While free UFC fights are a draw for some, those with strictly culinary bloodlust will want the duck wings with jerk seasoning, "spicy balls" (yes, testicles), gator nuggets, the Fully Loaded wood-oven pizza, or excellent brats courtesy of Denver's Continental Sausage.
Bites 2013: Moscato and Ginger Mousse
This dessert is hella sexy, but in a refined, classy way — like an attractive person at the Broadmoor's swimming pool. It's light and airy, with a ginger simple syrup adding a pleasantly biting zing to the creaminess. Then comes a garnish of salted peanut praline for caramelized contrast and a side of Moscato-ginger honey infused with both lemon and vanilla ... so many lovely flavors hitting in harmony. Genius. Pure genius. ($6)
Pick from a variety of items like lo mein, fried rice and spicy pineapple chicken, each only $1.85. Some say portions are bigger if you get it to go.
Best Of 2012: Place to Eat Local/Sustainable
Best Of 2012: Restaurant for Herbivores
Best Of 2012: Neighborhood Restaurant: Manitou
An institution in downtown Manitou Springs, Adam's takes multiple titles each year. There are a couple major reasons, says owner Farley McDonough: "First, we try to be as consistent as possible. ... Second, we don't waver from that which we do well." And why would they? Look at the huevos rancheros, for instance. "It seriously rocks: The green chile is great, the avocado is fresh, the beans are spiced just right, and the eggs are local," says McDonough. As for those most partial to dining on Adam's creekside patio, McDonough has more good news: "My hope for the future is that we can find a way to keep the patio open all winter," she says. — Celine Wright
Bites 2013: Christmas Mountain Falls
Yeah, the menu says Green or Red Mountain Falls, but locals know you can mix them to dramatic effect. Onto a bed of toasted polenta (yup — 'dem ITALian corn grits) capped in cheddar cheese come the vegetarian chilies garnished with scallions and tomatoes and cooled slightly by a dollop of sour cream. Get the added eggs your style (over medium, perhaps?) because the yolk adds another pleasing dimension. There you have it: Christmas year-round. ($7/$10.25 with two eggs).Click here for Adam's Mountain Cafe's Indian Braised Romanesco Recipe!
Source: Colorado Coffee Merchants
Get the: Dirty Chai (chai with espresso)
With ties to the local Greek Orthodox church and doubling as a small peddler of classic religion, history and philosophy books, this opulent outfit (think leather couches) serves excellent Colorado Coffee Merchants-sourced drinks and a killer red bell pepper hummus off a tight food menu.
There are three local sushi eateries (off Academy, Centennial and Powers boulevards) that incorporate "Ai" into their name, all owned separately. From our readers' feedback, you won't be disappointed at any of them.
Turning five soon in the alleyway behind Josh & John's, Alice's does right by Tex-Mex, starting with a nice, warmed house salsa with pleasant bite. The chimichangas plate was our favorite on last visit, but Alice says her gorditas and chicken enchiladas sell best. Great tres leches cake by request.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m., 10 to midnight
The goods: Two-for-one wines, wells and drafts
Best Of 2012: Patio Dining
Amanda's long stay atop the Mexican category was finally broken this year (congrats, Salsa Brava), but its creekside respite is still tops in town, and still best appreciated with a margarita in hand. Plus, with the recent announcement of an expansion near Chapel Hills Mall, the patio power just got a boost. Mark Austin, vice president of real estate and development for the company, says to expect a 1,500-square-foot outdoor seating area with expansive views of Pikes Peak. So when it's the Bodacious Burrito you're craving — with a breeze — you'll soon have two Amanda's outlets from which to choose. — Matthew Schniper
Amanda's is a 12-time Best Of winner in a time of transition: It was sold mid-year to a guy who owns a handful of Wendy's, and he's been talking growth. Regardless, our visit soon after the sale was full of largely satisfying southwestern dishes, and you'll never be disappointed by the creekside patio.