Java Mountain Espresso Bar
3030 N. Circle Drive, podtrailbars.com
Java Mountain peddles light breakfast and lunch items like sandwiches, burritos, muffins, smoothies and coffee drinks made with Dogtooth Coffee Company products. But it does so only on weekdays, from a kiosk inside the Audubon Medical Campus. So if you don't have an orthopedic appointment scheduled, you'll probably never lay eyes on the place.
The shame in that would be missing owner Nicole Rosa's homemade POD Trail Bars ($2.50); the POD stands for "packets of decadence." Each of the Razz-, Java- and LPODS contains chocolate and sugary oats (gluten-free but for severe allergies), deviating with raspberry, coffee and peanut butter, respectively. Cream cheese ramps up the richness of the Razz and Java, and all are awesome in their own right. The good news: You can also buy them at The Little Market & Deli, Ranch Foods Direct, Dogtooth, Sacred Grounds Café and Barr Camp on the Barr Trail. — Matthew Schniper
901 SW Simpson Ave., Bend, Ore., 541/385-8606, deschutesbrewery.com
Get it while you can, because Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale ($5.49/22-ounce bomber) only runs from May to September, and was ranked the No. 2 beer in the world by Wine Enthusiast in 2010. The magazine described Deschutes' brew this way: "The nose is loaded with pine-resin hops along with notes of maple syrup, milk chocolate and spiced soft caramel squares."
What's more, it's brewed with rich, dark malts and meaty oats, and is infused with enough tart Cascadian hops to make me smile. Black as night and ready for a relaxing evening, this 6.5 percent ABV ale is full-bodied and calming — much like a full-on winter warmer stout, but with a fresh-hop bite. I recommend buying an extra bottle to stash and enjoy over the winter months, when you're looking for a meal in a glass. — Steve Hitchcock
Saltgrass Steak House
1405 Jamboree Drive, 594-5367, saltgrass.com
It's Texas-launched with a 20-plus-year history and locations across five states. In Colorado Springs, it inhabited the former Joe's Crab Shack location a few years back. And for chain food with no small price tag, I must concede, Saltgrass is pretty damn good.
Our perfectly medium-cooked, 12-ounce Pat's Ribeye ($19.99) is delicious, with both a beautifully biting horseradish butter ($1.99 extra) and swank Oscar topping ($6.99) of rich, lemon-butter crabmeat with long, fried asparagus sticks. The meat is certified Angus, with no sustainable roots, but handled well and boasting full flavor.
Doubling down on the crustaceans, we also tortilla-chip through an avocado crab stack appetizer ($11.99), which places the stringy meat with fatty avocado slices and pico de gallo chop that only lacks citrus to pop. Overall, there's no need to mess with Texas here. — Matthew Schniper
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