From the folks behind Pueblo's legendary Mill Stop Café, and bearing its own legacy in the Springs, Estela's is your stop for spot-on, house red and green chiles smothering popular plates like the El Burro burrito. Free sopapillas at meal's end, plus a new, 33-tequila custom margarita bar.
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)
Bites 2013: Biscuits and Gravy
First off, these aren't your crappy store-bought biscuits that come from a tube that explodes when you twist it. (Though as kids, we loved watching the cats jump and run from the kitchen post-"Pop!") They're excellent, altitude-lightened, house-made sourdough buttermilk biscuits. But they're really sponges for a killer 14-spice sausage gravy. You have the option to change up for a bacon gravy, for which we wouldn't fault you. ($4.99 large/$2.99 half order)
Bites 2013: Alaskan Burger
Big Mac-esque but better because A) it's not Ronald's monstrosity from a mega-chain B) it features quality Ranch Foods Direct beef C) locals say so. A middle bun and layers of chopped lettuce split two quarter-pound patties cloaked in melted American cheese. A house Thousand Island dressing wets the buns and your chin. ($6.35/$8.85 with fries and a drink)
Insider Guide 2010
Colloquially known as "The Indy" or "The Single Most Amazing Piece of Local Print Owned or Not Owned by a Megalith of Publishing" (used interchangeably), the paper boasts 126,000 regular readers and, unlike the local daily, has yet to force-feed a copy of the New Testament to its readers.
Best of 2013: Cultural Attraction/Museum
Best of 2013: Art Exhibition
This year, the FAC's standout show — at least according to Indy readers — was the FAC's groundbreaking Son of Pop by Floyd D. Tunson. The mammoth retrospective of the Manitou Springs artist's work garnered acclaim from both art critics and visitors. "It really has resonated far beyond this community," museum director Blake Milteer says. "That's what you want. You want an artist who has really sent ripples out into the world." The FAC also earns love for its theater and education offerings. "In each area, we did some truly amazing stuff," says president/CEO Sam Gappmayer. Bottom line, the staff works hard to carry on the vision the center's founders formulated in the 1930s: to be a resource for culture in all its variations. — Rhonda Van Pelt
Best Of 2013 • IndyPick: Art Show You Can't Shake: Mother: Photographs by Carol S. Dass
Who would have thought that following around an 85-year-old woman would end up so gripping? Mary watching the rain from her garage. Mary eating a juicy peach. Mary grocery shopping. Mother worked because it was so subtle; nothing forced nor glamorous. Funny? Yes. Somehow so very familiar? Oh yes, I could feel the cotton of Mary's housecoats or the quilt on her bed. In only 27 images, Carol Dass shared a compelling narrative of her mother's life, complete with telling specifics and well-executed mystery. There's so much more about Mary — and my mother, for that matter — than I'll ever know. — Edie Adelstein
Best Of 2012: Bang-for-your-Buck Restaurant
Best Of 2012: Power Lunch