The Pony Espresso
105 S. Santa Fe Ave., Fountain, 382-9707
Proprietor Connie Fahey took over this longtime coffee stop around a year ago, changing the name from Cowboy Espresso to The Pony Espresso. A cool cowgirl mural graces the north wall facing the parking lot, and if opting for the drive-thru on the west wall, you'll drop your tip into a boot at the service window.
Inside, Fahey preps drinks with Barista Espresso products: their popular Biker Blend for drip coffee or a medium, five-bean Sicilian roast for lattes and the like. Or Barista's blond roast for higher-caffeine drinks like the Sancho Panza ($3.65/12-ounce), a surprisingly non-cloying horchata-powder-spiked java with cinnamon garnish, somehow channeling banana bread's essence. Across the spectrum, the 4 Leaf Clover ($4.50/16-ounce) infuses matcha powder with vanilla syrup for a lovely green tea frapp. — MS
dc's on b street
115 W. B St., Pueblo, dcsonbstreet.com, 719/584-3410
A Pueblo standard since 1998, this little bistro's decor reads antique store more than eatery. Points against: The already-cramped space feels cluttered by endless tchotchkes. Points in favor: The tables have real, fresh flowers accompanying vintage lamps.
We try the special of the day ($14), three half-clamshells presenting a rockfish fillet, scallops and shrimp, and a salad of heirloom cherry tomatoes. All three seafood items arrive perfectly cooked, still tender and juicy, seasoned with Old Bay — pure Maryland stodginess, but pleasing nonetheless. Those tomatoes show sliced with red onion and olive oil for a satisfying freshness. The Poulet Pueblo ($8), chicken breast with roasted tomato chutney on a baguette, comes moist and salted appropriately, but even with added Pueblo chile for a buck, no flavors stand out, though the mild sweetness is nice. Beer-battered fries make an adequate side, despite a $2 upcharge from chips. — GS
3043 W. Pikes Peak Ave., 719thedive.com, 358-9646
When last the Indy visited The Dive, in February 2013, we were impressed by the quaint, neighborhood atmosphere but largely unimpressed by the burgers and fries. Later that year, Jim Kesterson bought the place and took over, and we're happy to report that things have improved, but only by degrees.
The Cali burger ($10.49) still tops its patty with avocado and pepper jack cheese. In 2013, The Dive's burgers hit table thoroughly overcooked, but my medium rare request showed up a perfect medium. The greasy mess of fries The Dive previously churned out have been replaced with crisp but unremarkable fries in the style of any other mass-food-service option. Next to other $10-plus burger-and-fries combos in town, portions are a little thin, made more visible by the big basket this one is served in. Finish with a slice of house-made spice cake ($3.50), moist and mild under sugary cream cheese frosting. — GS