Food & Drink

Friday, June 5, 2015

Coquette's expanded space open today

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 2:43 PM

I told you back in January about Coquette's Bistro & Bakery's plans to expand next door into the former Smiley's Bakery and Café. 

They had hoped to be open before now, but nobody's surprised about delays when it comes to predicted opening dates. So, no biggie, they finally opened this morning in the new retail and cafe space. 

I haven't been by yet — pinned to the computer, writing, go figure — but I did rip these teaser pics off Coquette's Facebook page

If any are still left: Earlier today they were dishing maple bacon donuts in honor of National Donut Day, a pointless ... I mean, um, important holiday if ever there were one. I digress. Whatever, 'cuz bacon.

Cute new tables with big-ass logo tops. Done. - COURTESY COQUETTE'S
  • Courtesy Coquette's
  • Cute new tables with big-ass logo tops. Done.

Pre-diabetes be damned. You are mine. (I don't actually have pre-diabetes for the record.) - COURTESY COQUETTE'S
  • Courtesy Coquette's
  • Pre-diabetes be damned. You are mine. (I don't actually have pre-diabetes for the record.)

Did somebody say "schwag"? - COURTESY COQUETTE'S
  • Courtesy Coquette's
  • Did somebody say "schwag"?

Think IKEA, only different. - COURTESY COQUETTE'S
  • Courtesy Coquette's
  • Think IKEA, only different.

A grab-and-go cooler in the retail market. That's pretty much all I can think of to say about this pic. - COURTESY COQUETTE'S
  • Courtesy Coquette's
  • A grab-and-go cooler in the retail market. That's pretty much all I can think of to say about this pic.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Beyond the Gallery goes to Wild Goose

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 2:23 PM

  • Courtesy Zach Wolfson
On the heels of news that Wild Goose Meeting House is going to expand, Beyond the Gallery released its video devoted to co-owner Russ Ware today.

Beyond the Gallery creator Zach Wolfson says that Ware's video "is pretty different and a fun contrast to the others." Ware's not a typical artist, but calls himself an "environmental artist" because of the way Wild Goose "invites community and invites connection. I think there's an art to that."

Click here to watch the video, and here for other episodes from Season 3. On Thursday, Wolfson will release a behind-the-scenes video on Ware.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

UPDATE: Renegade wines stir up industry, are available locally

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 4:31 PM


Update: As is obvious, Sovereignty Wines commented on this post with a big ol' stash of In Pursuit of Balance wines it carries, including Cobb WinesFaillaKutch Wines, and more. Talking on the phone with co-owner Gundega Spons, it's clear the "upstart" winemakers are making interesting stuff, though it's not the cheapest out there.

"They are more expensive. The ones that I listed range from $30 to $60, so they're not going to be your $9.99 bottle you're going to pick up on a Monday night for pizza," Spons says. "Some of them are funky and weird. They're just ... they're handcrafted. They're made with care. They're made with the intention of making wine for a specific palate.

"I hate to pick on Yellow Tail — they just source grapes from wherever they can and dump them in a vat and call them wine, and it doesn't matter what year it is, what the soil was like that day, the weather was that summer, none of that matters to them — but these guys really take their time.

"And yeah, some of them are funky. We like to call it 'The Old World Funk.' Some of them are like that barnyard, which sounds gross to the novice, but is something that a lot of people look forward to."

——— Original post: Tuesday, June 2, 4:31 p.m. ———

Last week, the New York Times Magazine ran a great piece by Bruce Schoenfeld titled "The Wrath of Grapes." In it, we learn about the group In Pursuit of Balance, a collection of some 33 California wine makers who are tired of making "wines they deem generically obvious and overblown" — also known as "Parker wines," after the hugely influential wine critic Robert Parker. They want a sense of place to be obvious in the finished product.

The winemakers are taking the scene by storm, inciting blowback and support along the way, and replacing more traditional wines in restaurants in places like Brooklyn and San Francisco.

It's a little hard to describe what these new wines taste like (and a lack of consistency seems to be part of the fun) and I have yet to personally taste any, but here are some snippets:

• "Parr’s wines are full of aromas and flavors that admirers compare to things you would never think to connect to wine, like the leaf-­strewn ground in a forest. ... He prefers an alcohol concentration below 14 percent and often far lower, depending on the grape variety, as opposed to the 15 percent and higher that is common in California."

• "'It has to be possible to make more perfumed — more aromatically driven — wines in California.'"

• "They might be bottled without sulfur, which is used by a vast majority of winemakers to ward off bacteria, or aged underground in amphorae. They might look cloudy, or have a slight carbonation, or still be undergoing fermentation."

• "One seemed to taste more like minerals than fruit. Another was light and refreshing. A third seemed virtually flavorless, as if the wine wasn’t even ready to drink."

The whole piece is well worth a read.

Anyway, the wine sounded like a lot of fun, so I did some light checking. Coaltrain Wine & Spirits did not have any when asked, but Cheers Liquor Mart says it carries bottles from Calera Wine Company and Flowers Vineyard and Winery. The Broadmoor's Summit Restaurant also came through, with general manager Mike Lykens saying the restaurant pours Sandhi WinesRed Car and is trying to get Hanzell Vineyards.

"I like the idea of 'In Pursuit of Balance,'" Lykens writes in an email to the Indy. "These wine styles with lower alcohol and elevated acid is exactly the style of wine I personally like to drink and I feel pairs much better with food. Obviously there are foods in which big, powerful, rich red wines do well — and we carry those wines — but that isn’t something that we seek out. We seek out wines with structure and complexity. I have been lucky to have been around great [sommeliers] in my career, and the pursuit of balance in wine has been a consistent tune, well before the movement that we’re discussing."

See the rest of Lykens' take below:
The member wineries in the “Pursuit…” are wines that we have to seek out, and do. Their philosophies and approach to winemaking are exactly what we identify with here at Summit and what we’re looking for. Wines with a sense of place—we don’t want new world wines to try to be an old world wine, but their approach can be similar. Good winemaking is good winemaking—and a major part of winemaking happens in the vineyards well before the winemakers actually get their hands on the grapes. If the grapes are picked too late, there is only so much the winemaker can do. That’s why the philosophy is important, if the enologist and the winemaker, (and sometimes the owner) aren’t on the same page the end product will reflect that—disjointed and uninteresting.

Robert Parker has done a great job aiding the consumer in evaluating wines, if they find a wine that they like, and Parker agrees and gives the wine a solid score this gives the consumer confidence in their palate and a judgment of a wine. He has done a lot for the industry, he has brought attention to wine makers and regions that many consumers may not have been aware of. Parker also has a lot of influence on how a winery will approach their winemaking and ultimately the end product of a wine, which is a position that I have trouble with. I understand why so many wineries have catered to his tastes, because he is their best sales person. When Parker rates a wine at 100 points, that wine is going to sell out, and the law of supply and demand tells us that wine is quickly to jump in price. Unfortunately, we have wines out there that are incredibly expensive and the quality value just isn’t there. Then we have a very small percentage of people actually drinking this wine that is supposedly phenomenal—and Parker says it is so it must be true—but very few will actually be able to make that evaluation on their own.

My personal tastes are much different than Robert Parker, I don’t like overly alcoholic wines with driven by fruit and oak exclusively. These wines are uninteresting to me, but consumers have proved that they want those wines and are willing to pay for them, so you will find a majority of wine lists out there filled with these wines. Parker has an important place in this world of wine and wine writing and we get to draw a line in the sand and then argue about who is right and who is not. This is good for the industry… as long as we each have a glass of wine in hand while doing it.

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Pueblo native's nonprofit seeks help in Nepal

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 11:22 AM

A few days ago, Mission Coffee Roasters sent out a newsletter in hopes of helping raise funds for a friend and client's nonprofit initiative in Nepal. 

That group is called Portal Bikes, and was co-founded by Pueblo native Caleb Spear. They were already working in Nepal on their bike development when the recent earthquake hit, and in response launched a new effort to construct smart shelters for families ahead of monsoon season. 

As the group explains, "These shelters cost just over $100, can be assembled in 30 minutes, and can be reused when a person builds a permanent home."

You can learn more about them and contribute toward both the bike and shelter missions on Portal Bikes' Indiegogo page

And here's a little more backstory and perspective from Mission Coffee Roasters:
Mission Coffee Roasters exists for the simple purpose of offering "really good coffee with a mission."

We roast and sell amazing fresh roasted coffee under our label, and the label of non-profits, businesses, churches, and schools for example: to donate profits to, and to help raise funding for good causes and good works locally and abroad for example: and

Shelters are constructed with two open sides so residents can use other local materials to customize the enclosure to a family's specific needs. - COURTESY PORTAL BIKES
  • Courtesy Portal Bikes
  • Shelters are constructed with two open sides so residents can use other local materials to customize the enclosure to a family's specific needs.
Most of this we do quietly in the background while we focus on serving you and your organization delicious fresh roasted coffee (wholesale, office coffee service, fund raising, church cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, at Whole Foods, and retail at Mission).

But, we can't be quiet about this...

The monsoon season is coming in Nepal and we know personally a team from here in Pueblo, Colorado that is working in Nepal to provide for the people of Nepal...shelter and a way forward.

We first got involved with them over a year ago doing a custom labelled coffee to drive awareness for their bike powered agricultural grinder, farm equipment, and cargo bikes. And, like many of you, Mission Coffee Roasters donated cash right after the disaster to help in Nepal. At the time, we didn't know what help was needed, we just knew we had to do something.

The need in Nepal is now clear...

A few days ago, we got the email below from our friends at Portal explaining what is really happening in Nepal and how they are helping and how they could use some help to help more.

Portal's email and video explain how you can help them help Nepal if you feel led to do so.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

City Council seeks volunteer food policy advisors

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 12:10 PM

Around the state and country, food and agriculture coalitions are growing, fueled by concerned citizens who seek to influence matters at their local level. 

Here, City Council member Jill Gaebler proposed creating a Food Policy Advisory Board, following in the footsteps of more than 20 other Colorado communities. 

Now that the group has been formalized, the city is calling upon volunteers to staff the board for three-year terms. 

All the details are in the press release below: 


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Friday, May 29, 2015

Green Man closes under murky circumstances

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 4:59 PM

Our story starts here: 

Green Man Is Moving: We are sad to report that Green Man is moving from the beautiful Carter Payne chapel. Due to long...

Posted by Green Man Taproom & Beer Garden on Thursday, May 28, 2015

So I walked down a block from our offices to find this notice on the door at 320 S. Weber St.:

The sign on the former Green Man Taproom as seen Friday, May 29. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The sign on the former Green Man Taproom as seen Friday, May 29.

I then called Green Man proprietor Scott Simmons for comment. He took my call, but said he was on the phone and would have to call me back. He didn't, and since hasn't responded to another message left hours later in the day.

Following a tip, I reached out next to the Colorado Springs Police Department, and obtained the following document, pertaining to a service call on Wednesday, May 27. As you can read, it documents the caller — building landlord Lynn Schlemeyer, former owner of Garden of the Gods Gourmet — reporting "old tenants who have been evicted via court order and are now bck on scn [sic] ... broke locks."


I spoke to Schlemeyer and her attorney and next obtained the following document, which is a court order issued Friday, May 22, awarding "immediate possession of the property" to LWP Properties, Schlemeyer's company.


Inside of that report you can read about the alleged water damage and claims made by both the plaintiff (Simmons) and defendants (LWP Properties) regarding rent delinquencies and responsibility over the damage. 

Meanwhile, another tip led me onto Craigslist, where a large 20-tap setup is for sale for $1000, along with other items appearing to be from the same seller locally. The setup does appear quite similar to that used at Green Man, pictured here:

Green Man proprietor Scott Simmons in mid-2014. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Green Man proprietor Scott Simmons in mid-2014.

We will update this post with any further information as it becomes available. 

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Friday, May 22, 2015

FAC seeks O'Keeffe partnerships

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 4:10 PM

Everybody likes a blockbuster exhibition. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is due. 

Yep, Georgia O’Keeffe should more than suffice. Specifically Eloquent Objects: Georgia O’Keeffe and Still-Life Art in New Mexico, running June 27 through Sept. 13. 

As part of that, the FAC is seeking community partners in the food and drink realms for marketing tie-ins. Here's a press release from the museum with the details:
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is looking for partners in the community-wide Year of Georgia O’Keeffe celebration, which will be highlighted by the international traveling exhibition Eloquent Objects: Georgia O’Keeffe and Still-Life Art in New Mexico (June 27-Sept. 13).
Participating restaurants and bars are asked to create a new O’Keeffe-inspired dish or drink.
The FAC would promote these specials through its website, email and social media channels, and their customers then would get $5 off admission to the exhibition. The customers would get that deal through a special discount code (printed on receipts or the FAC can provide coupons), and they would get the discount whether or not they purchased the specific O’Keeffe special.
Contact Dori Mitchell ( for more.  

  • Courtesy International Arts

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Principal's Office releases new menu

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2015 at 2:14 PM

This just in from Eric Nicol of The Principal's Office at Ivywild School:
We got a new menu releasing this week. It is tiki drink inspired. Meaning our style of drinks (strong and fun), but with tiki type ingredients. Lots of rum.
'Nuff said. Check out the full menu here:  Principals_office_cocktail_spring_051115.pdf


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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Liquor stamp — get yours

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2015 at 11:51 AM

In this week's Indy, you'll find our American Craft Beer Week guide, which among services, highlights the inaugural Pints & Plates event downtown and our Hops & Stops brewery tour

If all that's not enough to satiate your desire for local drink exploration, you may wish to check out The Colorado Springs Passport, a $20 booklet that will get you two-for-one drink deals at 34 venues in the area — to be used between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. 

To be clear, the Indy has nothing to do with this passport, which was launched by a company in Denver in 2013 and has since spread to 10 cities. Also note the May 12 beginning date on their website for sales. 

Here's a list of participants:

2South Food and Wine Bar
Bingo Burger
The Blue Star
At least you don't have to go through any customs or immigration checkpoints with this passport. - COURTESY  THE PASSPORT PROGRAM
  • Courtesy The Passport Program
  • At least you don't have to go through any customs or immigration checkpoints with this passport.
Bristol Brewing Company
The Coffee Exchange
Couture's Bistro
Fieldhouse Brewing Company
Fossil Brewing Company
Garden of the Gods Gourmet Market and Cafe
Great Storm Brewing
Iron Bird Brewing Co.
Jack Quinn's Irish Pub & Restaurant
La'au's Taco Shop
Manitou Brewing Company
McCabe's Tavern
Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant
Paris Crepe
Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
Pizzeria Rustica
Poor Richard's Restaurant
The Principal's Office
The Public House
Rasta Pasta
Red Leg Brewing Company
Rico's Cafe & Wine Bar
Smiling Toad Brewery
Taste at The Fine Arts Center
The Warehouse Restaurant & Gallery
The Wild Goose Meeting House

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Ranch Foods buys Federal - expansion underway

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 3:54 PM

Finally some good news from the folks at Ranch Foods Direct ... well, aside from their involvement in the soon-to-arrive Colorado Springs Public Market

After the recent debacle with District 11 and other school systems that have ceased purchasing RFD ground beef, RFD has completed the acquisition of Federal Food Service, a distributor located on the east side of town. 

A press release touts the following benefits: 
* A much-needed local food hub and commercial kitchen;
* Room for additional smoking, curing and other prepared food applications;
* Ideal facilities to handle a much larger selection of fresh produce;
* Room to offer educational and food apprenticeship-type programs;
* Roughly 3 acres of property landscaped to provide pollinator habitat.  
RFD owner Mike Callicrate shares that the cost to buy Federal was $1.4 million, and that includes a truck fleet, more than 100 active customer contracts (some to major organizations, such as prisons), and several staff — "everything from fork lifts to racking and the crappy coffee in the kitchen cupboards," he says. 

The current RFD retail front off Fillmore Avenue may stay open, he says, but he is still in talks with his landlord. But all meat processing will move to the new spot, where Callicrate's parent company Good Foods Concepts will handle the wholesale contracts, while the Ranch Foods Direct brand will remain the retail link to consumers. 

RFD, via GFC, now becomes a full-service provider of everything from aluminum foil to to-go wear, proteins and produce. And if current customers wish to stay with conventional suppliers, Callicrate will serve that need. But he confirms that his team will push hard to replace as much as possible with local and sustainable options, including area farms and RFD meat. 
Ranch Foods Direct's Mobile Slaughter Unit aids smaller farms in getting their product to market in a more financially viable manner. - They've done community demonstrations at Venetucci Farm in past years to help educate consumers and be fully transparent in their process. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Ranch Foods Direct's Mobile Slaughter Unit aids smaller farms in getting their product to market in a more financially viable manner. They've done community demonstrations at Venetucci Farm in past years to help educate consumers and be fully transparent in their process.

Yes, that could even mean going after D-11's business again, but this time selling them the same conventional meat they're procuring elsewhere at potentially a better price, says Callicrate, who would love it if they were instead able to afford RFD meat, but would not see servicing their conventional needs as hypocrisy. 

"We're filling the needs for the community," he says. "We'll sell Callicrate Beef hard and hope that folks buy it. But we'll fulfill whatever products they want. You can't build a box that you can't survive in. If you structure a business with so many restrictions, there's no way to make it. If we're going to keep Federal's customers, we'll have to give them what they want." 

Even if Callicrate couldn't land RFD meat in D-11 regularly again, he may be able to keep some of the district's expenses directed into the local economy versus outward, which is at least one minor victory. 

Aside from that one situation though, this takeover could be quite big for RFD, which takes the building over on May 10 and hopes to be operational within 90 days. 

The 28,000 square feet will feature a 3,000-square-foot commercial kitchen that will be available for rent to area cottage industry types or food trucks in need of a commissary. And beyond expansive refrigeration, the site will host Shawn Saunders' The Sourdough Boulangerie, plus a charcuterie and smoked meats department. 

The new hub will facilitate a meat market space planned for the Colorado Springs Public Market as well by transferring fresh product over for another retail sales point. 

"This is really going to greatly enhance our ability to get back on track with ground beef business," Callicrate says, referring to that lost by the school districts' pullouts. And with full trucks deploying with both meat and produce versus smaller vans with only RFD meat, Callicrate believes his pricing structures will be more competitive too, due to distribution efficiency. 

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

$1 to watch a four-minute animal cruelty video?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 3:04 PM

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5 and 6, Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) representatives will be at the west lawn of UCCS from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. screening their 10 Billion Lives short video as part of their 10 Billion Lives North American Tour

And by screening, I mean paying you $1 to watch the four-minute video, which is also viewable online at their website, and features undercover footage captured inside slaughterhouses and factory farms. 

The group calls it a "pay per view" strategy that "is part of an increasingly popular tactic employed by animal activists in which people are incentivized to learn how their food gets from farm to fridge." 

They claim that more than 80 percent of viewers make a commitment to change their diets after watching the film. For some, that means going vegan; others might simply reduce the quantity of meat they consume regularly. The group also says that follow-up surveys show that 60 percent of those polled stick to their pledge. 

The film and tour's name comes from the statistic that 10 billion animals (they qualify "land" animals, so not including fish) are killed annually to feed the U.S. appetite for meat. 

There are many local resources for eating more grain-based should you watch the film and decide that you would like to reduce your animal consumption. 

What this film does not have time to address is a secondary environmental benefit of boycotting factory-farmed meats

And for those resolute to keep eating animals, a better option is of course supporting small, local family farms whose practices are not only much more humane, but who can actually contribute to sequestering carbon and improving our ecosystem. 

Up to 32 people can watch the four-minute video at a time. - COURTESY FARM
  • Courtesy FARM
  • Up to 32 people can watch the four-minute video at a time.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Rise of the gourmet Cowboy

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 5:48 PM

Outside signage. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Outside signage.
Cowboy Star finally opens in University Village tomorrow. 

They are the lauded San Diego-based steakhouse we first told you about last August in Side Dish, who were head-hunted by local developers, and who focus on high-end, natural meats.  

The outfit hosted a media preview this past Friday evening, where we were treated to samples of several cocktails, a few starters, four entrées and two desserts, plus a tour of the stunning space. 

We generally refrain from too much critical observation during these previews in anticipation of our regular review process at a later date. So I won't go dish by dish here with commentary. But the photos below tell their own story. 

We were quite impressed at more than one turn and the quality of the meats is unquestionable. Chef Victor Jimenez also won our hearts when he talked about taking the kitchen staff out foraging for local ingredients when he gets time. And co-owner Jon Weber proved quite a storyteller over dinner with an intimate account of the restaurant's vision, founding and philosophy. 

I will also say that the Caesar salad was simply perfect and the beef plates in particular shine: the tartare and the phenomenal Porterhouse. We scraped marrow; we dragged incredibly sharp new knifes across bone; we hit fat pockets that forced euphoria. So far, I rather like this place. 

Rise of the gourmet Cowboy
Rise of the gourmet Cowboy Rise of the gourmet Cowboy Rise of the gourmet Cowboy Rise of the gourmet Cowboy Rise of the gourmet Cowboy Rise of the gourmet Cowboy Rise of the gourmet Cowboy Rise of the gourmet Cowboy

Rise of the gourmet Cowboy

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Public Market draws closer

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 3:15 PM

The folks behind the Colorado Springs Public Market held a stakeholders meeting and public discussion with select community members earlier today. (We weren't able to attend on short notice.) 

This is ahead of a new wave of "community engagement" around the project, and a projected summer opening — yes, this summer — of a 5,200 square-foot "model home" that's adjacent to a 22,000 square-foot building (the former Gazette newspaper sorting facility) which will become the permanent home to the market in 2016, they say. 

View a rendering of the area and much more, including a current assets breakdown, in this newly released 2014 Report to the Community:  CSPM_2014AnnualReport.pdf

Otherwise, we'll surely be updating you as summer draws closer on the model home details. 

A rendering of the "model home" and permanent locations from CSPM's annual report. - CSPM
  • CSPM
  • A rendering of the "model home" and permanent locations from CSPM's annual report.

The steering committee circa 2013 — yes, this market's been a long time in the making. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The steering committee circa 2013 — yes, this market's been a long time in the making.

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Wild Ginger to return to OCC

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Our pal Adam Leech from The Leechpit just tipped us off that a Wild Ginger sign has gone up on Colorado Avenue and 27th Street in Old Colorado City. 

A post on their Facebook page confirms the sighting's verity. We'll have more news as soon as we hear from Wild Ginger.

Looking forward to opening our new location off of W. Colorado Ave! Opening date is still being determined. Be on a look out!

Posted by Wild Ginger Thai Restaurant on Friday, March 13, 2015
Coming soon ... - ADAM LEECH
  • Adam Leech
  • Coming soon ...

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Babinski claims 2nd at World Barista Championship

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Following up on our March 11 cover story, "Raising the Barista," comes news out of the World Barista Championship in Seattle.
U.S. Barista champ and World Barista runner-up Charles Babinski, pulling shots at G&B. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • U.S. Barista champ and World Barista runner-up Charles Babinski, pulling shots at G&B.

Our Colorado Springs-born subject, Charles Babinski, pulled out an impressive second-place finish over the weekend.  Australia's Sasa Sestic earned the win.

This was Babinski's first WBC appearance, having earned his entry via a U.S. Barista Championship win this past February in Long Beach, California. But he is both respectably and unfortunately familiar with the second-place slot, having finished as the runner-up in the USBC three consecutive years before he finally clinched victory in 2015. 

Based on what he told me in March, I presume he's at least content with the still highly impressive finish: "I'm going to take advantage of every opportunity that comes around. The competitions are a good example," he said. "It was something that I did because it was there and scared me a little bit and I knew that I would be in a better place at the end of it than I was in the beginning."

I also quoted Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters' Andy Sprenger, out of Lakewood, who's a two-time U.S. Brewers Cup winner, among many other accolades. Sprenger offered perspective on why these competitions matter to folks outside of the competitive circuit, essentially saying that they help encourage innovation, showcase an extreme level of commitment to the craft, and improve quality and service back at cafes from which the competitors hail. In turn, other coffee shops tend to follow the trendsetters. 

Sprudge's Twitter feed, @SprudgeLive had the most comprehensive coverage from the weekend, should you care to see each competitor's drinks and lots of backstory commentary. 

Here's just a few highlights from the top finishers:

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