Cafe 225 Coffee Shop and Venue
225 N. Weber St., 884-6225
Were it not for a posted "Ministry Philosophy for 225" — first line: "We desire the life-giving aroma of Christ to permeate throughout 225" — you probably wouldn't know you were standing inside First Pres' java spot. Well, then again, there is the really nice soundboard and lighting for the house stage that speaks to deeper funding; the space is beautiful.
Secular slurpers are welcome for the well-made, fair-trade Barista Espresso drinks. I appreciate the coconut and almond milk options, and get the former in my 16-ounce, two-shot vanilla latte ($3.85). The baked items ($1.50 to $2.75), from Gotta Love It! Market-based Jennycakes, are uniformly good. A giant, chocolate-covered coconut macaroon is my favorite treat, followed by a white chocolate-cranberry gluten-free cookie and moist banana-nut muffin. A ham-and-cheese herb scone covers savory desires nicely, too. — Matthew Schniper
907 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1085, thetownhouselounge.com
It turns out Manitou's a lovely place at 9 in the morning (when breakfast at the Townhouse begins). On a recent Tuesday, tourists had yet to stuff the sidewalks and parking spots, weather was in the 70s, and some random shirtless guy was jogging down the middle of the turn lane on the avenue.
There might not be a better place to take all this in than the side patio at the longtime local bar (which now accepts plastic, incidentally). Off a breakfast menu served until noon, its eggs Benedict ($7.95) stands up pretty well considering several aspects fall down on the job: roasted-potatoes nearly ruined with salt, thin English muffins and flat Canadian bacon. The house hollandaise needed a zesty kick and was starting to break, but the eggs oozed golden gorgeousness with each slice of the dome, partially picking up the slack. — Bryce Crawford
123 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 520-0123, springsorleans.com
Breakfast service recently began in conjunction with The Mining Exchange's opening, and the Wyndham Grand Hotel element of that can partially be felt in the pricing: six plates $11 or above, including the $13 Eggs Étouffée. With the ritzy corporate backing came mandated items like oatmeal and a continental breakfast, but items such as this maintain the eatery's Southern roots.
The crawfish étouffée, sporting soft shrimp hunks, arrives with cheese grits topped in two fried eggs and "pistolettes," deep-fried bread roll halves, a casual NOLA bistro accompaniment. The starchy sauce is not spicy, but rich with Cajun seasoning, delicious when mopped up with the oily, airy bread. Dining with a Café au Lait ($2.49) on the pleasantly breezy new alleyway patio — jazz tunes mixing with traffic noise — provides a transportive, big-city feel. It's owner Perry Sanders' original vision, a tribute finally realized, and really cool. — Matthew Schniper