Dale Street Café
115 E. Dale St., 578-9898, mydalestreetcafe.com
Everything I recall from my 2013 Dale Street visit pretty much remains the same: super cute Victorian vibe, sincere service, and clear attempts to have a little fun with food trends while leaning on a very eclectic menu that misses as much as it hits.
Take for instance a kimchi burger ($8.50) and Wild at Heart pasta ($13.95) at lunch. Better kimchi patties I've had have incorporated the fermented cabbage slivers into the beef and trusted American palates to handle some spiciness. This one's tame, with sparse kimchi intermixed in the fixings, and a flavorless well-done patty, though I like the unusually thin wheat bun and great French onion soup side. The pasta offers a gluten-free brown rice noodle alternative, perhaps over-boiled as it turns to mush easily. And though stacked with red onions, wilted spinach, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and walnuts, its red pepper-mango chutney sauce doesn't really pop. Again, tame. — Matthew Schniper
Pikes Peak Authentic German Food
While it's possible to catch the truck at area breweries, the first place to look for Authentic German Food is during lunch hour outside the new and glistening PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom Outpatient Clinic at 3141 Centennial Blvd. There you'll see a silver trailer pulled by an SUV and staffed by husband-and-wife team Jane McAllister and John Dort.
Jane asked if I was from another food truck and scouting them, but I was only interested in the Bratwurst im Brötchen ($5.50), the currywurst ($4) and the Frikadellen ($5), which are basically hamburger rounds with gravy. The currywurst was a true highlight, the Sara's Sausage slices covered in a vaguely sweet tomato-based sauce, flavors of onion and curry powder balancing against the meaty notes. On bread from Wimberger's Old World Bakery, the pale brat was textbook, with onions and sauerkraut. The Frikadellen mostly tasted burned, but the side of deeply roasted potatoes was stellar. — Bryce Crawford
Carniceria Leonela Meat Market
3736 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 637-2641, carnicerialeonelagrocerystore.com
We remain big fans of Carniceria Leonela for multifold reasons best simplified by the word "authenticity." From its butcher counter with all the cuts you won't find at the regular supermarket (e.g., beef tongue) to its expansive market of imported Mexican staples and the attached taqueria filled with Spanish chatter, everything is transportive. Plus, for $15, you can easily stuff two bellies with street-style tacos ranging from $1.59 to $1.89 apiece.
The tripas always reigns supreme with its chewy saltiness, even though its classification as "edible offal" sounds gross. Hey, organ meats just aren't for everyone. So maybe tread more familiar territory with barbacoa, asada, carnitas, pollo or pastor tacos — the more common beef, chicken and pork cuts, all treated properly. Your moves at the self-serve salsa and relish counter will round out the flavors: I go ample cilantro and raw white onion, half a Key lime squeeze and the hottest salsa rojo. — Matthew Schniper