Olde World Bagel & Deli
1670 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 527-9651, oldeworldbagel.com
According to Olde World co-owner Josh Kennard — also a local artist whose work lines a wall at the bustling shop — the bagel industry today is experiencing a phenomenon similar to the coffee industry: a return to "becoming makers again ... not cutting corners." Guests can see evidence of the careful in-house craft via a partly open kitchen. More than 50 eateries in the area buy from the shop for their own menus.
One newly added bagel sandwich this year, the Korean BBQ ($7.99), shows another level of play, placing spiced pork cuts with crunchy broccoli slaw and a plum-y Korean barbecue sauce, with fresh mint leaves leading the flavor. It's a bit of a wet mess, but satisfying on a sourdough bagel, though possibly in need of a spicy edge. Batch-brewed Solar Roast coffee ($1.85/16-ounce) tastes a touch scorched, not typical for the usually fine Pueblo roastery. Side note: Pumpkin bagel season has arrived. — MS
San Chang House
3659 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 598-1707
We can never not mention that San Chang's menu has a note on it that reads: "You can eat as much Korean food as you like without gaining weight!" Over the many successful years it's been open, apparently nobody's challenged the claim. Their longevity shows with dated décor and booths in need of new cushioning — a functioning neon sign would also help.
Nonetheless, the food's consistently stellar, as first evidenced by the duk bok ki ($7.99) appetizer, compressed rice segments in a seriously scorching sauce. Our kal bi tang ($13.99) short-rib beef soup arrives at a full rolling boil in a stone bowl. Its clear broth carries a black pepper bite and collagen backbone — hunks of meat pull away from the bone with chewy fat pockets. Tangy fermented bites from the provided banchan spread lighten the carnivore feast. For a delightful dance with cold buckwheat noodles in potent chili sauce, try the bi bim nang myun ($12.99). — MS
The Ute & Yeti
21 N. Nevada Ave., 634-0003, theuteandyeti.com
Sharing a building with CityROCK Climbing Center, this little place really has a life of its own. The curation behind the 16 taps has always been good — I had my first pint of Oskar Blues' Pinner Throwback IPA there in 2014. When I visit, they've brought in yet more excellent and interesting brews. They've also doubled their can and bottle selection from 25 to 52.
I pick a pint of Denver Beer Co.'s Sun Drenched Exploratory Ale ($4.25/pint), a hazy, golden wheat IPA with good bitter and tart characteristics. It's a fine pairing for my BBQ chicken sliders ($8.50). Two sandwiches on sweet potato buns come full of chicken in a sauce that needs less sugar, more spice. The pickles and red onions do cut through nicely, though. The side quinoa salad reads "designed by fitness people," cold and creamy with sunflower seeds providing occasional crunch. It's functional and healthy, though a little citrus brightness would not go amiss. — GS