821 Cheyenne Meadows Road, 540-8288
Java-born owner/chef Gary Sanova just began weekend-only service of traditional Indonesian specials (beyond his regular Thai menu): one per week from a rotating list, in limited quantities. He kicked it off with Nasi Kuning (meaning "yellow rice," $8.95), a dish he grew up with at special occasions only, such as weddings and birthdays.
It's a gorgeous, colorful plate, offering six separate components (plus garnishes) arrayed over a banana leaf — and too many individual spices and sauces to mention in full. But think bright flavor influences from coriander, galangal and turmeric to lemongrass, bay leaves and chilies. Curried, pickled veggies add tang; a giant shrimp chip, crunch; a veggie fritter, starch; hard-boiled chili eggs, heat; a 10-ingredient marinated chicken, sweetness and char; and the starring rice, a floral essence that plays the keystone role to it all. Enjoy with the sweet water of a whole young baby coconut ($3.95). — Matthew Schniper
Fargo's Pizza Co.
2910 E. Platte Ave., 473-5540, fargospizza.com
Thirty-nine-year-old Fargo's is possibly the oddest dining experience in Colorado Springs. A brightly lit paean to Victorian kitsch, the two-level dining hall is full of balustrades, blunderbusses and bagatelles — like the buffalo head that overlooks a bar where the tender rocks a red vest and an arm garter.
The Big Red pizza ($14.50, 13 inches) is equally eye catching, with every inch covered in beautiful round tomato slices, a layer of Canadian bacon underneath. But it's a hollow creation, tasting mostly like cheese and tang. Its crust snaps beautifully, like toasted flatbread, but the meat is mute and the sauce seems to have been baked into the crust, evident in color only on the mottled edges. Eaten among waitresses clad to the wrist in white lace, though — with the swooning classical strains of "Scarborough Fayre" overhead — it's still a hell of an experience. — Bryce Crawford
Xpresso Yourself Coffee Shop
2103 Templeton Gap Road, 315/408-7742
Peg Parker shows local lovin' in this punny former Daily Grind drive-thru, open weekdays, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Products include Olde World Bagels, Serranos coffees, Tabor Mountain Bakehouse sweets, and Pockitz sandwiches via Gotta Love It! Kitchen. Scanning for something unique with caffeine, I let Peg warm me up instead to something simple — iced coffee ($1.80) with a touch of sugar-free vanilla creamer. Reason: She uses a Toddy Cold Brew System, steeping ground Mexican Altura beans for 15 hours, supposedly removing 67-percent of the acidity. Indeed, it's extra smooth, with no detectable bitterness.
From a handful of tempting food options, I choose the green chili chicken Pockitz sandwich ($5), made with breast meat, onions, green chili slices, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, and green enchilada sauce. Impression after 90 seconds in the microwave: molten, gooey, doughy, mildly spicy, chewy yumminess incarnate, with no skimp on the fillings. — Matthew Schniper