Royal Gorge Brewing Company
413 Main St., Cañon City, 719/345-4141, royalgorgebrewpub.com
We've earned beers after a four-hour mountain bike ride nearby, so we hit the breezy, brick-dominant RGB for lunch. Our waiter is super personable, kindly giving tiny pours of each of the five current house beers, since the brewery doesn't offer tasting paddles. There's also no seasonal beer beyond the basic light-to-dark lineup. Just as I'm thinking RGB's overseers may not be giving it full attention, a cracked mirror and no soap in the bathroom confirm neglect. Open since 2011, the spot's website still reads "info about our brews coming soon."
Those beers ($4/pint) show somewhat on-point for style but unremarkable. The Broken Paddle "light beer" is all straw while the Session IPA barely bests homebrew. A pulled pork sandwich ($7.75) holds tender meat but needs more house barbecue sauce to combat "Cañon" (Texas) toast. Alaskan pollack fish and chips ($10.75) rate decent with crunchy breading but boring crisp-starved fries. — MS
Daylight Donuts/Milano Café
5883 Palmer Park Blvd., Suite B, 637-9024, daylightdonuts.com
Paint on the door claims that this east-side location of a national chain is only open until noon, but that info is out-of-date. As it turns out, they've expanded hours through 7:30 p.m. — the Middle Eastern options on the Milano Café menu are more suited for lunch and dinner.
My 20-minute wait for a falafel platter ($5.79), caused by a cold fryer, earned me a free medium-roast coffee and plate of oversalted shawarma meat, cooked to shoe-leather toughness. Five pucks of dense but flavorful falafel come with an iceberg lettuce salad and canned mixed veggies with rice. In short, stick to the donuts ($4.50/half-dozen). Daylight's cake donuts are supermaket-grade, though not too sweet. And although they're a little stale by 9:30 a.m., the old-fashioned donuts stand above with more character, especially under a lemon-spiked chocolate glaze. — GS
Lucy I'm Home
Various locations, 332-6982, facebook.com/lucyimhomeco
Every now and then, a plate comes along that causes the sort of superlative talk, facial expressions and happy eating noises that make it a little embarrassing to eat in public. Thus, I may be forced to get my next lechon sandwich ($8) from Lucy to-go and eat at home — the pile of marinated pork at the heart of this pressed sandwich sports a degree of rich seasoning and moisture that puts so many other dishes to shame. Pressed between two halves of a soft, crusty baguette, it gets a little butter, sautéed onions and garlic aioli for pure Cuban bliss.
For a more familiar option try the Cubano ($8), which brings that same delicious pork to play with ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles, again in the same delicious bread. It's just as satisfying as the lechon. Or, equally valid, forget this "picking one thing" nonsense and get the everything plate ($12). Pork meets mango-livened chicken, a perfectly crispy empanada, plus fruity plantains, black beans and rice. — GS