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Favorite Places

    Bites 2012

    Not just a haunt for Colorado College students and faculty, Wooglin's is a fine stop for anyone at all three meals. A cup of Barista coffee with an outstanding quiche in the a.m.; a spicy bagel melt or giant Greek salad at lunch; or daily house soup, French dip, or portobello Swiss burger with a beer at dinner.

    InSider 2010

    Wooglin's offers almost everything: perfect coffee creations (including a velvety mocha), hot and cold "overstuffed" sandwiches, hummus, burgers, quesadillas, salads and even veggie chili. With live music in the eclectic interior, it's no wonder that townies help Colorado College kids keep it busy at all hours.

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    Best Of 2013: Place to Buy a Thoughtful, Over-the-Top Gift

    Best Of 2013: Place to Buy a Thoughtful, Inexpensive Gift

    Best Of 2013: Store for Accessories

    Best Of 2013: Non-chain Store for Women's Fasions

    Terra Verde's 1,200 scarves are just the beginning. While clothing and jewelry are the best-sellers, this perennial favorite stocks everything from leather boots to bamboo bowls and kids' toys. Inventory is always changing to appeal to the frequent shoppers who make Terra Verde their go-to for gifts both modest and marvelous. Gift-wrapping is free, and owner Chris Sondermann says, "I make sure that when someone receives a gift from Terra Verde, the presentation has a big 'wow' factor." Canine companions are welcome and may sniff out the dog bones under the counter while you're busy smelling the aromatic candles and scented soap, or admiring a pair of pink Boston terrier flannel pajamas. — Darcie Mankell

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    Best Of 2012: Garden Supply/Nursery

    They share the title for top garden go-to every year, despite the fact that the two places are disparate businesses, and have been since 1976. In a way it's fitting, since Rick's Garden and Rick's Nursery share a happy, symbiotic relationship. Set back-to-back on the west side, each shop sends customers to its neighbor, calling on complementary expertise. And given the recent boom in urban homesteading, or just growing your own veggies in the backyard, it only makes sense there's double the help on a local level. Because we're all in this together, right? Just see Rick's of 18th Street's "About Us" webpage: "Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others," Philippians 2:4. — Edie Adelstein

    Best Of 2013: Italian

    When I wrote a 10-year-anniversary review of Paravicini's a few months ago, I was quite impressed by a number of plates, from an excellent eggplant rollatini to a cream-gushing Burrata and decadent mandarin orange vanilla panna cotta. I summarized that the neighborhood eatery had made good on its early potential. And you clearly agree, having awarded it Best Italian in the city dating back to 2005. "It's a stick-to-what-you-know kinda thing," says chef/co-owner Franco Pisani. "When I cook, less is more. Most of my dishes are five ingredients or less. Too many people are trying to complicate food flavors too much, building layers and layers. I just stick to the basics: good, fresh ingredients." — Matthew Schniper

    Bites 2013: Tiramisu

    A good tiramisu is like a classic painting in that all the culinary brushstrokes are authentic, you know when you're seeing the real deal, and a lame knockoff simply will never capture the original's spirit. Paravicini's tiramisu is the equivalent of a primo museum piece, with the ideal creamy texture plus balanced coffee and chocolate notes. A masterpiece. ($6)

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    Best Of 2013: Local Sports Store/Outdoor Outfitter

    Shopping at Mountain Chalet is like skiing at A-Basin in May, or swimming in the Caribbean in December: It hits the sweet spot by bringing together both ends of a glorious spectrum. Undefeated in this category, it couples the variety of a larger, conglomerate sporting merchandise store with all of the personalization and individuality of a locally owned business. Employees have scaled blustery 14ers and made homes in snow caves. They are just as excited about the outdoors as you are, and want to help you get the gear you need to launch you from your couch to K2 ... or, you know, Red Rock Canyon. Periodic clearance sales make the deal even sweeter. — Nathaniel Kelley

    Best Of 2013: Taqueria

    Having been told for years of the unalloyed joys of Monica's, I stopped in at the Fillmore spot to see what the buzz was all about. I ordered a carne asada burrito, took bottles of both red and green salsas, and retired to the dining space at the back with plenty of napkins. The thing was homeric, stuffed to exploding with chewy beef, and ready to absorb squirts of red and green between bites. Note: Be sure to sample the goods at both Springs locations; they are individually operated by members of the Rodriguez family, and each serves up its own proprietary recipes. — Mary Jo Meade

    Bites 2012

    So there I am, driving to Denver with a fresh Monica's breakfast burrito steaming in my hand, burning my mouth each time I bite, yet I can't stop or wait for it to cool. I'm inexplicably compelled to suffer gloriously onward. Is it the chorizo? The salsa verde? Who cares. It is epic.

    Best Of 2012: Wait Staff

    At Mona Lisa, the servers are extremely experienced — one has been there for 15 of the restaurant's 16 years, and the average is about six years. In short, they've been around long enough to know they're not the main event at this fine-dining attraction. "They're attentive, but not overbearing," Mona Lisa owner Jeff Kiepke says simply. Most customers come to Mona Lisa to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or other life event, which means a 2½-hour, four-course fondue meal. And in an environment like that there's a lot to be said for servers who can blend into the background but never be missed. But perhaps the clearest thing you can say: They're the best around. — Pam Zubeck

    Bites 2013: Fondue For Two

    Customize your own four courses, but here's how we'd roll: the Caesar salad first, then the Old World cheese option for the bread-veggie-and-fruit round. The Wild Game Entrée Platter for the main affair, featuring buffalo, trout, boar and more. And then a dark chocolate dessert fondue at meal's end, with a liqueur shot of your choice — Amaretto perhaps? — for a buck more per head. ($49 per person)

    Best of 2012: Bar for a Margarita

    Most of us probably drink our margaritas at night, Mexican vacations excepted. But at the Loop, a lot of people drink margaritas in the middle of the day. They are men waiting for their wives to finish shopping, or exhausted hikers returning from the Incline. "That's my favorite thing on Saturday morning, Sunday morning, is people coming down [from the Incline] and saying it's like the light at the end of the tunnel," Loop manager Amanda Galloway says. The Loop offers 14 margaritas in a regular or grande (32- to 34-ounce) size, but will also make the drink with a tequila of your choice — it's got more than 40 to choose from. Favorites have long included the house and the Horni Grandma with Grand Marnier, but Galloway says people lately have been going for the Skinny, made with lime juice, agave nectar and Partida tequila. — J. Adrian Stanley

    Best Of 2012: Toy Store

    You drink microbrews, frequent farmers markets, and wear beanies spun from local, gently harvested alpaca fiber. When it comes to toys, then, why would you go mass-production? You wouldn't. You would, instead, go to Little Richard's Toy Store, the section of the Poor Richard's emporium where, as co-owner Richard Skorman puts it, "three-quarters of the customers might be under 5 years old, and laughing." Over 17 years, Skorman and company have cultivated relationships with small manufacturers and distributors who make toys that "have a purpose," and often an educational link. The place (which still makes sure to stock the classic Slinkies, Erector Sets, etc.) teems with energy and inspiration. Make sure you're signed up for the birthday club, which gets you sizable discounts once a year. — Kirk Woundy

    Best Of 2012: Vintage Clothing Store

    It's not been two years since Adam Leech's Pit moved to its current North Nevada Avenue location, closer to Colorado College and its throngs of post-ironic retro-chic hunters. Too close, perhaps — apparently Leech will be relocating again in the near future, as Colorado College doesn't intend to renew the lease on the property. It hasn't seemed to damage his confidence, though, as he notes that his store doesn't only sell clothes: "I would challenge anybody to an arm-wrestling contest who claims there's a better stock of vinyl in Colorado Springs." And Leech doesn't stop there. "I'd contend we've got Denver beat, too," he adds. "On a good day." — Wyatt Miller

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    Best Of 2013: Grocery Store

    When turning over control of your body for a new piercing, you want to make sure the person on the other side of the needle is experienced and professional. At Holey Rollers, owner and piercer Marcea Flowers is both. Her safe and sterile downtown shop is celebrating 15 years, which is also how long she's been putting holes into people's bodies. While Flowers says "people ask for all kinds of crazy piercings" (some she won't do, like the backs of necks and Achilles' tendons), the most common requests around these parts are nostrils and navels. Make your Holey Rollers appointment today and pierce away, people. Pierce away.

    Best Of 2013: Middle Eastern

    Falafel. Kufta kabobs. Shawermah. Dolmas. Tabouleh. Babaganooj. Turkish coffee. It doesn't really matter what you order off of Heart of Jerusalem Café's loaded five-page menu of Middle Eastern delicacies, because, frankly, it's all good. Nor does it matter which of the two locations you visit, because when you walk in the door you'll be welcomed like family at both. Top off a visit with the walnut-almond-pistachio-honey baklava, and you'll go home smiling.. — Kirsten Akens

    Best Of 2013: Hummus (tie)

    In the hummus smack-down, we've got two strong contenders. On one side of the ring, brothers Jake and Telly Topakas and their family recipe brought to the States from the Aegean isle of Chios. On the other side, Hussein Abukhdeir and his authentic Jerusalem chickpea concoction, available at two locations. You may prefer to dip your warm pita slices in one version over the other, but in this year's Best Of bout, it's a well-deserved international tie. — Kirsten Akens

    Bites 2012

    The 2011 winner for Best Middle Eastern and Hummus, Heart of Jerusalem is affordable and delicious. Fun blends like the "chikofel" and "beefofel" buck the norm, but it's hard to argue against the $8, shawarma-loaded hummus bowl plate. Baklava mandatory.

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    Best Of 2013: Shoe Store

    multiple locations
 

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