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.

 

Our favorite Colorado Springs restaurants

We got so busy in the last few months we were in Colorado Springs that we didn’t have time to do very many posts. So I’m going to do a few Colorado wrap-up posts in the next few weeks before embarking on full force Chicago entries.

These are some of our favorite restaurants in The Springs. Give them a try if you haven’t been.

Adam’s Mountain Cafe:

Honey pot at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Honey pot at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs, CO

Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs, CO

Veggie Enchiladas at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Veggie Enchiladas at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Insanely good brownie from Adam's Mountain Cafe

Insanely good brownie from Adam's Mountain Cafe

Borriello Brothers Pizza: 

Veggie Pizza from Borriello Brothers

Veggie Pizza from Borriello Brothers

Downtown Burrito Company:

Downtown Burrito Cart Man!

Downtown Burrito Cart Man!

Mediterranean Cafe:

Mediterranean Cafe

Mediterranean Cafe

Mediterranean Cafe's food is good if you can abide their idiotic hours.

Mediterranean Cafe's food is good if you can abide their idiotic hours.

Falafel at Mediterranean Cafe

Falafel at Mediterranean Cafe

The fries at Mediterranean Cafe are good but not as good as Taste Of Jerusalem's

The fries at Mediterranean Cafe are good but not as good as Taste Of Jerusalem's

Cucuru Gallery Cafe:

The outdoor space at Cucuru Cafe and Gallery

The outdoor space at Cucuru Cafe and Gallery

A tasty veggie sandwich from Cucuru

A tasty veggie sandwich from Cucuru

Lemon cake and cheesecake from Cucuru- yum!

Lemon cake and cheesecake from Cucuru- yum!

Detz Cafe: (not sure what’s going on with the pictures on this website, they’re for sure not of their food):

Everything is good at Detz Cafe

Everything is good at Detz Cafe

Calicrate beef burger from Detz Cafe

Calicrate beef burger from Detz Cafe

Perfect french toast from Detz Cafe

Perfect french toast from Detz Cafe

Mmmm grilled cheese from Detz Cafe

Mmmm grilled cheese from Detz Cafe

Gold Hill Java:

Egg salad sandwich lunch special from Gold Hill Java

Egg salad sandwich lunch special from Gold Hill Java

Healthy Mediterranean wrap from Gold HIll Java

Healthy Mediterranean wrap from Gold HIll Java

Go right away to have the most amazing affogato at Gold HIll Java!

Go right away to have the most amazing affogato at Gold HIll Java!

Heart Of Jerusalem:

Falafel from Heart Of Jerusalem

Falafel from Heart Of Jerusalem

Heart of Jerusalem

Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Jake and Telly’s:

Soup and appetizers at Jake and Telly's

Soup and appetizers at Jake and Telly's

Janel enjoying some apps at Jake and Telly's

Janel enjoying some apps at Jake and Telly's

Lofty’s:

Chicken salad from Lofty's

Chicken salad from Lofty's

Reuben sandwich and pasta salad from Lofty's

Reuben sandwich and pasta salad from Lofty's

 

McCabe’s Tavern:

Cheeseburger and cider at McCabe's Tavern

Cheeseburger and cider at McCabe's Tavern

French dip from McCabe's Tavern

French dip from McCabe's Tavern

The Melting Pot:

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

Paris Crepe: (You must go to Paris Crepe. Check out our official review with more pics)

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Pizzeria Rustica:

My parents enjoying Pizzeria Rustica's patio

My parents enjoying Pizzeria Rustica's patio

Locally sourced antipasto tray

Locally sourced antipasto tray

Shuga’s: By far my favorite restaurant in Colorado Springs, or really, just about anywhere. We’ve written a ton about them on this blog.

Shuga's has an excellent happy hour

Shuga's has an excellent happy hour

Fabulous sandwiches at Shuga's

Fabulous sandwiches at Shuga's

One of the daily pasta specials at Shuga's

One of the daily pasta specials at Shuga's

Fancy roast beef sandwich at Shuga's

Fancy roast beef sandwich at Shuga's

Smiley’s:  Another place we’ve written about before, here and here.

Breakfast at Smiley's

Breakfast at Smiley's

Smiley's cute decor. They've recently expanded to the space next door, doubling their size- shorter lines now!

Smiley's cute decor. They've recently expanded to the space next door, doubling their size- shorter lines now!

 

So there you have it, the first of my Colorado Springs wrap-up posts. Be sure to visit these places and let me know what you think!

 

 

 

Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs

Our fave, Detz Cafe (211 East Cucharras Street) didn’t win anything in the CS Indy’s Best Of The Springs. This is extremely lame because they are awesome.

They’re open everyday except Saturday and would make a perfect place for a nice Sunday breakfast.

Detz Cafe Colorado Springs Hours

Detz Cafe Colorado Springs Hours

We’ve talked about them before, but we like them so much, we’re going to talk about them again.

And show you pictures of their food.

So go down there and have something to eat and let us know what you think.

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.

Day trip: Cañon City

There’s a point, probably, in every hoarder’s life when they say to themselves: I’m not a hoarder. But I probably need to buy that wall hook shaped like a flower. It’s only a dollar.

And so on this sunny summer day, we hopped in the car and headed to Cañon City for some antiquing, fishing, aimless driving around, and of course, feeding our piggy faces. It’s only about an hour away (there’s construction, so plan for some periodic delays), so it’s an easy day trip.

Our first stop was Uncle Sam Antiques. A couple years ago, we saw a very cool Victorian funeral cart there for $200 (something a little like this). We couldn’t come up with a reason for owning a Victorian funeral cart, and we still can’t. If you can, it’s still there. Would make a cool coffee table, I guess.

Uncle Sam Antiques, Canon City, Colorado

The outdoor section of Uncle Sam's, where you'll find odd glassware, rusting farm tools, and outdoor furniture.

 

Uncle Sam Antiques, Canon City, Colorado

There's a cool rocking chair in this weird little room. Why do I want a rocking chair? Good question. I don't know. I honestly don't.

 

Uncle Sam Antiques, Canon City, Colorado

The main "showroom" at Uncle Sam's.

One of the next places we went was a nifty little antique shop called Whistle Post Antiques along Main Street. We’ve been looking for hooks for our bathroom for some time, and we found four for only $2 each. (Being excited about bathroom hooks led to a brief oh-my-god-what’s-happened-to-me existential crisis, but we had some barbecue and beer, and that seemed to settle the ennui.) A good thing and a bad thing happened at Whistle Post. First of all, they did not accept credit or debit cards. Kimball’s, anyone? But, the guy at the counter, for no reason whatsoever, gave us the hooks for only $6, and Adrienne happened to have that in cash. Buy three hooks get one hook free. Awesome. Still. The credit card thing.

Whistle Post Antiques, Cañon City, Colorado

The extra-nice guy at Whistle Post Antiques gave us a great deal on some hooks. And though he wouldn't take plastic, he did say he'd let us mail him a check. I'm not making this up. Mail him a check. Anyway, great guy, cool store, and very good prices.

Next door there was a strange antique store, garage sale, flea-market, auto parts, hardware shop hybrid store that had the most puzzling collection of merchandise I’ve ever seen in one store. A sampling of items: Fishing poles, motorcycle, dishware, hand tools, framed art, books, electronics, cords, twine, shoelaces, clothing. The place reminded me of an old insurance salvage store I used to go to as a kid in Missouri.

In a box of hubcaps on the floor, there were three rusty and dirt-caked baby-moon hubcaps that would look great on the trailer. Five bucks for the pair. And somewhere in the deep cave of that store, Adrienne found a weird metal hook shaped like a flower. One dollar. I could have spent the rest of my life in that store, and would have, too, if Adrienne hadn’t dragged me out.

Cañon City, Colorado

Four hooks from the Whistle Post place, the weird flower-shaped hook that we'll put in the trailer, and the baby moons, which really shined up nicely. Here's a trick I learned: You can shine chrome and remove rust with WD-40 and tin foil. Thanks, Internet.

 

Strange insurance-salvage-style shop which might be named "Garage Sale" in Canon City.

Strange insurance-salvage-style shop which might be named "Garage Sale" or "Toolrite Zone" in Canon City.

There’s a new brewery in Cañon City: Royal Gorge Brewing Co. They don’t have any of their own brews yet because of some licensing snafus with the city. But the brewing room is all set up and ready to go. The taps now have the usual Colorado suspects: Bristol; Tommyknocker; New Belgium. Not complaining. Love the Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown ale. We’ll be back when they get their own beers going.

Royal Gorge Brewing Co., Cañon City, Colorado

Royal Gorge Brewing Co., Cañon City, Colorado

 

Royal Gorge Brewing Co., Cañon City, Colorado

Royal Gorge Brewing Co., Cañon City, Colorado.

 

Royal Gorge Brewing Co., Cañon City, Colorado

Apparently, pulled-pork barbecue sandwiches traditionally come with cole slaw actually in the sandwich. Did not know that. This place does it right, then.

 

Royal Gorge Brewing Co., Cañon City, Colorado

Adrienne had the cheeseburger, which she said was fantastic.

After lunch and some more driving around, we stopped off at an access point for the Arkansas River to do a little fishing. I did not catch anything because I left my fishing hat at home.

Fishing the Arkansas River, Canon City, Colorado

While I fished, Adrienne lazed around on the shore reading on a blanket.

 

Fishing the Arkansas River, Canon City, Colorado

Fishing the Arkansas River, Canon City, Colorado

 

Fishing the Arkansas River, Canon City, Colorado

Fishing the Arkansas River, Canon City, Colorado

Overall, a very pleasant day. Are we in denial about hoarding? Maybe. But whatever. We got some cool stuff.