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Street Smarts

Favorite little eateries you hope too many people don't "discover," the occasional killer meal, a dish you make that friends love — food adds so much spice to the humdrum days of winter.

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Brian Mandabach of downtown is a teacher

What's the best-kept secret on the Colorado Springs restaurant scene? A family-run place called Salsa Latina. Their smothered chile rellenos — I think they only do them on Fridays — sell out.

Name the best restaurant meal you've had in the past year. Halibut fish and chips in Gracie's Sea Hag in Depoe Bay, Oregon. The halibut was fresh, sweet and light, and breaded perfectly. One of my three all-time best fish dishes.

Which local eatery has the warmest vibe? Roman Villa, a small family place on North Nevada that's been there for years and years. They do little extra things to take care of you.

Is there a food trend you're into? I eat a lot less meat since getting some pet ducks. I'm sort of getting into the vegetarian thing.

Describe a dish you make better than anybody else. I make a really good blueberry-and-apple pie.

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Chelsea Samelson of the south side is a writer/editor

Name the best-kept secret in the Springs restaurant scene. Uchenna, an Ethiopian place in Old Colorado City. The food is unlike anything you get anywhere else.

What's the best restaurant meal you've had in the past year? The Indian buffet at Everest Nepal. Their saag paneer, naan, samosas and Pad Thai are killer, and it's different every visit.

Is there a food trend you can do without? Waffles and fried chicken. Believe it or not, I saw a Lay's potato chip waffles-and-fried-chicken flavor in the grocery store the other day. I was so horrified that I took a picture. This country has no food culture left.

Describe a dish you make better than anybody else. I make the best flourless espresso truffle chocolate cake.

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Chas Fields of Stetson Hills is a records technician

Tell us the best-kept secret in the Colorado Springs restaurant scene. Margarita at PineCreek. It gets better every time I eat there.

What local restaurant has the warmest atmosphere? Poor Richard's. Everybody's so happy. It's so peaceful.

Is there a food trend you're into? I eat only vegetables during the week, but anything at all on weekends.

How about a food trend you can do without? Juicing.

What dish do you make better than anyone? Penne rosa — a penne pasta with spinach, mushrooms and a tomato cream sauce.

  • Food adds so much spice to the humdrum days of winter.

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