Colorado Springs native. Part time hermit/musician/music promoter. Member of local band 'The Heartless' and co-founder of local music showcase 'Kiowa Sessions' firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/ishhod
Best Of 2015: Restaurant Wine List
A while ago, a meme was going around on social media: "The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink." As the mother of two girls, I can tell you, no, the wine is not the most expensive part of parenting, but that's mainly because I take advantage of The Blue Star's half-off-wine Sundays. I can choose from hundreds of bottles and pay just 50 percent of the usual price. And right now, The Blue Star is showcasing some of its 1.5-liter offerings on special weekends. "It's pretty rare to open a large bottle and sell it by the glass," says manager Erika Mullett. She's excited to uncork a 1997 Chateau Routas, a 50/50 blend of Syrah and Cabernet. Me, I'm looking to find some new wines that age well ... the teenage years aren't that far away. — Amanda Lundgren
Best Of 2015: Bar Patio
Best Of 2015: Place to Shoot Pool
Phantom Canyon closed down earlier this year for main-floor restaurant updates and renovations. But it needed no help with its second-floor offerings. The rooftop patio opened in the summer of 2013 with a spectacular view of the Peak, high tables with cool fire pits, and full food and drink service in the open air. The 10-table pool hall also boasts great views of the mountains and city sports-bar atmosphere, with TVs often turned to the game du jour and specials Sunday through Wednesday — including free pool with any food purchase on Mondays. — Carrie Simison
Bites 2013: Avocado Pork Taco
The avocado pork burrito here might be legend, but this double-layer soft corn tortilla version deserves your fealty too. Scarlet-hued, marinated shredded pork is met with a thick layer of mashed avocado then topped with tomatoes, a pinch of shredded cheese and ample crispy lettuce. Eat two and call us in the morning. ($3.65 each)
Best Of 2015: Patio Dining
Best Of 2015: Mexican
First things first: The North Academy location of Amanda's Fonda is actually now called Amanda's Cantina. Same owners, same recipes — manager Michael Martinez says the name was changed because a lot of his potential customers didn't know Amanda's Fonda served Mexican food. Something else specific to the north side is the Sunday brunch featuring an omelet station, a $3 Bloody Mary bar and a host of Mexican favorites like empanadas and tortilla soup. Across town, the west side patio, with its babbling brook, is one of the most popular seats in town. But even if you dine indoors, an oversized margarita can also make for some eye candy. — Amanda Lundgren
Best Of 2015: Movie Theater
Nothing against sterile corporate chains, because God knows we all love 'em, but indie movie houses are still one of the best barometers of a city's cultural vitality. Thankfully, discerning cinephiles can count on Kimball's for the kind of films that would otherwise require a trip to Denver. This summer's offerings have ranged from a much-acclaimed Amy Winehouse documentary and a Brian Wilson biopic to Sundance-ready fare like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Oh yeah, and there's a fully stocked bar, too. Let's see Tinseltown top that. — Bill Forman
Source: Purple Mountain Coffee
Get the: Spicy sipping chocolate
Rico's features a rotating selection of 20 wines by the glass. Look for an assortment of varietals including organic, vegan and sustainably harvested wines.
Rico's serves Purple Mountain Coffee products brewed in fancy Chemex carafes. You can also order sipping chocolates, alcohol and eats from Poor Richard's next door.
Best Of 2013: Cutting Edge Restaurant
Nosh has won this category since 2008, back when it was called "Innovative Menu." Which is kind of amusing, since the menu hasn't actually changed a whole lot since mid-2010, when then-chef Shane Lyons (who recently opened Distilled NY in Tribeca, to positive reviews) created many of what have become known as the "staples," in manager Tyler Schiedel's words. But that's how good they've been — to carry on at the forefront of the collective culinary consciousness, as if exciting introductions were still being made. Well, the good news, according to Schiedel, is that tinkering is about to begin again under consulting chef Andrew Sherrill from the Blue Star; expect new dishes in the next few months. Nosh's bar program, too, deserves a nod, highlighting quality craft beers and creative cocktails. "We couldn't do it without the entire staff," says Schiedel.— Matthew Schniper
Bites 2013: Spicy Bison Sandwich
If ever a better way to eat bison tongue has existed, we know it not. Nosh's chefs braise the meat stupid-tender with tomato paste and red wine over the course of 24-plus hours at 200 degrees. They then cook it with caramelized onions, jalapeños and Anaheims, receiving more kick from cayenne mayo and pepper jack cheese, melted onto Old School Bakery bread. Dunk that in a sweet jus constructed of the braising liquid refortified with extra carrots to draw out natural sugars. Tatonka! ($9.50 includes a side, lunch only)
Best Of 2015: Irish Pub
With weekly pub sing-alongs, half-priced Whiskey Wednesdays, and the most epically Irish Sunday brunch imaginable, it's easy to see why Jack Quinn's is Colorado Springs' favorite Irish pub. The place is Irish through and through. You'll find traditional music on Sunday evenings, your favorite brews on tap, and an authentic menu filled with rich and filling home-style cuisine. Sláinte! — Bridgett Harris
In the constant battle to provide the best green chili around, Western Omelette consistently dishes out award-worthy stuff. Try it for breakfast over the breakfast chimichanga, or pace yourself and go with the club burger for lunch. Either way you can't lose, especially with the friendly service and pro-wallet prices.