The Maté Factor
966 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-3235, matefactor.com
Some friends refer to the beloved Maté Factor as Ewok Village on account of the treehouse vibe that best describes the wood-heavy decor. And talk of the 24-hour (minus Saturdays) shop always winds back to the international Twelve Tribes community that also operates a commune here. Ample literature about the group cohabitates with colorful regulars and retail bags of mate and requisite supplies like bombillas and gourds.
In late for a bite supplied by an unhurried staff, we're interested more in a turkey wrap ($6) that sees too much shredded cheese, and the satisfying Chicken on the Ranch sandwich ($7.75), a warm, wet and mildly spicy mix of chipotle chicken, Havarti cheese and a loose mayo-ish sauce. For mate, a green-peach blend ($3/large) refreshes with fruit essence while the dark roast yerba mate ($2.75/large) incorporates barley, chicory and carob to a lightly bitter and nutty effect. Mix in a touch of cashew milk to balance it. — MS
The 9th Floor
121 S. Tejon St., #900, 757-1111, the9thfloorco.com
Co-working spaces with furnished offices for rent don't seem like our purview, but most of them lack their own barista. This on-site Plaza of the Rockies café offers snacks and coffee for the weary and white-collared. Drip coffee and espresso are made from local Colorado Coffee Merchants beans, using the cabin and espresso blends respectively.
The house signature drink is the Seaside Mocha ($4.25/12-ounce), a dessert-like drink with Ghirardelli mocha, caramel and hazelnut syrups, under a cloud of whipped cream with salt and a caramel drizzle. The salt makes an otherwise straightforward sugar bomb a little more interesting. A palatable Dirty Chai Latte ($4.25/16-ounce), spiked with an espresso shot, benefits from a little extra nutmeg and cinnamon on top. They're out of coconut oil for the CocoLoco ($4/12-ounce), so we get it with just grass-fed KerryGold butter, still plenty pleasant. — GS
Felipe Got It!
3005 N. Hancock Ave., 339-3779
For years it was the North End Diner spot, and for a short stint in 2015, it operated as a Filipino place. Now, owner/chef Felipe Pagan runs the eponymous eatery, both a sit-down and delivery business with a limited food truck arm as well. The drab diner furnishings and low ceilings make for a throwback, no frills dine-in experience, so we grab to go.
Pagan's decades of industry experience show, with quick, friendly service and sizable portions for a good price. But ultimately, we're talking about another Tex-Mex menu of gut-bomb goodness that you won't remember as compared to all the other like places in town. The green chile's at least hot and flavorful, atop the cheesy-potato-heavy Felipe Burrito and loaded but limp Felipe Fries (each $7.50), which we order with steak — a bit chewy and tough. The house horchata ($2) lands under-sweet, but it's thin and lacking spice boldness. Let's say Felipe's mostly Got It. — MS
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