — and they’re delicious. Their tacos and burritos are also really good. They also have agua fresca that’s as good as Rancho Liborio’s was.

Lots of yummies at El Poblano

Lots of yummies at El Poblano

 

4. Arceos Mexican Restaurant: This one is sort of cheating because it’s an actual sit-down restaurant, not a taco joint. But since we are doing all our wrap-ups we’ll include it since don’t have a category for just regular Mexican restaurants. Plus their tacos are delish.

Warm chips and homemade salsas at Arceos

Warm chips and homemade salsas at Arceos

Chicken taco plate at Arceos

Chicken taco plate at Arceos

 

5. Salsa Latina: Let’s get this out of the way first. They have idiotic hours — only open till 6:30 during the week and closed on weekends, both Saturday and Sunday. When downtown businesses decide to have normal hours, maybe downtown Colorado Springs will amount to something. Also, they don’t take plastic. Lame. But their food is pretty good.

Salsa Latina has all the usual dishes and good prices.

Salsa Latina has all the usual dishes and good prices.

Taco with rice and beans at Salsa Latina

Taco with rice and beans at Salsa Latina. Superior rice and beans, by the way.

Mike had enchiladas this time!

Mike had enchiladas this time!

So, there you go. Some basic but tasty tacos in Colorado Springs. What are your favorites?